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Tech Industry Reps To Speak Before Congress About SOPA

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-today's-sopa-news dept.

The Internet 273

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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First... (0)

gmiernicki (1621899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652136)

...to reject how much SOPA sucks and join the tech companies in opposing it.

I applaud his efforts... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (5, Informative)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#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]

Re:I applaud his efforts... (2)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652860)

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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652358)

There is no defense against willful ignorance.

Sure there is. Removal from office. When, is optional.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#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".

Re:I applaud his efforts... (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:I applaud his efforts... (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652504)

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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652556)

I suppose it just indicates that people who are evil will always have more money to spend than those that are not. Which is kind of obvious.

Also, those who need this to pass have the most to lose, so they are willing to spend more.

Let's have a party, DNS-and-BIND. Let's have a frICKin party. YA KNOW? I love you.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (4, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653090)

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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652534)

$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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652546)

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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652558)

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.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652660)

That's why the americans are brainwashed with TV, credit card and consumption ; bread and circuses... Even if the geeks are outraged by SOPA, most of the population doesn't know about it and those who do are too apathetic to do anything.
These congressmen will be elected again, thanks to there well funded campaigns.

Re:I applaud his efforts... (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652582)

Congress's approval is about as low as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Yet they still don't care, and nether does mr. Ahmadinejad!

Re:I applaud his efforts... (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Representative: "Why yes, that's what it's for." (3, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Huzah (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652644)

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

Oh wait...

This should be fun... (5, Funny)

I'm just joshin (633449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652160)

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

issa = politician (2)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652300)

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.

Re:issa = politician (2)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652324)

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

Re:This should be fun... (5, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652410)

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:This should be fun... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652602)

I know Issa better for his continued attempts to gut the USPS, and his parliamentarian gamesmanship in preventing an up-or-down vote on a competing bill that could help save it.

Re:This should be fun... (1, Troll)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652452)

He's a Republican, so Slashdot users cannot officially indicate support.

So who's paying Issa for this?

Re:This should be fun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652462)

Since he has an "R" after his name, we are in favor of SOPA now.

All you slashdotters against SOPA are racist!

Re:This should be fun... (1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652870)

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.

Re:This should be fun... (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Hopeless... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652178)

...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... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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... (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652318)

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... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652690)

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... (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652964)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653314)

No, actually we don't have capitalism. We have corporatism.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653346)

Sorry, meant to say "Corporatocracy".

Re:Hopeless... (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653028)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (2)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652652)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653094)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (0)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652654)

"How would you get the law passed?" , back door deals, just like Obama Care!

Re:Hopeless... (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653332)

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 lobbyists in Phoenix or Boise, which limits their ability to stop it.

Re:Hopeless... (4, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#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... (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#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... (5, Informative)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Hopeless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38653092)

I think one of the main reasons they scrapped the subsidy wasn't saving money in the budget, but trying to keep Quebec from siphoning more money to themselves. The Bloc Quebecois made most of the campaign funds from that voting subsidy. A national political party that only represents the views and concern of one province is a complete pile of BS in my eyes. The idea of a federal government is to help the nation as a whole, not to try to hold the nation hostage until you're province gets paid off with special political favours or huge wads of cash transferred to you. Then have you claim that the process is completely unfair and you decide you want to separate and form your own country, but still have the rest of Canada pay for you. I'm glad that they got pummeled in the last election. I'm not a big fan of the NDP either, but at least they have representation from the entire country and not just Quebec.

As far as all the hating of Harper, yes he might not be the best PM, but he won the election, all those people that complain that he stole the election because he only had 40% of the vote (Don't remember exact number), doesn't mean he he doesn't carry the support of most voters. People say, but 60% voted against him, so the opposition should be in power. Well, sure maybe the NDP got 30% of the vote (again, don't remember exact number) but that means 70% didn't want them! You can't pick and choose statistics. The east is just sore that the west finally got some representation in government. Also, Harper also has support from ridings all across the nation, not only in the west, or just in Quebec.

Re:Hopeless... (2)

Alistar (900738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653128)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652564)

Then we could all run for president, get $100,000 in campaign funds (free from the government).. The whole country wold be rich!

Re:Hopeless... (1)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652598)

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!

Re:Hopeless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38653012)

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!

Well considering how much less money would be spent on elections, the rich (~ .05% ) would actually spend less than they currently do. In effect it would mean less 'tax' for everyone and in particular, far less 'tax' on the rich (tax, in this sense, would include the current donations that are made to campaigns).

Of course, you might end up with a lot less loopholes for the wealthy so that in the end they might actually pay proportionately the same in tax as say, their secretaries. That would end up being quite a bit of an increase in tax for the rich.

Re:Hopeless... (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652642)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652744)

The only way to stop this bullshit is to mandate that all campaigns be publicly funded... We need to get money out of politics

Wait! What?? You don't see the conflict there? And besides, just who do you expect to pay for this 'public funding'? How 'bout fuck the idea of campaigns entirely, since they're just a pack of lies, and just make sure the politicians' voting records stand out more than their fancy speeches and soon to be broken promises?

Re:Hopeless... (2)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653204)

The only way to stop this bullshit is to mandate that all campaigns be publicly funded... We need to get money out of politics

Wow that might be the *worst* idea I have ever seen. Look how the existing two major parties are enshrined in to law. How do you hold a primary as the third party in most states? answer: you don't. How get on a ballot if your not a GOP or DNC candidate in a national race in most states? answer: only with a great amount of difficulty and run around, its not as simple as having enough signatures most places.

So when the current incumbents are put in charge of writing the legislation that governs who gets those campaign funds and how, what chance do thing outsiders will have for qualifying? answer: little. What does that do to our democracy? answer: Becomes a bigger barrier to new comers and opposition candidates then the current money driven mess ever could.

Re:Hopeless... (2)

RobinH (124750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652866)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653170)

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".

Ahhh but (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653246)

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.

Re:Hopeless... (2)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652386)

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

Good sign (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652254)

Or they may be shaking the money tree harder.

Re:Good sign (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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!!

Re:Good sign (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653150)

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 if you vote for this bill") and indirectly (as in choose a Democrat to unseat her in the primary race).

While you're at it, start working now on a constitutional amendment to allow recall of U.S. Senators.

Re:Good sign (2)

splutty (43475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652320)

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 :)

Re:Good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652580)

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.

The sad thing is, swaying support for the SOPA bill is not a difficult task (I think), when you take into consideration the scare tactics the US government has been using to put their foot in whatever door they want. They'll conjure up a campaign about piracy being one of the major causes of why the US economy has been doing so poorly, tie in a line or two about how it supports terrorism, then promise that passing the bill will restore a great chunk of our economy.

And people will fall for it. :(

Great. (2)

mrquagmire (2326560) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652256)

Please mod parent WAY up. If it's that serious, there need to be some hellaciously bigger guns testifying for this one.

Re:We're doomed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652396)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652574)

Fundamentally, I think in order to inform people of political matters, perhaps we should mix them in with very good offered services like search engines, maps, and social networks. Maybe the next free and open social network needs to have a publicly beneficial political agenda to get more people aware and engaged in these subjects.

Not sure if it's a good idea to mix business with politics ... but the mainstream media already does it. They indoctrinate people with their self interested agenda along with the services they charge monopoly prices for (be it through commercials or through cable prices). So why shouldn't other service providers, like Google and Facebook and Wikipedia, do the same? They would be far more listened to than the mainstream press since they offer consumers more consumer surplus through cheaper prices and better service.

Re:We're doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652906)

"Maybe the next free and open social network needs to have a publicly beneficial political agenda"

(and I know it can be naive to think that Google, Facebook, or the next free and open social network is going to have a publicly beneficial political agenda and not merely a self interested one).

Re:We're doomed (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:We're doomed (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652354)

These guys already backtracked on the "nuclear option".

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

Re:We're doomed (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652528)

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.

Re:We're doomed (2)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652552)

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.

Re:We're doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652480)

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?

Haha, it's funny, I was wondering the same thing.

I'd hate to think that all those tech people who are now at the top didn't start out as pirates themselves back in the early days of the internet.

  Although I suppose an argument for them to not come out of the 'cyber closet' would be that they could risk losing investor support. I mean, what would you do if the CEO of the software company you're part of suddenly came forward and said, "Hey, you know all that software you've been giving me money to develop? Well, I've been allowing it to be distributed for free on the pirate bay, and now I'm gonna speak to congress so it can continue to be accessed for free by millions of potential consumers".

Re:We're doomed (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652832)

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

Not Sergey (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652960)

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.

Re:We're doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38653238)

I'm fairly sure that zombie Steve Jobs can single handedly bring down this bill if he was to testify.

But then again, why would a zombie go to congress? No food material there (brains for the whoosh crowd).

When will "copyright owners" equate "censors"? (3, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652234)

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?

Good on Issa, really, but.. (2)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652248)

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.

Re:Good on Issa, really, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38653252)

What do you have against Adidas? You obviously don't live in New Zealand, unless you moved since you stopped writing in your journal... which was incredibly dull, by the way. Why would you write that stuff on SLASHDOT of all places? You're like that homeless dude in La Jolla.

Just set it on fire already. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652362)

Just burn all the G@# D@#$ money already! Plato was right, our leaders should sacrifice the right to even make money, everything they need should be provided by the public. Who the hell are they calling terrorist anyways, looks like they are doing a mighty fine job of destroying america by themselves.

Paul ryan says... (5, Interesting)

hero-author (2550054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652402)

"I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse."

Congress wakeing up? (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652458)

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.

Re:Congress wakeing up? (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652918)

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.

Re:Congress wakeing up? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653304)

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 (3, Informative)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#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'.

Re:Didn't they already (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653160)

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.

huh? (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652632)

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

Wait, WTF are those entities?

Finally they came for you (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652896)

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 same thing, but finally they hit somewhere it hurts and you can't ignore it and even CHEER for it.

When gov't regulates the banks and creates a massive monopoly formation by destroying competition and the government ensures the monopoly with FDIC (you didn't think they insured YOU with this nonsense, did you? It was creating a massive moral hazard, so you wouldn't care what bank you lent your money to), when gov't creates a monopoly in banking and then gives banks free money from Federal reserve, counterfeits the money, sets crazy 0% price on money borrowing and destroys the credit market for businesses, you don't care, you think it's good - it's gov't regulations.

Now they show you how it's done with something you care about, and what now? Why is this more important than anything else they've done before? Medical regulations and monopoly creation, same with education, same with banking, houses, money itself, energy, food, you pick your subject, it's government regulated and destroyed.

It's exactly the same thing, the difference is it's not a small enough group of people for you not to care about their rights being violated. Yes, this is violation of your right to speech and to do business, just like every other government regulation is a violation of your right to speech and property and business, all of them are, it's just different industries are not as visible to you and you don't care.

This is good, the fact that the government now decided to hit you where it hurts is good, because that's when the masses start caring, only when it starts hurting them very very directly.

Re:Finally they came for you (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653126)

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, telling corporations that they can't dump sewage into the river may drive some away to places that will allow that sort of thing; on the other hand, what's a job worth when your children are dying of the poisons from drinking the river water?

Another Way to stop corruption..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652902)

......is to never vote for an incumbent. Make every representative and every senator a one term policy maker with the need to return to the real world and suddenly you will find that the legislative branch will become more effective.

Re:Another Way to stop corruption..... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653162)

I fear that approach would just mean that congress would become the practicum for high end jobs in the corporate world.

I don't have an answer; all I know is that we've allowed the center of power to shift from the interests of the people to the interests of the corporations, and made them post industrial fiefdoms.

If only they could remind them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38653002)

that the country's following French leadership [rsf.org] on this one.
If anything, that ought to show uninformed people that they're doing something very wrong.
No one here who knows what ctrl+c stands for will mind being used that way.

why any discussion at all on sopa? (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653114)

it is not needed, just throw it in the trash.

Youtube would never have existed.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653260)

... 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 approved. Problem effectively solved. Most people would probably have never heard of Youtube today if that had been the case.

So really, what SOPA does is ensure that nothing particularly new or innovative is liable to ever surface on the Internet again... since when it starts getting used for piracy, it will be shut down before it can really start becoming a widespread phenomenon with legitimate use being obvious to most people.

revenge (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653284)

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 (4, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38653340)

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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