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U.S.: Today Is Internet Freedom Day
Source: o.canada.com
Source Date: Friday, January 18, 2013
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: United States
Created: Jan 22, 2013

January 18th marks the one year anniversary of the protests to stop SOPA and PIPA, two very unpopular American copyright enforcement acts that, if passed, would have severely restricted free speech and online innovation.

The various groups that opposed these two bills have proclaimed Jan. 18 Internet Freedom Day. On this day last year, major social websites like Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Tumblr and even Wired, banded together and went black, removing their sites from the internet temporarily, to show their support for internet freedom.

About 48 hours after this internet blackout occurred, lawmakers surrendered and both SOPA and PIPA were defeated by U.S. legislators. On that day, the Internet won the Internet.

Internetfreedomday.net allows visitors to Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit or Google+, “Something you love on the net that you’d never want to see censored.” The website also lists various events and actions people can take to continue to support the open internet movement. For instance, there is a movement to demand justice for Aaron Swartz, Reddit’s co-founder who recently committed suicide after being hounded by the U.S. Government for what many consider a frivolous crime.

Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I have a Dream” is being shared around the internet for free today by an advocacy group, Fight for the Future, that played a hand in SOPA and PIPA’s defeat. Footage of this speech is owned by EMI but Fight for the Future believes that young people should easily be able to access Dr. King’s message under the Internet’s fair use policy. They also believe that acts of civil disobedience like this share the spirit of Dr. King’s movement.

The video has since been removed from Vimeo for copyright violations, but Fight for the Future is trying to find somewhere else to upload it.

“We’d more likely get a takedown notice than a lawsuit. Other versions of it have been taken down from YouTube. We think we have an excellent argument for Fair Use since it is clearly part of political speech and we are not making any money off it,” explained Evan Greer, the campaign manager at Fight for the Future in an interview on Mashable.

Also, Techdirt has posted a very interesting infographic that describes some of the amazing statistics involved in this protest.

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