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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.

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