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Tech Industry Reps To Speak Before Congress About SOPA 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-today's-sopa-news dept.
Nemesisghost writes "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), a major opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act has announced he plans to call a hearing where Tech industry representatives will get to speak out about how legislation like SOPA will negatively affect the internet. From the article 'Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has called a hearing that will bring more voices from the technology industry to Washington, D.C. to discuss how legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would affect the Internet. On Jan. 18, industry representatives that include Brad Burnham from Union Square Ventures; Lanham Napier, the CEO of Rackspace Hosting; and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.com, will testify before Congress.'"
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Tech Industry Reps To Speak Before Congress About SOPA

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  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:32AM (#38652150)

    But I think it's clear that very few people on Capital Hill give much of a shit about the side effects of this crap. The voices howling in opposition mean nothing compared to the 6 figures they're being paid by proponents of this bill.

    Not only do they not understand, but they don't want to. There is no defense against willful ignorance.

  • Huzah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:33AM (#38652154)
    It's delightful to know they're getting input but... Well I hate to be cynical but a lot of these congress-critters have had the best interests of the nation in one hand and a bag of money in the other. Guess which one wins?
  • Good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:36AM (#38652212)

    The fact that they're revisiting the whole "this will break the internet" aspect means they're paying at least lip service to public opinion. Which means that it's causing enough bad publicity for Congress that they're increasingly likely not to pass it.

    If they were really intent on passing it, they'd try to sneak it through with as little debate or even thought as possible. Delays like this means they just might actually listen to their constituency for once.

  • We're doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:37AM (#38652226)

    Not to troll or anything, but that's all they could come up with? Where's Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos - representatives of big companies that the congressmen can actually listen to?

  • Re:Good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico (732160) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:40AM (#38652254)
    Or they may be shaking the money tree harder.
  • Re:We're doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:40AM (#38652256) Homepage Journal
    Please mod parent WAY up. If it's that serious, there need to be some hellaciously bigger guns testifying for this one.
  • Re:Hopeless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:41AM (#38652266)

    I find it ridiculous that so many people think the answer to corruption is just more corruption.

    The only way to stop this bullshit is to mandate that all campaigns be publicly funded and disallow direct financial contribution to any candidate by anyone, period. We need to get money out of politics, not start throwing more in on the other side. All that's going to accomplish is a fucking cold war type situation where both sides try to outspend the other, and the fact is, the people are going to lose that fight every time. People struggling to pay their bills don't have the means to donate to political candidates, so their voice is ignored. This must end.

  • Re:Hopeless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:45AM (#38652318) Homepage Journal
    This. This right here... will never happen in the United States. How would you get the law passed? Every lobbyist on the planet would shovel money at their playthings as fast as possible to ensure it didn't. Except perhaps the underdogs, who have less money anyway. You're going to have to found a new country or have a violent revolution, and then get this particular piece of sound advice directly in the founding document.
  • by NevarMore (248971) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:53AM (#38652410) Homepage Journal

    Issa has actually done a pretty good job. He has become well known for exposing important issues that others would ignore or actively hide. His hearings on SOPA are to the tech community as his hearings on Gunwalker/Fast and Furious are to the right to keep and bear arms community.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:57AM (#38652458) Journal

    This nation faces a serious crisis which few are talking about but is very real. Sure no individual Congress person has approval numbers as bad as the bodies 11% but just because they don't worry about being re-elected does not mean they don't have to worry about being relevant.

    When only 11% of the public thinks the legislature, our law makers, are doing good work, why would rest of them have a higher opinion of that bodies output? When bad laws are created that are not followed because they a counter to what the public considers just or laws that are usually not enforce but left in place as tool to be used by tyrants at will, the people's respect for all law is diminished.

    If Congress continues to burn though the capital, that is the will of the public to be a nation, things will soon get bad. You can already see it with protest movements like Occupy, and to a lessor degree the early TEA Party gatherings before it. These have been mostly peaceful and lawful warnings from the people but they won't stay that way; witness Greece or Thailand. At some point congress has to start being seen as serving the people's interest and not pandering to a few special people's interests, or that nationalistic capital will run dry.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:59AM (#38652482)

    But I think it's clear that very few people on Capital Hill give much of a shit about the side effects of this crap. The voices howling in opposition mean nothing compared to the 6 figures they're being paid by proponents of this bill.

    Not only do they not understand, but they don't want to. There is no defense against willful ignorance.

    Yup, it's pretty much lipservice so no one can say later that they didn't even entertain the sane side of the argument. Meanwhile I imagine the bought and paid congressional goons are just singing the Meow Mix jingle in their heads during these hearings.

  • Re:Good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:02PM (#38652526)

    I think this is the real motivation. We've got the 2012 elections coming up, after all, and this is likely to be the most costly election cycle of modern politics. They need as much money as they can get, and what better way to squeeze out a few extra zeroes from the MAFIAA than to say "Welllllll, you know, um, the people are starting to really oppose this bill....I may have to look into it a little more deeply...."?

    That's about the point when the lobbyists lick their lips and say "Yes, I understand your concerns; let me go ahead and write this check and I think you'll see that this is really what's best for America...", at which point our reps invariably say "Well, I'm convinced!!" with a shit-eating grin on their stupid fucking face.

    America! Fuck Yeah!!

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:12PM (#38652650)
    Respectfully, you can't count on that as an option. When any candidate, incumbent or challenger must accept corporate money in order mount a viable campaign, all you are doing is "rearranging the deck chairs".
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:12PM (#38652672)

    I have a hard time getting behind the idea of fighting corruption with more corruption.

    Don't you find it a little ridiculous that the only real option people have to get a person to represent their interests is to buy one off? Too many people have resigned themselves to "Well, that's the way it is, those are the rules of the game." Fuck that. When the game is rigged you don't play along; you flip the fucking board and walk away from the cheating little shit that's rigging the game.

    We need serious campaign reform to include barring direct financial contribution to any candidate and mandating that all elections be publicly funded equally to all qualifying candidates regardless of party affiliation. Everything short of that is just spinning our wheels and playing the rigged game with the cheaters.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:15PM (#38652718)

    EFF: This bill will infringe on users' rights, burden ISP's and search engines, and create a climate where corporations and the media industry completely control the internet with no oversight.

    Representative: Well, you've made an excellent point--well argued, reasonable, and strongly supported. Does anyone else have a response?

    Entertainment Industry: Yes sir, in rebuttal, we would like to offer you this $50,000 donation to your reelection campaign.

    Representative: Well, you've made an even *better* point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:28PM (#38652936)
    I agree with everything you just said, but it's not going to happen through normal channels. None of the big parties that benefit perpetually under the current system is going to instigate reform, that only leaves revolution, and the West seem to have spent a lot of time and money putting in place the backbone of what could effectively become a real police state overnight (suddenly all those cameras and stop and search powers start to look less like security theatre and more like a means for native population control). It would be nice to imagine the people still have the power to take back control of their government like we've seen happening in less developed parts of the world recently - I wonder how true that is anymore.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:39PM (#38653082)
    You're right that there is no way to completely stop someone from buying influence in government and no way to prevent all elected officials from being bought, but making it inefficient and as difficult as possible is good. It's exactly what the MPAA and RIAA are doing to pirates. Many if not most of them know that SOPA won't actually end piracy, but they're doing it anyway, because by adding another hurdle, they can cut down on at least some of it, and to them, that's better. The only difference is that with theirs, there will be more collateral damage, people who are not pirating will be affected by SOPA. There will likely be negative consequences of saying money from corporations to politicians is not speech (and that's assuming Move to Amend focuses their efforts on that instead of attacking all aspects of corporate personhood) but I don't think the consequences will be as far-reaching as SOPA's.
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:40PM (#38653090) Homepage Journal

    We need serious campaign reform to include barring direct financial contribution to any candidate and mandating that all elections be publicly funded equally to all qualifying candidates regardless of party affiliation. Everything short of that is just spinning our wheels and playing the rigged game with the cheaters.

    That's a non-starter. Anything that gets any real consideration at all under the banner of "campaign finance reform" will be nothing but another way to protect incumbents and make it even harder for real grassroots efforts to get any traction. We've seen it happen with McCain-Fiengold, an nearly with the DISCLOSE act (which provided exemptions for groups like the NRA, but would have put any smaller issue-advocacy groups completely in chains).

    You're not going to get ANY rules or laws passed that will allow you to avoid the necessary responsibility of keeping informed and involved in your government. Nothing. The American system will succumb to the monied interests and corrupt politicians over and over without constant vigilance of a significant proportion of the citizens - there is simply no way around it. We are where we are now because of too much apathy and too many people just not wanting to deal with politics.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:46PM (#38653164)
    Your post implies that Issa is either good or evil. Tell me, do you imagine Issa is a character in a Disney film or do you realize he is actually guy who exists in the real world?

    He's a real person, and a politician at that. Neither completely good nor completely bad. Don't oversimplify.
  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:54PM (#38653274)

    EFF: This bill will infringe on users' rights, burden ISP's and search engines, and create a climate where corporations and the media industry completely control the internet with no oversight.

    I imagined the second line a bit differently:

    Representative: Well, you've made an excellent point--well argued, reasonable, and strongly supported. And in fact that's what this bill is supposed to do, so I don't see any problems here. All in favor?

  • Re:Hopeless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:26PM (#38653686) Journal

    We do, because we can't have capitalism. In capitalism, money makes money faster than labor does. This effect compounds on itself to produce inequality. Since economic power and political power are equivalent, this produces political inequality as well. This allows those who got rich during the brief period of capitalism to lock down their positions through political means. That is corporatism.

    Capitalism is an unsustainable utopian idea.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:29PM (#38653740)

    It's not even that much.

    Corporations own the media.

    The only people you see on TV are the ones who pass the corporate ass kissing test by selling their soul.

  • Chicken versus Egg (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:35PM (#38653820)

    We need serious campaign reform to include barring direct financial contribution to any candidate and mandating that all elections be publicly funded equally to all qualifying candidates regardless of party affiliation.

    And please, pray tell, how do we force those in power and benefitting from a rigged system to vote for it to end, especially in light of our corrupt Supreme Court already having ruled that corporations are persons and unlimited campaign donations is merely free speech?

  • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:48PM (#38654076)

    It's not just that.

    It's "Vote my way or I'll take this truck of money I was going to give you, and I'll give it to anyone who runs against you. And don't piss me off or I'll make sure you never get a job in the private sector again."

    Corruption isn't just about carrots, there's sticks on the table too.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:50PM (#38654104) Journal

    Issa is from Northern California, but not the Bay Area. His district is in the North Sacramento Valley, Semi Rural (farms, orchards etc). He is not "evil" anymore (or any less) than say Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid are "evil" ... Wouldn't you agree? These people are all power trolls.

    The problem with people like you is that you see things in absolutes that don't help. Issa is right on this issue, and deserves our support, ON THIS ISSUE, the same way I don't generally like Al Franken, but support him on some issues. The worst thing in the world is being tied to false dichotomy choices, such as (R) bad, (D) good or visa versa.

    So today, Issa is both Good and Evil ... depending on your point of view on which topic. ;)

  • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:57PM (#38655054)

    It would be nice to imagine the people still have the power to take back control of their government like we've seen happening in less developed parts of the world recently - I wonder how true that is anymore.

    Answer: not at all true anymore. In the name of national security there are warrant-less wiretaps, warrant-less GPS tracking, data-mining 3rd party databases to sidestep the restriction of building dossiers on citizens, militarized police, unrestrained use of weapons against citizens because they're "non-lethal", indefinite detention of US citizens, even killing US citizens without due process, all in the name of stomping out terrorism. Of course, the same government gets to decide who is and isn't a terrorist, and you better believe anyone that doesn't shut up, watch TV, secure debt, and buy buy buy is a terrorist. Unless they pay tithes to the election campaigns of the ruling class. Of which the word "campaign" is rather funny because the masses wouldn't dream of "wasting their vote" for someone who isn't a Republocrat.

    The Bill of Rights? Restraints on Power? Checks and Balances? Merely a sentimental reminder of halcyon days.

  • by mrops (927562) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:00PM (#38655856)

    So these politicians can be bought, this is not news.

    What I can't figure out is why haven't the tech giants got together and paid them more money. I know, they shouldn't have to, but as long as corrupt politicians exist, do the same.

    Media industry is worth a fraction of what the internet industry is worth. If there is a MPAA and RIAA, there could be IIAA - Internet Industry Association of America, get lobbyist, get moving, buy politicians. Its going to be cheaper than complying with SOPA and keeping their businesses up and running on a broken Internet.

  • by Tom (822) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:35AM (#38660972) Homepage Journal

    What I can't figure out is why haven't the tech giants got together and paid them more money.

    In the long term, simply buying out the movie industry would be a cheaper.

    Don't fool yourself. For all their yelling and whining, the movie and music industry are tiny compared to any of the real industries out there. Food, for example. Every single one of the major food corporations easily dwarves the entire movie and music industry put together.

    Same for the Internet industry, btw. - we see it as this huge thing, but Nestle (to pick a random food company) has four times the revenue and four times the profit of Google.

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