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SOPA Plus 10, reflections and continued work

Better Internet

On January 18, 2012, the web went dark in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), two bills introduced into the United States House and Senate in the last quarter of 2011.

Why are we talking about this day ten years later?

The fight for a global internet, access to information, and better sharing that benefits public interests are far from over. Because there are still many threats and SOPA-like provisions in other bills. Because many of the feared outcomes of the bill proposed in 2012 – website shutdowns, censorship to free speech, and domain seizures – are happening today.

Here is a simplified overview of SOPA/PIPA.

SOPA and PIPA aimed to tighten U.S. laws to curb copyright infringement and counterfeiting, particularly focusing on illegal copies of media – films, TV shows, music – hosted on foreign servers. The bills aimed to block sites and order financial services to shut off anyone associated with a site. 

If passed, the U.S. Department of Justice and rights holders could use court orders to take down entire websites based upon a single piece of content, or linked content, on that site. Internet service providers (ISPs) would block users using Domain Name System (DNS) blocking. 

While the bills intended to stop piracy, they were vaguely written with disastrous consequences. For example:

Dubbed the Internet Blacklist Bill, Creative Commons (CC) joined other like-minded organizations in 2012 to raise awareness about the dangers and fight the bills.  As Congress continued to debate before the Jan 24 vote on SOPA, organizer Fight for the Future, watchdog groups, content creators, activists, and millions of American citizens participated in a more aggressive communication strategy to get the attention of Congress – a symbolic internet blackout and messaging protest.

On January 18, 2012:

As a result, SOPA was tabled, and PIPA was postponed.

January 18 is an historic marker of solidarity, a public interest victory. 

As so, ten years later, Creative Commons again joins many organizations to reflect and continue the work. Please join us, and many others, by attending a series of SOPA Plus 10 events starting January 18, 2022. Our goal is to promote the values of free and open internet, build a better internet, improve access to information, and generate better sharing of news information.

community events
COMMEMORATING #sopa plus 10

This list will be updated as new events are added, and registrations become available. Follow #SOPAPlus10 and #BetterInternet on social media to keep up with the conversation. 

January 17 (ongoing) 10 years of what SOPA/PIPA’s demise made possible Re:Create
January 17-21 Copyright Week Electronic Frontier Foundation Agenda
January 18
11:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m. EST
Regulating the Internet Ten Years after the SOPA/PIPA Blackout Georgetown Law
and Wikimedia Foundation
Info and Registration
January 18
2:00-3:00 p.m. EST
How Public Interest Values Shape a Better Internet Public Knowledge Info and Registration

The panel will be moderated by Public Knowledge President and CEO Chris Lewis and will feature:

Catherine Stihler, CEO of Creative Commons

Spencer Overton, President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

April Glaser, Fellow of the Technology & Social Change Project

Akriti Gaur, Resident Fellow, Yale Information Society Project

January 18 (ongoing) Better Internet Series Creative Commons and Global Summit Partners CC Series Link
January 18

10:00 a.m. PT
1:00 p.m. ET

Privacy event with Library Freedom Project, George Christian of the Connecticut Four, and Sarah Lamdan of CUNY Library Futures More Info and Registration 
January 20 Public Domain Day Observed: Celebration of Sound Internet Archive
Creative Commons
Other Leaders from Open World
Celebrate Public Domain in 2022
January 20
7:00 p.m. UTC
2:00 p.m. EST
Better News: Open Internet and Journalism (webinars aimed at journalists) Creative Commons More Info and Registration

Google News Initiative and CC will reflect on the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of technology, journalism, and social power.

January 21

11-11:30 a.m. CST

SOPA at 10 and what’s next for internet law: A conversation with startups Engine Register

A panel on the 10 year anniversary of the defeat of SOPA and a discussion of how current legal frameworks empower startups to host content.

January 26 Event: A look back on SOPA. A look ahead for what’s next Techdirt More info
January 27

4:30 p.m. UTC

11:30 a.m. EST

Better News Series: Addressing Misinformation and Disinformation Campaigns: A Community Led Approach Creative Commons This conversation will highlight Wikimedia Foundation’s technical perspective and community lead approach to addressing mis/disinformation campaigns.
February 8

2:00 p.m. UTC

9:00 a.m. EST

Better News Series: Risks with Digital Platforms, Language and Narrative Power Creative Commons Speakers will explore risks of digital platforms: further marginalizing languages, spreading disinformation, and perpetuating power structures in India and globally.
February 15

2:00 p.m. UTC

9:00 a.m. EST

Better News Series: Gunfire and Ground truth, Investigative Journalism Using Creative Commons Creative Commons Cecília Oliviera (Investigative journalist and founder of Fogo Cruzado) will discuss developing and using crowd-sourcing on an open platform as an investigative tool in journalism focused on drug and arms trafficking.
March 1


Better News Series: CC licenses and combatting disinformation campaigns through better sharing Creative Commons This discussion will explore how CC licenses increase better information sharing in global journalism.
March 23

2:00 pm-6:00 pm UTC

10:00 am-2:00 pm EDT

Better News Series: Free Online Training Creative Commons Creative Commons staff will provide free training on the basics of copyright for journalists, how to best find and reuse openly licensed resources such as research, photos, videos, music, and more!


Posted 10 January 2022