Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation wrote a rather lengthy thank-you note to those in the Internet community that got involved in the blackout of the popular online site. While we can't list every one, we did note her thanks to GamePolitics contributor Dan Rosenthal, and the 1,800 English Wikipedia users who convinced the site to go dark.
While the thank-you's might make people feel warm and fuzzy inside, my favorite part of Gardner's note is nailing what the whole protest was really about. The mainstream media, who couldn't even bother to look past their own interests long enough to do their jobs prior to the blackout, are trying to frame it as a battle in a war between Old Media v. New Media, or Hollywood v. Silicon Valley. Once again they miss the point and they miss the real take-away. I'll let Garner explain it:
"Wikipedia’s involvement in the fight against SOPA proves this wasn’t about powerful interest groups, and it wasn’t about money. Wikipedia is operated, and not controlled, by a non-profit — it’s got no corporate interests to protect and it doesn’t make any money from piracy or copyright infringement. It’s written by ordinary people. Reddit is a bunch of people sharing links and talking about them. Metafilter is the same. Tumblr, Craigslist, the Cheezburger network, The Oatmeal, 4chan, identi.ca. These are not mega-corporations.
The Internet has been giving ordinary people access to the means of production for more than fifteen years. Sometimes we use it to create pictures of cute cats. Sometimes it’s the world’s largest encyclopedia. Sometimes, we bring down corrupt regimes.
What happened yesterday is that around the world, Internet users found their voice — fighting back against people who wanted to threaten their freedoms. It is true that copyright infringement poses a problem, and it’s reasonable that those affected want to get their problem solved. But their problem is not more important than the ability of ordinary people to express themselves, to share and to learn."
It also helped that this happened in an election year, where politicians who want to hold onto their jobs for another term are more nervous than long-tailed cats in rooms full of rocking chairs..