Congress gets an earful over SOPA Internet piracy bill

Google made changes to its homepage to support the SOPA/PIPA protest.
Google made changes to its homepage to support the SOPA/PIPA protest.

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A U.S. House committee had scheduled an important hearing today on the Stop Internet Piracy Act. That hearing was postponed, but not the protest against the bill known as SOPA.

Wikipedia and a number of other websites went dark today. The protest has reached the ears of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Online marketer Andrew Hahn knew about the blackouts, but he had to see for himself. "Obviously Google made their statement by blacking out their logo," he says. "Wikipedia was down. Reddit, the big user-generated content site, user news site, has a complete blackout, with information about SOPA and how to contact your representative."

Users have done just that. They flooded the office of Republican Congressman Ken Calvert of Riverside with at least twice the usual number of calls. The congressman finally tweeted:

His statement said, "I appreciate your input."

Democrat Lois Capps of Santa Barbara’s tweeted that expressing opinions to Congress is an “important part of democracy.”

Her office logged its largest number of calls and e-mails since the health care reform vote. One staffer says a number of callers report that this is the first time they've ever called the congresswoman's office about anything.

Democrat Zoe Lofgren of San Jose joined the protest: the front page of her website reads in huge letters: “STOP SOPA.”

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on its version of an Internet piracy bill next Tuesday.