The internet has come a long way in the last five years. We’ve seen incredible innovation, unprecedented growth, and some pretty great content. The internet sector contributed 6 percent of GDP and 3 million jobs in 2014, by the most recent estimates.
But all of this was not a sure thing. Five years ago today the internet community joined together to stop SOPA/PIPA, legislation that would have radically harmed the future of the free and open internet and hindered economic growth for creators and users alike by allowing indiscriminate website blocking.
The United States has already enacted effective laws to prevent address illegal activity online- new laws that indiscriminately deny access to websites would undermine the success of these laws and the public’s right to access legal content while stunting the scale and diversity of platforms fueling creative growth.
The Internet Association today is again blacking out its website to underscore the importance of the internet remaining free of censorship and open to all.
Indiscriminate website blocking laws would have led to:
- A weaker economy: It’s likely that the internet sector would not have grown to become 6 percent of GDP, employing 3 million Americans. Aggressive censorship of large swathes of the internet would have stymied growth for the internet and the creators that depend on it. That means fewer jobs.
- More censorship and less freedom, both at home and abroad: China, Russia, and other less democratic regimes would have taken their cue from the US and installed similar censorship regimes.
- Fewer consumer choices online: The prospect of starting a new business or creating new content online looks far less promising when you face the threat of having your entire website blocked for a single piece of infringing content.