Secret history of the SOPA/PIPA fight

Carl Franzen's history of the SOPA/PIPA fight on Talking Points Memo is a fascinating account of the behind-the-scenes stuff that created the series of ever-larger protests that resulted in the bills' demise. Of particular note is his credit to Tiffiniy Cheng, who, along with Nicholas Reville, and Holmes Wilson, forms a trio of Boston-bred activists who are three of the most creative, passionate, skilled and engaged shit-disturbers I know. You may remember them as Downhill Battle, but they're also the folks behind Universal Subtitles, Miro, FreeBieber, and many other interesting and noteworthy campaigns and projects.

“There was sustained effort for the past three months,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight For the Future, an online advocacy non-profit that was founded in mid-2011 with a grant from the Media Democracy Fund, itself a fund-raising and distribution organization founded in 2006 “on the belief that freedom of expression and access to information are basic human rights.”

Fight for the Future played an early leading role in coordinating the various websites and groups opposed to SOPA and PIPA into a cohesive coalition.

That coalition, which ended up including upwards of 70 different companies and advocacy groups — From Tumblr to Demand Progress to Don’t Censor the Net — first took shape as a coalition in November 2011 under the banner “American Censorship,” just in time to rally opponents ahead of the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on SOPA.

How The Web Killed SOPA and PIPA (via Michael Geist)


  1. Hats off to Tiffiniy Cheng et al.  They sent me emails as the situation developed, along with links petitions, contact information to email congress, etc.  They made it very easy and fast to get involved, and for that I am very thankful.

  2. It would be nice if we could get an action like this together for some other important issues and not just ones that threaten bloggers.

  3. Still, they blasted Megaupload out of the water… and most of the other sites are hoisting the biggest linen sheets they can find.

    Now, for a National Net Association, to make sure that introducing anti-piracy legislation that treats ISPs and users like criminals dies in infancy, and that its sponsors experience negative consequences (like not being reelected).  

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