Chamber Of Commerce, Main Lobbyists Behind SOPA, Suddenly Wooing Silicon Valley
from the good-luck-with-that dept
The US Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have a particularly good reputation among innovators for a very good reason. It’s the epitome of protecting legacy players from innovation, using backroom lobbying and dealmaking, and representing the interests of the highest bidder. While it trades off its name — and the fact that some people think it’s actually a part of the US government, rather than an extremist lobbying group — its positions are generally considered problematic to actual innovators that are driving the “commerce” of tomorrow. The US Chamber was the main outside lobbying group (beyond the MPAA) that was behind SOPA and PIPA, and was a major voice pushing completely ridiculously bogus “facts” about the evils of “IP theft” and “rogue sites.”
While some big tech companies were members, the relationships have frayed over the past few years. Apple dumped the Chamber over its anti-science position on climate change. Yahoo dumped its membership because of the US Chamber’s position on SOPA and PIPA. While some other big players, including Google have made noises about dropping out, they haven’t yet done so. But, smaller startups and innovators know the Chamber’s reputation, and are staying away for good reason.
Perhaps realizing that relying on Hollywood to keep paying for lobbying powers going forward isn’t the best idea, the Chamber has apparently decided to start wooing Silicon Valley, opening an office here and sending one of its top execs to try to convince entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that they need to join the Chamber. As the WSJ article notes, this is a long shot at best. The US Chamber of Commerce’s position on a whole lot of things is antithetical to nearly everything entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley stand for. The USCoC is about using politics to kill off competition and let a few top businesses collect more of the pie. Silicon Valley is about trying to innovate and expand the pie, even if there’s lots of competition.
And, really, just the fact that the Chamber of Commerce still runs its laughably bogus propagandist Global IP Center, which does nothing but push for greater and greater intellectual property maximalism, shows how out of touch it is with the innovation community. I’m sure they realize that they backed the wrong horse on SOPA, but it’s not like everyone in Silicon Valley is going to be fooled by their name.