SOPA: Big Content loses a fight with the Internet

Writing in Mother Jones, Siddhartha Mahanta and Nick Baumann describe the unprecedented legislative difficulty that the entertainment lobby faces today in Congress. The MPAA was able to win a legislative battle with Wall Street's over "movie futures," but they're losing the fight to pass SOPA and PIPA, and they're losing to people, not lobbyists.

Minds changed. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the chair of the powerful House budget committee announced on January 9 that he would oppose the bill (after taking nearly $300,000 from pro-SOPA donors). Ryan's aspiring 2012 opponent, Rob Zerban, had raised tens of thousands of dollars through a Reddit campaign denouncing Ryan's position on the legislation.

Late Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the House bill, announced that he would consider dropping the DNS-blocking provisions from the bill. Late on Friday, Smith, SOPA's sponsor, did Leahy one better, removing the provision altogether. Not long after, six Republican senators—including two co-sponsors—released a letter they wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), asking him to hold off on a January 24th vote to end debate on PIPA and move to passage.

Big Hollywood's Big Copyright Defeat (Thanks, Mike!)


  1. Just watch.  All the congresspeople who are in dire need of popular support will oppose the legislation but there will still be enough votes left to pass the @#$%^&.

  2. To quote Winston Wolf, “Let’s not all start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet, gentlemen”. The entertainment industry isn’t going to stop trying; senators who were panicked by yesterday’s actions are still going to be responsive to arguments that have a lot of money behind them.

    The pattern for the future may be ad hoc actions rather than blanket legislation. That includes more court-ordered domain seizures of the kind we’ve seen recently, seizures that didn’t even wait for SOPA or PIPA to pass. We’re also likely to see more ‘special arrangements’ between big Internet companies and big media companies, along the lines of YouTube’s Content ID tool. That kind of stuff may ultimately be more insidious, and harder to fight.

    1. What is needed is a bill that enshrines a freedom from the infringements proposed by both SOPA and PIPA. Every point must be codified into law in order to prevent those jerks from trying again.

      “We gave you the Internet, now you want us to give you control of it.”

  3. Either we defeat this bill and they will come around with just the scame insane ideas next time around, or we fail to defeat it and it’ll be really bad and then they come around with even more bullshit. Either way, it’s gonna get worse.

    And either way, the situation will reach a point (if it is not long past it) at which any “negotation” becomes meaningless because “Big Content” will not give in, relent or compromise. They will continue trying to screw the people every which way they can.

  4. There’s a bit of “The Sky is Falling!” nonsense to all this outcry. SOPA is not about turning off the internet and turning on the ovens. To be sure, it’s an overraction to the Napster mentality (any wonder why music post Napster largely sucks) and the general “gimme gimme gimme” spoiledness of the Baby Boomers. A lot of the blame for this goes back as far as the copyright reform act of 1978 (i.e. “the give stan lee his check” act), which was intended to do right by a range of artists from Stan Lee to the 3 Stooges, but was hijacked by Disney and the families of every one hit wonder artist thinking they could live on Easy Street and resulted in the Sonny Bono act, which was a blatant first step to doing away with the Public Domain. The Uruguay Accords was Sonny Bono’s bastard brother and has brought us to where we are now. There is plenty of hypocrisy on both ends, the studios who don’t want to pay fair rates/taxes and see their works enter the public domain, and the hippies and rednecks who both want a Ferrari at Yugo prices if they can’t steal it, or, more simply, a big baby pen full of spoiled assholes screaming “Mine” over a toy they neither own nor had a hand in creating.

  5. Tech companies (especially hardware companies) need to stop bending over backwards for the entertainment industry.  They need the tech industry more than the tech industry needs them.  It is becoming more and more obvious that no matter what laws are passed, it will never be enough for the control freaks at the RIAA and MPAA.  Tech industries need to work harder at protecting their customer’s interest than protecting $5 movies from being copied.

  6. I wonder if Big Content watched the Kodak bankruptcy filing today and drew any conclusions. Kodak was hugely (and deservedly) successful once, but even when it became clear that advances in technology were killing their core business, they didn’t know how to react.

    Even if the MPAA/RIAA could legislate piracy out of existence, technology is still going to take a bite out of their bottom line, if only because artists aren’t as dependent on the big corporations as they once were. It looks like they’re still in the Denial phase, but ignoring the problem won’t change the outcome.

  7. We lucked out this time, with the help of big companies like Google on our side.  But to ensure that this doesn’t develop further, we need a Congress that agrees with us — that stands for free speech & privacy rights — in the first place!  Who are you voting for in your district?  Check out this video that is calling us and contenders to revamp Congress this very year:

  8. Don’t give in to defeatism.  Fight for our Constitutional Rights.  The people touting this bill and others like it (including the new law that is basically an addendum to the Homeland Security act that was illegally passed and signed into law, in clear violation of our Constitutional rights) are selling their souls to the corporations.  They are selling out our rights.  They need to be informed in no uncertain terms that we are NOT a docile bunch of couch potato idiots who can be distracted by the next new “shiny thing” to ignore the slow erosion of any Civil Liberties or personal rights.  VOTE.  Get out there and show your displeasure by VOTING.  Vote OUT the people who have let these things happen to our country.  Ever since De-regulation, we have seen a growing influence upon our government by the corporations.  This needs to stop.  No more revolving political “control” offices (such as head of the FDA) where people who work for the corporations (such as Monsanto) are placed in power just for the purposes of passing whatever agenda their companies want passed. 

    If this is truly a country By the People and FOR the People, then we need to prove it by shaking off or our apathy and getting out of our small minded, narrowly focused lives and fight to maintain and regain the rights and privileges for which so many have fought and died.  Redeem the sacrifices of our Men and Women at arms who have died to protect these rights while behind their backs we have handed away those very rights.  What is being done is disgusting and amoral.  PROFIT IS NOT GOD.   FIGHT for your RIGHTS, in a peaceful and meaning fashion.  VOTE.  That is the ONLY way the 99% will EVER be heard.

  9. If only there was something else people could entertain themselves with… something basic, not controlled by the big corporations.  Maybe we could try… like… putting words together in interesting patterns, and distributing them in a convenient, non-DRMed format… and we could call them… oh hell – I don’t know.  I’m just  a dreamer.  Forget it.

Comments are closed.