Google joins protest of anti-piracy bill

Google will join Wednesday's protest of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Unlike Wikipedia and reddit, Google will not shut down its homepage, which is the world's most visited site.

Instead, the company will display a message opposing the legislation.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," a Google spokeswoman said. "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page."

SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity. The legislation would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

Movie studios, record labels and business groups say the measures are necessary to crack down on online copyright infringement, which is hurting businesses and destroying jobs.

But major Web companies say the bills would require them to police user-generated content. They argue the bills would stifle innovation and censor free speech.

Wikipedia, the world's sixth most visited site, will shut down for 24 hours on Wednesday and display a message criticizing the legislation.

The White House expressed concerns with SOPA in a blog post on Saturday.

"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small," the president's advisers wrote.

But the administration emphasized that it supports giving law enforcement new tools to crack down on copyright infringement.