JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Customers logging onto the Millenium 3 site in Jonesboro found a black screen with the headline, "Stop SOPA!"
Millenium 3 decided to go dark online Wednesday in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). The computer company joins Wikipedia and thousands of others that blacked out their Internet sites for the day.
"It's just like everything else," technician Corey Lemieux said. "If you don't think it's right, you have to stand up for it."
SOPA and PIPA are currently making their way through Congress, and critics like Lemieux say the legislation could amount to censorship online. The Millenium 3 site reads, "We need to kill these bills to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.
"The amount of control that other people, the government, random agencies would have on the Internet would be kind of ridiculous," Lemieux added.
The SOPA bill aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that fuel it. The law would cut off oxygen to pirate sites by requiring U.S. search engines, advertising networks and other providers to withhold their services. But, if SOPA passes, copyright holders could complain to law enforcement officials and get Web sites shut down.
"It's so poorly written that the abuse could just be rampant," Lemieux said.
Opponents say that could lead to censorship because Americans could lose access to thousands of sites across the Web, and Millenium 3 says these measures may even stifle online startups.
"Startups would have to police their forums or their users so much," Lemieux said. "Even if you just had a comments section, like (KAIT), you would have to police that a lot harder."
More specific language could target online piracy sites, like The Pirate Bay, but Lemieux says how the current drafts of the law need to be killed.
"They really can't let this pass because of what it could do to the Internet," he said.
The Obama administration announced Saturday that it would not support the bills in their current form. Congressional leaders have even stated recently that SOPA is being extensively reworked.
"Listen, this bill is in committee. They've had a number of hearings," Rep. John Boehner told reporters Wednesday. "It's going through a mark up, and it's pretty clear to many of us that there's a lack of consensus at this point and I would expect that the committee would continue to work to try to build a consensus before this bill moves."