About 200 of Silicon Valley’s technology-employed rallied in front of San Francisco’s city hall Wednesday, protesting the US House bill called the “Stop Online Piracy Act” — or SOPA, and its mate in Senate, PIPA.
Speakers railed against US Representatives for considering the bills, though some believe the SOPA debate is an opportunity to educate lawmakers about coding and how the internet works.
“There are no borders (within the internet), that fundamentally changes how we think,” said Jonathan Nelson, the organizer for the protest. “I think people in Washington don’t think this way, I think we need to start educating people around the world about the internet, and how our technology works. And we can’t geek out about it either.”
Some of the biggest cheers came for Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, who echoed the prevailing feeling among the crowd—that if they pass, SOPA and PIPA would shut down existing websites within Silicon Valley.
“We’ve got to take some responsibility for this because otherwise, we’re going to die broke,” said Craig Newmark. “And we don’t want that to happen to us, we’ve got to take some charge.”
Some folks here have checked the proposed law’s language against their own businesses—and are afraid.
“So I have a start-up called “tripping,” we have members in 200 countries, and they can share content with others, for example someone in France could share a video with someone in England,” said Jen O’Neal, co-founder and CEO of Tripping.
“But with SOPA and PIPA, that would be threatened altogether. Not to mention they couldn’t share content, but the government could shut down Tripping, which of course is a concern to us, and to our employees.”
Folks here say they are ready with more protests and events, if it continues to look like SOPA and PIPA could pass.