On Wednesday January 18 2012 I joined many webmasters and mistresses (does anyone use those archaic titles on the inter-webs anymore?) in blacking out my blog blastedgoat in protest of censorship proposed in the SOPA and PIPA bills.
I signed the reddit/PCCC petition to Congress…
PETITION TO CONGRESS: Don’t let big corporations use lobbyists and government regulations to censor the Internet and block innovators from inventing the next reddit, YouTube, or Google. Protect free speech and innovation online.
After you sign, you’ll get activism emails from the PCCC — including informing you when your representatives will vote on this horrible bill.
What I included with the petition: I have been using the internet since I turned thirteen and have made countless websites with various companies. What we need is education and comprehensive copyright laws including protection for fair use and creative commons users. This will not stop piracy it will stop people like me from having a voice. I am being ignored by Chuck Grassley of Iowa and I am tired of having my voice silenced. I have never used reddit but rest assured I will now. I will support those sites and politicians who support my right to free speech. Thank you!
I got this email in response:
Yesterday, we held a briefing for congressional staff about the bill that would stifle online innovation and free speech.
A whopping 200 Democratic and Republican staffers crowded the room and thousands of people watched online!
Plus, the top House Republican working on the pro-Internet side of this issue (Darrell Issa) dropped by, thanked us for our work, and accepted the petition — signed by you and over 155,000 others!
Can you take the next step and call your members of Congress — Representative Bruce Braley and Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin — and tell them you oppose this bill? Click here for the number and a script.
(Then, share the petition on Facebook. You can also watch our briefing here.)
Today, you’ve probably seen that tech giants like Craigslist and Wikipedia blacked out their sites in protest of the anti-Internet bill in Congress.
In solidarity, we are blocking our site too — and so have over 340 PCCC members who own small businesses or websites! And we’re flooding congressional phone lines right now.
We’ll keep up the pressure so Congress hears our voices. If you haven’t already, please call your members of Congress today.
— Jason Rosenbaum, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Michael Snook, and the PCCC team
P.S. If you have a website, click here for directions on blacking-out your site today
I got 67 views on the 18th and each of those people (hopefully) saw this message in lue of the page they were looking for…
I used the contact information I got from Wikipedia’s protest page to contact the government officials in my state.
I contacted these guys, the first one (Harkin) never got back to me in any way… Bruce Braley spoke out against the bills and Chuck Grassley is a total ass. I have the screencaps to prove it… See the end of this entry!
Senator Harkin > Contact Tom
Contact Senator Grassley
I got this response back from Chuck (Chuck.Grassley@grassley.senate.gov)
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you.
In your correspondence you expressed concerns with H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). H.R. 3261 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith on October 26, 2011 and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A hearing was held on SOPA on November 16, 2011, and the House Judiciary Committee started mark up of the bill in December but has not completed action.
In your correspondence, you also expressed concerns with S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act). This legislation aims to crack down on rogue foreign internet websites that are dedicated to the sale of infringing or counterfeit goods. It will provide law enforcement with additional tools to stop websites that engage in the online distribution and sale of pirated content and counterfeit goods. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 968 by voice vote on May 26, 2011. S. 968 now needs to be considered on the Senate floor. Majority Leader Reid has scheduled a vote to proceed to the bill for January 24, 2012.
Protecting intellectual property rights is crucial to promoting innovation, creating jobs, and advancing economic growth. You should know that while I strongly believe in property rights and the need to fight online infringement, I do not want to do harm to the internet, the Constitution, or the ability of businesses to grow and innovate. I’m concerned about provisions in the bill that could adversely impact cybersecurity and the First Amendment, and result in abusive litigation. These are important issues that need to be addressed. I am committed to trying to resolve these issues, and I believe the legislative process should be slowed down to make sure that Congress works on a bill that protects intellectual property while maintaining the freedoms provided by the Constitution. In fact, I sent a letter with five other Judiciary Committee Republicans expressing concerns with the bill and urging more time to address these concerns in a responsible and deliberative manner. Unfortunately the Majority Leader denied that request.
Rest assured, I will keep your views in mind as we proceed on this bill.
Again, I appreciate your input. Please keep in touch!
I sent this message to Bruce Braley:
I want to know where you stand on SOPA and PIPA, two bills that are being proposed that would inhibit the free exchange of ideas on the internet. As a recent college graduate looking for a job I use the internet to experience the world (with little money or time for travel) and get all of my news from a free and open internet. Can you guarantee that you will do what is in your power to protect our right to free speech by pushing to get these bills off the table once and for all? I have censored my personal website today to show my opinion of SOPA and PIPA and this is the first time I have ever contacted a member of government. For poor and working citizens the internet was one place equality seemed more possible. I never thought I would see the day I would have to stand up and defend it but without it I would be cut off from my family, friends and every bit of news save the radio as I can’t even afford cable in this economy. Thank you for your service to our state and I hope you will take the time to consider my opinion and stand with everyone who is protesting these bills today.
He responded to my comments via his contact form and on Facebook.
As someone who’s expressed concern over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), I thought you’d be interested to know my position on the bill.
I am strongly opposed to SOPA. Hundreds of Iowans have contacted me regarding this bill and I get it. SOPA is a flawed bill that would stifle innovation and has serious technical faults that would not effectively combat online piracy. America’s great strength has always been innovation built on the open exchange of ideas, and I believe that limiting that free exchange will stifle technological progress and put our nation at a competitive disadvantage. While I am still committed to combating online piracy, SOPA is not the bill to do it. I appreciate your input on this issue, and I’ve heard you loud and clear. I will be voting no on SOPA if it comes to the House floor.
Thanks again for contacting me. I occasionally provide electronic updates on issues I think my constituents might be interested in. If you would like to receive my E-newsletter, please sign up at my website at http://braley.house.gov. On my website you can also view my voting record, and get information about issues important to the First District. If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Member of Congress
Note: Please do not reply directly to this e-mail. To better serve the constituents of the First District, I have posted a Feedback Form on my website. If you need to contact me with any concerns, please click the following link and I will respond shortly (http://braley.house.gov/Contact/).
Here are a few of the comments I saw floating around Facebook and more screenshots of the blackout. The war for the internet is just beginning but together we can protect the instant transfer of ideas by not taking what we have for granted. New technology is great but it can only be as great as the person who uses it. Don’t be in such a rush to control a market or put out a product that you forget what innovation requires, freedom of thought and freedom to share those thoughts with the universe.