Congress is debating dangerous legislation that would give the Department of Justice unprecedented power to “blacklist” websites without a trial and give Hollywood copyright holders a new way to shut down a website’s financial services for alleged copyright infringement. It’s nothing short of a bill to create a U.S. censorship regime, and it’s moving fast.
We need your help to stop this legislation before it can undermine Internet security and censor the web. Ready to join EFF, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons, CDT, the Participatory Politics Foundation, and Public Knowledge in the fight? Here are 12 things you can do right now to help us stop the blacklist bills.
- Call your Senators and Representative and tell them to oppose Protect-IP and SOPA, respectively. Click here for some suggested talking points. Then tell your friends about the call on social media sites.
- Contact Congress through EFF’s action center. Customize your letter to explain who you are and why you are worried about this bill. If you’re outside the United States, try this petition from Fight for the Future instead.
- If you work for a tech company, approach the leadership at your company and explain to them your concerns. Urge them to join you in speaking out. These companies (PDF) already took a stand.
- Write a blog post about the blacklist bills. Whether it’s a candid explanation of why you oppose the legislation, a discussion of the effect on human rights, or a call to filmmakers to protest the blacklist, there are plenty of things to say about this scary legislation. Help us get the word out by writing articles on your own blog, your school blog, or on blogs that take guest contributors.
- Are you an artist? Showcase the dangers of censorship through art and music, and use your art as a way of reaching people who might otherwise not know about this issue. You can make stickers, posters or patches, create a YouTube video, or hold an open-mic night around censorship.
- Do you administer a website? Then put a banner on your site protesting censorship or link to EFF’s action center.
- Coordinate a teach-in or debate at your local college or community center. Invite local experts in copyright and free speech to come discuss the issue.
- If you’re in high school, talk to your civics and media studies teachers about a class discussion on the implications of this bill. Point them to our free Teaching Copyright materials.
- If you’re in college, speak out through like-minded organizations working for digital freedom, such as Students for Free Culture or Electronic Frontier on Campus. If there isn’t a chapter at your school, start one. Then use that platform to coordinate with other students to speak out against this bill.
- If you’re in college, set up a meeting with your college newspaper editorial board and explain the bill to them and why they should speak out about it. Work with them to write articles on the topics. Check out these examples from the University of Buffalo, University of Massachusetts, and University of Minnesota. See more examples at the Center for Democracy and Technology's Chorus of Opposition page.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Remember, these are often really short. Find out the requirements for your local paper and follow them carefully.
- Become a member of EFF. We’re leading the fight to defend civil liberties online, so that future generations will enjoy an Internet free of censorship. By standing together, we can make it happen.