One year ago today websites like Wikipedia and Reddit went dark to protest two anti-piracy bills that no one outside the Beltway had ever heard of before. Today, because of that blackout, the acronyms SOPA and PIPA are practically household names. The blackout and 15 million phone calls forever changed how Congress would approach legislation that impacts the Internet. A number of lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), have made themselves into Internet heros on the Hill, serving as the Internet community's internal watchdogs in Congress.
While the Internet community has left its mark on Congress, Washington has also left its mark on the Internet community. More than a dozen of the biggest names in the Internet—including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL—came together to form the Internet Association, which has as its mission keeping the Internet free from censorship and regulation.
These are a few of the more than a million tweets (so far) celebrating that digital voice. Of all of them, the first tweet below from advocacy group Fight for the Future, is emblematic of the fight to define the scope of intellectual property on the Internet.
Many tweets invoke the memory of Aaron Swartz, who co-founded Demand Progress to advocate greater freedom on the Internet during the SOPA/PIPA fight.
In the midst of the the Twitter flurry, it may be tough to remember that there is another side to the story. As Los Angeles Times media reporter Joe Flint so bravely tweeted, "It's Internet Freedom Day, also known as 'steal my work day.'"
— Anonymous (@AnonyOps) January 18, 2013
— Public Knowledge (@publicknowledge) January 18, 2013
— Freedom House (@FreedomHouseDC) January 18, 2013
— Peter Banks (@Banks_75) January 18, 2013
— The Hacker News™ (@TheHackersNews) January 18, 2013
— New Internationalist (@newint) January 18, 2013
The Internet: We do it better without government. #InternetFreedomDay
— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) January 18, 2013
It's Internet Freedom Day, also known as steal my work day. I know. Let me have it.
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) January 18, 2013