What SOPA means for PR professionals

The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act will create enormous obstacles for communicators, and the PR industry should take a stand against the legislation, according to the author.

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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?

Sharing and social sites

Long gone are the days when companies host videos and other media on their own servers. YouTube is the de facto location for videos, Flickr for photos, Slideshare for presentations.

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