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Massive Online Game Changing Protest: Congress Drops SOPA, PIPA

January 20, 2012

We did it!

I just got an email from Fight for the Future, the organizers of the widely publicized blackout of the internet (including this site which went black and hosted a “stop censureship banner and link in the upper right hand corner) to protest SOPA and PIPA and to mobilize people to contact their representatives before the January 24 vote of Congresss about these two bills: Congress  dropped SOPA and PIPA today which means the votes have been cancelled for now and hopefully forever.

Fight for the Future writes to say, “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.”

We’re indebted to the people who helped in the beginning — you, and the sites that trusted us — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress and Fight for the Future. Press release is here: http://bit.ly/w4DYz0 and https://fightfortheftr.wordpress.com/press-releases/

13 million strong,

Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore, Fight for the Future!

P.S.  China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:

In the New Yorker:  “Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know).

After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:

‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”

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