Project:Stop SOPA and PIPA
From OpenCongress WikiThe Stop SOPA and PIPA project on the OpenCongress wiki seeks to bring greater accountability to the deliberation the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
Members of Congress and lobbyists use "whip counts" to talk to and keep track of where senators and representatives stand on bills they care about. Now we're going to do it for the people, and we're going to do it in full public view.
Below there are instructions for getting senators' positions and recording them using our whip count tool. If you support a free and un-censored Internet, we've also got tips on how to lobby your senators and representative on the bill. We're racing the clock against the scheduled January 24th vote in the Senate.
This is a bare-bones, non-profit operation. You can help us keep OpenCongress free and open-source and bring a whip count tool to every bill in Congress by donating your money or time. We always need volunteer editors, organizers and especially designers and developers. Get in touch.
How to use the whip count
We're starting with the Senate, because they're scheduled to vote on PIPA first. Get the senator's position and then enter it in the whip count. There's three ways:
- Call the senator's office. Here's some tips on how to do it.
- For full transparency, use OpenCongress' Contact Congress tool to get a publicly viewable email correspondence with the senator on PIPA. Here's how.
- Find a published online source (like an article or press release) with the senator's position.
How to further lobby Congress on SOPA and PIPA
Your calls and emails really do sway votes in Congress. Here's one example on SOPA/PIPA alone.
When you've called and emailed in order to update the whip count (see above), you've already let your position be known. (You did that already, right?)
To go further, share your Contact Congress correspondence with a member of Congress (here's a great example with Sen. Maria Cantwell) on social networks to raise awareness of PIPA and put more pressure on senators.
Nothing is more influential than a visit to a member of Congress' district offices. Here's how to do it:
Visit this campaign by the American Censorship coalition, composed of non-profit open Web advocates, technologists and public-interest organizations. Simply find your state and join the discussion about how you can request an in-person meeting with your two U.S. senators and their offices during the January 2012 recess (in advance of PIPA’s first vote, fast-tracked by Sen. Majority Leader Reid for Jan. 24th) and register your opposition. In-person visits are a crucial and compelling component of the grassroots effort to combat net censorship. Your fellow constituents and American Censorship organizers can help provide you with talking points and factual materials for your vital face-to-face meetings with your senators. Even if you’re there to reinforce what others are saying, don’t miss a chance to add your presence to this netroots community effort. There's a backup list of state meetings on Fight for the Future.
About this project
The initial structure was set up by the OpenCongress staff, but the project is open to participation and leadership by all. Our non-profit, the Participatory Politics Foundation, is a founding member of the American Censorship coalition to stop PIPA.
Help us develop this whip-count project and expand it to SOPA, other bills, and companies' stance on net censorship - get in touch, make a tax-exempt donation, sign up for a free MyOC account and join our email list, and follow us on the micropublishing and social networking services.
Need help with the wiki? Email us.
- SOPAOpera: We're big fans of SOPAOpera, which is very slick and useful, but SOPAOpera is more speculative/predictive in that it uses past actions on bills similar to SOPA/PIPA as indicators of where senators stand on the current bill. This project uses public pronouncements or sponsorship of SOPA/PIPA but also communications with the public. Through Contact Congress, phone calls, social media and in-person visits, our hope is that hearing lots of opposition to the bill will actually sway members of Congress and we want to document that in the open. We also want to put pressure on all the uncommitted senators. We urge you to go check SOPAOpera out, especially to identify those members of Congress who have supported SOPA-like bills in the past but are not committed here on the whip count.
- Fight for the Future: has info sheets and other materials for meeting with your senator.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: has more research on fighting Internet censorship bills.