SOPA Protestors Hit the Streets in New York; Other Cities May Follow

Over 1,000 people RSVP to rally to protest anti-piracy legislation

Protestors took to the New York City streets on Wednesday in protest of Congress' pending anti-piracy legislation.

The demonstration started at 12:30 p.m. ET, with protestors decrying the influence of the entertainment industry's money and lobbying on pushing the controversial legislation forward.

More than 1,000 people were expected to attend.  

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New York Tech Meetup, a trade organization, instructed people to meet outside the offices of two senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, with Wikipedia, Reddit and other companies shutting down their websites in protest as well.

The gathering is the latest act of public defiance in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate sister the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). 

The modest crowd drew developers and workers from tech companies such as Tumblr, policy organizations such as Free Press, and the venture capital world. The group periodically chanted "stop SOPA, stop PIPA" and "this is what democracy looks like."

Also read: Hollywood's Anti-Piracy Campaign Runs Aground

“It breaks the internet," David Solomonoff, president of the Internet Society of New York, said. "These bills are like a monster in a grade Z horror movie that keeps coming back and we’ve got to put a stake through its heart.” Clay Shirky, a well-respected new media advocate, was one of the speakers and encouraged people to attend on Twitter.

"Awe-inspiring crowd at anti-#PIPA protest in front of Senator Schumer and Gillibrand's offices. #SOPA," Shirky tweeted.

The exact number of protestors is unclear, but the organization told the New York Times on Tuesday that more than 1,100 people had responded to the invite on the organization's website. 

It said, "Everyone who cares about the New York tech industry and the future of the web" will be there. 

Similar rallies are planned for San Francisco and Seattle. 

A live stream of the rally can be found here. 

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