Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA Protests Get Attention & Many Politicians Withdraw Support

January 18, 2012 marked one of the largest Internet protests, if not the largest Internet protest to date against SOPA and PIPApending legislation. Websites and people from all different industries participated in a blackout and protest to raise awareness and get the attention of Congress and the Senate. The protests were not only in the form of website blackouts, but SOPA opposers also took to the streets the old fashioned way, to protest, in the streets with signs across the country.

Wikipedia was one of the most well known sites to go dark and one of the most talked about. Their home page read:



"Imagine a WorldWithout Free Knowledge
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more."

And this morning it reads:

"Thank you.
The Wikipedia blackout is over — and you have spoken.
More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.
For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.
Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.
SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows. What’s happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The Internet has enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipedia went dark, you've directed your energy to protecting it.
We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly.
Read more"

Also from Wikipedia:

"Was the blackout successful?
The English Wikipedia joined thousands of other web sites in protesting SOPA and PIPA by blacking out its content for 24 hours. The purpose of the blackout was twofold: to raise public awareness, and to encourage people to share their views with their elected representatives.
During the blackout:
Are SOPA and PIPA dead?
Not at all. SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith stated that the House of Representatives will push the bill forward in February. Senate sponsor Patrick Leahy still plans for a PIPA vote on January 24.
Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are symptoms of a larger issue. They are misguided solutions to a misunderstood problem. In the U.S. and abroad, legislators and big media are embracing censorship and sacrificing civil liberties in their attacks on free knowledge and an open Internet."

Definitions of SOPA and PIPA are there as well just in case anyone is still not sure exactly what it means. Many other sites that joined the protest blockout used that opportunity to explain and educate what SOPA and PIPA are and why they are bad and encouraged everyone to sign the petition and contact their congressmen and senators to let them know how the voters feel about the situation.


Google blacked out their name logo and linked to a page which offered information and a petition to signStop SOPA's Google Plus page reported yesterday afternoon that over 4 million people had signed the petition, the Google TakeAction page with the title statement: End Piracy, Not Liberty had over 13 million page views. As of this morning, there are more than 130,000 +1s to the page.




Google even slowed its crawlers for the day to help make sure sites that participated in the blackout didn't suffer any damage to their rankings because of it.

The Oatmeal has an explanation and also an animated cartoon for those who have short attention spans!

YouTube video: The Day the LOLCats Died:


Clay Shirkey also has a great explanation of what SOPA and PIPA are, a history of the legislation leading up to this and why SOPA and PIPA are bad in thevideo from TED

Ask.com joined the protest yesterday

Mashable posted a picture montage of what the Internet would look like after SOPA, if it were passed and also an article on why SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy

And while the bills are not dead, Congress is definitely getting the message. So many messages, in fact, that many Senators and Congressmen's contact pages online were running slow or non-responsive yesterday due to the high number of visitors that were driven to their contact pages.

PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pulled his name from the bill Wednesday, and SOPA co-sponsor Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his name Tuesday. Several other politicians withdrew their support yesterday as well.

President Obama has announced that he will not support SOPA or PIPA bills as they are written.
The fight is not over for SOPA protesters, The House will resume working on the bill in February and revising it to try to get it passed through.

1 comment:

Matthew Steffen said...

Wow, awesome post! This was very well though-out, and researched. I hope you don't mind if I quote this article in my own blog in the next couple days. Thanks!

-Matt
http://imprinsic.com/