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The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:18 PM EST

The Washington Post reports that Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who opposed SOPA/PIPA, has put out a statement saying, "The voice of the Internet community has been heard," and that there will be no vote in the House on the bills so detested by the entire technical and Internet communities.

“Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential,” Issa says. That's exactly what Groklaw will try to help with. Education is what we do. But you can do it too, if you look for opportunities. It's free for all who wish to help. Clearly they do not understand the technical issues that almost broke the Internet, so why not help out? Most of the blacked-out sites have links to further information. XKCD, for example, has helpful links to explanations regarding some of the technical damage that these bills represented, as well as a link to a complete list of members of Congress. Your comments here are of real value too. By all means, let's help those who don't have a technical background to understand how these Internet "pipes" work, eh? I continue to suggest that each member of Congress consider adding a technical advisor to their staff, so that nothing like this disaster can happen again.

This is tech history, so I've collected screenshots for you of some of the many, many sites that are on strike today. The complete list, with links, is on I see media reports that Google and Wikipedia are on strike, but this strike turned out to be much larger than that.

Here is a representative sample, with links provided so you can follow up and learn more about why the Internet en masse is so opposed to SOPA and PIPA:






Internet Archive:

O'Reilly Media:

XDA Developers:



Center for Democracy & Technology:

The Oatmeal:











For those who want a couple of quick links, here's Reddit's technical analysis of the bills, Wired's, and finally EFF's article, "How PIPA and SOPA Violate White House Principles Supporting Free Speech and Innovation". LunarLinux and OPenSUSE point out that if you are not a US citizen, you can contact the State Department. OSI isn't on strike, but it signed, along with a long list of civic organizations, an open letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid explaining why they are opposed to the bills. FSFE has a link, among others, to an explanation (in German, but Google Translate is your friend, as to why non-US citizens should care about SOPA/PIPA. Clay Shirky gave a TED Talk on why SOPA is a bad idea, which you also might enjoy, "Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)". ProPublica has a SOPA/PIPA Timeline page, showing the latest comments from members of Congress. That should help you survive a day without either Google or Wikipedia.

: )

Oh, and if you will permit me the metaphor, here's a list at The Hill of some of the rats who sponsored or supported SOPA and PIPA now jumping off the sinking ship. In that same context, Microsoft has now withdrawn a bit from its previous support. As the Washington Post puts it, we are witnessing a bipartisan retreat:

Now, there is a bipartisan retreat. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who co-sponsored an earlier version of the bill, has announced his opposition. Six Republicans on the same Senate committee — all of whom voted for the bill before — have written Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to ask that he slow the bill down, so it can be modified and considered later.

“We have increasingly heard from a large number of constituents and stakeholders with vocal concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation,” the six wrote. They included Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the back offices of the Senate, many longtime aides were amazed at how quickly a new lobbying force had managed to outmaneuver experienced heavyweights. Sites such as Wikipedia and Tumblr had encouraged users to contact legislators, resulting in a flood of unhappy calls.

One Republican aide said that “SOPA” had already become “a dirty word beyond anything you can imagine.”

One member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, has even blacked out his site in support of the strike. The site now reads simply: "This site blacked out in solidarity with internet freedom".

In your moment of irony, Financial Times reports: "Even Riot, a Los Angeles-based games studio majority owned by China’s Tencent, has made a public appeal against the bill." In your pull-out-your-hair moment of frustration, I give the former Senator Chris Dodd, now heading up the MPAA, as reported by BBC News, on the strike:

The moves were described as an "abuse of power" by one of the highest profile supporters of the anti-piracy bills.

"Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging," said former Senator Chris Dodd, the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America.

"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information... A so-called 'blackout' is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals."

Hahahahaha. "Corporate pawns." And I was worried about *my* rats metaphor being a bit too strong.

CBS News reports that over 7,000 websites participated in the strike. More screenshots on the L.A. Times.


The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj | 154 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here please
Authored by: jesse on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:27 PM EST
Thank you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Pick discussions
Authored by: jesse on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:28 PM EST
Thank you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic discussions
Authored by: jesse on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:29 PM EST
Thank you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

COMES thread
Authored by: jesse on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:30 PM EST
Thank you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
Authored by: lnuss on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:35 PM EST
Apparently, according to this Slashdot article and to this DailyTech article, SOPA is soon to be revived. Apparently congress really CAN be bought.

Larry N.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Blank messages in support
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:37 PM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

My note to my Congressman
Authored by: hardmath on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:38 PM EST
Here's the note I sent my Congressman today:

Please oppose the SOPA bill which purports to deal with so-called
on-line "piracy". Besides the misuse of language ("piracy"
"intellectual property"), the backers of this bill are pandering
to media giants with measures that grant extra-judicial powers to
private companies. The Constitution requires due process, and
your constituents require nothing less than your defense of
internet free speech against what amounts to pre-publication
censorship by for-profit entities!

[Wikipedia uses a ZIP code your enter to direct you to House of
Representative and Senator contact information.]

Do the arithmetic or be doomed to talk nonsense. -- John McCarthy (1927-2011)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
Authored by: MadTom1999 on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:40 PM EST
I still say I half hope the bill is passed. Only because it will provide the
impetus to re-organise the Web so that one country can never mess it up for
everyone else.
The bill would be self defeating - the rest of the world would have to re-root
and most hosting and IT companies would leave the US.

I might even be able to search for something on my local google and not have to
go through 7 pages of e-shops 4K miles away to get to a local takeaway!

[ Reply to This | # ]

The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
Authored by: eggplant37 on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:45 PM EST
A good story here, stating that Rep Eric Cantor has effectively killed SOPA, but PIPA remains.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The first?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 12:52 PM EST
"The First Internet Strike in History a Success" - it's good that it is a success, but I'd like to note that there have been blackout strikes before, e.g. for Australia and New Zealand.

[ Reply to This | # ]

    Missing from's list:
    Authored by: red floyd on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 01:22 PM EST
    XKCD (in a truly funny way -- they've gone white in faux support of

    I am not merely a "consumer" or a "taxpayer". I am a *CITIZEN* of the United
    States of America.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What about NDAA
    Authored by: vadim on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 01:31 PM EST
    I wonder why there is such a mobilization against SOPA & PIPA,
    almost nothing against NDAA --- which is muuuch more

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Internet Regulation & the Economics of Piracy
    Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 01:43 PM EST


    You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
    Authored by: ak_hepcat on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 01:49 PM EST
    A very famous site that is missing from this list:

    It's been around longer that the phrase ""

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    It's all about the Dough-Re-Me
    Authored by: jbb on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 01:53 PM EST
    An early report I read about the "success" of the strike mentioned that Congress is now awash in money from lobbyists and supporters from both sides of this issue. This is the mechanism Lawrence Lessig described in a recent video news pick where he said Congress will spend most of their time on issues that bring in big bucks from both sides.

    The fact that one side is about censoring and destroying the internet in order to subsidize outmoded business models and the other side is about protecting basic human rights such as free speech is purely a coincidence. The only reason this is being debated by Congress right now is because of all the money rolling in from both sides.

    I'm not saying to give up the good fight. I'm warning against the self-delusion that the people have spoken and Washington has listened.

    [ ] Obey DRM Restrictions
    [X] Ignore DRM Restrictions

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 03:28 PM EST

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Thank you!(blank in suppport)
    Authored by: jacks4u on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 03:53 PM EST

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SOPA and PIPA are the next turn of the screw
    Authored by: jbb on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 04:03 PM EST
    A TED talk by Clay Shirky on Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea).

    [ ] Obey DRM Restrictions
    [X] Ignore DRM Restrictions

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This comment blacked out in protest of SOPA and PIPA
    Authored by: Anonomous on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 04:27 PM EST
    •••• •••• ••• •• •••. ••'• ••• ••••ing ••••, ••• •••••ers.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    It's NOT the first Internet strike!
    Authored by: Tigerwolf on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 05:02 PM EST
    This isn't the first Internet blackout protest! In fact, the current effort almost identically mirrors the period of 1995-96 when a similar congressional push to pass the Communications Decency Act (CDA) was underway.

    That time, the rally cry was 'Protect the Children'. Now's it's 'Protect IP' (and 'jobs' of course). Both then and now, the law was poorly constructed and pushed by special interests which were clueless about how the Internet worked, had no real debate on the merits and pitfalls (technical or legal), and dumped the majority of the impact onto smaller organizations and businesses which could be shuttered or face lawsuits without real due process or basic constitutional protections.

    The EFF, EPIC and ACLU among many others fought to stop the onerous CDA which was jammed through as a rider to telecommunication legislation. Although subsequently mostly gutted by the courts, parts remain on the books. (Sound familiar: "pass it now and fix it later" ?)

    A project called 24 Hours of Democracy (now gone) collected essays as part of a protest campaign, another called "" (also gone) launched an online pledge program, and the EFF began the Blue Ribbon Anti-Censorship Campaign with ribbon banners for websites, which still exists.

    Here's Tigerden Internet Services' 1996 home page which had our own efforts to provide history and tracking at the time. It had a black background during the protest period, and was turned white when the courts finally struck down most of the CDA. Many of the links are now dead and gone, or at least wildly outdated, but a couple are notable:

    A page of political cartoons collected for our support of the 24 Hours of Democracy project,

    Our letter to Senator Leahy a strong voice of opposition to the CDA law at the time, and his reply.

    Ironically, while Sen Leahy introduced legislation to *repeal* the CDA then, today, he's *promoting* the very sort of bad legislation he was once so vocal against. Sadly, it appears that big monied interests have won out and he's forgotten his "Rather than use the heavy hand of government censorship..." stand.

    It's sad the old adage that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it holds true.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    minecraft is also participating
    Authored by: mcinsand on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 06:46 PM EST
    Check out Minecraft. Kind of in-your-face, and I like it! Regards, mc

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The First Internet Strike in History a Success ~pj
    Authored by: rebentisch on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 07:55 PM EST
    It is not the first such event but the news is that mass websites participate
    and the effects of it. We did the same for EU software patenting in 2003, and it
    was very effective.

    However, the SOPA propaganda ist mostly false. This concerns me.

    Because, true, you can mob away a legal proposal by mass awareness (SOPA should
    be dead by now) but what you really want is a deeper understanding and you need
    persons and groups who follow these debates and present legal analysis.

    And what about ACTA etc? For ACTA I would understand why it's crucial to blow
    the Wikihorn. But SOPA seemed so far off...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This was a good stimulus to improve my participation in my government
    Authored by: artp on Wednesday, January 18 2012 @ 09:46 PM EST
    Read lots of articles about SOPA/PIPA today. Followed the
    links to find my local federal and state Senators and
    Representatives. I now have bookmarked the Web pages of all
    my government representatives.

    I signed up for all their newsletters. Maybe they will print
    everything that they are doing. Maybe they won't. At least
    now I am doing more of my part to make sure that someone is
    watching them.

    Along the way, I found out that my state Senator is on a
    committee that oversees an issue that I had run up against
    recently. I sent him an email asking to meet with him about
    it at his convenience. As a state senator, he is only 25
    miles away, and I can easily drive over to talk to him.

    I plan on writing a letter to my federal Senator, Chuck
    Grassley, congratulating him on putting the interests of
    Iowans above that of Hollywood and other monied interests.

    This whole thing has motivated me to be more participatory
    in my participatory government. Good results from bad

    Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
    When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
    sinks ?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Think of the children! - child of SOPA and PIPA
    Authored by: Nivag on Thursday, January 19 2012 @ 12:43 AM EST
    The main article is good, and so are many of the comments, but this particular
    comment caught my eye!
    4. Csaba Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I’m afraid this is just the beginning. Sooner or later the proponents of SOPA
    will come back with a “Think of the children!” type of bill like PCIPA that will
    be the same thing in a different wrapper and they’ll find some way to sell it
    because children and pornography in the same bill are a hot potato, no matter
    how it’s phrased.

    Let me quote from a reddit comment that is currently blacked out:

    “Lamar Smith has a royal flush and few people know it.

    SOPA may pass. It may not. He doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter. The MPAA and
    RIAA started working on their legislative strategy to pass a new anti-piracy
    bill in late 2010. SOPA was designed to raise the noise. Everyone is playing
    right into the entertainment industries hand. The lobbyists are laughing
    manically at the ignorance of the mob. Even Wikipedia and reddit have played
    into it.

    What people don’t know about is the ace: H.R.1981, the Protecting Children From
    Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 which is lying in wait. It’s not complete.
    You see, PCIP is not contestable because it’s about protecting children. They
    can, and very well might, copy and paste the full text of SOPA to the end of
    PCIP. That’s the backup. That’s the deal that was struck with entertainment
    industry lobbyists. We will try to push this anti-piracy bill. It probably won’t
    work. Don’t worry, we can pass it under an anti-[redacted]ography bill.

    There are two things which no Congressman will risk supporting: terrorism and
    [redacted]ography. There can be no opposition, no discussion. Any anti-piracy
    law can ALWAYS be reframed as an anti-[redacted]ography bill and it will pass,
    without even discussion. It will have the full support of the House (minus Ron
    Paul), the full support of the Senate, and most importantly the full support of
    the American people. NO ONE wants to risk being called a pedophile.”


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The First Internet Strike in History a Success?
    Authored by: Imaginos1892 on Thursday, January 19 2012 @ 05:17 PM EST
    This was just the first skirmish. The real battle hasn't even started.

    SOPA and PIPA could never have achieved their stated goals. Not only because
    the laws were badly written, but because those goals are logically impossible.

    The various sponsors could not possibly be stupid enough not to know that.

    The real plan was to use these laws' epic failure as an excuse to demand even
    worse ones. After all, if even laws this bad can't solve the "problem", it must
    be far worse than anybody ever imagined, right?
    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Allegations vs Due Process
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 19 2012 @ 07:13 PM EST
    It is interesting that there is no "due process" in the process to
    take down a site.

    I wonder what happens when allegations of piracy against the Democratic-- or
    Republican-- parties are made. Obviously, if other "political speech"
    can be silenced all due to charges of piracy "on the same site" no one
    should be immune.

    Sounds kind of like RICO, doesn't it?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Wikipedia: neutrality vs extreme pacifism
    Authored by: darkonc on Friday, January 20 2012 @ 07:57 AM EST
    It's one thing for Wikipedia to be 'neutral' it's something entirely different for it to refuse to defend itself. The question here was, effectively, not whether or not to shut down Wikipedia: it was when to shut it down, and under what terms -- Under Congress' terms or Wikipedia? It was also how long Wikipedia would be shut down -- hours or months (possibly years).

    The Swiss are famously neutral, but they also have a very active defence capability. When the Nazis threatened to invade Switzerland, pointing out that their army was twice the size of Switzerland's male population, the Swiss was "then every Swiss man will have to shoot twice".

    Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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