SOPA Saga Continues: Tech Giants Consider Internet Blackout and Support OPEN Act

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When Congress reconvenes later this month, they will consider passing the highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Currently, the Senate is scheduled to debate the matter on January 24th and vote shortly thereafter. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, recently said:

“This is a bipartisan piece of legislation which is extremely important. I repeat, it is bipartisan. I hope we can have a productive couple of days, pass this bill, and move on to other matters.”

While the majority of companies and individuals who profit off of content production have lobbied for and are supportive of SOPA, the largest tech companies in the world are vehemently opposed to the new piece of legislation. 87% of the Wikipedia users polled were in support of Jimmy Wales’ idea to initiate an “Internet blackout.”

Since that time, the “nuclear option” has gained popularity and would likely have the support of 15 large tech companies including: Google, Facebook PayPal, Wikipedia, Twitter, & Amazon. Although there has not been a formal decision to temporarily shut down some of the most used sites on the Internet, the most likely date for it to occur is January 23rd – the day before the Senate reconsiders SOPA.

In addition to considering an “Internet blackout,” Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and several other tech giants recently indicated support for the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. These companies believe that the OPEN Act will penalize illegal sites and minimize the impact on legitimate businesses. In an open letter to Chairman Issa and Senator Wyden these influential tech companies said the following:

“We write today to express our support for the legislation that you are developing to address this [copyright infringement and counterfeiting] problem, released last week on as the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. This approach targets foreign rogue sites without inflicting collateral damage on legitimate, law-abiding U.S. Internet companies by bringing well-established international trade remedies to bear on this problem.”

The following infographic, produced by Keep the Web Open, illustrates the differences between the various bills under consideration:


 [Sources Include: Extreme Tech, Wikipedia, & ZDNet]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • GamerLEN

    I’ve already sent messages to Yahoo and Google encouraging the protest.

    It’ll be frustrating having to deal without their services for a day but… well… if it gets enough people aware of SOPA and PIPA to stop them then so be it.

  • Michael

    Incase you cant see the links in my comment then type in the stuff in quotes.

    Google: “who is my congressman”

    YouTube: “Protect IP Act Breaks the Internet” (Short Video)

    YouTube: “WTF is SOPA ? aka The American Government” (Long Video)

  • Steve Lawrence

    We need to start the shutdown in Harry Reid’s office about a week early. Every time I read his name I feel like I need a shower to get the slime off.

    Shut down as much as you can…for 2 days.

  • Megan

    I support Google and others act, but I was wondering. Will the internet be shut down for a day or will it just be certain websites? I want to keep in touch with my friends on Deviantart and whatnot-Anyway I also need to check my college website and email because the 23rd is wehn my classes begin.

    But just in case I’m switching to MSN Or whatnot for a main page. TAKE DOWN SOPA! WE Internet users won’t tolerate them stripping away our freedom!

  • c delo

    I say leave the internet go..

  • Phil

    The problem with SOPA is that it will end up being used by several top individuals for ‘illegal’ self gain (something this Act somehow intends to thwart).

    Copyright issues should not be issues to be just rushed down the throats of the guilty and innocent. This kinda reminds me of Will Smith’s movie ‘Enemy of the State’. Hope things won’t get so ugly for the innocent and that the guilty will be treated with respect to the rule of law and principles of natural justice.

    Happy blogging.

  • Jill

    “The OPEN Act secures two fundamental principles. First, Americans have a right to benefit from what they’ve created.”

    Do they? Really? So if I tell someone one of my ideas, I get a check from the government? I don’t think I agree with that sentence.

    Can we stop calling it “copyright”? It’s not a natural right inherent to all human beings. It’s a legal fiction; a government-granted monopoly. “Copyprivilege” or “Copymonopoly” would be better terms.

    The whole purpose of “intellectual property” is to get more things into the public domain, not so that you can write one decent song and then sit on it for the rest of your life. The government provides TEMPORARY protection in the marketplace, after which the content becomes part of the public domain and anyone can copy it freely. Seems the RIAA and MPAA have forgotten this, with all their copyright extension acts and trying to turn one-time copiers into felons.

    “Copyright” is a nice idea, but it’s not a real right. Free speech is. We should never sacrifice free speech just to make copy protection stronger.

    If anything, copy protection needs to be weaker than it is now. It’s already being abused on a regular basis. When companies abuse their privileges, it’s time to take them away.

  • Dave Albrecht

    Well if this passes, its going to backfire. Much like what happened to the PSNetwork will happen against THEM.

  • Nathan


    Hit the nail on the head! The US gov needs to start focusing on its people and not its corporations, they should not be considering this bill….it takes away freedoms from the people and provides corporate loopholes and allows for corrupt agendas.

  • DisMusBeDaPlaz

    Congress has no control over the Internet – to each company, organization; educational or religious, networks, etc. the Constitution protects “Free Enterprise”. Besides it is “