Net users angry at the introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as the “E-Parasites Act,” are attempting to force the White House to oppose the bill, which would boost the government’s authority to disrupt and shutter alleged trademark- and copyright-infringing websites.
And by the early results, it looks like they might at least force the administration to respond.
The petitioners are taking advantage of the newly created White House petition site, which promises Americans it will respond to grievances if the government gets 25,000 signatures in a month’s time. Though it was created only Monday, the petition has been signed by more than 4,400 citizens as of 11 a.m. Tuesday morning Pacific Standard Time. The “Stop the E-Parasites Act” petition has until Nov. 30 to get the necessary support.
The petition says, “This Bill would allow essentially allow (sic) A great Firewall of America and would be a shameful desecration of free speech and any sort of reasonable copyright law.”
The legislation at issue was introduced last week by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The measure grants private parties the right to cut off ad dollars to sites they say host pirated or trademarked content. Among other things, it also empowers the government to order search engines and ISPs to make it impossible for users to reach blacklisted sites.
But it’s unclear how honestly the administration would respond if the necessary signatures are gathered. The White House has come under attack for issuing bland and canned responses to petitions.
There’s even a different petition that expires Nov. 27 asking the administration to “Actually take these petitions seriously instead of just using them as an excuse to pretend you are listening.”
Smith’s bill is slated to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 16.