What? You don't think this country needs "Austrian economics" to return to greatness? Why, if you just Wikipedia what that means, surely you'll—GAH! While Wikipedia and Reddit have gone black today to protest the anti-internet piracy bills SOPA and PIPA, the 20,000-strong NY Tech Meetup group has organized a protest today between 12:30 and 2 p.m. in front of the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand—both supporters of the legislation.
In addition to essentially the entire internet (yes, even GoDaddy) being against the bill, the Obama administration came out against it on Saturday saying they will "not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."
Specifically, they were referring to the DNS provisions of the bills that would allow "foreign" websites found to be in violation of the law to be taken down immediately without due process. Some might think that the government would later use this to do the same to domestic sites, but they're crazy!
Though SOPA sponsor and Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith has dropped the DNS provision from the language of the bill (and PIPA's sponsors don't support their similar language either), critics of SOPA still believe the legislation is odious. SOPA would require websites to delete links from their search results to websites deemed "illegal," and that all the anticipated SOPA and PIPA-related lawsuits would make the cost of creating an internet startup too high. Your dream of creating a dating site for shy, bee aficionados (Bumblr) might be lost forever.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on PIPA next Tuesday, and Smith dismissed the protests today as a "publicity stunt." "Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy," he told The Hill. So write your senator or make a disgruntled call to your rep: we're tired of waiting ten seconds to troll for anonymous sex.
[UPDATE 3:30 p.m.] PIPA and SOPA's sponsorers are dropping like flies: Republican Senator from Florida and PIPA's co-sponsor Marco Rubio has backed away from the bill. "I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs," Rubio "wrote" on Facebook. "However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies." Rubio could try to defend this to his conservative constituents with the whole "less government" argument but his cries will be probably be drowned out by screams of "job killer!"
And the LA Times reports that SOPA co-sponsors Republican congressmen Lee Terry and Ben Quayle are backing down from their bill. "The bill could have some unintended consequences that need to be addressed," a Quayle spokesman told the paper. "Basically it needs more work before he can support it." Plus, Quayle's dad needs Wikipedia to know how to spell "potato."