So what’d you do that for?

In one day, so many sites went black, and students everywhere lost their minds because they couldn't use Wikipedia.

Many senators and representatives, including Orrin Hatch and Nancy Pelosi, publicly withdrew their support of SOPA and PIPA, and I heard at one point, though I can't find a link to confirm it, that so many people were calling their senators and congressional representative that the phone circuits overloaded.

Co sponsors backed out and removed their sponsorship of the bill, and according to one tweet, 29 legislators announced opposition.

Authors, musicians, actors and producers worked together to coordinate an effort to make sure that despite pots of money from the corporations who stood to benefit, the individual constituents would voice their opinions. ETA: Sarah MacLean's open letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand is particularly awesome.

I hoovered some cough medicine and called my senators, and made it most of the way through a conversation without honking. OK! Success!

PIPA goes to the floor for vote next week, and I'll be keeping watch for what happens. If you blacked out your site, called your senator or congressional rep, or, even if you disagreed with me and debated with me about it, thank you.

I'm personally amazed and thankful that when there is motivation and cause, we can get loud and make things happen.

And if that doesn't make your day, here's slightly related news that might. Amit Gupta was diagnosed with leukemia in September. Because he is south Asian, his chances of finding a bone marrow match were very, very slim, as south Asians are under-represented in the bone marrow registry.

Through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and a crap ton of outreach online, Amit found a match.

The internet is amazing, and I'm glad we're here together. 

 

Categorized:

General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Julie says:

    I took part in the blackout today and will do the same on January 24th. It’s really scary! I understand the entertainment industry wants to stop piracy, but there’s a better way to do so! If this bill went through it would be awful! As a book blogger, I’m extremely worried. I love spreading the word on books, giving quotes, showing book trailers, displaying covers, etc. It’s advertisement for authors. We want people to go out and buy the books we love so much. I’m totally down with stopping illegal downloads of books, movies, television shows and music, but to censor the entire Internet is wrong. Many of the people in Congress talk constantly about not having “big government” in our lives and awful government is…and they are running for office! If the Internet is censored…talk about big government! In many ways government helps people, but censoring the Internet, freedom of expression, creativity and speech…no way! Ugh…anyway. Kudos for taking part!

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    Right back atcha, Julie. Kudos to you, too.

  3. 3

    I am Canadian. I find it unreal that a US law would ultimately affect the entire world. I too am a book blogger and I rely on posting book blurbs, images from the internet etc. I know that you already know the impacts so I don’t need to make a list.
    Just frustrates me that my hands are totally tied in regards to this law. I am not American so I have no say in this proposed US law that could ultimately shut down my book review blog. Google.com had the black mark today but Google.ca was business as usual.

  4. 4
    KristieJ says:

    I can’t call my senator or write my congressman as well, not living in the US I don’t have any.  But still the ramifications if this was to pass will be felt world wide I’m sure so we outside the US still need to make our voices heard I think.

  5. 5
    Ana Farrish says:

    I blacked out my personal WordPress blog today (26 whole people saw it, hee). Anyway, WP is encouraging those outside the US to contact the state department, KristieJ. Here is a link if you are interested:

    http://americancensorship.org/

  6. 6

    On a side note: In the process of contacting my two senators and one rep, I found out about some other local issues that I’d not been paying attention to! (Such as the keystone pipeline that I’d had not a clue about since I’d been busy being a student) Paying attention is one of those domino effects that makes us all better citizens and better informed about what is going on in our government and in our country. I hope that this interest in SOPA and PIPA legislation creates a better relationship between people and the politicians that they voted into office.

  7. 7
    AC says:

    You’d think these big companies would look at the last fifteen years and figure out in the whole war against piracy, the pirates have always come out ahead. Businesses always seem to forget there’s about a billion of the evil little pirates living in basements across the world with nothing better to do except invent better ways to download porn. I truly believe the only way to fight piracy is to embrace the technology and incorporate it into their particular industries, making it so easy and inexpensive to download legally that there’s no reason to do so illegally.

  8. 8
    KristieJ says:

    Thanks for the link!  I signed it then tweeted it

  9. 9

    Thanks for the link. I had not seen one for outside the US.

  10. 10
    Patricia says:

    @April, Hear, hear!  Hopefully a better informed electorate will lead to better and more responsive elected officials down the line.

    I was impressed to see my liberal friends, my conservative friends, and my I-don’t-care-about-politics-just-show-me-the-lulz friends all coming together today to oppose these horrid bills. 

    And on the subject of SOPA/PIPA and lulz, this song made me smile:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

  11. 11
    azteclady says:

    I also blacked out my almost invisible blog—and closed my Etsy shop for a full 24hrs (I started just after ten Eastern last night).

    Will hundreds of people care that I did?

    No.

    But I didn’t do it for others to notice or care, I did it because it’s the right thing to do. In that sense, I did it for me.

  12. 12

    I notified my reps, voiced my dislike of SOPA & PIPA and signed the petitions.

    Personally, I do think something needs to be done about piracy-if laws are passed that hand out punishments to thieves, awesome.  But the problem is the pirates, and the government needs to focus on the real problem and fix it, without destroying everything else.  This was like trying to kill a T-Rex with a nuclear bomb.

    On a sidenote…was funny watching some of the WTH wikipedia posts…you’d think there was no other source for info out there.

  13. 13
    Ana Farrish says:

    That’s fabulous, azteclady! Those are my feelings, too.

  14. 14
    Sharrynight says:

    Hey here in Australia the legislation is on the news. My hubby and stand in solidarity with your efforts. What ‘they’ are trying to do is just wrong. So keep up your efforts. You have international support. We have sent Emails via avaaz to Obama to voice our concerns. Sarah please keep us updated.

  15. 15
    Kaetrin says:

    Thx Ana.  Just signed! :)

  16. 16

    I’ve signed already but I have to say, I have never wanted to read a book review as badly as I did today.  You wouldn’t believe how much work I got done—it was awful.

  17. 17
    The Fair-ish Godmother says:

    long time reader, first time poster. I am not from the USA so I don’t have much sway over this. I would like though to remind the industry what happened last time someone wanted this much power in order to fight piracy of copyrighted material. That someone was Thomas Edison and the result was the birth of Hollywood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…

    Unless the companies in America really want everything to move to other countries and themselves go the way of Edison’s motion picture company, they would take a page out of Cory Doctorow’s book and act smart.

    http://readmill.com/books/cont…

  18. 18
    Jeff says:

    Thank you for participating in the blackout. The more we speak out and make our voices heard, the more effect we have. The story about Amit Gupta shows that most people use the Internet for the power of good: to connect, to share, to find friends, to help each other.

    I also called my reps but the phone line for one of my Congress members was busy all day. I’ll try again and urge everyone to do the same because PIPA is still up for a vote on January 24th. The fight isn’t over yet. Keep getting the message out there!

  19. 19

    I couldn’t figure out how to black-out my blog – I’m not very techie – so I wrote a post instead on how these laws are going to affect us folk who don’t even live in the US and why is important we make a fuss about it.

    I believe a lot of people out there still don’t realize how far reaching these laws could be.

    http://animegirlsbookshelf.blo…

  20. 20
    SB Sarah says:

    I’m going to call my senators again today – one of whom is still a co-sponsor of the bill last I looked – and I’ll keep calling until the vote next week. They’re going to be tired of hearing from me. I’ll bring the staffers romance novels if I visit though. Heh.

  21. 21
    Patrice says:

    I called and wrote my Congressman last month about SOPA (and got a nice response), emailed my reps yesterday on both SOPA and PIPA and signed the Google petition as well. I voiced my opinion, discussed the implications and posted links to FB. Through all of this I also found out via Google there is alternative legislation introduced in December and then a corresponding bill was introducted at Senate yesterday. It’s called the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act and from what I can gather (briefly read a snyopsis) it will use the existing US International Trade Commission to investigate (and I assume police) complaints of copyright infringement at foriegn websites and then decide if cutting off payment processing and advertising and funding is warrented. Going after the money is usually effective. I’m not sure yet if it has as many implications as PIPA, but it frosts my cookies that an alternative is there and the Senate is playing partisan politics AGAIN by acting like PIPA is the only/best legislation out there! *snort* Makes me wonder just how much special interest and lobbyist money is being thrown toward those Senators. grrrr

  22. 22
    Lakaribane says:

    I suffered severe withdrawal from all my favorite sites and blogs, it was awful! LOL

    But I support your decision. I’m still upset that Susan Sey’s 2nd book is 8.38 in ebook format at Amazon.com vs 7.99 for the paperback. With what shipping internationally would cost me, I’ve resigned myself to wait until I travel/find a mule. I have great hopes for ebooks but agency pricing and georestrictions are killing us non-US readers.

    If they want to fight piracy, why can’t they see the obvious solution?

  23. 23

    My room mate called our senator and launched into a big speech about our rights that made me extremely proud of her. For myself, I only signed the petitions and hoped for the best, but I’m worried. I review books and movies, and it’s a growing passion for me. I feel like this kind of censorship is going to end up hurting the little people, like myself, who just want to share and speak openly on the internet.

  24. 24
    Paul says:

    In theory, I’m fine with the idea of fighting malicious theft & piracy, but this—really—isn’t the way to do it. It’s a massively abusable, unfair mess that will quickly become a bully’s charter. The history of attempts to fight piracy show us that the actual criminals quickly find a workaround and get back to business as usual. Meanwhile, the regular users suffer and the big studios manage to hold back the clock and milk their consumers just a little longer, at the expense of irrelevancy and encouraging more piracy from people who would have been loyal customers.

    Being a non-American, I’ve put my name on petitions and donated a bit to help where I can. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I have the feeling that this will be one of those significant moments in deciding what the internet fundamentally is, so best wishes to all the Americans who are not shrugging and cynically assuming there’s no point in fighting.

  25. 25
    azteclady says:

    The problem is always going to be the vagueness of the wording—give them one teeeeeensie tiny little loophole, and you can bet they’ll stretch that well beyond what is reasonable.

    The public has to remain aware of whatever measures they try to pass instead of PIPA/SOPA. If we don’t pay enough attention, things get passed through as riders and the like.

  26. 26

    Since i am student I m going to say I wouldnt condemn the practice of piracy because for me it all about the price of entertainment. I can understand that people are beating a business system but they ( the big corps and government ) dont see by putting a book at 7.99 a person has tradeoff lunch busfair or a month worth of xyz. If they could cap prices @ 3.99 or lower there wouldnt be the need to illegally download books , movies xyz. While they look to generate money they forgot to give a fair market value to consumers like me.

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