No, Netflix Has NOT Formed A Pro-SOPA SuperPAC
from the bad-reporting dept
Update: Netflix has confirmed through its official Twitter account that the PAC was not set up to support SOPA/PIPA.
Okay, can we kill this story quickly? There’s a ton of buzz going around claiming that Netflix has built up a Super PAC to promote a pro-SOPA agenda. As far as I can tell, this is simply not true. It started from a report in Politico, which mentioned (accurately) that Netflix had formed a PAC called FLIXPAC, and is getting much more aggressive in the lobbying/legislative front. This follows Netflix’s trend of spending more and more on lobbying in the last few years: $20,000 in 2009, $130,000 in 2010 and $500,000 in 2011. Where it gets odd is that Politico tries to tie this to SOPA/PIPA by listing out those amounts and noting that the $500k in 2011 was spent “as legislative debates over the Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act and Video Privacy Protection Act raged.”
In turn, the folks at RT played a game of bad reporter telephone and spun it into Netflix funding a pro-SOPA super PAC, “whose main goal is to promote SOPA-like legislation.” I don’t know what’s up with the folks at RT. While their TV reporting can be quite good, their online reporting is abysmal at times. They clearly exaggerate stories or write from a position of ignorance.
The truth is that Netflix was basically neutral on SOPA, knowing that it had to balance its technology side and the fact that it is constantly negotiating with the big Hollywood studios on deals. Politically, it basically had to take a neutral position. But the company knows better than to out-and-out support really bad internet legislation. The company has been active on things like net neutrality and the Video Privacy Protection Act — things that do have a direct impact on it. Sure, it would have been great if Netflix had been a strong anti-SOPA faction, the fact that it stayed neutral and is now ramping up its lobbying does not, in any way, mean that it’s suddenly pushing for pro-SOPA legislation. The company appears to have a lot of other things on its legislative agenda.