A few years back, the entertainment industry used its unique charms (read: money) to glamour several members of Congress into supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act, one of the few pieces of legislation to draw almost universal disdain from everyone other than the industry that backed it, as it would have exacerbated the shoot-first-maybe-investigate-later model already in place thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thankfully, some Congressional aides actually look at the Internet and sensed the public backlash wasn’t worth the campaign donations that their bosses were still going to get anyway, and SOPA failed. Now the industry says it wants to combat piracy by winning over consumers instead of arresting teenagers. [More]
Like some kind of anti-piracy zombie, a piece of the previously slain Stop Online Piracy Act — or SOPA — has risen from the grave it was shoved into in 2012 to once more shamble about creating trouble. Instead of gnawing on people’s limbs, however, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Police Task Force wants a little bit of it to simply live on and make streaming copyright works a felony. [More]
Remember SOPA? PIPA? Maybe even CISPA? Of course you do — the Internet community, Consumerist included, rallied en masse earlier this year to stop those attempts to regulate the Interwebs we love so dearly. Now a Congressman is lobbing up a proposal to prevent that from happening again for at least two years with a bill that would temporarily ban the government from trying to regulate the Internet. [More]
Just when you think the tricky tricksters are done trying to take away our online freedom, they pop back up. We might need to start playing whack-a-mole again like we did during the anti-SOPA/PIPA days way back when in January — there’s a new law on the block aimed at restricting online rights. CISPA, everyone. Everyone, CISPA.
The same day that the Senate decided to postpone its voting on the Protect IP Act, the House Judiciary Committee has decided it’s probably time to give more than cursory thought to the Stop Online Piracy Act and has postponed the piece of legislation for the time being.
Even though the Protect IP Act appears to have gotten caught in a cul-de-sac in the Senate, the Stop Online Piracy Act is still very much alive in the Congress, which is slated to take up the legislation again in February. So it’s more important than ever for you to let lawmakers know you object to these heavy-handed, anti-consumer, anti-innovation bills.
As you may have heard the other day, the Senate was set to vote next Tuesday on the controversial anti-online-piracy Protect IP Act, but after the entire Internet seemed to raise its voice in opposition to the bill — and a number of Senators quickly changed their opinions — that vote has been put aside for the time being.
Yesterday’s mass protests about the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills have yielded some positive results: At least 18 members of Congress — including several PIPA co-sponsors — have withdrawn their support for the legislation. And Wikipedia, which went dark for the day, saw its traffic go up, as visitors used the site’s SOPA page as a resource for information about the issue.
While Consumerist was outside in the chilly, sunshiney streets of NYC with anti-SOPA/PIPA protestors gathered outside the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, we made some friends! David Moore had one of our favorite signs, and a lot to say, while Emily is an English teacher who wants kids to be able to use the Internet. Then there was a guy with a beard hat. Let’s meet them!
While SOPA and PIPA have the support of every major record label, the unions representing performing artists, and the organizations that manage licensing for musicians, some performers, writers and artists have stood up against the bills, including MGMT, OK Go, Trent Reznor and the members of OPERA America. (And Neil Gaiman, too!)
This afternoon, Consumerist headed over to check out an emergency NYC Tech Meetup protest outside the offices of Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both co-sponsors of anti-piracy legislation. Crowds gathered to hear speakers from the tech industry raise the cry against SOPA and PIPA.
The folks at Facebook have made no secret of their objection to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. And while it would have been a huge statement for Facebook to shut down, even for a few hours, you can’t fault the company for not wanting to turn off the money machine. Regardless, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg just took to his personal page to quickly voice his opinion on these pieces of legislation.
Like a number of people we’ve spoken to today about the impact of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, Regretsy.com’s Helen Killer (not her real name, in case you hadn’t guessed) tells Consumerist that she doesn’t oppose the idea of fighting online piracy. It’s just that SOPA goes too far and focuses on things it shouldn’t.
As you may have noticed, the Internet isn’t happy with proposed anti-piracy legislation before Congress and the Senate that could have a huge impact on everything from e-commerce to your 13-year-old niece’s Glee fan blog. And as the voices continue to grow louder in opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills, some law makers are already switching sides.
Micah Sifry, head of Personal Democracy Media and an expert on the intersection of technology and politics, sees the battle over SOPA and PIPA as part of the ongoing changes affecting the content and entertainment industries in the Internet era: “They’re trying to use the law to artificially protect business models and slow down new ways of doing things that are disrupting that business model,” he told The Consumerist.
Mozilla is making its stance against SOPA and PIPA clear today, by joining the list of sites featuring a blackout page and a call to action to protest the anti-piracy acts. But while they take a stand, users seeking technical support for Mozilla products like Firefox will still be able to access that site and get security updates.
Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act that has moved a number of sites, including Craigslist and Reddit to shut down for the day, accuses the biggest name involved in the blackouts, Wikipedia, of doing a disservice to its users by inciting outrage over the piece of legislation.