WordPress officially opposes the introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act (SOPA/PIPA act). In a blog post published yesterday Jane Wells, WordPress’s UX lead described the bills, currently being debated in the States, as a direct threat to the free and independent web.
Taking a rare stance on political matters WordPress says that the acts would damage the web for all users;
“Normally we stay away from politics here at the official WordPress project — having users from all over the globe that span the political spectrum is evidence that we are doing our job and democratizing publishing, and we don’t want to alienate any of our users no matter how much some of us may disagree with some of them personally. Today, I’m breaking our no-politics rule, because there’s something going on in U.S. politics right now that we need to make sure you know about and understand, because it affects us all.”
In the post Wells calls directly on WordPress’s community of 60 million users, saying;
“The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves. Blogging is a form of activism. You can be an agent of change. Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. “
WordPress is another of a number of companies which now officially oppose SOPA; already Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Mozilla, LinkedIn, Twitter, eBay, AOL, and Zynga have said that they don’t support the bill. Late last year the companies described their opposition to SOPA;
“The fact is that this legislation as written won’t stop piracy. But it would pose a serious threat to social media and user generated content sites (like YouTube) across the internet. It could also undermine some of the core technical systems underlying the internet, creating new cybersecurity risks. “As a non-profit committed to keeping the web open and accessible to all, Mozilla wants to ensure that this legislation does not jeopardize the foundational structure of the Internet.” Recently Electronic Arts, Sony, and Nintendo pulled their support for SOPA and GoDaddy was subject to a fierce customer backlash and boycott over its support for the act, eventually leading to it too coming out against SOPA.
The bill will be voted on at the end of January and Wells says “at least 41 more senators see reason before then” for the bill not to pass and directs users to the Stop American Censorship site.