Josh Levy, Internet Campaign Director at Free Press, introduces the topic. The SOPA protest was the biggest online protest we’ve seen. Millions of people participated and made a real impact. For organizers who have been fighting on open internet issues, it was exciting to see so many people take action and recognize that the internet is something you have to proactively protect, or else the openess that you know and love and maybe didn’t think about before could go away.
An alphabet soup of bills and meetings have followed in SOPA’s wake (CISPA, ECPA, CFAA, WCIT and FISA). We’ve had to learn what they mean and figure out how to leverage this newly engaged network to beat back the bad bills and support the good bills and educate the public on why the open internet is so important.
- Josh Levy Mark Stanley, Center for Media and Technology
- Elizabeth Stark, open internet agitator
- Tim Hwang, who’s worked on Mozilla’s advocacy around the ITU, started ROFLCON, a celebration of web culture, and the Awesome Foundation
- Holmes Wilson, cofounder of Fight for the Future
Holmes was encouraged by the fact that everyone, from individuals to companies to organizations, did something, from changing Twitter avatars to website shutdowns. Within a few days, it was apparent that the bills were to be shelved, and the event had put a crater in the years-long lobbying push by the studios. It reset the rules for how Congress and policymakers around the world treat the internet.
So who led this response?