Tens of millions of Americans, and millions more overseas, had their normal Internet routine disrupted Wednesday as some of the Web’s most popular sites, including Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist, staged protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its companion PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The organizations that staged these protests are beginning to release hard numbers on the response, and they are staggering.
The Wikimedia Foundation says it reached 162 million people with Wikipedia’s 24-hour English-language protest of the antipiracy bills. Of those, more than 8 million readers in the United States took the opportunity to look up contact information for their members of Congress through the site. Presumably, that generated tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of calls to congressional offices.
“The Wikipedia blackout is over and the public has spoken,” said Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director. “You shut down the Congressional switchboards, and you melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong.”
Google did not black out its entire site as Wikipedia did, but it still generated at least 13 million page views to its anti-SOPA page and got 7 million people to sign its petition.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal advocacy group, logged 200,000 signatures on its petition. The organization also says more than 30,000 Craigslist users called Congress through the the PCCC’s website.
Evidence of the protest’s political impact has continued to pour in. Staffers on Capitol Hill said that the volume of SOPA calls was heavy on Wednesday.
At least 19 senators declared their opposition to PIPA (including seven former co-sponsors) yesterday, with Senator, Patty Murray (D-WA) expressing new reservations about the legislation.