i’m into titling blog posts with hashtags these days.

yesterday, i grabbed a quick look at twitter in between a packed day of meetings and saw a tweet from someone that looked like this

it took me about a nanosecond to click on that link and add a stop sopa banner to my twitter avatar. this is something i’ve wanted and expected for a month or more. now i’ve got it. slowly my twitter feed is filling up with avatars with the stop sopa banner on them.

my dream is all of twitter fills up with this banner. then maybe the politicians in washington will realize that the people don’t want their lousy idea of a piracy bill.

please join me in making this political statement.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Nice. Done. Not sure if it makes a difference given I’m not in the states. But, full support in any case.And I here’s a quote for the SOPA fight.’It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog.’

    1. fredwilson

      nice quote rohan

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I don’t think the dog’s continent matters either when it comes to solidarity.  Thanks for joining with your American cousins.

    3. William Mougayar

      Rohan, It doesn’t matter if you’re not in the US. Your comments are read in the US & you will be affected by it, as will any international user.As they say, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog 🙂

      1. Rohan

        Haha. This dog thing is catching on. @donnawhite:disqus 🙂

    4. John Revay

      Rohan – another great quote

  2. William Mougayar

    I’ll do this too from Canada, and to international readers as well, I think it makes sense. This isn’t just about the US. The Internet is globally interdependent

    1. fredwilson

      if you make your disqus avatar your twitter avatar (disqus.com, upper right, edit profile), then you will have changed your disqus avatar too.

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s a great implementation. Will do that soon. – posted via http://engag.io

  3. testtest

    fitting it’s done this way on social networks: by the users.

  4. tyronerubin

    @fredwilson:disqus how did you do your tumblr page?

      1. tyronerubin

        will get on it after work asap.

        1. fredwilson

          thanks for the tip on new shins in turntable this morning. it’s on repeat now.

          1. tyronerubin

            sure thing, so lovely, posted on my tumblr this morning.

          2. fredwilson

            shit, i should have reblogged youi reblogged aerohostile instead

          3. tyronerubin

            tumblr & turntable thats what counts!

  5. Donna Brewington White

    Yes!Done.Well, what are you going to do with all the free time you have left over after writing this brief post?

    1. fredwilson

      listen to music in turntable, reblog some of it on tumblr, comment on disqus, tweet on twitter, check out new sutff on soundcloud, canvas, and then go to breakfast and checkin on foursquare

      1. Trish Burgess-Curran

        All of that in the time you saved from writing a shorter blog!  Wow!  The day has too many hours for you 😉

  6. Trish Burgess-Curran

    Following suit from Rohan and William, I will do it too from the UK.   And let’s keep barking until they cannot ignore the noise!

    1. fredwilson


    2. Donna Brewington White

      Way to rock the metaphor!

      1. tyronerubin

        @donnawhite:disqus oh k to clear it up, you the DonnaB in turntable?

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Shhh….Just kidding. Yes.

    3. Rohan

      We live in a dog-eat-dog world…or as gloria in Modern family would say it.. we live in a doggy dog world. 

  7. Tom Labus

    When congress comes back, they’re going to go all out to run this through.GOOG going “black” will help a lot.  

    1. fredwilson

      do you think google will do that?

      1. Tom Labus

        Maybe for 5 minutes but for a day, doubtful.

    2. jason wright

      Google paid $500 million as settlement for taking ad revenue from websites selling counterfeit drugs. Now I understand why Pfizer is formally supporting SOPA, and why Google might want to keep its head down on this one.  

      1. Tom Labus

        Understood.But also hollywood has put up cash to paid Chris Dodd to shill for them.  So someone on this side needs to also pay out some cash or take a hit on some cash.

  8. Tom Labus

    If you log in via twitter to your blog it doesn’t pick up the change. Regular tweets via tweetdeck chrome extension grabbed it tho.

    1. Tom Labus

      Stand corrected!

  9. mikenolan99


  10. John Revay

    Updated Twitter image last night.I think it also allows people to update their FB profile picture 

  11. John Revay

    Just updated disqus profile to pull my twitter image

  12. jason wright

    Lamar Smith – his constituency includes parts of Austin, and the University of Texas, “a traditional bastion of liberalism” according to his Wikipedia entry.Isn’t Austin an up and coming web tech hub? Surely some local heat could be turned up on good ol’ Lamaaaaar. It’s not clear from his bio why SOPA would be of such interest to him. He’s from a Texas oil dynasty. Where’s the fit?

    1. fredwilson

      Maybe JLM has some advice on that

      1. JLM

        On it big time!

        1. William Mougayar

          JLM, Your avatar looks broken. 

        2. ShanaC

          Thank you JLM!!!!!

        3. Donna Brewington White

          Of course.

  13. JimHirshfield

    I’m in. Will this be seen by Congress? Do they even pay attention to the internet?

    1. Ed Lee

      this is my issue. twitter users in general believe that they are influential, that making these changes will be seen. truth is, unless it gets picked up by the mainstream media, congressmen/women who have twitter accounts will very rarely even look at them beyond pushing out an update, much less click to find out why everyone has the same logo, even if they notice.

      1. JimHirshfield


      2. fredwilson

        Maybe so. But the time it takes to do this is literally seconds. Why not give it a shot?

        1. daryn

          Ed – You’re right, changing avatars alone doesn’t change the world, but even if these changes are only seen by other twitter layperson users, it helps spread awareness that can then bubble up as activism through other channels as well. 

      3. Donna Brewington White

        It’s one part of an overall strategy.  A new form of grassroots.



    2. Rob Hunter

      That’s a good question.  I have like 40 followers (and half of them are bots), so I very much doubt if my changing my profile picture can have a meaningful impact – but it can’t hurt, can it?I feel like getting people to express their political opinions (especially on issues that don’t split perfectly along party lines) is REALLY important… folks like yourlist.org are trying, and even blackoutsopa.org advertises how many people have changed their picture.  As gross as it sounds to be making money off politics, I bet there’s a significant market for figuring out voter intent.If I were a politician on the fence about this, I’d want to have some idea of what my (voting) constituency wanted.

    3. Nick Grossman

      I think there are a lot of ways for the internet to show our influence.  I don’t think changing our twitter avatars is about reaching congress directly, but about increasing visibility w/ everyone.  Then, we can turn that into things that congress notices.  Check out http://my.americancensorshi… where folks are organizing to make in person visits to their representatives while congress is on January break.  Let’s hope that the all of the softer efforts (like the twitter avatars), can ultimately reinforce other forms of action that will be more directly noticeable in washington.

      1. JimHirshfield




    4. ShanaC

      why aren’t they paying attention to the internet.  eventually the internet will overthrow them in some sort of crazy kung fu gesture…

      1. JimHirshfield

        Follow the money. Getting elected and staying elected is all about getting financed. And that sucks.

  14. John Best

    Hi Fred,I’ve changed my avatar despite not being in the US, or one of its citizens, because I believe it has wide enough implications that anyone in tech, or hoping to do business in the US in future will be impacted.

    1. United Slaves of America

      You don’t need to be in the US to show your support. Just like you don’t need to be in the US for the distribution industry to try to have you extradited to the US for a trial. It happened before.  I learned that watching this youtube video on this issue: http://www.youtube.com/watc…If 15 minutes is too long to watch, the summary is this; CBS Viacom, AOL Time Warner, Disney and other supporters of SOPA distributed filesharing software. They did so after testing and reviewing it. They even wrote reviews detailing which software was the most effective at pirating music, and encouraged users to do so. Then when users downloaded the software and pirated the music as instructed, the distribution industry turned around and sued those users in court for hundreds/thousands of times the actual value of the downloaded content.The SCOTUS ruled in Grokster that distributing filesharing software while encouraging users to use it to pirate ‘intellectual property’ is illegal under the DMCA.  Why haven’t these SOPA supporters been dragged into court for their own copyright crimes? Where is the DOJ? Where is the justice?

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Thanks, and since I’m not groveling for tax money… I posted!

  15. jack


  16. Scott Barnett

    done.  great idea, and I do think this will be noticed…

  17. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I Wish “Washington ignores you and then laugh at you.”…“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -A Half Naked Fakir!! 🙂

  18. Dave W Baldwin

    Off subject Fred… just happened to notice commercial re new Windows Phone 7 and there is something missing at about the 19-20 second mark.I am interested to see what happens this year, like the ’tiles’ set up.http://www.youtube.com/watc

  19. Chris Stevens


  20. Patrick Campi

    Done! There seems to be a new viral “flu” called… influence!

  21. Miljenko Hatlak

    Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friendsOoh, I get high with a little help from my friendsYes I get by with a little help from my friends,with a little help from my friends

    1. fredwilson

      Every comment thread can use some Beatles lyrics

      1. jason wright

        Ooo, tempting. Where to begin?I’ll start by sending Lamar a copy of… ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’

        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          “hold on your dancing shoes”…

  22. markslater


  23. William Mougayar

    Do I look COOL with that badge under my nose? I should ask that on Honestly Now @terezaN.

    1. Tom Labus

      You have a “Groucho” look!

      1. William Mougayar

        Let’s not take it that far…:) But it’s for a good cause.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Now you look like the Paul in “David Letterman Show”….:-).

  24. William Mougayar

    Your avatar is broken. 

  25. Roch

    I’m in France but nevermind “Stop Sopa”

  26. andyswan

    What’s really amazing is that these idiot moderators of the GOP debates have spent 1000x more time asking about the constitutionality of gay marriage and banning contraception than about SOPA or the right of the President to detain US Citizens indefinitely….Then again….these are the same types of special morons that consider the Constitution a “living, breathing, document”.

  27. awaldstein

    Done. Feeling very ninja about this.

  28. kidmercury

    Ron paul is the only candidate who will not sign and repeal this type of legislation. Santorum?!?!?!? Hahahhaha…..at least that guy gives me the chuckles, lol. Soetoro will of cours sign since he is the bankers and military candidate.Only way to stop this type of legislation is to de-militarize.Government is broken, though. Time for technology to fix it. Technology is the easy part, the will to use it to resist tyranny is the hard part.Computers with their own DNS…..alternate dns systems. That’s step one. #fs

  29. Shawn Cohen

    Calling your representative can get their attention–I got a signed letter back from mine after I called, thanking me for reaching out to him and for my concern.

    1. ShanaC

      mine did nothing, and is politically weak right now too…

      1. Shawn Cohen

        Sorry about that. Mine’s a newly elected tea party congressman and his district is adjacent to the bill’s sponsor. Our business is in the sponsor’s district. As SOPA picks up again, I plan to call his office for an explanation and to voice his own constituents’ view on it. #fs

  30. CliffElam

    Since the average age of a congressman is >60 and senators are edging up to 70, I’m guessing their aids might notice it.  And we know how bad news travels up….-XC

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      So totally true across the world. That is not he only field where senior citizens are in control!!

  31. Ben Kamens

    Partially inspired by some comments on a previous SOPA post of yours, my friend and I just released a free app that sits on your iPhone and helps you call congress critters instantly.It’s been fun watching the call logs coming in (screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/8GJGS.png) — here’s hoping they’re delivering some anti-SOPA sentiment to the right hands.(More story: http://shipordie.com/post/1…

    1. fredwilson

      that’s great. thanks!

  32. sigmaalgebra

    At http://oversight.house.gov/…is in part> Issa Announces Oversight Hearing on DNS & Search Engine Blockingwith in part> Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventureson a witness list for testimony on 1/18/2012 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA).Maybe Brad would like to mention the following two simple facts:(1) Pirate BayAt http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/…is in part> Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 15:29 UK> Court jails Pirate Bay founders> A court in Sweden has jailed four men behind The Pirate Bay (TPB), the world’s most high-profile file-sharing website, in a landmark case.Pirate Bay didn’t distribute copyrighted content but just helped people find Torrent sites. Still, as of 2009 the legal system in Sweden jailed some Pirate Bay founders. Yes, one or more of the founders were on the lam and not jailed.Net, as of 2009, even in Sweden, copyright owners have had fairly strong legal remedies.(2) The Web Is Not StaticAny Web site can change at any time or, really, be changing constantly. In practice in detail, any Web site can suddenly become a “rogue” site.So, given any Web site with a list of Internet URLs, the site could be considered as “facilitating” access to “rogue” sites.So, in detail that a Web site is “rogue” or “facilitates” access to “rogue” sites is from evanescent to ethereal.Net, with SOPA, there could be no Web sites with lists of URLs.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      How would mentioning the bit about Pirate Bay help his case? Men behind a site dedicated solely to facilitating piracy get arrested (presumably, for facilitating piracy). I’m not seeing the injustice in that.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > How would mentioning the bit about Pirate Bay help his case?Because, as I wrote:> Pirate Bay didn’t distribute copyrighted content but just helped people find Torrent sites. Still, as of 2009 the legal system in Sweden jailed some Pirate Bay founders. Yes, one or more of the founders were on the lam and not jailed.> Net, as of 2009, even in Sweden, copyright owners have had fairly strong legal remedies.So, by “mentioning the bit about Pirate Bay” would “help his case” because the Pirate Bay case shows that as of 2009 even in Sweden copyright holders have already had some strong legal remedies.And the Pirate Bay case shows that the current remedies are quite strong since the Pirate Bay founders got jailed even though they never distributed copyrighted content.That is, since copyright holders have long had strong remedies, they don’t need SOPA-PIPA now.For more, some of the SOPA-PIPA drafts have proposed as a remedy for a copyright holder an ‘ex parte’ legal process which is a long way from fair or serious ‘due process’ and wide open to abuse.Of course, there is no telling just how simplistic the argument has to be to win. Maybe my point about Pirate Bay is at the fourth grade level and, thus, way, Way above that of the debate on this issue!From some I’ve read, it appears that some of the copyright holders have brought up something like SOPA-PIPA each year for about three years now. So, so far, each year a cloud of dust is raised but no bill is passed.It does appear that the drafts of SOPA-PIPA are so extreme that they would be struck down in the courts on constitutional grounds.So, the SOPA-PIPA issue in part looks like a sucker play, a deliberate manipulation, to get both sides, both pro and con, up on their hind legs and making campaign donations. Then the checks are cashed, the bills die, and we get another installment of this movie serial next year.Yes, Virginia, Congress can propose bills and hold hearings when they are fairly sure the bills won’t pass.My Representative in NY20 seems to have taken no position on SOPA. Maybe he understands that any such bill is just a cloud of dust.

  33. meredithvail

    I would guess that you already know about this and apologies if this is redundant, but *just* in case, Senator Wyden is planning to filibuster by reading names of those opposed to SOPA and PIPA. You can add your info here. http://www.stopcensorship.org/

    1. kidmercury

      that’s really great, thanks for sharing that. i think filibustering is potentially useful here.  

    2. jason wright

      Filibuster -I love that word. It ‘sounds’ so absurd and yet quite funny at the same time.

  34. daryn

    Done. Thanks for the pointer. 

  35. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    If you are an idiot like me you may not initially realise you can reselect your avatar on your Disqus dashboard too – hopefully this will make me look better there as well !

    1. another cultural landslide

      Thanks for reminding me! D’oh!

  36. another cultural landslide

    We clicked that link about 1 minute after you posted it on your Twitter feed. That was a no brainer. (We would’ve done it sooner, but I wasn’t watching Twitter closely enough. 😉 )

  37. Otto

    SOPA is like giving the postal service authority to open and approve all mail before delivery.

  38. testtest

    @wmoug:disqus  what i was saying yesterday, about the story i would create around engagio. i’d buy some ad inventory and split-test different messages to see what gets people excited.it may not happen right away but you’ll be able to find something that gets people urgently clicking.

  39. Otto

    Blacklist any company, association, or celebrity that supports SOPA. Literally. Two can play that game. Why let them continue to enjoy and benefit from an Internet they didn’t build and now seek to destroy? There is no law that says X movie, actor, or producer has to be allowed on FB or Twitter. Blacklist them if this passes. And if Twitter, FB, Google, etc., don’t have the balls to do it then do it yourself. Use your block filters, ad block, unfollow, unsubscribe from their emails or report it as spam, and just take your money away. Again, two can play this game. 



      1. Otto

        I think a couple already exist. DeSopa for Firefox and another for Chrome. I’m mostly mobile app these days. Will look into it next time I’m on my desktop.

      2. Otto

        NoSopa is on Chrome, along with a couple of others. They don’t block though. It alerts you when you visit a site that supports SOPA.

      3. Otto

        DeSopa on Firefox has been downloaded 36,000 times. Would let browsers visit SOPA blocked foreign sites. No practical use yet, but it was done to show how easy it would be to create extensions like this and how it’s likely there will be 1000s of them if SOPA passes, which means “piracy” and “rogue” sites would continue as normal while good people get screwed. No block SOPA supporters extension that I know of.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  40. jason wright

    The far future internet infrastructure will be different. I anticipate that eventually the internet will be simply  handheld hardware, peer-to-peer relay transmission of all data, and platforms that exist only on flash memory – a totally mobile synaptic system. I’d like to see the powers that be take that on and win. 

  41. Paul Higgins

    Love the idea and the action but as a point of principle do not authorise other applications to be able to change things in my account and Tweet for me. Why do they do that?Paul

  42. Romney?

    sopa is just one way to centralize information on the internet.  don’t think it will work, though.

  43. vruz

    #WELL_DONE!I hate the cynism of guys like Gabe Rivera mocking people who are putting their reputations on the line doing everything they can to save the Internet as we know it, guys like Gabe who will certainly benefit from any bargainig we get with Congress.Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad guy, but I do hate that type of cynism viscerally.Great that you and I and many others think different.  (for reals, not just for ads)

  44. Atul Singh

    I am the founder and editor of FairObserver – a 21st centurynew media company that is creating a multimedia platform for sharingexceptional ideas, insights, and analysis with the global community.  We enable our audience to make sense of theworld by focusing on issues, events and trends of global significance, andintegrating a plurality of perspectives: providing a “360° view” of the world.We have readersfrom over 160 countries, over 250 contributors from more than 30 countries andover 50 people from five continents volunteering their time.  Wehave also folks like John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland; JaswantSingh, former Foreign Minister of India; and John Rowett, former CEO of theRhodes Trust as advisers. SOPA is a big dealand the public needs to be educated about it. Mainstream media will not do so. Twitter is all nice and good but it is preaching to the choir.  So why don’t you folks send us content (at [email protected]) writtenwith lucidity and brevity about how SOPA is screwed up.  Let us get a 360° analysis of this piececomplete with a context piece, infographics capturing consequences and articlesexamining the flaws in the assumptions, provisions and implementation of thelaw.  If you believe this is a bad lawthen you bloody well roll up your sleeves to fight against it. 

  45. jason wright

    As an aside, any comments on this development?http://www.guardian.co.uk/t…Does Google really care about SOPA? I doubt it.

    1. fredwilson

      not good. but its complicated. twitter did cancel its firehose deal with google. like all divorces, there is blame on both sides

  46. James Smith

    @aussiwi now changed to help Stop SOPA.

  47. James Smith

    @aussiwi supports STOP SOPA.

  48. mattellsworth

    Just changed my profile to add the SOPA banner.One note on the hashtags in your post title, I think it would be cool to use the same hashtag to collect comments on that post.  There are a couple weird elements to that like, the hashtag being very unique to grab the right comments, and dealing with aging posts is a bit weird too.  I still think it is interesting, and traditional commenting systems have their downfall as well.

  49. Rod Turner

    Done. Thank you Fred for the nudge to do this.

  50. Rod Turner

    Done. Thank you Fred, for the nudge.

  51. mbob

    Dear Sheep: Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely, Wolf. 

  52. Neil Braithwaite

    Fred, Do you support the “National Venture Capital Association?” Do you know anything about their PAC? Is there a PAC on behalf of the tech community? Just seems that a banner is great, but $$$ has more influence and power in Washington.

    1. fredwilson

      no i do not support the NVCA

      1. Neil Braithwaite

        How about founding/organizing a tech-community PAC? With your connections and large following here on AVC I bet “Tech PAC” would get off to a great start. Maybe it’s time to put our money where our mouths/banners are and get some strategic influence in the political game.

        1. fredwilson

          we are working on it. we are thinking of calling it freedom to innovate as it will be a broad innovation agenda. only issue with the name is freedomtoinnovate.com redirects to microsoft!!!!

  53. RichardF

    Done, pretty disappointing that only 7000 people are doing this.Surprised that @jack:twitter @timoreilly:twitter and @ev:twitter have not got behind this

    1. fredwilson

      i know. i am shocked and saddened at the lack of uptake.

    1. fredwilson


  54. Bob

    An attorney goes into some detail about why — and how — SOPA will have a serious impact on game developers, like, ahem, me. http://bit.ly/zJePQbWhile the law is a blunt instrument at best, this time the pending legislation is like one of Chuck Jones’ “Acme Brand” safes plummeting down from above. 

  55. Tom Labus

    Leahy now saying PIPA needs “more study”http://blogs.wsj.com/digits… 

  56. BrianErvin

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  57. kevinmurphy

    Question- A friend is involved in a location based startup. I am hoping the AVC community can help- awhile back (mid last year?) I saw a company win a startup competition (TechCrunch?) with a focus on finding people who are near you. I can’t seem to remember the name of the company. Any thoughts?

    1. fredwilson


      1. kevinmurphy

        thanks, but how on earth could I forget that name… duh

  58. fredwilson

    Issa’s Open bill is a good start

  59. Dave W Baldwin

    Something along the line of timelines related to notifying of copyright breach and the host removing it.  If it isn’t removed, then move to reporting to a panel.  The panel needs to be appointed in a fashion where one philosophy is not monopolized, increasing chances that matters will be dealt with pertaining copyright law from a more strict standard of law.

  60. andyswan

    Or how about something along the lines of WE ALREADY HAVE IT.

  61. Dave W Baldwin

    Thanks Charlie

  62. ShanaC

    but I want medical research to end up in pubmed