These bills (SOPA being the House version and PIPA being the Senate version) were introduced as a way for the entertainment industry and the Government to “combat online piracy”. What this really means is that it’s a way for the Government to censor websites they feel threaten the status quo, and it’s a way for the entertainment industry and big corporations to take down websites that threaten their right to make tons of cash.
Here’s the thing about these bills – they were penned by lobbyists for the big media companies. Remember the big six we talked about before? These guys control all the news, and are all for the bills, which is why you haven’t seen much in the way of criticism on your nightly news. And before you begin thinking this is a partisan issue, let’s examine who introduced these bills. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced SOPA and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced Protect IP – a Republican from Texas and a Democrat from Vermont… Doesn’t get any more bi-partisan than that, folks!
Now, let’s look at their recent campaign contributions… Why, Lamar Smith’s top contributions came from AT&T, Clear Channel Communications, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Verizon, and Time Warner. Meanwhile, Patrick Leahy’s top contributors were Time Warner, Walt Disney Co., General Electric, Viacom Inc., and Comcast Corp. What do all of these companies have in common? They’re all major media and telecom companies who have a storied history of stifling progress and innovation in order to maximize their own profits and maintain their stranglehold on what the people are exposed to.
Now, let’s forget the fact that these representatives are bought and paid for, just like every other member of Congress. Let’s take a look at the generation these men came from. Smith was born in 1947 while Leahy was born in 1940. When they were growing up, color televisions weren’t even readily available. These guys are actually proud of how little they know about technology and the Internet. Why should we be allowing them to regulate it? And before you start thinking that these are isolated instances, let me remind you that the average age in Congress hovers around 55. For a more startling look, check out this chart on Wikipedia, which details the currently serving Senators by age. You ever have to troubleshoot your grandparents’ computer problems? These are the kinds of people we are dealing with.
The solution is simple. Stop reelecting them. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot of convincing and education before we get there. This is why I got even more irritated when I saw this response from the Obama administration on their disingenuous White House Petitions website. Here’s the thing; compromise on these bills is completely unacceptable. They must be defeated and we need to stop bowing down to these corporations. There is no “real” threat from piracy. It has always existed and will always exist. Censoring the Internet is not going to magically make piracy go away.
In case you’ve got any delusions about Obama being a grand beacon of hope in all of this, let me remind you that this is the guy who put his signature on NDAA, ordered the assassination of (at least) two American citizens in drone strikes, has kept Guantanamo Bay open, continues the war on drugs, and praised whistleblowers while attempting to kill WikiLeaks in the same year.
So, how does it feel to be represented? This is the not the face of someone who cares about you or your liberty.