A few observations about the massive backlash against SOPA.
First, my interest in the law is slight. I do run a blog, and I do worry about inadvertently posting infringing content (now that trolls like Righthaven are dead, my concerns are less).
Second, I am stunned by the public backlash against this law. I mean, as far as government passing bad laws that can harm our liberty, this law is pretty low.
Third, I’m amazed how effective the social mobilization has been. It seems everyone is talking about it. Or at least everyone on the Internet–since these are the people i tend to listen to, and are the same people who are likely to be affected by SOPA, I may just be sitting in a massive echo chamber. Whatever.
Fourth, I wonder whether this sustained mobility can (a) last if Congress tables/postpones the issue, (b) be applied to other similar issues, (c) be applied to other non-similar issues.
Fifth, and this is similar to a point Eugene Volokh made, will people realize the corporations spending money to influence popular opinion is not limited to campaigns–and indeed, a LOT of money was spent to bankroll opposition to SOPA. Let’s see if the same people who oppose SOPA would oppose a law limiting whether corporations (like Google or Wikimedia) can spend money to lobby for or against legislation.
These stats from Wikipedia show its influence:
During the blackout:
- More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation’s blog post announcing the blackout. The breathtaking majority supported the blackout.
- More than 162 million saw the Wikipedia blackout page.
- More than eight million looked up their elected representatives’ contact information via the Wikipedia tool.
- Anti-SOPA and PIPA topics began trending globally on Twitter immediately after the blackout began. Hashtags included #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike, and#wikipediablackout. At one point, #wikipediablackout constituted 1% of all tweets, and SOPA accounted for a quarter-million tweets hourly during the blackout.
- A quick search of “SOPA blackout” on Google News produced more than 8,000 links as of this writing.
Anyway, I suppose I should put my most profound point last. █████████████████████