January 18th was declared Blackout Day first by the fine folks on reddit. Reddit, as of late, has been the political activists of the Internet. They raised $15,000 in 48 hours for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) challenger in the upcoming 2012 election, Rob Zerban. Why? Because Paul Ryan supported SOPA. Six days after the monetary figures were released, Paul Ryan retracted his support of SOPA.
On January 10th, Reddit announced the Blackout Day. The subreddit /r/sopa was huge in organizing this as without a community like this, the blackout may not have happened at all. Of course, people were joking about the idea that people would go into withdrawals when reddit shut down for 12 hours but hey, it happens.
We’re as addicted to reddit as the rest of you. Many of you stand with us against PIPA/SOPA, but we know support for a blackout isn’t unanimous. We’re not taking this action lightly. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community.
Then there was pressure on bigger websites to join the blackout; Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter–all were petitioned to join in. And thankfully, some of them did.
Impressively, SOPA and PIPA went mainstream. For a majority of the day, Twitter was flooded with anti-SOPA and PIPA avatars, tweets and retweets. Even Facebook had a fair amount of people sharing links to Google’s message or other activist sites.
2.4+ million SOPA-related Tweets from 12am-4pm ET today. Top 5 terms: SOPA, Stop SOPA, PIPA, Tell Congress, #factswithoutwikipedia
— Twitter (@twitter) January 19, 2012
And then celebrities got in on the action.
We must stop SOPA/PIPA to keep the web open & free.Click here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page to learn more about how u can help fight this legislation — Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) January 19, 2012
Kim Kardashian? She finally did something positive with her life!
Not bad, Zuck. Not bad.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 18, 2012
And a list of celebrities including Adam Savage of MythBusters, Aziz Ansari, The Lonely Island, OK Go and Trent Reznor.
And then idiots who wanted their Wikipedia back got in on the action (all tweets thanks to @herpderpedia)
why tf is the govt cancelin porn and wikipedia
— Mussie Adera (@ChecksNotChicks) January 19, 2012
NEED. MOAR. PORN. (Everybody said that if you want political change, start with porn.)
What the actual fuck. Why is Wikipedia shut down for 24 hours?!?! — TiffanyAnn (@Itsinthepast) January 19, 2012
Some people can’t read, obviously.
Wikipedia: ill miss u 2 bby
And THEN we have the dumbasses who love this bill.
— MPAA (@MPAA) January 18, 2012
You’re right. Google and Wikipedia aren’t big sites. Reuters, u so smart.
Don’t care about people not buying movies, programs or newspapers, just stealing them.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 18, 2012
Sure you don’t, Rupe.
On SOPA, where are all big film stars with many millions to lose? — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 18, 2012
Probably on their private islands sipping drinks by the beach and counting the money. Mmm, margaritas with pure salt for all! Once people started seeing their Wikipedia blacked out and Google had tape over their logo, they took to their email, phones and social media accounts. Who was their target? Their Congress critters. You may be able to let people be arrested indefinitely but you take away their LOLcats and people get pissed. On the PIPA side of things:
Also, Boozman (R-AR), Brown (R-MA), Cornyn (R-TX), DeMint (R-SC), Inhofe (R-OK), Kirk (R-IL), Murkowski (R-AK), Snow (R-ME) – “NO” on #pipa
— Aaron Brazell (@technosailor) January 19, 2012
Others from the House of Representatives came out against SOPA including my Representative, John Shimkus.
Thanks for all the tweets on #SOPA. I do not support the bill in its current form. We can respect copyrights w/o restricting speech.
— John Shimkus (@RepShimkus) January 18, 2012
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) January 18, 2012
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act and it already has support. Google openly said that they support OPEN as an alternative while “Erik Martin, the general manager of Reddit, says the bill is a ‘good start.‘.”
I think it’s safe to say that January 18th, 2012 is the day where the Internet decided to fight back and for good reason. The hearing for SOPA has thankfully been pushed back to February where it will hopefully shrivel up and die. However, PIPA has a vote scheduled for January 24, 2012.
DO NOT STOP FIGHTING.
Make your voice heard. Contact your Congress critters and tell them that if they support censorship, you won’t support them. Your vote does count and you need to make good use of it.