Crowd Cheers Loudly As All Four GOP Candidates Say No To SOPA/PIPA

from the national-issue dept

It really was just a few weeks ago that a Hollywood lobbyist laughed at me (literally) when I suggested that SOPA/PIPA might become a national issue during the Presidential campaign. As he noted, copyright issues just aren't interesting outside of a small group of people. My, how things have changed. After this week's protests made front pages and top stories everywhere, it's not all that surprising that the candidates at the latest GOP debate were asked their opinion of the bills... and all four came out against them. Of course, this seems to fit with the new GOP positioning that they're the anti-SOPA/PIPA party (so sorry Lamar Smith...). Mediaite has the video:
And here's a transcript of what each candidate said:
Gingrich: "You are asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood? I am weighing it and thinking fondly of the many left wing people that I am so eager to protect. On the other hand, you have so many people that are technologically advanced such as Google and You Tube and Facebook that say this is totally going to mess up the Internet. The bill in its current form is written really badly and leads to a range of censorship that is totally unacceptable. I believe in freedom and think that we have a patent office, copyright law and if a company believes it has generally been infringed upon it has the right to sue. But the idea that we have the government start preemptively start censoring the Internet and corporations' economic interest is exactly the wrong thing to do."

Romney: "The law as written is far too expansive, far too intrusive and far too threatening of freedom of speech and information carried across the Internet. It would have a depressing impact on one of the fastest growing industries in America. I care deeply about intellectual content going across the Internet and if we can find a way to very narrowly go after those people who are pirating especially those offshore. But a very broad law that gives the government the power to start saying who can pass what to whom, I say no and I am standing for freedom."

Paul: "I am one of the first Republicans to oppose this law and so glad that sentiment has mellowed up here as Republicans have been on the wrong side of this issue and this is a good example on why its good to have someone who can look at civil liberties ... freedom and the constitution bring people together."

Santorum: "I do not support this law and believe it goes too far. But I will not agree with everyone that there isn't something that should be done to protect the intellectual content of people. The internet is not a free zone where anyone can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people. Particularly when we are talking about entities off shore. The idea that the government has no role to protect the intellectual property of this company, that's not right. The idea that anything goes on the Internet? Who has that idea. Property rights should be respected."
Santorum's answer is the weakest, obviously -- and isn't too surprising. Just recently he made a statement that was about how online activity should be regulated.

But, really the most interesting part of what happened was not the candidates answering the question, but the audience's response. When John King asked the question and gave a brief explanation of SOPA/PIPA... he also mentioned that CNN's parent company, Time Warner, supported the bill... and the crowd booed loudly. When the candidates -- particularly Gingrich and Paul -- made their claims, the crowd cheered loudly.

The people who are still brushing off the whole protest as "an internet thing" or (even more ridiculous) "a Google thing," still don't seem to realize. Pretty much the entire public has turned against these kinds of bills.

Filed Under: copyright, debate, gop, internet, mitt romney, newt gingrich, pipa, protect ip, republicans, rick santorum, ron paul, sopa

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  1. icon
    Kyle Reynolds Conway (profile), 19 Jan 2012 @ 9:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: What world am I living in?

    True. This is a huge step forward though (right?). The will of the people had an impact. It's certainly a bright light amidst a horrifying darkness of ignorance.

    If these issues are actually talked about and examined then -- we hope -- the false claims of the content industry will be apparent and appalling. The industry is already unpopular (I don't think that's an overstatement), but when exposed to public and political scrutiny they'd become untouchable regardless of the money they try to throw around.

    I've been reading Patry's "How to Fix Copyright" and it's astounding how blunt he sounds about all this corruption. Every sentence is another matter-of-fact statement about how unbalanced this issue has been by lobby money. His calm tone actually makes it hard to read. It's infuriating how long this has gone on.

    Is this, perhaps, a turning point? I hope so. It feels like one.

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