In light of Wednesday's tremendously successful SOPA blackout, I thought we'd take some time to recap and document the day the web went dark. The stop SOPA and stop PITA blackouts were really powerful because with online champions like Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit teaming up, the blackouts most certainly raised awareness and affected people who had no clue about these ridiculous bills until yesterday. Petitions were signed, calls were made to state representatives, and the word got out.
If you're looking to understand why SOPA and PIPA are bad bills and how they will hurt your business, check out our previous blog post explaining them and their disastrous affects.
So what did the SOPA and PIPA blackout protests achieve?
- 18 Senators changed their position on PIPA after witnessing the massive amount of public outcry.
- 4.5 million people signed Google’s anti-censorship petition.
- Some U.S. Senate websites actually went down due to overwhelming amounts of traffic as people made an effort to contact their senators and speak out against PIPA and SOPA.
- Twitter counted 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets between 12am-4pm yesterday, with top terms: SOPA, stop SOPA, PIPA, Tell Congress.
- Mark Zuckerberg tweeted against SOPA and PIPA - his first tweet since 2009. OK, not as exciting as the others, but still kind of cool.
The SOPA and PIPA Blackout Protests
Here's a collection of some of the stop SOPA and stop PIPA blackout happenings of January 19. Some sites chose to display blackout-themed banners, while others shut down their sites completely.
Well, now it's official - everybody hates SOPA and PIPA.
Spreading the Word
On the day of the blackouts, many sites released a number of tools and resources (still available) in order to encourage web users to make a public statement against SOPA.
- Fight for the Future offered informative pamphlets and flyers to print out, along with discussion materials.
- Google started a petition you can sign here, and released a great infographic showing the rise in opposition against SOPA and PIPA.
- Hello Fax is letting people fax representatives a stop SOPA/PIPA message free.
Facebook users changed their profile pics, and there were protests on the streets of NYC. Some chose to voice their outrage through song:
Many sites made it as easy as possible for people to contact Senators and voice their concerns over PIPA and SOPA, redirecting visitors to petitions and forms they could sign.
When the Light Turned On, Memes Abounded
When the lights came back on, the PIPA and SOPA memes were flowing. Here are a few that might give you a laugh.
Contact Your Senator and Stop PIPA
While SOPA, which has garnered most of the attention, seems to be pretty beaten down, PIPA still has a solid shot in the Senate.
If PIPA were to pass, it would be an embarrassment for our country. When so many citizens make their opposition so clear, to ignore them and side instead with whoever can dispense the biggest bribes would be shameful. Such disregard for citizens would simply show the world what a mess our country is in.
Because let's be honest – not many Americans stay awake crying at night because Hollywood isn't making quite as much money as they could.
This next week is imperative to stopping PIPA. Don’t be fooled by the cute sounding acronym – unlike Pippa Middleton, this bill is no charming English socialite. Lobbyists will be hard at work to make slight modifications to SOPA and PIPA. Take out a few words here and there, and hope that will appease enough people to get these bills to squeeze through Congress.
We really can’t let that happen, so please take the time to contact your Senators and let them know your opposition to PIPA before the Senate begins voting on Jan 24.
Further Coverage on the SOPA Blackout Response
Everyone was talking about the anti-PIPA and anti-SOPA blackouts yesterday, with a few sites making some especially interesting observations.
Why SOPA and PIPA Won’t Stop Piracy -explains why SOPA and PIPA are as likely to stop piracy as I am to stop loving Nutella.
WTF Wikipedia? Twitter Reacts to the SOPA Protest - Angry and confused students had some humorous responses to the Wikipedia blackout, although it's quite pathetic to see how useless some of us become without such resources. I on the other hand still have my 1997 encyclopedia set upstairs...mostly because the books are too heavy to throw out.
Visualizing SOPA on Twitter - Fred Benenson offers an awesome visual interpretation of the Twitter conversations discussing SOPA and PIPA.
Sopa Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages - Lance Ulanoff explains the power dynamics behind the fiendish bills and why the entertainment industry so desperately wants them passed.
How the Internet Works (And How SOPA Would Break It) - If you don't 100% understand terms like DNS and IP address (it's ok, I certainly don't), SoftLayer has a great article explaining, in the simplest tech-talk possible, how the internet currently operates and how SOPA and PIPA would change it.
Pirate Bay Gives a Press Release - Pirate Bay, the motherload of pirate sites, gave a press release making some pretty interesting points concerning Hollywood's own history of thievery. As always, redditors offer insightful responses.
Sometimes I wonder if people would be more up-in-arms about illegal downloading if we didn't refer to culprits as "pirates." It sounds so cool, and I just picture a swashbuckling, loveable scamp like Johnny Depp. How can you not like pirates?
UPDATE: Senator Reid Shelves PIPA
According to Ars Technica, Senator Reid has shelved the Protect IP Act "in response to recent events"! Timothy Lee writes, "PIPA isn't dead, but the move certainly makes passage less likely. With momentum stalled, Senators skittish about angering voters, and Republican leaders blasting the bill, Reid may find it expedient to postpone the vote on PIPA indefinitely."