Yesterday numerous websites, including this one, joined together in the largest coordinated Internet blackout in history to protest two bills currently before Congress: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (House version) and PIPA (Senate) version. These bills would fundamentally change the Internet as we know it. SOPA would give the government the power to shut down any Internet site under the guise of copyright enforcement. For example, if someone complained to the government that AndyBox.com was violating his/her copyrighted material, the government could shut down the site immediately. The potential for abuse and government-sponsored censorship should be obvious. Online piracy and copyright infringement are problems that we need to address, but these bills are not the right approach.
The good news? Our protest and the lead-up publicity seem to have worked. Concerned citizens like you lit Washington up with emails and phone calls telling their representatives to vote NO on these bills. As a result, our representatives overall have a better understanding of the issues involved. According to an email I received, last week only 5 Senators publically opposed PIPA. Now that number is up to at least 35. The Obama Administration has expressed its disapproval of the bills, which suggests a potential veto even if Congress does pass the bills. The House has chosen to postpone action on the bill pending further debate and study. We haven’t won yet, but things are looking much better for all fans of a free Internet and the First Amendment.
If you haven’t already, please visit American Censorship to contact your representatives in the Senate and House and share your concerns.