So imagine for a moment that you are an executive of a company that has a partnership with NBC and you get an email in your inbox telling you to take a position on several bills before congress. And when we say "telling," we mean "telling." Suppliers that want their content or media on NBC's family of networks were told that they'd better support the PROTECT-IP/SOPA bills that are currently before both legislative branches of the U.S. government.
The following leaked email signed by NBC Universal's Rick Cotton (Executive Vice President and General Counsel), Marcia Haynes (Executive Vice President, Sourcing), and John Wallace (President, Media Works), lays it out plainly enough:
To Our Suppliers:
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, it’s not too strong to say that this threat could adversely affect our business relationship with you.
We’re writing today to ask you to do two things:
1) Visit creativeamerica.org, a new initiative to build grassroots support for the fight against content theft, and join the fight. Creative America is a place for the people who make their living in this industry to come together with a single voice to speak out against content theft, and that includes you. In addition to NBCUniversal, the members of this unprecedented coalition are CBS, Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, and Warner Brothers, along with AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, and SAG.
2) While you are at the creativeamerica.org site, click on the “Contact your Legislator” button to let your representative and senators in Congress know that you support an important new piece of legislation called the PROTECT IP Act, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to go after foreign websites that are dedicated to the illegal distribution of our movies and TV shows. The website makes this very easy to do by providing you with a customizable letter along with a tool to let you automatically send a message to your specific legislators, based on your zip code.
We will be sure to keep you informed about our efforts to fight the growing problem of content theft. You can share your thoughts, concerns, or ideas by sending an email to email@example.com.
Or if you’d like to discuss specific ways you can help, please feel free to contact either Phil Tahtakran in our Washington, DC office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 202-524-6404, or John McKay in New York at either email@example.com or 212.664.6202.
Thank you for your support.
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Executive Vice President, Sourcing
President, Media Works_
Now maybe we're being overly dramatic, but saying to your partners that "this threat could adversely affect our business relationship with you," sounds suspiciously like a threat. Thanks to TechDirt for uncovering this little gem. For some more interesting reading you might want to check out this editorial over at Slate.