Twelve years ago, internet users spoke up with one voice to reject a law that would build censorship into the internet at a fundamental level. This week, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), a group that represents six giant movie and TV studios, announced that it hoped we’d all forgotten how dangerous this idea was. The MPA is wrong. We remember, and the internet remembers.

What the MPA wants is the power to block entire websites, everywhere in the U.S., using the same tools as repressive regimes like China and Russia. To it, instances of possible copyright infringement should be played like a trump card to shut off our access to entire websites, regardless of the other legal speech hosted there. It is not simply calling for the ability to take down instances of infringement—a power they already have, without even having to ask a judge—but for the keys to the internet. Building new architectures of censorship would hurt everyone, and doesn’t help artists.

The bills known as SOPA/PIPA would have created a new, rapid path for copyright holders like the major studios to use court orders against sites they accuse of infringing copyright. Internet service providers (ISPs) receiving one of those orders would have to block all of their customers from accessing the identified websites. The orders would also apply to domain name registries and registrars, and potentially other companies and organizations that make up the internet’s basic infrastructure. To comply, all of those would have to build new infrastructure dedicated to site-blocking, inviting over-blocking and all kinds of abuse that would censor lawful and important speech.

In other words, the right to choose what websites you visit would be taken away from you and given to giant media companies and ISPs. And the very shape of the internet would have to be changed to allow it.

In 2012, it seemed like SOPA/PIPA, backed by major corporations used to getting what they want from Congress, was on the fast track to becoming law. But a grassroots movement of diverse Internet communities came together to fight it. Digital rights groups like EFF, Public Knowledge, and many more joined with editor communities from sites like Reddit and Wikipedia to speak up. Newly formed grassroots groups like Demand Progress and Fight for the Future added their voices to those calling out the dangers of this new form of censorship. In the final days of the campaign, giant tech companies like Google and Facebook (now Meta) joined in opposition as well.

What resulted was one of the biggest protests ever seen against a piece of legislation. Congress was flooded with calls and emails from ordinary people concerned about this steamroller of censorship. Members of Congress raced one another to withdraw their support for the bills. The bills died, and so did site blocking legislation in the US. It was, all told, a success story for the public interest.

Even the MPA, one of the biggest forces behind SOPA/PIPA, claimed to have moved on. But we never believed it, and they proved us right time and time again. The MPA backed site-blocking laws in other countries. Rightsholders continued to ask US courts for site-blocking orders, often winning them without a new law. Even the lobbying of Congress for a new law never really went away. It’s just that today, with MPA president Charles Rivkin openly calling on Congress “to enact judicial site-blocking legislation here in the United States,” the MPA is taking its mask off.

Things have changed since 2012. Tech platforms that were once seen as innovators have become behemoths, part of the establishment rather than underdogs. The Silicon Valley-based video streamer Netflix illustrated this when it joined MPA in 2019. And the entertainment companies have also tried to pivot into being tech companies. Somehow, they are adopting each other’s worst aspects.

But it’s important not to let those changes hide the fact that those hurt by this proposal are not Big Tech but regular internet users. Internet platforms big and small are still where ordinary users and creators find their voice, connect with audiences, and participate in politics and culture, mostly in legal—and legally protected—ways. Filmmakers who can’t get a distribution deal from a giant movie house still reach audiences on YouTube. Culture critics still reach audiences through zines and newsletters. The typical users of these platforms don’t have the giant megaphones of major studios, record labels, or publishers. Site-blocking legislation, whether called SOPA/PIPA, “no fault injunctions,” or by any other name, still threatens the free expression of all of these citizens and creators.

No matter what the MPA wants to claim, this does not help artists. Artists want their work seen, not locked away for a tax write-off. They wanted a fair deal, not nearly five months of strikes. They want studios to make more small and midsize films and to take a chance on new voices. They have been incredibly clear about what they want, and this is not it.

Even if Rivkin’s claim of an “unflinching commitment to the First Amendment” was credible from a group that seems to think it has a monopoly on free expression—and which just tried to consign the future of its own artists to the gig economy—a site-blocking law would not be used only by Hollywood studios. Anyone with a copyright and the means to hire a lawyer could wield the hammer of site-blocking. And here’s the thing: we already know that copyright claims are used as tools of censorship.

The notice-and-takedown system created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, for example, is abused time and again by people who claim to be enforcing their copyrights, and also by folks who simply want to make speech they don’t like disappear from the Internet. Even without a site-blocking law, major record labels and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement shut down a popular hip hop music blog and kept it off the internet for over a year without ever showing that it infringed copyright. And unscrupulous characters use accusations of infringement to extort money from website owners, or even force them into carrying spam links.

This censorious abuse, whether intentional or accidental, is far more damaging when it targets the internet’s infrastructure. Blocking entire websites or groups of websites is imprecise, inevitably bringing down lawful speech along with whatever was targeted. For example, suits by Microsoft intended to shut down malicious botnets caused thousands of legitimate users to lose access to the domain names they depended on. There is, in short, no effective safeguard on a new censorship power that would be the internet’s version of police seizing printing presses.

Even if this didn’t endanger free expression on its own, once new tools exist, they can be used for more than copyright. Just as malfunctioning copyright filters were adapted into the malfunctioning filters used for “adult content” on tumblr, so can means of site blocking. The major companies of a single industry should not get to dictate the future of free speech online.

Why the MPA is announcing this now is anyone’s guess. They might think no one cares anymore. They’re wrong. Internet users rejected site blocking in 2012 and they reject it today.