Las Vegas -- Internet companies fighting piracy legislation took a few lessons from broadcasters about how to use their own media, the head of the National Association of Broadcasters said on Monday.
Just as broadcasters used their airwaves in recent years to fight legislation that would have required radio stations to pay performers for playing their music on air and to get changes NAB wanted to spectrum legislation, Internet firms used their websites to oppose the House Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect IP Act, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said at the group's annual meeting.
Tech firms engaged the support of Internet users, who in turn called lawmakers and urged them to oppose the anti-piracy legislation. That effort came to a head in January when Google, Wikipedia and thousands of other websites blacked out all or part of their websites in protest of SOPA and Protect IP. Congressional leaders shelved the two bills within days of the online protests despite a strong push from powerful content industry lobbying groups including those that represent movie makers and record companies.
"The technology community - the Googles and Wikis - used their medium just as we did to create a powerful megaphone to change forever how battles are won, or lost inside the Beltway," Smith said. "Like us, they used every tool at their disposal to sway the debate."