Two Republican co-sponsors of PIPA have dropped their support, but here are five Democrats who must be targeted if the protests are to be successful.
The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it represents a vast seemingly endless galaxy of freedom. The problematic thing about the Internet can be the unorganized chaos in which this realm exists in. The organizers of the SOPA/PIPA blackout protest should be congratulated for what they have managed to accomplish in this environment. Already, Republican co-sponsors of PIPA, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have dropped their support for the bill. (Republican Rep. Ben Quayle has dropped his sponsorship of SOPA in the House).
One of the major disappointments for liberals and progressives is that many of the liberal heroes of the Senate have announced their support of this censorship disguised as anti-piracy legislation. It is important that these Democrats get the message that they are betraying some of their most vocal supporters by sponsoring and/or supporting PIPA.
Here are five Democratic senators who you can tell to stand with you and not with censorship:
1). Sen. Al Franken– Since Franken arrived in the senate, he has been a liberal hero. The first time candidate won over Norm Coleman by a razor thin margin in 2008, but had to survive an endless recount process before he could take office. Franken is one of the names that progressives often mention first when dreaming about their ideal senator.
The problem is that it was Franken’s ties to the entertainment industry that bankrolled his venture into politics. In 2008, Franken received $781,518 from the entertainment industry. In 2010, Franken raised another $88, 900 from the industry, because of his personal and campaign finance ties; Sen. Franken has been a model supporter of SOPA and PIPA. Franken is not only a supporter and sponsor of the bill, but he also was part of the unanimous vote that moved the bill out of the Judiciary Committee.
Franken has sold PIPA as job saving legislation, but the Senator needs to be told that there are better ways to combat piracy that PIPA.
Contact Sen. Franken:
2). Sherrod Brown- Sen. Brown is another progressive role model who has come out in support of PIPA. In October, Brown signed on to be a co-sponsor of PIPA. What is surprising about Brown’s support of PIPA is that he has raised more money from the computer and Internet industries than he has from the entertainment industry. In 2008, campaign donations between the computers/Internet and entertainment industries were almost even. $15,050 to $15,350. In 2010, Brown raised more money from computers/Internet ($21,350) than he did from entertainment ($9,150).
Sen. Brown has been a tireless advocate and voice for progressive values in the Senate, but the Senator must get the message that censorship is not what liberals and progressives stand for.
Contact Sen. Brown:
3). Sen. Claire McCaskill- The Missouri Democrat announced her support for PIPA, but she is not a co-sponsor. The entertainment industry donated nearly twice as much money ($44,475) to her campaign war chest in 2010 than did the computer/Internet industries ($24,300), but can a senator who will be facing a tough bid for reelection survive alienating the Internet? If she continues to support PIPA, she’ll get her answer in November.
Contact Sen. McCaskill:
4). Sen. Jeanne Shaheen – At first glance, Sen. Shaheen is a bit of an oddity when it comes to PIPA sponsors. Back in June, the New Hampshire Democrat signed on as a sponsor of PIPA despite the fact that she received over five times more donations from the computer/Internet industries ($16,500) than she did from the entertainment industry ($3,250). A look her 2008 fundraising numbers tells the true story. The entertainment industry donated ($172,984) to his first Senate campaign. The computer/Internet industries donated ($68,531). Shaheen support for PIPA appears based on dollars more than policy.
Tell Shaheen to make an independent decision and stand against censorship.
Contact Sen. Shaheen:
5). Sen. Bill Nelson – Sen. Nelson co-sponsored PIPA despite the fact that over the last two election cycles he has taken more campaign donations from the computer/Internet industries ($88,835) than he has from the entertainment industry ($36,750). Recent polling has shown Nelson in a dead heat with presumed Republican nominee Connie Mack. Nelson’s support of PIPA appears to be a calculated election year move that was designed to make him look tough on piracy.
The message must be delivered to Sen. Nelson that censorship won’t equal reelection.
Contact Sen. Nelson:
Data from: Pro Publica