Web Blacks Out, Senators Defect

[UPDATED 1/20/12]: In the last 48 hours more than a dozen senators — including several co-sponsors — have jumped ship and come out against the Protect IP Act (PIPA), and today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he’s postponing next week’s vote on the bill. Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith said that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is also being shelved — for now. 

Yesterday was unbelievable. In an unprecedented show of strength, millions of Internet users rose up against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate’s Protect IP Act, with Wikipedia, reddit, Boing Boing, SavetheInternet.com and thousands of other sites going black to join in the protest (even Google hid its logo behind a black bar for the day). Millions sent letters to Congress, and tens of thousands picked up the phone to urge their senators to vote “no” on PIPA, which is scheduled for a Jan. 24 vote.


Free Press' Tim Karr spoke out against Web censorship at a rally in New York City.

In New York City, more than 2,000 people — including Free Press’ Tim Karr, who gave a rousing speech — attended a rally outside the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (great pics here), and a smaller rally took place in San Francisco.

Mainstream media finally acknowledged the story, with most major TV news outlets covering the day’s events. Online news organizations had wall-to-wall coverage, and NPR devoted a couple of segments to it.

All of this energy had a palpable effect on Capitol Hill. In advance of the vote on PIPA, as many as 13 senators — including co-sponsors Roy Blunt, Orrin Hatch and Marco Rubio — came out in opposition to the bill. Other senators are expected to defect in the next few days.

Until Tuesday it’ll be an all-out push against PIPA; click here to find out where your senators stand and to urge them to vote no on this bill. Meanwhile, SOPA is very much alive in the House (we’re hearing it will be up for a subcommittee vote next month). The fight to protect the open Internet goes on.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good