The Next Techdirt Greenhouse And Event: Remembering The SOPA Fight

from the one-decade-later dept

Register now for our online event featuring Rep. Zoe Lofgren »

Next week is the ten year anniversary of the famed “Internet Blackout Day” in which internet users, together with activists, and some internet companies, spoke up together and told Congress that passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (and the Senate Companion, the Protect IP Act), would do tremendous damage to the internet. Lots of organizations are hosting events and doing other things to commemorate that momentous occasion — but also trying to channel that spirit towards building a better internet.

And that includes us at Techdirt. We’re going to be running a new Techdirt Greenhouse series with reflections from a bunch of people who were involved in the original fight, both looking back at what happened ten years ago, but also what’s happened in the intervening decade, and what it means for the internet, for activism, for tech policy, and for users of the internet going forward.

On top of that, we’re going to be hosting a live (virtual) event on January 26th at 1pm PT, with a fireside chat between myself, and one of the main heroes of the stop SOPA movement: Rep. Zoe Lofgren. The event will also include breakout discussions and a chance to network and connect with others interested in tech policy and the future of the internet. Register now to join the event!

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Comments on “The Next Techdirt Greenhouse And Event: Remembering The SOPA Fight”

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8 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Anyone feel with the ‘extrajudicial’ .com domain seizures under possibly sealed court orders in spite of SOPA failing and the US attempting to force DMCA and its elk on the reset of the developed world that we kind of ‘lost the war’?

Not to say such anti-SOPA action was entirely useless. We certainly raised awareness of such issues and possibly delayed certain mentioned actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The fact that investigations and arrest plans were already underway for sites like Megaupload might suggest that the public’s input was, by and large, meaningless. But I wouldn’t say we "lost the war". If we accept that the outcome of the Megaupload raid was inevitable, the least we could do in response was to make SOPA as inconvenient as possible for the people trying to push it.

The fact that the Megupload raid happened despite the death of SOPA sent two messages to the rest of the world. One, copyright enforcement is fucking petty, and two, SOPA and similar laws aren’t needed to achieve their goals. The death of SOPA put the actions of copyright enforcement under the microscope, because it meant all their doom and gloom predictions about being harder to enforce copyright law were all lies.

To be fair, Team Copyright did achieve what they wanted: they managed to scare other filehosts into closing up shop. Meanwhile piracy continued unabated, and several years after the death of SOPA, talking about it still pisses off copyright maximalists. They don’t want people to remember their failure, their lies, or their disappointment when the government listened to the other normies for once.

Sure, they managed to get Article 13/17 passed in Europe. But they’re still a long way of trying to convince people into actually enforcing it with or without the magical Schrodinger’s filters which they can’t decide are actually necessary. Meanwhile the actions of anyone even remotely associated with copyright are regarded in an increasingly negative light. It’s a far cry from the early 2000s when the RIAA’s spoken words were regarded as gospel. Now, we’ve got Sci-Hub and entire governments fed up with how copyright gets its way into everything. Thanks to the SOPA fuck-up and the enduring stories of Prenda Law, Malibu Media and Richard Liebowitz, we’ve got a general public more willing to accept that rightsholders aren’t to be trusted.

The Megaupload arrest was a battlefront, not the war. Hell, it’s a war that the copyright team continues to fight because Dotcom continues to use his resources to resist extradition. In that amount of time they’ve bled a fuckton of the goodwill they once enjoyed. That’s something to be proud of.

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