As digital technologies increasingly dominate personal and commercial activities, the issue of copyright protection becomes ever more controversial with stakeholder groups lining up to protect their interests. In a row dubbed by some (but denied by Wikipedia) as a clash between Hollywood and old media, and Silicon Valley, the US Congress has been attempting to enforce copyrights on the Internet, by proposing new legislative controls on internet service providers of websites that offer access to pirated material. The Congress Act, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Senate bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), have focused on targeting copyright infringers online and imposing a series of harsh penalties. The Bills would force ISPs to block non-U.S. websites accused of having infringing material, meaning sites from other countries might not be available in the United States. SOPA and PIPA are attempts to deal with the problem of online filesharing by granting powers to close down websites that are making material, such as films, music and television programmes, available without the permission of the rights holder.
January 18, 2012