SOPA Petition Gains Steam, Some Are Less Than Enthusiastic About Its Prospects

By: Josh Wolford - November 17, 2011

We’ve recently told you about the backlash coming from all angles concerning the Stop Online Piracy Act (PROTECT-IP/E-PARASITE Act), a bill currently being debated in the halls of Congress that many feel would create the “Great Firewall of America.” The bill has been a topic of discussion and derision for free internet advocates on the web for some time now, and it was just this week that some big names on the internet like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and AOL threw their support against the legislation.

We reported earlier this month on the new petition site started by the White House called “We The People.” It’s a service where users can submit petitions on pretty much any topic, and if it receives enough signatures, the White House will issue an official response.

Back then, we told you about a We The People petition called “Stop the E-PARASITE Act” that had garnered over 7,000 signatures. And as of right now, it has over 38,000 and is growing rapidly. The petition was submitted on October 31st.

Here’s what it argues, quite succinctly and effectively I might add:

This Bill would allow essentially allow A Great Firewall of America and would be a shameful desecration of free speech and any sort of reasonable copyright law. The new Law would allow copyright holders to force websites which have any copyrighted material to be blocked by ISP companies around the country, without requiring that the websites be given time to take the offending material down. It would also put pressure on ISP companies to monitor their users like never before, a gross invasion of privacy. This bill is a direct assault on a free internet and a shameful attempt by copyright lobbyists to destroy net neutrality. Essentially it’s a censorship law that would end the internet as we know it in America.

The creator of the petition is a redditor, and he took to the site to talk about his petition, where he says thanks for all the support.

The problem is that not everyone has faith that the We The People initiative is all that helpful. Internet users in the past have expressed frustration over some of the responses from the White House, especially concerning a particular petition on the legalization of marijuana.

For instance, here’s the top voted comment on the reddit post about the petition:

I read that if a petition gets enough signatures, the president will personally print it out and wipe his ass with it.

Another example of the lack of faith in this new petition system comes in the form of an actual petition on the site called “We demand a vapid, condescending, meaningless, politically safe response to this petition.” It’s gathered nearly 12,000 signatures already.

Since these petitions are ignored apart from an occasional patronizing and inane political statement amounting to nothing more than a condescending pat on the head, we the signers would enjoy having the illusion of success. Since no other outcome to this process seems possible, we demand that the White House immediately assign a junior staffer to compose a tame and vapid response to this petition, and never attempt to take any meaningful action on this or any other issue. We would also like a cookie.

Each petition currently has to reach the threshold of 25,000 signatures in a month, so it looks like the White House is going to have to give a response to the Stop SOPA petition. Let’s just hope it’s not that vapid, condescending, politically safe response that many have come to expect.

Josh Wolford

About the Author

Josh WolfordJosh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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  • Michael Martinez

    Opponents of SOPA need to step forward and put some responwsible proposals on the table.

    Right now all that “Stop SOPA” equates to is “Allow Google to Financially Benefit from Online Piracy”.

    That is NOT acceptable.

    • mike druck

      how about we allow the technology to continue uninhibited and let industries figure out how to benefit from it or fall into antiquity. no one goes to symphonies anymore, shall we cripple recording and broadcast equipment to save them?

      • Ori Blitstein

        Mike Druck, you sir deserve a medal of honor.

        Michael Martinez, you make a good point but um…how shall I say this delicately…

        DMCA: It exists and provides a solid foundation for future, MUTUAL legislation

  • Yes

    Hey Wolf ord,
    Do you write this unclear on purpose? Neither saying you’re for or against, you provide a ton of meaningless words that -if I guess accurately- are discouraging people from signing the petition AGAINST Internet censorship.
    Did I misunderstand your long nothingness? If so, then it is your fault, of course. Try to write more to the point, less tricky, more transparent in your convictions… if you have any at all.
    Boy! Am I glad there’s still freedom of speech!!!

    • Josh Wolford

      I don’t even know how to respond to this….

    • mike druck

      Did you read this at all? There is a clear point being made here… one that I think many people are feeling. There is the sense that all the proper channels to constructive conversation have been blocked by the highest bidders. The population is overwhelmingly against this bill. We elect people to congress to represent us. We do not feel represented.

      Maybe its best to just leave. I’m done with feeling worthless. I wonder if people are happy in New Zealand. Or perhaps a part of the world where they don’t pretend to care about your opinion. I feel betrayed.

      • Em

        you said it. i feel my rights as a citizen are being violated.

  • Em

    what about all of the people that have dvandart and all of these sites fall under this new bill. i say we need to protest. i dont want to pay $15 or so dollars just to update my effing facebook status. how many of you really want to pay a monthly fee to use your twitter, myspace, facebook, etc?