SOPA Protest: Wikipedia Traffic Up, Congressional Support Down

Yesterday’s mass protests about the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills have yielded some positive results: At least 18 members of Congress — including several PIPA co-sponsors — have withdrawn their support for the legislation. And Wikipedia, which went dark for the day, saw its traffic go up, as visitors used the site’s SOPA page as a resource for information about the issue.

Wikipedia reported that more than 162 million people saw its anti-SOPA message:

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.

Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.

Google, which blanked out its logo, brought in 4.5 million signatures on an anti-SOPA petition it posted, according to the Los Angeles Times. A similar petition from Fight for the Future brought in 1.5 million signatures, and at least 350,000 people have emailed members of Congress about SOPA.

The lawmakers who withdrew their support include Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ben Cardin of Maryland, who were co-sponsors of PIPA. House members who dropped support for SOPA include Lee Terry of Nebraska, Ben Quayle of Arizona and Dennis Ross of Florida. In a statement, Hatch called PIPA “not ready for prime time.”

After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the PROTECT IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward. Despite the concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation, the Senate remains on a path to consider this bill next week. Rushing something with such potential for far-reaching consequences is something I cannot support and that’s why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill. Given the legitimate vocal concerns, it is imperative that we take a step back to allow everyone to come together and find a reasonable solution.

Despite the success of the protest, Wikipedia points out that “SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows.” You can still contact your representatives to let them know how you feel about the bills by using this form provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Thank you [Wikimedia Foundation]
Google says 4.5 million people signed anti-SOPA petition today []
PIPA support collapses, with 13 new Senators opposed [Ars Technica]
SOPA Protest: Wikipedia Traffic Trend [Zscaler Research]
Hatch Statement on the PROTECT IP Act [Press Release]

Two Senators Change Tune On Online Piracy Legislation
Google’s Matt Cutts On Why SOPA Is Bad For Everyone
Google Breaks Down SOPA Opposition By The Numbers
Consumerist Is Against SOPA/PIPA And That’s All We’re Writing About Today