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The Internet Fights Back

Posted on Jan 17, 2012

To protest two pieces of legislation that threaten the free and open Internet as we know it, thousands of websites, including Wikipedia, are taking themselves offline. Others, including Google, are asking users to take action.

Google and Wikipedia are the first and sixth most-trafficked sites in the world, respectively, according to Alexa. The sites are protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, because, in the words of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “they would hamper innovation, kill jobs, wreak havoc on Internet security, and undermine the free speech principles upon which our country was founded.”

We’re going to be talking with experts about this issue on Truthdig Radio the day after the protest. Listen anytime at or find us on 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles this Thursday at 4 p.m.

The Wikipedia blackout will last from midnight Wednesday until midnight Thursday, and affects only the English-language site. A statement on Wikipedia says that the decision “was made by Wikipedia’s global community of editors—the people who built Wikipedia” and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Google has not closed its site for business, but the world’s busiest page now bears a blacked-out logo. Clicking on it will take you to an advocacy page that invites users to sign a petition denouncing SOPA and PIPA.

Anyone who wants to know how their elected officials are coming down on the bills should check out this handy guide.

Below, Amy Goodman speaks with Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the legislation.  —PZS


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By heterochromatic, February 29, 2012 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Jim Eff- if it’s a free place, why would you think it’s private or that you have real
privacy in it?

Anonymous and WikiLeaks are proof that you do not.

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By Jim Effect, February 29, 2012 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

If I am not wrong, the hacker group known as Anonymous had also dedicated itself to taking down several government servers to make their stand against these two legislations. I think the internet is a free place and nobody should try to invade on our privacy this way.

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By OnePost, January 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

The only thing that will change is how things are shared.
As long as you can still buy material in stores and there are ‘programmers’, things will move.

Regardless of law and punishment.
You can’t have everyone, worldwide, in the jail system.

What they need to do is ban technology. We need all be Amish.

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By heterochromatic, January 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

good fight and likely to be won…. for the nonce.

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Sandy Berman's avatar

By Sandy Berman, January 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

When the “free flow of information” involves STOLEN content, free speech no
longer applies.

By that logic, it’s “free speech” to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, or to
publish the most sensitive information that can be stolen from the defense
department.  or even YOUR personal medical records, because once that
information leaves your doctor’s office and heads for the insurance company,
your expectation of privacy is no longer valid.  Companies buy and sell that
kind of information on you all the time, and there is NOTHING you can currently
do about it, which I think is wrong.

You should really direct your ire at the people who have made such legislation
necessary in the first place.  All those people who shared what didn’t belong to
them with 100,000,000 of their closest friends because they felt like it.  As if
stealing somehow empowered them.  

There comes a point when if you choose to live by the sword, expect your
demise to come the same way.  This is a complicated issue, to be sure, but it
can’t be addressed in a just or coherent manner until the theft stops.

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By Brett, January 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our Politicians cannot stem the tide of exponential growth in technology- no matter how hard they try.  They’ll become more invasive in our lives or recognize how futile their attempts are.  This could ignite huge problems however- I think it would produce very tech savvy young people seeking to circumnavigate the dumb politicians.  Senator Hatch would blow up your computer without due process if he could:

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By gerard, January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

OCCUPY the free and open internet—now and forever!
It’s the last best hope for the future of human beings.

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By thecrow, January 18, 2012 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

No worries at this link. Since the US Government says these hard drives do not exist, any media reporting their existence or purporting to show images of them must be fraudulent and therefore not subject to copyright protection. Right?

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By sallysense, January 18, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

have used the following link…

and told my senators and congressman…

Don’t Vote for SOPA and PIPA!

(the wikipedia page for SOPA still comes up in english…

and the above link comes from the ‘help’ button in the left column there)...

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By glider, January 18, 2012 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

I agree with Big B’s “paranoia”, but at least there are other corporations coincidentally partly on the peoples side.  Maybe if they can stir up enough public anger this can be delayed.  More likely America will continue on course and die a death of a thousand cuts.

ITW, unfortunately you do not have representatives.  You are writing to corporate servants asking them not to serve their clients.  They know who butters their bread.

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By prisnersdilema, January 18, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

The entertainment industry wants your money, and if given their way they will turn the
Internet into little more than an online game.

This eventually will completely kill off the Internet. What would the Internet be like if
every poster on every web site copy righted every thing they posted?

These people are very small minded and greedy….Support Internet freedom, don’t let a
few greedy 1 percenters destroy freedom of speech…

Refuse to buy any media today, turn off the T.V…..protest…protest, protest…

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., January 18, 2012 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Well, I’ll echo Big B; there’s no good ending to

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By Big B, January 18, 2012 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

I’ll tell you where this is going, but you’re not gonna like it. The internet gets to your homes and phones via a wired and wireless system that is owned almost exclusively by the same large communication companies that own a majority of the entertainment industry.

Hope you all like a copywritten and regulated internet, because it will be here by 2013.

I can’t help but see a parallel between the use of the internet to organize anti corporate and anti government protests around the world and the birth of the “SOPA” monster. But then again, I’m just a paranoid old hippie.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 18, 2012 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

I have emailed both my senators (Dems) and my congressman (Rep) asking them to vote “NO”.  Unfortunately, one of them, Senator Robert Menendez is already on record as a “YES”.  He can usually be counted on to do the WRONG thing every time…and I’m a fellow Democrat! The other two have not decided but have both gotten more money from the entertainment industry than the internet industry.

Curiously, these bills seem to have currently bi-partisan support in both Houses, an unusual situation.  Of course, most of them have received FAR more money in donations from the entertainment industry (which wants the bill) than from the Internet industry, which opposes it.

Wikipedia is just showing a taste of what freedom-lovers on the internet can do…That and inundating Congresscritters and Senators with email and petitions!

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By waytoomanybottlesofrum, January 18, 2012 at 3:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’re back in black! It’s good to be back.

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