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:
- 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.
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:
- 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)
As of this writing, enough of you whined and got your way. Great, you stopped SOPA.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- The company stops supporting SOPA.
- Or the company goes out of business.
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. Tweet
1,386,854 people think stopping SOPA will change anything.
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