I’ve written a couple of posts about SOPA and PIPA, the copyright legislation currently making its way through Congress, and the widespread efforts to stop it. There’s some good news on that front: these pieces of legislation have been attracting increasing amounts of media attention lately, and Congress is beginning to respond. The DNS blocking provisions of the bill have been pulled (for now, at least), removing a threat to one of the foundations of the internet, and over in the Senate, influential senators are asking for a vote on PIPA (the PROTECT-IP Act) to be postponed so the bill can be further reviewed and possibly amended. Additionally, the White House has issued an official response to two petitions calling for President Obama to veto any of this legislation that does pass through Congress, and while he hasn’t promised to do so, it does show that the administration is at least thinking about the implications this legislation would have for free expression online.
But the war against SOPA and PIPA is not over yet, in part because a lot of people just don’t know all this is happening. To raise awareness, Reddit will be proceeding with a planned “blackout” of the site this Wednesday, in which the normal content will be replaced by an educational message about PIPA/SOPA. Several other sites will be following suit, including Minecraft, ICanHazCheezburger (the whole network of meme sites), BoingBoing and Rasberry Pi. Wikipedia is soliciting contributor input on whether to join as well. If you’re a website owner, consider “blacking out” your own site on January 18 to join in the protest.
If you believe, like I do, that these bills are too open-ended and should not be passed, there’s still time and reason to contact your senators and representatives. PIPA is scheduled to come up for a vote on January 24, which is just over a week away, and the more calls and letters the senators get, the more likely they are to vote against it. And even though the vote on SOPA has been indefinitely postponed, it still constitutes a looming threat to internet freedom. Don’t hesitate to let Congress know who they are supposed to be representing!