Washington Post Column Incredulous That Congress Is Considering Censoring The Internet

from the mainstream-america-is-waking-up dept

It appears that more and more in mainstream America are waking up to the horrors of SOPA and PROTECT IP. Dominic Basulto, writing in the Washington Post notes that the debate over SOPA sends an "ugly message" to the rest of the world about the US:
Imagine a country where the government is able to shut down Web sites at the slightest provocation, where elected representatives invoke fears of "overseas pirates" to defend the interests of domestic industries, and where Internet companies like Google must cave in to the demands of government censors or risk being shut down.

No, we are not talking about China, North Korea or Iran we are talking about the United States, where legislators in both the House and Senate are attempting to push through new anti-piracy legislation by year-end that would benefit Hollywood at the expense of Silicon Valley.
Basulto also makes the point clearly. Supporters are "[confusing] 'piracy protection' and 'censorship.'"

He goes on to point out that this also shows "the failure on the part of lawmakers to understand how the Internet works."
This new legislation, if enacted, would strike at the very core of the way the Internet has been structured. Sharing, openness, and participation are at the core of what the Internet represents. When it comes to a choice between an open Internet and an Internet of walled gardens patrolled by government censors, there is no doubt which is preferable. As Booz & Co. pointed out in a recent study, the SOPA legislation could lead to a decline in Internet innovation.

The Chinese government attempts to portray dissidents as "pirates" and "rogues" outside the system. Entertainment interests are taking a similar approach, and have found what they consider to be the perfect bogeymen: the "rogue" sites and "overseas pirates" who steal content and make it available elsewhere on the Internet at a cheaper price. Under the cover of protecting intellectual property and making the Internet safe again for users, they risk destroying what makes the Internet so special and attractive to innovators and investors alike.
A really strong piece in a very mainstream source. This isn't just about a few "pirates" complaining -- as SOPA defenders would have you believe. This is a widespread recognition that censorship and massive regulation of the internet, just because Hollywood refuses to adapt, is not in anyone's best interest.

Filed Under: censorship, dominic basulto, mainstream press, sopa


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  1. identicon
    Machin Shin, 18 Nov 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    "While SOPA may go overboard, it has nothing to do with, say, suppressing unpopular political opinions, unless those opinions happen to be conveyed in a manner that infringes some copyright or trademark right.

    I think the whole anti-censorship campaign is an effective, but cynical, means of getting support from people who don't fully understand the law."

    Well, I counter that this anti-censorship campaign is actually to get support from those who understand the law and how the law will be abused. Yes if the bill was used properly it could be a great benefit. The problem is that laws are abused all the time. Take a look around at this country! A lady sued McDonnalds and WON because she spilled coffee on herself! This nation is full of people who are just looking for ways to abuse the system. This law is FULL of opportunities for abuse. Most of the people fighting this bill would be happy to support a well written law targeting piracy but how do you expect to get that when you exclude the technology industry from the talks? The tech. industry is the exact group they should be going to and asking what can be done.

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