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Reddit Jumps On The Anti-SOPA Bandwagon

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 14 2011

Reddit, one of the top 50 web sites in the United States where people go to share and discuss news and start projects, on Wednesday asked its daily- one-million-strong visitor base to petition their members of Congress to block movement of a piece of legislation that would use web filtering, among other things, in an attempt thwart piracy and counterfeiting online.

The site has placed a petition box with counter ticking off the time until the House Judiciary Committee meets on Thursday to vote to move the legislation out of committee.

It then links to a petition tool built by Mobile Commons* that enables people to enter their addresses into the form. The tool then calls the petitioner, gives them talking points and hooks them up with the office of their member of Congress.

"It's not hyperbolic for me to say that if this thing passes, we wouldn't exist in our current form," Reddit's general manager, Erik Martin, told techPresident.

Under the Stop Online Piracy Act, sites deemed to be "dedicated" to copyright and trademark infringement could find their web sites rendered inaccessible by Internet service providers. They could also find their business dealings with financial service providers and ad networks cut off.

"There's no due process. Right now we have the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act,] which isn't the best, but at least we know that if we abide by the rules in there that we will be protected," Martin said. "Whereas now, there's no due process. Anyone can claim that we're facillitating piracy, and our domain name can be seized. Our DNS can be changed, our Paypal and credit card accounts can be frozen, and we have no recourse, no right to the due process of the law."

The Motion Picture Association of America, which is one of the major backers of the bill, has said that such responses to the legislation amount to hyperbole, and that they just want to target the worst of the worst pirates and counterfeiters on the internet.

* Personal Democracy Media publisher Andrew Rasiej is an investor in Mobile Commons.