Anti-SOPA, PIPA protests to continue

Buoyed by success of Web blackout, protesters say fight continues 'til bills defeated

Wikipedia and others who participated in an unprecedented Internet blackout Wednesday have brought their sites back online with the promise to keep their battle going against the contentious Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In a message on its website, Wikipedia thanked the people who supported its blackout yesterday, but said, "We're not done yet."

Wikipedia was one of several large websites participating in the Internet "strike" yesterday. The site blacked out its content and replaced its usual homepage with a message warning visitors about the two anti-piracy bills. Other sites that did much the same thing included Reddit, BoingBoing, Tucows and an estimated 10,000 or more smaller websites.

Search giant Google participated in the protest, too, but did not black out its site. Instead, it blacked out its main logo.

Fight for the Future, one of the groups that organized the protest said that four of the top 10 Internet sites, 13 of the top 100 and another 40,000 smaller sites took part in the blackout. Of those numbers, 37,000 of the sites that went dark were on WordPress.com, the organization said.

It also offered an online rundown of statistics related to the online protest.

In all, more than 4.5 million signatures were collected and two million emails sent through groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, the group said.

According to the EFF, between 9 p.m. Tuesday and this morning, nearly 396,000 people signed its online petition, resulting in close to 1.2 million emails to Congress.

"Our next action against the blacklist legislation is a call-in day to senators on Monday," said Rainey Reitman, activism director at EFF. "We've seen incredible successes in the last 48 hours, but we need to make sure this proposal is good and dead before we let up. Ideally, I'd like to kill this bill so thoroughly that Congress won't even think to introduce a replica."

Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, said the group plans to carry on its protests until both bills are dropped. "Unfortunately, the Protect IP act is still scheduled for a final vote this Tuesday" in the U.S. Senate, Cheng said. "We haven't heard from Sen. [Patrick] Leahy yet that he is pulling the bill."

Fight for the Future plans to ask Interent users to flood the phone lines of their local representatives starting Jan. 23. The group's main website will also host a live audience participation stream where protesters can submit their concerns to a handful of senators who plan on filibustering the vote, she said. The group is also trying to organize a series of in-person meetings with senators around the country, Cheng added.

Brock Meeks, communications director of the advocacy group the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which also participated in the blackout, said traffic to its site increased 10-fold on Wednesday.

About 200 people in San Francisco railed against legislators for considering SOPA and PIPA. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, echoed the feelings of the crowd-- that if they pass, SOPA and PIPA would shut down websites within Silicon Valley.

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