by Robert D
The linked article explains that SOPA, the recent anti-piracy bill that got shut down before it could make any change, was driven by “old media” companies who opposed pirating. They used lobbying and similar tactics, to the tune of millions of dollars. In contrast, very little was spent from the anti-SOPA side. So what caused the bill to fail?
The article suggests this is because anti-SOPA companies, like Wikipedia and Twitter, didn’t need to spend any money. The internet is already an effective means of communication; they just used the existing infrastructure (or in some cases, a lack thereof) to push anti-SOPA messages to a concerned audience. Some sites would give information on SOPA and why citizens should disagree with it; others shut down entirely in protest.
I can’t say I know if SOPA is good for us as a whole. As an avid fan of everything the internet has to bring, however, I was largely against the bill. I remember up to a month before the bill failed, my favorite sites would encourage users to write and call congressmen. There was a clip on the Daily Show where senators were first debating the bill, claiming they didn’t know what the bill entailed, and that they needed “nerds” to interpret it for them; they were largely in favor of it, but couldn’t say why. What happens on the internet is important though; I could list everyday examples, but I think the failure of SOPA is a good enough example on its own.
Goldman, D. “Millions of SOPA Lobbying Bucks Gone to Waste” CNN Money. 27 Jan 2012. http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/27/technology/sopa_pipa_lobby/index.htm