Wednesday, January 18, 2012




SOPA, PIPA: What you need to know

CBS News
"It's not a battle of left versus right," said progressive activist Adam Green, ... House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who sponsored ...
SOPA Blackout: Wikipedia, Google, Wired Protest 'Internet Censorship'
ABC News
Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and first ..... ruin the internet and our right of free speech, its stupid, and pointless. .

Protest Exposes Silicon Valley-Hollywood Rivalry
"It has nothing to do with stolen songs or movies," said Justin Ruben, executive director, which is participating in the blackout. Ruben says tougher legislation — even directed overseas — could make domestic cultural commentators more
 ...See all stories on this topic »

Congress wants to censor you

The Hill (blog)
By Justin Ruben, Executive Director of - 01/18/12 07:05 AM ET China has long been a political target for members of Congress -- whether they criticize their government's trade policies, or the way they regulate free speech. ...See all stories on this topic »

What is SOPA? Possible Consequences that Could Ruin the Internet
International Business Times
By Kukil Bora: Subscribe to Kukil's RSS feed As an act of protest against a pair of legislations - the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) - more than a dozen Web sites, including Wikipedia,, Craigslist, Reddit, ...See all stories on this topic »

Blackout Strike: Anonymous Calls for Street Protests; Lawmakers Drop Support of SOPA and PIPA
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "The decentralized hacktivist network Anonymous has issued a press release calling for physical street protest against the [Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA)] bills, recommending that protesters converge at freeways, malls, libraries and schools. 'IF YOUR GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN THE INTERNET ... SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT,' the release declares.... The Internet has not crumbled as a result of the blackout strike, but support for both bills in Congress has." Read the Article 

What Is SOPA? Here Are Five Things You Need to Know
Jorge Rivas, ColorLines: "Media justice advocates say the [Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)] bill is anathema to basic functioning of the Internet ... SOPA would work as the online world's stingy gatekeeper, giving government the power to shutdown websites altogether. Today, hundreds of websites are joining in a day of action to SOPA's threat to freedom of expression on the Internet ... joining in what's been called an 'Internet strike,' by closing their websites from 8 am to 8 pm eastern time." Read the Article 

Internet Blackout Today: The Fight for a Free and Open Web
Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America's Future: "Because our fight for a people-powered democracy ... depends on a free and open Internet ... many websites ... are protesting two bills pending in Congress that are direct and profound threats to that freedom. Many of these websites ... have decided to 'go dark' today to symbolize what could happen if the draconian measures in these bills are put into effect." Read the Article 

Websites Flex Political Power by Going Dark

The Bay Citizen
Well-known Bay Area-based organizations like the Internet Archive, Wikipedia, BoingBoing, and O'Reilly Media, took part in the boycott, which they say could bring significant losses in revenue, contributions or traffic — or all three. ...See all stories on this topic »

Websites going dark in protest of proposed legislation
Wikipedia,, Craigslist, user-submitted news site Reddit, the blog Boing Boing and the Cheezburger network of comedy sites plan to participate in a blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills. ...See all stories on this topic »

Today Could Be The Day We Save The Free Internet.

The US Congress was poised to pass a law allowing officials to censor access to any website around the world. But after we delivered our 1.25 million strong petition to the White House, it came out against the bill and with public pressure at a boiling point even some bill backers are switching sides. Now, the Wikipedia - led blackout protest has rocketed the public campaign to the top of the news.

We are turning the tide. But the dark forces of censorship are trying to revive the bill right now. Let’s bury it for good today. Click to sign this emergency petition to save the Internet now and if you've signed already, to email, call, Facebook, and tweet Congressional and corporate targets. Then send this to everyone:

The bill would make the US one of the worst Internet censors in the world -- joining the ranks of countries like China and Iran. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) would allow the US government to block any of us from accessing sites like YouTube, Google, or Facebook.

We got the White House to switch sides and now our global campaign and the growing public pressure is forcing Congress to abandon the bill. Last weekend, Senator Cardin, who cosponsored the legislation, announced he will vote against it! Then six prominent Republicans penned a letter requesting that the bill be shelved. Now the lower house vote is reportedly on ice.

Just days ago we were told it was impossible to stop the corporate censorship cabal, but now this is at a tipping point and amazingly we could win! Let’s stop US censorship today. Sign this emergency petition to save the internet now and forward it to everyone:

This US legislation could infringe on all of our freedoms. But if we win, we will show that when people unite with one voice from all over the world we can stop the abuse of power anywhere. We have brought this bill back from the brink. Now, if we amplify our voices today, we can put an end to the most powerful Internet censorship threat that the world has ever seen.

White House statement:

Wikipedia joins web blackout in SOPA protest (BBC):

American Censorship's fact sheet on SOPA:

Everything you need to know about Congress's online piracy bills in one post (Washington Post):

SOPA and PIPA sponsors caving in to opposition (Talking Points Memo):

White House will not support SOPA, PIPA (Huffington Post):

Controversial online piracy bill ‘shelved’ until consensus is found (The Hill):
Today has been amazing, but there's one thing that could completely stop SOPA and PIPA in their tracks:

President Obama has expressed concerns about the bills, but hasn't pledged to veto them.

There's enough opposition to these bills now that even if they pass, the won't be able to overcome a veto.

A promise to veto the bills will force opponents into a full retreat, and be the perfect way to cap off this week's protests. 

We'd be able to declare a victory for the Net, free speech, and democracy.
Today, major tech advocates are dimming their websites in protest over a proposed new law that would result in our government blocking access to websites that contain copyright infringing material. And they’re right to be concerned.
There are two bills pending before Congress — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate — that would not only impact unlawful infringing content, but also a wealth of completely legal content that has nothing to do with online piracy.
We opposed SOPA in its original form mostly because the impact on non-infringing content would violate the First Amendment right to free speech of the owners and authors of that content, as well as the rights of Internet users to access that content. In fact, we were asked to present our views at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee scheduled for today and submitted our testimony in preparation for that hearing. But the hearing was postponed after SOPA’s proponents promised to significantly change the bill and after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor proposed not to bring any bill to the floor for a vote unless it represented a true consensus of those who support and those who oppose SOPA.
Because of those developments over the weekend — and because the White House also issued a statement opposing any bill that would impact First Amendment-protected online content — we are redoubling our efforts to find the compromise that will not only inhibit online infringement of original works of art, but also will truly eliminate online access restrictions to lawful non-infringing content.
So even though we are not dimming our website, we stand with those who are and urge those concerned about open access to the Internet to continue tocontact their Members of Congress to voice their opposition to SOPA. There is way to help reduce online infringement without violating the First Amendment rights of online content producers and their readers and users. We’re counting on our elected officials in Congress to do the hard work to figure it out.

In his SOPA advocacy, Dodd has resorted to holding up Chinese censorship as the desired model, mouthing the slogans of despots, and even outright lying. Like virtually all extremist, oppressive bills backed by large industry, SOPA and PIPA have full bipartisan support; among its co-sponsors are Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, with many Senators from both parties in support and Harry Reid pushing it. stands with Google, Wikipedia, and countless other Internet activists protesting Internet censorship today. The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP Act (PIPA) threaten the many glorious freedoms of the web and the communities that have risen from it--including our own.

You might want to get your Encyclopedia Britannica set out of storage: Wikipedia will go dark Wednesday, joining a growing number of popular websites staging an online revolt against two anti-piracy bills. Tony Romm, Politico

Protests against the proposed anti-piracy bill SOPA, combined with a recent statement from the Obama administration criticizing the legislation, seem to have had some effect. According to reports, the bill has been put on hold indefinitely, until some kind of "consensus" can be reached. Is this a victory? Not quite. This move could be just a delaying tactic, and note that an equally unfavorable bill called PIPA is going ahead in the Senate. As a result, many of those planning to stage Web "blackouts" in protest of the legislation,including Wikipedia, are continuing with their efforts. Mathew Ingram, GigaOM

The Obama administration said that it would not support legislation mandating changes to Internet infrastructure to fight online copyright and trademark infringement. David Kravets, Wired

When the Obama administration announced its opposition to major elements of two congressional bills intended to curtail copyright violations on the Internet, the technology industry, which has been loudly fighting the proposed legislation, could declare victory. But few people in Silicon Valley or Hollywood consider the battle over. Jenna Wortham and Somini Sengupta, New York Times

Supporters of controversial anti-piracy legislation face a struggle to regain momentum after the White House sided with irate Internet companies and users over the weekend and complained that the proposal could hurt innocent companies and undermine cybersecurity. Amy Schatz, Wall Street Journal

The Senate plans to take up anti-piracy legislation soon, despite the lack of consensus about how to rein in pirate websites without censoring legitimate speech or stifling innovation. That would be a mistake. Los Angeles Times

Internet theft is a problem. Stealing another person's ideas, creations and inventions deprives authors, artists and entrepreneurs of proper credit and compensation. That leaves them with little incentive to continue their contributions. This is terrible for innovation, economic growth and prosperity. So is the Stop Online Piracy Act. Elmira Bayrasli, Forbes

The reality is that the digital divide still exists. Only about 60 percent of users in America have access to home-based broadband connections, and many low-income, black and Latino households lack access. Here are a few of the FCC's efforts to deal with the digital divide -- the good and the bad of each. Jamilah King, AlterNet

Josh Levy 
Internet Campaign Director 
Free Press 

1. “Debating SOPA,” Up with Chris Hayes, Jan. 15, 2011:

3. Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra and Howard Schmidt, “Combating Online Privacy While Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet”:

On January 18th, 2012, from 8am to 8pm Eastern, the Oath Keepers website will go dark to protest the looming SOPA (House) and PIPA (Senate) Bills. We are joining with many other websites across the internet who are also going dark in protest.

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.

Our First Amendment protected right of free speech is now directly under assault by a berserk U.S. Congress and White House. Our voluntary black-out is being done in conjunction with countless other websites to help the public understand the serious dangers in SOPA and related bills awaiting passage in Congress right now.

SOPA and PIPA are to the First Amendment what the NDAA military detention and trial provisions are to the Fourth, Fifth, And Sixth Amendments – allowing for the “black bagging” and “disappearing” of websites on a mere accusation alone. If such laws are enacted, the following may as well be posted by the government when they shut sites down:


Your attempting to access and associate with this site has been noted, your IP address has been recorded, and you too are now being evaluated as a possible candidate for unlawful belligerent designation. Have a nice day.”

That is the kind of Orwellian world the internet will have become, under SOPA/PIPA or other such nonsense.

The First Amendment is first for a reason.

Please join me in adding your name to this petition regarding the freedom to post information on the internet.  It seems that there is a law being considered today regarding the free exchange of information on the internet.  While it seems that this is a fundamental right, perhaps we shouldn’t assume that this right will be protected without making our voices heard.

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