A wide variety of progressive organizations that depend on the Internet for activism and the free exchange of ideas have joined the anti-SOPA movement today. Many organizations have blacked out their sites and urged readers to sign petitions opposing the measure. Here's a round-up of some of the progressive entities opposed to SOPA, what they had to say, and what you need to do.
DailyKos — www.DailyKos.com
The largest and most-visited progressive blog took a strong stance against SOPA today, “blacking out” content until visitors signed a petition. To cool red “Stop SOPA” stamp stayed on the page as a reminder. An email to registered users went out from Chris Bowers, stating in part:
Two months ago, under tremendous pressure from lobbyists, Congress was on the brink of passing bad legislation with the potential to destroy the social internet: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
As originally written, these bills gave corporate copyright holders the ability to cut off funding and compel the government to shut down websites they deemed infringing, without the need of a court order. The bills were expected to pass with little opposition, because content industry lobbies like the Motion Picture Association of America are so well-entrenched in Congress.
The letter urged people to write their Senators and urge them to vote NO on PIPA, aka Protect IP. Click here to sign the letter. It's quick and easy.
New Organizing Institute — www.NewOrganizing.com
NOI sent two emails today urging people to oppose SOPA and PIPA because of their threat to online organizing and free speech. In an email, NOI Co-Founder and Executive Director Judith Freeman writes:
When we started NOI in 2006, we wanted to create a place where online organizing could grow and thrive, and where we could teach a new generation of organizers. Since then, online organizing has become a powerful tool for social change, and we're proud of the role we've played in its growth. But these bills have the potential to undo everything so many have worked for.
SOPA and PIPA won't stop online piracy, but they will have a chilling effect on the ability of organizers to engage others online, and undermine the right to free speech on one of the most important and powerful mediums available to everyday Americans. These bills will undermine the internet as we know it.
They are pushing people to sign the PCCC / Reddit petition to Congress to vote against SOPA. Click here to sign. Again, quick, easy, and worth it to avoid losing the Internet you love.
Democracy for America — www.DemocracyforAmerica.com
DFA also joined the effort, providing a quick bullet-point list of why SOPA and PIPA are bad, what DFA has done, and urging people to sign up against it. DFA moved 48 domains away from GoDaddy, which originally had supported SOPA. Public outcry–and more importantly the loss of many, many, many domains to other hosting companies–caused GoDaddy to reverse their position. In an email to users, DFA Technology Director Jase Roberts reminds everyone about the importance of Internet free speech to our political discourse:
The Internet is a place where voices are expressed and grassroots action can begin. The rapid sharing of ideas and the ability to potentially reach a huge audience with nothing but a computer and an Internet connection empowers anyone to let their voice be heard. For now.
The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) attempt to combat the very real issue of online piracy, but take a scattergun approach that could kill free speech and openness across the Internet. Taken to an extreme, this type of legislation could result in political bloggers, news outlets, and even organizations like DFA being silenced because the powers that be don't like our message.
This is not hyperbole. The scale of powers granted in SOPA to Internet service providers, search engines and telecommunications corporations would absolutely shut down the free exchange of ideas that makes the Internet so dynamic and engaging.
Congressman Keith Ellison — www.KeithEllison.org
Last but not least, Minnesota Congressman and stalwart progressive Keith Ellison has blacked out his site today in protest of SOPA. Obviously he's not supporting the bill. A screenshot of his website is to the right. It reads:
Today, Rep. Keith Ellison's campaign website went black in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
“The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act would devastate free speech, Internet innovation, and job creation,” said Rep. Ellison. “I strongly oppose these bills and believe there are better ways to fight piracy without infringing upon Americans' right to free speech.”
Ellison represents Minnesota's 5th District. Want to know more about him, his background, and his progressive record? Check out his Wikipedia page here. Oh wait, you can't.
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