For Immediate Release:
David Moon, Moon@DemandProgress.org and (202) 427-7966
Washington, DC — More than 70 tech firms from across the web and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum asking urging their users and members to contact Congress and urge members to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). SOPA is scheduled for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee this Thursday at 10AM.
Internet users can contact Congress by visiting AmericanCensorship.org. To give Americans a sense of what the Internet would be like if SOPA passes, any Internet user can use a tool there to “censor” parts of their emails and posts to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or other websites. To ‘uncensor’ the post, their friends and readers must visit AmericanCensorship.org and contact their own members of Congress. Here’s a sample ‘censored’ post.
To underscore the negative impact SOPA would have on economic growth and innovation, people who are employed by web-related companies — and people who earn income blogging, selling items online, or otherwise make a living by using the Internet — are encouraged to post photos of themselves to IWorkForTheInternet.org. Just a few hours after the site’s launch last evening, more than 1,000 people had done so.
SOPA would kill tech jobs and stifle innovation, undermine cybersecurity, censor the Internet in America, and give comfort to foreign regimes that seek to censor the Internet in order to undermine political speech and dissent. If it passes, social networking sites would need to police their users’ content more aggressively, sites would be shut down with negligible due process, and people could be jailed for posting copyrighted content (like background music and karaoke videos). This New York Times op-ed serves as a good primer on the bill’s failings.
According to Demand Progress executive director David Segal, “This week is do or die: If SOPA passes through committee, House leadership can call for a full vote at any time. But if we can beat it this week, there’s a good chance it’ll be gone for good. Anybody who cherishes a free, secure Internet — and the economic development and benefit to our democracy that come with it — needs to call Congress right away.”
Participating sites include Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla, Union Square Ventures, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Public Knowledge, MoveOn, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wikimedia, the Free Software Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and dozens of others. They include the groups that drove more than two million contacts to Congress through last month’s “American Censorship Day” effort, and many more.