Thursday, January 19, 2012
The SOPA/PIPA Protests
If you went on the internet tubes at all yesterday, you probably saw that Google, Wikipedia and many other sites protested the SOPA and PIPA acts, and provided readers information about contacting their members of Congress. On one level, this battle has involved competing corporations, but their positions have not been equally valid, and smaller entities and bloggers has overwhelmingly opposed SOPA and PIPA. While online piracy is a legitimate issue, the legislation as written was badly flawed and could lead to serious abuses .
I wrote more about SOPA and PIPA here (with links to analyses of the bills). Digby posted a great deal on it yesterday, xkcd has a SOPA strip up, The Oatmeal posted an animated gif yesterday (possibly NSFW) and a follow-up post on the massive play it received. The cartoonist behind Get Your War On has made some funny Get Your Censor On strips. Democracy Now (with Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales) and To the Point both covered the story today.
One of my local news stations (the local ABC affiliate) covered the story last night in a positive way, noting the massive response and overwhelmed switchboards in Congress. The reporters interviewed a few college students, including one who had never previously heard of the bills, but read more on them and signed a petition when he went to look something up on Wikipedia. (Digby covered this angle, too.) It's a bit funny, but as always, the best political campaigns hit people where they live.
Reportedly, several members of Congress have dropped their support for the bills or have called for their revision. We'll see how things develop, but so far, the day of protest seems to have been a great success, and an encouraging sign of the positive things that can be accomplished… especially with a free internet.