SOPA and PIPA dropped by Congress in wake of largest online protest in history

Michael Foley January 20, 2012 28
SOPA and PIPA dropped by Congress in wake of largest online protest in history

After a long week of raising the stakes it seems that the anti SOPA/PIPA activists have won the day. On Friday January 20th, Congress dropped the bills in the wake of the largest online protest in history. An incredible 13 million people took time to fill out a petition to implore congress to oppose the bills in order to keep the internet free of censorship. You can see the astonishing numbers here.

This activism, alongside the web “blackout” on Wednesday by 1,000s of websites including Wikipedia and Reddit, was unprecedented.  Even the MPAA (one of the largest lobbies for the awful bills) was shocked having previously considered SOPA and PIPA a “slam dunk.”  MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times in a statement that “this was a whole new different game all of a sudden.”

“This is altogether a new effect,” Mr. Dodd said, likening the online community’s response to the Arab spring movement. He even went so far as to comment that he could not remember seeing “an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically” in the last 40 years.

Even China, where a site called Weibo, similar to Twitter, has a team of censors on staff to edit or delete posts with sensitive political content, marveled at the American response to online censorship. Reminding us the importance of internet freedom and prompting commentator Liu Qingyan to write, “We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics”

And while those who were against these bills (like myself and the rest of my compatriots here at can take a breather and celebrate a momentous victory I do want to stress that this was only the beginning. The intent that originally formed these bills and the money that corrupted the politicians to support them is still out there. I fully expect a bill like SOPA and PIPA to return to Congress, but this time the entertainment industry will know the power of the online community and I’m sure will take special precautions to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. This is why I hope Congress will heed the words of Internet activists (as well as the White House) in starting over to gauge the true scope of the issue of online piracy and redraft a legislation that consults experts who understand how internet technologies work.

It seems that Anonymous was right, that “our power [was] too strong. Soon [they would] have to listen to the people. This [was] a time of action.” We did not sit and watch nor did we sit and cheer, we were not silenced.

But at the risk of repeating myself I do want to emphasize that this type of legislation will be back so long as Hollywood has the money to lobby our government and corrupt our leaders.

Borrowing again from Anonymous, I urge you not to forgive and not to forget. Expect them, for they will be coming.


What are your thoughts on copyright reform? Post them in the comments section below.



  1. Bates January 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    If only we the people had protested as vocally against sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA (Senate Bill 1867). The implications of that law are far more disturbing than the censorship of a website(s).

    • kyll_vie January 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      That’s actually a ploy for Obama’s reelection Bates. He says that he will guarantee no detainment during his next election. He will have THREE things going for him now.

      1. I got everyone out of Iraq
      2. I killed Osama
      3. You won’t get detained for however long and with out question.

    • Michael Foley January 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm - Reply


      I do not think any of these bills are more or less important as they both infringe on our civil right. The SOPA/PIPA bills would limit our access to information and nullify our 1st amendment right to free speech. The NDAA, specifically the sections you note, also infringe upon the rights granted to us in the bill of rights, this time the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches and seizure and completely nullifies the due process of law for “suspects.”

      That said I too wish more people had noticed it and had spoken out against it before it was too late.

  2. shadoworld56 January 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Thank god this bill was dropped! It would have ruined many websites! I hope that ppl will keep a eye out for more bills like this that need to be stop so we can once again raise up and stop them before the ruin the internet for everyone because of a few (verry rich) unhappy ppl.

  3. Ani January 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    PIPA wasn’t dropped, the Tuesday voting was postponed though. Do some more research.

    • tom January 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Ani, please cite your source. I have been digging for answers and haven’t found one concrete source with direct correspondence to congress. I would love to read more about this. We need some real answers! Thanks

      • Michael Foley January 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

        Hi Tom, Here is a Statement from Chairman Smith on the Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act. In it he says “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products…. The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.” So for the present there is no decided date for a vote on the bill until it is somehow amended.

    • Michael Foley January 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      SOPA and PIPA have both been taken out of the agenda for the time being, that is to say they are postponed. My “dropped” might have been unintentionally misleading. They are both being taken back to the drawing board so effectively dropped.. at least for now.

  4. My Name Is Not John January 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Who should really decide what millions of people are allowed to do, a small group of uneducated non tech savvy country boys, or the rest of America? When the numbers are against them, there is no winning, cause we are the government, we make the choices as a whole. The majority has spoken, we will not be controlled, we deserve to be human.

    • Paul B. January 23, 2012 at 1:29 am - Reply

      Well, nice sentiment, but sadly the fact is that “the people” have – repeatedly – voted in these “non-tech-savvy country boys”, so the big question you must ask is – why do blatantly corrupt politicians keep getting voted in?

      People do have the option of voting in educated, honest representatives but they continually fail to do so and such people rarely stand because they realise they will not get the support. (This happened to my own mother, some years ago, but really, nothing has changed.)

      That is the matter you need to address.

  5. DakotasMom January 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom and Micheal,
    A couple of really good sites for watching bills are
    I like this site, but it is not impartial,but I have been able to find a specific law when sometimes I can’t on Thomas. Once I find it on open congress, you can, as I do research the fine print of a bill on Thomas.

    The nice thing about thoms is you can find all the fine print of the bill, who the co-sponsors are (PIPA had 40), which other bills are related to the bill. In the case of the PIPA bill be only related bill was H.R.3261, and it even shows the expected cost of implementing the bill In the case of the PIPA bill, they guesstimated 47M dollars from 2012-2016.

    I know sometimes reading all the words are a pain, but sometimes its important to read the fine print, cause I am not saying the governement tries to slide in little things, but lets be honest, we gave the military recruiters unlimited acces to every childs information in the no child left behind act. So its best to do the research..

  6. Robert Wilson January 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    now if America is awake enough to realize Ron Paul is the only honest politician running for office,corruptness in our government? then lets do something about it , stop settling for the lesser of the evils, and go with whats right and who has been right since 2003, the only non flip flopper candidate

    • R.C. January 21, 2012 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Yup Ron Paul who has the same head in the sand isolationist ideals as Chamberlain did in World war II. (If we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. That belief lasted until the next invasion. ) As a wise person once said “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ” Don’t have to flip flop if your politics are so whacked. Someone should tell the “Paullys” to lay off the kool-aid.

  7. Angel Wolf January 21, 2012 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Every once in a while, the people win. Hardly a Capra film, but as a member of the nameless, faceless “little guys”, I gotta tell ya, I’m smiling. 🙂

  8. ItsAlreadyHere January 21, 2012 at 3:54 am - Reply

    Unfortunately, the bill to replace SOPA/PIPA is already here. It’s also been written and introduced by Lamar Smith, and adds an even more troubling requirement for ISPs than SOPA/PIPA – the mandatory tracking of all customers’ personally identifiable information for a period of at least one year. Here’s the bill in question:

    • Vektor January 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Is the “temporary” network address this bill refers to retaining for up to 18 months, actually the IP address?

  9. A Concerned American January 21, 2012 at 5:58 am - Reply

    To be honest, I think the grounds on which most people protested these bills is deplorable at best. Most people simply believe they were specifically designed to give corporate Hollywood the power to control the internet, when that’s entirely not true. While it did give them power, it gave them the power to defend their creations. Fuck you, just because they have money already doesn’t mean it’s legal for you to steal from them. If it ACTUALLY violated any amendment, it couldn’t have even gone to Congress. The fact that people protested these bills and demonized them so greatly just because they didn’t like them is sickening. These bills needed to be opposed for the right reasons, not “I don’t like this, it scares me.” At what point does it fucking stop? Technically, it violates the first amendment to ban child pornography, let’s go to Congress and make it legal! Why can’t I express my sexual desire for children?! When a bill like the OPEN Act get’s to congress, millions of people are going to protest it just because it makes it illegal to download copyrighted material, but the problem is, it doesn’t really have any power to enforce itself, so it’d be a useless bill anyways. See what I’m saying? If we just start throwing out bills because we don’t like them, then the quality life is going to get pretty shitty. These bills need to be opposed for the right reasons. The people who signed the petitions probably had no idea what they were signing other than a petition to stop a bill that would allegedly violate their freedom of speech. How is it a violation of any amendment for a company to protect it’s assets which are being stolen? I fail to see any violation of any amendment there. Issues that should have been addressed were the damage to the economy, and oppression of fledgling companies, those are just a two of the many issues that should have been addressed. It’s a sad day when companies are demonized for trying to protect their creations. The reason we have a Supreme Court is to protect our liberties after they have been violated. Demonize someone after they do something to deserve it, not because you don’t wanna lose your ability to steal copyrighted material.

    • Okay January 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      I don’t approve of online piracy, but SOPA and PIPA were not only targeted at that. They are so open ended that they would allow websites to be shut down if some of their users post copyrighted material. Think, tumblr, facebook, and twitter shut down. Those are the main websites where people post their opinions. Places that allow user posting would be most likely be shut down, and that is how SOPA/PIPA violates our first amendment rights. And yes, the economic repercussions of these bills would be devastating. That in and of itself is enough to warrant being against these bills. These bills shouldn’t be passed, and because of that I don’t care why people are against them, only that they are.

  10. thefenixfamily January 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    I am completely outraged at these bills. Them being even considered has made me furious! Because of these bills, they screwed up my favorite website, so now I can’t watch my show! I can’t watch it on TV because I don’t get the only channel it comes on! I’ve gone basically a week without watching it, and it’s really starting to anger me… Because of the bill, Megavideo was brought down, and that’s what the site used. Please, everybody, DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!

  11. AM January 22, 2012 at 12:36 am - Reply

    I can honestly say that I didn’t read all the fine print of the bills, but I believe I got the gist of them from snooping around and reading here and there.
    I’m in my twenties, many politicians think that we don’t care about politics, or don’t know about what’s going on in the government. But I think that this really showed them what the American people thought. Had this gone through, it would not only affect US citizens, but it would also affect many other countries.

    I don’t think that the government has any right to control the internet; they don’t own it, no single entity does. It was developed by the people and for the people of the world. To think, when I was born, there was no internet; and it has evolved into what it is today. It’s simply astonishing.

    Yes pirating copyrighted material is bad, but so is taking bribes to pass legislation. So is pass through things just to benefit your particular area, or personal interests. The large companies who tried to pass this through say that we are only hurting them, yet year after year movies are breaking records at the box office. Singers and actors are living in houses, driving cars, and living the life of the top 1% of the nation. They need to take a step back and reevaluate the effect pirating things is having. I don’t believe the effect is so great that bills like these need to be pushed through.

    I don’t partake in the pirating of copyrighted materials, so no, I am not opposed to this bill so that I can keep downloading my music or movies. I work hard for my money. I study hard for myself. I pay for things I want and help support actors and singers so that they can keep doing what they do. I just wish the government would focus on other things that will help the country. It’s extremely frustrating to see on the news what is going on down in Washington. It makes me wonder what the world will be like when I start to really live my life. Will I have any freedoms left? Where does it end? We need a president with balls, somebody who isn’t afraid to kick congress in the ass, or pass hardcore legislation and not worry about reelection as soon as they are sworn into office.

    • Paul B. January 23, 2012 at 1:49 am - Reply

      The point is twofold – the bills are corrupt, giving large companies the “shotgun” power to suppress small (or not-so-small) companies by making arbitrary complaints without adequate justification and harming the “middlemen” and causing collateral damage to totally innocent bystanders. And let’s not imagine this will not happen, that they are actually “responsible citizens” because it is already clearly proven that this is not the case. Secondly, such laws are entirely unnecessary. There are more than enough laws (DMCA: absurdly excessive) already to do what they want to do. It’s called common law – you work through the courts by presenting evidence for your claims. If someone is doing wrong and you have evidence, you have redress and they have more than sufficient legal resources to do this. But they want other people – including those who innocently suffer collateral damage – to pay for the process.

  12. A Concerned American January 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Hey, if people stopped stealing copyrighted material, bills like this wouldn’t even have the grounds to stand. Blame the people, not the companies.

  13. Brian January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    let vote them out of the office if any senates and representatives who voted YES for SOPA and PIPA, even Obama if he will signed SOPA and PIPA into law . Let show them the power of the PEOPLE. We voted them in, so we can vote them out too.

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