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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 @12:32PM (#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.

    • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:49PM (#38652356)

      There is no defense against willful ignorance.

      True enough, sadly, but there is a defense against corporate control of our system of law and government. http://movetoamend.org/ [movetoamend.org]

      • I predict that would work as well as banning "payola". They'd just funnel their "contributions" through an additional layer or two of indirection: discounted TV spots, tickets to movie premiers, free services, free upgrades, etc.
        • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:39PM (#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 Applekid (993327) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:59PM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      So, why don't the good guys raise some cash and start bribing politicians? This sort of thing goes both ways, you know. Evil is bribing Neutral...surely Neutral, being neutral, is equally amenable to Good's money as well? At the very least it drives the price up for Evil.
      • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:12PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:28PM (#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 Applekid (993327) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @03:57PM (#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 Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:40PM (#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.

        • 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.

          This sounds great, but I don't think it's possible. First of all, the American public is too stupid so anything that requires them to be smart enough with regards to voting will never work. A few weeks ago I saw a pole where something like 76% of the public wanted to "vote everybody in Congress out" but something like 56% of those same people said "Everybody but my Congressman needs to go". This is why nothing changes. Secondly, like it or not the US Supreme Court in recent years has had a good deal of

        • Chicken versus Egg (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:35PM (#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?

    • $3.5M for the top dog pushing SOPA is pathetic, Google could throw in like $100M if they really wanted to. Most of the opposers are just opposing and not paying [opencongress.org], and having TorrentFreak and 4chan among the figures against it might only hasten passage of this bill.
      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        The problem is, anyone opposing will only contribute to the next campaign.

        From a congress critter's point of view, it makes more sense. MAFIAA donated X amount of dollars for my last campaign, without having any specific issue on the table. Just to get me elected. All I have to do is not annoy them, and I can count on about that much for my next campaign.

        On the other hand, if you piss them off, they will send their dollars to get you unelected, hoping the next guy supports them.

        It's not about 'buying' a

    • There is no defense against willful ignorance.

      We're not dealing with ignorance. These people aren't stupid by a long shot. "For me and mine" is the theme of the day. And that goes for genpop just as much as it does for the warden and the guards.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Yes, but if the politician catches a wiff of bad ratings based on their decisions on SOPA, that is where PR can help stop SOPA.

    • by na1led (1030470)
      Congress's approval is about as low as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Yet they still don't care, and nether does mr. Ahmadinejad!
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:15PM (#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 zooblethorpe (686757) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:54PM (#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?

  • Huzah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:33PM (#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?
    • by tom17 (659054)

      The best interests of the nation, of course! That's what they are there for.

      Oh wait...

  • by I'm just joshin (633449) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:33PM (#38652160)

    So do we like Issa today or is he still evil?

    • He is a politician. He wants to get re-elected. Hollywood is in his state, and so is Silicon Valley, both paying him. There are a few voters too, but it is not clear if they are paying attention. They usually aren't, and besides, they have short memory. So politicians usually pander to money > buy ads > get votes.

      • by h00manist (800926)

        Oh, his principles? Forget it, the voters themselves don't know their principles, how can they see any?

    • by NevarMore (248971) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:53PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by OakDragon (885217)
      He's a Republican, so Slashdot users cannot officially indicate support.

      So who's paying Issa for this?

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by elrous0 (869638) *

      ISSA represents a district with Google and Microsoft as some of his biggest constituents (and donors). He's not doing this out of any streak of nobility. He's just doing what his corporate masters want him to do. The only major difference between SOPA and his proposed bill [wikipedia.org] is that his exempts search engines like Google and Bing from liability.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:46PM (#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 Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:50PM (#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. ;)

  • Hopeless... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...if those Tech Industry Reps have not more than $21 million to offer.

    Maybe we should start collecting. Freedom isn't free they say.

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

      by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:41PM (#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 @12:45PM (#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.
        • Re:Hopeless... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:59PM (#38652494)

          And even if you did fix the campaign financing issue, there's still a much more insidious type of money in politics that's harder to stop...the move to the private sector. In addition to helping them get elected, large corporations provide cushy jobs for representatives that did them favors while in office. And it's practically impossible to write a law that prevents this type of arrangement.

          • by forkfail (228161)

            Which, unfortunately, rather makes term limits also a hopeless cause. No point in term limits if there's a seven figure job waiting for those who vote the right way...

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

            by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:30PM (#38652964) Journal

            That's because the fundamental problem isn't with our political system, it's with our economic system. You can't have a government by, for, and of the people unless your economy is similarly populist. Capitalism and democracy are fundamentally incompatible.

          • by cforciea (1926392)
            While that's bad, it only provides a means to corrupt politicians once they are in office rather than making corruption a requirement to make it to office. Most of them say yes to that sort of arrangement right now because they are already the type of people that were perfectly willing to sell their votes to get elected in the first place; more of them will say no if there is an avenue to political office besides selling the country out.
          • And even if you did fix the campaign financing issue, there's still a much more insidious type of money in politics that's harder to stop...the move to the private sector.

            Not necessarily. Suppose you fix the campaign finance issue, but you have no term limits and therefore you still have career politicians -- it's just that to make it a career they have to do what their constituents want to keep getting reelected. Then you would still have a revolving door for the corrupt candidates, but as soon as you get an honest candidate in office who wants to stay, they do. From then on, every election cycle reduces the number of corrupt candidates because they're the ones who quit in

        • by Fned (43219)

          This. This right here... will never happen in the United States. How would you get the law passed?

          I think Neo in The Matrix had the quote of the day on this one.

          • Digging now... ooh, so many wonderfully inappropriate quotes to choose from. Perhaps you were going for this one?

            Neo: Mr. Wizard. Get me the hell out of here.

        • How would you get the law passed?

          I still think the best way to do it is at the state level. Have each state pass a law offering state money to fund the campaigns for federal office for that state's senators and representatives. You don't even have to do it all at once that way -- the more states you get to sign on, the less corruption there is. And the people who are voting to do (state legislators) it are not the ones affected (federal legislators). On top of all that, all the big lobbyists are in D.C. Exxon and the MPAA have very few lob

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

        by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:47PM (#38652340)
        And we're going to get that law passed _and_ retroactively seize the $21 million that the SOPA supporters have already paid, all in less than a few weeks?

        Your idea is laudable, i think outlawing campaign contributions and actually making it stick is totally impossible, but the idea is laudable. However there's no way it could be implemented within the time frame we're talking about. Until we can actually get some kind of reform passed i sure hope the tech companies are willing to lobby in the only way that's currently effective.
      • Re:Hopeless... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:56PM (#38652454)

        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.

        Good suggestion, but doesn't last. The next government will just scrap it.

        Look at Canada - we had a per-vote subsidy for party members (everyone got $1.25 per vote). The present Harper Government (yes, the Government of Canada is officially known as the Harper Government) scapped it under the guise of "budget deficit". (Plus a few people were complaining that they had to support a "losing" party). Total amount saved - around $10M or so per year.

        Perhaps the biggest thing that can be done is to drop the tax benefits that come from campaign contributions (yes, that curious little loophole was NOT removed...). That way if people want to contribute, they can do it from after tax income and not expect any plum tax benefits out of it. if you want to know, contributing $1 to a political party gets you far more in tax benefits than contributing $1 to charity.

        That's how lopsided the laws are.

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

          by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:12PM (#38652648)

          Look at Canada - we had a per-vote subsidy for party members (everyone got $1.25 per vote). The present Harper Government (yes, the Government of Canada is officially known as the Harper Government) scapped it under the guise of "budget deficit". (Plus a few people were complaining that they had to support a "losing" party).

          I don't know, I'd actually be kind of pissed too if I was being forced to subsidize... say... SOPA supporters just because people voted for them.

          Perhaps the biggest thing that can be done is to drop the tax benefits that come from campaign contributions.

          In America, political donations (of any kind: hard money, soft money, Super PACs, etc) are not tax deductible. You're theoretically supposed to go to jail if you use money that was donated to you under a tax deduction for political campaigning.

          • by Alistar (900738)

            I believe the op meant that it's not tax deductible for the giver.

            So donating 5 million to a campaign is no longer a nice 5 million tax write off for a corporation.

          • Look at Canada - we had a per-vote subsidy for party members (everyone got $1.25 per vote). The present Harper Government (yes, the Government of Canada is officially known as the Harper Government) scapped it under the guise of "budget deficit". (Plus a few people were complaining that they had to support a "losing" party).

            I don't know, I'd actually be kind of pissed too if I was being forced to subsidize... say... SOPA supporters just because people voted for them.

            I was hoping someone would reply with this. The following is not directed at you personally.

            The per-vote subsidy was an awesome idea. You weren't subsidizing a party you didn't vote for. You were subsidizing a party you *did* vote for. If you didn't vote, you saved a paltry $1.25 of taxpayer money, but wasted a right that millions of people are literally fighting and dying for.

            You know what should actually piss you off? If I as a Canadian citizen donate the full allowable amount to a political party ($1100,

      • by tobiasly (524456)

        People struggling to pay their bills don't have the means to donate to political candidates, so their voice is ignored. This must end.

        So you're proposing a scheme in which people struggling to pay their bills are forced to donate to political candidates? That is, after all, how taxes work. Oh wait, let me guess: raise taxes on the rich! That'll solve it!

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Raising taxes on the rich would save everyone money, even the rich.

          With the tax burden lifted from the middle class, they'd keep more of their earnings and spend more, and the rich folks would more than make up in extra business what they lose in taxes.

          Plus, shifting the tax burden to the rich will save the government money when they trim down the IRS a bit.

          The fact that the rich so strongly oppose it tells me one of two things:

          A) They're knee-jerkers that can't see past the immediate benefits
          B) They care m

      • So, who qualifies for public funding for their campaigns? Anybody who says they are running? Does this mean that you want to outlaw me taking out ads on my own to oppose (or support) a particular candidate? How do you square that with the first amendment?
        You don't apparently realize that, so far, every law that has been passed to "get money out of politics" has resulted in increasing the influence of corporations.
      • by RobinH (124750)
        It's easier to just take money out of the equation. How do you do that? Just make it so that house and senate votes use a secret ballot, just like the way we vote for our representatives. If they can't prove how they voted, then trying to buy their votes is pointless. The only incentive left to them will be to vote the way they *personally* think would be the best. For most of us, that's along our ideals. Sure you wouldn't be able to check up on how your representative voted, but that feature clearly i
        • It's easier to just take money out of the equation. How do you do that? Just make it so that house and senate votes use a secret ballot, just like the way we vote for our representatives. If they can't prove how they voted, then trying to buy their votes is pointless. The only incentive left to them will be to vote the way they *personally* think would be the best. For most of us, that's along our ideals. Sure you wouldn't be able to check up on how your representative voted, but that feature clearly isn't solving the problem anyway.

          I think you've got an issue there with "accountability".

      • The industry needs to fork over huge lumps of money at one time while 10000+ citizens can split the cost, some can donate $5 and some $1000 which gives them a better chance overall in the long run.

      • Let's say all direct financial contributions by anyone were banned. And let's say there's a candidate that you like, named Jane Smith. She's up against a billionaire incumbent named Joe Moneybags. You decide to help Jane Smith by putting up a web site called ILikeJaneSmith.com. You write about how good she is. Joe Moneybags sees this and says, "Hey, you have put your money into her campaign, that is illegal." Your web site is shut down. Meanwhile, Joe Moneybags puts up a web site called ILikeJoeMoneyBags.co
    • by Ice Tiger (10883)

      Yes, let the free market decide. Tech industry reach into your pockets!

  • Good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:36PM (#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.

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

      by El Torico (732160) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:40PM (#38652254)
      Or they may be shaking the money tree harder.
      • Re:Good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:02PM (#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 dgatwood (11270)

          And there's only one way to stop this. Find a viable candidate to run against that politician, preferably in the primary.

          Here in California, we're unfortunately stuck with Boxer because her only real competition was Fiorina, who nearly bankrupted one of the largest computer companies in the world because she had such a poor understanding of business and technology, but we can get rid of Feinstein in 2012. Now is the time to start applying pressure, both directly (as in, "You stand no chance of reelection

    • by splutty (43475)

      How is this going to matter in any way, shape or form when Congressional Ratings have been about as low as they can get...

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/congressional_performance [rasmussenreports.com]

      Brings back the old 'joke': What's the opposite of progress? Right. Congress.

      If you think they care a wit about the average American, you're hopelessly naive (in general, not as a response to the parent, although thinking they'll listen... Ah well :)

  • by mrquagmire (2326560) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:37PM (#38652224)
    This will be just another dog and pony show. Since when have these hearings done anything other than create the appearance that congress gives a shit about what "the people" want?
  • We're doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:37PM (#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:We're doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:40PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They've already said they might put notices on their own websites. I think if the likes of Facebook can get 500million+ to notice something on their website then there may be just enough ire lit under a congressman's ass. Considering their Facebook pages may just explode with complaints.

      • Re:We're doomed (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:56PM (#38652456)

        You make the false assumption that the congressional "opposition" as any intention of stopping SOPA. At best they'll hold it hostage for something they want, but it WILL pass, and the tech giants - that includes Google - WANT it to pass, too.

        SOPA is going to kill Internet startups. We all know that. The entrenched players won't even have to blink. They know that too.

        But after seeing public outcry towards GoDaddy, you can bet Google and the other tech giants will be ineffectively "anti-SOPA" right up until it passes because they didn't bother lobbying against it or testifying against it or mentioning it on their website[1] or doing anything that might threaten it.

        So expect to see more of this token opposition, to "prove" that there's no real opposition and to make sure all the Ts are crossed before they pass this bill anyway.

        [1] You know how you can tell Google wants SOPA to pass? There's no mention of it on their website. You think Google could manage to get the word out if they were really concerned about SOPA.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          I can think of a very good reason for Google not to even TRY to interfere.

          The fact that the feds have them by the balls right now with an anti-trust investigation.

    • Re:We're doomed (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:49PM (#38652354)

      These guys already backtracked on the "nuclear option".

      Also:
      Domain Name:WIKIPEDIA.ORG
      Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)

      • Also:
        Domain Name:WIKIPEDIA.ORG
        Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)

        Wow! Fuuuck, it's true! At first I thought you were trolling, since Wikipedia announced long ago they'll be leaving GoDaddy.

        What the fuck Jimmy Wales, grow a pair. Heck, this doesn't even require balls, just keep your damn word.

      • True, though that relationship clearly existed well before SOPA reared its ugly head. Wikipedia has been fiercely anti-SOPA, to the point of putting the banner ads -er- appeals on the top of every page.

        GoDaddy has recently been pushed to reverse their stance by customers leaving. I think Wikipedia may have been one of those threatening to leave.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Because the CEOs of big companies will spread their own agenda instead of technological insight. Also, a Google representative was already heard.

    • Google has already testified on SOPA [arstechnica.com], but the bills backers are convinced that Google is an evil enemy of the Good Media Companies, out to leverage it's monopoly on search to make money off of "rampant piracy" (YouTube, Book Scanning, Google News, etc).

      Putting him on the stand will do more damage than good. Bezos is a good option, as people view him more as enabling media sales. But in general concentrating on back-end folks will be much more effective.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:38PM (#38652234) Journal

    It seems reasonable to debate that the political winds could eventually change direction, and "copyright owners" would simply start being viewed as "censors", rather than "legitimate business interests", "job generators", "authors and artists", etc. Possible or not?

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:40PM (#38652248) Journal

    These testimonies will fall on deaf ears. Or better say, ears fully clogged with stacks of dollar bills.

    In the meantime, I am organizing an anti-Adidas campaign on Google+ Wish me luck.

  • Paul ryan says... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hero-author (2550054) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:52PM (#38652402)
    "I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse."
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:57PM (#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 forkfail (228161)

      Link from TFA:

      http://mediamatters.org/blog/201201050008 [mediamatters.org]

      The people aren't hearing about this because those who benefit most are also the keepers of the majority of the nation's information.

      • That article is pretty out of character for MediaMatters. It was practically devoid of hyperbole, provide details on methodology, and somehow even avoided blaming the whole issue on "teh satanic kitten-killing GOP and lying liars a teh Faux News".
  • Didn't they already (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:57PM (#38652466)
    Didn't they already do that at one point? I remember a lady who represented google, made some good points and the politicians and sopa supports just said 'you support piracy har har har'.
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      politicians should be asked why it is ok to prop up failing business models with draconian laws. Services like Valve's Steam service or even Netflix show that if big business was willing to adapt they would not have a problem making even more money than they already are.
  • by trifish (826353)

    Union Square Ventures; Lanham Napier, the CEO of Rackspace Hosting; and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.com

    Wait, WTF are those entities?

  • First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    You see, it's all good while the government just uses its powers to shake down small businesses in unrelated industries, the business must be regulated, right?

    When they "regulate" the movers or when they regulate the retailers or when they regulate the brick manufacturers etc. etc., what do you think they are really doing? You think they are doing you a favour? Guess why the business and labour regulations cause massive outflow of investment and jobs to countries with much fewer regulations.

    This is the sam

    • by forkfail (228161)

      Here's the thing that your argument misses.

      There has to be a way for the interests of the people to be enacted into law.

      Take dumping raw sewage into the river. To stop that, we need law (regulation). This is an example of good regulation.

      Then there's this. SOPA regulation is the equivalent of allowing the factory owners to control what gets dumped into the river. And of course, that's going to be a brand new pipeline of proverbial sewage if it passes.

      So - it's not all regulation that is evil. Yes, tell

  • it is not needed, just throw it in the trash.
  • ... if SOPA had been around at the time. Plenty of people utilized Youtube to share copyrighted content quite some time before it started to become *really* popular, and agencies who discovered it would have been all over it to stop. Why bother with DMCA takedowns when you can just block the domain entirely? Because it was not yet popular, it's very likely that a judge, if one is involved, would not have perceived a widespread substantial non-infringing use and the request for blocking would likely be

  • Well if this POS bill passes, then maybe we should just shut down the internet until it is repealed!
    (IE: EVERY site you try to go to will show the same message, Contents blocked by act of congress!)

  • Whats stopping (Score:5, Interesting)

    by future assassin (639396) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @01:59PM (#38653340) Homepage

    people around the world from hacking sites and publishing "illegal content" on those sites, then reporting those sites so they get blocked. 6 months later the US has blocked itself from 75% of the Internet. I'm sure the rest of the world will survive while the US rots its in own closed environment. Just make sure your domain is not a tld controlled but the US.

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