In the past few days, the alarm has been sounded in the technology community for us to help defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This legislation, while well-intentioned, is crafted in such a way that it would give private companies the power to shut down other private companies, and require the government and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to initiate a system for DNS blocking and domain seizure. The law’s vague language and powerful provisions combine to create a law that has the power to shut down sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – or more realistically, the next generation of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s real.
A number of technology companies are banding together to defeat this legislation. Mozilla is one of those companies. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SOPA, which I had the privilege of attending along with James Socol and Alex Fowler. Following the hearing, James and I paid visits to several members of the Judiciary Committee, meeting with a number of staffers and talking about Mozilla’s (and our personal) opposition to this bill. It was a great experience in hands-on involvement in the government, and I’m proud of our efforts.
Mozilla is standing up to defend the free and open web, and you can help. It was by a fluke of geography that I was able to attend the hearing, but if you live near Washington, feel free to pay a visit to your own representatives’ office and share your feelings. Call their offices and share how you feel. And most members are happy to meet constituents at home district offices, so even if you live far away you can have an impact on the future of this legislation.