NBC Universal Threatens Partners That They Need To Sign 'Grassroots' Support Of SOPA/PIPA Or It Might Have To Drop Them

from the this-is-getting-sad dept

We've talked about CreativeAmerica, the astroturfing group set up by the major Hollywood studios, pretending to be a "grassroots effort" in favor of SOPA & PIPA. A month ago, we challenged the group's claim that it had "sent 100,000 letters to Congress." Turns out that wasn't true. They had sent 4,191, and then about 33,000 people had "signed a petition" that the group had set up. The math by CreativeAmerica is that each thing sent out three letters: one to your Congressional Representative and one to each of your two Senators. Of course, petitions are mostly ignored. Letters have only slightly more weight -- and based on Creative America's own math, they really only had about 1,400 people sign their letter.

Either way, it seemed somewhat amusing to discover that some of the top execs at NBC Universal have been threatening all NBC Universal suppliers to sign the letter that CreativeAmerica put together or NBC might no longer be able to do business with them:
We are writing to ask you for help on an issue that is one our top business priorities content theft on the Internet, which is a major threat to the strength of our business. Our major guilds and unions are joining us in the fight to keep our businesses strong so that the tidal wave of content theft does not kill jobs. But if the current trend continues, its not too strong to say that this threat could adversely affect our business relationship with you.
Grassroots effort? When NBC Universal's General Counsel, Rick Cotton -- who famously once claimed that piracy was destroying the lowly corn farmer, since people who watch pirated movies don't eat popcorn (or something) -- is threatening suppliers who don't sign on? That's not grassroots. That's just insane. Now, it's true that Cotton wrote this carefully such that you can read it to suggest it means that if this law doesn't pass, NBC Universal's business will be in so much trouble that it has to shut down or cut off deals with suppliers. But it seems pretty clear that the obvious implication is: sign this or we may no longer do business with you.

But, given that "the big guns" at NBC Universal are pushing all their suppliers to directly sign (or else!) the letter found at CreativeAmerica's site, you might think that a lot more people would have signed on. Especially over the last month, with SOPA making so much news. So we went and checked.
It appears that 4,673 letters have been sent. A month ago it was 4,191. That's a grand total of 482 new letters sent since we last checked almost a month ago. That means in a month, with this story making major news every which way... and the major studios putting a lot of marketing muscle behind it and even threatening partners to sign on, they only rustled up 482 more signatures. And, since CreativeAmerica claims that each person who signs really sends 3 letters, we should divide that by three.

That gives us 161 new signatures (actually 160.666666 etc -- which makes me wonder what happened to that extra third of a person). 161. In a month.

Meanwhile, a real grassroots campaign turned out one million emails to Congress and 87,834 calls in one day. It should be clear at this point that the public clearly does not support SOPA/PIPA, and no amount of "faking it" is driving any public support.

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  1. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Unless I got it wrong, isn't this sort of thing illegal? If my boss came up to me and threatened to fire me if I didn't vote for X Law, I'd sue her ass off.

    Notice the carefully selected weasel words that were used.

    Kind of like the local mob boss and his goons walking into your hardware store and saying "Real nice place you've got here. It would be a shame if something bad happened to it..."

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