Remembering SOPA/PIPA

Denelle Dixon-Thayer

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the SOPA/PIPA blackout, the day the Internet went dark in protest of draft American legislation that would have damaged the global open Internet. Mozilla pulled out all the stops to join this virtual protest. Our blackout page was viewed by tens of millions of Firefox users in the United States, with millions choosing to learn more and take action, and hundreds of thousands raising their voices to Congress.

The Firefox default start page was blacked out in protest on Jan. 18, 2012.

The Firefox default start page was blacked out in protest on Jan. 18, 2012.

The result was a dramatic illustration for policymakers in the U.S. and around the world on how copyright law impacts the open Internet.

Through the SOPA/PIPA protest, the Internet community fought off a major threat to the open Internet. But the victory didn’t change the evolution of copyright law we’ve seen in past decades, with copyright terms expanding from 28 years to life of the author plus 70 more. We’ve also seen increased statutory damages for infringement applied aggressively to online copying, new kinds of liabilities such as circumvention of digital rights management, and sweeping enforcement campaigns that falsely accused a grandmother of pirating South Park as well as automated takedown systems so broad that they occasionally target themselves.

The evolution of copyright law in the years to come matters to Mozilla – to our product development efforts, as we push ahead with new ideas in Web and mobile technology, and to our global community of innovators and users.

Getting copyright “right” is a key piece of preserving the future of today’s free and open Internet, and Mozilla is committed to doing its part in the effort.