Nightly News | January 18, 2012
>>> depending on what you searched for on the web today you either got what you wanted or drove right into a black hole as some sites took themselves down to send a message to all of us wanting to imagine a world without free knowledge. new media on the web ran up against older schooled media in this case, including the company we work for, in a fight over a bill aimed at preventing internet piracy . critics say it will lead somehow to censorship. nbc 's kevin tibbles reports.
>> reporter: wikipedia pulled the plug for 24 hours to protest the sofa before congress.
>> this bill puts together the infrastructure for censorship in a way completely unnecessary to combat piracy.
>> reporter: those in the industry supporting regulation including nbc universal claim online piracy costs $135 billion a year and steals 2.5 million jobs worldwide.
>> your father's counterfeit was people selling cheap knockoffs on street corners. today those same criminal enterprises sell these products online, dupe consumers.
>> reporter: they aim to block foreign websites that infringe on copyrights from movies and television, music, publishing, software and consumer products , even material on youtube could be affected. not so long ago much of our information came from these, but in the last decade or so the proliferation of the internet has made ownership of this information very difficult to police. but the online revolt against sopa has grown to include some 7,000 websites, including the tech site wired, boing boing and mozilla, maker of the popular browser firefox. google blacked out its own familiar home page adding the message "tell congress please don't censor the web." here's nbc 's kelly o'donnell.
>> reporter: democrats and republicans have been bombarded with calls and e-mails and many are backing off.
>> reporter: ask any group of college kids and they'll tell you.
>> a lot of people think why pay for it.
>> if the price is too outrageous it will probably get pirated.
>> reporter: it didn't take long to discover hitting escape reopens the wikipedia site. these days information travels fast. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago.