The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a nightmarish piece of legislation moving the House Judiciary Committee currently which Hollywood is pushing hard for. The Tinsel Town lobbyists are in full press on Capitol Hill, doing all they can to get the legislation out of committee and up for a vote. The problem is, SOPA in no uncertain terms is a direct assault on a free internet.
One of the reasons many of us get our news and entertainment from the Net these days is because we find the legacy media lacking. We have turned our backs on old media because it has failed to serve us. We no longer have to tolerate obvious and unceasing news bias, or watch only boxed and packaged melodrama. We are now free to pursue news and entertainment where we like with the click of a mouse or a swipe of the Ipad.
Hollywood, and most of legacy media are unhappy about this and would prefer that we continue to listen to their propaganda and watch their terrible movies. I mean, how many sequels can these guys crank out? SOPA seeks to put we the media consumers back in line.
SOPA is being sold as a way to stop the piracy of movies and music from overseas sites, and this is a problem, but the bill goes much further than just addressing this issue.
For instance if you are the owner of a website and someone posts a bit of copyrighted material in a comments section or in a forum, the owner of the copyright can ask the government to take down your site. You may not even know that someone posted such content, yet you wake up one morning to find your site, and perhaps livelihood, gone from cyberspace with only digital tumble weeds left in its place.
Imagine how this would affect some of your favorite sites, Facebook for instance.
Facebook, Google, AOL, Twitter, and other online companies may go black in protest to raise awareness of SOPA, the so called “nuclear option.” The tech guys know that it’s DEFCON 5 for free speech and their business models and they are willing to forgo days of revenue to fight this bill.
So SOPA has become a fight between Hollywood and Tech. Hollywood has outspent Tech lobbying for SOPA 5 to 1, and the current situation in the House Judiciary Committee reflects this. The Chair, Lamar Smith (R) Texas, and the ranking member John Conyers (D) Michigan, are fully on board along with much of the rest of the House Judiciary Committee. I am sad to say the even Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a guy I have a great deal of respect for is currently supporting this bill.
However there is hope and it comes from northern California Republican congressman (they do exist) Darryl Issa.
Issa said recently at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that, “SOPA was ill-conceived, written in Hollywood, and included all kinds of things that physically can’t be done, including the DNS blocking.”
He also called SOPA “Unconstitutional.”
Issa, who is also persuing Attorney General Holder for the bungling of the “Fast and Furious” program, should know. He is a former, and very successful tech CEO.
Unsurprisingly the SOPA story has gotten little attention from the mainstream press. It is after all the mainstream which wants to regain (as much as it can) “only-stream” status.
I don’t know about you, but I like my internet free and wide open. It’s the last place that is.