Bill Maher Comes Out In Support Of SOPA/PIPA Despite Knowing Nothing About The Bills

from the yes,-intelligent-debate dept

When Jon Stewart finally learned about just how ridiculous the SOPA/PIPA bills are, the first comment we received was someone wondering if comedian Bill Maher would deliver a similar message. Maher and Stewart are often compared — as talk show hosts who poke fun at authority and government, and who (fairly or not) are often linked to being liberal. However, as a bunch of folks have been pointing out, it appears that Maher went the other direction from Stewart on his own show, coming out in support of the bills:

Of course, as he admits right at the beginning, he hasn’t actually read the bills and doesn’t understand the details. He then goes on to talk about “the moral issue” and complain about how much he “lost” from people downloading his own documentary. Yeah. And then he pulls out the totally ridiculous argument that “people just want free stuff.” Of course, that’s been proven false time and time again… but facts apparently don’t matter here. It seems clear he has no understanding of the details — and really seems to think that every downloaded copy is a lost sale. Thankfully, all three members of his panel push back — including Matt Lewis who points out how this would chill investment into the internet and could prevent “the two guys in a garage… building the next Facebook.” Jennifer Granholm then points out that this is an issue that might need a scalpel, that’s being dealt with by an ax. But, that doesn’t stop Maher from insisting that it’s all about people wanting free stuff. Yeah. Maybe next time, actually learn what you’re talking about, Bill.

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Comments on “Bill Maher Comes Out In Support Of SOPA/PIPA Despite Knowing Nothing About The Bills”

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xenomancer (profile) says:

Three Minutes and Twenty Seven Seconds

Bill Maher, fountain of comedic genius and master of independent insight, can’t wrap his head around how people might not like his sojourn through the depths of how highly he thinks of himself? I find it amazing he still has a show, let alone guests willing to step onto the same stage.

Here Bill, new rule for this week: Read about a topic before unleashing uninformed buffoonery. If the world didn’t trust that you were that funny (see your show for reference on not funny) and chose not to purchase your finely dulled wit on a shit-shingle or DRM infested digital recording, perhaps you should appreciate that you have some work to do, deeply reflecting on how insulting you are to your audience.

It just boggles my mind that this guy is as entitled, conceited, and selfish as he is, and still manages to wake up all by himself in the morning. What, does he think people are watching his comedy over and over again, laughing themselves to tears, and patting themselves on the back for not paying for his monumental bitch-fest? What a useless tool. I felt sorry for those unfortunate, but informed, guests on his show.

I suppose Bill Maher just expects to get my attention, dollars, and respect for free too. What a freetard!!!


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Three Minutes and Twenty Seven Seconds

I don’t disagree with anything you said. I just wanted to add that while he is as you described, he at least has really well spoken guests who get airtime to counter his tripe. Which sorta redeems the whole thing since most media didn’t even bother to pretend Sopa/Pipa existed and was awesome, which they would have, had they realized their bribery hadn’t been quite enough this time.

Loki says:

Re: Re:

people just want free stuff

Time for another round of reading comprehension 101.

See the word just in that sentence? It means the sentence does not say people don’t want free stuff. Everybody (everybody) wants free stuff. IT means that people ONLY want free stuff, and that argument is indeed ridiculous. People pay for stuff all the time, and willingly pay for the value they feel they get.

I love free stuff that I like. I have also declined free stuff that I dislike. I have declined free furniture countless times for a variety of reasons. I’ve also donated to people/things/causes for stuff I’ve gotten for free, because those things had enough value for me to do so, even when I didn’t have to. But, but, it was free!!!

I pay for my apartment, because it meets or exceeds the value I pay for it instead of living in a van at a campground (which I did briefly choose to do once many many moons ago).

I like it warm, and gladly pay the added cost of gas in the winter instead of bundling up in four layers of clothing.

People pay for what they value. If they aren’t paying, then they don’t place any value in what they are receiving.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I pay for my apartment, because it meets or exceeds the value I pay for it instead of living in a van at a campground (which I did briefly choose to do once many many moons ago).

I wish mine met or exceeded the value that I pay for it. I pay way more for this crappy place than I should be. Do you have a book or something that I can read so I know how to get an apartment that I want?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nobody can make the world look better if you can’t think it for yourself, let alone find something that only you could find and that is happiness in the place you live, you don’t know how to be happy about there you probably wouldn’t be happy anywhere since you what you lack is the capacity to see the good on the things you have.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Nobody can make the world look better, if you can’t imagine it for yourself, let alone find something that only you could find and that is happiness in the place you live. You don’t know how to be happy about the place you live in and probably wouldn’t be happy anywhere, since what you lack is the capacity to see the good on the things you have.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

People pay for what they value. If they aren’t paying, then they don’t place any value in what they are receiving.

So you are saying that if identical items were sitting together side by side and one cost $2.99 and the other was free that people would pay $2.99 if they felt it was worth it?

Do me a favor. Set up an unattended fruit & vegetable stand in front of your house. Go buy a big bag of apples and split them into two boxes. Label one “Free apples” and the other “Apples $.25 each”. Then let me know what happens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Funny you say that because there was this one experience where a grocery store made a pay as you like and left the store open to everybody, surprisingly they made the same amount of money they always did but didn’t have extra costs trying to watch people.

If that is not enough how about you do like Red Hat that gives their product for free, or Arduino or any of the thousands of open source projects.

Jamendo from what I hear is doing pretty well too and they don’t bother going after pirates in fact they like pirates.

Oh you don’t know how to make money in this new brave world?
That is nobody’s fault but your own, learn to live with it or sod off, because piracy is not going away and you know it.

I-Blz says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I listen to many indie musicians who sell entire albums on a P-W-Y-W basis, starting at 2 USD. That’s 2 dollars for around 12 songs. I could gip them every time I bbought an album, but Ive never even considered paying under 10 dollars. I know it’s not “pay what you want, or its free” but it’s close enough.

khory (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, there is an apple orchard near me that does pretty much that. It is a small shack with a few crates of apples and gallons of apple cider. There is a sign that says “Honor System: pay what you want.” There is a little collection box next to it.

They have been doing it that way for years so it must be working. I always stop by because they have the best apple cider ever! I always seem to leave $10-$15 behind depending on what I get.

Antipas says:

Re: Re: Re: B&W

I easily have 500 DVDs…and somewhere around 300 CDs…

I still buy vinyl at it’s recently inflated nostalgia prices if I feel it’s worth it. (Moby/Tragically Hip/Portishead/Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails in last couple of months).

Unfortunately, $20 for a movie or CD that’s been out for more than a few years is BS. $35+ for a Blu-Ray? Does it come with lube to prevent chafing?

Taking away my right to make an informed decision is where they’ve really gone wrong…You took the plastic off the CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/Software? Sorry you think it sucked…but you can’t return it because opening the product made you guilty of infringement…It has nothing to do with the fact that most albums out today have 1 or 2 good songs (one of the top reasons iTunes and related services are kicking ass), or that movies are all reboots or “NOW IN 3D” with inflated ticket prices.

Let’s not get into how badly they rip off their own clients, their shady scaremongering tactics, or that it is more jailtime to download (upload rather) a MJ song than to kill him…

MPAA/RIAA no longer promote artists like they used to unless it fits their formula for selling sex to teenyboppers, or the recent news about George Lucas being turned down for the all black cast…and who’s fucking idea was The Black Eyed Peas? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Fireworks coming out of Lady Gaga’s tits? Is there a point I’m missing?

They are hypocrites with every breath they take and are more regularly being exposed for the scum they are.

I’m not in it for free stuff…I gladly pay for what I like. I own Religulous and paid almost $30 for it because it was considered “special interest”.

However, I have made a conscious decision not to throw money blindly at corporations who have only money/profits/extortion/ignorance as their priorities.

MPAA/RIAA…Adapt or fuck off.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: This Just In!

Passive-aggressive responses COMPLETELY DEMOLISH all possible forms of reasoned argument!

Wow your friends! Make so-called ?smart? people look like fools! Instantly win over members of the opposite/approriate sex the moment you meet them!

But act quickly! Because once the secret gets out, EVERYBODY will be doing it, and you won?t be able to stand out from the other douchebags! So get in on the ground floor NOW!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Here is something you wish to consume. It costs a dollar. You can pay the dollar, or you can just take it without paying. No one will ever know and you will never be punished.”

This currently is what happens every minute of every day.

Please stop lying about not just what we all know is reality, but what most of you admittedly proudly engage in.

It’s creepy and disturbing.

Beech (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Here is something you wish to consume. It costs a dollar. You can pay the dollar, or you can just take it without paying. No one will ever know and you will never be punished.”

This currently is what happens every minute of every day.

Currently happening every minute of every day and Hollywood companies are still making RECORD PROFITS. But in fairness, when you pay you dont get the same product. You get a region-locked, ads-before-the-movie, DRM’d bullshit, and it costs a hell of a lot more than a dollar…unless it isnt released in your region (and who knows if it ever will be) in which case you can’t even buy it. Yet for some reason people are choosing to pay for it in RECORD NUMBERS, leading to RECORD PROFITS.

See that? Every minute of every day people are throwing money at hollywood for worse content than they could get for free. So where’s the piracy problem again?

Josef Anvil (profile) says:


“Here is something you wish to consume. It costs a dollar. You can pay the dollar, or you can just take it without paying. No one will ever know and you will never be punished.”

“This currently is what happens every minute of every day.”

“Please stop lying about not just what we all know is reality, but what most of you admittedly proudly engage in.”


We have been consuming free content for years. Ever heard of TV and Radio? Sure the ads pay for that content so its not really free, but the end user sees it as FREE. It’s the same business model that you hear on TechDirt every day. Give the content away for free and find a way to charge someone for that. That’s the broadcast business model. The internet is NOT a broadcast medium but basic forumla for revenue generation is the same. Give the content away for free and then find a way to charge someone for that. The case against MegaUpload claims that they were raking in millions. Members of the MPAA and RIAA and NAB all have the resources to create a service similar to MegaUpload but they simply refuse to adapt to the digital world.

YES WE WANT FREE CONTENT!!! Yes we use HULU and Spotify and VEVO on YouTube. Yes we download and stream what we can’t find on legal free services. So pull your heads out of your asses and make it available to us for free and charge for ads like you always have and you won’t have to worry about piracy.


Re: Re: The pay per view mentality...

> “Here is something you wish to consume. It costs
> a dollar. You can pay the dollar, or you can just
> take it without paying. No one will ever know and
> you will never be punished.”
> This currently is what happens every minute of every day.

Time to turn off the radio I guess…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

He is a douche and he can be funny.
Unfortunately he thinks he is a lot funnier than he actually is, often laughing more at his own jokes than his entire audience.
His ignorance on SOPA is unforgivable in the job he does and the industry he is in, for him to actually make that worse by choosing to comment in utter ignorance is astounding.

Suja (profile) says:

He then goes on to talk about “the moral issue”

see, this is the problem with trying to talk to these people: they always drag it into a moral morass and completely forget about what the actual point of the discussion is

they just can’t comprehend how it could possibly have nothing to do with “right&wrong” or “black&white” but looking at what’s infront of you, understanding what’s making it the way that is and creating a fix based on the evidence presented

but they just get stuck in the moral morass and can’t seem to get past it, even when you offer them your hand to pull them out they won’t take it they will instead try and drag you in with them

i guess it’s just easier to stand in a puddle of FUD than it is to actually think about WHY things are the way they are

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nobody is talking about taking anything without permission, were talking about copyright infringement, which is copying something without permission, not taking it.

As far as laws go, they change, copying wasn’t always illegal and it won’t always be illegal, even if it currently is in some circumstances.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:

Pretending there is no moral issue with people “legally” bribing elected officials and undermining the political systems of nations around the world all for the sake of protecting obsolete profit avenues while “legally” using monopolies and contractual legalese to connive artists into giving up their copyrights and then using every opportunity to screw said artists out of their royalty payments and using every opportunity to price fix and create artificial scarcities in order to abuse customers and the market while also paying shills to come to this forum and troll and wax poetic about the supposed moral issue of copying as if its the biggest moral issue plaguing the entertainment industry is just wishful thinking.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hell yeah. I agree with you there man. The DMCA took away my ability to copy the DVDs I bought, all without my permission. It also broke the natural laws of the universe, the laws of physics, in that it tries to make digital content, uncopyable (heres a hint, you can’t do that, the very essence of what a computer is, is a copy machine. To tell a computer not to copy is to tell it not to be a computer).

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Pretending there is no moral issue in people breaking the law or taking something without permission is just wishful thinking.

Sorry – wrong moral issue. If you want to raise morality you’d better clear the log out of your own eye first.

Pretending there is no moral issue is bribing the legislature to create a law that gives you an morally unjustifiable monopoly and then persecuting anyone who has the temerity to oppose you is just wishful thinking.


Re: Re: Tort reform for the rich, Crime and punishment for the poor.

> Pretending there is no moral issue in people
> breaking the law or taking something without
> permission is just wishful thinking.

That’s no less “wishful” than trying to ignore individual liberties.

The desires of Media Moguls aren’t the only issues here.

jakerome (profile) says:

His shtick is he's clueless

“Maybe next time, actually learn what you’re talking about, Bill.”

That would be a first for Maher!

While Jon “Stewart” is well known for devouring the books of his guests that appear on his program (which distinguishes from real journalists), ignorance & gut has always been at the core of Maher’s persona.

Merl (profile) says:

I can’t hate on you, Bill.
Still love your show.
And, yes, your concern is genuine.
Ok, you made a documentary and instead of people going to see it, they kept posting and downloading a bootlegged version of it, probably shot with a wobbly camcorder, bad sound and picture quality and all.
But your misunderstanding is in expecting that all those people who downloaded the film would have gone to see it in a theatre.
Not so, Bill.
Just think if the studio had considered simultaneous release of the film in theaters AND for download? I mean a really nice download version with lots of outtakes and extras, etc. Of course that one would have been up somewhere for download an hour after it went up, but you know downloaders gonna download.
The rest of the public who don?t know where such sites are and can?t be bothered to go looking for them AND who wouldn?t think to go see your film in a theater, but who have heard of it and just might give it a try on iTunes or Amazon? those are your lost sales, Bill!
I live in Tokyo where as far as I know, your film is STILL not available in any form, not for rental, not in theatres, not anywhere. And since people who download in Japan can lose internet access, I can?t be bothered to deal with it. That means I still haven?t seen any version of your film.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In some cases maybe, but Maher seems to have the opposite opinion.

Either way, Merl makes one of the most common points raised – the movie in question is not legally available for many people. Some people didn’t even know of its existence before reading this very article. People who are interested cannot pay money to Maher for it, they have to go the illegal route he’s railing against.

If he’s truly concerned about maximising profit for his film, perhaps his efforts would be better spent encouraging its advertising and distribution rather than defending legislation he hasn’t read. As ever, he’d have much more sympathy if the business and marketing methods had been exhausted before buying new legislation. In many areas, the alternatives have not been touched upon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“People who are interested cannot pay money to Maher for it, they have to go the illegal route he’s railing against.”

Something in this comment is not right. I believe the movie can be seen in any number of legitimate locations (Netflix, for example). It is likewise available for purchase if one is so inclined to get it and watch. If one goes the “illegal route”, it does seem more likely than not that they simply want a copy to watch without having to pay anything.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Try reading the entire conversation and do keep up…

‘I believe the movie can be seen in any number of legitimate locations (Netflix, for example)”

In the US perhaps. But, that’s not the point of my comment. I was indirectly commenting on a post stating that the film cannot be seen legally online in Japan. I’m in Spain, who the MPAA have been directly attacking for not bowing to its needs. Neither of these countries have Netflix, and certainly no similar service exists in Spain. SOPA was specifically promoted as stopping “foreign rogue sites” from servicing the people left out of this equation. In other words, sites set up to service the refusal of legal services in some countries are being directly opposed by SOPA – despite there being an obvious market problem (offer the services legally, durrrrr…).

No, the sites in question are not simply offering things for free, they’re servicing the people the industry refuses to service. That these services don’t happen to block the lucky minority in the US who happen to have the most legal access to content does not mean that there’s not a business model issue to be addressed. In fact, it identifies it readily for those not too stupid or greedy to notice.

Anonymous Coward says:

The industry wants to make mobile operators snoop on their customers now.

They also want, graduate response, censor powers and the ability to force just about anyone to police their stuff.

All of this despite seeing growth of 8% and filesharing declines.

How they justify this?
We need it that is all.

It is all in the IFPI Digital Music Report 2012.
Guess they didn’t care about the SOPA backlash, now is time for Europe to stage their own and defend their land from the crooks of the MAFIAA

Anonymous Coward says:

Every video on Youtube now must come with a disclaimer 🙂


NOTICE: Fair Use Copyright Law
This video may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, scientific, and social justice issues etc. We know that our use of any such copyrighted material constitutes a ‘fair use’ as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this video is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Source: Youtube; Bill Maher gets OWNED by Guests for Supporting SOPA by vic3003 on Jan 21, 2012.

That is the world where copyright exists, a world where nothing can be shared, people can’t be trusted, everyone is a thief and must be treated like one and nobody else has rights except the right to exclude others from anything that they can lay ownership claims onto it.

Those monopolies are hurting humanity already, it is time to end them and make those people defending those things pay dearly.

Anonymous Coward says:

IP law shouldn’t be to prevent people from ‘getting stuff for free’, it should be to promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts and to serve a public good. No one is entitled to a free government established monopoly. That this person is perverting the founding fathers intent of IP is more reason to abolish it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bill Maher will drown.

President Obama is trying to weasel out his way of this hot topic by making the tech industry responsible for dealing with his “piracy problem” which is to say that he don’t want to anger either side and will not fight for anything except his political survival.

Now here is the thing, people may start to petition the government to end copyright more in the future.!/petition/stop-futile-efforts-combat-online-piracy-and-reform-copyright-law-be-compatible-21st-century/dJ7px26v

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bill Maher will drown.

The tech industry should propose compulsory licensing for copyright works.

One cause of piracy abroad is because it is hard to get a license for anything, it is to expensive, the monopoly power blackballed someone and don’t want to do business with everyone just the chosen few.

Well it is time to go compulsory and make those works available to anyone at reasonable prices so anyone anywhere in the world can license any content and stream it to whomever they want too.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘People just want free stuff’ Yeah, right, if they we, the industry would already be bankrupt. As instantly obvious to everyone who understands the internet, the only thing that really changed through piracy is how much media we consume, not how much money we spend. (Swiss study)

In the past there was no sharing of music/shows so we only knew about 5% of the stuff that is out there which we could like. These 5% were usually affordable (come on, nearly everybody has the money to buy the eps of one show) so we went and got it ‘legally’.
Then the internet came and we can be fans of 5 shows and 10 bands at the same time -but does that mean we automatically have the cash to spend 20$ a week just for new episodes/songs? Definitely not.

It’s either that we [the people] get what we can’t afford for free or we don’t get it at all. Which is why SOPA etc might actually lower the sales imo: Who would risk being cut off from the net just to show their online friends a cool new show?

tsavory (profile) says:


Hell I did not even know he had a documentary.
1. Not knowing about it I would never buy it.
2. I hate the dip shit so I would never buy it anyways.
I think I will have to download it delete it and download it again just so I can take twice the money out of his pocket.
Wait remind me again what money would he have gotten from me?

inconsistency (profile) says:

It’s all well and good to claim the (intellectual [moral]) high ground in these arguments, and be utterly sincere in declaring victory. But why, then, is the victory not celebrated by everyone?

Because, victory is in the eye of the beholder.

What this means is that many a ‘victory ‘ is phyric – the battle isn’t winning the battle, the battle is fighting the battle without seeming lke the high school loser, whatever else may happen.

Hence the pride of not being a ‘nerd’ – no matter the consequence.

Ignorance is still ‘cooler’ than wisdom – despite wisdom being a loftier goal in the eyes of the wise

Anonymous Coward says:

People just want free stuff

?people just want free stuff?

Hollywood wants a government-enforced copyright monopoly?but Hollywood won’t let works fall into the public domain. Hollywood just wants a free monopoly without paying for it.

When no new works enter the public domain, there is no payment for the copyright monopoly.

Repeal the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Maher is one of the most arrogant, pompus, self satisfied, blowhards in the media. He’s a self proclaimed libertarian, but he might as well call himself a beauty queen for all the similarities they share.

Every time I’ve tried to watch his soapbox, er, show I get so mad I have to change the channel a few minutes in. His BS/min is right up there with O’Reilly and Olberman.

And don’t get me started on his “documentary.” So if I were to go around and interview morons who happen to believe in evolution and ask them to explain it in detail, and then proceed to mock them when their explanation fails to make sense, would that make me a comedian on par with Maher?

Anonymous Coward says:

What’s missing (as usual) is any mention of copy protection lengths and all of the other many many problems with our current IP laws. What’s missing is any IP criticisms and anything questioning the assumption that IP is somehow a good thing. IP extremists accuse us of conspiracy but if this isn’t an example of big media conspiracy then I don’t know what is.

Peter Nelson says:

I agree with you Mike... but...

You talk in many posts about ‘facts not mattering to people’… but I’d push you to be able to see, in your own arguments and presentation – how you’re doing to same thing Mike. Because it’s damaging your ability to present your message (a message I agree with). The fact is, that many intelligent people are going to believe that people like you (and me) just want stuff for free. That a study or 7 has debunked that isn’t going to change things in their minds. To be effective – your focus needs to be on educating people like Mahr on those studies – showing viable alternatives… not just lumping them with the ‘people who won’t see crowd’. Because you get sidelined as a crackpot otherwise. As a one drum band playing the same song over and over again. Wrong though they may be – there are millions upon millions of people who are like Bill… and if the few people with a platform to really take them under their wing and educate them, don’t… those millions will eventually pass a SOPA, or something much much worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Maher asked a perfectly legitimate question. It seems his use of the term “moral” upsets some people.

As much as people want to pillory Maher, I am much more troubled by the rejoinder made by the person sitting on the left of the panel. Clearly he had never read the bill, something that at least Maher acknowledged up front.

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