Transcript of "Salsa Case Study: The Salsa Platform Plays Integral Role in SOPA & PIPA Online Protests"
A Clear and Present Dangerto Internet FreedomsOn January 18, 2012, organized protests occurredagainst two bills in the United States Congress –the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the ProtectIP Act (PIPA).Protesters were concerned these bills containedmeasures that could impede online freedom ofspeech, hamper Internet innovation and inviteInternet security risks. Opposition also arguedthat there were no safeguards in place to protectsites based on user-generated content.“These two pieces of legislation were poorlywritten and are bad for the tech community andtech policy,” said Brett Schenker, senior supportspecialist, Salsa. “These bills, if passed, wouldmake it illegal to link to or to disseminatecopyright material for a foreign website – theterm ‘foreign’ is too broad. What is ‘illegal’ isalso broad. It stifles free speech.”The move to a more formal protest occurred latein 2011 when it was clear the House had startedmoving legislation forward. Congress was takingthe SOPA and PIPA bills seriously and it was likelythey’d get pushed through without much fan fairor education on what the legislation wasreally about.Technologies are ever-changing and are transforming the way we communicate.The Internet has allowed citizens to be more empowered as speakers, inventorsand consumers than ever before and legislation has recently been written thatwill directly affect those basic freedoms.http://www.theeca.comfacebook.com/theECA@theECAhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org/eff@EFFECAEFF
SolutionAchieving online advocacy goals while freeing organizations to pourresources into their mission and strategyChallengeMoving People To ActionWhen Congress threatened innovation andfree speech by creating legislation that wouldgrant the government and private partiesunprecedented power to interfere with theInternet’s underlying infrastructure, more than100,000 websites across the U.S. took upthe fight.Media coverage of the bill was minimal.Proponents, including the entertainment industry,EFF, ECA and a dozen other cause organizationsturned to Salsa’s Advocacy platform to helpcreate public pressure and manage theironline grass roots effort. They needed to educatecitizens quickly and push opposition emails tomembers of Congress located throughout theUnited States.“EFF came to Salsa Friday night, six days prior tothe blackout and said ‘we are going to slam youwanted this legislation to pass quietly withoutopposition.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and theEntertainment Consumers Association (ECA)needed to increase the visibility of the proposedlegislation and get their message more broadlydistributed to create enough public pressure tostop the anti-piracy bills in Congress.with traffic,’” said Dave Leichtman, vice president,client services, Salsa. “They are one of the biggestdrivers of the open source movement and onlineprivacy in general. EFF is very outspoken in thefield of online freedoms.”Salsa’s client services teams jumped right in thatnight and spent the weekend preparing for thisinitiative. Dave added, “We had so much traffic wehad to be creative in how we handled the surge.
We helped EFF collect about 400,000 names andthen distribute emails, via ourAdvocacy platform, to the appropriatelegislators on their behalf.”Salsa Advocacy meaningfully engagessupporters in online advocacy and legislativeissues. Supporters who chose to fight the SOPAand PIPA bills only needed their address to sendoff advocacy messages matched to theirappropriate district or to a custom target.Salsa Advocacy enabled EFF to use itsMulti-Content Action to target legislators anddistribute emails from their constituents directlyto them. Salsa creates “sessions,” which arepages individuals would see if visiting EFF’swebsite. Vital data, including zip code wouldbe requested so the appropriate congressionalor senatorial representative would be targeted.Emails can be sent immediately, or held for a laterdistribution, depending on the campaign strategy.Salsa’s Advocacy software enabled EFF to createcustom messages that were district-matched anddistributed immediately, or over time – dependingon strategy, to more than 12,000 federal andstate officials.There are many strategies to how you sendmessages. Justin Nemmers, Salsa’s chiefoperating officer added, “We have seencongressional email systems crash, and we reallydon’t want to do that. If their system crashesour messages don’t get through. All going at thesame time doesn’t have the impact either. Salsahas the flexibility to shape the traffic, creating amore lasting impact.”The Multi-Targeted Action enabled ECA tocustomize letters for specific targets –allowing direct messages to be sent on behalf ofits supporters to national and state legislatorsusing Salsa’s address localization and constituenttargeting capabilities. Salsa’s technology enabledECA to set up custom targets distributing specificmessaging to virtually anyone. Bill co-sponsorscould be told, “the SOPA bill is ineffective andhere’s why.” The majority of targets were sent amessage stating, “you have the power to stop thisvote, call your local senator” and the appropriatephone number would be listed.We got a lot of new subscribers and a lot of people that weren’t aware oftheir digital civil liberties until this action with SOPA,- Micah Lee, web developer, EFF
salsalabs.com 866-796-8345 facebook.com/salsalabs @salsalabsResultsGetting the Message OutThe success of this effort weighed heavily onreaching policymakers and others who weredriving the SOPA and PIPA legislation.“Early on, when there weren’t a lot of peopledoing this, you could flood the emails and it reallyworked,” said Brett. “Now it’s so saturated wehave to be more strategic with how we choose todeliver our messages. This coalition had such adramatic impact – with 10 million people actingon it, it had to get someone’s attention.”Despite the campaign resulting in Salsa’s biggesttraffic day ever, “Salsa’s service, support andresponsiveness played a key factor in thesuccess of our campaign,” added Micah Lee,web developer.EFF and ECA Action Overview• Approximately 50,000 - 60,000 emails werecollected per day• About 420,000 actions were taken over the 24hour period• 1.7 million messages sent to the Senate alone• More than 500 targets received messages• 396,000 distinct supportersThis movement and the actions by EFF and Salsacreated visibility that has never been seen before.Micah said, “I was surprised at how many sitesended up sending people to our action page. A lotof the blacked out sites linked to our website formore information about the bill, so we gotadditional visibility.”According to Wikipedia – On January 18,more than 8 million people looked up theirrepresentative on Wikipedia, a petition at Googlerecorded more than 4.5 million signatures, forseveral hours Twitter received more than 250,000tweets per hour concerning SOPA and lawmakerscollected more than 14 million names – morethan 10 million of them voters.Legislation TabledAs a direct result of the efforts of EFF, ECA andother online sites, the legislation was pulled in theHouse and Senate and will not come back up untilthere is consensus.Over the course of this campaign, EFF collectedmore than 400,000 names, including Democratsand Republicans. They now have a database ofpeople they can reach out to for donations tosupport their cause or a voice to be heard whenand if these bills resurface.Salsa helps nonprofits and political campaigns ignite action and fuel changearound the world by growing and engaging a base of support online. Salsaprovides more than technology; it offers strategic best practices, training,highly rated support and a strong online community, so its clients can focustheir energy on their mission.