Lamar Smith & MPAA Brush Off Wikipedia Blackout As Just A Publicity Stunt

from the we'll-see-tomorrow dept

Well, well. It appears that Lamar Smith really wants to tempt fate and stick his tongue out at the internet. Beyond announcing that he's moving forward with SOPA, he's also continuing to mock the critics, calling the Wikipedia blackout a "publicity stunt":
“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act," Smith said in a statement on Tuesday. "The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy."
Smith, as per pretty much all of his statements on SOPA is either misinformed, disingenuous... or just lying. First of all, the anti-circumvention provisions certainly do apply to domestic sites, including Wikipedia. And as a site that provides information, it could certainly run afoul of those provisions. But, more to the point, Wikipedia isn't just speaking out because this bill impacts Wikipedia directly, but because of its wider concern over what this bill represents: a blacklist that seeks to block access to websites. You can be secure that it won't impact you and still take issue with the principle behind the bill.

It's a shame that Lamar Smith can't understand that, despite so many people online understanding it. I assume some of those people may give Rep. Smith a call tomorrow to express that point to him directly.

Meanwhile... shocker of shockers, the MPAA is out with a statement using a very similar phrase concerning the blackouts. Gee, kinda makes you wonder if Lamar Smith and the MPAA are consulting on talking points:
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”
This is hilarious only in that we're talking about the MPAA here, who is famous for abusing its powers and "intentionally skewing the facts to incite" people (mainly in Congress) "in order to further their corporate interests." Seriously, who honestly thinks that Wikipedia, Reddit and others are shutting down their sites to "further their corporate interests?" The MPAA -- as per usual, remains totally, and completely tone deaf to what's going on.

The MPAA wants SOPA to further its corporate interests. Wikipedia is a non-profit. Its interest is in stopping the MPAA from mucking up the internet, not in "furthering its corporate interests." Once again, it would be nice if the MPAA and Lamar Smith had the decency to be honest on this issue, but they're still working by the old playbook... the one where you lie and donate to campaigns until Congress gives you the laws you want, no matter how unnecessary or damaging they may be. They're seriously underestimating what's been activated online over the past few months. It's a massive miscalculation to brush off these legitimate concerns as a publicity stunt.

Filed Under: blackout, lamar smith, pipa, protect ip, publicity stunt, sopa, tone deaf
Companies: mpaa, wikipedia


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  1. identicon
    Davis, 19 Jan 2012 @ 10:43am

    What is diligent?

    "elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals"

    To establish an environment of cold one must perform work in order to remove heat. Just as cold is the absence of heat, oppression is the absence of liberty and to establish such an environment requires effort to remove such liberty. If not for constant legislation of the purported need for balance and order, the lethargic representative would be all that is required to sustain the free world. Problems in the U.S. are historically small these days, and yet it is the busy-body, read diligent career politician or mere government employee who will spend endless amounts of time and the money of others to contrive a better mouse trap. Left to their own devices an obsessive compulsive will always find something to do with themselves. The gamma worker will direct their efforts to a meaningless, endless pursuit; content in the process of converting their time into a standard of living. And for every diligent busy-body who is striving to “protect American jobs from foreign criminals“, there are likely as many who are working against those efforts. Now we have a government resembling a Rube Goldberg contraption and the builders are busier annexing now than ever. It is a bureaucratic singularity amassing departments and laws at an ever increasing rate to maintain ‘stability ‘within an ever growing civilization. It is the war of the busy-bodies where everyone else being the casualties. And when we can no longer ingest the touts of justification this juggernaut we call the Federal government spews at us, they will plead that it’s only a morsel, a mere sliver. Just say no to federal representative action should be the people’s slogan. But only the busy-bodies are paying attention and their aftermath just moves the herd from one place to the next supposedly edging closer to utopia with each progression.

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