The 2012 failure of SOPA and PIPA came as a huge surprise to the country, most of all to the legislators who were sponsoring it, which included not only the minions of the copyright cartels, but also a number of progressive liberals.
Killing SOPA and PIPA signaled what may have been a sea change in the intellectual property wars. It caught the lawmakers by surprise, because for the past 15 or more years, the people fighting for freedom of speech and thought, and against the increasing propertization of information, and the criminalization of file copying, have lost. And they've lost over and over. So what has changed?
We need an outline that will use the arc of history to help people understand this political current.
I would site the start of this movement with the magazine 2600, which started in 1984. Founder Emmanuel Goldstein, the pen name of Eric Corley, also started Off the Hook, on Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. He also started in 2600 a concept of the 2600 phone phreak meeting, which happens once a month at the same time globally. Of the various hacker zines and BBSs, 2600 was more politically active and astute than the rest.
Additionally, the Free Software movement, founded in 1984 by rms, and related projects like the League for Programming Freedom, and GNU, was an explicitly political movement - against privatization of speech, and for user rights.
Neither of these two projects or people were the first proponents of info freedom or computer lib. There were other orgs like Basic People, Community Memory in Berkeley, The WELL, numerous video activists, and of course the Homebrew Computer Club (which invented the personal computer). 2600 and FSF stand out because of their longevity and political stances.
Moving forward from 1984, we deal with a bunch of telecom laws that are fought: Communications Decency, the 1996 telecom law, FCC micropower radio, DMCA, etc. We need a compendium of all these laws, history, supporters and opponents, and effects.
Please add comments to useful information and resources about the history of this political current or movement.