Despite SOPA Delay, Boing Boing & Raspberry Pi Join Blackout ProtestBy: Drew Bowling - January 16, 2012
The White House may have denounced the current incarnation of SOPA and the Congressional goon squad who fathered SOPA may have delayed the bill’s passage in order to address “concerns,” but websites still wanted to remind everybody: they no likes the censorship.
Over the weekend, while the SOPA backlash got the government treatment, Boing Boing announced that they would be marking their support for the protest.
Boing Boing scribe Cory Doctorow details the website’s reasoning to join the site:
Even though a substantial portion of my living comes from the entertainment industry, I don’t think that any amount of “piracy” justifies this kind of depraved indifference to the consequences of one’s actions. Big Content haven’t just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the “fun” Internet: they’ve declared war on every person who uses the net to publicize police brutality, every oppressed person in the Arab Spring who used the net to organize protests and publicize the blood spilled by their oppressors, every abused kid who used the net to reveal her father as a brutalizer of children, every gay kid who used the net to discover that life is worth living despite the torment she’s experiencing, every grassroots political campaigner who uses the net to make her community a better place — as well as the scientists who collaborate online, the rescue workers who coordinate online, the makers who trade tips online, the people with rare diseases who support each other online, and the independent creators who use the Internet to earn their livings.
The contempt for human rights on display with SOPA and PIPA is more than foolish. Foolishness can be excused. It’s more than greed. Greed is only to be expected. It is evil, and it must be fought.
Another company to throw in with the anti-SOPA protest over the weekend was Raspberry Pi, makers of tiny low-cost PCs.
Doctorow responded to the weekend’s SOPA events and the importance of continuing to press forward with their protest and outrage:
Commenters have pointed out that I’ve jumped the gun here. SOPA is shelved, but not killed. It could be put back into play at any time.
Before you get too excited, remember that the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), the extremely similar Senate version of SOPA, is still steaming forward, and has to be stopped.
Thank you all for helping to save the net again.Let’s keep on saving it. Let’s kill PIPA, then use this amazing energy to build something positive: a lobby for networked freedom, that acknowledges that the net is more than a glorified form of cable TV — it’s the nervous system of the information society. Any pretense that is used to build censorship and surveillance into the network will touch every part of networked life.
Similar to Boing Boing, an accompany post from Raspberry Pi explained the company’s stake in SOPA war:
If a website like ours were to be prosecuted for linking to another site where copyrighted material was hosted, our domain could be confiscated and our IP address added to a USA-wide blacklist, even though we are UK-based and have servers hosted outside the USA – all this without legal process.
So far, so ridiculous. It’s censorship and shifting of responsibility on a grand scale. But despite a loud chorus of opposition to the Acts from legal experts, internet experts, journalists, website owners like us, human rights activists (want to publicise the next Arab Spring using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or another site that potentially infringes? You’ve just provided the powers that be with an instant excuse and mechanism to shut you down) and ordinary people who just surf the web, the Acts stand a genuine chance of being pushed through. Lobbyists like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the movie and music studios have much louder voices and deeper pockets than we individuals on the internet do; but by joining together on January 18 we hope that we can make enough of an impact to be noticed by those voting on the legislation, and by the news outlets that they read and watch.
It’ll be interesting to see who of the pledged blackoutters will still follow through with the protest now that SOPA has been shelved. As Doctorow points out, PIPA, the mega shark to SOPA’s giant octopus, is still swimming around the U.S. Senate. Guess we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see which websites walk the walk, who was just talk, and who decided to take a knee.