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What SOPA means for PR professionals


What SOPA means for PR professionals


On Monday, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor shelved the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), leading many to think the legislation is dead. It can, however, be resurrected at any time. Meanwhile, its Senate counterpart, PIPA, is still very much alive even as support for it declines.

Even though the House won’t vote on the bill, Wikipedia and Reddit are among those that plan to go ahead with site blackouts on Wednesday, Jan. 18, to raise awareness of the damage SOPA and PIPA could do.

I haven’t heard of a single public relations agency or association planning to join the blackout or even take a stand on SOPA. The profession should take a stand and add its voice to the rising chorus of opposition.

That’s a tall order since the supporters of the legislation, from large media empires to small copyright owners, are PR clients. If I represented a client supporting SOPA, I certainly wouldn’t risk the engagement by publicizing my opposition on my website.

The profession as a whole, though, has to recognize that these bills pose a threat to PR’s ability to serve its clients interests in the increasingly vital online world.

How would SOPA affect communicators’ use of the Web?