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
    Josef Anvil (profile), 20 Jan 2012 @ 1:53am


    The SOPA/PIPA issue is amazing in that it shines a bright light on how American politics work. The Democrats simply refuse to out down the Hollywood crack pipe and I'm sure the Republicans are loving that.
    SOPA/PIPA gives the Republican party something to talk about other than Obama.

    People tend to tune out when they here political rants about a President and issues that barely impact their lives. Taxes and the economy are nice to talk about but at this point it doesn't appear that either party has a handle on "fiscal responsibility". Obamacare? Meh. National security and terrorism? Enough already.

    Enter SOPA/PIPA...
    The internet is at stake. Economy, freedom, technology, and classism all rolled up in one neat package. Hundreds of millions of eyes on Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and numerous other sites and suddenly everyone is paying attention to what Congress is doing. Now the politicians have the attention millions of voters and have to decide what they are going to tell all of those people. Do you side with millions of dollars or millions of voters? That is the harsh choice that US politicians have to make now.

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