How the Internet Stopped SOPA from Passing

There have been many attempts at legislating some “almost” draconian measures to control and regulate the internet but the advent of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) has one of the most hotly contested, debated, and protested measures in the modern age. If passed, one would have had to be worried about the overreaching goals of both bills, not only in terms of IT jobs, but more importantly in our everyday lives.

It does not take a business management degree to internalize what SOPA and PIPA would have brought to the table:

Unparalleled regulative powers on the part of the US government potentially infringing on privacy rights
A more-than-expected waning in creativity and innovation for fear of legal retaliation
You do not need a criminal justice degree nor an executive MBA program to know that lawsuits could start flying left and right
Your child can get prosecuted for singing any copyrighted song

Because of these effects, the internet rallied together to stop the passing of SOPA and PIPA bills. Leading the charge were websites like Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress.org, MoveOn.org, CDT, Imgur, Minecraft, and sections of Google and Mozilla. These websites blacked out for 24 hours starting on midnight EST, January 18, 2012.

Naturally, the effects of the protest reverberated worldwide as many people who access these sites were inundated with information about SOPA and its potential effects. Beyond the cleverly instituted Κατασκευή Ιστοσελίδων were more serious messages about being vigilant, being active, lobbying politicians and tech companies to drop their support of SOPA and what it means. In essence, the blackout protest on the 18th of January stood as the digital version of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement requiring the parties involved to re-consider their position.

And much like an effective medical aid with long-lasting effects, politicians and companies alike capitulated to the demands of the internet, withdrawing their support to SOPA, and voicing out strong concerns as to why they decided to change their minds. Because of a worldwide concerted effort to inform people, and an information campaign that would rival the advertisement strategies of term life insurance policies, people took notice and began to express themselves.

Against Intellectual Property, by Stephan Kinsella

In that single 24-hour span, the SOPA blackout protest was able to create enough attention to change the minds of many legislators.

More than 4.5 million signed the online petition to drop SOPA
More than 7,000 websites worldwide participated in the SOPA blackout protest
A total of 18 US senators dropped their support for SOPA

And thus begins the scrabble dictionary game to re-write SOPA after what can easily be considered a PPI mis selling blunder. The original author of SOPA, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith (R), withdrew the bill and might have to book a South Africa accommodation just to let the vile die down.

Indeed, the collective response of the internet stopped SOPA from being approved and written as legislation. Its collective voice outgunned a much maligned and essentially un-researched effort to restrict internet usage in favor of a few business interests that would have defeated the purpose of the web altogether. Undoubtedly, the SOPA blackout protests forward a valuable lesson in understanding issues pertaining to rights, privacy, and creative freedom. It would seem, at least for now, that the internet is starting to look out for itself; without the internet as a media to share information, the internet would have ceased to continue existing in its current form. Crisis averted.