SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are bills before Congress and unattractive near-cousins. One is in the House (the more brutal of the pair) and the other is in the Senate. Both would end the Internet as we know it, in roughly the same way.
(For a backgrounder on why this is true, click here; there's a handy brief video for your perusal.)
The world of "greedy bastards" — Dylan Ratigan's elegant phrase for the Top 0.1% — loves these bills. The world of "increased state security" also loves them.
Geeks are generally opposed (though GoDaddy managed to step in it with their own support). Also on the opposition side are lots of Internet sites that feature user-content, everything from Reddit to Facebook to YouTube to DailyKos.
We'll let you make up your own mind — but don't wait too long; Big Money is racing to get these bills passed.
ACTION OPPORTUNITY — If you do decide to oppose these bills, here are a few things you can do.
1. You can contact companies and organizations that support these bills. The full list is here, along with contact info (h/t Gizmodo). There are some obvious entries (ASCAP, Comcast/NBC) you'll never sway — though don't let that stop you if you're so inclined. But there are also some interesting vulnerables. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Estée Lauder Companies: (212) 572-4200A lot of these folks have IP "content" — the NFL, for example — but also fan vulnerability.
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
Go Daddy: (480) 505-8800
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW): (202) 833-7000
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Union of Police Associations
L'Oreal: (212) 818-1500
Major League Baseball
Marvel Entertainment: (212) 576-4000
MasterCard Worldwide: (800) 622-7747
Minor League Baseball (MiLB)
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Crime Justice Association
National District Attorneys Association: (703) 549-9222
National Domestic Preparedness Coalition
National Football League
National Governors Association, Economic Development and Commerce Committee
National League of Cities
National Narcotics Offers' Associations' Coalition
National Sheriffs' Association (NSA)
The United States Conference of Mayors: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany & Co.
And what about the unions (IBEW, Fraternal Order of Police)? Also, why do organizations like the Sheriff's Association care about IP law? A little something extra in the retirement-fund Christmas basket? Or maybe groups like these just haven't heard from the rest of us.
Given who's on this list, I'm kind of waiting for the Catholic Bishops to weigh in.
2. My personal favorite way to complain — call these so-called "progressive" Senators. They're not just supporters; they're co-sponsors:
Sherrod Brown [OH] – (202) 224-2315We'll be watching this closely, along with a great many others. This law really matters.
Al Franken [D-MN] – (202) 224-5641
Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] – (202) 224-4451
Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] – (202) 224-3244
Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI] – (202) 224-2921