Internet Protest by the Numbers

Protesters hope for new process in Washington

Opponents to SOPA and PIPA, the two controversial anti-piracy bills, were declaring victory following yesterday's unprecedented Internet protest. The numbers back them up.

More than 115,000 websites participated in the protest, with as many as 50,000 sites, including Wikipedia, Craigslist and WordPress, blacking out their sites, per Fight for the Future, one of the organizers.

Wikipedia, the largest website to participate, blacking out its entire English-language site, reported that 162 million landed on its page and 8 million looked up their congressional representative information in order to protest the bills.

Google blacked out its logo and directed visitors to its petition, which 7 million signed.

Perhaps the most important stat: 20 senators pulled their support for PIPA, which was slated to be brought to the floor next week. Six senators that had co-sponsored the bill removed their names from it.

At a press briefing Thursday morning, opponents pointed to the protest as the beginning of a new day in Washington. "This wasn't just about the content of the bill, but about the process and the way things happen in this town," said Mike Masnick, CEO of Floor64, the owner of Techdirt.

The technology community complained of being left out of the debate when the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and its House counterpart, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), were written and debated.

"We provided three red-line drafts to both the House and the Senate Judiciary committees," said Markham Erickson, a partner with Holch & Erickson and the executive director of NetCoalition, which represents big tech companies such as Google, Yahoo and eBay. "If they weren't totally ignored, they were substantially ignored. The process was so flawed we had to reach outside of Washington."

Hoping to reset the process, the Internet community plans to be more involved in Washington policy in the future, starting with anti-piracy bills. "Yesterday was the beginning of something. It's the beginning of a whole series of pushes," said Christian Dawson, chief operating officer of Servint, a company that provides Web hosting services. "We created advocates yesterday."

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