Congress: Tracking Who Supports SOPA, PIPA

Voter awareness on who supports the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act is on the rise, and ProPublica is helping make it easy to see where politicians stand on the proposed legislation. SOPA and PIPA have been presented as bills designed to protect intellectual property online, although opponents say both would instead lead to Internet censorship.

ProPublica lists which politicians support or oppose the bills, and can sort by state, age, years served, how much money politicians have accepted from media companies, and more.

The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is a House of Representatives bill that would make it surprisingly easy to get court orders to shut down any website suspected of participating — directly or indirectly — in copyright infringement without requiring due process.

ProPublica is tracking which legislators support SOPA and PIPAProPublica is tracking which legislators support SOPA and PIPA

Internet service providers and online search engines would face new requirements to block access to sites that host or link to other sites suspected of copyright infringement, and unauthorized streaming of copyright-protected content would be a felony offense.

PIPA, or the Protect IP Act, is a similar bill working its way through the U.S. Senate.

As a sign of protest, many websites throughout the U.S. are participating in a one-day public protest against the SOPA and PIPA on Wednesday by blacking out their home pages and posting information to help site visitors let their Senators and Congressmen know they don’t support the bills. Sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Google are participating in the protest with special messages and links to information about opposing the proposed legislation.

The SOPA bill was temporarily put on hold after President Barak Obama said he wouldn’t support the legislation because it threatened freedom of speech as well as Internet security. The bill isn’t, however, staying on the back burner for long since it’s already scheduled for new language markup and debate in February.

PIPA is scheduled for a Senate vote on January 24.

Sites like American Censorship are offering information about the proposed legislation along with ways to connect with your Senators and Representatives to let them know what you think of the bills.