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'SOPA Blackout' Represents Web's Political Coming Of Age

Publication Date: 
January 19, 2012
Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Author: 
James Temple

Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle's James Temple on the grassroots efforts that helped make the online protest of SOPA successful.

In an unprecedented display of Internet force, thousands of websites went dark or censored themselves Wednesday to protest twin antipiracy measures pending in Congress.

The blackout represented a culmination of months of intensifying outcry over the bills, echoed and amplified by social media, blogs and tech publications, that drew more and more popular sites into the official day of protest, including Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Wired, Reddit, Boing Boing, Reporters Without Borders, Pressthink, Greenpeace and McSweeney's.

...

Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, dismissed the concerns. He said the protests only engendered broader support because the anti-censorship message bubbled up through grassroots efforts and resonated with Internet users encountering the participating sites.

(Note: The Center for Internet and Society participated in the blackout.)

"The reason everyone was so excited is that this is a piece of legislation that’s only good for a tiny handful of corporations and it's really bad for the rest of us," Falzone said.