Here’s how you can really oppose SOPA: Stop “raising awareness” and do something

Raising awareness on the Internet is all good and fine, but nothing tells our nation’s leaders we mean business like sending a letter to Congress or placing a phone call.

We’ve all been concerned lately over SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and its sister bill, PIPA (Protect IP Act). But all those petitions we’re signing and websites we’re blacking out might have the effect of preaching to the choir.

Think about it: We nerdy Internet-dwellers already know that SOPA needs to die. Continuing to rant about it online is, at least to some extent, just adding more noise to the echo chamber.

U.S. citizens 18 and older should be exercising their privileges by writing letters (or emails) and placing phone calls to Congress. And of course, you can do that free of charge right from the comfort of your couch, thanks to a few online services.

PopVox is one service that will help you contact Congress free of charge. From PopVox’s SOPA and PIPA pages, you can see lists of organizations supporting and opposing the bills, you can read the full text of the bills, and you can tell Congress what you think about both bills. PopVox asks you to include your name and address, then it sends your message of opposition along to the appropriate members of Congress.

If you’d like to take an even more direct route to getting in touch with a member of Congress (or if you want to send a stronger message than just a form letter), you can use the House of Representatives Write Your Representative page (you’ll need to know your ZIP+4, which you can find here).

To get in touch with a senator, find his or her name in the Senate directory (don’t worry, there’s a drop-down list of states and just two Senators per state), then contact that member directly from his or her listing.

If you’re not shy about getting on the phone, you can call your representatives in Congress directly. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121, and the House switchboard is (202) 224-3121.

When writing or speaking to a House member, remember to reference SOPA, H.R. 3261. If you’re speaking or writing to a Senator, reference PIPA, Bill S.968.

We realize it’s uncharacteristic for us journalists to ask you readers to take direct action, but VentureBeat strongly opposes SOPA and PIPA, as individual writers and editors and as an organization. We implore you to join us in getting off our collective butt and doing something meaningful about SOPA.

To learn more about why the Internet is fighting the passage of SOPA and PIPA, read this open letter from Internet founders to Congress.

To learn more about why this is our responsibility, too, read this article about Silicon Valley’s role in SOPA.

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