Smith and Reid give in, setting aside SOPA and PROTECT IP

On January 20, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens

According to Darrell Issa, SOPA is officially postponed by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith. Issa broke the news on Twitter, which only underscores how important it is that we protect the Internet from capricious censorship, as was the risk under a SOPA-like regime.

On the Senate side, Harry Reid has canceled the vote on PROTECT IP, killing momentum for the proposal in both houses of Congress.

Smith’s and Reid’s decisions come on the heels of disgraced former Senator and current MPAA head Chris Dodd calling for cross-industry discussions on property protection. It may have been the death blow for PROTECT IP and SOPA’s biggest industry supporter to start talking compromise, when in the past the Dodd MPAA had taken a hard line against any deviation from the bills.

In other SOPA news, Marsha Blackburn also announced a change of heart on SOPA. I agree with Blackburn’s new position: scrap SOPA and start with something new. Issa’s and Ron Wyden’s OPEN Act is also worthy of consideration.

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Tech at Night: SOPA day wrap-up, and the next fight: taxes

On January 18, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So, Erick Erickson decided to make a big push against SOPA today, again bringing out the primary threat card. I also had a post on SOPA and PROTECT IP today.

We were heard. On the House side, Speaker John Boehner echoed Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and said the committee needs to find consensus before the bill can get a vote. And again, conservatives like Darrell Issa, Justin Amash, and Jason Chaffetz aren’t going to lie down and quit. So as long as Boehner and Cantor are true to their words, SOPA is dead in the House this Congress.

On the Senate side, of the 16 Republicans co-sponsoring PROTECT IP, I’ve received word of six of them changing their minds. Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and Marco Rubio are dropping their support. Moe was keeping track, but I think Ayotte flipped after the posted.

The threat of electoral consequences is all a politician will listen to. Democrats know that the online left won’t lift a finger, so Democrats are still backing SOPA and PROTECT IP, much to Markos Moulitsas’s disappointment. We stood on principle, while Daily Kos just whined. We got results, he got blown off.

Erick even tried to make this a bipartisan thing, where both sides would primary the SOPA and PROTECT IP supporters, but he got crickets.

Lamar Smith remains primary target number one though, as he does his best impression of the Saddam Hussein Ministry of Propaganda. The Allies are not in Iraq! SOPA is still in control of the country! It’s all lies! Also, Lamar Smith is himself an E-PARASITE. Will he resign and report to prison?

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Tech at Night

Internet access is not a human right. It’s not me saying that, either. It’s Vint Cerf, Google’s Internet Evangelist.

ESA May be backing SOPA, but we’re seeing developers themselves such as Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios come out against it. But support for the OPEN Act is growing, as it protects American rights without trying to censor the Internet or impose destructive burdens on Americans online.

Defeat SOPA. Pass OPEN. Everyone wins. Even if the RIAA and MPAA think they’d benefit from government picking winners and losers.

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Tech at Night

I’m back. I ended up taking an extended Christmas break because well, I liked having a break, plus there wasn’t a whole lot going on anyway. But, back to work!

Lamar Smith and Chris Dodd still want to censor the Internet, by pushing the SOPA bill that we need to defeat. Why is it bad? Victims get no due process, ISPs have the burden of proof if government makes economically or technically unreasonable demands on them, and of course the largest reason of all is that it amounts to censoring the Internet without actually stopping foreign infringers of American copyrights.

Let’s make sure to watch the SOPA sponsor list. They must be primary targets this cycle if they don’t turn. I don’t care who they are. Marsha Blackburn is one of my favorite members, but Erick Erickson is right to call her out. This is a bad bill, a terrible bill.

Yes, the foreign leeches are annoying, but the problem is that SOPA doesn’t actually stop them. It attempts (poorly) to censor what Americans can see online. It doesn’t protect American property rights, but instead threatens them in an ostrich-like attempt to hide us from the rest of the world.

Activists are already at work. There’s also an alternative to SOPA that actually will work. The OPEN act promoted by Darrell Issa and Ron Wyden would use proven techniques for stopping foreign infringers; Apple uses it already against patent infringement. The ITC exists for a reason.

But, Chris Dodd’s MPAA and now the RIAA are demanding SOPA, not OPEN. They don’t care if the Internet is open; they think if they shut down the Internet in America that you’ll buy more CDs and DVDs. They want government to pick winners and losers, not just protect rights. OPEN protects rights. SOPA pits one industry against all others.

Kill the bill. Primary the offenders. For those of us thinking of focusing on races other than the Presidential race, that’d be a great project to work on.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.