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Did the Copying Opponents Copy?

January 11, 2012
Public Knowledge, which is trying to halt a Senate bill targeting online piracy it views as too far-reaching, sent an email to advocates last week telling them the best way to voice their opposition was to contact their senators. The email encouraged them to attend town hall meetings and visit district offices. 

On Tuesday, Creative America, an entertainment-industry backed group that supports the bill, sent an email to its supporters saying "there is no more effective way to show your support than to show up in person and state it!" -- and encouraged supporters to contact senators at town halls or go to their district office.

Some blogs picked up on the emails' similarities, wondering if the group that is trying to stop copying was doing some copying of its own. Public Knowledge was quick to send out an email that said: "Is this fair use, or 'piracy'? You be the judge. All that we know is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we are flattered."

Art Brodsky, Public Knowledge's communications director, said the similarities between the two emails were hard to overlook, but it was more of an "ironic amusement" than a problem.

"Their whole thing is that they're against copying, and here they are copying," Brodsky told the Alley.

But that's not the case, said Craig Hoffman, a Creative America spokesman. He said Creative America did not copy Public Knowledge's email but was just encouraging supporters to get in touch with their senators, a common strategy.

"It's a standard organizing technique," Hoffman said.

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