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The Internet says no to SOPA and PIPA

Yesterday, a large portion of the Internet rose up against two horrible bills making their way through Congress. These bills, SOPA in the House and Protect IP Act or PIPA in the Senate, would fundamentally change the nature of the Internet in misguided attempts at stamping out copyright infringement. Many websites voluntarily went dark for the day to show the public what things could well look like if these bills become law. Wikipedia, Craig’s List, Google, the Internet Archive, Reddit, Tumblr all participated, educating users and encouraging them to contact their congress people. Physical protests happened in San Francisco and New York where many lolcat fans, entrepreneurs, reddit users and first time activists turned out to lodge their opposition.

I grabbed my Z1U and ran down to City Hall here in San Francisco to catch up with the happenings. Several notable Internet people showed and spoke out about SOPA/PIPA including Craig Newmark, Caterina Fake, Ron Conway, MC Hammer, Brewster Kahle, and Elizabeth Stark. I recorded some of the soapbox action and grabbed some interviews asking two questions.

The first question, What is the worst part of SOPA and PIPA to you?

The second question, How will SOPA and PIPA affect your organization?

Interviewees: Jonathan Nelson, Sam Stoller, Caterina Fake, Tantek Çelik, Adina Levine, Seth Schoen, Rick Prelinger, Jen O’Neal, Jessica, Anders Nelson and Kim Dowd.

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When was the first time you were touched by the Squid tentacle?

That is the question I asked a cross-section of freaks at the Laughing Squid Paradise Lost party. Knowing Scott Beale and the communities that he has tracked over the past 10 years, I thought it’d be fun to find out how people first crossed paths with the entity known as Laughing Squid. Some people first knew of the Squid from what was originally called the Alpha Squids mailing list, some people know it as the generous web host, some from Burning Man, others from Scott’s event photography and even some newbies only from recent parties. The answers are as varied as the people brave enough to offer them up.