For something like seventeen years, I have been investing in entrepreneurs who have had the freedom to innovate on the Internet. It has been a powerful life lesson for me. These people imagine something, they create it, and they are off and running building a business, hiring employees, generating cash flow. They ask nobody for permission. They don't need any permits. They don't need any real estate. All they need is a server (now rented in the cloud from Amazon and others) and a laptop or two and they are good to go.
Almost of two decades of this environment of "permissionless innovation" has led to the creation of a huge new industry, which is global in nature, but unquestionably led by the US. Almost every young person I meet coming out of college these days wants to work in this industry.
This industry is the Internet industry. And the Internet and this freedom to innovate is under its first existential threat right now from the MPAA and the RIAA and their legislators in Congress. They want to fundamentally change the way the Internet works and they want to regulate the Internet. We must stop this and the time to do it is now. Here's how you can help:
1) Visit fightforthefuture.org, get your talking points on jobs, free speech, and security, and then call your representative. I'm told that making the phones ring in Washington is still the best way to let your representatives know that you are upset. So please do this. It's super easy thanks to, of course, the Internet.
2) Visit I Work For The Internet, snap a photo of yourself, and add your face and first name to a list of all the people who work on and for the Internet. There are a lot of us, more than anyone in Congress knows. It's time to show our faces and names.
3) Censor your blog posts, tweets, and/or facebook wall posts. Fill the internet up with blocked out text. Show those in Congress the world they are taking us toward. You can do that here. I will do it tomorrow.
4) Read what our contry's leading information security scientists have to say about the SOPA and PIPA proposals. Not surprising, the approaches outlined in these bills will lead us to a less secure Internet.
But most of all, we need you to Occupy Congress this week in opposition to PIPA and SOPA. We have the facts on our side and we have the numbers on our side. But we are behind in this fight, the votes are not on our side. It is time to change that.