I’ve gotten plenty of questions about what my plans were for SOPA/PIPA Protest Day. No one asked about what my feelings are regarding SOPA/PIPA, because that would be stupid. SOPA and PIPA are both awful, absurd laws, and if either of them come to pass Topless Robot will be shut down and I will be immediately out of my job. Based on the laws as they currently stand, every single article I wrote today — because of a quote, picture or video I ran — would be an illegal use of copyrighted material. Yet shutting Topless Robot and sites like it down does nothing to stop actual online piracy, which is what these bills are purportedly trying to stop.
I never considered shutting down TR for the day — please remember this is a Village Voice Media site, and I have bosses who make that call — but also because no member of government is going to notice if TR goes black (that I know of). Wikipedia, sure, but not TR. It’s the same thing as changing your Twitter avatar or writing an angry blog post — it lets other people know you don’t approve of SOPA, which is nice, but it doesn’t actually change anything.
What actually changes things is by contacting the Senators and Representatives who are ostensibly representing our interests in government and telling them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and they should too. Call them. Email them. Tweet them. Let them see how many people — their constituents — disapprove of these bills. Tell them how the bill will affect you adversely. Remind them that the government is supposed to protect our freedoms, not limit them.
Wikipedia has set it up where you can enter your zip code and get the contact information for your Senators and Representatives, phone numbers, emails, Twitter handles and more. If you want to make a difference, this is the way to do it. I’m asking you, personally, to take a few minutes and directly let the people who are making this decision know how you feel. Because it’s not just my job that’s at stake — it’s a great deal more.