Last week Coasta Concordia, an Italian cruise ship carrying 4,200 passengers, ran aground and capsized off the coast of Giglio in the Mediterranean Sea. According to Francesco Schettino, the ship’s captain, the decision to send the cruise ship barreling towards the coast at high speed with no time to change heading or to prepare passengers for a collision was made as part of the ongoing protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA. In what many have called “a pretty inconvenient week” millions of students and thousands of cruise passengers found themselves cut off from essential services including Wikipedia, Boing Boing, and safety on the Coasta Concordia.

Meredith Wilkins, a Coasta Concordia survivor explained her experience. “No one saw it coming. We’d had discussions about how it was too big to fail, how it was to important to ever go down, how too many people depended on it. We were wrong. I’ve been through a lot of traumatic experiences–I was even on that cruise ship that ran aground, but nothing compares to the feeling I had when I tried to access Wikipedia only to see a black screen. It was like my whole world was turned upside down and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it.”

“People think SOPA is harmless, but we’ve seen time and time again that’s simply not true,” remarked Captain Schettino, as he nursed a beer and tried fruitlessly to access megaupload.com. “We saw last week that SOPA is a threat to commerce—just look—it caused a ship with over 4,200 passengers to sink.  It’s time for America to realize SOPA just won’t work.”

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