A year ago today, the internet went on strike and dealt the final knockout to censorship bills in the U.S. Congress, SOPA and PIPA. To celebrate, a bunch of the people have declared January 18th, 'Internet Freedom Day.' They're asking people to help with a new holiday tradition of sharing one thing -- on their blogs or social networks -- that should never be censored. Doing that reminds us all that we can and will protect free speech on the web.
For our part at Fight for the Future, as MLK Day is coming up, we realized that one thing that we all care about deeply that faces constant censorship is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic 'I Have a Dream' speech. It's hard to find something that is as important to watch and learn from, yet since it is copyrighted until 2038, Youtube and other sites censor unabridged versions of the speech. You're supposed to wait 25 years to share it.
To celebrate both Internet Freedom Day and MLK Day, we made a video containing the complete 17-minute 'I Have a Dream' speech (eta: It has already been removed from Vimeo)... so people can share it on Facebook, Twitter, and their blogs. Doing just that is a small act of civil disobedience to celebrate the freedom that Dr. King fought for and make sure his words reach people around the globe this weekend. Dr. King said, 'one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.'
Aaron Swartz passed almost a week ago today. Before that, he spent his life creating massive equality and freedom of spirit through his internet activism. Aaron and the loss of him more than ever reminds me that I am not okay with a world where when someone who is just learning about civil rights, race, and our history, goes on the web to see MLK's 'I Have a Dream' speech and is confronted with a notice that says "this video has been removed." That kind of world is untenable, and we should fight against it.
We've been reeling from Aaron's death, so we're sorry this may be the first you're hearing about Internet Freedom Day. But, please do what you can, and tell people how they can commemorate how powerful the internet-using public can be in creating and protecting our social goods.
More from Internet Freedom Day: Here’s a list of things you can do right now to continue the fight for an open, accessible, and awesome Internet.
Actions to take on January 18th:
- Join Demand Progress in calling for Justice for Aaron Swartz
- Sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom
- Take action to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership. It’s like SOPA on steroids and for many countries.
- Join Craig Newmark over at CraigConnects and write something about how the Internet gives you a voice!
- Access action alert! Write to Congress and tell them: We will defend the internet against any legislation that threatens our freedom of speech, privacy, and other fundamental rights."
- Demand a privacy law update to stop the government from reading your email without a warrant.
- Fill out this UC Berkeley Survey and tell what SOPA/PIPA meant to you.
- Engage in a small act of civil disobedience and share this video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King’s call for racial justice is as relevant today as it was in 1963. Because this speech is copyrighted, if SOPA had passed, entire websites could have been shut down just for linking to it. This speech is too important to be censored by broken copyright laws. Please share it today. (it has already been taken down).
- Internet Freedom Day website
- Fight for the Future on Facebook
- Fight for The Future on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fightfortheftr