This is the last politics post for a good long while. Click on the “more” link to read it–I’ve positioned it very high up so that those of you who are uninterested in the topic don’t need to read about it.

After the blackout yesterday, enough Reps and Senators backed off that SOPA/PIPA might just be dead–notwithstanding the snarky reply I got from one of my Senators over the issue.

Now, the real problem: The lobbyists who are pushing this. Good lobbying is a good investment strategy, and always has been. Unlike most people, I don’t have a problem with that–in an open society, even businesspeople need to be able to put their case forward.

However, I do have a problem when lobbying crosses over into rent-seeking and protectionism and restraint of trade, as these two bills most assuredly did.

People tend to despair about having any effect on the machinery that drives rent-seeking on the part of companies who lobby–but just as elected officials can be voted out, so too can misbehaving companies. Consumer boycotts are one of THE most effective methods of activism in the world. Companies lobby to protect (or enhance) their bottom line, so showing them that their lobbying efforts are harming their bottom line can cause them to seriously reconsider.

To that end, you will find a list on this page of all the companies who put their money and PR engines behind SOPA/PROTECT-IP. Take a few minutes, pick a handful that you actually buy things from, and let them know that you’re not going to buy from them anymore unless/until they change their tune.

I’ve sent versions of the following letter to Monster Cable, Shure, Intel, and Dell. If you care about this stuff, it’s worth fifteen minutes for you to do the same. Please consider it.

I am a longtime customer who has had nothing but positive experiences with Shure and its products (I currently own 6 SM-58s and regularly recommend them to consulting clients), I am deeply disappointed to learn that your lobbying arm was an active supporter of SOPA and the PROTECT-IP acts. As an independent producer of albums, concert videos, and audiobooks I’ve had the pleasure of using Shure Microphones for the last ten years–your products, tough and durable with excellent shielding–have been my go-to for gigs in harsh environments and where EM bleed noise is worse. It’s also been my pleasure, as a studio consultant who helps design recording and PA installations throughout the country, to recommend your products to my customers regularly–in my experience, your vocal mics are the best in the game.

However, this legislation or subsequent legislation like it is such a fundamental threat to my business that I can no longer, in good conscience, support your company with my patronage. I hope that you reconsider your position on lobbying related to the Internet, as I would dearly love to be a customer again. Until then, I shall be recommending Audiotechnica and AKG vocal mics, as they come closest to the quality of your products.

Yours in regret and disgust
-Dan Sawyer
ArtisticWhispers Productions