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Ottawa prof darkens blog to protest U.S. Internet piracy law

Internet guru and University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist followed in Wikipedia’s and Reddit’s footsteps Wednesday by blacking out his blog in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Internet guru and University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist followed in Wikipedia’s and Reddit’s footsteps Wednesday by blacking out his blog in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The bill could see websites blocked over copyright infringement complaints, regardless of where it is based.

Geist’s blog returned to normal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, but his fear of the effects SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) will have on Canadians lingers.

“SOPA and PIPA will have a real impact on Canada,” said Geist, who also holds the Canada research chair of Internet and e-commerce law. “Where there’s a Canadian site that someone in the U.S. believes is infringing, they could go to a U.S. court and order that ISPs block access to it.”

Websites would have to start policing their pages for any content that may be deemed infringing. For sites built on user-generated content, such as YouTube and Wikipedia, it would be nearly impossible, he said.

“This is not about people who are pro-piracy or anything like that. It’s people who care deeply about the Internet who recognize how important it is,” he said.

 
 
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