SOPA Becoming An Election Issue: Challengers Highlighting Reps Who Want To Censor The Internet

from the mucking-with-the-internet-can-backfire dept

One of the reasons that our elected officials in Congress often have no problem pushing through the worst of the worst in copyright policies is that most people don't think or don't realize how much copyright impacts them every day. Copyright sounds boring. From a policy perspective, that's great for politicians who can pass awful legislation that favors large campaign contributors and hurts their constituents, and it never becomes an issue. But once that copyright policy starts mucking with the internet... perhaps it's a different story. Supporters of SOPA keep trying to push the myth that the bill is just about copyright and "rogue sites" and "bad actors." But anyone who's actually read the bill and understands it knows that it's really about massive new internet regulations. And one thing people do get up in arms about... is when the government tries to muck with the internet.

Who knows if it will actually become a big enough campaign issue, but it's already showing up in some places. Karen Kwiatkowski is running for Congress in Virginia's 6th District... a position currently held by Rep. Bob Goodlatte. And while Goodlatte was one of the more moderate voices in the recent SOPA hearings (admitting that the bill needs some changes to reflect the tech industry's interests), he's still a sponsor of the bill, and was very active in the crafting of the bill (though, it sounds like he may have been overruled on some of the points he wanted). Goodlatte might also be hearing complaints about the bill from his own family. As he likes to remind folks in the tech industry, his son works at Facebook... and Facebook has come out strongly against SOPA.

Either way, Kwiatkowski is using SOPA as a key issue against Goodlatte in her campaign against him... and it's already catching the attention of others. Ron Paul's active supporters have really taken to the fight against SOPA, since Rep. Paul came out against the bill, and they're urging the wider community to support Kwiatkowski against Goodlatte for next year's election. It would take a lot to beat a long term incumbent like Goodlatte, but it's still impressive to finally see bad copyright policy (and really a bad internet, innovation and jobs policy) becoming an election issue.

Perhaps it'll make politicians think a little harder next time before introducing legislation to prop up Hollywood.

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