The tide was already turning against SOPA before the January 18th Wikipedia blackout. Some questioned whether they should even bother. I’m glad they did. Wikipedia is such an immensely used resource today that it got major media coverage, and I’m convinced SOPA would have been largely ignored without it. Lots of people went to look something up and learned what SOPA was for the first time. Some didn’t even bother to read the message. But for the most part, I think the willingness of Wikipedia, and to a lesser extend several other websites, to turn off service for a day garnered more attention for a tech policy issue than has been seen for quite awhile. I applaud them all for it.
Everyone has their issues that are important to them, and for very large fraction of the US population, tech policy is not one of them. I wish it would rise to be something more than a niche issue for nerds. Maybe someday soon.
Sidenote: There were lots of jokes in the media that day about people going to look up random useless trivia, such as the name of somebody in the Cantina band in Star Wars. Wikipedia is a legit information source. When was the last time you pulled out letter “C” of Encylopaedia Britannica? I think most people would agree with me here, but a lot of them publicly make fun of it, or are in denial. I don’t quite get it.