Wednesday was the day that many of the internet heavyweights weighed in with their opinion on the SOPA/PIPA legislations going through the halls of Capitol Hill. Reddit and Wikipedia went dark, while Google showed their solidarity with the protestors in a different way. The bottom line? Enough people got upset about the orneriness of this legislation. No matter what you think about so-called online “piracy”, you will not fix it by overreaching. Taking away rights will not save “jobs”.
One question I’ve seen on Twitter is asking why Progressives are upset about government overreach. Doesn’t government know best? Well…certainly not all the time. When the rules and regulations that we are forced to live by are controlled by big monied interests, it doesn’t matter if the overreach comes from government or business. Oh yeah, and trust me, this one was government overreach with a heavy dose of big business. Who do you think really drafts these bits of legislation?
In the case of legislation involving the internet, it certainly isn’t the elected officials. Patrick Leahy, Lamar Smith, et al. know nothing about the internet, and they proved it with their attempt to push this legislation through. Their attempt to reign in “piracy” was misguided, and worse, it was fed to them by industry lobbyists. Now, I know this happens all the time, and this was not particularly egregious as lobbyist fed legislation goes. Nonetheless, it’s another stark reminder that our system is badly broken.
Even before Citizens United, big money had too much influence in Washington. It’s certainly not a recent revelation, but this one was more disheartening because it was so bipartisan. I know…as much as I long for a more civil tone in D.C., this is not the issue on which we need agreement between Democrats and Republicans. A draconian law that solves no problem is not worth agreeing on. No…we need real problems solved with the precious little bipartisanship that actually exists in Washington.
This isn’t over. Not by a long shot. The MPAA and the RIAA will try again to get this garbage legislation pushed through. Hopefully we’ll be as vigilant then as we were now.