The Longest Now

Blackout Wednesday wrapup #3: impact edition
Wednesday January 18th 2012, 11:54 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,metrics,wikipedia

Over a dozen Congressmen have changed or clarified their position on PIPA and SOPA over the course of the past 36 hours, towards opposing the bills.   This includes six senators and two representatives who had previously been co-sponsors or solid supporters of the relevant bill in their chamber.  Many more who formerly were neutral about the bills or leaning towards opposing them, are now calling them “misguided”, saying they will “cause more harm than good”, “harm free speech rights”, “weaken freedom of expression on the Internet”, and would “harm Internet innovation and jobs”.  Most agree that the bills as written “need to be stopped”.  It seems that some of them have looked at the bills with a magnifying glass for the first time.

Senator Boozman summarizes: “Over the past few weeks, the chorus of concerns over Congressional efforts to address online piracy has intensified“.  A week ago it looked like there might be a straight 60-vote approval of PIPA in the Senate; now it is losing suppoters by the hour, and may have a hard time getting majority support; making it unlikely to make it to a vote at all.


Blackout impact

Politico and others suggest that much of this movement was a direct result of the strong online statement made by the EFF, Reddit, Google, Wikipedia, and others – and the protest organized by those groups to express their views to every representative and senator in the country.  Wikipedia produced a ‘find your local representative’ widget, to ensure that we encouraged readers to call their representatives directly; Google simply encouraged signing a petition.

Once the blackout launched, it trended worldwide on Twitter, with hashtags such as #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike and #wikipediablackout.  At one point, according to Trendistic, #wikipediablackout was used in 1% of all tweets.  Hotspots claims that SOPA (and #SOPA) has accounted for a quarter-million tweets an hour since then.

The EFF reports that by 5pm, over 250,000 1 million people had contacted their representatives through the EFF blacklist site. Wikipedia reports roughly 160 million people have seen their blackout page, and eight million of those have looked up their elected representatives’ contact information through its tool.  (No word on how many made contact; if there is a dropoff rate similar to the first clickthrough, then that would make another 400,000 contacts.)  Google reports gathering 4.5 million signatures on its petition.


Statements today from members of Congress:

Senators noting their disapproval of PIPA yesterday and today: (those who switched away from previously indicated support are listed in bold)

  1. Mark Begich (D-AK)
    I oppose PIPA…Online piracy needs to be addressed, but the current form of the bill isn’t the proper way to do it.
  2. Roy Blunt (R-MO) @RoyBlunt
    I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium, including over the internet. #SOPA #PIPA
  3. John Boozman (R-AR) [facebook]
    Over the past few weeks, the chorus of concerns over Congressional efforts to address online piracy has intensified… I intend to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act.  I will have my name removed as a co-sponsor of the bill and plan to vote against it
  4. Scott Brown (R-MA) @ScottBrownMA
    I’m going to vote no, the Internet is too important to our economy
  5. Jim DeMint (R-SC) @JimDeMint
    I support intellectual property rights, but I oppose SOPA & PIPA. They’re misguided bills that will cause more harm than good.
  6. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) [thehill] @OrrinHatch
    That’s why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill. #utpol #tcot #PIPA
  7. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) [facebook]
    SOPA is the wrong response from the US Congress.  (also now opposes PIPA)
  8. Johanns (R-NE) [ journalstar]
  9. Mark Kirk (R-IL) [kirk]
    Freedom of speech is an inalienable right granted to each and every American, and the Internet has become the primary tool with which we utilize this right… This extreme measure stifles First Amendment rights and Internet innovation.
  10. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) @SenJeffMerkley
    Thanks for all the calls, emails, and tweets. I will be opposing #SOPA and #PIPA. We can’t endanger an open internet.
  11. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) [adn]
    The bill raises serious concerns about our civil liberties. That’s why next week I plan to oppose the current PIPA bill.
  12. Marco Rubio (R-FL) @marcorubio
    After hearing from people with legit concerns, have withdraw support for #PIPA. Let’s take time to do it right. #SOPA

Senators who changed from support, to advocating a delay in voting for revision and reconsideration:

  • Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX) @JohnCornyn
    SOPA: better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong… the potential impact of this legislation is too far-reaching to ram it through Congress.
  • Charles Grassley, (R-AL)
    Since the mark-up, we have increasingly heard from a large number of constituents and other stakeholders with vocal about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, including breaches in cybersecurity, damaging the integrity of the Internet, costly and burdensome litigation, and dilution of First Amendment rights
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ) @SenatorMenendez
    #NJ: I hear your concerns re: #PIPA loud & clear & share in these concerns. I’m working to ensure critical changes are made to the bill.

House Representatives stating disapproval or opposition: (those switching away from previously indicated support or cosponsorship again in bold, but this was harder to ascertain):

  1. Akin (R-MO)
    Copyrights must be protected, but not at this cost. Open internet and free speech!
  2. Baldwin (D-WI)
    I do not believe it is the responsibility of Internet service providers to become the police of the Internet.
  3. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) @RepGusBilirakis
    Piracy should be prosecuted, but I have deep concerns about SOPA’s effect on free speech rights and am opposed to it in its current form.
  4. Blumenauer (D-OR)
    Rep. Blumenauer’s website joined the blackout for an hour: Today I am joining the millions of Americans who are standing with the world’s most innovative websites against the proposed censorship of PIPA and SOPA
  5. Bruce Braley (D-IA) @BruceBraley
    I’ve heard you. I strongly oppose #SOPA.
  6. Courtney (D-CT)
    SOPA as it exists today… should be scrapped entirely. An axe instead of a scalpel, this bill would unacceptably and fundamentally change the architecture of the internet.
  7. DeFazio (D-OR) [facebook]
    Wikipedia, Craigslist and others are dark today to bring attention to the atrocious SOPA bill that will take away freedom on the internet.
  8. DeGette
    I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to contact me about SOPA… Without serious changes I’m not convinced SOPA effectively solves the issue and am concerned about the implications it would have for online innovation.
  9. Keith Ellison (D-MN) @keithellison
    #SOPA would harm internet innovation and jobs. Better ways to fight piracy.
  10. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) @JeffFortenberry
    I oppose #SOPA–it would disrupt the structural integrity of the internet
  11. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) @JeffFlake
    I oppose #SOPA because I’m concerned it will restrict free speech.
  12. Cory Gardner (R-CO) @repcorygardner
    online piracy is a real issue but we must maintain a free & open internet #opposeSOPA #endpiracynotliberty
  13. Gosar (R-AZ)
  14. Graves (R-GA)
    We’re getting a bunch of questions this morning about the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act.’ I wanted to let you know that I oppose the bill.
  15. Grijalva (D-AZ)
    This legislation has moved beyond protecting legitimate intellectual property rights and is now headed down a path that would let companies decide what you get to view online.
  16. Tim Holden (R-PA)
    An open Internet requires that we find a better approach that is acceptable to all sides. [politicspa]
  17. Holt (D-NJ)
  18. Honda (D-CA) [politico]
    The bills as currently constructed, with overbroad definitions, will do much more harm than good, hurting the very people they are supposed to protect.
  19. Hultgren (R-IL) @RepHultgren
    Given the widespread coverage the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has received, I want to let you know that I oppose it in its current form.
  20. Inhofe (R-OK)
  21. Steve Israel (D-NY) @RepSteveIsrael
    I oppose #SOPA. We must protect innovation without weakening free expression on the Internet.
  22. Darrell Issa (R-CA) @DarrellIssa
    83 Internet pioneers: #SOPA & #PIPA would destroy web #DNS system as we know it. LETTER: #SOPA #stopSOPA #PIPA
  23. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) @RepLynnJenkins
    I do not support SOPA, will fight against any efforts to advance it, and will vote against it if it comes to the floor.
  24. Kinzinger (R-IL) [facebook]
    the way these bills are currently written does not ensure an open and free internet and that is not something I can support.
  25. Latham (R-IA)
    I oppose SOPA or any bill abridging freedom of speech.
  26. Lee (D-CA)
    SOPA in its current form is far too close to internet censorship, something I strongly oppose.
  27. Marchant (R-TX)
  28. Jim Matheson (D-UT) @RepJimMatheson
    Oppose SOPA and PIPA; online piracy is a serious issue, but these bills are not the way to go. Complicated issue
  29. McCotter (R-MI)
  30. McDermott (D-WA) [facebook]
    I’ve heard from many of you about the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA). We need to do something about online piracy, but this bill is not the right way to do it.
  31. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) @PatrickMcHenry
    I oppose #SOPA in its current form and have signed on as an original co-sponsor of the #OPEN Act. Check out
  32. Mike Michaud (D-ME) @RepMikeMichaud
    #SOPA need to be stopped. Speak out and make sure Congress hears you.
  33. Jim Moran (D-VA) @Jim_Moran
    I oppose #SOPA. Keep the internet open.
  34. Nugent (R-FL)
    I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people today urging me to oppose SOPA (or PIPA, as the Senate companion bill is called). I do oppose the bill as it’s currently written.
  35. Pascrell Jr (D-NJ)
  36. Price (D-NC)
    I am opposed to the proposed SOPA bill… Today’s ‘black-out’ campaigns by Google, Wikipedia and other major websites echo the voices of the many constituents I’ve heard from.
  37. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) @chelliepingree
    So many contacting me today outraged with #SOPA and I couldn’t agree more. #mepolitics
  38. David Price (D-NC) @RepDavidEPrice
    Release: Price Opposes #SOPA, Calls on Congress to Protect Open Internet #ncpol
  39. Ben Quayle (R-AZ)  [politico]
  40. Dennis Ross (R-FL) 
    “I believe #SOPA is dead.”
  41. Tim Ryan (D-OH) @RepTimRyan
    Web piracy is a an issue that should be dealt with, but I oppose #SOPA bc it does too much harm to innovation & speech @eff @boingboing
  42. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) @JanSchakowsky
    Thank you all for the many calls today to #StopSOPA! I want you to know that I oppose #SOPA & will vote against it #p2
  43. John Shimkus (R-IL)  @RepShimkus
    We can protect intellection property through anti-piracy legislation w/o censoring free speech or stifling innovation. #SOPA is not the way.
  44. Adam Smith (D-WA) [adamsmith]
    these measures, if enacted, would place unacceptable limitations on the accessibility of online information and content, impose undue burdens on small and innovative websites and applications, and would not be the most effective way to curtail overseas illegal piracy and theft of intellectual property.
  45. Lee Terry (R-NE) []
    SOPA, as currently drafted, isn’t the solution.
  46. Joe Walsh (R-IL) @RepJoeWalsh
    Thank God twitter isn’t blocked today so I can tell you that I refuse to vote for #SOPA. #uncensored #StopSOPA
  47. Yarmuth (D-KY)
    Thanks for your calls and emails this morning. I am opposed to #SOPA.
  48. Yoder (R-KS)

A doff of the hat : Much of this data comes from or was confirmed through ProPublica‘s excellent timeline of public statements by Congressmen about SOPA and PIPA.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ve been discussing this with one of my closest friends and we both agree that this would not only show the danger of regulating information but it would also pretty much force programmers and hackers to join up and release new protocols and standards into existence early, effectively creating “Internet 2”. It would also ramp up the userbase of encrypted P2P connections such as Freenet. Better now than later!

Comment by Kelly 01.19.12 @ 7:54 am

[…] Blackout Wednesday wrapup #3: impact edition […]

Pingback by Не съвсем неутрално : Разни връзки от седмицата: 04/2012 01.30.12 @ 12:08 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Bad Behavior has blocked 437 access attempts in the last 7 days.