Anti-SOPA Protests Planned Around The Country Today

Even though the House Judiciary Committee has moved its planned hearing on the Stop Internet Piracy Act from today until February — perhaps hoping that we’ll all be too hungover from Super Bowl beer and wings to care — that’s not going to stop people who are peeved about SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, from taking to the streets to have their say.

In New York, around 1,500 protestors are expected to take up a position outside the Manhattan offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The event, organized by the folks at the New York Tech Meetup, a group with more than 20,000 members.

Explain the organizers:

As much as we agree that infringing on copyrighted material should be eliminated from the web as much as possible, the cure that is being proposed and championed by the lobbying power of major copyright holding organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) will create a cure that is much worse than the disease and irrevocably damage the very nature of the internet and by extension, the future of New York.

On the left coast — more precisely in San Francisco — the 5,000-member strong group Hackers and Founders will be gathering at Civic Center Plaza starting at noon PT.

“Being an engineer and hearing what SOPA and PIPA would mean in terms of changes to the internet… We just couldn’t stand by,” Jonathan Nelson of H&F tells Consumerist about the protest. ” And especially the radical, extreme and ham-fisted changes that it means to copyright enforcement, we figured we had to do something.”

Nelson says he began to rally his group after the organizers of the NY Tech protest told him about their plans for Wednesday.

“These laws would fundamentally break the internet,” he explains. “And as a community dedicated to the benefit of early startups… We decided to take a stand. So we are.”

The NYC rally will take place between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. at 780 Third Ave. (at 49th St). More info is available here. Our own Mary Beth Quirk will be on hand to talk to protestors and organizers.

In San Francisco, the Hackers & Founders protest will start at noon at Civic Center Plaza. Go here for more details.

Feel free to share details of other SOPA/PIPA-related protests you know about in the comments.

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