Congress may still be on break, but the fights against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act are far from over.
SOPA is the proposal that The Atlantic calls a symbol of the movie industry’s failure to innovate.” It will return when the Judiciary Committee comes back to session January 24. And a similar proposal is coming back to life at the same time: the PROTECT IP Act (also known by the acronym-of-an-acronym PIPA), is due for a vote, likely following 30 hours of cloture that Senator Ron Wyden and others have promised to filibuster through on January 23-24. It would need only 19 more Senators to override that filibuster on top of its existing 41 co-sponsors.
PROTECT IP was introduced in the Senate last May before SOPA was introduced in the House in October. The December amendment to SOPA makes them quite similar. The more than one million Americans who have expressed opposition to the two bills have had their pleas fall largely on deaf ears.
More than 400 organizations supporting the bills, including a lot of geek favorites. But you might have to reconsider what companies you support if your resolutions involved not only TV and movies, but wearing makeup, buying jewellery, or getting in shape. A sampling of the list of supporters includes:
– Beachbody, LLC
– Comcast/NBC Universal
– Creative America
– Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.
– EMI Music Publishing
– Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
– Estée Lauder Companies
– Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
– HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, Inc.
– Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)
– International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
– Major League Baseball
– Marvel Entertainment, LLC
– MCA Records
– Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
– National Domestic Preparedness Coalition
– National Football League
– Pearson Education
– Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
– Pfizer, Inc.
– Random House
– Scholastic, Inc.
– Sony Music Entertainment
– Tiffany & Co.
– Time Warner
– True Religion Brand Jeans
– United States Olympic Committee
– United States Tennis Association
– Universal Music
– Warner Music Group
But not to fear. There are also several vocal geek favorites in opposition:
- Epic Games
- I’ve seen references to Valve being openly opposed to SOPA, but haven’t found a statement
- Many, many great websites and Internet companies, including Boing Boing, Reddit, MetaFilter, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, foursquare, and others that you can see in the long list of organizations and individuals from a wide variety of fields and interests who oppose SOPA
Then there are some like CAPCOM, which can’t quite decide which side of the line it wants to stand on.
If you’re a Chrome user, there are a few extensions you can install to keep an eye on SOPA supporters in your daily browsing:
- No SOPA notifies you when you visit the site of a company that supports SOPA. A red bar will appear at the top of the page alerting you. The extension is licensed under GPLv3, and contributions are welcome at https://github.com/webster/NoSOPA.
- Protest SOPA is a similar extension that notifies you if the domain you’re visiting belongs to a soPA-supporting company.
- SOPA Lens intends to “crowdsource ‘flagging’ of potentially infringing websites and lets users know how at-risk their favorite sites are.”
But don’t consider these the bottom line. I briefly declared eternal allegiance to DC Comics on Twitter when I saw that Marvel was on the list of supporters, but not DC. Then I realized that DC is owned by Warner Brothers, which is owned by Time Warner, which is on the list. Lesson: don’t forget to follow the chain of corporate ownership if you have a specific question.
Then what to do? Contact your Congressperson now to express how you feel. Personally. SOPA Track can help you find out who those people are. And if I missed any anti-SOPA/PIPA companies that should be added to the list above, let me know in the comments.