The Berkman Community Responds to SOPA/PIPA

January 18, 2012

January 20 Update - Please find additional commentary from the Berkman community on this page below the original post.


Today, many U.S. websites are participating in a blackout in order to express their opposition to pending U.S. legislation—House Bill 3261, The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and S.968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society does not take an institutional position on matters of policy. However, it encourages its faculty, fellows, staff, and community members to express their viewpoints, and invites in-depth conversations on controversial issues. Our goals are to stimulate informed analysis and to catalyze the expression of diverse opinions.

Consistent with this policy, the Berkman Center’s website is not dark today. Also consistent with that policy, many members of our community are contributing to the call for action, and others have written on this subject. You can find links to their public comments below.

As well, the Berkman Center and our community aim to track the protest and enable others to participate in the dialogue. Blogs@law offers a facility for engagement by Harvard community members and has a blackout plug-in available. Berkman’s Herdict project is tracking today’s protests.


Berkman Center co-founder and faculty director Jonathan Zittrain:
Jonathan Zittrain, along with research assistants Kendra Albert and Alicia Solow-Niederman, wrote an analysis of SOPA that “represents our notes as we sought to understand exactly what it does and how it does it — along with our corresponding sense for why its principal mechanisms make for poor law.”: "Reading SOPA"

Jonathan also visited the Colbert Report to speak on the issue.

Berkman Center faculty director John Palfrey:
In December, John Palfrey published a blog post opposing the argument that research performed by Palfrey and collaborators supports the domain name system filtering mechanism mandated by SOPA: "SOPA and our 2010 Circumvention Study"

Berkman Center faculty director Yochai Benkler:
Last fall, Yochai Benkler's paper, "WikiLeaks and the protect-ip Act:
A New Public-Private Threat to the Internet Commons
" appeared in Daedalus.  Subsequently, the paper was covered on TechDirt.

Fellows Advisory Board Member Wendy Seltzer: "Keep Copyright Balance: Stop SOPA and PIPA"

Fellows Advisory Board Member David Weinberger:

Fellows Advisory Board Member Ethan Zuckerman, with Berkman affiliate Joichi Ito: "MIT Media Lab opposes SOPA, PIPA"

Faculty Fellow Sasha Costanza-Chock, with Chris Schweidler: On Piracy and "Common Cause : Global Resistance to Intellectual Property Rights"

Faculty Fellow danah boyd: "We need to talk about piracy (but we must stop SOPA first"

Fellow Erin McKeown: "Stop SOPA and PROTECT-IP now!"

Fellow Justin Reich: "My Anti-SOPA Letter"

Fellow Andy Sellars: "Seized Sites: The In Rem Forfeiture of Copyright-Infringing Domain Names"

Faculty Associate Dan Gillmor: "Stop Sopa or the web really will go dark"

Berkman Affiliate SJ Klein: "Preserving Internet freedom: protesting SOPA and the Wikipedia blackout"

Berkman Alum Rebecca MacKinnon: "Stop the Great Firewall of America"

Berkman Alum Doc Searls: "No 2 SOPA"

metaLAB (at) Harvard: "Going dark: SOPA, Wikipedia, and expressive absence"

Digital Public Library of America:

Colleagues at Global Voices Online: "U.S. Bills Could Threaten the Global Internet

Colleagues at the MIT Media Lab: "The Media Lab is against SOPA and PIPA"

Colleagues at the Stanford Center for Internet & Society: "CIS Is Going Dark To Stop SOPA"


January 20 Update: Below we're capturing additional Berkman community SOPA/PIPA commentary, and will continue to add new items.

Berkman Center faculty director Yochai Benkler quoted in McClatchy: "As websites go black, Washington lawmakers react"; at TechPresident: "Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here"; interviewed by Bloomberg Law: "Harvard Prof: Megaupload-Style Cases Will Kill Prosecuted Companies"

Berkman Center co-founder and faculty director Jonathan Zittrain at his blog: "A SOPA Compromise is floated"; quoted in Bloomberg: "Google’s Protest of Anti-Piracy Bills Upends Traditional Lobbying Process"

Global Voices Advocacy's blogpost: "Internet Blackout Day Fires Up Digital Rights Activism Around the World"

Berkman Affiliate Susan Crawford in the New York Times: "A Compromise Makes Sense"

Faculty Associate Clay Shirky's blogpost: "Pick up the pitchforks: David Pogue underestimates Hollywood"

Faculty Associate Dan Gillmor in the Guardian: "The struggle against Sopa and Pipa is not over"

The Citizen Media Law Project's blogpost: "SOPA/PIPA Protest Day is Over, But the Battle is Not"

Fellows Advisory Board Member Wendy Seltzer's blogpost: "Copyright in Congress, Court, and Public"

Fellow Erin McKeown, with other artists: "An Open Letter to Washington about SOPA from Me and Some Other Amazing Creators"

Fellows Advisory Board Member David Weinberger's blogpost: "Four messages from the dark"

Fellow Oliver Goodenough interviewed on Vermont Edition: "PIPA/SOPA: Some Say Protection, Others Say Censorship"

Global Network Initiative: GNI Statement on Protecting Intellectual Property and Upholding Free Expression and Innovation Online

Berkman Alum Rebecca MacKinnon interviewed on Bloomberg Law: "SOPA and PIPA Censor Internet Users, Burden Websites"

Faculty Associate Joseph Reagle's blogpost: "SOPA Protest as a Natural Experiment?"

Last updated

February 1, 2012