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Internet blackout: Wikipedia, other sites protest anti-piracy bills

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Some of the Internet’s most popular websites have gone dark today in protest of two anti-piracy bills that are up for debate in Congress.

Wikipedia, an online encylopedia, has shut down its site for 24 hours in protest of two anti-piracy bills. (Photo: Wikipedia.com)

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced on Twitter Monday that the popular site will shut down its English versions for 24 hours in protest.

PHOTOS: Websites go dark in protest

The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act are designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas.

"These rogue sites are hurting American jobs, stealing American jobs," said Steven Tepp, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "They're harming American consumers and they have no business being on the Internet." 

The two bills, known as Sopa and Pipa, target overseas sites that allow users to share illegal downloads of movies, music and other digital content. The bills try to cut off access to the overseas sites by requiring U.S. seach engines and other providers to withhold their services.

Critics say it could hurt the technology industry and infringe on free-speech rights.

MORE: Wikipedia to black out on Wednesday

Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, eBay, AOL and others have said it threatens the industry's livelihood.

Several online communities such as Craigslist, The Huffington Post, Wordpress, Boing Boing, Reddit and others are participating in the protest as well.

In an act of solidarity, Google put a black bar over its logo.

"If you think of Facebook, if you think of Twitter, if you think of Google and Ebay, etc -- people put things, users on to company sites and companies can't control that, well they could, by censorship and that's what we want to avoid," said Ed Black, President & CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association.

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