Tomorrow, the Center for Media Justice website will go dark to protest the U.S. House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its companion bill in the Senate, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Both of these bills would alter the technical operations of the Internet, and threaten Internet Freedom and openness online. If these bills pass, they will change the Internet as we know it. Neither bill would be effective at stamping out online piracy, but both will have consequences for how the Internet functions as a whole.
Today, more than ever, artists, and small business owners depend on an open Internet, which allows them to reach large audiences and make a living–using this digital platform to create, distribute, and promote their work. But these new laws – in the name of ‘copyright and the protection of creativity’ – create new penalties against sites that are deemed to support ‘infringing activity.’ The language in the bills could impact a lot of lawful websites that artists use for publishing and distributing their work. In addition, organizers and Human Rights advocates who depend on the open Internet for organizing and advocacy could now face increased Internet censorship and threats to online speech.
A number of other websites like Wikipedia, Craigslist and Reddit (nearly 7,000 in all) will also be going dark to demonstrate their opposition to the bill. Those who visit the Black Voices for Internet Freedom and Latinos for Internet Freedom websites today will be directed to a web page that provides information that will help them contact their Senator to express their opposition to this dangerous legislation.
Like you, we believe that communications is a fundamental human right, and access to a fair and open Internet is a major human rights issue of our time. Now, more than ever, its important for our communities to stand together to protect Internet Freedom from this new threat. Here are our talking points- Take a minute and call your elected official! Let them know that Internet Censorship is not what our communities want or need. Urge your members of Congress to reject this legislation in both its forms!