Machine Shop: Hype Machine Team Blog

SXSW 2012, Part 1: Don’t Mess with the Internet!

Now that we are a bit more rested after SXSW, I can tell you about what we’ve been up to there.

We were involved in two big things: the Hype Hotel, presented by Feed the Beat during SXSW Music (more on this later), and the “Don’t Mess with the Internet” party during SXSW Interactive.

We joined “Don’t Mess with the Internet” to celebrate the web’s victory over SOPA, the abusive legislation that was going through Congress earlier in the year. Over 15 million people got involved in the debate about control of the unternet, and our message was heard.  Supporting the event along us were Mozilla, Conduit, Google, Reddit, TumblrEngineFuture of Music CoalitionFight for the Future, Change the Ratio, GirlDevelopIt, the Cheezburger Network and New York Tech Meetup.

The party was filled with people celebrating, speakers like danah boyd, Sara Chipps, Andrew McLaughlin of Tumblr, Holmes & Tiffiniy from Fight for the Future, Andrew Raseij from NYTM, and usual open bar SXSW antics—a must at any quality Interactive party. But the biggest thing was that with Alexis Ohanian’s help, a “Don’t Mess with the Internet” billboard will go up in the home district of Representative Lamar Smith, who authored the SOPA legislation.

And what’s a party without music? We invited the excellent Remix Artists Collective (RAC) to perform at the event and make a special mix to celebrate our victory over SOPA. RAC was a natural choice—they are a great example of what is possible with open internet where anyone can share their work online. The mix they created is a thank you to all the 15 million people who stopped SOPA and a strong reminder of why this stuff matters.

With SOPA thrown out, party complete and billboard on the way, we are far from done. It is likely that revised legislation will reappear in Congress, so we must be ready to continue the fight for freedom on the internet. There are a number of organizations where the discussion is continuing: Engine AdvocacyDemand ProgressFight for the Future, and The Future of Music Coalition, as a place for musicians to be involved. Join us!

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