One of the more interesting things that I've seen over the last few months as the SOPA/PIPA fight has become more involved, is that people I respect in the entertainment industry
itself have been speaking out against the bill, and talking about how horrible it would be -- even though they work "in the industry." The latest is famed MythBuster's host Adam Savage, who recently admitted that he's a "serious copyright law geek"
(in linking to Bill Patry's excellent new book, which I'll have a writeup on relatively soon). Savage is using his column space at Popular Mechanics to rip apart PIPA and SOPA
, urging people to call their elected officials in protest of the bills, and noting that they "would be laughable if they weren't in fact real."
Think of all the stories you've read over the past 14 years of people slapping DMCA takedowns of content that they didn't own, just because they didn't like what it had to say. One that comes to mind is Uri Gellar, the popular psychic who performed spoon bending and other tricks on TV in the 1970s. Using a DMCA claim, he had YouTube pull videos of him being humiliated during a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, when he had no copyright claim to them at all.
This is exactly what will happen with Protect IP and SOPA. We've seen it again and again. Give people a club like this and you can kiss the Internet as you know it goodbye. It's really that bad. And it's a clear violation of our First Amendment right to free speech.
The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices can be heard. Like the printing press before it (which states also tried to regulate, for centuries), it democratizes information, and thus it democratizes power. If we allow Congress to pass these draconian laws, we'll be joining nations like China and Iran in filtering what we allow people to see, do, and say on the Web.
Again, Savage is the kind of person that the industry is claiming needs this law -- and yet he's clearly vehemently against it. When you see the US Chamber of Commerce dump out their bogus line about "19 million jobs in IP-intensive industries," that includes Savage and all of his colleagues at MythBusters. How much longer will we let Tepp, the US Chamber of Commerce and the MPAA pretend that they represent the will of people who are actually very much against these bills and everything they represent?