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Here at Macworld | iWorld 2012, over coffee in the press room I came across a terrific piece online from Larry Downes on Tech Freedom. If you’re following this SOPA/PIPA debacle, this site is one to follow.
Downes asks — and it is a great question that’s been nagging me, too — who really stopped SOPA? And why? He wants to know, as I do, what happened behind the scenes.
With the major bucks behind Hollywood, TV and the music industry, surely a little blackout online wouldn’t be enough to get the congressmen and congresswomen who supported it on behalf of Big Entertainment to just roll over. So was there something else going on behind the scenes? My gut says yes.
Larry Downes, writes a great article on Tech Freedom that addresses exactly this. Good job, Tech Freedom.
By Larry Downes for Tech Freedom: I split my time these days between Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill, and last week was a very good week to be in Washington.
In the fall, I witnessed the beginnings of a unique revolt over proposed legislation that would have dramatically changed the Internet’s business landscape.
Last week, that revolt achieved a stunning victory, sending Congress into a tailspin of retreat from bills that seemed certain, only months ago, to pass with little notice or resistance.
The two bills were the Senate’s Protect IP Act and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, or #PIPA and #SOPA as they became known on Twitter, where millions of Tweets condemned them and their supporters in and out of Congress. Heavily backed by D.C. favorites including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the music and motion picture industries, the legislation was superficially aimed at combating the scourge of foreign websites selling unlicensed or counterfeit American goods to U.S. consumers outside the legal reach of criminal and civil enforcement.
But to Internet users, the proposed legislation and the process by which it was steamrolled through a supine Congress took on mythic attributes. By the end of last week the firefight had morphed into a battle of old economy vs. new, of business as usual in Washington vs. the organized chaos of online life, of K Street lobbyists vs. ordinary … read the rest of the Tech Freedom piece here …
This story contains several reasonable theories about what happened to cause SOPA and PIPA supporters to so rapidly withdraw … and why. Excellent commentary. Nice job, Tech Freedom.