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Alaska’s Senators will oppose PIPA over concern for civil liberties

by Lorien Nettleton ~ January 18th, 2012

Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich have announced their opposition to the Protect Internet Protocol Act, or PIPA, a bill that would prohibit U.S. Internet users from accessing foreign websites that don’t respect U.S. intellectual property laws.

In a press release today, Senator Murkowski says PIPA was envisioned as a way to fight intellectual property theft online, but says the bill raises serious concerns about civil liberties.  Senator Begich also issued a statement, saying that The theft of intellectual property and copyrighted material is a serious problem and solutions should strike an online balance between creativity, property protection and Internet freedom.

With a Senate vote scheduled for next week on the PIPA, many high profile websites such as Wikipedia and Google have staged an online protest over concerns that PIPA, along with the Stop Online Piracy Act being discussed in the House of Representatives, would limit free speech and allow for censorship of electronic content.  Critics say the bills are forms of censorship, particularly because they could lead to sites being “blacklisted” if they allegedly distribute pirated content. Supporters say something has to be done to stamp out piracy.

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