Victory … for now. Congress drops scheduled SOPA & PIPA votes!!


A Message from FightForTheFuture.org:

Hi everyone!

A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.

The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game.  You were heard.

On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday.  See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.

This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled.  “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”

“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”

About Fight for the Future

Fight for the Future is a non-profit helping to organize the historic strike against the web censorship bills SOPA and PIPA on our site sopastrike.com – go there for a list of websites that are striking and more information.

IP Prof Uses Anti-Piracy Legislation Protests as Teachable Moment

As reported by the Web Editor at law.widener.edu:

“We’re doing a law firm simulation in class where the students are divided into 5 law firms, maintaining their own websites and blogs and tracking intellectual property issues,” says Associate Professor Tonya Evans of her efforts to use two proposed pieces of legislation – the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and its counterpart in the Senate known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) – as teachable moments for her students.

Both bills are designed to make it more difficult to sell or distribute a range of copyrighted materials such as movies, television shows, and music, as well as counterfeit goods ranging from pharmaceuticals to watches. The bills have support from both sides of the political spectrum, and the purpose of the legislation is broadly regarded as a worthy goal.

There is, however, strong opposition to the methodology employed in the proposed legislation from a range of technology companies and advocates for Internet freedom, who have serious reservations about the provisions contained within. >> Read the full story

Prof Evans Joins in the Movement to Defeat SOPA/PIPA

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~Margaret Mead~

Protection or overprotection?

The House of Representatives is currently considering passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced by Representative Lamar Smith. A similar bill titled the Protect IP Act (PIPA), introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, is making its ways through the Senate. Both bills, in my opinion, threaten Internet freedom and should not pass in their present form.If passed and signed by the President into law, such an onerous law could well put publishing freedom severely at risk, and allow copyright holders to, without due process or any consideration of the limitations on copyright, shut down entire sites at the whim of private corporate interests.

Fight for the Future created a fantastic short video explaining things further.

The folks at WordPress.org circulated a missive today (quoted in part below) that informed site owners about the online protest of SOPA/PIPA and invited WordPressers to join in. I will be participating in the SOPA protest on all of my WordPress sites and encourage you to do the same. This site will be blacked out on January 18th and will sport the support ribbon during the full protest (which ends with the vote) so stay tuned and be informed!

On January 18, 2012, sites all over the internet will be blacking out to protest and try to mobilize more people to speak out against this bill coming up in the Senate next week — S. 968: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — in an attempt to let U.S. lawmakers know how much opposition there is. WordPress.org, Wikipedia, and even WordPress.com VIP I Can Has Cheezburger? will be participating in the blackout to raise awareness and spur you to action.

Here on WordPress.com, we want to participate as well. Freshly Pressed will be blacked out during the strike. Sorry to take away your daily fix of yummy web content, but this bill threatens to do that on a much wider scale. You don’t want that, do you?

More importantly, we are making it possible for you to participate in the protest. There are two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm EST, while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24.

And one last pitch: whatever you decide to do about your site, please take a few minutes to head over to americancensorship.org and take action. It only takes a few moments of your time to be an agent of change!

We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change. Go to Stop American Censorship for more information and a bunch of ways you can take action quickly, easily, and painlessly. The Senate votes in two weeks, and we need to help at least 41 more senators see reason before then. Please. Make your voice heard.

Wikipedia, Others fade to black in protest of SOPA and PIPA

As reported by Wiki Media Foundation:

It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.”

On January 16, 2012, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here).

The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate—that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature and is not done lightly. Dozens of other high-powered sites and thousands more are joining the protest in varied ways to to speak with a collective voice. Read the full announcement