SOPA and PIPA, Day 2: The Web Stood its Ground. Now What?


Opponents of SOPA and PIPA cheered yesterday’s web blackouts as a critical juncture in the escalating debate over copyright protection.

“The Web blackout Wednesday may be remembered as one of the first successful online uprisings in the U.S., but leaders in the U.S. Senate still planned to begin voting on PIPA next Tuesday.”

California Representative Anna Eshoo, Dem., tweeted “I do not support #SOPA! It is overly broad, threatens the Internet, will hinder new jobs & hurt economic opportunities” with a link to her statement: “History is being made by the more than 10,000 websites that have chosen to boycott SOPA by participating in today’s blackout,” and she followed suit by blacking out her own website.

A key factor in the turn was the education made quickly available to the public about the complex issues and alliances involved as shown in the following two videos:[more]

• Clay Shirky’s manifesto on the freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume:

• And this backgrounder from Khan Academy:

Representative Darrell Issa, California Rep. praised the widespread media attention: “This unprecedented effort has turned the tide against a backroom lobbying effort by interests that aren’t used to being told ‘no.’ I know suspending and changing access to sites was not necessarily an easy decision, but this is a responsible and transparent exercise of freedom of speech.”

Today’s consensus seems a call for the legislative process to slow down and reconsider as thousands of calls and emails flooded Capitol Hill, and the authors of the bills consider removal of the most contested provision, allowing ISP’s to block access to foreign-based piracy sites.

The Washington Post’s Joshua Topolsk, said that even as a content creator, he feels “SOPA and PIPA are like taking a sledgehammer to something when you need a scalpel.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, Dem., California said, “I think it is an important moment in the Capitol. Too often, legislation is about competing business interests. This is way beyond that. This is individual citizens rising up.”

Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, called the protest a “stunt” and a “gimmick” added, “It’s a new day. Brace yourselves.” Such sentiments led CNET to wonder if the White House’s support put Obama’s re-election bid at odds with liberal fundraisers and donors in Hollywood, whose copyright holders and studio heads squared off against tech and web giants over the issues. 

But as PaidContent puts it, Hollywood and Silicon Valley appear to be making up in Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival is getting under way. The show must go on!


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