SOPA Protests: Results And Aftermath

Brad Chacos

Yesterday's SOPA/PIPA protests were unprecedented -- for the first time, the Internet as a whole banded together, users and websites alike, and we flexed our collective muscles to tell the government (as Craigslist put it), "KEEP THOSE CLAMMY HANDS OFF THE INTERNET." In typical Washington fashion, several Senators and Congressional Representatives quickly changed their minds about the bills. But just how effective was all the e-complaining? Since the effort was so widespread, nailing down exact numbers is difficult, but let's take a peek at the ones we managed to dredge up.

First up, some anecdotal information: the websites of various Senators received so much Web traffic yesterday that they kept going offline under the strain .

  • Wikipedia says that over 162 million people saw its anti-censorship message yesterday. In sheer, numerical terms, that's over half the population of the U.S., or as our very own Paul Lilly puts it , more than the combined population of both Iceland and Estonia.
  • Google bragged that more than 7 million people signed its anti-SOPA/PIPA petition yesterday. That's not shabby; according to the infographic the search giant posted, prior to the protests only 3 million-plus folks had signed the various petitions floating around the web.
  • Mozilla's blacked-out start page and social media inititatives reached 40 million people , which resulted in over 360,000 emails sent to Congress.
  • The White House released a statement saying that 103,785 people had signed petitions asking President Obama to veto SOPA and the E-PARASITE (PIPA's other name) acts. Around 50k people signed each.
  • According to BlackoutSOPA.org , 80,987 people changed their Twitter and Facebook pics to protest the acts.
  • The Anti-SOPA page on Facebook snarfed down 78,273 Likes. Wikipedia also notes that the various anti-SOPA hashtags trended like crazy yesterday, and SOPA received over a quarter-million Tweets per hour yesterday.
  • The L.A. Times reports that people sent over 350,000 emails to their representatives through FightForTheFuture, the nonprofit behind AmericanCensorship.org and SOPAStrike.com. Additionally, a full 75,000 sites registered with the group to help protest the two bills. Another 1,458,000 signed a petition at Avaaz.org .


We could keep going, but you get the point.

Yeah, but did all the e-bitching  actually accomplish anything?


Yup! We told you yesterday that Representatives and Senators were already changing their positions on SOPA/PIPA, and the numbers only increased throughout the day. OpenCongress reports that 34 Senators are now on record as being opposed to PIPA, a massive jump over previous numbers.

After a quick Google search, here are the names of some representatives who leaped into the anti-SOPA/PIPA camp yesterday: Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Ben Quayle (R-Arizona), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Tim Holden (D-Pennsylvania), and former heavy-duty supporter and Hollywood darling Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Note that some of them were previously undecided about the bills. Other Senators failed to withdraw support, but instead called for a delay in PIPA's vote to give them time to further evaluate and adjust the bill.

CNET's Elinor Mills and the always-excellent Declan McCullagh covered the political fallout from the protests. Head over there for reactions from various Congressmen/women .

So, SOPA/PIPA are dead, right?


As Wikipedia puts it, "Not at all. SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith stated that the House of Representatives will push the bill forward in February. Senate sponsor Patrick Leahy still plans for a PIPA vote on January 24."

Don't lose yesterday's momentum! Keep bugging your representatives and let them know you oppose SOPA/PIPA, even if you've already done so. Phone calls have the most impact -- give them a jingle if you've only sent them a letter or signed an e-petition. Just keep the pressure going!

Contact your House Representative

Contact your Senator

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