SOPA/PIPA opposers create Declaration of Internet Freedom — will it work?

A group of SOPA/PIPA’s greatest opponents has come together to create the Declaration of Internet Freedom, a move to protect the Internet from censorship.

The declaration comes from a consortium of those who opposed the SOPA and PIPA laws that were shot down in January after a months-long battle between Congress, Hollywood, and the general Internet public. The laws were intended to help content creators be more in control of their intellectual property and be able to take action against websites that use that content illegally. But the details of the bills didn’t sit well with Internet leaders, who felt they could lead to censorship.

If a website was found infringing on a company or individual’s rights, it could be quickly blocked by Internet service providers, stripped from search results, and prevented from conducting business or connecting with services such as PayPal. This sort of interruption is scary for the millions of people who have built their companies online who feared their sites could be taken down without warning if the bills passed.

The coalition formed to oppose SOPA and PIPA, but now that those bills have been shot down, the group wants to ensure the Internet stays as open as possible. A number of well-known organizations have also signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom, including Mozilla, Y Combinator, and Amnesty International. Individuals who have signed the declaration include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, former White House chief technology officer Andrew McLaughlin, and Cheezburger Inc. chief executive Ben Huh.

You can see the full Preamble and Declaration below:

Preamble

We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.
Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open.

Declaration

We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

  • Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
  • Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
  • Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
  • Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
  • Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

hat tip The Verge; image via Shutterstock