I need your help–please. Call your congressperson?

(This is post is my personal opinion.)

Normally I don’t like to ask people for help, but I could really use your assistance. If you’ve ever watched one of my webmaster videos, or if I’ve responded to you on Twitter, email, or somewhere else online, please take 5-10 minutes to help me out today.

Here’s what I need:
1. Take a few minutes to learn about the SOPA/E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP bills. They’re really bad bills.
2. Take five minutes to call your Congressperson on the phone. If you live in Texas, Michigan, Vermont, or Iowa, this goes double for you.
3. Get the word out. Tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter (maybe a hashtag like #stopsopa), or Google+. If your parents live in a different state, ask them to call their Congressperson too.

I would really, really appreciate the help. If you’re the kind of person who reads my blog or follows me online, I’m pretty sure the more you read about SOPA, the less you’ll like it.

If SOPA becomes law, it could stifle the innovation (and jobs) that the technology industry creates. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, Google, Yahoo, eBay, AOL, LinkedIn, and Zynga all oppose SOPA. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue–Red State thinks SOPA is a bad idea too.

I could go on and on (and I’m sure I will in the future) about the abuses that these bills would allow. But for now, I need your help. Please call your Congressperson right now and explain that this bill overreaches and would do serious harm to the internet. Thank you!

70 Responses to I need your help–please. Call your congressperson? (Leave a comment)

  1. Artful Dodger

    I live in England and feel so useless right now.

  2. Thanks for passing this along so people can take action. We will pass it along to our Twitter followers too!

  3. James Youngman

    People making calls in response to this page would be more effective if they made specific points about the problems with these bills. It’s a good idea to replicate those here, so that people who pick up the phone right away can be as effective as those who read around (e.g. at the supplied links) first.

  4. Kristof

    I don’t live in the US, what can I do to stop this?

  5. monxas

    I’m sorry I can’t help, since I’m not from USA. I hope you people can change their minds…

    btw, I don’t think you (Matt) need to ask as a return of a favor, this is not for your own interest but for the interest of the internet!

  6. I am with you and definitely will be passing this post to my couple of friends in US…

  7. There’s a big black banner showing up at the top of this page, Matt.

    I only just found out about the bill yesterday and I don’t really have a lot of the particulars, but on the surface I don’t see how anyone could be against this bill besides the fact that it doesn’t really have teeth. From what I’m reading personally, it seems like there’s a lot of overreaction. Granted, no government should ever get involved in matters of technology because it inevitably bungles them, but in this case, I just don’t see what the issue is and it sounds like a whole lot of emotionally-charged FUD.

  8. Done and done. I’m in Michigan though and unsure why it is doubly for me, but I’m sending it to my rep, Mike Rogers.

  9. Holy cow!

    this is so bad it’s beyond belief, I live in England and I know that anything that gets passed in the states will find it’s way here VERY quickly…. our government models 99% of what the USA does.

    PLEASE stop this

    Neil Asher

  10. Multi-Worded Adam, it’s not FUD. This is basically another battle of various forces warring over how the Internet is going to be structured, in terms of amount of control and for whom. Content-using companies like Google do not want to be subservient to content-owning companies, and this bill pushes things in that direction. Don’t analyze it as “government bad”, that’s a poor way of thinking. It’s more like, metaphorically, how much power should a creditor have to collect a debt? Should they be able to write a letter to your employer and demand a portion of your salary based on just their say-so? That every merchant stop dealing with you until you pay them first? That’s the sort of argument at issue.

  11. I’ve been hearing about this bill from DemandProgress.org and Change.org and have emailed my Congressman but I just called him right now. Thanks for the link :)

  12. Russell

    This is serious. Happy to help!

    Its shocking to see some of the more popular Democratic senators sponsoring this bill…

  13. Peter Sitterly

    Multi-Worded Adam,

    It boils down to the fear that such a bill would create. Many start-ups that are pushing the innovation envelope on the Internet are just a couple of geeks in a garage. As soon as this type of legislation passes, those couple of geeks in a garage will concern themselves over whether or not they need to hire a couple of lawyers from day one, before typing a single line of code.

    It will even affect larger start-ups, which involve venture capital funding a group of developers in an office. When the group goes out to seek venture capital, investors will be more nervous about investing. There will be less funding going on and, as a result, fewer projects get off the ground.

    The only entities which are generally protected from legislation like this are the larger established corporations that have war chests of dollars and a team of lawyers always on staff. It will cost them, too… but in comparison, it will be a bump in the road.

    So, this type of legislation only serves to keep the larger corporations in control and to prevent the natural flood of innovation from the little guys.

  14. It is incredibly depressing to see how many politicians do not have any understanding on how the Internet works and what makes it so great.

  15. Done. Appreciate your position & congrats on promotion! — r

  16. Thanks for this Matt, I’ve seen plenty of your videos for Google, so I’m putting this on my own blog as well.

  17. Multi-Worded Adam, it’s not FUD. This is basically another battle of various forces warring over how the Internet is going to be structured, in terms of amount of control and for whom. Content-using companies like Google do not want to be subservient to content-owning companies, and this bill pushes things in that direction. Don’t analyze it as “government bad”, that’s a poor way of thinking. It’s more like, metaphorically, how much power should a creditor have to collect a debt? Should they be able to write a letter to your employer and demand a portion of your salary based on just their say-so? That every merchant stop dealing with you until you pay them first? That’s the sort of argument at issue.

    Okay. I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m not even saying Matt’s wrong. But I don’t see how any of that metaphor applies.

    What I’m asking, and what is in no way made clear beyond all of the rhetoric, is what exactly this thing does. The only explanation I’ve seen that stripped out the emotion and focused on technical implementation is the one below.

    http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2011/11/15/dns-sopa-content-blocking-and-more/

    From a technical point of view, at least if we take most of what this guy has to say as truth (and personally, I would because the owner of this site is the one who let me know about the DMCA, among other things), then really what we have is yet another example of a well-intended but typically government mangled law that can fairly easily be circumvented.

    So from what I’ve seen, and I’m quite prepared to be shown a technical link that actually explains in detail what could happen, the better argument is that the law is typical government toothless regulation than it is about overreaching and censorship.

  18. Multi-Worded Adam, the actual text of the bill is online. I don’t want to risk this comment going into moderation, but you should easily be able to find a link on sites like EFF or Public Knowledge. Unfortunately, it does require some background in the copyright wars in order to make sense of it, and then one needs to make a judgment call as to who is right (or at least, more right) in the conflicting claims. But I can say that given the *big* money arguing on both sides (Google, etc vs. copyright-owning companies), it should be apparent that this is not “toothless”, but a matter of who will get bitten. That would sort of be lesson number-one in understanding the dispute.

  19. I saw your post on friendfeed.com/mattcutts which I subscribe first thing in the AM I will be calling. We need all the jobs and innovation we can get. As far as my name well those freedom steelers with their new laws my real name has become a compliance issue for me. I hope that is sufficient for a reason my comment name as my website.
    Thanks for the Post

  20. Privacy is just a little important yes, but seriously this is what we pay our politicians for? Wow.

  21. I can certainly spend a few minutes and do all that, Matt. But as a resident Alien (lol), how can I really help? I conduct business in the US and feel responsible.

  22. I am not in USA but I spread your message to my friends who can do this, I always watch you Matt, really thank you for sharing this issue it was not in my knowledge before.

  23. it seems to me that this applies to whole world as lots of people hosts on american servers, stopping online piracy is much wider than filtering out in favour of politiciancs, but punishing hosting provider for actions of website owners , taking down websites , not good.

  24. What is Google doing to help IP owners fight piracy? What is Google doing to discourage piracy? There are so many things that can be done. For example, create search tools to help IP owners more easily discover piracy, and create tools to allow content owners establish ownership. Feed this into the ranking algorithm to discourage sites from hosting pirated content. Surely it is also in Google’s interest to be able to distinguish between original content and pirated content / web spam?

  25. My sense of debtness spoke outloud. Done!

  26. As as resident of the UK is there a way the rest of the world can show our support for those opposing the ban?

  27. I am also seeing a big black banner at the top of your page Matt – do you know about it?

  28. This is surely serious and I feel it is something that will have global ramifications … not just within the US. Thanks for taking a stand.

  29. Eddie

    The SOPA and PROTECT IP bills as well as the many other ridiculas net lawsuits will just be another drop of water in the already massive ocean of lobbyist fueled censorship and protection laws. Unfortunately, a congressperson is more likely to accept the lobbyist’s check and pass a nonsense bill while ignoring any annoying letters from concerned individuals. The government is “bad” because the legislative branch of government has been corrupt for many years. Even if we do stop this one bill, viacom and the other aggressive media companies will be back in a few years and have their way just as they always have.

  30. Fred

    The problem is that the companies involved do have legitimate claims to look after their copywrited materials. This bill looks incredibly poorly constructed and could easily do more harm than good but there has to be some kind of middle-ground found, otherwise piracy will just continue and in the end choke the life out of the entertainment industries. This bill should not go through but shouldn’t Google be actively engaged in seeking out and eradicating blatant copywrite infringments? If search engines and ISPs started tackling the issue themselves then dangerously over-reaching bills like this wouldn’t need to be discussed. Am I missing something?

  31. If you’re not able to make phone calls, if you live outside the US for example, sign the Avaaz petition to show your support. 400,000 other people already have.

  32. Piet Hein

    Oh God some of you people are too stupid to called adults, OF COURSE THERE IS A BLACK BAR AT THE TOP – Matt placed it there to illustration CENSORSHIP!
    No wonder the planet is going to hell in a hand basket.

  33. You can count me in Matt, I’m going to email them now. They always try to pass these kind of laws under the guise of stopping the bad guys, but this time, they are. Help us save the internet!

  34. Although I’m not in the US I have signed the avaaaz.org petition, hope it doesn’t become a reality! will obviously have consequences for internet users worldwide.

  35. What will suck is if this bill passes–you can guarantee that pocket lining was involved. The bill is extremely vague, and it does not nail any specifics on legislation, conducing or enacting the law, or who it will specifically/directly effect. It is as it stands, ‘in toto’ is just not good enough. I understand areas of copyright protection is needed and necessary. But this bill isn’t the way to correct go about it.

  36. Come on guys, the black banner is clearly intentional given the nature of this blog post ;)

    Sounds like a bold move and one that will certainly change the way of the Internet, you expect these kinds of tactics from China blocking what ever they want, but not the USA.

  37. I am living in Turkey but happy to help!

  38. Oh God some of you people are too stupid to called adults, OF COURSE THERE IS A BLACK BAR AT THE TOP – Matt placed it there to illustration CENSORSHIP!
    No wonder the planet is going to hell in a hand basket.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I first saw it, the words “Stop Censorship” didn’t show up on the banner. It was a big…black…bar. That could mean censorship, or it also could mean that something’s been altered, possibly a chunk of stray code. That’s why I mentioned it. So before you spout off, you might want to know what you’re spouting off about.

    Now that I can see the words, it looks silly. Put the banner under the heading if you have to. I get why it’s there, but again…it looks silly. There are better ways to communicate this message.

    This is why I’m not signing or agreeing with anything. I don’t think anyone’s right here. The government isn’t right just because it’s government and never has been able to work with anything technological, and the protestors aren’t right because the law as enacted is weak and easily circumvented (switch domains, switch IPs, and in a relatively short period of time you’re back in business). I did actually read the law and it really didn’t change anything.

  39. Done and shared on my Facebook and Twitter. Thanks Matt!

  40. Thanks for the post Matt! As a geek that does not get a traditional newspaper, I was in the dark until yesterday. We censored our site, wrote my congressman (who replied to me this morning!) and called! It’s awesome to see how many participated and that its spreading awareness.

  41. Jim Beacon

    The only thing being “stifled” by this type of legislation is the ability of web properties like Google to keep monetizing others’ content in the name of “freedom.”

    Freedom to make as much money as they want, in any manner they please.

    Innovation?

    Stealing others’ IP and leveraging it for profit, in the name of “service” is not innovation – no matter how much technology or how many startups you wrap around it.

    Jobs?

    Indeed – exploiting others’ IP to create massive new revenue streams (services!) will require, and create, jobs. But just because you use the current economical, social, and political catch-phrase “JOBS” – doesn’t mean the path to that end is justified.

  42. Would love to help but I am not sure there is anything that can be done from the UK. But if you find anything, point me in the right direction and I am all in support.

  43. If there was a giant click to call button, I’d be all over this.

  44. This is ridiculous don’t politicians have better things to do. Financial incentive can be the only rational in this proposed policy. Imagine explaining to your kids what the online community was like before it has been turned into nothing short of commercial tv.

  45. Hi Matt,

    not in the US but signed up to the AVAAZ petition.

    In a rare moment of enlightenment a recent UK government introduced the e – petition:

    ‘You can create an e-petition about anything that the government is responsible for and if it gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.’

    Maybe the US could do with something similar?

  46. Lara S

    Google and others need to do much more to help IP owners. You only have yourself to blame for this Bill!

    Instead of complaining about new legislation take real ownership of the issue by addressing IP owners concerns and building tools and systems to help protect IP owners rights and incomes.

    You need to think differently about this issue.

  47. Mark

    I don’t say that Bill is good written and i dont say that is for good to internet, but there is another issue …Go on google and search randomly for 10 strong (or middle strong) keywords. And please tell me how many sites which has copywriter plagiarized … etc content are in first 10 positions there? I’m not telling there is but I want to hear from you. Also I’m waiting to see answer on “‘Barnett’ November 17, 2011 at 12:05 am” ‘s question. After it we will continue to talk about the Bill.

  48. Boo SOPA! There’s an issue here. But this isn’t the solution.

  49. For what it is worth I called and explained specifically what is wrong with these bills and what I think it will do to our country. Not sure how much good it will do, as I was talking with staffers that answered the phones and not the actual elected “representatives”.

    It pains me to call them my representative when I don’t think they do a decent job of representing me in the day to day workings of the government. But hey, at least I CAN still call and register my complaints. Might soon not be able to use the Internet to contact the, but the phones are still open. ;)

  50. Why did it take you so long?! They’ve been talking about this bill for months and until a few weeks ago everybody woke up!

    Here are a couple of things everybody can do:

    http://americancensorship.org/

    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/stop-e-parasite-act/SWBYXX55

  51. Contacted my Michigan Senators and Congressman Dingell. I usually just get a form letter back but did it for you Matt.

  52. Matt, on this one I am in agreement. The Bill is a limitation of the freedom of the Internet. I likewise recommend others to read about the bill. It is not a GOP or democratic issue, but a basic issue of protecting individual liberties.
    Think about how much the Internet has opened up the world. If soemthing happens, particually and injustice on one side of the world, we all know about it. Would anyone really want to reverse that openess?
    Innovation is one of the things that makes life fun. The above mentioned SOPA bill is a potential break for this.

  53. after all the videos of yours ive watched and blogs i’ve read i’ll do anything to help you mr cutts! i’ll spread the word to all of my twitter followers and facebook friends. but you owe me one, :) LOL!

  54. I have passed this on my FB and G+. How can America be called a Democratic Nation when you are doing what China has done. Pretty strange isn’t it? Being in India I am sure Indian Government will soon follow the same.

  55. Wish..I could help you but I am not from the USA.

  56. I don’t recall any discussion of a ban on photo copiers when they came out, even though nearly every school teacher in the country uses them to duplicate copyrighted material for their students. Nor did I hear about an effort to eliminate VCRs or DVRs which, for most consumers, ARE PRIMARILY USED to record / duplicate copyrighted material. Publishers, studios, etc. had to come up with ways on their own to protect their products. I’m not aware of any issues that this legislation addresses that are a matter of national security or even affect the welfare of that many Americans. This is an effort pushed by special interests to help them reduce the investment costs of protecting their own products. This is a private sector matter and government censorship / involvement in this process is unreasonable and may even be unconstitutional.

  57. Isn’t this bill against “free speech”? I signed up. Also, doesn’t the White House have something where if enough people sign a petition, the White House must address the concern? I know they just did this with marijuana and aliens (off topic, but could be addressed if bill passes).

  58. I am not in USA but I can tweet and post in some forums to let USA people know.

  59. StanDean

    Fortunately I am from the USA and am on first name basis with my Congressman.

    And as a content developer I strongly support the legislation. There is nothing worse than spending time and money on a project only to find some party outside of the USA has ripped off my work within hours of completion.

  60. Think about how much the Internet has opened up the world. If soemthing happens, particually and injustice on one side of the world, we all know about it. Would anyone really want to reverse that openess?
    Innovation is one of the things that makes life fun. The above mentioned SOPA bill is a potential break for this.

  61. George

    This is scary. If this bill passes, it will ruin the internet. Almost any country will do the same with their internet users, this will make censorship more censored. We can’t read news, watch videos of artists, damn whole internet will be useless. USA government, stop this!

  62. I’m from Romania and I can’t help you with this, but it looks like there are quite some guys that agreed to help you. Although, I would have expected some more feedback from your readers, like the blog post regarding cool websearch ideas google should launch in 2012… Over 250 comments and this one only 62… Anyway, I shared this with my twitter followers, maybe will help

  63. D Alan Redd

    Done deal .. Thanks for giving some of us a “heads up” on this ;)

  64. Jeff

    Russell said, “Its shocking to see some of the more popular Democratic senators sponsoring this bill…”.

    Why shocking? It is the Democrats after all that historically keep making more laws to control what we do. Just look at the taxcode! The Republicans just get a bad wrap in that area because they are religious nuts. The Republicans would get rid of the entire Federal income tax if ever enough of them in both the House and Senate were elected. See the Fairtax Bill.

  65. alen

    ok,i agree with you and i will call congressperson soon!!!

  66. Martin

    Hi Matt,

    Just wondering if Google started supporting http://www.opendns.com/ would this go someway into resolving this problem regarding the blocking of sites, I know Google tried running their own DNS for a while and may still be doing so but OpenDNS is really the king of this sector and have a truley amazing system. Can we not just bring the internet to an open source basis and get rid of government intervention?

  67. I would love to help you but I’m not from USA , but i have friends from USA i will ask them for help you :)

  68. Here are all the phone numbers for the committee holding hearings. http://dontcensorthenet.com/social-media-lobby-day

    Don’t censor the net!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

If you have a question about your site specifically or a general question about search, your best bet is to post in our Webmaster Help Forum linked from http://google.com/webmasters

If you comment, please use your personal name, not your business name. Business names can sound salesy or spammy, and I would like to try people leaving their actual name instead.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

css.php