On January 18, 2012 something amazing happened: the Internet community, advocacy groups, internet personalities, popular websites, and even some brave politicians banded together to send a message to lawmakers and special interests that backed the poorly crafted SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislation.
While there were plenty of emails sent, petitions signed, and phone calls made to lawmakers, it seemed like the mainstream media didn't care (mostly because they were owned by the very same media conglomerates that were pushing for the passage of these bills). It wasn't until rights groups big and small, Internet tech heavyweights (Google Wikipedia, Wired, Reddit, Tumblr, Cheeseburger.com, etc.), and the Internet community went black or showed their support with more campaigns fighting for Internet freedom.
Less than 48 hours later lawmakers waived the white flag of surrender and media conglomerates and trade groups realized that they had been defeated. The Internet was winning... the Internet on January 18.
So it is in that spirit that some of the forces who banded together one year ago have launched the website InternetFreedomDay.net and officially declared January 18, 2013 "Internet Freedom Day." The website serves as a hub to present a variety of actions visitors can take in support of the open Internet, including a new tradition: asking Internet users to share something they love that should never be censored.
"While we are proud of what we have collectively been able to accomplish, we recognize that the fight continues," said Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President & General Counsel of the Entertainment Consumers Association. "Internet Freedom Day reminds us all to stay alert, engaged and ready to speak out to protect the rights we currently enjoy."
The website is part of a collective effort to continue to fight for Internet freedom supported by a variety of groups, organizations, and individuals including (in alphabetical order):
- Center for Democracy & Technology
- Ben Huh and Cheezburger, Inc.
- Computer & Communications Industry Association
- Craig Newmark and craigconnects
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Engine Advocacy | Hattery
- Entertainment Consumers Association
- Fight for the Future
- Free Press
- New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute
- NY Tech Meetup and Personal Democracy Media
- Participatory Politics Foundation
- Public Knowledge
- Mike Masnick of Techdirt
You can join in on the celebration by visiting InternetFreedomDay.net, sharing the link to the site with your friends on Facebook and on Twitter using #InternetFreedomDay. Happy Internet Freedom Day to all!
[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]