Your Cynicism About Lobbyists Only Helps The Lobbyists Win

from the too-much-cynicism dept

Last month, I posted the letter I helped put together from a bunch of entrepreneurs to the US's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, as a part of the open comment period on the most effective forms of copyright enforcement. One of the most frustrating responses I heard was "it doesn't matter, the law is bought and paid for already." I can understand why many people feel that way, and it's absolutely undeniable that the entrenched entertainment industry interests have a very successful lobbying program that has a long history of success in getting the laws they want. But such things are not set in stone, and can absolutely be overcome.

Earlier this year, when This American Life did an hourlong episode on lobbying, there was one message that has really stuck with me: yes, lobbying has tremendous power in terms of its impact on Congress and the White House, but votes will trump lobbying every single time. I can't remember which politician said it during the episode, but it was made clear: in the absence of the public speaking out on an issue, yes, the lobbyists will likely win. But if the public is interested, no matter how much money is spent, the public will win, because the votes matter more than the lobbyists. Always.

I'd been meaning to write about this in response to the defeatism I saw after that letter, but Public Knowledge's Sherwin Siy beat me to it (and did it much better, since he's got a hell of a lot more experience on this front), pointing out that the best way to fight big money politics is to speak out and take part. Yes, it may seem like the deck is stacked, and yes, the lobbyists have plenty of power -- but that power only works if the voting public stays quiet.

In other words: your cynicism only helps the lobbyists.

Trust me, I understand where that cynicism comes from, and there are significant problems with the way money works in politics today and just how corrupt the system often appears. But, as Siy notes, all that money is a means to an end, and the end is to get re-elected (or elected in the first place). And that means that votes -- and the people behind the votes -- can trump money in politics. The larger problem is that we can't do that for any and every issue. But saying that you shouldn't even bother to speak out at all is self-defeating. It's automatically handing victory to the lobbyists.


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  1.  
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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    This article gives me the opportunity to be clear: my cynicism isn't over the lobbyists: it's over the voters.

    How long has TD been doing stories on copyright/patent issues? No matter how much work TD tries to do to help people change their minds, the majority of voters, also known as "artists", will ensure their welfare system keeps giving them pennies (while their publishers take the cream from the top).

    To them, they can't see beyond the welfare system. To them, everyone's a "thief", only out to take things for free. These are the same voters who'll back the lobbyists because they allow the cream to be taken for their "survival".

    SOPA didn't fail because the public voted. SOPA failed because a few select organizations blocked out their pages and forced the voters to make phone calls. I'm sure they saw this as some form of extortion, especially since most of the blackout messages were of the wrong issues regarding SOPA.

    What's worse is these organizations have the power to stop these laws. Stop and think for a second if Google put a banner on its page which read "We are no longer complying with the DMCA because the law is flawed. Please contact Victoria Espinal, and your Senators, to have these laws removed."

    But, in 2012, we don't have such banners on websites powerful enough to get people to understand.

    Therefore, my cynicism for change will not be seen in my lifetime. It was 1997 when the DMCA was passed, and it's been well over 10 years to show it's a system of abuse, not protection, and yet it still remains on the books.

    As well as the ridiculous copyright changes perpetuating all these issues which were done in 1976.

    When the voters stand up and realize they have the power to amend the Constitution to remove/alter Section 1, Article 8, then we can talk.

    Until then, I'll just sit idly by as people vote for government bodies who allow people like Victoria to get her job in the first place.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    I have said it for years, the voting public (and this applies to the UK and US) need to stop voting for 'less bad'. If you look at elections the only reason people vote is to get an unpopular government out regardless of whether the person they are voting for is any better.

    Until that changes, the status quo will remain and the money men will always get their way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    That means we need a system of speaking out (online website, for example). Petition websites are a good start, but they don't cover every issue, as you noted.

    If a website were made that updated with every issue in Congress, who was responsible for it, and allowed users to identify their county of residence and voice their opinions, that would be progress. The Representatives and Senators could then see who would specifically vote them out of office come next election for every bad decision they made. That would represent some significant hurt to lobbying efforts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    Especially if it included polls regarding politicians in question, and their user-voted "likelihood" of staying in office.

     

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    bwp (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:55am

    While I completely agree that the voters CAN be more powerful than the lobbyists I think that there are forces that ensure they don't become more powerful. I'm not talking about nefarious, behind the scenes actors that are doing this either. I'm just saying that the divisiveness of our current political situation ensures that it will be very hard to get anyone out of office that cares more about lobbyists and large campaign donations than representing their constituents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    SOPA didn't fail because the public voted. SOPA failed because a few select organizations blocked out their pages and forced the voters to make phone calls.

    I hear you loud and clear Meso, ignorance can be quite disconcerting. However consider that sentence a little more. The public did in fact vote, even if they were "forced" by stark messages showing up where their favorite Internet services should have been.

    Look at it this way, if no one made an effort to get the word out about SOPA, and speak their opinions to the government, it would have passed.

    Likewise, if it weren't for the 'early few' who have been researching and sounding alarms about copyright laws for years, what are the chances so many senior management teams at tech companies would even have been paying attention and been cogent to the possible effects of SOPA-style legislation on their businesses?

    Filling in holes of ignorance is very much whack-a-mole-like in gameplay, only less rewarding as chances of hitting that mole are pretty low. It's probably the kind of game most people can't play all day every day... certainly not me.

    Like everything new, every change in politics requires a catalyst, a sacrifice and the force (support) to drive it to manifestation. Nothing at all ever happens in their absence.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    RIAA lobbyist becomes federal judge, rules on file-sharing cases

    Cynicism or realism?

    RIAA lobbyist becomes federal judge, rules on file-sharing cases” by Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, Mar 28, 2011

    When the copyright lobbyists run the courts, then maybe the lobbyists have won.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    Those in power use "bigger" issues such as the economy, terrorism, pornography, immigration and jobs to keep the people distracted. That way the people don't have the time or energy to be concerned about minor issues like "freedom" or "police states".

    In Soviet Russia the people's will was drained by endless standing in queues for whatever everyday item happened to be in "short supply" this week. (eg, toilet paper, razor blades, etc)

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    If a website were made that updated with every issue in Congress, who was responsible for it, and allowed users to identify their county of residence and voice their opinions, that would be progress.

    There are a *lot* of sites like that...

    http://www.govtrack.us/
    http://www.opencongress.org/
    https://www.popvox.com/
    http://ww w.washingtonwatch.com/
    https://www.votizen.com/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    The real key is most people would rather not be involved with politics. I personally don't want to but they are forcing me to with bad laws and terrible practices.

     

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    Justin (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    I am not sure I really belief the line "but votes will trump lobbying every single time". If this is true, why ins't TPP dead, why are we hearing about a son of SOPA, why is ACTA being rushed through in the countries that accept it?

    The public spoke up when it came to internet regulations, but it just keeps getting pushed. If they truly cared about the votes, they would step up and stop any more BS before it got started. Maybe even try to pass laws that go the other way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    >> the majority of voters, also known as "artists"

    I don't think the majority of the people who called or wrote or spoke to their congressmen about SOPA were artists. (And why the scare quotes?)

    >> SOPA didn't fail because the public voted.

    I agree. SOPA failed because people got off their butts and spoke out--which is, I think, Mike's point. In our representative democracy, voters have abdicated direct responsibility to elected legislators--for better or for worse--and usually don't speak up--for better or for worse. So, when a few thousand voters from a given congressman's district call or write about a single issue, they get noticed because that is a huge response and (assuming they don't come across as crackpots) will be assumed to multiple many hundreds of times over.

    >> if Google put a banner on its page which read "We are no longer complying with the DMCA because the law is flawed. Please contact Victoria Espinal, and your Senators, to have these laws removed."

    ICS would confiscate all their servers--and then destroy them because they didn't have space to store them. :)

    But, seriously, there is a difference between violating a law (what you proposed) and opposing a proposed law (the SOPA blackout, which broke no laws). There is also a difference between individual civil disobedience (sitting in the wrong-race section of a bus, etc.) and corporate disobedience. One is a matter of individual conscience, the other is a matter of corporate suicide. It's also worth noting that, while corporations are virtual people, they have no conscience

    >> When the voters stand up and realize they have the power

    How will that happen if we don't educate them? How will that happen if we don't LEGALLY (so we can't be silenced) and PUBLICLY (so we get their attention) raise their awareness, stir them up to act, and incite that realization and change?

    RIAA and MPAA certainly are too busy producing lame anti-piracy adutainment comedy.

    Who is going to show artists effective ways to be successful without the big labels and the collection agencies? Because until there are enough examples for them to follow, enough evidence to support those examples, and enough data to demonstrate that those methods are more profitable in the end even if they do require more work up front, most artists are going to take the easy way out. (Because they're human, and artists, and don't understand all that business crap anyway. Which is why they probably won't be successful in the long run even with a label.)

    Sony, Warner, EMI, and the like certainly aren't going to bother. They're too busy looking for the next one-hit-wonder who can make them a bundle--because they're in the business of making hits, not art (to quote a music exec in recent article here).

    So, while I understand your cynicism, and even share some of it, you are the evil in Mike's article because, if everyone sits idly by, nothing will change. SOPA is a prime example of what happens when we STOP sitting idly by and speak.

     

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    Wayne, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    And Your Cynicism About Government Only Helps Those Who Want to Make it Bigger and More Intrusive

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    I am not sure I really belief the line "but votes will trump lobbying every single time".

    Well, do you really believe that Lucy van Pelt will yank the football away from Charlie Brown every single time?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    We should always vote for something or someone, not against something or someone.

    But in politics today, I'm not sure there are any good candidates to vote for (at least, not in my neck of the woods), so I usually have to pick the least bad or not vote. (Usually least bad.)

     

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    Sneeje (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    I'm inclined to agree, because they know the issue will *become* the politics. Meaning, the issue will quickly swerve from any reasoned analysis or debate to both sides shouting nonsense.

    "A byproduct of these fake debates is the need to disregard facts or science or common sense." -- Thomas Boswell

     

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    Jan Bilek (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Must be nice...

    When I was reading that bit "all that money is a means to an end, and the end is to get re-elected" I was like "what the hell does he mean by that? Why would a politician care about voters or being re-elected when he already has the money... and going to politics is just means to get the money, right?" Why would you care about voters after you "sell out" and are financially set for the rest of your life?

    Then it hit me - aah, it was not an euphemism, he probably means real legal lobbying... like when a politician can only use the money for the political campaign and not buying yachts and houses at Bahamas. It must be nice to live in a country where you just assume that lobbying is mostly legal and politicians (and therefore laws) cannot just be bought.

    I know how it looks... but I am not cynical.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    The "lesser of two evils" has increased in use since Super PACs entered the arena. When you cannot plan a campaign with the candidate your super PAC wants, it is just so much easier to avoid saying something good about who you support and put as much dirt on the opposing candidate. Not saying it didn't happen before since it has been shown that negative ads are better than positive in some situations, but it is a lot more pronounced than before.

     

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    Jeff (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    A book to read...

    This conversation reminds me of an interview on Fresh Air earlier this week. After scratching around on NPR I found this...

    http://www.npr.org/2012/09/04/160541977/mickey-edwards-on-democracys-cancer

    I don't necessarily agree with the author on some of the minor details - but the overall point is spot on.

    Both of the political parties in the country are equally and egregiously guilty of rigging the game to 'beat' the other team - not do what is right or even needed for the district or state they represent. The end result is two amped up teams, playing with our country's future like it's Monday Night Football(tm).

    The two party system has to go, or at least allow more accountability to the voters. The ogliarchs here in the US will continue to buy both sides, and rig the system in their favor no matter who pretends to steer the ship...

    bleah... even ranting like this makes me feel unclean - I need to go shower to escape the filth that is our political system.

    But I will definitely find this book to learn more...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Re: RIAA lobbyist becomes federal judge, rules on file-sharing cases

    See first question and answer at link below.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/Common/FAQS.aspx

    Federal judges are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate--both of which are elected bodies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re:

    That's why they're doing it. The lobbyists have convinced the politicians, who I must remind you are stupid enough to take everything they say at face value, that SOPA/PIPA/ACTA was just a fluke, and that everyone will have forgotten it in time for the second round. Nobody's going to forget it, but many people will lose hope in the face of incredible governmental incompetence.

    As Mike said, the lobbyists are banking on your cynicism. It's reasonable cynicism, which is why they're banking on it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re:

    The real key is most people would rather not be involved with politics. I personally don't want to but they are forcing me to with bad laws and terrible practices.

    "Pull your hand out of the box and look at it, young Human."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    I agree. No one really says anything substantial, because they don't want to aggravate financial donors. If they do say something, I doubt that the media outlets would even give the ideas credence due to the fact, they are backing the very ideas we are trying to change. So how is the general public expected to know of the issues?

    SOPA/PIPA went so well because large internet companies put the word out and actually let people know the issues at stake, if not I doubt that any notice would have been taking by major broadcast networks.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    I am not sure I really belief the line "but votes will trump lobbying every single time". If this is true, why ins't TPP dead, why are we hearing about a son of SOPA, why is ACTA being rushed through in the countries that accept it?

    Because voters haven't spoken up enough on *those* issues. They spoke up on SOPA and that worked, but the lobbyists will try again and people need to speak up again.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re:

    Is there an engine out there to aggregate all the sites and shove the results in Congress' collective face? I suspect part of the problem isn't a lack of sites, but a lack of attention (and perhaps difficulty getting the results together).

    And, ultimately, taking the time to actually call in and speak to someone for 30 seconds to register your opinion, carries far more weight.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re:

    I usually go and spoil my ballot. It's better than not voting because they can't simply put it down to apathy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    You really need a +1 button so I don't have to write a comment to +1 you. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    funny, why aren't you telling people that illegally downloading material helps the big business win, because it proves the point about pirates?

    why aren't you telling people to stop illegally downloading material and do not buy the product and tell the company why you aren't buying the product, but above all stop stealing it, because it lets them win??

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    SOPA

    The uproar from the public on SOPA type events is few and far between. The pressure from lobbyists is steady, constant, and well funded.

    That's all it takes really, pressure, and time.


    That, and a big goddamn poster. (and open wallets.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    Now you confused the hell out of me.

    I thought piracy was doing harm!? And now you tell me that pirates are actually letting "them" win!?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    When the voters stand up and realize they have the power to amend the Constitution to remove/alter Section 1, Article 8, then we can talk.

    I doubt anyone wants to open a Constitutional convention. Because you cannot limit it to a specific provision, everything is on the table, like

    Abortion, gay rights, gun control, due process, religion, taxes, etc, etc. It would be utter pandemonium and everyone knows it- that's why it will never happen.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Your biggest problem in the world of political perception is the disconnect between the type of free speech that allows you to express your opinion on politics, religion, government, etc. and your claim that any attempts to thwart the freeloading of copyrighted software, movies, songs and books equates to infringing free speech. Shutting down a blog critical of US foreign policy is not viewed the same as shutting down a pirate site. Yet you piracy apologists seek to apply the same standard to each. Lawmakers and most other people see a difference.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    "...shutting down a pirate site"

    Pirate sites such as dajaz1 or Rojadirecta?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    I wonder if Al Gore feels that votes matter

     

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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    my cynicism isn't over the lobbyists: it's over the voters.

    the majority of voters, also known as "artists", will ensure their welfare system keeps giving them pennies (while their publishers take the cream from the top).

    To them, they can't see beyond the welfare system. To them, everyone's a "thief", only out to take things for free. These are the same voters who'll back the lobbyists because they allow the cream to be taken for their "survival".

    This here^ a million times.


    Most artists are selfish, greedy, egotistical, chicken shit imbeciles who would cry into their pillow at night if they didn't have some law to hold their hand.

    They whine and they simper about how the MAFIAA oppresses them yet they give them all the power. People offer to help and are turned down as "trying to freeload or steal from them". Stupid stupid stupid.

    I don't think I hate the MAFIAA nearly as much as I hate other ARTISTS.

    The MAFIAA didn't insult and harass me because I made fan art which I offered as a GIFT to the person I was making fan art of without permission. ARTISTS did.


    They wank and they cry and they bitch and they moan. At the end of the day they are their own worse enemy, even more so than any entertainment industry ... which is made up of .. well, THEM. That says A LOT.


    If MAFIAA, and probably, copyright disappeared tomorrow artists would still be up their usual business of RESTRICTING, REMOVING, SHAMING. All out of some perverted, corrupt idea of 'respect'. Because they want to tell you what to do. They can't get over the little high having control gives them. It's like a goddamn DRUG.


    Spoiled children. All of them. What I wouldn't give to see everyone of them bend over, whipped on the ass with a belt and made to sit in the corner wearing a dunce hat.

    The root of the copyright problem is ARTISTS. And the ONLY way anything is going to be changed to find some way to either override/overpower their influence or convert them or take their power away. I need my midol.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    any attempts to thwart the freeloading of copyrighted software, movies, songs and books equates to infringing free speech

    Dear Mr. Thread Jacker,
    "Any attempts" kind of glosses over the fact that there's been only one remedy theme tried over and over in Congress to address the "problem" of piracy... censorship without recourse or due process.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    Now that I've written that through and thought about it, I'm going to stop writing to an insane person now, because that's just crazy.

    Regards,
    AC

    P.S make better movies and appreciate the paying customers you haven't lost.. whoops... coo coo, coo coo

     

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    bob, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    Public Knowledge is a lobbyist...

    They may not think so, but they get paid by billionaires and what do you know, they take the billionaires' side. Oh, they like to say that it's all some charity and public interest thing, but they're trying to influence the government just like everyone else.

    I find it hilarious to see the so-called public interest non-profits claim that they're fighting for our digital rights. In many of their cases, they're just fighting for the rights of a small section of the population and pretending that it helps everyone.

    Are these groups fighting for my copyrights? Nope. Are they fighting to come up with rationalizations and excuses for why other people can ignore my copyrights? You betcha.

    Everyone forgets that there are companies that make a big profit when digital rights like copyright are destroyed or weakened. These companies also contribute heavily the so-called public interest firms to try to weaken or destroy digital rights.

     

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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    SOPA failed because people got off their butts and spoke out

    And people only got off their butts because Facebook and Google went down. Any other time they wouldn't give a damn what law passed, picking their friends crops on Farmville and/or watching porn is too important.

     

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    Simple Mind (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    how?

    How do I make my vote known to a politician? I have tried writing letters. Every time I get back a form letter that does not address any of my points. Are they listening? They need to know I will vote them out for making the bad decision before they make the bad decision. After I can still vote against them but the damage is done. Also, I am fighting against a majority of fellow voters that seem more concerned about what a politician worships or what a politician fucks than how a politician votes on important issues. My vote is lost in the noise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:32am

    Re: Public Knowledge is a lobbyist...

    A string of hyperboles in search of a self-interest group. How quaint. Stop trying to push censorship as a "remedy" and then you might get some conversation around here.

     

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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    I'm in agreement with this... the people have the power but in the main their is a mixture of apathy and the ill-informed.

    I truly feel sorry for Americans that are tired of 2-party politics... where there is no 3rd choice. In the UK at least there is a 3rd choice and a few fringe parties... but even then fringe parties tend to be derided - not by the main party politicians - by the voting public itself.

    When the UK Pirate Party started running, a lot of ill-informed people consider it to be another Monster Raving Loony Party - just a joke. This is but one of the perceptions to overcome.

    But there is a bigger perception to overcome in order to see the 'power of the people' channeled correctly and that is the cognitive dissonance displayed towards 'intellectual property' in general.

    Just checkout this YouTube video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ioBjbPliU
    Then read this review-
    http://www.slashfilm.com/lol-thai-rip-off-of-disneys-beauty-and-the-beast/

    Disregarding the quality of the movie. Stop someone in the street and ask them what they think of GM Toons animated Thai "Beauty and the Beast" movie, most of them will respond along the lines of "Oh it's a poor rip off of Disneys movie - despicable".

    Then ask them what they think of modern media conglomerates like Disney using public domain works such as "La Belle et la Bęte" by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and using them to create animated movies... the response will usually be an opposite one of approval - they may even justify it as a good thing that the work is being adapted for a modern audience.

    In order to get copyright issues into a mainstream issue - you have to overcome this kind of mindset. I can tell you it's like try to force the equal poles of 2 magnets together.

    I'm reminded of a lesson from history, both Bach and Beethoven were considered by the church at the time to be "devils music" and only played by those godless liberals.

    Perhaps it's really down to a disdain for older works. The older the work gets, the more disdain - but somehow a derivative work (by a major brand) earns a level of respect the original will never again see. Anyone wanting to do something similar with the original work somehow then gets the stigma of being a poor imitation if catering to a similar audience (in the example above: children).

    But I digress.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re: how?

    How do I make my vote known to a politician? I have tried writing letters

    The letters and the calls do help -- but obviously it only works when lots of people write and call. The form letter responses are frustrating, but in aggregate these things do make a difference.

     

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

  43.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Voter Reform

    Rather than campaign on issues, campaign for real representation.

    "Politician" as a career choice needs to end.

    So far it seems Switzerland is the best example the world has ever seen:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Switzerland

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re:

    "Any attempts" kind of glosses over the fact that there's been only one remedy theme tried over and over in Congress to address the "problem" of piracy... censorship without recourse or due process.


    SOPA was entirely consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and afforded targeted websites the same rights as any other civil litigant.

    Now you get industry agreements like search engine demotion and payment processors severing ties without any judicial oversight. If you think you are better off as a result of SOPA's defeat, that's fine by me.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Doods, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Electoral votes?

    If my vote matters why do we still have electoral votes then? Bottom line is as far as the president is concerned my vote DOESNT matter in my opinion. prove to me that is makes a difference in electoral voting from the states. The Electoral College effectively alters the power of votes, so that in states where the winner is a foregone conclusion, voting has little impact, while in swing states, a handful of votes can decide the entire set of electoral votes. "One vote, one person" is a common rallying cry against this departure from that principle. so yea again show me how my vote matters

     

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  46.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    3rd most inadvertently funny post of the week.. thanks

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Soo... We know lobbyists spend lots of money already. Then the best way to disrupt their system is to keep communicating and voting to show the politicians we are serious. The end result being lobbyists spend even MORE crazy amounts of money to counter the voter feedback, eventually spending more than their efforts return causeing their scheme to collapse. Sounds like a plan to me.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Voter Reform

    I always felt that anyone smart enough to be a GOOD politician is smart enough to get a better job.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Roland, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    Example: War on Drugs

    No, the voters do not always win. The voters of Oregon voted twice to decrim cannabis-in the '70's & again in the '90s. Both times, OASCOP, the Oregon Assn of Sherriffs & Chiefs of Police, waited a year then went to the legislature & had them recriminalize. Moral: in the long term, lobbying wins. Lobbyists bring concentrated force (& $$) to a subject. Voters' concerns are much more diffuse, because they have other things to do with their lives.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Re: how?

    There is almost certainly a district office near where you live or work. Call and ask for a meeting with your representative. Or check for upcoming town hall meetings or other public Q&A event. Volunteer on the campaign and make a real impact by meeting all of the key staff.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    JCHP, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Did we not?

    Didn't we just prove that the public has real power with the whole SOPA/PIPA debacle?

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: how?

    ... because I have all this massive amount of free time ...

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Click 'Insightful' then.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    and pray tell, who shall I vote for? Neither of the presidential candidates are any good and no one seems to cover the stances of congressional candidates on IP issues.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Paul Nash, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    In a two-party state ...

    In a two-party state, where both parties are equally corrupt, you can vote out the incumbent after four years and vote in the new guy, who will take the same bribes to pass the same legislation.

    No wonder the US has such a low voter turn-out.

    Maybe you guys should try this thing called "democracy", along with another thing called "rule of law". You may be surprised at the results :-)

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    I guess speaking up 'enough' on those issues would be Google speaking up then?

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    American Plutocracy

    It doesn't matter because no matter how hard some of us try to educate our fellow citizens, they will not care unless told to do so by the media and the media is not going to report any anything that is not profitable. SOPA was not profitable to report against, therefore there was a blackout. Same with TPP. Same with pretty much everything important these days, unless you consider what Myley Cyrus wore to some fucking hollywood event recently, they'll cover that repeatedly.

    Have you never told someone "THE NSA, WITH THE COOPERATION OF THE MAJOR TELECOS IS CAPTURING ALL YOUR PHONE CALLS, THEY'RE MONITORING ALL YOUR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, THEY HAVE EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE KNOWN ABOUT YOU, THEY EVEN HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THE CCTV CAMERAS FOR FACIAL RECOGNITION AND TRACKING OF YOU, IN VIOLATION OF YOUR PRIVACY AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND ITS BEING KEPT SECRET FROM YOU. THEY WILL NOT SAY WHY OR WHAT THEY NEED THAT INFO FOR" ???? I _have_ and guess what? BLANK STARE then back to some stupid sheeple, self important shit that isn't at all concerned for the greater good. Because unless Google, or CNN or some other douchey major corporate entity tells them to be concerned, they don't fucking care. These are the same sort of people who judged Socrates deserved death, and they are the majority of Americans.

    America is doomed: Innovation is on the decline, same as science, education, the arts, especially critical thinking. It sucks but that is the reality. You can lead a horse dying of dehydration to water all you want, but if that horse wants to just stare at it like an idiot instead of drinking, you can't make it drink, not unless you want to become a dictator and force its head into that water, which frankly, you probably ought to for its own damn good. Too bad that horse will fight back, because it's been taught to think that dehydration is normal, good and acceptable by the government and media brainwashing.

    Look no further than the popularity contest our elections are. They aren't about electing the person best fit for the task, nope its who is more popular. The fact we have a whopping TWO CHOICES doesn't bother anyone, at all. The fact that those two choices equate to a Douche or a Turd Sandwich, Every Fucking Election, nope nothing to see here. That one of the choices will seek to turn the government into a private police force for copyright and the other choice will seek to censor sex and legislate womens bodies like a backward, fearful of knowledge & progress idiot, doesn't even give them pause. Why? Because the majority of Americans are stupid, willfully, embracingly stupid. Instead of thinking about the actual issues, they say "I'm a one issue voter" as in "I hate taxes and even though I'm told taxes pay for things I expect as a baseline standard, I'm gonna vote republican because fuck anyone who needs assistance, those lazy scumbags just need to get a job" (bootstrap myth) or "I'm a moron who thinks that because one person shot up a movie theater, and I think I'm super important, I will definitely get shot *anywhere* I go and if I died, the world would Totally notice and be worse off and so I'm voting Democrat so they can take away guns, then I can leave the house again." Doesn't matter that there are more complex problems than these, that would take too much minimal effort to think about and develop an opinion of such problem.

    We live in damn Plutocracy but heaven forbid we bother to acknowledge that. No, that would take EFFORT. We love, LOVE to say that people can have the "American Dream" where if "you just work hard enough, you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps and become successful". Nope, sorry, but that is a myth. The 'bootstrap' myth, specifically. The system is designed to keep you down and not allow you to join the entrenched ranks of the wealthy and successful. We're here to drive the economy so they have continuous wealth and people to provide service to them.

    We do not live in a righteous or just world. We live in a world of cruelty, unfairness and privilege, where the privileged few rule the rest. It's pure fantasy to believe otherwise. There is no hope, get used to it, or get used to being ignored.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    More than they already did?

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    I always vote

    I, too, am worried about people who are so cynical they won't vote.

    I am also worried about voter ID campaigns which are set up to prevent certain groups of people from voting. I hope these don't succeed because if they do the system may be gamed so that only voters who support the status quo will be allowed to vote.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Did we not?

    The lobbyists involved are very stupid, and the politicians involved are incredibly stupid. They'll need to be burned several times before they figure out not to stick their hand in the fire.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

    Re:

    When the major labels let you down, go indie. Your favorite band may not make it big, but at least you'll be supporting people you like.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Re: American Plutocracy

    All true, but there is at least a little hope. Namely, that you're aware of all of it, you're upset about it, and you're not the only one.

    Remember, the public was told about SOPA/PIPA, and then informed itself about ACTA. All three were defeated through sheer public outcry.

    Most people may not care, but enough do. After all, you're a person too.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: American Plutocracy

    ... and then informed itself about ACTA. All three were defeated...


    ACTA’s Defeat in Europe and What Lies Ahead” by Maira Sutton, EFF Deeplinks, July 12, 2012:
    ACTA may live on for the remaining 12 signatories, for the U.S. at least. Spokeswoman for the U.S. trade representative, Carol Guthrie, said so herself following the vote last Wednesday:

    ACTA’s membership may initially be more Pacific-oriented than would be true with E.U. participation … There continues to be a need for international cooperation on these issues, and the ACTA can still serve as a valuable forum through which countries can coordinate to stop counterfeit trade and piracy.


    This is consistent with an earlier statement from a U.S. government representative, stating that ACTA would not necessarily have to exist with the EU.


    (Internal hyperlink omitted.)

    When the spokeswoman for the U.S. trade representative says, “ACTA’s membership may initially be more Pacific-oriented...”, well, that's not completely defeated.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re:

    I think his idea, which i don't agree with, is to not do any that show their work as value.

     

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  65.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Still pushing the idea that it was all Google, are we?

     

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

  66.  
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    Laroquod (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:16pm

    Not to champion cynicism or anything, but it simply isn't true that votes trump lobbyists; not when the candidates refuse to differentiate themselves on issues the voters care about -- which is precisely the situation that arises when the same powerful lobbies are playing all sides.

     

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

  67.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Public Knowledge is a lobbyist...

    Not really, he won't. bob raises a lot of seemingly coherent points, but that doesn't excuse the idiocy of most of them.

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2012 @ 12:35am

    Re:

    Because, you numb nut, when people inform a company that they refuse to support said company, the company automatically assumes that subsequent losses are the result of piracy despite that not being the case. It's the same way how legitimate customers are constantly bogged down by things like DRM and unreasonable release windows, DESPITE NOT BEING PIRATES. They're already all treated as pirates.

    If you didn't choke yourself so much on industry phallus you might have realised this, googlypants.

     

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

  69.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    Re: Electoral votes?

    Try encouraging your local representatives to join the multi-state compact where the electoral votes are given based on the nation's popular vote, instead of merely the state's own. If enough states that more than half the electoral vote is automatically given to the popular vote, it automatically overrides the whole point of the electoral system. Which ever president is the most popular will automatically make it into office. Those people in states where the majority of the vote is always democrat, or always republican, suddenly becomes meaningful.

    Although, it's possible your state has already joined the compact, so check into that first.

     

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

  70.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Re: Electoral votes?

    Found what I was after. National Popular Vote

     

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

  71.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Electoral votes?

    Found what I was after. National Popular Vote

     

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

  72.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Electoral votes?

    Found what I was after. National Popular Vote

     

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

  73.  
    icon
    Ben S (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Electoral votes?

    There needs to be a way to hide the extra comments. Sorry about the duplicates.

     

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

  74.  
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    Jesse (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    I really wish we could perfect online voting, in a secure reliable way. Because if we could, it would be more feasible to have a direct democracy where citizens voted on individual issues (or at least the most pertinent ones).

     

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

  75.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    Because if we could, it would be more feasible to have a direct democracy where citizens voted on individual issues (or at least the most pertinent ones).

    I wish we could do something like this as well. Politics now is too much based on candidate personalities, backgrounds, and party affiliation. The issues themselves don't get as much coverage. And I think if voters were presented with issues without knowing the people associated with them, they might actually vote according to what they want to see happen rather than a kneejerk reaction to the politicians.

     

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


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