Craig Newmark Talks To Us About SOPA: "Things Can Go Bad Real Fast"

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has been a vocal opponent of SOPA and PIPA with good reason: According to Newmark, if the bills as currently written were passed into law, “any site with any kind of user provided content could be shut down easily. For example, Wikipedia, Amazon, craigslist. Any media site with commenting.” In an email interview with Consumerist, Newmark (who is also a member of the Board of Directors of our parent company) warned that, despite White House opposition, and recent changes to the bills to limit DNS filtering, consumers should still be concerned.

Things can go real bad real fast in the current legislative environment, particularly considering how much money is being thrown by lobbyist types, particularly via Super PACs. It’s also a major problem that there’s so little knowledge of technology and of the tech industry in Congress.

Newmark has responded to the bills with a notice on the front page of Craigslist, something he calls “virtually unprecedented.” While Craigslist hasn’t been completely blacked out like Wikipedia, boing boing and Reddit, visitors to any of Craigslist’s regional front pages are presented with the following notice:

STOP PIPA (Senate 968) & SOPA (HR 3261)

Imagine a world without craigslist, Wikipedia, Google, [your favorite sites here]…
News Corp, RIAA, MPAA, Nike, Sony, Comcast, VISA & others want to make that world your reality.

80 Members of Congress are in their sway, 30 against, the rest undecided or undeclared.

Please take a minute to tell your Members of Congress you OPPOSE PIPA & SOPA



Although Newmark worries that the influence of corporate money and lack of technical know-how among members of Congress has helped boost the ranks of SOPA supporters, he holds out hope that the bills can be defeated. In response to a query about what opponents of the legislation should do next, he responded: “Figure out how people of good will can work together more efficiently and effectively.”

about > SOPA [craigslist]

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