Congress: Votes for PIPA and SOPA are votes for online censorship

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    Congress: Votes for PIPA and SOPA are votes for online censorship

    Congress is on the verge of handing unprecedented control over how we use the Internet over to a bunch of major corporations, with devastating consequences for our ability to communicate freely and without fear of reprisal.

    Pending legislation would force websites to engage in a tremendous degree of self-censorship to ensure they won’t be subject to serious legal and financial liability.

    Please join us in urging our elected representatives to oppose any bill that suppresses our voices online:

    Here's the letter we'll send to your Senators and Representative on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

    Here is the Petition:

    I urge you to oppose the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA), Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or any future proposed anti-piracy legislation that reduces freedom of expression.

    Despite their sponsors' claims, both PIPA and SOPA would force US websites to engage in significant self-censorship. The threat of prohibitively-expensive legal action, suspension of incoming revenue, and removal from search engine results will cause independent website owners without deep pockets to restrict what they say and do online—and their visitors' user experience—to avoid drawing unwanted attention. PIPA and SOPA additionally put the very existence of sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—which rely wholly on user-generated content—under attack.

    Resisting attacks on freedom of expression and maintaining an open Internet are issues of special and vital concern to African Americans. Black Americans' effective and powerful history of organizing—and victories in gaining freedoms, rights, and respect—has always been dependent on the ability to use the latest technology to communicate and share information. Today, the Internet provides Black Americans with an ability to have our voices heard that is unmatched in any other media platform.

    PIPA and SOPA would rope website administrators into law enforcement to an unprecedented degree, and give corporate entities exceptional power to chill public debate and expression without regard for due process. No amount of legislative tinkering will fix the flawed premise behind PIPA and SOPA: that the Internet should be repurposed from a public good to a surveillance vehicle for corporate benefit.

    I ask you to show leadership and commit to opposing any such legislation that subverts freedom of expression to commercial concerns.


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