Well, no. What happened was that money spoke. When money speaks, congress listens. The movie industry supports a lot of elected officials. A while back I wrote about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). What it was supposed to do, if we are to believe the motion picture industry, is to stop rogue internet sites from streaming copyright material. I do believe in protecting copyrighted material, but the act itself gave the owners of the material excessive power. There was a legitimate fear that legal sites would be damaged as well and the public would pay an excessive price in terms of bringing down sites like Google, Wiki, etc. They (the movie industry) were using a hammer to kill a fly.
It would seem that our representatives would have hearings so that both sides of the story could be presented, but that was not to be. One of our elected representatives simply dismissed an anti-SOPA witnesses by saying that, “We are not geeks”. Understand that the anti-SOPA people (me, among them) were not interested in protecting piracy, but we are certainly not interested in some sharpie lawyer turning off Google or Wiki over a possibly dubious case of copyright infringement. Congress was hearing none of that. Money talks!
Texas Congressman, and attorney, Lamar Smith, one of the original sponsors said, “It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act,” Smith said in a statement released yesterday. “The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.”
OK, equal time has been given. Now, I might suggest that it is odd that one of the original sponsors and attorney must have never read his own bill. Is it possible that someone in the movie industry wrote it for him? Of course not!
Well, it appears that we have a large number of geeks in this country — who DO understand it. There was such an outcry that a lot of senators and representatives have announced that they did not want their name associated with the SOPA bill. I doubt that the motion picture industry will just give up, but it is possible that the SOPA bill will be seriously modified so that it will do what it is supposed to do without damaging the internet.
If we, the voters are motivated, it is impressive what we can do.