(CBS/CNET) - Google joins sites like Wikipedia, MoveOn, Reddit, BoingBoing, Mozilla, WordPress, TwitPic and the ICanHasCheezBurger network in a day-long protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).
The bills represents the latest effort from the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and their allies to counter what they view as rampant piracy on the Internet, especially offshore Web sites. CBS Corporation is among the media and entertainment companies that support the legislation.
It would allow the Justice Department to obtain an order to be served on search engines, Internet service providers, and other companies, forcing them to make a suspected piratical web site effectively vanish. It's opposed by many Internet companies, users, and civil liberties groups.
SOPA and PIPA are intended to curb the illegal download of copyrighted materials from foreign "rogue" sites, like The Pirate Bay. There is already legislation that provides some protection for copyrighted material, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which requires companies to remove copyrighted content "in good faith."
Worst-case scenarios are being debated. The Electronic Frontier Foundation speculates, "Instead of complying with the DMCA, a copyright owner may now be able to use these new provisions to effectively shut down a site by cutting off access to its domain name, its search engine hits, its ads, and its other financing even if the safe harbors would apply."