Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grassroots vs. Lobby Money: Who will win the SOPA Fight?

Today is an important day for the internet. Websites such as Google, Wikipedia, and several others are protesting H.R. 3261 or Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and S.968 Preventing
Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft Property Act of 2011 (PIPA).

These are two bills that civil liberty groups, internet companies, and citizens have charged as an example of a strong lobbying effort by a particular group, this case Hollywood and the music industry, to solve a problem without regard to possible implications. An article from CNET does a great job outlining the current conflict.

The movie and music industry are backing SOPA and PIPA heavily with lobbyists and money, Google and others have decided to mobilize a massive grassroots network on their websites. Google has added a link on its home page for users to contact his or her representatives and Wikipedia has completely blacked out its website with a message to its users.

For those cynics who believe that ONLY money dictates what happens in Washington D.C., this massive grassroots effort may halt congress from passing either SOPA or PIPA. If the bills are halted, then there are some serious lessons that we as advocates can learn from this grassroots effort.Regardless of which side of the issue you stand, this is an important issue that you should weigh in on and contact your member of congress.

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