There is about to be a little more controversy behind SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), after Techdirt revealed that NBC is forcing its suppliers to support a “grassroots” defence of the proposed Internet initiative.
SOPA has already created a huge divide across the US (as you can read in our recent round-up) and a leaked email shows that CreativeAmerica, the support group built by some of the biggest studios in Hollywood, is being beefed up with a serious amount of astroturfing, through the creation of fake, grassroots support.
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An email that was reportedly sent by NBC to “our suppliers” was leaked on Google+ by Emmett Lollis, here is the opening part:
We are writing to ask you for help on an issue that is one our top business priorities – content theft on the Internet, which is a major threat to the strength of our business. Our major guilds and unions are joining us in the fight to keep our businesses strong so that the tidal wave of content theft does not kill jobs. But if the current trend continues, it’s not too strong to say that this threat could adversely affect our business relationship with you.
The email goes on to ask that its recipients visit the CreativeAmerica website to pledge their support and contact their political representatives, which is done by just clicking a button on the site.
Wow, so much for grassroots support then? Added to the fact that the CreativeAmerica movement has been particularly creative with its figures — as each supporter’s pledge sees letters sent to their local two senators and a congressman, the organisations has counted each supporter three times — and it begins to emerge in a very poor light.
Techdirt points out that, accounting for the tripling of support, CreativeAmerica has managed just 161 new signatures in a month, according to Techdirt, and it is no wonder that NBC is resorting to strong-arm the businesses it supports.