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Thousands of websites have joined the blackout in protest against the SOPA bill, as the controversial legislation is put to a vote in the US Congress. Participants range from giants like Wikipedia and Craigslist to tiny individual pages. The world's biggest online encyclopedia went on strike for 24 hours at midnight East Coast Time. Other majors like Reddit opted for a 12-hour blackout.

Lawmakers argue the bills will protect copyrighted material, but many, including http://www.demandprogress.org founder and executive director Aaron Swartz, believe it will change the rules for the Internet not just in the United States, but around the world.

"Under this bill, the rules totally change," Swartz told RT. "It makes everyone who runs a website into a policeman. And if they don't do their job of making sure nobody on their site uses it for anything that's even potentially illegal, the entire site could get shut down -- without even so much as a trial."

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