After the Internet Blackout: Now What?

Received by e-mail, From: Jochai from Access, (via bluestate digital), Date: Jan. 19, 2012.

…  I wanted to give you a quick report on what happened over the past few days in DC and New York, as well as tell you about an urgent global call to action before this Tuesday’s all important vote on the future of the internet. 

Along with the widespread blackout of sites across the internet, thousands of us this week rallied on the streets against the PROTECT IP Act (or PIPA), the extreme copyright legislation before the US Congress. These events dominated world news, including my interview to kick off Al Jazeera’s coverage of the internet blackout. Then a small delegation of us met with Senators across the political spectrum. We took your views and voices to Washington, delivering a message from the international human rights community that censorship of the internet is unacceptable and that we will fight this bill every inch of the way.

And you are being heard. At last count, there are 38 senators who have expressed opposition in some form to PIPA (last week this number was only 5)! We need a total of 41 “No” votes for this ill-conceived legislation to fall over. There are several senators on the fence, but there are just a few short days left to persuade them. Sign the global petition calling on US lawmakers to kill this bill and we’ll deliver it to those undecided senators before Tuesday’s vote:

Stand with the people, not PIPA.

We’ve already beaten the copyright lobby in Colombia, so we know we can move mountains if we work together. While protecting the rights of creators is important, the internet is a critical enabler of human rights and decisions about its governance should not be made hastily or made in backroom deals. And while there are talks of compromises and amendments possibly being made to PIPA, we will not compromise on our right to free speech and expression online. No form of this bill is acceptable. Period.

This is a global issue affecting all of us, so no matter where you are, please sign on. See what your fellow members sent through over the past 48 hours and then sign the petition below:

  • I’m joining the protest in full from Italy, with my blog – Fabio, Italy;
  • I really want to thank you for your standing up, I hope this will support the freedom of speech. I might have spent my entire life in jail because of my digital activism. – Hussain, Bahrain;
  • I have redistributed your letter to our members via our community blog and a special mailing. – Tobias, across Africa;
  • I support the fight, and hope the Senate will answer you, because freedom is a human right they can’t ignore. – Nathalie, Corsica;
  • Give them hell for all of us! – Pat, USA.

We’re close to toppling PIPA. Now it’s time to add your voices to this global petition.

Stand with the people, not PIPA.

Cheers, Jochai for the Access team.

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