So in response to my call for action — OK, OK, it probably would’ve happened anyway ... — a large coalition of free speech and civil groups (Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, and others) have declared today to be “American Censorship Day” to protest the spate of bills now pending in Congress that would, as I’ve described elsewhere, set a truly dangerous precedent for US policy towards the Internet. There’s been something resembling an explosion of opposition to these bills — the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, Educause, an adhoc group of educators, a veritable Who’s Who of tech giants, including some companies you might have heard of —AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo, Zynga, a group of over 100 law professors (of which I’m a part), a bipartisan group of ten Congressmen, including Republican Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul and Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a coalition of Research Libraries, and many, many others have taken up the call to oppose this bill. Hearings begin today, and one can only hope that all this activity on the opposition side has made Congress a little more leery than it otherwise might have been to these censorship efforts. More power to them; let’s hope we can stop this very misguided and dangerous attempt to bend the Internet — our Internet, thank you very much — to the wishes and needs of the small community of IP rights holders.
[You can sign a petition against these bills here]
[UPDATE: A coalition of over 80 international and human rights organizations has also joined the chorus against SOPA and its companion bills]