Millennials Drawn To SOPA News

SopaLast week's Web blackouts at Wikipedia, Reddit and other sites captured many people's attention, but those under 30 were especially intrigued by the initiative.

Almost one in four (23%) adults under 30 say that they followed news of the online protests of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act more closely than any other story last week -- including news of the cruise ship accident and the upcoming presidential election, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Overall, only 7% of adult users said they followed news relating to the piracy-law protests more closely than any other developments of the week, while 16% said they followed the protests closely. The results are based on a survey of 1,002 adults conducted by Pew from Jan. 19-22.

Pew also reported that reports of the protests over the piracy legislation accounted for only 5% of news coverage last week. Election news garnered 41% of the coverage, while the cruise ship accident accounted for 10%.

The blackouts and other online protests also caught the attention of lawmakers, who backed away from the controversial bills. The Hollywood-backed legislation targets “rogue” Web sites that are dedicated to infringement, but opponents said the bills' language was so broad it could have affected many sites with user-generated content.

SOPA and Protect IP provide for court orders banning search engines from returning links to “rogue” sites, and also empower courts to prohibit credit card companies and ad networks from doing business with such sites.

As part of the protests, Google placed a black bar over its logo last Wednesday and directed users who clicked on the symbol to an online petition opposing the legislation; the company said that more than 7 million users signed.

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