Many popular websites participated Wednesday in a protest of pending legislation in Washington intended to crack down on internet piracy that critics say throws out the baby with the bathwater. Bills in the Senate and House could even pull down websites such as Google or YouTube that link to copyrighted content, according to Rutgers/Camden internet law expert Michael Carrier. In the U.S. Senate, the legislation is called the, “Protect IP Act”, or PIPA, and in the House, it is called the, “Stop Online Piracy Act”, or SOPA. The Senate will begin the process with a vote on January 24th.

Carrier says the bills are backed by Hollywood and the entertainment industry, but web-based companies are growing in size and influence daily. Carrier says, “seeing that, the web companies really need to fight against Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Otherwise Congress is going to pass legislation that is very concerning”.

Popular sites such as Wikipedia, Craigslist and Google took part in the Wednesday protest by either going dark or blacking out their banners and urging users to petition congress.