There's been a conspicuous absence of cable news coverage of the pending Internet censorship bills. (Likely a function of the media conglomerates' general support for the legislation.)
Tonight Keith Olbermann's going to pick up the slack, hosting Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to talk about his expected filibuster of the the PROTECT IP Act. He's expected to be on at about 8:45 Eastern Time. Please check it out -- both to learn more about this important issue, and because we want to encourage Olbermann to lead the charge on this issue.
Quick recap: The PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act are being pushed by the Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood and the record industry, Big Pharma, and so on. They'd give the government sweeping new powers to censor the net, make it a felony to stream unlicensed content (written so broadly that they'd catch karaoke videos), and perhaps most disturbingly: They'd make it impossible for most sites with user-generated content (i.e. everything that makes the Internet fun and interesting and democratic) to stay in business by giving sites' owners new liabilities over everything their users upload or write.
Opposition and support are both bipartisan, with corporatists generally supporting and right- and left- ideologues more likely to oppose. Though there are many generally progressive Dems -- Leahy, Franken, etc -- who are on the wrong side of the legislation.
If PIPA makes it to the floor, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will filibuster -- and he'll do it by reading the names rank-and-file Americans who oppose censorship from the floor of the Senate. You can ask to have your name read -- and ask your Senators to vote no -- by visiting StopCensorship.org. More than 120,000 people have already signed up.
Senator Wyden just issued this new statement on the fight against Internet censorship, and you can check out his call-to-arms video below and at StopCensorship.org
The filibuster affords senators an opportunity to stand up for what they believe in and there are few things I believe in more than ensuring that every American has a voice and an opportunity to get ahead.
Right now, the Internet gives every American that voice while making it possible for every entrepreneur, thinker and innovator to compete alongside the biggest and most moneyed interests.
It is my hope that -- with your help – my colleagues in Congress will realize that a free and open Internet is something that we as Americans should celebrate and not allow those special moneyed interests to quash.
It is my hope that – with your help – my colleagues in Congress will realize that PIPA/SOPA are the wrong way to protect intellectual property because the price they exact on the Internet is too high.
With your help, I believe we can get that word out and prevent these misguided bills from every reaching the House and Senate floor, but if they do reach the floor you can count on me to stand up and make our voices heard.