Some Data On How Much The Big Media Firms Are Donating To SOPA/PIPA Sponsors

from the money-in-politics-explains-all dept

The Sunlight Foundation decided to take a look at donations from big media companies to politicians supporting SOPA and PIPA... and, not surprisingly, they found there's lots of money there. Of course, to be fair, I would imagine the reverse is becoming true as well: those opposed to the bills have and will be getting donations from people who, you know, actually like the internet. Some will call it corruption, but it seems more like a systemic problem, and it's not clear which came first -- support for certain types of bills... or donations. But once the process starts, it's hard to get out of that cycle. Those who have received big donations from certain industries want that to continue. And, of course, as Lessig is fond of pointing out these days, part of the game is to be a politician "on the fence" so you can raise money from both sides on a controversial issue.

Either way, what's clear is that big media firms have spread their money around pretty far and wide:
Among the 25 SOPA cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, here's a breakdown of which legislators have brought in donations from big media in TV, music and movies during their careers in Congress. The nearly 40 cosponsors of the Protect IP Act, SOPA's partner legislation in the Senate, have received more than $13.5 million from the TV, music and movies industry since entering Congress. Here's a rundown:
So how do we get out of this cycle? You get continued and effective rent seeking when politicians feel indebted to a few big companies with powerful lobbying arms. It's pretty clear that the American public doesn't like it. So when and how does it stop?


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:47am

    never, sorry :(

     

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    Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:49am

    So when and how does it stop?

    When you bring in the Swiss referendum system.

     

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      Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:01am

      Payment processing

      Btw If the new US laws drive payment procesing offshore - then just wait for a country that will never adopt such measures - and which has a history of financial expertise - to fill the gap.... where would that be I wonder?

       

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        IronM@sk, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:38am

        Re: Payment processing

        Nigeria?

         

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          Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:07am

          Re: Re: Payment processing

          Could happen if we are really unlucky - but I was thinking of Switzerland.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Payment processing

            Or even Iceland, it would fit nicely with their whole IMMI project.

             

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            Robert Doyle (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Payment processing

            The swiss have already bent to US demands in regards to account information regarding US citizens - they would cave to this as well. I hate to say it, but do you want to know who wouldn't bow to the US? China. (Man, my mouth tastes bad saying that...)

             

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              Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Payment processing

              The swiss have already bent to US demands in regards to account information regarding US citizens

              Took about 100 years....

               

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    ScytheNoire, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 3:59am

    Why is this legal?

    I still don't understand how if you simply change what you call it, bribery becomes legal. I don't care if they call it donations or lobbying, it's still bribery, and it's still illegal.

     

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      alex (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:10am

      Re: Why is this legal?

      I must confess I don't know much at all about this subject. Are these sums of money which are just given to these politicians? Are the donations meant to be unconnected to political agenda?

       

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        Swedish Turnip (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:37am

        Re: Re: Why is this legal?

        If they were supposed to be unconnected to political agenda then all such donations should be anonymous. As soon as you get money from someone, whom you know to have a certain agenda, your motivation for supporting that agenda becomes suspect.

         

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          bjupton (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Why is this legal?

          There are even issues with 'anonymous' giving.

          If you give a candidate $50K, it is going to be pretty easy to indicate where it came from.

           

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        silentchasm (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:39am

        Re: Re: Why is this legal?

        From my understanding, it's money that is donated to help get that politician re-elected. Without those funds, they can't pay for campaign staff and effectively plaster TV/Newspapers/the Internet with messages that say 'vote for me for congress/senate'. Therefore if they get money and they don't vote a certain way, they may not get more of the money needed to get re-elected from that company, or worse (for them), the company may give that money to their opponent, causing them to lose their seat to someone else that would likely be more willing to support what the company wants (for fear of the same happening to them later).

        They're supposedly unconnected, but just think of getting thousands of dollars of support from someone would affect how much you listen to them.

         

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          MrWilson, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Why is this legal?

          As every kid who lives with their parents after high school finds out - "if you're living under my roof, you're living under my rules!"

          Except this is just exponentially higher monetary support than letting you live in the basement.

           

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        athox, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:56pm

        Re: Re: Why is this legal?

        I think it's money that is tagged for use in election campaigns (anything else seems to me to be class A corruption).

         

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      Josef Anvil (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:49am

      Re: Why is this legal?

      1bribe noun \ˈbrīb\
      1
      : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
      2
      : something that serves to induce or influence

      both the transitive and intransitive verbs are simply the application of the bribe


      2lobby verb
      lob·bied lob·by·ing

      Definition of LOBBY

      intransitive verb
      : to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation

      transitive verb
      1
      : to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials
      2
      : to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action


      So according to Merriam-Webster, the only real difference between the two is that one is specific to legislation and public officials. I guess bribery is wrong because it works on anyone in a position of trust, not just lawmakers.

       

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        Jeff (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re: Why is this legal?

        We don't trust our lawmakers...

         

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          The eejit (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Why is this legal?

          In which case, it's not bribery, it's lobbying.

          ...So that's how the greedy little shits get away with it! Make the lawmakers so untrustworthy that you have to go to the megacorps just to get any traction on influence!

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:05am

    When: when the populace feels shafted enough

    How: armed revolt

     

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      heyidiot (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

      Pfffffttt!

      ...and pshaw!

      Really? Over some easily-circumvented rules that only affect, after all lets admit, a virtual community?

      For that, you wish to stage an armed revolt? Bullets and guns?

      You're joking, or psychotic. Choose one.

       

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    ethorad (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:13am

    Only one side?

    As you comment, the other side who are fighting SOPA/PIPA could be receiving money from internet companies etc.

    However the "other side" I'd like to see is what the contributions are from big media to the neutrals and anti-SOPA/PIPA politicians. A lot of the amounts in the list above are fairly flat (especially around 250k for PIPA support). Is it just that there's a fairly blanket contribution of around 250k from big media?

    One way to show this could be to show the average big media contribution to a politician in each house. Does anyone know that?

     

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    The Old Man in The Sea, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:19am

    Remove the opportunity for bribery

    Simply remove the legalised bribery (political contributions) that any sitting or prospective politician can obtain. Put all of them before the people to fully explain their views and stands. No political advertisements from any source and possibly have each sitting or prospective politician go out and get a minimum number of registered voters that will support that person directly. Anything would be better than what is currently done.

    Oh and any person wanting to be a member of the parliament would need to sell all goods and chattels that they or their respective spouse or partners have (no opportunity to give anything into the safe keeping of another person) and put this into the government treasury with a minimum wage being given to them and living in the local public housing and using public transport. As well ensure that no accruing benefits arising from extra years of "service".

    This would sort out the wolves from the pack - maybe.

     

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      Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:28am

      Re: Remove the opportunity for bribery

      Maybe a bit too drastic. How about this:

      You cannot donate directly to any politician/party - you can however donate to a political support fund. At the same time you register where you wish to place your support.

      The total pot of money donated then gets divided up in proportion to the number of registered supporters each politician/party has.

      That way you can donate as much as you like - but your influence is limited the same way your vote is limited.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:40am

      Re: Remove the opportunity for bribery

      I theorised a double-blind collective donation system, where donations were assigned at random to people who were running for election. Some American posters of the forum I made it on shot it down, on the grounds that corruption is an essential part of the system, otherwise you'd have communists running the country.

      It's a rather bizarre argument when you consider that the current system is most likely going to lead to a revolt.

       

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        ethorad (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:49am

        Re: Re: Remove the opportunity for bribery

        Agreed - if the public feel that taxation is too high, and representation is focusing on corporate interests there could well be a revolt. Stranger things have happened!

        First though you need some sort of a slogan regarding the desired link between taxation and representation. Any ideas?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:36am

    It will only change when the American people decide to put more effort into their voting decisions than basing it upon who has the most campaign signs by the side of the road, and then turn off the TV long enough to go out and actually vote.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      We have the perfect platforms to educate people about their politicians, what they are voting on, and who is bribing ... err ehem ... funding their election campaigns. Facebook and Google+ offer us unprecedented connectivity to create an app that puts everything in one place. The politicians voting record, the constitutionality of the laws having been voted upon, the ability to directly contact your politician, the bills coming up for a vote, and the ability to spread the word about upcoming legislation.

      All in all, we have the ability to put them under a microscope, and keep them there.

       

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      MrWilson, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      We need something more significant than having more voter participation. Many of the people who don't vote would vote for the corrupt politicians if they did vote and that could offset the benefit of having more voters who opposed the corruption in the system.

      What we need is a ranked voting system. Currently, you either vote Democrat or Republican because you're either brainwashed to a particular ideology or you're voting for the lesser of two evils, or you're voting for an independent as a symbolic but ultimately futile gesture.

      People need to be able to vote without being scared that they're wasting their time. That would get more people to vote. That would also get more independent politicians to run and get elected.

       

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    Kyle, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    Uh... roy blunt

    Roy Blunt is Missouri... not Montana.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:42am

      Re: Uh... roy blunt

      I expect that the list was originally written using two-letter abbreviations, and someone mistook MO (Missouri) to be Montana.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    I'll admit I know very little about the US political system, but it seems almost literally like rich entities can just buy votes!?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:51am

      Re:

      Step 1. Fund the campaigns for both parties' candidates.
      Step 2. The winner betrays the people who elected him and writes laws that benefit you at the expense of everyone else.
      Step 3. Give the former winner a job with you when he gets voted out of office.

      We have judges that are former lobbyists giving rulings on laws that they helped push through.
      If we protest this situation, the media calls us "terrorists" and police in riot gear pepper spray us. Congress is trying to pass legislation that would instead allow the military to detain us indefinitely.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      No, that's pretty much it.

       

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      Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      That is exactly why at&t rules the broadband as part of a duopoly. It bribes both parties for favorable laws.

       

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      u grim bastid, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

      Re:

      yup

       

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    gorehound (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    This is the only reason I liked OWS.Corruption and Big Money married to Government.I am voting smarter.We need people in Government who won't take more than $500 and will support Term Limits.
    If that does not happen I will march on Washington if others will.I no longer care if I get chucked in a jail.Been there before and at least it is warm and I get 3 meals a day.What else can you do ?
    The Government Officials do not care about us for the most part.Both of the Parties are Corrupt.Start Voting Independent maybe ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:31am

    Blame citizens united and rich people who insist that money is speech. As long as courts keep ruling that money is speech we'll never get out of this cycle of bribery and corruption.

     

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:46am

      Re:

      *sigh*

      Citizens United didn't change how much a politician can received in campaign contributions. It simply said that the government was not allowed to prohibit speech by an organization (corporations included) merely because that speech was political in nature. It didn't say money was speech, it said speech was speech.

      I seriously wish people would read about the case before they go off on it because of what they heard someone say it was about.

       

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        Jeff (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:45am

        Re: Re:

        Regardless - the result is the same, an less-restricted flow of money from those who can afford to "purchase" a campaign contribution. The cycle of raise money/win election/raise money, continues at an ever increasing rate - the end result is a drowning out of the vox-populi as the whores we elect seek to 'optimize' their fund-raising efforts. Bottom line: Citizens United broke an already broken system and released the Kraken...

         

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        Jeff (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:46am

        Re: Re:

        Regardless - the result is the same, a less-restricted flow of money from those who can afford to "purchase" a campaign contribution. The cycle of raise money/win election/raise money, continues at an ever increasing rate - the end result is a drowning out of the vox-populi as the whores we elect seek to 'optimize' their fund-raising efforts. Bottom line: Citizens United broke an already broken system and released the Kraken...

         

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        bjupton (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re:

        It does provide for a way around limits for how much one entity can spend on a candidate.

        Revenge for Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:35am

    Is there a list of donations made by opponents of sopa/pipa. That kind of list might be useful in changing the minds of a few of them. Either that or it will just start a bidding war.

    Maybe a per year/term amount would be a little more informative since some of them must have been there more than one term.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:37am

    In Ireland, at least the politicians have the decency to use discrete brown paper envelopes

     

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:42am

      Re:

      correction: in Ireland and the UK, they go "out to lunch" and opinions change. And by lunch, I mean rent boys, hookers and copious amounts of class A drugs.

       

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    Pete Austin, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 5:46am

    Conflict of Interest

    Representatives with a financial interest should recuse themselves, as judges already do. "In the Supreme Court of the United States, the Justices typically voluntarily recuse themselves from participating in cases in which they have a financial interest. For example, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor generally did not participate in cases involving telecommunications firms because she owned stock in such firms, while Justice Stephen Breyer has disqualified himself in some cases involving insurance companies because of his participation in a Lloyd's of London syndicate."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_disqualification

     

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      Joe Publius (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:28am

      Re: Conflict of Interest

      Representatives with a financial interest should recuse themselves, as judges already do.

      Sadly impractical, IMO. Some of these corporations just spread the money around evenly in order to "cover all the bases". If every rep with a financial interest recused, they might not be able to constitute a quorum to vote at all.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Those numbers...

    ...make me sick to my stomach. Our democratic republic has failed.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Cheap and stupid

    Our Congressmen and Senators are not even high class whores. The IP industry is getting off easy for the amount of cash they have to spend. $13.5 million is nothing for even the record labels to spend.

    I had hoped that if our government is being purchased, at least it would be valuable.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:05pm

      Re: Cheap and stupid

      funny thing is they say they lose millions every year to infringement .. If they'd stop buying politicians maybe they'd have more money 13.5 ffs

       

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    Liz (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Math isn't my greatest subject, but adding all of that up, I get $17,185,892.

    $17,185,892 =

    859,294 meals at $20 a plate
    245,512 trips to the gas station at $3.50 gallon regular gasoline (20gal purchase)
    179,019 months of home electricity at $96 (920kwh)
    21,482 months of rent at $800
    24,551 months of groceries for a family of 4 at $700
    17,680 months of daycare service for young children at $972
    687 Four-door sedans at $25,000
    603 Semesters of private non-profit college tuition at $28,500
    114 Fully paid 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes at $150,000


    Averages via quick Google search.

     

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    AR (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    On the continent of Fourecks (cf. The Lost Continent, Terry Pratchett) politicians are put in jail as soon as they are elected, because "it saves time later".

     

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    pho3nixf1re (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    term limits

    The only permanent solution to this is to enact term limits. There is already a resolution in the senate with bi-partisian support. We need more people to push for this, do it at termlimits.org!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:19am

      Re: term limits

      Careful - term limits might impose another unexpected consequence:

      Instead of passing laws in return for donations, legislators might start passing laws in return for high-paying private sector jobs once their term is up.

      We already see this revolving door effect where public figures land high-paying private jobs after propping up certain industries, and vice-versa - we see those same industries producing people in public positions.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    It is sort of a little bit dishonest to suggest in any manner that the donations are specifically for SOPA. Desperation to smear those trying to pass the legislation is high these days.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      What would happen to the world if SOPA doesn't pass?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:46am

        Re: Re:

        NOOO Think of the children.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        If SOPA doesn't pass, you should be prepared to meet "son of SOPA". This is an issue that isn't going away. The US is more and more an IP economy, and as such, will work to protect it's interests.

        Sorry if you cannot see the obvious.

         

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          The eejit (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That makes sense, but now, the IP economy is failing, both to adapt AND to influence. Futurama had it right when it referred to the current time period as "the Stupid Ages".

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The IP economy isn't failing - it is being undermined by those who choose to ignore the law. The demand for IP is huge, should the creators not be recompensed for creating something that so many people want?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The whole thought of intellectual property is just stupid. IMO. Herp I thought of it first you have to pay me the rest of my life to use it.

               

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              Liz (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If the content creators under the major labels would give the people reasonable offers, with reasonable prices, at the ease and convenience that is afforded by 'other' services - then they would reap the benefits far more than the lock-down manner which is commonplace.

              It isn't failing because of people who ignore the law. It is failing because of the people who write those laws and pay off government officials to have them enacted.

               

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              rubberpants, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              They are, in record amounts.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The IP economy isn't even the 15th largest employer in the US. This legislation is unwarranted and unworkable.

               

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              Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The IP economy isn't failing - it is being undermined by those who choose to ignore the law. The demand for IP is huge, should the creators not be recompensed for creating something that so many people want?

              The supposed purpose of the IP economy is to drive the real economy. You can't eat IP so if IP is all we have everyone will die of starvation!

              There is no moral justification for IP. People who believe there is are the sad victims of 300 years of brainwashing by vested interests.

              If you read the history of the subject you will find that IP has it's origins in royal patronage, intended to buy loyalty. In fact if you look at recent developments you will see that little has changed on that score!

              Copyright and patents were originally justified in both Britain and America on the pretext that they would benefit the common good by encouraging creation of new work. However studies of the reality of the situation have consistently shown that this is false: Read and learn:

              There are plenty of ways for creators to be incentivised and paid without a post creation monopoly. Studies of both copyright and patent have shown that such a monopoly is not only unnecessary - it is counter productive. All it does is to encourage corruption and attract greedy profiteers.

               

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The creative economy isn't failing - it is being undermined by those corporate middlemen who want to introduce artificial scarcity and economic inefficiencies to the market. The demand for creative content is huge, should the true creators (i.e. not the copyright or patent HOLDERS, but the true CREATORS!) not be recompensed for creating something that so many people want?"

              Sure, we all want artists to make money. They make stuff which makes the world better. So, I wonder, why do RIAA executives make multi-million dollar salaries?

              http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/record-labels/riaa-weighs-in-on-flap-over-executive-sala ries-1005198182.story

               

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If SOPA doesn't pass, you should be prepared to meet "son of SOPA".

          Which won't stop piracy either.

          Sorry if you cannot see the obvious.

           

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          rubberpants, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The US is more and more an IP economy

          Do you have some data that you're basing that statement on? I could just as easily say the US is more and more a bacon economy and I'd have as much behind my assertion as you do yours.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is what i picture when I think of the "son of SOPA"

          http://www.stomptokyo.com/movies/son-of-godzilla.html

           

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        jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re:

        No more Spongebob.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      I should also point out that it is equally tricky to highlight SOPA, and then point out how much an individual has raised "during their career", especially without giving relative numbers to work from - such as showing their total fund raising over their career, and how much that is on average of each year of said career.

      WTG - the smear machine is working overtime again!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:20am

        Re: Re:

        It is a smear campaign to shed light on bribery? LOL! This is how much money he has made from them since being a ....

        Our country bought and paid for.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just like our 'terrorists' are their 'freedom fighters'...
          Our 'bribery' is their 'lobbying'...

          It makes us feel so much better to label the same action by a different word and pretend that the other person is 'bad' for doing the exact same thing we are (but we called it something 'different' so that makes us 'right' and 'better')....

           

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        identicon
        rubberpants, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re:

        Are you suggesting that none of these politicians are in favor of SOPA primarily because they've received a lot of money from the entertainment industry in the past?

         

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        Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:43am

        Re: Re:

        I should also point out that it is equally tricky to highlight SOPA, and then point out how much an individual has raised "during their career", especially without giving relative numbers to work from - such as showing their total fund raising over their career, and how much that is on average of each year of said career

        You're making this way too easy for the people like me, the OCD crowd to expose that very thing, with pretty pictures too.

        But this is why people invented Maplight, where you can look at that very thing in minute detail.

         

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    Richard (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    No Surprise there then

    Those figures speak volumes as to the corruption currently happening on The Hill. It amazes me that this is still tolerated?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Is there any indication when pipa will be voted on?

    I thought last week was the expect time period.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Pay sponsors a crapload of money... so this is how a bill becomes law. So much for School House Rock's bill song!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Can someone explain Lessig's efforts?

    I know he's been pushing some sort of publicly funded campaigns, but I don't know the details. I would love to see a discussion regarding the pros/cons of what he is proposing.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:28am

      Re: Can someone explain Lessig's efforts?

      There are no cons. Except for the crooks, of course, and in America that's enough to doom the effort forever.

       

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    RevCharlie (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    SOPA/PIPA Sponsors

    That's it... I'm running for congress. It will take a lifetime to make this much working... Why not join the elite and take a bribe!

     

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    icon
    Overcast (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Our democratic republic has failed.

    Yep, it's being sold a piece at a time to various corporations.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    "If every rep with a financial interest recused, they might not be able to constitute a quorum to vote at all."

    Then maybe we need reps who aren't being bought and paid for, like puppets.

     

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    icon
    bjupton (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Republic Lost

    I can recommend Lawrence Lessig's latest book, Republic Lost. Thought provoking.

    Actually, I have enjoyed all of his books. Well, I'm not sure I *enjoy* Republic Lost.

    *sigh*

     

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    •  
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      Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:23am

      Re: Republic Lost

      You'll love his talk of/by/4 as well as that of Jack Abramoff in figuring out the system.

      Basically, the returns on favorable legislation are phenomenal. For every $1 spent on legislation, the company gains $220 in tax savings. A 22,000% return. Why wouldn't you want to do it? This is the problem that Larry Lessig is noting that we have to fight. Everyone wants to fight the system, but getting to the root of the problem is to fight the corruption that allows this in the first place.

       

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    DOlz (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Their Right

    Well this explains why big media thinks there's no such thing as free.

    Also Rep. Thomas Marino, is going to feel cheap when he sees what the 24 people above him on the list got.

     

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    identicon
    jessej, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    controlling the internet

    One phenomenon on the internet is having various items go "viral". This can be a good thing! Consider if millions of eligible voters caught up the notion which is presented on www.voidnow.org ? Specifically, we can make a huge change in Congress by Voting Out Incumbants. The old guard incumbants, who keep getting re-elected time after time are basically parasites preying off our voter laziness. The have EVERYTHING to lose if this notion were to go viral. Hence, they must get their clutches on the internet and control/stop it, any way they can.

     

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    •  
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      Jay (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

      Re: controlling the internet

      I think that's dangerous though. This doesn't look into the gerrymandering nor the problems of our voting system. Rick Boucher was elected out of office because sentiments ran against the Democrats from the financial meltdown. Instead, we need to have these people have Instant Runoff Elections or a dismantling of the electoral system. Further, getting money out of politics would work to make the system better.

      What VOID's main purpose is to have a fresh change in the politics every few years. This can't happen with fresh faces. What will you do with the lobbyists or members that bribe the new batch of politicians? While voting out incumbents works on a small level, the better result is to change the entire political system.

       

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    identicon
    Barbara Jordan's Ghost, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 8:55pm

    When will it stop?

    When will it stop? It will stop when the American people demand that it stops. Refuse to elect anyone who accepts corporate money to influence their policy-making. Become involved and aware of your elected offices. Pay attention, speak, and act. And if you think your leaders are doing a bad job, reject them as leaders.

     

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    tsavory (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:44pm

    Money Trail

    I seen that a few wanted to know whats being paid out on the other side and this is the best I could find.

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/money

    Rep. Anna Eshoo [D, CA-14] $74,909
    Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] $55,339
    Rep. Zoe Lofgren [D, CA-16] $52,359
    Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $48,950
    Rep. John Conyers [D, MI-14] $43,033
    Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11] $42,700
    Rep. Dave Reichert [R, WA-8] $42,200
    Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49] $33,524
    Rep. James Clyburn [D, SC-6] $32,543
    Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6] $29,519

    Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA] $144,673
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $132,934
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $130,224
    Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $115,245
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $95,045
    Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $78,670
    Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] $72,106
    Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR] $68,550
    Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $59,650
    Sen. Robert Portman [R, OH] $48,150

     

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    icon
    tsavory (profile), Dec 5th, 2011 @ 11:48pm

    PIPA

    Sorry forgot to mention that last post was just for the SOPA this is for the PIPA.

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/money

    Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $1,346,579
    Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $402,425
    Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $295,640
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $284,849
    Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $254,975
    Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA] $229,824
    Sen. Chris Coons [D, DE] $209,400
    Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D, CT] $176,399
    Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL] $159,550
    Sen. Ron Wyden [D, OR] $127,450

    Rep. William Owens [D, NY-23] $302,109
    Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1] $204,150
    Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9] $202,770
    Rep. Niki Tsongas [D, MA-5] $141,100
    Rep. James Himes [D, CT-4] $140,014
    Rep. Kurt Schrader [D, OR-5] $106,500
    Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11] $92,560
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords [D, AZ-8] $84,692
    Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4] $82,100
    Rep. Martin Heinrich [D, NM-1] $79,313

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 8:52am

    It's sad that we allow our corrupt government to establish a self interested media cartel. Government established cableco and broadcasting monopolies should be abolished.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Dec 6th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    How NOT to stop it

    I'll tell you what we don't do. We don't give the power to regulate lobbying to the very people receiving the benefits. If we do, it will work just like nearly every other federal regulation: exemptions will be written in for the friends of politicians, who will in turn use the regulations to squash start-ups, small businesses, and competition.

    Broadly, this stops when federal power is diminished. The more centralized government power is, the better lobbying looks as an investment, and the more widespread cronyism and corruption becomes. Put another way, if the power is not there to buy, corporations won't be looking to buy the power. And I'll guarantee one thing: buying the legislature in all 50 states will be a lot more costly than buying a few federal politicians, with a lot lower return. And that doesn't even consider items that will be kicked all the way down the the county or local level.

    It's mind-boggling that so many people look at issues like this and say, "More regulations!" It's regulations that got us here in the first place. How about we leave criminal and civil enforcement up the states, as was originally intended, and the power would not be so easily up for grabs by the highest bidders.

     

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  •  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Dec 6th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Politicians and Big Money

    The main problem is that the Supreme Court (the worst ever) decided it was okay for Big Money to buy politicians. That said, we need some way of breaking this deadly cycle before it destroys us (as you said).
    Right on!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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