Monday, January 02, 2012

SOPA what?

David Carr explains SOPA legislation, why it matters, and why legislators shouldn't legislate things of which they're proud of their ignorance.

The debate has highlighted how little Congress knows about the Internet they are proposing to re-tool. In a piece often cited on the Web, the computer culture journalist Joshua Kopstein watched the debate in Congress in which members bragged about their online ignorance, and he wrote an open letter on the technology Web site Motherboard titled, “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer O.K. to Not Know How the Internet Works.”
Whether they know what they are doing or not, lawmakers seem intent on moving forward.
Congressional supporters of piracy legislation have been in a big hurry because the Web is starting to come alive with opposition — nearly 90,000 Tumblr users have phoned members of Congress and more than a million people have signed an online petition protesting the legislation.
Last week, in a much talked about blog post, Declan McCullagh of CNet speculated that even though big Web companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are outgunned in terms of political connections, they have the capability to turn their sites into billboards denouncing SOPA and utilizing their close, constant relationship with consumers.
I like my movies (and music and television) as much as the next couch potato, probably more. And I wouldn’t steal content for any reason, in part because I make a living generating a fair amount of it. But it’s worth remembering that the film industry initially opposed the video cassette recorder and the introduction of DVDs, platforms that became very lucrative businesses for them and remarkable conveniences for the rest of us. 
 It's worth a read.



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