It's getting historic: as of this morning over 7 million people have come together to stop the US Congress from censoring the internet. Avaaz is helping turn the tide: taking what was a US-based protest worldwide, we've mobilised almost 1.7 million citizens. Things are happening – at least seven senators have switched sides and will now oppose the corporates' bill. But the forces of censorship are still doing everything possible to steal the internet.
Here's a quick recap: both houses of Congress are considering a bill that would give US courts the power to censor entire websites on the basis of alleged violations. Drafted by the movie and music industries, the bill (known as SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate) could shut down any website accused of the unauthorised offering or linking to copyrighted movies and music. Since many of the internet's hardware and hosting companies are based in the US, the bill's effects would be global.
If the bill is passed, it's a huge win for profit-hungry corporations – and a huge loss for anyone who cherishes the web as a free and creative forum. Yesterday some of the biggest internet companies sent a loud message to the tone-deaf lawmakers backing the bill in Congress: Wikipedia, Reddit and software developer Mozilla all went dark in protest – forcing web users across the world to wake up to the threat. Add up the different petitions (Google's had notched 4.5 million people by yesterday evening) and we may be looking at the biggest roar of protest that the Internet has ever raised.
The White House and certain members of Congress are listening. Yesterday a group of senators, including several co-sponsors of the bills, officially denounced the proposed legislation. But at the behest of entertainment industry moguls, powerful voices are still pushing for a vote.
Take Action: The fight to save the internet continues. Avaaz has formed the international wing of this movement to protect the free internet. Join over 1.7 million global members and tell Congress to kill the bill. If you've already signed, then share this link with everyone you can.