On the one year anniversary of the SOPA Blackout, activists have rallied together to build a website proclaiming that the 18th of January is 'Internet Freedom Day.' The site contains suggestions for ways to promote the freedom of expression and share information. Some of these suggestions include honoring the memory of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, signing the Declaration of Internet Freedom, or going so far as to encourage small acts of civil disobedience.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was posted freely online as an act in the vein. Apparently, according to Mashable, the speech is actually owned by record company EMI, who is quick to send out DMCA notices when the speech is posted. In defense of the actions of her organization Fight for the Future, the up-loader of the video, Tiffiniy Cheng, states that, “Hardly anyone wants to live in a world where something as inspirational and educational as Dr. King's speech can't be shared. And, Internet Freedom Day is about that.”
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The SOPA and PIPA bills initially sought to attack foreign websites dealing with pirated content. However, critics believed that the acts were too far reaching and may threaten the free and independent Internet. So, in response on January 18th, 2012, websites all over the world shutdown in protest of these theoretically dangerous bills, and lo and behold, it worked, the bills were shelved.
Now, a year after that what the Center for Democracy and Technology called a “watershed moment in our political history,” we have Internet Freedom Day, which the Center says, “Provides an opportunity not only to look back in commemoration, but also to raise awareness”. Think tank TechFreedom expressed similar sentiments, hoping that “Internet Freedom” becomes more than a slogan.
Internet freedom is a global issue, and many countries, such as Iran and Syria, have had their government shut their Internet down, while China still maintains a strong firewall to monitor content.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman