What a difference a week makes.
Last week there was a massive formal protest from Internet Web sites and users over the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Rep. Lamar Smith, the lead sponsor of the SOPA bill, released this statement:
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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 Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.”
The bill lost steam after the protest when dozens of lawmakers dropped their sponsorship. When several Web sites went black for the day, crowds swelled to show their support for the opposition of SOPA.
Here’s what they said:
- 162 million people viewed Wikipedia’s blackout English language page
- Eight million used the Wikipedia page to contact their representative
- Over 12,ooo comments were made on Wikipedia’s blog post
- Google had over seven million users sign their anti-SOPA petition
- 130,000 +1s
- 4,600 Likes
- Four million SOPA-related tweets
Chris Dodd, CEO of the MPAA, complained about the change in stance from Congress. “This industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.” *
*Dodd’s comments have led to a petition to the White House seeking an investigation for bribery.
Times are changing. Old money can buy you lots of things, especially in Washington, but it can not buy votes. Millions made their voices heard. The supporters who opposed SOPA didn’t try to use clout or bully their way into getting what they wanted. They mobilized. They talked. They tweeted. They shared. They blogged. They won.
Additional reading on the demise of SOPA: