Senator plans to read 100,000 names against US anti-piracy bill

A US senator has agreed to read out some names of 100,000 petitioners in front of the Senate in a bid to draw attention to the highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

Senator Ron Wyden has agreed to read out the massive list of names in front of the Senate in a bid to slow down proceedings. There’s a strong possibility that a bill will be passed – leading to heavier censorship online.

Under new legislation, sites which have been accused of a widely-defined copyright infringement could be easily taken offline. While this has been warmly received by organisations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and the Screen Actors Guild, the wider community is up in arms.

Companies like Google and Facebook have already come out in opposition against the potentially damaging implications of such a bill.   It could mean that sites such as YouTube or Flickr would have their work cut out ensuring that there is no copyright infringement – or risk being shut down.

The Demand Progress activist group has kick started the Stop Censorship campaign, which is supplying names of people in opposition to the proposed laws to Senator Wyden.

According to Demand Progress, the new legislation could lead to people going to prison for streaming content such as copyrighted video, and are calling on web-users to add to the list of 100,000 names.

As Demand Progress point out, filibusters can last for hours or days, and it seems that even if it is not possible to stop laws being passed, stern opposition can be highlighted to law makers.

“Senator Ron Wyden has been the most vocal opponent of the Internet Blacklist Bill (aka Protect IP or SOPA) in the United States Senate,”  David Moon of Demand Progress told TechEye.

Supporters of the bill have tried to claim thousands of supporters, but opponents have dwarfed their efforts with millions of ordinary internet users emailing, calling or petitioning Congress. We’ve spent weeks strategising with his office on how to continue engaging average Americans in the fight against internet censorship and for our innovation sector jobs.

Moon continued: “Reading the names of thousands of opponents of the internet Blacklist Bill was an obvious way of making members of Congress acknowledge the very real opposition to this China-like censorship bill.

“Every day more and more ordinary Americans are rising up in opposition to the growing threats to internet freedom.

“We’ve seen what happens when unscrupulous governments around the world try and tamper with social networking sites and search engines, and sometimes the Internet itself.”

Big industry, says Moon, is trying to being China-like censorship to the United States to placate the few. “The threat is serious,” Moon said. “If you want to defend free speech and innovation for future generations, now is the time to speak up.”

And you can do so at