by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 19th 2012 4:23am
Remember how, based on an audience question, Jon Stewart promised to study up on SOPA/PIPA for a future show. Looks like that happened. And, apparently, he did his homework before Wednesday, so he could actually use Wikipedia. In last night's show, Stewart used yesterday's blackouts and protests as a jumping off point to discuss the bill. There were two main points: (1) Congress is trying to pass laws about an internet they don't understand at all, and (2) fair use is incredibly important, and anything that potentially damages fair use is dangerous to culture. For the first point, he played some clips of Rep. Mel Watt proudly displaying his ignorance of technology -- and then points out that Watt is the ranking member on the IP sub-committee. He also mocks the calls during the markup from various Congressional Reps. to have a hearing with "the nerds" by reminding them that it's not "nerds" they're looking for... it's experts. Something in short supply in Congress. For the second point, he ably uses a ton of short clips, fair use style, to demonstrate how important fair use is to a show like his... while mocking Viacom and its own lawyers for trying to limit fair use. Good stuff all around. And yes, for those people who live in foreign countries that don't have a deal with Viacom, I apologize that you can't see the video below. It's just one more example of how Viacom encourages infringement by not giving people what they want.
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