Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Internet is Lost :: On SOPA and PIPA

If there ever were a time for us, as citizens of these United States, to engage actively in our own governance, the time is now. Like right now. Before the upcoming Senate vote on PIPA [Protect IP Act] on January 24. That gives us three days to write, or even better, to call our Senators.

The House bill, SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act], has been tabled for now, but is scheduled to rear its ugly head again in February. So it's important to call (or write) your Congressperson too.

If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, here's a good, balanced explanation from Forbes Magazine titled "What Are SOPA and PIPA And Why All the Fuss?"

Wiki also has a good informational page:

In the C|Net article "How SOPA would affect you: FAQ", the author points out that The Honorable Lamar Smith [R], the right-in-my-backyard House Representative for Texas Congressional District 21, and sponsor of the bill, has an interesting slate of major campaign donors.

Quoting the article, "As CNET reported in December, Smith, a self-described former ranch manager whose congressional district encompasses the cropland and grazing land stretching between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, has become Hollywood's favorite Republican. The TV, movie, and music industries are the top donors to his 2012 campaign committee, and he's been feted by music and movie industry lobbyists at dinners and concerts."

As I like to say with regard to pretty much any bill authored by pretty much any Senator or Congressperson, "FOLLOW THE MONEY".



It is a sad state of the Republic, that it's the special interests (money) driving most of the legislation in both Houses of Congress. It's the interests of the special interests, that our elected representatives are paying attention to, and not the interests of "We The People".

And as I also like to say, "IF YOU'RE NOT ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LIVID (about your perverted/impotent system of governance), YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION".

So the time is now to call or write - to help them start paying attention to we the people, and to help them start paying attention to what is in the best interests of we the people.

Personally, I plan to start dedicating an hour or two a week to communicating with my elected officials - both on the Federal and State levels. They are all now in my contacts in Outlook. We dedicate time to ourselves, our partners/spouses, time to family/friends, time to exercise, time to read/listen to music, time to meditate/go to church/bird watch, time for artistic endeavors like photography or dancing Argentine Tango, time to watch sports or other drivel on the boob tube, time to go hunting, play golf, bowl, macrame'/knit (male emphasis here), play video games, shopping at Cabela's or Home Depot and generally if not specifically time for jacking off and reading on the toilet.

Why not time to actively engage in one's own governance? Dedicated, committed time, especially, ESPECIALLY, in these troubled times.

Dedicated, committed, open/mindful, aware, loving time to read and study and write (or call) about the issues we each hold dear. Too many issues? Pick one.

Sorry to get preachy y'all. I'm not preaching to you, kind reader. I'm preaching to everyone. Pleading with the Universe to get with the program, wake up, and take an interest in this world we've created through our profound apathy and inattention.

So here are the links to make it find your reps and their contact info...

And lastly, here is the seed for the title of this post. It's the scene from the film "Downfall" (excellent film by the way) - the scene where Hitler gets pissed off when his generals are telling him they are being overwhelmed/overrun/losing the war. The scene that has been hackneyed on YouTube with folks dubbing in new subtitles to make their point.

The subtitles on this one are gone in a flash, so it's a challenge to follow everything. Some of it is silly, but most of it (the subtitle text) is profoundly true. Not that the Internet could ever actually be "lost" over PIPA or SOPA, but the Internet as we know it, could be.

Bear with it to the end - 4:00 minutes - that's the best part...

Thanks for reading, and make that commitment to call (or write) your peeps in the next couple of days. I thank you, and the citizens of the world thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

P.S. Plus I'm really pissed that Congress is spending our precious money and time on an issue that really doesn't need to be addressed. The existing laws are possibly just fine, perhaps with some tweakage. I'll share a reply letter I recieved from my representative, Lloyd Doggett in the comments below, that talks about this. My point is that in these troubled times with very grave issues before us - our Congress deigns to squander precious time on needless bullshit. Especially when they are all clamoring for less regulation and less spending and more job creation. These fuckers need to get with the program. And we the people are the only ones who can help them do that.


AlexTangoFuego said...

Reply letter rec'd yesterday from Congressman Lloyd Doggett - a very nice man:

January 18, 2012

Dear Alex:

Thank you for your communication regarding our shared concerns about the so-called "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA), HR 3261. I strongly oppose this bill and have already urged the House Judiciary Committee to reject its overly broad language that would force Internet Service Providers to implement various filtering technologies on their networks. You can read the letter expressing my concerns below.

The threat to an open internet posed by Rep. Lamar Smith's SOPA cannot be cleaned up with soap and a wire brush; this bill should be rejected. As an early SOPA opponent, I have joined colleagues to offer a more focused alternative, which addresses legitimate piracy concerns without mandating censorship or blocking websites. Our 'Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade' (OPEN) Act, as the name indicates, seeks to maintain an internet that is as open and free as possible. The reasonable goal of fighting copyright infringement must be pursued in a way that does not impair the web as an important engine for economic growth in Central Texas.

Please keep me advised of any federal matters with which I may be of assistance. I would really like to hear your thoughts on other issues that may be considered in Congress. If you have not already, please take a moment to visit my website at where you can complete a survey online. I also hope that you will take this opportunity to sign up for the latest updates from my office, visit my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or send me an e-mail at Your views are very important to me.

Lloyd Doggett

continued in next comment...

AlexTangoFuego said...

...continued from prior comment...

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers,

We write to express our concerns with H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While combating online copyright infringement is a goal we all strongly support, if enacted as currently written, this legislation would cause substantial harm to the innovation and economic opportunities created by the Internet.

The Internet continues to be a revolutionary tool, advancing technological innovation, disseminating artistic expression, and supporting millions of jobs across the country. In fact, a recent McKinsey report concluded that 15 percent of U.S. GDP growth from 2004 through 2009 came from the Internet industry.

You've previously stated that this legislation is intended to target "rogue" foreign websites engaging in copyright infringement. While this is a laudable goal and one we support, the SOPA's overly broad language, in its current form, would target legitimate domestic websites, creating significant uncertainty for those in the technology and venture capital industries.

As you know, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law in 1998, already includes a notice-and-takedown process for both foreign and domestic infringing content. Additionally, a carefully crafted safe harbor protection has enabled countless Silicon Valley successes like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google. The SOPA overturns this basic protection through broad, vague new standards of liability. The result will be an explosion of innovation-killing lawsuits and litigation.

The impact on new businesses and startups, particularly small businesses, will be far more detrimental. For example, venture capitalists will be hesitant to invest in new Internet-based businesses if they fear their money will be tied up in litigation. As prominent Silicon Valley investor Derek Parham explains,

What used to be two guys in a garage coming up with an idea and starting a company is now going to be two guys in a garage with four lawyers behind them — and that's not how the Valley really got started. People shouldn't be fearful of getting sued out of oblivion when they go create a new idea.

At a time of continued economic uncertainty, this legislation will result in fewer new businesses, fewer new investments, and fewer new jobs. "Rogue websites" are no doubt a serious problem and we fully support targeted measures to shut them down. Like you, we understand the importance of combating piracy to protect the intellectual property of the American entertainment industry from copyright infringement in other parts of the world. We believe this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The SOPA as written, however, is overly broad and would cause serious and long term damage to the technology industry, one of the few bright spots in our economy.

We hope you will work with the technology community to find narrow and targeted remedies against online infringers. We also stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to find a solution that protects innovation, while combating against truly "rogue" websites. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our views.