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Naveed Haque, Online Editor

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Junior Mark Northam opened his browser  hoping to begin his English research paper. His first stop was Google, which greeted him with a black logo and a message about SOPA and PIPA. He shook his head and frustration and headed to Wikipedia, which welcomed him with a black screen and a message asking him to sign a petition.
“I was frustrated because I planned on finishing a good portion of my research that day but knowing that I couldn’t access the resources I’ve always taken granted for were blocked was a realization as what could become if these bills were to pass,” he said.SOPA and PIPA got a lot of attention yesterday with the blackouts by Google, Wikipedia and several other networking websites. Those acronyms stand for Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and they are bills currently before Congress that deal with Internet use and copyright violations.“I sent a complaint to my representative Ralph Hall who is the head of the House Technology Committee,” history teacher Tony Kirk. “ I googled his email address and it didn’t get me there. I don’t like having my Wikipedia taken away from me”

The two bills have to be considered together as to what they are trying to accomplish in the battle against piracy. SOPA and PIPA both are designed to tackle the problem of foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other products. While SOPA may attack the user for breaking copyright laws if within U.S. soil, PIPA, however prevents companies from funding, advertising, links or any type of assistance to any foreign site that operates outside of U.S. soil that happens to break these copyright laws in the U.S. jurisdiction. These bills would grant the Justice Department new powers to prosecute these pirate sites from getting U.S. visitors and funding.

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