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SOPA Protests Result in Political Backpedaling
The Rise of a New Age in Technology Activism?
by Karl Bode 12:30PM Thursday Jan 19 2012
While the MPAA decried yesterday's SOPA/PIPA protests as a "publicity stunt," it seems clear that the protests did have their intended effect, with at least 18 Senators having withdrawn support for SOPA. ProPublica is keeping a running tally, and the numbers aren't going in the RIAA/MPAA's desired direction. Some, like Congressman Bruce Braley, did so in amusing fashion. Many politicians tried to placate the roaring hordes yesterday by using vague language saying they heard constituent concerns, but stopping short of actually saying they'll vote no when the bill(s) come up for a vote.

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Google says their petition against SOPA netted 4.5 million signatures. According to Wikipedia eight million people looked up their elected representatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool, and 162 million people viewed the blackout landing page. 75,000 websites are believed to have shuttered all or some of their functionality.

While PIPA and SOPA are still moving forward, support has certainly taken a hit. As the year moves on and election season heats up both bills are going to start becoming more toxic given uniform public outrage. The entertainment industry is going to do their best to salvage these bills with a lot of empty rhetoric about job creation, but it seems likely that the damage has already been done.

The lesson for lawmakers here appears to be that you don't piss off the Internet. Another lesson appears to be that allowing corporations to write awful laws in exchange for campaign contributions doesn't work quite as well when the public is informed and paying attention. Just-as-awful technology legislation is passed on a daily basis that doesn't get the same level of scruity PIPA and SOPA have received. Then again, there's few organizations that have cultivated quite the volume of public disgust as the RIAA and MPAA, and there's nothing confusing about the dangers of letting both irresponsible, incompetent and aggressive organizations dictate legal process, network security and website censorship.

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Noah Vail
Son made my Avatar
·Bright House Net..

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reply to FFH5

Re: DOJ arrests 7 for infringement

said by FFH5:

The Anonymous scum DDOSed them:
»thenextweb.com/insider/2012/01/1 ··· ad-case/

Go Anonymous

Adopting other people's animosity is The New Stupid.

Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Mount Airy, MD

2 recommendations

reply to FFH5

Re: Google anti-SOPA/PIPA actions will disappear soon

All the laws in the world won't change a thing. The Internet has been a complete game-changer to the way the content industry does business. To a certain extent, the music industry has adapted, even though Apple now holds them by the balls, but the movie industry hasn't.

I still do not subscribe to the notion that each incidence of piracy is equal a lost sale. There is no proof whatsoever that people who pirate content would have otherwise purchased it legitimately if piracy were not an option.

I do hold to the fact that like the DMCA, all SOPA/PIPA will do is make life miserable for legitimate users of copyrighted content. The same content industry that gave us the DMCA still clings to the idea that you need to buy a separate copy of the same content if you want to use it in different places, and still believes that you are a criminal should you decide to break the DRM restrictions on legitimately purchased content so that you can use it in non-infringing ways (sorry RIAA, but ripping a track off a CD you bought so you can listen to it in the car without ruining the original disk is NOT piracy).

The push for yet another law just reminds of the push for more gun control laws. In both situations, none of the present laws are effective, the ones in place don't seem to be enforced, and the only people who are impacted are legitimate users who simply wish to exercise their rights.

Enough is enough.
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.


Milford, CT

3 recommendations

More, more, more...

Don't any of the SOPA supporters (here, not in the entertainment industry or DC) find it disturbing that no matter how many 'rights' copyright holders are given, it's NEVER enough?

Copyright was originally supposed to last 14 years, renewable for another 14 years. 28 years total was the entire length of copyright. And that covered publication only.

The entertainment industry has gone back to the government over a dozen times begging that copyright be extended. We now have things like performance rights, broadcast rights, streaming rights, etc., and copyright holders are allowed to impose all sorts of limitations on what can be done with their products. Copyright today is such a mess that probably half of the movie studios' catalogs of movies can't be released on DVD because nobody knows how to work out all the rights to them. Hundreds, maybe thousands of old films sit in vaults rotting away because of copyrights.

The supreme court just ruled yesterday that corporations can take works out of the public domain and put them back under copyright! So not only do the corporations refuse to contribute anything to the public domain (which is where all copyrighted works are supposed to end up after a limited time), they now get to take public domain works and re-claim them, making criminals out of everyone who had been legally using those works.

Yet, despite having all these rights which go far, far beyond what the original creators of copyright ever intended, it's not enough.

So what will be enough? When copyright lasts forever? When the public domain no longer exists? When fair use has been outlawed? When copyright infringers are executed for the first offense?

Honestly, how much is enough?

Broadway, NC

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reply to FFH5

Re: Google anti-SOPA/PIPA actions will disappear soon

...And SOPA/PIPA, despite the slippery slope arguments by opponents, is NOT designed to block US sites. It is squarely aimed at foreign sites and governments that tolerate/encourage the stealing of US content. The alarmists always want EVERY law gutted that could potentially be abused somehow. But that is true of every law ever passed. So for them we should have no laws, because all laws can be abused. That is an anarchist's position.
Your logic and blind faith are unsupportable. The entertainment industry and big content will abuse the system just as they have the DMCA. Such things like submitting take downs on content they DO NOT OWN, interfering with a legitimate business' advertising because they don't like the company that made the ad, ICE seizing a totally legal site USED BY THE INDUSTRY'S OWN MARKETING DEPARTMENTS and holding the domain hostage for over a year without recourse or explanation, Suing people for clearly fair use scenarios even when they were found NOT TO BE THE ACTUAL RIGHTS HOLDER, etc, etc, etc

And all this WITHOUT SOPA/PIPA being passed. No, the industry does not deserve any new tools until they learn the proper and ethical use of the tools they currently have and also learn how to innovate and deliver the content people want to consume in the formats they want.

We are at a crossroads and if the legacy industry fails to adapt, they will simply cease to exist in time and all this will be moot regardless...
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC


New York, NY

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The Lesson

No the real lesson here is people are not as stupid as politicians think. This goes hand in hand with the AT&T decision. As much as you might not like it, it appears as if people are finally fed up with all the bullshit and are taking action. I for one am tired of the screwing from politicians and corporations. I don't care who they are and which side of the aisle they sit. For what it's worth for all the right wing corporatists that constantly overload this site with their pro corporate views all but one defection on this bill yesterday was from pro corporate Republican Senators.To site Google as looking after their own self interest is disingenuous. Any interest from Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, whoever is because We The People got pissed off and took action.