SOPA Slippery Slope – Millions Say Nope

Yesterday marked a day of formal, demonstrated opposition of the SOPA/PIPA legislation currently under review in the US Congress. Many are calling this legislation the SOPA Slippery Rope. Large companies like Wikipedia and Reddit went dark while others like Google protested by blacking out their infamous logo and provided a link that garnered nearly 4.5 million signatures from opposing Internet users. See why some are saying SOPA/PIPA regulation is bad for free access to information and the global economic recovery.

UPDATE – SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today – 20 Jan 2012 – see Press Release below

STOP SOPA PIPA Internet censorship – Don’t let corporations control traffic flow

Often times things in Washington begin with great intentions (i.e. stop theft of US content) but end up with terrible unintended consequences (i.e. letting companies regulate what we can access online). Anyone that has worked in hi-tech, Internet marketing in particular, knows that legislation always lags technology as technology evolves much faster than bureaucracy.

Below is a video from PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo providing a good opposition viewpoint overview which is a viewpoint shared by most in the Internet industry, especially online marketers.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

It is probably not surprising that yesterday large companies like Wikipedia and Reddit went dark to demonstrate their opposition to SOPA/PIPA while others like Google protested by blacking out their infamous logo and provided a link to a petition managed by Google. To illustrate the amount of support Google organized by this seemingly small act, that according to Forbes, 4.5 Million People Signed Google’s Anti-SOPA Petition. I was one of them. Also, I’ve personally signed the petition at American Censorship, and if you agree with the SOPA/PIPA opposition point of view and want to take action to stand up and be counted, please consider this option also.

It is clear why the mainstream media does not cover the SOPA/PIPA legislation opposition views or even cover SOPA/PIPA legislation at all, especially given its potential to impact so many US Internet users. To their credit, PBS did do a piece yesterday on the PBS News Hour called For SOPA , Websites Threaten a Midnight Blackout

Watch A World Without Wikipedia: For SOPA, Websites Threaten a Midnight Blackout on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

and then an article on Need to Know How SOPA Would Change the Internet. This is a good and like most other PBS reporting, unbiased an informative article.

Most outside of the Internet industry had probably not even heard of SOPA/PIPA yesterday until they pointed their Internet browsers to Google or Wikipedia or any one of the myriad of others sites in opposition to SOPA, then scratched their heads saying what’s this? It’s not their fault as SOPA/PIPA media coverage has been limited for a piece of legislation of this magnitude. The reason that mainstream media is not adequately covering this regulation and related news story is that its opposition is counter to their financial interests since many of these media companies are owned by the very entertainment conglomerates that are lobbying Washington for passage of SOPA/PIPA.

The good news for US Internet users who enjoy the Internet in its current unfettered form is that Google, Wikipedia and other participants in the online SOPA/PIPA Protests have a combined reach and recency that can overshadow the mainstream media in many/most cases, especially with changing media consumption patterns.

Some countries, where the government has successfully censored the state-run media, are now struggling to suppress the massive, immediate reach and distribution of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In fact, some are trying to limit their domestic Internet access to a state sponsored/censored/controlled “Intranets.”

For instance, Iran is reported to be building a country-wide network as sort of a faux Internet for Iranian Internet users, effectively censoring and controlling ALL domestic Internet usage, especially around elections. Maybe they are concerned about the impact on free Internet usage and social media on domestic politics which has been credited for the success of multiple revolutions and resulting regime changes in the region. Maybe the US politicians are concerned as well!

“Tests for a countrywide network aimed at substituting services run through the world wide web have been carried out by Iran’s ministry of information and communication technology, according to a newspaper report. The move has prompted fears among its online community that Iran intends to withdraw from the global internet.”

For more on this, see Iran Clamps Down on Internet Use. By the way, the reference to what is going on in Iran is by no means a comparison of SOPA, the issue becomes, where do you draw the line when skiing down a slippery slope.

While many Americans would scoff at such measures in the US, they need to pay attention and get involved in order for this legislation (or its successor attempts assuming SOPA/PIPA are DOA), pushed by the entertainment lobby to fail passage. Passage of these kinds of legislation would have highly negative, albeit unintended, impacts to our recovering economy, where much of the growth is being driven by and through the Internet.

Yes, piracy is a huge problem for the entertainment and software industries both in the US and abroad, but lets not legislate our nose off to spite our face!

UPDATE: 20 Jan 2012


Fight for the Future
Tiffiniy Cheng
Holmes Wilson
(614) 465-6371
(508) 474-5248
January 20, 2012

Fight for the Future, which ran the largest organizing sites for the recent SOPA protests ( and, applauds the announcement that the Senate and House have postponed action on the proposed web censorship bills.

“We sent the MPAA back to the drawing board,” said Fight for the Future Co-founder Holmes Wilson, “But any law that lets the copyright lobby block our websites, censor our search results, or cut off our Paypal accounts–without even going through a judge–will be soundly defeated.”

“This was the largest online protest in history,” said Fight for the Future Co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, “The MPAA was trying to quietly force this bill through Congress, but when internet users started paying attention, real democracy happened. This is a watershed moment in the fight against lobbyists’ influence on politics.”

“The MPAA could have proposed a law to address copyright infringement,” said Holmes Wilson, “Instead, they proposed giving rightsholders veto power over online innovation and free expression. At that point, it was just a matter of getting the public involved.”

Original Press Release at:

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Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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