Organizers of Wednesday's Internet protest against online piracy legislation touted the participation in the unprecedented event that led some of the Internet's most popular destinations to black out their websites for a day and helped place the Senate bill's future in serious doubt.
The event appears to have paid off for organizers and other critics of the Senate's Protect IP Act and the House version known as the Stop Online Piracy Act. Numerous lawmakers have withdrawn support for both bills in recent days and late Thursday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to shelve Tuesday's vote on whether to begin debate on Protect IP.
Fight for the Future, one of the groups that helped organize the protest, said Thursday that more than 115,000 websites and 13 million Internet users participated in the protest. The group said that 50,000 websites blacked out all or most of their sites Wednesday including Craigslist and Wikipedia, which are among the top 10 U.S. websites. The nation's biggest website, Google, also participated by blocking its name on its homepage and gathering support from 7 million users for its online petition against the legislation.
The group also said that 10 million Internet users signed petitions to Congress and 3 million sent e-mails to lawmakers calling on them to oppose the legislation. Fight for the Future's Tiffiniy Cheng said the numbers were gathered with the help of the many groups that helped organize the outreach to Congress and by monitoring the sites that blacked out their homepages.
"These bills have become a mainstream issue -- because of the strike, they were a top story for most news outlets, a trending topic on social media sites, and a buzz topic in offices and homes across the country," the group said in a statement.