In light of the publics response to Google’s, Wikipedia’s, and other’s blackouts, a different approach should be taken by pro-SOPA/PIPA entities. The most important publics that need convincing are congress and the organizations being effected by the bills. Internet users are not cattle and will not be convinced by a simple back slide on the part of Google etc. but if the laws are tweaked and some sort of compromise is made then the organizations will respond and the people will follow. The large media entities that loose money due to piracy must step back and adjust the bill until I does not infringe on the first amendment, not so much to convince congress (from congress’s reaction it appears that the freedom of speech is something to be stepped over) but to convince the bearers of the blow, Reddit etc., who will then help to convince the general public of internet users who are rising to rage against this machine.
Copyright 2007 Philip Greenspun
Dealing with congress was a much easier task as, at first, most congressmen agreed with the bill or were to confused to argue against it. Then the bill was postponed due to public outcry so again the domino effect of convincing begins with altering the bill enough to convince the organizations effected who will then in turn assist in convince the people who will support the bill in congress.
This should not be taken as an argument to ignore addressing the people directly but it simply would not be efficient to campaign to a public who will not listen. SOPA and PIPA do not align with public interest for it is the public who will loose in it’s passing. When the American people hear that there is even a small chance of a tiny portion of their rights being stripped they will lash out especially when they are being informed and impacted by the very organizations that they use to obtain information on a day to day bases. Advertising to the public would be a costly waist of time that would most like aggravate the public even more. If advertising is used it should be formulated in a way that specifically targets those employed and the heads of the effected organizations. The heads of YouTube need to know that the music/movie industries are not out to destroy them and only wish to develop a compromise that will end piracy without undermining the first amendment. The employees of Google should be informed that piracy damages all sectors of business including search engines and the employees of Google can use their expertise in web technology to create a bill that functions with out corrupting the system and shutting down healthy thriving corporations such as Google.
While advertising would be a valuable tool in spreading goodwill towards SOPA/PIPA, PR is going to be the head of the hammer. More subtle approaches such as gaining the approval of the news and informing public figureheads of the destructive effects of international piracy and brain drain will more smoothly inspire internet users and operators to endorse improved versions of the bills. This is a fragile issue that will only be resolved through trickle down changes in opinion that will lead to the cooperation of those who made the bill and those who wish to improve it.