After the recent failure of bills like SOPA and PIPA in the House and Senate, its been made clear that the American people do, in fact, have a voice — and we are especially passionate about our right to continue to have a voice with regard to new media. A new project started by Art Brodsky called the Internet Blueprint Project wants to ensure that the American People continue to have a voice in the type of legislation that will define how we use the Internet.
The Internet Blueprint project is essentially a portal for people to propose legislation that can eventually pass through Congress and become a law. Users can simply propose an idea, and other users can vote on it or submit the idea to their local congressperson. Art says that “This is the start of an ambitious effort to put forward a positive agenda for the rights of Internet users — people and companies. What makes this different is that we want to move from worthwhile concepts to actual legislative language that could be drafted and presented to Congressional staff for consideration [by their bosses]. That’s what makes the project unique.”
The project is very new, and does have roots in the recent attempts by Congress to pass the drastic bills that were SOPA and PIPA. Art explains this further: “The project started out addressing copyright and intellectual property issues, because those were the touchpoints of the debate around the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) that got everyone so angry at Congress earlier this year.” However, he adds that that was just the start. He says, “The beauty of the project is that people are free to submit their own ideas for consideration, for others and PK to evaluate, to determine whether they should be included as part of a package of bills.”
For those who have long forgotten their junior high history coursework, a bill becomes a law only if it first gets proposed. This is where the Internet Blueprint project comes into play. Art explains that an idea “could get proposed as a bill if a staff member and his/her boss thinks it’s a good idea to introduce it.” He adds that “It’s that simple and that hard. It happens all the time with industry-drafted legislation, not so much from our side of the world. This would give those [representatives] and senators some credibility to say that they introduced something (even with modifications) that came from an Internet-based discussion.”
Of course, anyone can propose an idea at internetblueprint.org — not just staff members or those inside the political world. Art says you can go see what’s there, support or oppose bills, and most important, think about other ideas. He says that “This is our way to open up the process for anyone and for the possibility of seeing some drafted legislation at the end,” and a way for voices to be heard.
Would you use a site like the Internet Blueprint Project to propose and submit legislation to your local congresspeople about Internet-related issues? Let us know what you think about this new project in the comments.