Sites like Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, and Reddit have gone black this morning in protest of The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which threatens Internet independence and free speech as well as a host of other rights. We have long discussed the ever-widening array of criminal and civil penalties pushed through Congress by the powerful radio and television lobby as well as other industry groups. The Obama Administration has been particularly willing to carry the water for these groups over objections from public interest groups. SOPA reflects the power of this lobby and its hold over members of Congress and the Obama Administration. While the Obama Administration has now responded to the outcry by insisting that it will tweak the bill, such promises ring hallow given its past efforts to appease this industry and its dishonest statements recently in other areas like the indefinite detention controversy. Notably, the recent admission from the White House that it has some concerns over the bill did not come until the public rallied against the bill — another indication of the control of an industry group in the drafting of legislation. This lobby is not going to go quietly into the night. It is more likely that it will work with the White House and Congress to achieve the same purposes with an incremental series of laws — if it does not simply win outright.

The radio and movie industry has shown zero concern over free speech and other rights in seeking to protect profits. The bill has sweeping implications in the loss of safe harbor provisions and the right to bar Internet sites under vague provisions. Wikipedia, which has taking a lead in fighting this bill, has a good discussion of these dangers. Not only must this bill be defeated, but advocates should force a review of the current draconian and often abused copyright and trademark laws.

The standard approach of lobbyists when faced with public opposition is to pull back while working privately with the White House and Congress to achieve the same results once the fervor has died down. In the meantime, most of the Hollywood stars and recording artists who claim to support the arts and free speech are conspicuously silent as their lobbyists seek strip the Internet of protections. Just as we saw with the pharmaceutical industry, the entertainment industry has given jobs to congressional staffers who have worked for its interests in Congress. Various sites have documented the millions given to Congress by the industry to pass this law.

Sites like Rawstory have links to contact your representatives. I encourage everyone to join this worthy effort. The Internet is the single most important advance in free speech in a century, if not in the history of humanity. While this industry cannot see beyond its profits, the public needs to protect this resource for creative and political expression.

86 thoughts on “SITES UNITE TO STOP SOPA”


    Watch out, Washington: CISPA replaces SOPA as Internet’s Enemy No. 1

    April 5, 2012
    By Andrew Couts


    “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is quickly becoming the Internet’s new most-hated piece of legislation. But is it really “the new SOPA,” as critics are calling it? Here, a comprehensive rundown of what CISPA is, what it does, and why people think it’s dangerous.

    The Internet has a new enemy. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA), also known as H.R. 3523, is a “cybersecurity” bill in the House of Representatives. CISPA is quickly gaining traction as “the new SOPA,” the infamous anti-piracy bill that was forced to crawl back into its hole after thousands of websites and millions of Web users protested with a massive, high-profile “blackout.” While CISPA does not focus primarily on intellectual property (though that’s in there, too), critics say the problems with the bill run just as deep. But what is CISPA, really, and will its presence on Congress’ agenda cause the same type of online revolt that SOPA and PIPA did?
    What is CISPA?

    Unveiled to the House by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) late last year, CISPA is described as a “cybersecurity” bill. It proposes to amend the National Security Act of 1947 to allow for greater sharing of “cyber threat intelligence” between the U.S. government and the private sector, or between private companies. The bill defines “cyber threat intelligence” as any information pertaining to vulnerabilities of, or threats to, networks or systems owned and operated by the U.S. government, or U.S. companies; or efforts to “degrade, disrupt, or destroy” such systems or networks; or the theft or “misappropriation” of any private or government information, including intellectual property.

    CISPA also removes any liability from private companies who collect and share qualified information with the federal government, or with each other. Finally, it directs the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to conduct annual reviews of the sharing and use of the collected information by the U.S. government.”

    Full text of bill at:

  2. MPAA Chief Chris Dodd On Defense Over Piracy Bill

    The battle over anti-piracy legislation in Washington may have cooled following the mass online protests on January 18 and subsequent loss of support in Congress, but former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) remains on the hot seat over his role in the fight.

    Dodd, current president of the MPAA, is the target of an online petition calling for the Obama Administration to “investigate Chris Dodd and the MPAA for bribery after he publicly admited to bribing politicans to pass legislation.”

    There is no evidence that Dodd bribed anyone or violated any laws whatsoever.

    The petition, which on Tuesday exceeded 25,000 online signatures — the threshold required for a response from the Obama Administration according to the White House’s official “We the People” petition site, where any user can submit their own petition — centers arounds comments Dodd made in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, January 19, the day after the mass online protests.

    Dodd’s comments appeared to threaten to cut-off Hollywood donations to President Obama’s re-election effort and the Democratic party writ-large for not supporting the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

    As Fox News quoted Dodd:

    “Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake,” Dodd told Fox News. “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

    The petition against Dodd interprets the former Senator’s remarks as follows: “This is an open admission of bribery and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the ‘above the law’ status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy…We demand justice. Investigate this blatant bribery and indict every person, especially government officials and lawmakers, who is involved.”

    Asked about the accusations, an MPAA spokesperson provided TPM the following statement:

    “Senator Dodd was merely making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support those politicians.”

    Salon’s Justin Elliot provided some helpful context for understanding the MPAA’s and Dodd’s stance: “Hollywood executives like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steve Bing are among the biggest donors to Democratic super PACs. And that money has apparently bought a measure of deep support. It was instructive last week that far more Republican senators than Democrats declared their opposition to PIPA amid the online protests against the bill.”

    Dodd also found himself on the hot seat at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, challenged to explain the MPAA’s position on anti-piracy legislation going forward.

  3. FBI website crippled in Anonymous-led retaliation to Megaupload raid (AY, for you… The aforementioned blurb goes with the previous link in my last comment)

  4. “Interestingly, Belarussian dictator Lukashenko has just made waves by tightening the government’s control over the internet:
    “Under rules introduced by Lukashenko in 2010, Internet users going online in an Internet cafe or using a shared connection have to identify themselves and a record is to be kept of each user’s surfing history. Authorities also have drawn up a list of Web sites that employees of state-run companies and organizations, as well as cultural and educational institutions, are forbidden to visit. The list includes Web sites belonging to leading opposition groups.”

    “The new legal amendments now bar Belarusian businessmen from using outside Internet resources such as online stores registered in other countries. The amendments formalize earlier restrictions on Internet use introduced by Lukashenko’s decree, which required Internet service providers to monitor users and report them to authorities if they visit opposition websites blacklisted by the government. “

    This is interesting because the US legislative is about to implement the ‘SOPA’ and ‘PIPA’ acts (the ‘stop online piracy’ and ‘protect intellectual property’ acts), on the behest of industries that want to see their privileges perpetuated.
    As the Daily Bell has often pointed out, the internet is the one channel of communication the elites do not have under their complete control. As long as all information distribution was the sole province of the corporatist mainstream media, it was fairly easy to shape public opinion. The internet is akin to the Gutenberg printing press, in that it has made it possible to share information that was previously suppressed.
    A law that is a first step of returning the control over information to the ruling elites, a law that can be introduced under the pretext of battling criminals, is naturally music to the ears of politicians.”

  5. Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure

    Two events this week produced some serious cognitive dissonance. First, Congressional leaders sheepishly announced that they were withdrawing (at least for the time being) two bills heavily backed by the entertainment industry — the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – in the wake of vocal online citizen protests (and, more significantly, coordinated opposition from the powerful Silicon Valley industry). Critics insisted that these bills were dangerous because they empowered the U.S. Government, based on mere accusations of piracy and copyright infringement, to shut down websites without any real due process. But just as the celebrations began over the saving of Internet Freedom, something else happened: the U.S. Justice Department not only indicted the owners of one of the world’s largest websites, the file-sharing site Megaupload, but also seized and shut down that site, and also seized or froze millions of dollars of its assets — all based on the unproved accusations, set forth in an indictment, that the site deliberately aided copyright infringement.

    In other words, many SOPA opponents were confused and even shocked when they learned that the very power they feared the most in that bill — the power of the U.S. Government to seize and shut down websites based solely on accusations, with no trial — is a power the U.S. Government already possesses and, obviously, is willing and able to exercise even against the world’s largest sites (they have this power thanks to the the 2008 PRO-IP Act pushed by the same industry servants in Congress behind SOPA as well as by forfeiture laws used to seize the property of accused-but-not-convicted drug dealers). This all reminded me quite a bit of the shock and outrage that arose last month over the fact that Barack Obama signed into law a bill (the NDAA) vesting him with the power to militarily detain people without charges, even though, as I pointed out the very first time I wrote about that bill, indefinite detention is already a power the U.S. Government under both Bush and Obama has seized and routinely and aggressively exercises.

    I’m not minimizing the importance of either fight: it’s true that SOPA (like the NDAA) would codify these radical powers further and even expand them beyond what the U.S. Government already wields (regarding SOPA’s unique provisions, see Julian Sanchez’s typically thorough analysis). But the defining power that had everyone so up in arms about SOPA — shutting down websites with no trial — is one that already exists in quite a robust form, as any thwarted visitors to Megaupload will discover.

    1. Wow Elaine; Screwed my Wa for the day.

      This kind of underhamded diversionary tactic is the reason we will never achieve meaningful change with the system we have. Occupy Occupy Occupy. I think it is our one hope.

  6. Ah Yes. Perhaps I should stste clearly that I advise comparing these people with the people who we see as the 1%; the power behind our politics; those who conspire to initiate a Fascist Police State etc.

  7. The internet anti-piracy laws are already powerful enough that a Dutch citizen living and working in New Zealand had millions of dollars in assets seized for violating a US law. The shutdown of shows just how deep we are in having one global government, with no sovereign nations.

    1. Yes, I fear you are correct.

      In addition to the political evidence, there is this:

      I would view this video regardless of your religious opinions. I wasn’t looking for religious predictions or information but when i had finished this video and i began to think about what they were actually telling me; and I began to compare the people they are speaking of as the power behind this I saw a frightening comparison. If you strip away all the trimmings and look at the perpitrators I think you will see what I mean. Get back to me here and tell me what you think. Anyone else who wishes to humor me here is welcome as well.

      Religiously; all I can say is that I saw nothing that disagrees with the Bible. You will have to give that as much or little weight as is appropriate for your personal belief system.

      But the religious conotations of this are not why I am showing this to you.

  8. anon nurse,

    I thought the one at 11:40am and 12:01pm were jokes mocking SOPA … now I’ve thoroughly confused myself.



    You were right…

    I’m not sure who posted the 11:40 comment. I responded at 12:01… I couldn’t let the original go unanswered! (a smile, here, but not the big goofy one…)

  9. Mike S,

    Back in the mid-90’s an ambitiously, bright, college, grad at his first job approached his boss and suggested the company go on-line to sell their products. His boss thought little of the idea, knew nothing about the internet but decided to give the kid $50,000 and a small office and let him “have at it” for six months.

    In less than a year the kid had organized an e-commerce site, developed an affiliate marketing program and was racking up enough sales to challenge the company’s long standing catalog sales department which was the department the kid was originally hired into.

    One smart kid, $50,000, and 6 months … that was all it took … oh yeah, and a boss who was willing to look outside the box.

    Guess who is not whining or looking to the government for bailouts.

  10. “CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE U S A $19,050,000” … that would be $2.00 from America and $19,048,000.00 from foreign investors … 😉

Comments are closed.