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Too Stupid

I am often distressed by the level of discourse in this country, especially the willingness to some people (especially politicians) to dismiss scientific results and expert opinions. Especially when they do this to push an agenda.

But this is reaching new heights, as internet expert Cory Doctorow reports in BoingBoing:

If you followed my tweets from the markup session for SOPA in the House of Representatives, you know how frustrating it was to watch: you had these lawmakers blithely dismissing the security concerns of the likes of Vint Cerf, saying things like, “I’m no technology nerd, but I don’t believe it.” In other words: “I’m a perfect ignoramus, but I find it convenient to disregard the world’s foremost experts.” Another congressman from Florida kept saying things like “No one can explain to me how this bill harms political debate or academic freedom.”

I haven’t said much about SOPA in this blog, mainly because I was hoping that it was so broad and so damaging to free speech that it either wouldn’t be enacted or would instantly be found unconstitutional. But given the ridiculous amount of power organizations like the RIAA and MPAA exert over Congress, I guess it should be no surprise that politicians are trying to pull a fast one and sneak in approval of this horrible law. And given that out current Supreme Court thinks that corporations are people with important free speech rights, systemic censorship of the Internet might just become a reality.

Would rights-holding monopolies abuse the powers given to them by SOPA? Well, they already are abusing those powers, even though ironically they haven’t yet been given them. Friday, Universal Music Group lawyers asserted that they have the right to have YouTube remove any video they don’t like, even if UMG owns no rights to it.

That’s what SOPA does — gives big corporations the right to censor almost anything on the Internet, often with no recourse or judicial review for the person censored. If the idea of corporations controlling what you can say or write bothers you, write to your Congresscritters and express your displeasure.



  1. Falkelord wrote:

    Just wanted to point this out, and I’m trying to get the word out. Here was a quote from an aide of the bill’s sponsor, Lamar Smith:

    “Some site[s] are totally capable of filtering illegal content, but they won’t and are instead profiting from the traffic of illegal content.”

    This is a congressman saying “We have the power to do things but are not doing them because we make money that way.”

    If this isn’t the epitome of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  2. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Top 5 Industries, 2011-2012, Campaign Cmte
    Industry Total Indivs PACs
    TV/Movies/Music $59,300 $26,800 $32,500
    Retired $53,450 $53,450 $0
    Beer, Wine & Liquor $37,250 $11,750 $25,500
    Lawyers/Law Firms $34,899 $13,964 $20,935
    Oil & Gas $32,750 $9,250 $23,500

    Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    That’s what I can’t believe — SOPA makes owners of content-driven sites (you know, like Wikipedia, Facebook, Google Groups, Linked In, Google +, Reddit, and most of the useful sights on the web) responsible if someone else posts copyrighted material on the site. If one person posts something illegal on the site, the rights owner can have the entire site taken down.

    Why stop at the internet? I think that if anyone ever plays a copyrighted music file on their mobile phone, then their wireless carrier should be shut down. And why stop at wireless. If I call someone up on a regular phone and read some copyrighted material to someone else, then the phone company should be shut down. And if the internet is used to transfer copyrighted material illegally, they should just shut down all the internet service providers. That will stop piracy.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  4. Falkelord wrote:

    Exactly. It’s completely pandering. MPAA and RIAA wrote this piece of legislation. It needs to be revisited from the ground up if you want to stop piracy, not trying to fix the existing system. Which is something this country has a problem with.

    I called and wrote my representative and told him to tell everyone he knows: Sites that rely on the indirect distribution of copyrighted material will collapse. Facebook, Google, any search engine. And these are companies that put substantially more money into the domestic economy than the corporations that are attempting to restrict the copyright laws (like Nike, L’Oreal, etc).

    And if these companies collapse, people lose jobs. Investors will not want to invest money into an internet opportunity that could be shut down (and thus lose all their funding) just because the site’s owner posts copyrighted material.

    Creative Commons is an alternative to the traditional copyright structure, providing corporations and small-time players to license their works with some restrictions, or none at all. Music, pictures, movies, and data can be shared freely, shared with attribution to the author, or not shared at all but usable.

    More at

    If there’s ever been anything on your site that I’ve been more passionate about, it’s Intellectual Property Copyright Laws. It’s what I want to go to law school for, and it’s something I wrote a 20 page paper on, exploring the avenues. And, as a considerable user of the Internet, I feel like it’s my duty to protect the thing that has given me so much enjoyment since practically the day I was born.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink