Digital mutiny sinks piracy bill

An online revolt has forced US Congress to rethink a draconian piracy bill, but the war isn’t over

Jim Giles

SO THAT’S what a digital revolt looks like. A million-and-a-half emails and almost 90,000 phone calls to US Congress. Public complaints from Google and Facebook. Even a few thousand old-fashioned letters to the US House of Representatives.

This internet ire, marshalled under the banner of American Censorship Day on 16 November, came in opposition to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), legislation aimed at tackling the online trade in copyrighted movies and music. Claims that the act, if passed, will "break the internet" helped persuade several big companies, including a trade group which represents Apple and Microsoft, to withdraw their support. Then, last week, SOPA’s backers in the House said they were open to changing the bill. Internet Activists 1, Big Media 0.

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