As dozens of sites participate in a blackout today (this one is my favorite), the rest of the internet is finally learning about what myself and others have been trying to notify people over for several months. While the 2 proposed laws to filter the internet (which both my Senators in California think is an awesome idea, unfortunately) have been shelved for now, we’re left wondering whether it’s just a pause before these laws come back twice as hard or if today was a big defeat for the movie industry.
Movies, music, and publications are among America’s most valuable exports—more than $30 billion in 2007—and the industry has a lot of pull in Congress. Nearly half the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signed on to the Senate version. In the House, 32 representatives from both parties—including Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the fourth-ranking House Democrat, and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the powerful Judiciary committee—backed the entertainment industry’s proposal. (You can see supporters and opponents of the bills over at ProPublica’s website.) Maplight.org found that since the beginning of the 2010 election cycle, SOPA’s 32 sponsors took in nearly four times as much in campaign contributions from the entertainment industry than from the software and Internet industries (nearly $2 million versus a little over $500,000). For SOPA opponents, the ratio was reversed—foes of the legislation took about twice as much money from software and Internet firms as they did from the entertainment industry.
The White House, which has close ties to the entertainment industry (earlier this year, for example, President Obama appointed famed anti-filesharing lawyer Don Verrilli as Solicitor General) seemed to be on board. As the Washington Post‘s Brad Plumer wrote, “these bills seemed all but inevitable.” The House Judiciary Committee held only one hearing on SOPA on November 16. Of the six witnesses invited, only one, an attorney with Google, testified against the bill. PIPA, meanwhile, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with nary a hearing.
So what was the big deal about this “SOPA” (Stop Online Piracy Act) law? So the government would be able to take down websites just for
hosting even linking to copyrighted content. How hard can it be to just NOT do that?
Idk. Ask the author of the law… SOPAthetic…
Don’t forget the penalty…