It’s A Wonderful Internet: A Decade of Creativity & Economic Growth

It’s been 10 years since the disastrous SOPA/PIPA legislation was rejected by the American people and Congress. But what if it had passed? 

We take a look back on how different our everyday lives and culture would be if SOPA PIPA had been enacted. Hollywood’s cultural gatekeepers tried to leverage their lobbying power a decade ago to decide the rules of the road online and to strangle Americans’ freedom to create. As proposals to revive SOPA-like legislation continue to circulate in Washington, it’s not hyperbole to say that Americans can’t let their guard down.

Below is a look at the sheer creativity, billions in economic growth, and facets of everyday life that would not be the same if SOPA/PIPA had passed.

Campaigns to galvanize action

  • The ALS #IceBucketChallenge raised over $220 million for research, care and support
  • #OscarsSoWhite
  • The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual harassment
  • #GivingTuesday
  • #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackoutTuesday
  • #BringBackOurGirls
  • Pro-democracy protests around the world like #ArabSpring and #UmbrellaRevolution
  • #FreeBritney

Creators who’ve gone mainstream after getting their start online

  • Shawn Mendes
  • Halsey
  • Chance the Rapper
  • The Weeknd
  • Jojo Siwa
  • Alessia Cara
  • Abbi Jacobson
  • Tori Kelly
  • Addison Rae
  • Lil Nas X
  • Olivia Rodrigo
  • Doja Cat
  • Ilana Glazer
  • Dua Lipa
  • Charli D’Amelio
  • Issa Rae
  • Cassandra Clare
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Desus & Mero

Jobs and entire industries with skyrocketing growth

  • Foodstagram and food bloggers, supporting restaurants, bars and cookbooks
  • The entire notion of a “social media manager” for companies around the world
  • The interior design and home renovation industries, supported by DIY videos and Instagram inspiration
  • A booming hospitality industry fueled by travel influencers
  • BookTok, Bookstagram, book podcasts and more have reinvigorated the publishing industry, supported authors, and driven sales for new and old books…which go on to become movies and TV shows
  • Bloggers have started their own business empires with content, product development, brand partnerships and more
  • The $11.5 billion podcast industry, making stars out of podcasters and giving new projects to existing names
  • Journalists and thinkers are using Substack or creating their own newsletters to bypass traditional media and earn revenues directly from their audience
  • Established creators like Marc Maron, Adam Carolla and Bill Simmons have seen a resurgence in their career thanks to internet platforms

The expansion of existing platforms and the formation of brand new platforms for work, creativity, communication and fun

  • Etsy
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
  • Patreon
  • WattPad
  • OnlyFans
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • SoundCloud
  • Spotify
  • Substack
  • Twitch
  • RedBubble
  • Discord
  • eBay
  • GarageBand
  • Pinterest
  • Medium
  • Pandora
  • Splice
  • Vsco
  • Canva
  • Vine
  • Snapchat
  • Quora
  • Giphy
  • Wikipedia
  • Kickstarter
  • Goodreads
  • Wayback Machine

The weird and wonderful of the internet

  • Humans of New York
  • “What does the fox say”
  • Flash mobs
  • Songs that went viral, earning revenues for their creators: from Pharrell’s “Happy” and Frozen’s “Let It Go” to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”
  • Crowd-sourced Ratatouille the Musical became a benefit concert raising $2 million for creators hit by the pandemic
  • “The dress”
  • Mannequin challenge and the “Harlem Shake”
  • Artists like Taylor Swift who are releasing songs to capitalize on TikTok trends
  • Social media buzz is the new “word of mouth” marketing, bringing eyes and ears to mainstream content like Ted Lasso and Squid Game
  • More memes than we could count