The clock is ticking and the time to act is NOW to STOP SOPA! On Thursday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m. (EST) the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary will meet to markup and potentially vote in committee on H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA. This egregious bill, introduced in October by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), not only threatens the future of the Internet as we know it, it jeopardizes protections currently enjoyed by individual citizens, as well as libraries. The bill has the potential to do significant damage in a number of ways — including the possibility of criminal prosecution of a library for streaming, censorship of internet activity, invasion of privacy rights, and even threatens national cyber security, among others.
With less than 48 hours to markup, what can you do? You can ACT and it’s easy!
- Call your member of Congress — we’re targeting the members of the House Judiciary Committee. However, don’t hesitate to call your own member even if they are not on the committee. The louder and farther the reach of our message at this critical time the better!
- Easy, step-by-step instructions on how to place the call, along with talking points to communicate your position, are all available at the ALA’s Legislative Action Center’s (LAC) special alert titled “Ask your Representative to vote “NO” on SOPA” (Talking points included!)
- Please complete the LAC “feedback” card after you act.
- Tell your colleagues and friends (via email, twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) that you acted to help protect the future of the internet on behalf of libraries and those you use them and forward this message or send them the alert so they can act, too!
Additional Related Information:
- Although a Manger’s Amendment to bill H.R. 3261 (pdf) was submitted on Monday, December 12 by Rep. Smith, the revised language addresses only some of the many significant concerns raised. The ALA had sent a letter to the U.S. House Judiciary leadership raising specific copyright-related concerns on behalf of libraries.
- Late last week Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Wyden (D-OR) introduced draft bill language for the “Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act” or OPEN. In the spirit of openness and transparency, they created a web site www.keepthewebopen.com allowing the public to review the draft text and comment. The ALA, as member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), sent a letter (pdf) thanking the congressmen for the draft bill and for their inclusive public process. (More attention will be devoted in the coming days and weeks to this draft bill language after the markup on SOPA on Thursday!)
- Our friends at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) have done a terrific job collecting the letters to Congress, In the Press and on blogs and the list of organizations and individuals opposing SOPA, if you’d like to track what others are saying.
Calling your U.S. Representative to ask them to vote “NO” on SOPA is easy and an effective way to advocate for libraries and those we serve!
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
American Library Association