Why BlueOregon isn't blacked out today

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

As you wander about the internet today, you'll surely notice that many websites have decided to turn themselves off - or, as one publication put it, go "on strike".

From Wikipedia to Reddit, from MoveOn.org to TheOatmeal.com, lots of sites are dedicating today to activism against a bill called SOPA - a bill that would effectively create a censorship regime in the United States. Even Google has blacked out its logo and asked visitors to sign a petition.

Senator Ron Wyden has been a critical leader in this fight. As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein notes:

Perhaps no single member of Congress deserves as much credit for slowing the advance of the aggressive online-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA as Sen. Ron Wyden, who for much of last year fought a one-man battle to keep the Senate version of the legislation from moving through on a unanimous vote.

And now, he's been joined by Senator Merkley. On Facebook:

Thank you for all the calls, emails, and facebook posts. I will be opposing SOPA and PIPA. We cannot endanger an open internet. Protecting intellectual property is important, but we need to carefully tailor the solution. PIPA and SOPA don't cut it.

Update, 10:55 a.m.: Congressman Peter DeFazio went to the floor of the U.S. House and spoke out against SOPA and PIPA today. Watch the video.

BREAKING NEWS, 2:20 p.m.: Congressman Kurt Schrader just announced, via Twitter, that he will oppose SOPA. (And I've confirmed this directly with his staff.)

Current laws 2 protect US jobs and consumers from illegal internet activity r insufficient. But #SOPA is not the answer & I wont support it.

For what it's worth, I agree. SOPA would be a disaster.

Here at BlueOregon, a few of the editors and contributors discussed blacking out this site today as well. Here's why we're not doing that:

Since we launched in July 2004, we've always been an open platform for progressive ideas. On our About page, we've had this line up since the very first day:

"We expect our contributors to individually motivate our readers to action - but BlueOregon itself won't collectively endorse candidates, stage protests, or even go out for donuts."

Now, I happen to think that there's only one progressive position on SOPA. But I recently spent over an hour arguing with an old friend who's advocating in favor of SOPA (on behalf of organized labor), and I came to recognize that there are progressives on the other side.

I think they're wrong. But I'm not prepared to substitute my judgment for the entire BlueOregon community of contributors and readers. And I'm also not prepared to establish a new precedent - one in which we formally and collectively take a side on this issue.

To date, BlueOregon has not formally and collectively endorsed universal health care, marriage equality, card check, or any other critically important issue. We've never had a process for doing that. Should we? Maybe. It's worth a discussion. But I'm not going to make that call unilaterally and without notice to our community.

So, I've asked our contributors to do what we've always done: weigh in individually, sound the alarm, raise hell.

And along those lines: Go sign a petition, will you? Here's one from MoveOn. And another one from Google.

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    From the Portland mayoral campaigns...

    Jefferson Smith's campaign is taking on the issue most strongly, putting its website on strike today.

    Charlie Hales' campaign posted a message to Facebook in support of the campaign to stop SOPA.

    I haven't seen anything from Brady's camp on Facebook or her site.

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      Given that the Chamber of Commerce is the driving force behind this legislation, it seems reasonable to ask whether she is keeping her head down because she doesn't want to risk alienating some of her allies in the business community?

      It's pretty tough to raise a million bucks without strong corporate support (Even if your life circumstance is such that you occasionally find $35,000 under the sofa cushions).

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    Oh, and full disclosure: My firm built Ron Wyden's and Jeff Merkley's campaign websites. I speak only for myself.


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