Wikipedia is blacked out today.  Here’s why:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SOPA_logo.png

I am opposed to internet piracy.  I make my living off my books and if people pirate my books, they don’t pay me.  At the same time, I see no point in going after readers–who might actually like my book and want to read more, that they’ll then pay for.   This is Neil Gaiman on why we shouldn’t care about piracy of books:  http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/02/10/neil-gaiman-piracy-lending-books/

The present internet piracy acts before Congress don’t address the real problem, which is companies (foreign, mostly) that pirate work wholesale and sell it.

Slate has a great article about why online piracy is not a bad thing.

A TED talk that gives the history of this bill:

 

From the explanation at Wikipedia:

What are SOPA and PIPA?
SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout.
GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet. …  
SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Learn_more