January 18: Let’s Stop SOPA By Focusing Our Efforts on Congress

In the last two days, a tidal wave of SOPA opponents have come out of the woodwork and found their targets: the companies officially supporting the act.

Ever since Congress released a list of corporations supporting the legislation, the Internet has been in a frenzy. GoDaddy has taken the brunt of the criticism. It started with ICanHazCheeseburger’s Ben Huh declaring that they would transfer their domains from GoDaddy if it didn’t withdraw its support of SOPA, but hundreds — if not thousands — of people are now transferring their domains (update: GoDaddy has withdrawn its support of SOPA).

That’s not all. Y Combinator will no longer allow SOPA-supporting companies to attend YC Demo Day (say goodbye to Comcast Ventures) and thousands of people are attacking the long list of companies supporting SOPA.

Focusing our attention on these companies is a waste a time, though. We are wasting our precious energy and resources on these corporations when we really should be doubling down our efforts on getting people to call, email and snail mail their Congressman.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (and its sister Senate legislation PIPA) have good intentions, but it is a flawed bill that inadvertently goes against the foundations of an open and free Internet. (The Verge has a great summary of SOPA if you are not up-to-speed.)

There are far better ways to fight piracy than SOPA.

Our goal is simple: to stop SOPA and PIPA from reaching the President’s desk. To that end, let’s put some real pressure on the congressional leaders trying to push this bill through.

You may think that contacting your Congressman doesn’t work, but trust me: it does. I used to work for the House of Representatives. I know first-hand what impact jamming the phone lines has on a Congressman looking to get re-elected.

So here is my proposal:

On Wednesday, January 18, when Congress is back in session, we the people shall send a massive wave of emails, phone calls and letters to the following people:

  • Your local House representative. You can find the phone number and website for your representative here.
  • The 31 cosponsors of SOPA. The bill will die if they back down. Here is the full list of cosponsors of the bill.

Clog their phone lines. Fill their inboxes. Make your voices heard.

We are setting up a website now to facilitate this effort and drum up much-needed attention against this bill. We need your help, though. Please send an email to me at ben[at]benparr[dot]com if you want to volunteer to help run the site.

Together, we can stop SOPA. Together, we can protect free speech and the open web.

~ Ben

Image courtesy of Law Blog Law