Senator Leahy mystified

PIPA sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) can't figure out why people don't like it: "Hiding behind the black box of self-censorship does not resolve the problem that is plaguing American business and hurting American consumers." (Thanks, decius!)


      1. Keep in mind that Patrick Leahy is an old man, rich through a lifetime of corruption, and intentionally isolated from just about every normal person in the country. He is a professional politician for a career. He’s not a Romney opportunist, wealthy and bored, but someone who has chosen to do the bidding of his donors. Complaints such as his only reveal how out of touch he is. Recall the fucker.

  1. It does not resolve the problem, indeed. Mostly because the problem is an incredibly dysfunctional congress that can’t get its ass in gear to pass an urgent budget, but can magically create bipartisan support for a draconian censorship bill when the money is right.

    The problem is and always has been money in politics.

    1. I think that the problem, more specifically, is and always has been people in politics who are more than happy to accept money to compromise their morals and ignore logic and reason. The money is just there; it takes awful, corrupt people to make the money a problem.

      1. Sure, but it’s a chicken and egg thing, right? Was it corrupt people that attracted the money, or the money that attracted the corrupt people?

        Either way, seeing as how we can’t very well get rid of the corrupt people, we might as well get rid of the money.

  2. “The PROTECT IP Act will not affect Wikipedia, will not affect Reddit, and will not affect any website that has any legitimate use.  A foreign rogue website is clearly defined as one that has no real purpose other than infringement.  Theft and fraud on this scale undermines consumer trust in online transactions.  Perhaps if these companies would participate constructively, they could point to what in the actual legislation they contend threatens their websites, and then we could dispel their misunderstandings ”

    Is this guy for real?  
    Has he even read the bill?  Has he taken a look any any of the copious and well reasoned oppositions, some by law professors?  Or is it just “some folks don’t like it” to him?
    How does his head contain that level of cognitive dissonance?

    1. Either he believes this because he gets paid to believe this, or he doesn’t believe this and gets paid to lie. Either way, it’s surprising what silly things a person will say when their livelihood depends on it.

    2. “Perhaps if these companies would participate constructively”

      Hmm, yes.  How many of “these companies” were actually allowed to participate?

      Perhaps he’s just upset that “these companies” are actually taking the steps available to them to participate.

  3. What he wrote also says a lot about his moral compass.

    He seems to think that Wikipedia, Reddit et al had blackouts because they feared SOPA/PIPA would directly affect those websites.

    The idea that you might want to protest about something on principal, that does not necessarily affect your personal self-interests directly, seems to be anathema to the Senator.

    1. He no doubt suspects a self-serving motive at all times because these people swim in a sea of self-interest. It’s a candid glimpse into the horrors of Washington culture. No wonder they can’t make any good decisions.

    1. He picked up around $500,000 the last election cycle for himself and his PAC from the entertainment industry.  He also picked up a good chunk of change from the technology lobby.  


      1. I’ll see your link…

        …and raise you one:

        Etymology and historical use does not define meaning. Usage defines meaning. Overwhelmingly in modern English, begging the question is synonymous with “demands/invites/raises the question”.

        It’s a “skunked term”, to use the name coined by Bryan A. Garner for this category of words and idioms. It is in the middle of its transition of meaning, akin to others that have variously progressed along that journey: bemused, comprise, data, decimate, disinterested, effete, enormity, fulsome, hopefully, intrigue, ironic, literally, media, momentarily, niggardly, nonplussed, quantum leap, transpire, vagina… and while it is in this transitional phase, it cannot be used in either sense without alienating at least some readers.

  4. Senator Leahy is clueless. Any comment that start out with “… bleed billions of dollars to online infringement and piracy” is immediately suspect.”. He goes on to say: “We should have an open debate…”.  I though that was already tried and bill opposition was not even given a seat at the table or an opportunity to meet with legislators.

    The good news is that the blackout had impact. Millions of calls, some senators flipping, and national attention to the issue. A little success.


  5. What an intelligent, thoughtful man!  Sooo in touch with the younger population outside his Beltway/Corporate Lobbying ivory tower!

    “On September 20, 2010, Leahy introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, Senate Bill S. 3804, which would allow the court to issue a restraining order or injunction against Internet domain names which infringe upon copyright.”

  6. Yes, but if it takes millions of calls and letters, websites intentionally making themselves unavailable, and the threat that this issue has become a “vote you out of office” matter results in only a few senators deciding that maybe full-throated endorsement of terrible legislation, can we really call that a victory? 

    Why should we have to spend all this time and effort telling our elected representatives to, you know, actually consider our interests?

    That doesn’t mean we can stop fighting this issue. Certainly not. It’s just depressing how much it takes to make people that we elected actually listen to us.

    1. Why should we have to spend all this time and effort telling our elected representatives to, you know, actually consider our interests?

      Because they haven’t yet passed a bill that considers our interests. In order to stem the tide of bad faith coming from Congress on this issue, they have to pass a bill that prohibits everything that SOPA/PIPA wanted to give to the old-guard content industries.

  7. The problem with any politician, and I could name names here but I won’t, is that as soon as someone objects to a bill that shifts power away from the punters, someone will claim that not passing said legislation will “Hurt job growth.”

    I consider any such language as a red flag. Namely, that the fix is in, and that politician has been bought.

  8. Here’s my personal one evil thing in the bill (that i’m clearly pointing to).  It defines anti-drm technology as infringement.  The historical application of illegal and hostile DRM warrants our right to protect ourselves.  Secondly, in an environment where copyright owners have been allowed to enrich their grandchildren (through Sonny Bono style congressional extensions) giving them extra tools to enforce those rights with out a deliberative body intermediating is creating a new special class of people.  Am I wrong in thinking this will turn into a massive flurry of DMCA style notices with no recourse for the victim/site owner. If you need a crazy bulwark in place to hold off the pirates and maintain your grasp of revenue YOU ARE IN THE WRONG BUSINESS YOU LAZY FUCK.  

    Plus, why am I even getting into this shit?  You tricky shits.  Its like we get to re-debate the recently established viewpoint that downloads help sales.  The data is in. You are wrong about downloads.  Downloaders spend more on music and concerts and videos than anybody in the marketplace.  I think thats why most of the entertainment industry have stopped suing their best customers and instead are trying to create a system of censorship and service disconnection.If the old bastard lives long enough this may be embarrassing.  Idiot said “black box of self-censorship”.  Sounds like he’s talking about Wall Street post SEC regulatory capture.  If you guys are worried about a bunch of reckless misfits robbing the economy of billions why don’t you man up and really nail down theses sons of bitches like Jeffrey Verschleiser who lie and cheat and steal their way into the one percent.  Downloading increases sales. Go ask your Swiss buddies, Leahy (Dickhead-Vermont). I can’t take much more of these assholes shilling when we have real problems that interest more real folks than just a few of their LA bundlers.On a personal note I didn’t start downloading until i was an adult who had been part of the working poor for sometime.  I had once been a consumer of CDs and concert tickets in my teens but with goals and no free allowance, as an adult, I checked out of pop media. This fortunately coincided with living in great cultural towns like Oakland and Brooklyn with plenty of free and cheap awesome stuff to do.  But there was a point at which tv, film, hip books, and nationally touring acts were slightly out of reach.   Then I started to download.  I now have more personally refined tastes(maybe this is what they are afraid of).  Now i live in Austin, TX and take advantage of my present income to go to the Alamo Drafthouse and see a flick that deserves a large screen group viewing with a bucket of beers.  I use youtube to figure out which comedian i want to pay $20 to go see each month at Cap City Comedy.  I use youtube and filestube to figure out what music i want to buy for DJ work(a job that now requires very high resolution audio and video files, much higher than usually available for free). Ironically thanks to downloading I think of myself less and less as some kind of fringe character.These Senators. All pride. No dignity.
    “Out with the Bums. 2012”

  9. There’s a contact link in the upper-right.  I suggest we let him know what about SOPA is so unappealing.

    Is it really so surprising that our reps are too lazy to go out and actually read the myriad posts on the subject?  READING IS HARD!

  10. I re-wrote that for him [] as I think it needed a little tightening up. This was mostly off the top of my head so amplifications/clarifications are welcome. 

  11. Of course he dosen’t get it, he’s old and out of touch with real people who use the internet.  I’d like to see how long he spends online a month.

    1. As I remember it, from his own testimony in the Napster hearings, Senator Leahy spends his time online downloading Phish and Dead tracks.

      But he says it’s legal for him and Orrin Hatch, because it’s for “governmental purposes”.  You know, they are “investigating piracy”.

      Sadly, I’m not kidding.  Reminds me of Pete Townshend “investigating” pictures of young men online.

  12. Senator Leahy was on the local VT radio this morning trying damage control.  I started swearing at my radio when he started on a claim that Google didn’t want to get involved from the start, and are only getting involved at the end of the stage.  

    He also had a nice BS line about the OPEN Act about how the courts could take ages to make a decision while the company here being hurt goes out of business.   His theoretical “judicial review” court system is apparently much more streamlined than the OPEN theoretical court system, and he refused to consider it longer.

  13. He’s perfectly right!

    We need to come out of hiding from behind that box and violently kill the content industry that is “plaguing American business and hurting American consumers.”

  14. Again:  Please, BoingBoing, list these senators & congressmen come election time.

    I am hoping that there’s a since in which the response to SOPA/PIPA is the American Spring: That people in the U.S. have learned how to use the internet for real political change, and that this momentum will continue through the 2012 elections.

  15. Can I just throw in there how annoying it is to hear these people speak as if they represent artists.  As somebody who actually earns money from producing art, I don’t want these corporations anywhere near my livelihood. All these pieces of legislation will do for artists is force them to go through parasitic gatekeepers like the MPAA.  Artists aren’t losing money, the corporations that prey on artists are.

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