From Mike Masnick at Techdirt:
from the grassroots! dept
Remember CreativeAmerica? This is the slickly produced operation that claims to be a “grassroots” organization in favor of SOPA and PIPA… but which is actually funded by the major studios, staffed by former MPAA employees, and has had all the major studios directly pushing employees and partners to sign up for the program — even to the point of threatening to take away business if they don’t sign.
This is also the group that was caught copying an anti-SOPA activism letter, and using the exact same words as if it was written by themselves (I guess they’re fine with plagiarism). It’s also been caught using funny math to pump up its tiny number of supporters.
In December, we joked that CreativeAmerica had resorted to buying support, after it released a big (and expensive) advertising campaign all over TV and on some big screens in Times Square. Not exactly a “grass roots” operation.
Either way, it appears the group has gone more direct now: to the point that it’s literally paying people for signatures. I’ve received very credible evidence, that a consulting firm hired by CreativeAmerica is now offering to pay people to get signatures on CreativeAmerica’s petition. The following email was forwarded to me, with some details redacted to protect privacy:
the organization I am doing work for is Creative America, which is a grassroots organization that is working to stop foreign rogue websites from illegally distributing American content such as books, music, films, etc…. These specific websites costs the U.S. and the 2.2 million middle class industry workers $5.5 billion in wages and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Your job would be just collecting signatures from whoever is interested in signing up for updates. A newsletter may come once a month and anyone can unsubscribe if they don’t want it. We don’t care if they do; all I care about is getting initial signups.
The hours are flexible and we will pay you $1/signature, so if you collect 100 signatures a week, we would pay you $100/week. We will also pay for you to go to local film festivals in the area (SXSW, Austin Film Festival, etc.). We are also taking as many people as possible, so if you have some friends who are interested in doing it we can take them as well. Let me know your thoughts….
This raises even more questions about the already anemic number of people supporting CreativeAmerica and its pro-SOPA, pro-PIPA, MPAA-driven agenda. As the email makes clear, they’re willing to pay as many people as possible to get signatures to make the group look larger than it is. That’s pretty crazy. I think we can be pretty sure that the millions of people who spoke out against SOPA/PIPA did so without someone paying them $1 per call or email.