I hope SOPA passes.

Update (01-20-12): MPAA caught lying.
Update (01-23-12): Boycott poll added.
Update (01-30-12): Boycotts matter: the companies respond...

Because that's exactly what we need to wake up from this slumbering, do-nothing, "occupy everything," stagnant, non-action slump we Americans are in.

"Protest schemes that don't cost the participants any inconvenience, hardship or money remain the most popular, despite their ineffectiveness."
-Snopes

We're a country where people think that...

  • Boycotting gas for a day makes a difference. It doesn't. Delaying when you buy gas by a day only broadcasts your intentions to oil speculators so they can profit. And the oil still gets purchased a day before or after anyway.

  • Neurotically recycling every single shred of garbage in your home makes a difference. It doesn't. Even if you, your neighbors, and everyone you've ever met recycled everything and reduced your waste output to zero, it wouldn't even make an observable impact on overall waste production in the world. Household waste and garden residue account for less than 3% of all waste produced in the US. That's less than the average statistical margin of error, and most people don't even come close to producing zero waste.

  • Changing your profile picture on Facebook will get people to: A) stop abusing kids B) stop molesting kids C) stop killing kids and D) do anything.

  • Signing an online petition, or changing the front page of your website to protest SOPA will fix anything.

SOPA is the "Stop Online Piracy Act." It's a shitty piece of legislation put together by puppetmaster lobbyists and politician puppets who don't know IP addresses from their assholes. My problem with this huge online protest against SOPA, and the reason I rarely take part in such protests, is because it doesn't address any problems, only the symptom. The problem isn't this shitty bill, it's the people who sponsored it. So we protest this bill today, bang enough pots and pans to shame a few backers into not letting this bill pass, then what? Those same dipshits who wrote this legislation still have jobs. They're going to try again and again, until some mutation of this legislation passes. They'll sneak it into an appropriation bill while nobody's looking during recess, because there's too much lobbyist money at stake for them not to. We defeat SOPA today, only to face it again tomorrow. It's like trying to stop a cold by blowing your nose. It's time we go after the virus.

There have been many bills attempted (and some passed) like SOPA before it. There's the DMCA act of 1998, PRO-IP Act of 2008, the 2011 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and now the PROTECT IP Act of 2012. Think this victory means anything? A new bill gets introduced every year or two like clockwork. Check back in a few years, and there'll be another SOPA or Protect IP Act being squeezed down the lower intestinal tracts of congress. And then what? We black out our websites again like a merry band of idiots?

Raising awareness is a great way of feeling good about yourself without actually doing anything. Be honest with yourself:

How much do you care about SOPA?

Would you be willing to:

  • Take time off work to go down to Washington DC?

  • Boycott companies that supported it?

  • Knock on this dickhead's door and ask him why he introduced such shitty legislation?


    Lamar Smith (R-TX)

  • Make sure none of these losers get elected ever again?

    Harry Reid (D-NV)
    Howard Berman (D-CA)
    Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
    Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)
    Steve Chabot (R-OH)
    John Conyers (D-MI)
    Ted Deutch (D-FL)
    Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
    Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
    Timothy Griffin (R-AR)
    Dennis A. Ross (R-FL)
    Adam Schiff (D-CA)
    Lee Terry (R-NE)

Because until or unless you do, all the loud clamoring isn't going to change shit. If you think it's too severe a punishment to fire these jackasses over this bill, then consider the fact that politicians who supported this piece of legislation either:

  1. Supported it knowing its full implications, despite the fact that it would introduce security risks, hurt the economy, innovation and jobs and would lead to censorship.

  2. Or that they supported the bill not knowing the full implications of this legislation, which means that they're ignorant, and they shouldn't have their jobs anyway.

As of this writing, enough of you whined and got your way. Great, you stopped SOPA.

It needs to get worse before it gets better. We need a really shitty piece of legislation like SOPA in this country to be the spark that ignites the lazy, idle tinders of protest. It's not uncommon or even controversial to say that Washington is corrupt. It doesn't cause anyone to bat an eye when you say it in public, with Republicans, Democrats or "other." That's a problem. We need SOPA to wake the sleeping giant in this country. It could have been our generation's Rodney King verdict. Instead of blacking out our websites, what we need to do is dismantle the system that created this bullshit. Enough is enough.

Instead of changing your Facebook icon to an anti-SOPA image for a day or two, here's something you can do that might make a real difference: boycott the companies that supported this legislation. There are too many to boycott all of them effectively, so I propose we pick two or three, hit them, and hit them hard. Punish them for putting their interests above ours. Hitting them in the wallet should send a message. I've highlighted the most difficult ones to boycott in red. The companies with the biggest return for our boycott are in yellow. Update (01-20-12): The list below is generated by Wikipedia and updated daily. I will create a poll for the most common suggestions I've received through email soon. The more we inconvenience ourselves, the more impact the boycott will have:

***Note: This list is updated daily and pulled from Wikipedia. If there are any inaccuracies on this list, update them here.

The companies in red aren't impossible to boycott, just a lot more difficult because of their size. For example, you'd probably have to spend an hour of research every week just to make sure you weren't supporting a Viacom property if you chose to boycott them, and a boycott fewer than a few million strong probably won't matter to a company as large as Viacom. The companies in yellow stand a chance of getting some significant fallout from a boycott. There are a number of publishers on this list, including my own publisher. If the consensus I get from readers is that we should boycott publishers, I'll support the boycott even though it hurts me. However, publishing companies traditionally haven't gone after piracy as blindly and bone-headedly as the MPAA and RIAA, so there are more deserving targets. Update (01-19-12): they don't.

Which companies do you think deserve the boycott for SOPA? How would you propose we solve the problem that doesn't involve changing your Facebook profile picture? Email me. I'll update this site with a list. Keep it to the list of supporters. Updates soon.

Update (01-20-12):

So while snooping around on the Judiciary Committee's website yesterday, I came across an interesting article: a letter from the MPAA to the Judiciary, in which they made the economic case for why SOPA has to pass. Only problem is, they lied:

Sources:
[1]
Original letter to Judiciary Committee
[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics - Motion Picture & Video Industries
[3] ComputerWorld jobs report

So where did they get their "2 million" jobs figure? Well, I did some more research and found the most likely culprit: the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 2 million jobs for a category called "Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation." Except those stats include amusement parks and recreation industries (59% of which have service jobs--cooks, bartenders, waiters, amusement attendants, etc), and those numbers include workers in "gambling industries, museums, spectator sports," and "promoters." In fact, only 2.6% of the category is comprised of anything even remotely related to film and television: independent artists, writers, and performers. Source.

Update (01-23-12):

Here's a poll for which company or companies you think the boycott would be most effective for. I received a lot of email from people saying "why not Viacom / CBS / Visa, etc?" The reason is because those companies are colossal. A boycott short of tens of millions of people would be meaningless. Plus they have many subsidiaries that don't support SOPA. If you wanted to boycott Visa, for example, you'd have to boycott all companies that use Visa, which are almost all companies. It's more effective to choose a few, and focus our efforts on them so the boycott is felt:

What's our goal?

A boycott is only effective if it has a goal, and our goal is, either:

  1. The company stops supporting SOPA.

  2. Or the company goes out of business.

Is this effective? Well, a company supporting SOPA is like a corporate lottery pool. If they hit the jackpot, they get their way and can meddle with the Internet endlessly, bending and twisting the rules to shut down sites no matter how innocuous they may be. But if the penalty for supporting the legislation is that a few of them go out of business, it would serve as a powerful deterrant to other companies supporting shitty legislation like this in the future. That's why it's important to pick a few of the small or middle-sized companies. It's like a lottery that you can join, but there's a 1-2% chance that you'll get killed by joining. Would you do it? Maybe, but if there's a chance that it could end your existence, you'd think twice. If SOPA loses support of the smaller companies, all that's left are the bigger ones, and we can effectively boycott them in the future if the targets are few and our efforts are focused enough.

If a company is chosen that you personally have no affiliation with (such as ESPN or L'Oreal), choose a company that does matter to you and boycott them instead.

Don't stay silent.

Boycotts need to be heard. Contact the company you're boycotting once you've made your decision, and let them know that you won't shop with them ever again until they stop supporting this shitty legislation. Make sure they know that their drop in business is attributed to their corporate political behavior. Send me the response you get from the company (if any).

Update (01-30-12):

Boycotts matter:

Since many of you pledged to boycott some of the companies on the list, a few of them responded to you. Here's what they had to say about their backing of SOPA:

Rite-Aid:

To Rite Aid:

I'm aware that Rite-Aid supports the SOPA. I promise to make sure to always shop elsewhere before going to the rite-aid across my street.


From Rite Aid:

From: Inquiry Account inquiry@riteaid.com
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Subject: RE: Customer Service Contact Form

Roger,

Rite Aid has not taken a position in support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261); however, we have joined with responsible companies across the country to call for action to protect consumers from rogue internet sites that offer counterfeit and potentially dangerous products, including counterfeit medicines.

Corey
Customer Support

Disney:

To Disney:

Dear Disney, I regret to inform you that due to your recent and historical support for legislation such the Stop Online Piracy Act that I will no longer be purchasing nor viewing any Disney content until such a time as I feel you have stopped your support for this kind of legislation. As a young man about to begin a family, I also inform you that due to your selfish and short-sighted acts, that my future children will also never experience "the magic of Disney" as you put it.

This type of censorship will never accomplish anything other than quash originality and free thinking. I find it hypocritical that Disney is so anti-piracy yet the legal disclaimer to send this message reads as:

"Legal Restrictions: By submitting comments and suggestions you waive all rights to them and make them available for unrestricted commercial use"

Just because you put this in a disclaimer doesn't make it right to use ideas that are not yours. What, people need the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball, but its alright for Disney to write a couple sentences to rip people off?


From Disney:

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 06:41:23 -0800
From: guest.services@disneystore.com
Subject: Re: General Comments

Dear Lorenzo,

Thank you for your recent email and your candid feedback.

We appreciate the fact that you took the time to convey your thoughts to us and truly value everyone's perspective. Your feedback will be forwarded on to management for review. The Walt Disney Company prides itself in providing quality entertainment and merchandise for all and we will continue to make every effort towards achieving that goal.

We look forward to future opportunities to meet or exceed your
expectations.

Arie
Have A Magical Day!!!!!

Dell:

To Dell:

Hello there, I've been informed that that Dell, Apple and Toshiba are supporters of the SOPA bill. Pretty upset since I've been a Dell user for the last 8 years of my life. I promise that I will no longer purchase any more new Dell products any longer, it hurts because I know that Dell gives me the best quality per dollar ratio. This Dell 600m laptop doesn't have much life left, 7 years it lasted, longer than any other laptop I've ever known, so quality isn't the issue at all, but next laptop and/or printer is going to have to be a used Dell or a new HP until they do something that really pisses me off.


From Dell:

From: Michael Dell [Note: this is the CEO of Dell]
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM
Subject: RE: SOPA support

Where did you hear this? Can you show me any evidence of it?

Michael

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers, took the time to respond to a SOPA inquiry personally. That was cool of him, and it seems from his email that his company does not support the SOPA legislation. This email raises an important issue: boycott responsibly. Make sure the companies you boycott are in fact supporting SOPA or other, similar legislation (for example, ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which is being pushed hard now that SOPA has become toxic legislation). Many websites, including mine, used a published list that was outdated and not maintained properly, so the list on this page is now generated by Wikipedia. Keep the boycotts going, and make sure to email the companies you boycott to let them know. Make it painful for you, and make it count. I know ESPN and Disney are two of the companies ranked highest on the poll, but boycotting ESPN is almost pointless because they're too huge to care. A boycott won't be felt by larger companies. If you boycott Disney, make the boycott targeted. The email above is a good example: boycotting the Disney store may make a difference. Keep the responses coming.

1,389,610 people think stopping SOPA will change anything.

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