Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

SOPA/PIPA

The battle over so-called 'online piracy' has awakened a sleeping tiger. For years, the Internet community has been outgunned and outspent by Hollywood and the copyright cartel in Washington. Now, proposed legislation that would enable the government to take drastic action against rogue websites and force internet service providers to police content moving through their services far more stringently has triggered a growing response from tech companies large and small. From COICA to Protect-IP to SOPA and PIPA, the acronyms have changed but the goal has been largely the same: make sharing of content harder, even impossible, to shore up the business models of intellectual property owners. But as we have been reporting, this push in Washington is now being met by a new force, made by an intriguing alliance between Internet companies, popular websites and their users.

Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here

BY Yochai Benkler | Wednesday, January 25 2012

Yochai Benkler photo by Joichi Ito, CC-BY 2.0

A guest post from Yochai Benkler, who writes: "On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, a new model of politics succeeded in bringing to a halt legislation that had been pushed by some of the most powerful industry lobbies in Washington, which began its life with broad bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress. The political calculus seems to have changed drastically this week, and we need to understand how to exploit and harness the changing winds to expand and lock in this initial victory." Read More

After SOPA/PIPA Victory, Tech is Thinking About Tackling Political Reform

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 24 2012

Illustration: Shutterstock

In the wake of last week's online uprising against the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, there's a fascinating dynamic starting to unfold as technology leaders and grassroots activists wrestle with the question: now what? Read More

The Day the Internet Started Fighting Congress

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, January 18 2012

Ron Conway at an anti-SOPA rally in San Francisco on Wednesday. Photo: Sarah Lai Stirland / techPresident

Throngs of technologists took to the streets in New York and San Francisco Wednesday to protest controversial anti-piracy legislation now before Congress, two of five events planned across the country, as many people who depend on Internet freedom for their livelihood shuttered their websites for the day and marched in an unprecedented level of political cohesiveness from online industry. Read More

Are PIPA and SOPA Dead? White House Issues Strong Declaration Against Its Key Provisions

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, January 14 2012

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Internet activists? Illustration: Kainet / Flickr

The Obama administration on Saturday took the unprecedented step of engaging the internet community online about the problems that a pair of controversial online intellectual property protection bills would cause online businesses and start-ups. Read More

Protesting SOPA: There's An App (Actually Several) For That

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 13 2012

Tony Webster and Andy Baird have put up virtual protest signs in front of websites belonging to entities that support SOPA

A new Chrome plug-in flags web sites belonging to companies and entities that support the Stop Online Piracy Act, controversial anti-piracy legislation. Once at one of these web sites, Chrome browser users with this plug-in see a red bar at the top of the web page that reads: “Internet Blacklist Legislation Supporter! This company may be a supporter of the dangerous SOPA or PIPA legislation.” Clicking on the bar takes them to a Reddit page with an FAQ about the legislation. Welcome to the emerging world of programmer activism, in which protests against ideas they find objectionable manifest in code and not just letters to lawmakers. Read More

PIPA Sponsor Will Cut Domain Name Blocking Provision From Measure

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 12 2012

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, (D-Vermont) said on Thursday that he will cut a controversial domain name blocking provision from an online intellectual property protection bill he is sponsoring in response to ... Read More

Cheezburger Sites To Be Blacked Out January 18 To Protest SOPA and PIPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 12 2012

Photo: icanhazcheezburger.com

Ben Huh, the CEO of the home of the Lolcats and more, plans to black out his network of sites January 18th, along with Reddit, to protest Congress' current effort to enact controversial online intellectual property legislation. Read More

Geeks Gear Up To Fight Online IP Bills, PIPA, SOPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, January 11 2012

Picture: Isaac Mao

Activists advocating an open Internet and worried that the Senate could fast-track a controversial online intellectual property protection bill are coalescing on the web and getting together to set up meetings with their ... Read More

SOPA: In Congress, Who's For And Who's Against, And Why? Mashing Up Public Data, SOPAOpera.org Offers Suggestions

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 10 2012

SOPAOpera.org, a project of ProPublica Developer/Journalist Dan Nguyen.

ProPublica's Dan Nguyen has put together a beautiful and amazingly useful new site that serves as a quick and easy reference point regarding who is for and against a pair of controversial online intellectual property protection bills currently speeding through Congress. Read More

Reddit Jumps On The Anti-SOPA Bandwagon

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 14 2011

Reddit is the latest social site to interrupt users' experience of its platform to urge action against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The social link sharing site is hosting a link to a Mobile Commons online petitioning tool which can help users call their member of Congress. Reddit is urging users to make that call and tell their lawmakers to block the House Judiciary Committee's approval of SOPA, which is scheduled to come before the committee on Thursday. Read More

With Internet Companies In the Fight, Battle Over SOPA Legislation Continues This Week

BY Miranda Neubauer and Nick Judd | Monday, December 12 2011

Photo: ToGa Wanderings / Flickr

After a coalition of advocacy groups and Internet companies worked together to raise awareness about the Stop Online Piracy Act beginning Nov. 16, they are now gearing up for another push to online action this week as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the bill on Thursday.

Read More

A SOPA That Advocates Say Won't Kill the Internet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, December 2 2011

There was some movement yesterday in the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and others have backed an alternative proposal that would move the ... Read More

Scope of U.S. Online Piracy Bill Too Broad, Says the Business Software Alliance

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 21 2011

A piece of legislation designed to thwart online piracy and counterfeiting being considered in the House is still too broad in its scope not to risk interfering with innovation, said the head of the Business Software ... Read More

Tumblr Is Happy With Its Aggressive Anti-SOPA Advocacy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 17 2011

Tumblr reports that their advocacy push around the Stop Online Piracy Act yesterday generated 87,834 calls to representatives and a total of 1,293 hours talking to staffers on Capitol Hill: Yesterday we did a historic ... Read More

The Fight Over #SOPA -- Both Sides of It -- Carries On Online

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 16 2011

Of course the advocacy efforts over the Stop Online Piracy Act would use the Internet as a main stage. I've been watching this Avaaz.org petition in opposition to SOPA and noticed that it's gained something like 3,000 ... Read More

#SOPA: They're Not Talking About Clam Chowder

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 16 2011

Source: analytics.topsy.com As the House Judiciary Committee continues its hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that supporters say would protect American jobs and businesses and opponents counter would hobble ... Read More

Senate Trying Again with Tweaked Website Takedown Bill

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, May 12 2011

COICA is gone, but in its place comes PROTECT IP, the last development in the long-running effort by copyright-driven industry groups to get Congress to empower its enforcement efforts. Ars Technica's Nate Anderson ... Read More

SEND TIPS>

Got Tips, leads, or suggestions for tech President? Email tips@personal-democracy.com

WEEKLY DIGESTS>

Sign up to receive weekly debriefings from techPresident.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

GO

tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

More