Whether you support or oppose it, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is costing a fortune — more than $2.5 million so far.
Reported contributions to the congressional sponsors of SOPA have been pouring into Washington from the West Coast.
Entertainment organizations in Southern California and Silicon Valley elites have donated $2,508,573 to date. Only about a fifth of that amount has come from organizations that want to stop or drastically change SOPA. The rest come from supporters of the bill.
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SOPA is a controversial piece of legislation, to put it mildly. The bill and its sister bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), are designed to protect copyright on the web, but they do so at a potentially devastating cost to the online freedoms to which we’re accustomed.
For example, if a website is accused of containing copyright-infringing content such as a song or a picture, the site could be blocked by ISPs, de-indexed from search engines and even prevented from doing business with companies such as Paypal.
Maplight, an organization that tracks spending on congressional campaigns, recorded the amount of donations made to various members of Congress that support SOPA and PIPA using data from the Center for Responsive Politics. WHat Maplight found is that companies that have stated an opposition to SOPA (or have stated that the language in SOPA is too strong) have donated a total of $524,977 to SOPA’s sponsors.
Most of these organizations are in the technology industry, including web companies and software companies.
On the other side of the debate are the many faces of the entertainment industry, including cable companies, television and film studios, record labels, radio stations and many others. These SOPA supporters have donated nearly two million dollars to the congressional sponsors of the bill.
We used Maplight’s data to create these quick graphics illustrating the breakdown of spending from pro-SOPA and anti-SOPA organizations.
The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the bill on Wednesday, December 21. A previously scheduled vote was delayed due to the need for technical expert advice.
However, many technical experts of the highest order, such as the inventors of the components of the Internet, have already very clearly expressed their opposition to SOPA. In an open letter to Congress, luminaries such as Vint Cerf and Esther Dyson spoke out against the legislation, saying, “If enacted, either of these bills will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure.”
Also, Wikipedia may see a day-long blackout to protest the bill.
To contact the congressional representatives voting on SOPA before the committee makes its decision, check out the resources available at AmericanCensorship.org.