Mozilla credits Firefox impact in SOPA backlash

Gregg Keizer
23 January, 2012
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Mozilla extolled the impact of its 12-hour participation in Wednesday’s anti-SOPA strike, saying Firefox users and fans generated over a third-of-a-million emails to the US Congress.

Two days ago, Mozilla blackened Firefox’s default home page and redirected its websites to an ‘action page’ asking users to contact their federal representatives and voice their opposition to “Internet blacklist legislation.”

Mozilla joined other websites, including Craigslist, Google and Wikipedia, in a one-day “virtual strike” to drum up resistance to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), bills being considered by the US House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively.

Since last week’s blackout, Washington politicians have backpedaled on the legislation. Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) postponed next week’s vote on PIPA, while Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the committee was also postponing action “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

According to Mozilla, Firefox users were instrumental in getting the message to Congress.

“Ultimately, 360,000 emails were sent by Mozillians to members of Congress, contributing a third of all the emails generated by EFF’s campaign site,” said Mozilla in a blog post Thursday.

Both the revised Firefox home page and the special action page offered users a button that led them to a page hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based Internet rights advocacy group. The EFF page provided a way for visitors to quickly email their House and Senate representatives.

More than half of the people who reached the EFF page from Firefox or Mozilla’s websites fired off emails to Congress.

In a separate statement Friday, the EFF said it had helped users send about 1 million emails.

Mozilla also said approximately 30 million people in the US saw the darkened Firefox home page in their browser, and that 1.8 million visited the open-source organisation’s own SOPA information and action page.

Mozilla’s contribution to the anti-SOPA drive was small potatoes compared to Google’s: The search giant, which reportedly signed a deal with Mozilla that guarantees the latter annually for sticking with Google on the Firefox home page, collected over 7 million signatures Wednesday on its own online petition.

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