People Realizing That It Wasn't Google Lobbying That Stopped PIPA/SOPA

from the about-time dept

We've been pointing out for a few weeks now just how ridiculous the narrative is that it was "Google lobbying" that stopped SOPA and PIPA from moving forward. Having been involved in much of what happened, I know that it really was much more about the internet rising up and speaking out. Thankfully, the press reports are starting to reflect that reality. IDG reporter Grant Gross recently had a pretty thorough breakdown of what happened and how it happened that is pretty accurate from what I saw. It notes, in true internet fashion, that while there was coordination, there was no top-down effort -- and the "big tech companies" that Hollywood and other SOPA/PIPA supporters want to blame actually came pretty late to the party. Nearly all of the efforts were driven by various grassroots groups or communities (especially Reddit), who took matters into their own hands and decided to pinpoint certain days to focus on. There was plenty of coordination among the different groups, but it really was a very, very loose coalition, where ideas would bubble up, and some would jump onto them while others would float by. If people want to understand how it happened, focusing on the big tech companies would be the exact wrong place to look.

Meanwhile, Leslie Harris from CDT (who was among those who participated in the effort) has written an interesting article for ABC News that pulls out many of the key lessons from the SOPA/PIPA fight... starting with the fact that this wasn't a top-down operation driven by Google or any other party.
Rather, the protest was decentralized and organic. The tsunami of opposition transcended political divides, with extensive participation from individuals and groups on both the left and the right. It was driven by a commonality of interest in the continued vitality of social networking and "user-generated content" sites – an interest broadly and actively shared by both rank-and-file Internet users and the technology innovation community (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technology companies, bloggers, established Internet advocacy groups like CDT and Public Knowledge and savvy new online grassroots organizations).

Those social networking tools enabled that common interest to be harnessed to the common purpose of defeating PIPA and SOPA. This online uprising was not a "tactic". MPAA Chairman Christopher Dodd told the New York Times that "one of the lessons learned" during this event is that the 2-plus million people working in the film industry "need to pipe up," as the Times put it. But Internet users are not "astroturf" and the notion that next time the content community just needs to get its own Internet campaign is entirely the wrong message to take away from this seminal event.
Harris' piece goes on to make some other key points:
  • The dramatic online mobilization carries lasting implications for Internet policy.
  • A more cautious approach requires a more open process.
  • Ignorance about how the Internet works is no longer an option.
  • Overreaching Internet-related legislation is no longer a successful strategy.
  • The Internet community is borderless, and the whole world will be watching.
I think there are many lessons to be learned from what happened over the past few months, but if you're trying to understand it, these are a good place to start.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 3:48am

    If it had been Google

    If it had been Google then surely they would have simply gone in early with big wads of cash and bought Congress out like big content tried to do - it would have been easier - they have more money.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 3:50am

    But... But... Google!! - Chris Dodd

     

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    bob, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:04am

    Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Yes there were others involved, but this article is just factually wrong. It says "It wasn't Google lobbying..." when it really means "It wasn't JUST Google lobbying..." That's a crucial extra word.

    Big Search lobbied on its own and also invested heavily in astroturfing through organizations the EFF and Wikipedia. Who barks when Google needs help to stop innovation and protect its legacy business model of leeching off content creators? Why the EFF and Wikipedia!

    And note that Big Search funneled its money through a charity, no doubt helping its tax bill.

    And this blog is also funded by Big Search to handle the astroturfing work. So why should anyone be surprised that it's continuing to astroturf?

    http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/18/brin-wikipedia-grant/

    https://www.eff.org/deeplin ks/2011/12/join-now-and-eff-gets-4x-power

     

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    abc gum, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:23am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    If one repeats something enough times it becomes the truth, amirite?

     

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    AG Wright (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:24am

    Willful blindmess?

    I can't help thinking that the blindness of the big media companies to the real reasons for the opposition to SOPA/PIPA is that they don't want to see that there has been a change in communication that they can't adapt to.
    In the 1600's it was the printing press that revolutionized communication and "unofficial" printing presses were destroyed.
    The internet was sneakier in that it started as a sort of geeky thing that most people didn't understand, remember when people said computers would be good for keeping recipes? Then email happened and grandmothers all over the place adopted it.
    Now big content providers want to put the internet back in the box and limit it to business communications.
    Unfortunately for them people have gotten used to instant and open communications and media and now the internet is the 2,000 gorilla that doesn't want to be boxed.

     

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    Isaac the k (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:30am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    And the tinfoil industry is secretly funded by the aliens themselves! It won't protect you - it merely makes your brain a better receiver of mind control waves!!

    1) The critical event of Jan 18 was THE PUBLIC speaking up, not Google lobbying. If you were watching twitter, you got a front row view of it happening. Wikipedia Et Al came on later after a lot coaxing and member discussion tree: protest and npov.

    2) This blog existed long before Google entered politics and operates it's own business models.

    3) Chris Dodd, your mask is slipping off.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:36am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Aww paywall bob, I missed you.

    EFF and Wikipedia are not astrotruf organizations, unlike whoever it is paying you to come here and spew stupidity.

    If you paid any attention you would have noticed that Google was late to the protest party, it was fully planned out on many other sites before Google made their gesture.

    Please provide proof that Big Search funds this blog. You make a very definite accusation, so you must have proof other than it was a thought that popped into your little overworked brain. Support your position or shut up.

    Wikipedia and EFF provide needed things in this world, its not like Big Content has managed to give us anything but a new coat of paint on a 1950's business plan they cling to.

    I believe your the best they could find, and much like their business model... your a failure.

    0/10 - Back to the farm team, send someone new. Your not even entertainingly stupid anymore.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Lol. It really wasn't Google doing, well, anything towards this until the last minute. Even the EFF came to the party fairly late. The main drivers were Wikipedia, who'd already attempted to set a protest up back in August; and Reddit, who aren't funded in any way by Google.

     

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    Drake, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:51am

    US has to realize that they have no right to dictate rules over the whole world, laws to enforce US copyright in other nations or on the net would have seriously negative effect, and in the end such laws couldn't be enforced if they are unable to physically move in and take down computers and capture people in other nations anyway. The moment the US agrees on a law like SOPA it would effectively be the day they start to illegally involve themself in other nations affairs on internet and off it as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:05am

    and yet Lamar Smith hasn't learned a damn thing! he still believes he can ride rough shod over the people! why hasn't this complete idiot been booted out of office?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I'd make a sarcastic comment, but your paranoid idiocy and random tilting at windmills is nicely obvious here. You still don't even seem to know what half the words you type actually mean, let alone present evidence for anything.

     

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    MAJikMARCer (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Humm...My check from Google must still be in the mail.

     

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    Mike42 (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Wikipedia was late, too. I (and many others) had to beg them to join the blackout.
    You can pretty much hang the whole thing on that "Reddit" astroturfing organization.

    Astroturfing. I don't think that word means what you think it means, AC.

     

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    MAJikMARCer (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re: Willful blindmess?

    Addtionally, to this point I think Big Media wants to have an a specific enemy they can vilify. If it's The People, it makes it a lot more difficult for them to state a claim of wrong doing.

    Oh sure they call us pirates, but most people understand that sharing a movie of song isn't that big of a deal and probably 99% of the people in the US have done it in the past. So Big Media is only going to be able to go so far with vilifying The People.

    But Google, oooo, they are rich, they are used by millions, everyone knows who they are. They are the perfect patsy, but only if Big Media can convince the powers that be, that Google is the real problem, not The People.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:24am

    Let's be fair

    Google did play a large role in the SOPA/PIPA protest. Without a doubt that is a true statement.

    But it wasn't Google lobbying. Google didn't have to lobby or organize much to play such a large role. Google commands the screen that most eyes are looking at every day.

    Seems that if the MPAA wanted their voice heard, they paid the wrong people. They should have just paid Google for a huge ad spot which explained why SOPA/PIPA is such a good thing. They should have paid Facebook to put up ads and given Facebook credits to thousands of people to sign a petition. They should have paid Wikipedia to highlight information about their cause.

    The problem with SOPA/PIPA support is that its VERY difficult to convince people during a recession that the people making the most money need government protection, and that protection involves limiting consumers' current methods of communicating and entertainment.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:25am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    "Who barks when Google needs help to stop innovation and protect its legacy business model of leeching off content creators? Why the EFF and Wikipedia!

    Who barks when the MPAA/RIAA needs help to stop innovation and protect its legacy business model of leeching off content creators? Why, Congress and all their bought politicians!
    FTFY

    (Seriously? You believe WIKIPEDIA helps others leech off content creators?!? BOB, WIKIPEDIA IS A NON-PROFIT!!)

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    Re: Let's be fair

    "They should have paid Wikipedia to highlight information about their cause. "

    That wouldn't have been very likely, if at all. Wikipedia didn't even want to blackout their site at first, because this meant getting political, but only did so because SOPA represented such a clear threat to them. So I highly doubt that Wikipedia would have "highlighted information" supporting SOPA no matter the amount of money offered.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    astroturfing through organizations the EFF and Wikipedia

    The idea that the EFF is a "front" for Google is an absurd conspiracy theory. One that I already debunked, long ago, in a reply to you.

    For one thing, the EFF predates Google by about eight years. For another thing, the EFF has actually sued Google, multiple times, over their privacy issues.

    A cursory glance at EFF's Annual Report shows that neither Google nor the Brin Wojcicki Foundation is the majority source for the EFF's funding. Hell, even the page you linked to shows that many other people besides the BWF donated.

    For that matter, the BWF is giving one hundred times more in donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I guess means all people trying to stamp out Parkinson's are just "astroturfing" for Google, right?

    And the idea that Wikipedia was used as an "astroturf" organization is totally and completely bogus. Not only was Brin's grant (though awesome) not a majority source of their funding, it had no bearing whatsoever on Wikipedia's decision to black out its site.

    Know how I know this? Because Wikipedia's members decided to do it, and
    the entire decision-making process was done in public.

    And the idea that Techdirt is "funded by Big Search" is pure, unadulterated, 100% bullshit. If you don't believe me, look at Insight Community's case studies and conversations, and note that not even one sponsor is a search engine.

    Now, on the other hand, I challenge you to find even one non-profit organization that supported SOPA or PROTECT IP, and wasn't funded in its entirety by supporters of those acts.

    Face it, Bob: you're delusional.

     

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  19.  
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    Karl (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Dammit, sorry about the link fail.

     

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  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    So is EFF. But because they might have tangentially been supported by Google at some point then they're all 100% paid off. Yet, there's no conspiracy on the other side because, despite clear-cut instances of them directly buying legislation and funding astroturf groups, any criticism that doesn't simultaneously attack Google is invalid.

    (this is what these people actually believe)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:50am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    "Big Search lobbied on its own and also invested heavily in astroturfing through organizations the EFF and Wikipedia."

    Wikipedia has no need for Google.
    People go directly to it and search within it, without utilizing Google.
    Google is irrelevant to Wikipedia.
    If you weren't technologically-challenged, you'd know that, boy.

     

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  22.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    Because he hasn't got his grossly-overpaid -to-do-fuck-all job yet. Chris Dodd better watch out!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:55am

    "So I highly doubt that Wikipedia would have "highlighted information" supporting SOPA no matter the amount of money offered."

    You obviously haven't seen Wikipedia's entry for SOPA, boy...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Don't forget the porn sites that did go black I bet Google paid them too hum?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Re: Let's be fair

    But it wasn't Google lobbying. Google didn't have to lobby or organize much to play such a large role.

    Google had well over 100 lobbyists working the bills and lobbied jointly with the groups they funded like EFF, Public Knowledge, etc.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Dear bob,

    Astroturfing is fake grassroots support, fake meaning there is no support from the people and a movement is just marketed as if there is. When there are large groups of average people organizing in support or opposition of something voluntarily and a rich individual, corporation, or foundation contributes funding after the fact that's still grassroots. It's doesn't magically become astroturf just because some money changed hands. Just to recap money pretending to be public sentiment is astroturf, money supporting real public sentiment is still grassroots. I hope in time you'll realize what an idiot you've been.

    Scinsurly yours,
    AC#5730

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Now, on the other hand, I challenge you to find even one non-profit organization that supported SOPA or PROTECT IP, and wasn't funded in its entirety by supporters of those acts.

    Here's just the ones that begin with "A":

    AFL-CIO
    Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies
    American Federation of Musicians (AFM):
    American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
    Americans for Tax Reform
    Association of American Publishers (AAP)
    Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
    Association of Talent Agents (ATA)

     

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  28.  
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    The Logician (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I notice, AC 26, that you provide no evidence that the organizations you list do what you claim they do. Provide it, or admit your error. And also, you provide no proof that Google was lobbying, merely your own unsubstantiated claim. Provide it, or admit it is as false as we all know it to be.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:36am

    The problem is that it was big lobbying that did the deal. Big companies put their businesses on the line, going black and offering what would be very costly prime space for these things to happen.

    Think about the costs to get your ad on Google, in front of millions, with millions of paid clicks. Now you understand the value of these actions.

    Without Reddit and few others, the true "online uprising" would have been limited to blogs like this, and the results would likely have been very different.

    Mike, do the math: How much do you (over)charge companies for featured posts? How many posts did you do about SOPA? Multiply one by the other, and you get the "value" of your lobbying efforts. Even at $1000 a post (which would be reasonable given the audience) you would have been "spending" $10,000 a day or more on SOPA for a few months.

    The big lobbying did it... and you were part of it.

     

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  30.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I have no time to fully research those, but most do sound like associations of people with vested interests in supporting the **AAs or have simply bought into the "piracy = counterfeiting" lies spread by those organisations.

    I'm not claiming anything here, but that does seem suspect on its face. Do you have a link to the rest of the list?

     

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    The eejit (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Let's be fair

    Compared the the MAFiAA's over 100 groups of lobbyists and its gubernatorial execs who are previously wither Senators or Congresscritters.

    Google, last time I checked, didn't have it own personal gubernatorial access-all-areas zone within the Capitol.

     

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  32.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    Wait, Mike has his own SuperPAC now?

    Where do I donate?

     

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  33.  
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    Seegras (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    "non-profit" was the word you haven't read.

     

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  34.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Are these the groups that signed the letter that something must be done...not specifically by the means SOPA/PIPA wanted?

     

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    The Logician (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:50am

    Decentralization

    I believe that part of the difficulty the legacy media industries have in relating to this uprising is its very decentralization. They do not know how to relate to a body that does not have a central control point as they do, that is not hierarchical as they are. I do not believe they even understand that such a collective can exist. Nor do their followers. And so they attempt to frame this struggle in terms they can relate to, by seeing Google as a central, high entity in the online collective where none truly exists. They simply cannot grasp the nature of a distributed, horizontal collective with no central body. It is quite alien to them.

     

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  36.  
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    Todd (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I was struggling for a minute there trying to figure out where the idea of "Big Search" came from. I guess it is simply intended to be a derogatory slam on the market position of Google. It's either that, or it might be because you are just a small independent search artist trying to make it big and having problems because "the man" won't let you shine.

    Certainly, the Google has its advantages, having provided a useful product to people (unfairly FREE I might add) which enables their astroturfing campaigns to run rampant across the web.

    All is not lost, however, and as an independent search artist you should take heart. As soon as we pass some really onerous laws that prevent most people from being able to have any concept of privacy of their own living rooms, you will be suddenly (and somewhat magically) enabled to do just exactly the same thing that you are doing now. By that, I mean that you will be able to blame other people for your own failures, but with the smug confidence of knowing that you have completely destroyed their ability to do anything productive to advance the art beyond what it is today. It will not advance your interests one iota, nor bring any value to anybody, but the legislation does bring with it the supreme confidence of knowing that you were "right" and those that were wrong now can't do anything useful for anybody.

    Since I'm also a constituent of Rep. Lamar Smith, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you when it comes time to divide up the spoils. I'm sure we can figure out some way to fine "Big Search" for more than a couple of billion dollars for their predatory practice of giving away a service of real value at the expense of those who have worked so hard to create and lock these things up.

    Buck up, young search provider. They may have won this battle, but they can't possibly win the war. Unless they do, of course, in which case you may want to consider a new line of work.

     

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  37.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    So, the content industries could have made up some pro-SOPA/PIPA drivel and planted it on a banner on their main page for anybody who went to their site to watch a show or whatever. I bet they would rather less people know about the bill, because if anybody tried to look farther than what the content industry spoonfed them they would find out the truth.

     

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  38.  
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    Pete Austin, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    If there was any doubt that Google wasn't the hero...

    Apologies if this is too off-topic, but it may be interesting

    I just posted an article on Google+, choosing the Pirate Bay logo from the Forbes Page as the image:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/02/03/you-will-never-kill-piracy-and-piracy-will -never-kill-you/

    The original image is here:
    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/insertcoin/files/2012/02/pirate-bay-logo.jpg

    But Google+ seems to have censored my Pirate Bay logo and is displaying its own logo instead:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/109444422829647648152/posts/YZBZ9RYD3Vf

    Could be a bug, but I suspect that Google+ is doing some kind of image censorship to complement its previous ban:
    http://torrentfreak.com/google-now-censors-the-pirate-bay-isohunt-4shared-and-more-111123/

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    You are not just a douchebag, but you're fucking lazy too:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-pumps-up-its-lobbying-effort/2012/01/2 3/gIQABxbPMQ_story.html

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/money

    Now admit that you're a poseur, a fraud and live in your mother's basement.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    "non-profit" was the word you haven't read.

    If you bothered to go to Guidestar or another source you'd discover that all of these are non-profit organizations. But then again, knowing the facts would prevent you from making such uninformed comments.

     

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    Dog On a Teflon Floor (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Shocked

    The fact that people actually participated to defend their rights without being paid seems almost incomprehensible to the bill backers and press. Mind you that much support against the bills was a bit surprising to most people I've discussed it with as well.

     

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  42.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Let's be fair

    You clearly didn't understand the point being made. So let me spell it out clearly. I didn't say "Google did not lobby Congress". I said it was not Google's lobbying efforts that made Google an important part of the SOPA/PIPA online protest.

    Please note this time the use of the word "online" to describe the protest. Google was not driving the protest, but rather enabled millions to focus their voices. MILLIONS of voices, not well over 100 lobbyists.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Problem with the Content Tyrants is that they want to try and control media like a communist society would. They need to keep in mind that we have a free-market system right now.

    So far, international bankers haven't yet accomplished their goal of tyranny for the whole earth.

    So until that point, you media companies need to compete in what's called "the free market".

    This means, if you want people to buy your stuff - then charge a fair price and provide a good value.

    But here's the real funny thing about this whole situation and along with that the involvement of Government and others. This whole situation CLEARLY is a prime example of WHY we will never have 'alternate energy' - and that is a DIRECT smack in the face to innovation.

    Let's say someone came out with a pretty much "free" source of energy - what do you think would happen?

    The power companies, the oil, coal, natural gas industries would immediately come out and start trying to use IP law and whatever SOPA bill they will push through this year on December 31st to BLOCK any alternative energy efforts.

    And that is why humanity suffers so. If they would actually let these things out of the cage, in the end, massive profit would be made because the economy would be thriving like crazy. Historically economies have always done best when people are free to innovate and create, that can in fact be proven, historically.

    But as usual some narrow minded greedy narcissistic mentally sick people somehow have this overwhelming sense that they NEED control, I suppose it's because of a bad childhood or bad parents, dunno. Of course, the world doesn't recognize this as a 'mental illness'. In *any* other conceptual setting the overwhelming need to have MORE AND MORE AND MORE of something that you already have plenty of is considered insanity - but when it comes to money, it's considered 'success', lol.

    Kinda silly if you really look at it.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Are these the groups that signed the letter that something must be done...not specifically by the means SOPA/PIPA wanted?

    From OpenCongress:

    Specific Organizations Supporting H.R.3261

    AFL-CIO
    National Music Publishers' Association
    Independent Film & Television Alliance
    National Association of Theatre Owners
    Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc.,
    American Federation of Musicians
    Motion Picture Association of America
    Directors Guild of America
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    Screen Actors Guild
    National Cable & Telecommunications Association
    Recording Industry Association of America
    Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies
    Comcast
    Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
    National Association of Manufacturers
    NBC Universal
    Concerned Women for America
    Viacom
    National Criminal Justice Association
    National District Attorneys Association
    Council of State Governments
    International Trademark Association
    International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
    International Association of Fire Fighters
    U. S. Chamber of Commerce
    Americans for Tax Reform
    Let Freedom Ring
    Outdoor Industry Association
    Ford Motor Company
    Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
    Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
    Society of Plastics Industry
    Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
    Software & Information Industry Association
    Entertainment Software Association
    American Association of Independent Music
    Eli Lilly and Company
    Merck
    Specialty Equipment Market Association
    Universal Music Group Inc.
    Pfizer
    Association of American Publishers
    News Corporation
    Xerox Corporation
    Walmart
    National Electrical Manufacturers Association
    Dow Chemical
    Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
    National Confectioners Association
    Estee Lauder Companies
    CBS Corporation
    National Basketball Association
    Greeting Card Association
    Advanced Medical Technology Association
    Beam Global Spirits &Wine
    Adidas America
    Acushnet Company
    ABRO Industries, Inc.
    1-800-PetMeds
    1-800 Contacts, Inc.
    Blue Sky Studios, Inc.
    Bose Corporation
    Warner Music Group
    Major League Baseball
    Burberry
    Electronic Components Industry Association
    HarperCollins Publishers
    Kekepana International Services
    LVMH MoŽt Hennessy Louis Vuitton
    Nike, Inc.
    Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.
    Timberland Company
    Time Warner
    Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association
    3M Company
    National Retail Federation
    Retail Industry Leaders Association
    Viacom
    Philip Morris International
    National Association of Broadcasters
    Disney
    Center for Individual Freedom
    National Governors Association
    National Football League
    International Union of Police Associations
    Graphic Artists Guild
    International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition
    United States Tennis Association
    Associated Builders and Contractors
    Christian Music Trade Association
    National Narcotics Officer's Associations' Coalition
    Elsevier
    United States Conference of Mayors
    Church Music Publishers Association
    Major County Sheriffs Association
    Visa
    Copyright Alliance
    American Federation of Television & Radio Artists
    International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees
    National Songwriters Association
    Minor League Baseball
    Coalition Against Online Video Piracy
    Letter of Council
    Capitol Records Nashville
    Church Music Trade Association
    American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers
    Country Music Association
    Country Music Television
    EMI Christian Music Group
    Lost Highway Records
    Gospel Music Association
    MCA Records
    Mercury Nashville
    Provident Music Group
    Republic Nashville
    Showdog Universal
    UMG Publishing Group
    Warner Music Nashville
    Word Entertainment
    BMG Chrysalis
    BMI
    Cengage Learning
    EMI Music Publishing
    L'Oreal
    Hachette Book Group
    Publishers Worldwide, Inc.
    Hyperion
    McGraw-Hill Education
    MPA - The Association of Magazine Media
    Pearson Education
    Penguin Group
    Perseus Books Group
    Random House
    Scholastic, Inc.
    W.W. Norton Company
    Wolers Kluwer Health
    True Religion Brand Jeans
    National Sheriff's Association
    COTY, Inc.
    Major City Chiefs
    National Troopers Coalition
    National Center for Victims of Crime
    National Domestic Preparedness Coalition
    Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
    National Association of Fusion Center Directors
    National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators
    National Association of State Chief Information Officers
    Association of Talent Agents
    Council of the Better Business Bureau
    State International Development Organizations
    Beachbody LLC
    Tiffany & Company
    Netflix
    Macmillan
    1K Studios
    2b1 Inc
    Allen Russell Photography
    Alliance of Visual Artists
    Altria
    American Board of Internal Medicine
    American Gramaphone LLC
    American Made Alliance
    American Mental Health Counselors Association
    American Photographic Artists
    American Society of Media Photographers
    American Society of Picture Professionals
    American Watch Association
    Anatoly Pronin Photography
    Andrea Rugg Photography
    Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative
    Applied DNA Sciences
    Art Holeman Photography
    Association of Equipment Manufacturers
    Association of Independent Music Publishers
    Association of Test Publishers
    AstraZeneca
    Australian Medical Council
    Autodesk
    Baker & Taylor
    Bay State Psychological Associates
    Beachbody, LLC
    Benchmade Knife Company
    Bill Parker Studios Inc.
    Braash Biotech LLC
    Brian Stevenson Photography
    Brigid Collins Family Support Center
    Build Media, Inc.
    Burning House Records
    Burton Snowboards
    C. F. Martin & Co.
    Calloway Golf Company
    Canada Goose
    Cascade Designs Incorporated
    Caterpillar
    Caveon, LLC
    Center for Credentialing & Education
    Center Stage Photography
    CFA Institute
    Chanel USA
    Christopher Hemmes Photography
    Chrysler Group LLC
    Cimarron Group
    CMH Images
    Coach
    Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
    Columbia Sportswear Company
    Commercial Photo Design
    Commercial Photographers International
    Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System
    Consumer Healthcare Products Association
    Copyright Clearance Center
    Council of Fashion Designers of America
    Creative America Campaign
    Creative Microsystems Corporation
    CropLife America
    Cross-Entertainment LLC
    CSA Group
    CVS Caremark
    D'Addario & Company, Inc.
    Dan Sherwood Photography
    Danita Delimont Stock Photography
    Dayco Products, LLC
    Dennyfoto
    Derek DiLuzio Photography
    DeVaul Photography
    Diffraction LTD
    Direct Selling Association
    Directional Insight
    DIRECTV
    Distefano Enterprises, Inc.
    Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
    Dolce & Gabbana USA, INC.
    Dollar General Corporation
    Don Grall Photography
    Hustler
    Vivid Entertainment
    Pink Visual
    Ultimate Fighting championship
    Fender Musical Instrument Company
    FilmL.A., Inc.
    Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Economic Strategy Group
    Educational & Industrial Testing Service
    Electronic Arts, Inc.
    Electronic Retailing Association
    ERAI, Inc.
    ESPN Inc.
    Evidence Photographers International Council
    Ex Officio
    Exxel Outdoors
    FAME Publishing Co., LLC.
    Fashion Business Incorporated
    Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
    Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America
    Fortune Brands, Inc.
    Gemvision Corporation
    Gibson Guitar Corp.
    GlaxoSmithKline
    Governors America Corp.
    Graduate Management Admission Council
    Gucci America, Inc.
    Harley-Davidson Motor Company
    Hastings Entertainment, Inc.
    ICM Distributing Company, Inc.
    IEC Electronics corp.
    Imaging Supplies Coalition
    IMAX Corporation
    Independent Distributors of Electronics Association
    INgrooves
    Innate-gear
    InterContinental Hotels Group
    IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries
    IPCybercrime.com LLC
    John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Johnson & Johnson
    Juicy Couture, Inc
    Kate Spade
    Lacoste USA
    Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.
    Lexmark International, Inc.
    Lieberman Research Worldwide
    Little Dog Records
    Liz Claiborne, Inc
    Lucky Brand Jeans
    Major League Soccer
    Marmot
    MicroRam Electronics, Inc.
    Monster
    Morningstar Films LLC
    Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
    Music Managers Forum-U.S.
    Nashville Songwriters Association International
    National Association of Music Merchants
    National Association of Recording Merchandisers
    National Board for Certified Counselors
    National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation
    Nervous Tattoo Inc., dba Ed Hardy
    New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
    New Era Cap Co Inc
    New Levels Ent. Co. LLC
    Next Decade Entertainment, Inc.
    NHL Enterprises, L.P.
    Nintendo of America Inc.
    North Dakota Pharmacists Association
    Oakley, Inc.
    One Voice Recordings
    OpSec Security, Inc.
    Outdoor Research, Inc
    Pacific Component Xchange, Inc.
    Peavey Electronics Corporation
    Perry Ellis International
    Personal Care Products Council
    Petzl America
    PGA of America
    Picture Archive Council of America
    Pigfactory Music
    PING
    Premier League
    Production Music Association
    Professional Photographers of America
    Quality Float Works, Inc.
    Raging Waters Music
    Ralph Lauren Corporation
    Ramsay Corporation
    Red Wing Shoe Company
    Reebok International Ltd.
    Reed Elsevier Incorporated
    Renie Design
    Reverb Productions
    Revlon
    Rite Aid
    Rolex Watch USA Inc.
    Romance Writers of America
    Rosenthal Consulting LLC
    Rosetta Stone Inc.
    SESAC, Inc.
    SG Industries, Inc.
    Shure Incorporated
    SIGMA Assessment Systems
    Six Degrees Records
    Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
    SMC Entertainment
    SMT Corp.
    SoBe Entertainment
    Soccer United Marketing
    Society of Sport & Event Photographers
    Sony
    SoundExchange
    Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
    Sports Rights Owners Coalition
    Spyder Active Sports, Inc
    Stock Artists Alliance
    Stuart Weitzman Holdings, LLC
    Student Photographic Society
    Taylor Guitars
    Technicolor
    The Collegiate Licensing Company/IMG College
    The Donath Group, Inc.
    The Music People! Inc.
    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
    The Nielsen Co.
    The Recording Academy (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
    Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.
    TRA Global
    Trailer Park
    Tricoast Worldwide
    Trio Productions, Inc. / Songscape Music
    Under Armour
    VF Corporation
    Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.
    Virtual Chip Exchange USA, Inc.
    Voltage Pictures, LLC
    W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co.
    Western Psychological Services
    Winslow Research Institute
    Wolfe Video
    Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
    Woolrich, Inc.
    World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
    Zippo Manufacturing Company
    Zumba Fitness, LLC
    Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    According to the opencongress link, it appears many more millions were spent in support of Sopa/pipa than against.

    Both senators from NY got 3mil and 2mil each.

    None of the opposition lobbying is over 6 figures for congress or the senate.

    So, which side spent more to lobby again?

    Oh right, not the side that was against it.

    Proving every point against bob. And you.

    Sorry chump.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    Without Google's (and others) lobbying efforts the grassroots alone would have not won the day. Google spent (and continues to spend) millions on lobbying and campaign/PAC contributions. Don't kid yourself.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Let's be fair

    I find this inference that Google commands the screen to be a bit disingenuous.

    I use Google, I have several pages of feeds that I look at. None of them are by Google. Techdirt is one of those feeds. So is Slashdot. So is ArsTechica. Etc., etc., etc.. Google does not control the content I read. I use Google to collect links to the content I read.

    When I search with Google, I often do not find what I am looking for in the first page, or even the second page of their results. So just exactly how is Google controlling what I see, or read, or hear?

     

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  48.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I give him a Content Kool Aid factor of 8/10. I gave him two points for the links he provided.

    Total atypical behavior. Me thinks the trolls have changed their strategy. In the past few days, I have noticed them using links to as talking points they can misquote.

     

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  49.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Here's just the ones that begin with "A":

    Really? You count trade organizations as "non-profit organizations that are not funded by supporters of those acts?"

    That's really ridiculous. The RIAA is technically "non-profit" too, but nobody would believe that they're not funded in their entirety by supporters of SOPA and PROTECT IP.

    Wikipedia and the EFF represent the interests of the general public - unlike trade unions or industry organizations, whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of their membership. They are funded in their entirety by people who have a vested interest in support the acts.

    Claiming that these groups are grass-roots organizations is the very definition of astroturfing.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    So, which side spent more to lobby again?

    Ummm, so where was the claim that Google etc spent more on lobbying. I must have missed that. Or are you simply inventing a claim to refute?

     

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  51.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    tl;dr LALALALA YOU'RELYINGOUTYOURASSAGAIN!

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Really? You count trade organizations as "non-profit organizations that are not funded by supporters of those acts?"

    I simply refuted his claim. Those organizations are, in fact, non-profits. But there are a large number of organizations that are not trade groups for you both to choke on.

     

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  53.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    So, you admit that your political system is so screwed up that corporations can openly buy legislation against the will of the people, unless they can summon equally powerful corporations to defend them? That the people are irrelevant, it's only lobbyists who are listened to?

    How honest of you. Depressing, but honest.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    Here is the most hilarious thing:

    "Big Content spent tens of millions lobbying Congress! Big Search spent tens of millions lobbying Congress!"

    Hey, America! I think your "democracy" is fucking broken.

     

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  55.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    Re: Decentralization

    The author of the article stated ...

    "But in future matters regarding the Internet, business as usual won't be sufficient."

    The interesting thing no one seems to be noticing, this is far greater than an "Internet" thing. It applies to many smaller events that have been occurring and growing in size over the past several years. Lets hope they continue to frame it, in the top down reference frame for the next several years. It gives humanity breathing room to build our communications channels and loosely coupled base of opposition.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    "I know that it really was much more about the internet rising up and speaking out."

    You just want to deflect credit away from Google so that you can get more of the credit :)

    J/K.

    But you did play a large role in it as well and I thank you for that.

     

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  57.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Out of the blue was more entertaining than bob. Can we bring him back?

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Oh, I was just taking bobs lead. That isn't ok now?

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    bob, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Mike has confirmed this again and again while tossing in some complaint about how the AdWords revenue isn't very big.

    And how about Google hosting TechDirt's future of journalism event? Rule number one from journalism: don't get sponsored by the companies you cover.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100526/0142359581.shtml

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    My point was google was lobbying, but the other side spent more.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I would agree that there isn't a conspiracy on the other side - there's nothing secret at all about their actions. Chris Dodd publicly stated that they buy politicians and expect to have their monopoly powers expanded via legislation and regulation. Homeland Security announces SWAT Team raids on IP infringers from Disney headquarters. USTR actively pressures other countries on behalf of the entertainment industry.

     

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  62.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    The problem is that it was big lobbying that did the deal. Big companies put their businesses on the line, going black and offering what would be very costly prime space for these things to happen.

    For one thing, that wasn't lobbying. Second, if millions of people hadn't then spoken up after seeing the blackouts, it wouldn't have mattered. They were important in raising awareness of the issue, but that is all.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    So you're honestly trying to argue that every site with AdWords on it is a Google puppet?

    Sponsoring one event, or even several, and controlling the editorial direction of the site via money are two entirely different things. Rule number one from insane theories: make sure they conflate entirely different things as if they're the same and repeat 'SEE?!?' at the top of your lungs...

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    No, you skipped some clauses in his claim and refuted the one word you could refute: non-profit. The actual claim: "I challenge you to find even one non-profit organization that supported SOPA or PROTECT IP, and wasn't funded in its entirety by supporters of those acts." obviously would exclude trade organizations like the ones you listed.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Big Search is just another in a long string of cargo cult phrases where individuals who don't understand what is meant by "Big Oil" or "Big Content" attempt to dress up things they oppose in the same trappings hoping that by simply going through the motions similar sentiments will be expressed for the targets of their misappropriated verbiage.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    Yes, because clearly what happened is a massive grassroots effort was sustained for years to little success without Google's magnanimous help and then, on the very same day Google decided to start lobbying, everything turned around. Oh wait, it was the exact opposite of that...

     

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  67.  
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    enjaysee (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    It's always amusing to read comments from people who either didn't read the article, didn't comprehend the article and/or did read/comprehend the article but still go ahead with posting their belief in fantasy.

    You honestly believe the grassroots campaign would've failed without google, don't you?

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Wikipedia also has disproportionate amounts of information on anime. Are you suggesting that the anime lobby offered them a lot of money to beef up those pages so it happened? The reality is that the reasons for both are the same, things that are important to the everyday people who use and edit wikipedia are what get the best pages on wikipedia. It's a decentralized, democratic process. Pointing out the page only strengths the position that people in general fucking hate this bill.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    No, you skipped some clauses in his claim and refuted the one word you could refute: non-profit. The actual claim: "I challenge you to find even one non-profit organization that supported SOPA or PROTECT IP, and wasn't funded in its entirety by supporters of those acts." obviously would exclude trade organizations like the ones you listed.

    Oh, the AFL-CIO is a trade group? Which others do you think don't qualify?

     

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  70.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Humm...My check from Google must still be in the mail.

    Mine too. A couple weeks ago some anonymous coward said he got his, but I think he was lying.

    I got bills to pay and a check from Google for my efforts would really help out. /sarc

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Let's be fair

    EFF, CDT, PK and others have been involved in grassroots campaigns regarding PRO IP, net neutrality and other issues. The apparent missing component was the engagement of Google and other large tech players and their army of lobbyists and wheelbarrows of cash. I think that Google and the tech companies got everyone ginned up, but no longer control the beast they created.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Endtimer (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Willful blindmess?

    To be fair, you can't really blame them for calling you pirates. File sharers everywhere call themselves pirates. Heck, not only are there numerous articles on this site referring to them as pirates (sarcastic or otherwise) but in the comments on those articles posters constantly refer to themselves as pirates or to those they're supporting as pirates. As near as I can tell I'm the only one trying to use friendlier language, and I'm constantly getting lambasted for some of my anti file sharing views. If it ticks you off that the media calls you pirates, start letting them know what you want to be called. I'm sure if they ever wanted to interview someone in the movement they'd prefer to use friendlier language.

    ps file sharer is the less propaganda-ish name I came up with, but I hope copyright liberators takes off.

     

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  73.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Good

    Now if only certain other people could realize that the absolute best approach to ensuring prosperity in any piracy stricken area is to properly evaluate what piracy offers and then do it better or die trying. I can all but guarantee that the cause of piracy is not piracy.

    Media's problem is of their own making. Failure to pay attention will result in the grounding of your vessel.

    Bob, the likes of your arguments are a pathetic and petulant display of a positively fantasy based understanding of reality.

    Copyright is out of control and those in the business of copyright "control" are out of control. You are reaping what you have sowed. You are your own executioners. If you do not engage with society, whose tacit approval of your monopolies must exist, society *will* stomp your bitch asses as well as your blind children in Congress.

    It is society against your handling of the gift of monopoly. Those are the only two dogs in this fight. You're welcome to dress them up any way you please before they enter the ring.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    Wait, Mike has his own SuperPAC now? Where do I donate?

    Well, if Anonymous Coward is correct, which I doubt, then apparently I have already donated to Mike's SuperPAC. The donate button is where you want to go, and I am so hoping someone takes Mike up on the $1,000,000 donation at some point -- just so we can know that someone finally took him up on the offer and bought him out for the year.

     

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  75.  
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    BigKeithO (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Big Tinfoil?

     

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  76.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    He'll be back as soon as bob's personalities cycle.

     

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    The Logician (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Green AC, you continue to destroy your arguments through the use of insults and evasive dialogue. You will convince no one, so your diatribe serves little purpose here. It is as I said earlier, you and those like you simply cannot conceive of a distributed collective that has no central point. It is as foreign to you, I believe, as the concept of the number zero was to ancient humans many thousands of years ago.

    Also, your list does not meet the factors laid out before you. Namely, that said organizations were 1) non-profit and 2) not funded in their entirety by SOPA/PIPA supporters. Both must be true for your response to be valid. However, that is not the case in what you have provided thus far. None of the organizations on your list meet that criteria. Your need to resort to profanity also undermines your argument even further. Clearly you have little experience or interest in constructive, civilized debate.

    And one further thing: I am no college child still living with my parents. I have been self-employed for almost two years now, working in the graphic design field in which I have over ten years of working experience. I live on my own and pay my own bills. Also, I am a single father raising my young autistic son, and your insult was most inappropriate and merely illustrates your own lack of character. I would ask you for an apology if I believed you would give one, but I am not certain you would, based on the tone your comments so far and your lack of common courtesy. You do not appear to be one who cares much for others.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Google and Techdirt

    I have wondered about a connection between Mike and Google. If there is, I have no problem with it (business is business), but if money has been changing hands, it would be interesting to know.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    It would help your cause if the AFL-CIO didn't simply repeat statistics we know to be false, casting doubt on their support directly coming from their members and at the very least showing ignorance on the matter.

    http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/11/30/justice-dept-launches-campaign-against-counterfeit-good s/

    More than a few of the organisations you listed are part of the AFL-CIO as well (which is an alliance of 50+ unions I should add), likely meaning they're towing the same line because what else do you do when you're faced with unproven claims of harm and inflated employment statistics, do some fact checking?

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    It's hard to believe what a sanctimonious, self-important douchenozzle you are. The following organizations are non-profits:

    AFL-CIO
    Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies
    American Federation of Musicians (AFM):
    American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
    Americans for Tax Reform
    Association of American Publishers (AAP)
    Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
    Association of Talent Agents (ATA)

    Those ar just the "A's". Feel free to delve into organizations beginning with the rest of the letters of the alphabet.

    The AFL-CIO, AFM and AFTRA are unions and by law, cannot accept money from outside sources. Either provide specific evidence that any of these groups are entirely funded by SOPA/PIPA supporters or admit your lie. Guidestar and other non-profit reporting groups can provide you with the information you seem to wish to ignore. Now be on your way and don't return until you can back your arguments up with facts.

    And try not to be so pathetically thin-skinned. Everyone hates a victim.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    If I wanted the same level of exposure, I would have to spend millions of dollars via a SuperPAC or similar to get the same results - and it would be considered lobbying.

    You may not like it, but Mike really is just an undeclared lobbyist at this point. Wait, Mike, did you have to declare you lobbying activities yet?

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    "This means, if you want people to buy your stuff - then charge a fair price and provide a good value."

    It doesn't mean that people can pirate the stuff if they don't like the price. Free market means people are free to make an alternate product and sell it at a lower price if they want. That is never the issue here, it's people taking what they don't feel the need to pay for.

    Free market? Or just free!?

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I guess the definition sheet they gave to the content trolls this week was written by Chris Dood this week.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    "non profit"

    Trying to conflate a trade union with a "non profit" is just stupid.

    "Americans for Tax Reform" is perhaps a genuine non-profit. The rest were just trade unions. Most of them had obvious ties to the content industry.

    It's like the UAW shilling for GM.

    Now why "Americans for Tax Reform" would have any position at all on SOPA is a bit of a mystery to me. If they did have a position, I certainly would not expect it to be either pro-corporate or anything that expands the power of any government agency. Thus, I am somewhat suspicious of anyone who claims that a Tax Reform group was pining for SOPA.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re: "non profit"

    Trying to conflate a trade union with a "non profit" is just stupid.

    "Americans for Tax Reform" is perhaps a genuine non-profit. The rest were just trade unions. Most of them had obvious ties to the content industry.

    It's like the UAW shilling for GM.

    Now why "Americans for Tax Reform" would have any position at all on SOPA is a bit of a mystery to me. If they did have a position, I certainly would not expect it to be either pro-corporate or anything that expands the power of any government agency. Thus, I am somewhat suspicious of anyone who claims that a Tax Reform group was pining for SOPA.


    That's all well and good. But the loudmouth made the idiotic pronouncement, I only shot him full of holes. Go to post #44 and have a whack at all of the other groups.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    You keep right on thinking it's all Google funding various astroturf campaign. Because Google could disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow and most of the opposition to SOPA/PIPA )and most of the entertainment industry in general) will still be there.

     

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    The Logician (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    As modplan has pointed out, Green AC, AFL-CIO's perpensity to repeat widely-debunked statistics as if they were fact destroys their credibility and that of their member groups, who you listed as though they were separate when they are not. Another deception on your part. Remove AFL-CIO and all of their member groups from your list. Aside from them, where are the remaining groups' offical statements of support? You have not linked to a single one. Unless they have stated so directly, merely appearing on a list does not convey their support in any definitive way. It is likely that many were misinformed as to the nature of the bills in order to gather more support than there otherwise would have been.

    Answer me this: do you have any understanding of the fact that you are in no way convincing anyone here, nor are you even wanted? I suspect, like many AC's who support the maximalist position, you are an attorney. Mike has already stated on more than one occasion that many of the IP address from shills such as yourself originate in imaginary property law offices. So tell us, which firm you do you work for? Also, is it physically possible for you to make a post without an insult or ad hominem attack of any kind? You have displayed a clear lack of courtesy and decency, so do not expect to be treated well here unless you do the same to others.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    As modplan has pointed out, Green AC, AFL-CIO's perpensity[sic] to repeat widely-debunked statistics as if they were fact destroys their credibility and that of their member groups, who you listed as though they were separate when they are not. Another deception on your part. Remove AFL-CIO and all of their member groups from your list. Aside from them, where are the remaining groups' offical statements of support? You have not linked to a single one. Unless they have stated so directly, merely appearing on a list does not convey their support in any definitive way. It is likely that many were misinformed as to the nature of the bills in order to gather more support than there otherwise would have been.

    Answer me this: do you have any understanding of the fact that you are in no way convincing anyone here, nor are you even wanted? I suspect, like many AC's who support the maximalist position, you are an attorney. Mike has already stated on more than one occasion that many of the IP address from shills such as yourself originate in imaginary property law offices. So tell us, which firm you do you work for? Also, is it physically possible for you to make a post without an insult or ad hominem attack of any kind? You have displayed a clear lack of courtesy and decency, so do not expect to be treated well here unless you do the same to others.


    The absurd assertion you continue to defend is that no non-profits other than those controlled by pro-SOPA forces oppose the bill. I shred that and then you proceed to move the goalposts all over the field. Opencongress.org, a non-partisan group lists the proponents and opponents of the bill. Here's the link:

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/money

    If you are really so desperate to challenge their inclusion by opencongress.org then YOU go to their website and glean whatever evidence of support (or lack thereof) you can find. I answered directly and gave a citation, which is far more than you have done. You're nothing more than a pseudo-intellectual poseur with an IQ not quite approaching room temperature. You may have the boys down at the LARP league fooled, but I see right through your masquerade. You're neither logical nor particularly bright- nor do I believe for a minute that you don't live with your mother. No way someone as pompous and self-important as you doesn't still live with Mom. The real world would eat you alive.

     

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  89.  
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    Markus, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Senator Orrin Hatch

    This article says that GOOGLE HELPED PUSH SOPA/PIPA.

    http://blog.experts-exchange.com/ee-tech-news/sopa-update-blackouts-pacs-and-a-little- bit-of-irony/

    Senator Orrin Hatch thinks the Government should blow up computers remotely and without due process. http://www.dethronehatch.com/orrin-hatch-is-no-friend-of-the-internet/
    Probably because he's been in D.C. for half a lifetime

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    You're nothing more than a pseudo-intellectual poseur with an IQ not quite approaching room temperature. You may have the boys down at the LARP league fooled, but I see right through your masquerade. You're neither logical nor particularly bright- nor do I believe for a minute that you don't live with your mother. No way someone as pompous and self-important as you doesn't still live with Mom. The real world would eat you alive.

    I agree, you've made your point that there appear to be organizations without any obvious vested interest (though not as many as you seem to claim). However... what is with the personal insults, really? Do you think they make your argument more convincing? Because it's exactly the opposite. Do you just not understand that it's OK to refute your opponent's argument without attacking him, or what?

     

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    Madi, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    OMG you're article helped me so much on my CBA on why SOPA and PIPA should NOT be passed! Thank you!!!(:

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Look, I realize the rhetoric got to be over the top. I simply refuted the bald-faced lie that all of the non-profits supporting SOPA were somehow funded or influenced by those who profit copyright. Unfortunately, there are those who are such rabid zealots that no matter what reasoned argument and evidence you put before them- they simply ignore it. I have no use for such cretins, especially those who affect a laughable air of intellectual superiority when their true intellect is on par with Australopithecus afarensis. Anyway, I am guilty of using words to gratuitously flail a hapless dullard. Admittedly not a nice thing to do, but under the circumstances quite satisfying. Sorry if I offended you or others, my words were meant only for the wannabe Mr. Spock loser. This will be my last post on the subject.

     

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  93.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    aww bob... such high hopes I had and then you opened your mouth again.

    Adwords revenue... prolly doesn't even pay for a latte.
    You wanted to create the illusion that Google funds this entire thing. You will have to find more to prove it.

    If Google can't sponsor and event does that mean we should ban politicians from attending events paid for by big content? You shouldn't be getting sponsored but those you have oversight of.

    I liked you much better when you just compared everything to a paywall. Maybe you should subscribe to the paywall in your brain and find the fully formed thoughts you seem to be missing out on by using quick excerpts to try and make your points.

    0/10 - Seriously bob... I'm not even the best commenter on the site and you can't even get past me, do better or get someone who can.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even in explaining the ad hominems, you pile on more ad hominems...

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    What makes you think he gets paid to do these 'featured posts'? For that matter, /what/ featured posts? How much more will you make up to salve your ego?

     

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  96.  
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    Mr Big Content, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    WOW! It's amazing HOW RIGHT YOU ARE! Why are people SO BLIND THEY CANNOT SEE!? The CONSPIRACY is ALL AROUND THEM! It's like there's some kind of FORCE FIELD that TURNS OFF THEIR BRAINS, and it's only YOU AND I THAT ARE IMMUNE!

     

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    The Logician (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet, AC 92, you still have not provided the actual statements of support from these non-profits you say supported the bills. Do so, if they exist. Quote them here, with sources, for each one, or admit you are incorrect. As I said before, merely appearing on a list does not denote definitive support, merely that they were convinced to add a list. You have not said whether those non-profits you claim supported the bills actually understood what it was they were supporting, rather than being misled in supporting something they were not given an accurate explanation for.

     

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    The Logician (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Also, AC 92, you would be incorrect in assuming I do not live on my own. I could give you all the information necessary to prove it, but even then your willful blindness would keep you from believing it. And you have not answered my question: which law firm do you work for?

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I simply refuted his claim. Those organizations are, in fact, non-profits.

    It was my claim, actually. And, I didn't just say "non-profits," I said a non-profit that wasn't funded in its entirety by supporters of those acts.

    Zero of what you gave me qualified.

    But, perhaps I wasn't being technical enough for you. When people say "non-profit," usually what they are talking about are non-profit organizations that are geared towards the social welfare. They don't mean the RIAA, or the BSA, the AFL-CIO, or other trade organizations, whose
    sole function is to look out for the welfare of their own membership at all costs.

    If any of those organizations claimed to be "grassroots," they'd be lying. If any organization was set up by those groups alone, and claimed to be grassroots, that would be "astroturfing."

    This is the accusation Bob was throwing at the EFF and Wikipedia: that they were astroturf organizations, and that all of the protests by all 1,500+ sites worldwide were somehow coordinated from within Google's offices.

    But there are a large number of organizations that are not trade groups for you both to choke on.

    Can you name one? I looked through the list the A.C. above posted, and all I saw were trade organizations (like the BSA, RIAA, AFL-CIO and its affiliates, etc).

    None of them are non-profits who are not funded entirely by people with a strong economic interest in passing those laws.

    Not a single one of them was a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which is what both the EFF and the Wikipedia Foundation are.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Gah... HTML tag fail again!

     

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  101.  
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    John Thacker, Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    The companies helped, as a force multiplier, but the people mattered

    Yes, Google and the other companies involved helped rally the people and created frameworks to make it easier for people to get involved. But it wouldn't have worked without a genuine grassroots response.

    People on Capitol Hill are used to astroturf campaigns about bills. The popular response to this was huge and far from normal, not like an astroturf campaign. Astroturf doesn't get so many to switch their votes. It got the attention of those in Congress.

    Yes, without Google and Wikipedia and the EFF and the other corporations (non-profits like Citizens United are corporations) it would have been harder to organize. Money helps you make your case in politics and put your side of the argument forward. But beyond a certain point, more money doesn't help and votes matter more.

     

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  102.  
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    John Thacker, Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, it is like lobbying. But lobbying and campaign cash isn't magic.

    It takes money to make your case. But big money campaigns that can't bring votes don't do squat with Congressmen. The lobbying and awareness campaigns helped organize people and motivate them. But it was the popular fervor and outrage that gave the protests real power.

    Money in politics is often necessary, but it's not sufficient.

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:05am

    Reddit.com/r/testpac

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 8th, 2012 @ 5:05am

    Reddit.com/r/testpac

     

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  105.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Can you name one? I looked through the list the A.C. above posted, and all I saw were trade organizations (like the BSA, RIAA, AFL-CIO and its affiliates, etc).

    Concerned Women of America? United States Tennis Association? Americans for Tax Reform? I don't agree with anyone who supports SOPA, but they are not all trade unions, and they do not all have any obvious vested interest in it. (no, I did not check their tax status to see if they're 501(c)(3)s ) The question is, why are they supporting it? Is it because the MPAA sent them a letter to sign and said "you're supporting this"? Which they've admitted to doing in other cases.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Google and Techdirt

    Mike went over this. Two years ago, Google provided space for a Techdirt event. They did not have anything to do with the event's agenda, and did not pay Techdirt.

    Techdirt also has AdWords, as does most of the web.

    That's it. They have not, for example, done a case study with Techdirt, unlike, say, UPS, AmEx, or Oracle.

    The idea that Google has anything to do with the blog is hogwash.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    The US Tennis Association, I believe, is a trade group representing tennis equipment manufacturers. I could be wrong.

    I don't know about the others. I'll look them up when I'm not surfing on my phone.

     

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  108.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    So there never has been any payment from Google to Mike or any of his companies ever? I'm just curious. Like I said, I have wondered.

     

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    wvhillbilly (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Oh, and I guess Google has 400 million people working for them? If I recall right this is about how many people joined this protest.

    Even if Google and Wikipedia hadn't joined in, it would have made very little difference. And I don't buy Carey Sherman's argument that piracy costs the US economy 19 million jobs, when his little fiefdom only has 10,000 total working for him.

    Get real!

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    The US Tennis Association, I believe, is a trade group representing tennis equipment manufacturers.

    Nope.

    "The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis and the recognized leader in promoting and developing the sportís growth on every level in the United States, from local communities to the crown jewel of the professional game, the US Open."

     

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    wvhillbilly (profile), Feb 9th, 2012 @ 9:39pm

    Steam engines vs electric motors

    Hey Sherm! Why are you insisting on running a steam engine business model in the electric motor era?

    And why do you tie down the pressure relief valve to get more power out of that creaky old steam engine? Go ahead, tie it down tight, but don't blame anyone else when the boiler blows to kingdom come and takes your creaky, obsolete business model with it.

    You've fought tooth and toenail against every new technology that has come along, claiming it is going to destroy your entertainment industry, then when you've accepted and worked with that new technology you've greatly benefited from it. And now that the Internet and sharing has come along, it's deja vu all over again. You'd save all of us a lot of grief if you'd learn to accommodate to changes and give people what they want, instead of fighting every new thing that comes along and making bogus, grossly inflated damage claims when all the facts show the very opposite.

    . . .

    Oh, and suing your customers back to the stone age is no way to attract new business.

     

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  112.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    What does that have to do with anything? He's stated he's received a small amount of ad revenue from them. So do most popular websites.

    I have a blog where I write about 80s horror movies. I've received money from Google for advertising in the past. That doesn't mean they have anything to do with the content, nor that I'd be open to accepting any editorial control from them if they tried.

    Just because Mike writes about technology, that doesn't mean that a pittance from AdWords changes any of the content (unless someone can actually prove different, of course, as opposed to vague and flimsy conspiracy theories).

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 12:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    The US Tennis Association, I believe, is a trade group representing tennis equipment manufacturers.

    Nope.


    You're aboslutely right. However, the primary source of their funding is from manufacturers of sports equipment. This does not make them an astroturf organization, of course, but it would help matters if they had even one post on their site that explained why they support SOPA/PROTECT IP. They do not, which naturally leads a man to think some millionaire maker of tennis rackets approached them, and said "Hey, if you don't sign this, everyone in whatever tennis leagues are there for tennis will be wearing you're uniforms because they're just so cool, and you'll never be able to make money ever again." (Yes, they said "you're," even though they were talking.)

    In a similar situation is Concerned Women for America. This right-wing, pro-family, anti-abortion, anti-women's rights organization could hardly be called the poster child for the sodomy-loving, Zionist Hollywood media conglomerates. (FYI, that was all sarcasm.) So, why support SOPA? Well, it appears that they just hate Google, and really like anyone who wants to censor the 'net. But who knows.

    As for "Americans for Tax Reform," they are a fairly right-wing, anti-Obama organization, run pretty much exclusively by Grover Norquist (who, I'm ashamed to say, lives not too far away from my house). It is also not a 501(c)(3) organization (hint: they're essentially lobbyists). Even so, they no longer support SOPA nor PROTECT IP, though some Congressional scalliwag has left their name up there. Damn you, Obama!

     

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  114.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    I wasn't talking about AdWords. I was thinking more along the line of business/client or fee-for-service relationship. As far as I am aware, AdWords does not involve any human contact. I was asking if Google had ever hired or paid Mike or any of his companies for any kinds of services. Just curious. It's an extremely common question asked of bloggers and journalists. For that matter, it's often asked of lots of people. "Have you ever been paid by the company you are talking about?" If anything, the Internet is encouraging total transparency if that is possible. People are starting to expect it and demand it if they don't see it. You all have been reading the issues concerning Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Path, and so on. Companies being held to a standard of total accountability.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    OK, in that case AFAIK nothing has ever been shown to the contrary of what Karl stated above - TD was invited to participate at an event at Google's campus, as have many other companies in and around Silicon Valley. Otherwise, ads are the only known connection.

    The trolls around here have taken this to mean that Mike was paid off and any story he writes must therefore be pro-Google. It's clearly not true just by reading the articles, and none of them have ever offered a shred of evidence to prove that any other dealings between Mike and Google have ever taken place.

    It might be interesting, but generally speaking the people who have been insinuating any other relationship have been the known trolls who attack Mike for many things that are clearly untrue. If someone comes along with any actual information it would be interesting to see, but so far any connection does seem to be the delusions of a small contingent of committed trolls - type of person who was attacking Mike's marriage yesterday because they disagreed with something he said.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    I was just asking a question. You all have been going "there's no proof" as if it would be damning if Google had been a client of Mike or one of his companies.

    For anything I have ever written, I would be happy to respond to questions such as (1) whether I knew the people I was writing about, (2) whether they have compensated me in some fashion (e.g., anyone who has ever gotten into an event free as media is accepting a form of compensation by not paying the fee), or (3) any other question.

    I have travel writer friends and people always ask if they got a free trip to the place they were covering. (Some do accept freebies, others pay their own way or have their expenses paid by the publication.)

    I've done PR for some musicians and in nearly all cases I intentionally have done it pro bono so I can honestly say that I am touting these musicians because I believe in them, not because they have paid me.

    And so on. Talk to any writer/blogger and unless they acting dodgy, they will tell you what their relationship is to the people/companies/stories they cover. That's why many of them bend over backwards to let you know if there is any sort of connection, even if it wouldn't influence the story in the least (e.g. "We were childhood friends." "We attend the same church." "I used to work at the company." "He's my brother-in-law." "I own stock in the company."). In fact, it's such a common discussion amongst writers that I'm surprised there is any sort of defensiveness here. If you guys don't know the answer, which it appears you don't, just let it go.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    "If you guys don't know the answer, which it appears you don't, just let it go."

    I'm not sure what you're saying here. Nobody ever brings it up, except in response to to AC/troll element round here who keep accusing Mike of wrongdoing. Personally, there's nothing to "let go". I'm satisfied that Mike hasn't got ulterior motives with his post, and even if he did it's an opinion blog, not a primary news source. I do respond to the ACs but that's purely to ensure that new readers don't get swayed by their clear foolishness (well, that and boredom during work downtime). Otherwise, the issue means nothing to me.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 2:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    Personally, there's nothing to "let go".

    What I am saying is that if you don't know the answer, there's no need to respond. I'm learning how sensitive a subject this is for those you who responded. It would have been more of a non-issue for me if there had been no "in defense of Mike" comments.

    This thread was about Google lobbying, and I have wondered what Mike's relationship, past or present, might be with Google. If it is touchy for me to even raise the question, it generates more questions in my mind than if there had been no responses at all.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    What I am saying is that if you don't know the answer, there's no need to respond. I'm learning how sensitive a subject this is for those you who responded. It would have been more of a non-issue for me if there had been no "in defense of Mike" comments.

    Suzanne:

    The reason we're so touchy about it, is that the people making the "connection" between Mike and Google are the same people saying that the EFF is a "front" for Google, that the SOPA protests were orchestrated from withing Google's offices, and so forth. Bob is the loudest (and most crazy) of these people, but he's hardly the only one.

    When you figure in the fact that at least some of these A.C.'s have Washington D.C. IP addresses, you realize that it's part of an orchestrated smear campaign. These people may believe the smears, but smears they still are (or are supposed to be).

    This also usually comes in the form of accusing us commenters of being "duped," usually throwing in the phrase "Techdirt kool-aid." So, it is not just an attack on Mike, it's a personal attack on anyone who agrees with him.

    I don't think this is what you're saying, you just walked into the middle of an argument.

    Now, if you're really curious, Techdirt did a post about the summit that was hosted by Google:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100526/0142359581.shtml

    That is the only direct connection Techdirt has with Google, aside from AdSense (which pays next to nothing). Mike said so in one of his comments, but I couldn't find the actual comment to link to it.

    If you want to find out who is paying Mike, simply go to the Cases or Sponsor sections of the Insight Community site.

    By the way: Have you had a change of heart since you wrote your rather straw-man blog post about why people don't like IP laws?

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    As for "Americans for Tax Reform,"

    It's also worth mentioning that ATR is associated with the Property Rights Alliance, "an advocacy organization dedicated to the protection of physical and intellectual property rights."

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    Mike has other companies/activities than just Techdirt, right? I remember the news conference at Google, but saying there have never been any cases or sponsorship by Google doesn't really tell me anything. There are so many more ways to connect.

    As for the IP laws, I did feel a strong case hadn't been made about why they have been bad (I'm not necessarily in favor of them, but some of the arguments against them haven't been well presented). I think the "it's about freedom of the Internet" was a great spin and it did work. Personally it has never been my cause, so I have stayed out of the debate. (I'm far more interested in stopping fracking across the street from my local elementary school and finding sustainable ways to keep the world going for the next 100 years. IP laws pro or con are very far down on my lists of concerns.) I thought PIPA/SOPA were bad ideas, but during the barrage of coverage, after awhile I also began to see why Google in particular might be against them. They are a bother. If I were Google, I would be trying hard to stop them.

    There's another thought I have had recently as I follow along the news and the politics of it all. People are beginning to see Google, Facebook, and their mobile networks as utilities. Telling citizens they don't want censorship works well to get them riled up, but it also gets them thinking about how they don't want these pipelines to be used to gather info on them. Sure you can point out that if they don't want to be monitored, don't use Google or Facebook, but these two companies have become so ubiquitous that people are thinking these are just public tools and shouldn't be used to spy on them. People are getting radicalized about the Internet and the displeasure over pro-PIPA/SOPA will extend to any big tech companies expecting too much control. Stories are coming out daily now picking apart any big tech company that isn't clearly disclosing everything it does.

    I like Google more than Facebook or Apple, but between the PIPA/SOPA and the privacy issues, I see it more as a self-interested company than I did a few months ago. In other words, I understood the fight, but it has also raised my watchfulness over what big tech companies want to control. I see them as business interests rather than companies looking out for me. As one person I follow on Twitter noted, "just because I am against PIPA/SOPA, that doesn't mean I'm for these big tech companies." I think it was very smart for Silicon Valley to get mobilized and look out for its self-interests in DC. But now I am watching to see what other issues will be pitched to DC and how I feel about it. I'd like a much more realistic stance on immigration, and I know many tech companies want that, so my interests and their interests will be aligned on that issue. I also want DC to be supportive of clean tech. I hope Silicon Valley use its influence there, but I'm not sure it will.

    I would prefer than we eliminated paid influence of politicians and elections, but we can't, I hope paid influence supports the causes I care about.

    What I think is a stretch is to suggest anti-PIPA/SOPA forces will now become Republicans. But I have seen it being suggested. That assumes people care more about this than many other issues. If the Republican Party were a true libertarian party, sure I can see some people making the switch. But it isn't and it will never be as long as money calls the shots. It will just be a battle of which laws favor which paid interests.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    No, That's Agitprop

    No, "people" didn't realize anything of the sort. It's Google's line, and you're peddling it. Shame on you.

    For an alternative view that challenges this agitprop, see these pieces:
    http://firststreetresearch.cqpress.com/2012/02/01/google-lobby-tab-highest-ever/
    http://ww w.ppcassociates.com/blog/experience/lobbyists-1-internet-0-an-alternative-take-on-sopa/

    Google spent much more this year, and it was due to "net neutrality" and SOPA/PIPA. And Google doesn't literally have to spend a time when there is an organized and concerted force of Silicon Valley "thought leaders" like Joi Ito or Mitch Kapor in the tank with Google who promote this line.

    It's also especially ridiculous to pretend "the Internet rises up". You know full well that's not at all how it works. A few laptop tech media sites and blogs like yourselves whip up the frenzy, all in tune with the copyleftist agenda and California Business Model of Google (free service, let people upload content without questions, make IP owners chase later with DMCA takedowns).

    By peddling alarmist blog posts and scary YouTubes that made it seem like every teenager's Tumblr blog was going to be shut down or all of Facebook or all of Youtube (!!!) over some one piece of infringing content (fake and false, nothing like that was in the bill) -- you were able to whiplash the masses. So what? People are gullible.

    And hey, Mr. Internet Freedom Fighter, we missed you on the day after SOPA was defeated without even a fair vote, when your big friends Twitter and Google immediately set about doing REAL censorship (unlike the fake censorship they hysterically claimed was coming with SOPA), when they agreed to help authoritarian governments censor their citizens' tweets or blogs. Disgusting hypocrisy and you are a key facilitator of it.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    Selective Geek Religious Doctrines

    There wasn't "ignorance about how the Internet works". There was just outrageous obfuscation and propagandizing.

    Geeks can block malware sites without screeching that "the Internets are broken oh noess1111" -- so they can just as handily block piracy if they get over their ideological allergies.

    Geeks tell us content can't be encrypted because of inevitable hacks and spoofs -- and yet they screamed that "the Intenrets will be broken oh noesss1111" over the fact that DNS would be blocked and they wanted to put in some new DNS encryption scheme. Fail. Lame. Lies.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, speaking of IP issues, I am also not happy about GMOs. It's become a big issue in Boulder. People want to stop GMOs from being grown on public land here. And for that matter, we're happy whenever a country bans GMOs or sues companies for selling them.

    So I am very much not a supporter of allowing companies to patent genes/plants/etc. I hope the anti-IP crusade takes on this issue in a big, big way.

    Amongst my Boulder friends, anti-fracking and anti-GMOs are both big issues. I'd love to see Google take on Monsanto, for example. I doubt that it will happen because it's not a cause that affects Google's bottom line.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    yes, it was EFF and its networks, and those are whipsawed by Google. And all roads lead to Joi Ito and Mitch Kapor.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Of course they're astro-turfs! They are funded by wealthy former software coders and sellers like Mitch Kapor who made their fortunes from proprietary code and then got religion about open source after they could afford to do so. That's all it is. If these organizations and their paid networks didn't exist and normal debates could be held on the merits without the enormously amplified mindshare they have through the laptog tech press, it might be a fair fight. It's not.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    If you thing Big Content is so lame, do stop downloading those Youtube videos with songs you like and stop torrenting your Lost episodes mkaY? Because it's all so lame and all.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    It was first pumped on YouTube in a series of geeky youtube videos with the lawyers or geeks in the Google/EFF tank. Google owns Youtube.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Google and EFF are both in GNI. They work hand in glove on campaigns like this. If EFF has sued some element of Google on some minor point, so what? The point is all of these people are in a cabal most certainly and they all use their wealth to influence public opinion. That's their right, but let's not pretend this is a grassroots thing, it's not, it's the platform owners using the enormous power of their platforms to propagandize users and get them to virally spread their marching orders.

    All of this is alarming because it undermines representative democracy. Nobody elected Google or its minions to represent them except a few million of their geeky followers.

    You don't represent the rest of the country, and when you do things like fight SOPA, you will see the backlash in the form of a Republican president.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    There doesn't have to be a payment. It's about being in an old boys' network together with a likeminded ideology so that one hand washes the other.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Er, only 7 million signed a petition, but I bet if we scrutinized it we'd find a lot of alts and copies.

     

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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google and Techdirt

    Could you point to a critical article Mike has written about Google?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re:

    This article totally explains how my thinking about tech self-interests started to take shape as I watched the PIPA/SOPA discussions. I've had a strong distrust of Facebook for nearly as long as I have used it. Now I am starting to watch my back with other Internet companies, too. That doesn't mean I have sympathy for big media. It's just that increasingly I have less trust in the "new" big companies, too.

    How SOPA and PIPA did and didnít change how Washington lobbying works - Sunlight Foundation: And in this respect there is something sui generis about the anti-SOPA lobbying activity. Itís hard to imagine a similar coordinated effort to advocate, say, for a more progressive tax code that no longer taxed passive investment income at a significantly lower rate than salaried income. This kind of spontaneous uprising is almost certainly limited to issues that hit the Internet content providers where they live. Take a step back, and it looks a lot like the kind of self-interested advocacy that has always dominated politics, with private interests on both sides miming the familiar symbolic tropes of the people and the public good.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    Of course they're astro-turfs!

    Of course, you have absolutely zero evidence to back this up, other than that some of the organizations that opposed SOPA and PROTECT IP were founded by tech guys.

    Even a cursory glance at their annual statements, which are public, show you're wrong. In the EFF's case, for example, a good number of donors are not in the tech industry at all.

    Yes, the Brin Wojcicki Foundation (which is not run by Google, but by one of its founders and his wife) did give money to the EFF and Wikipedia. You know who else they gave money to? The Michael J. Fox Foundation. In fact, they're giving 1000 times more to the Fox Foundation than they did to the EFF. By your logic, this means that the Fox Foundation is also "astroturfing" for Google.

    Furthermore, Wikipedia's discussion page - where their membership (not Wales) decided to black out the site - is still up, and right out in the open.

    Does Google have an interest in keeping the Internet open and largely unregulated? Yes. But so does everyone else who uses the Internet. This wasn't "orchestrated" by Google, or any other tech company. It was a popular reaction to unpopular bills.

    This should be obvious, as the Sunlight Foundation's own site shows the approval rating of both bills to be around 1%. That means 99 out of 100 people don't want them.

    Hell, even Peter Gabriel took his site down to protest them.

    Nor could Google or Facebook's "influence" explain the hundreds of thousands of people who protested in person against ACTA in Europe.

    And the idea that they have "paid networks"? Don't make me laugh. The only people who have "paid networks" are the traditional media industries, because traditional media is not open to the public, like the Internet is. And those media companies have consistently ignored the story.

    Now, perhaps you should retire to the ghetto of your own rapidly pro-IP blog, play some more Second Life, and only come here when you actually have a single shred of evidence to back up anything you say. Until you do, nobody here is buying what you're selling.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike has other companies/activities than just Techdirt, right?

    The ones I know about are Techdirt and the Insight Community (I believe, but don't know, that Step2 is part of the latter). His main source of income, from what he's said, is consulting. Many of his clients are artists and musicians. I don't know who they are, though.

    As for the IP laws, I did feel a strong case hadn't been made about why they have been bad

    As I pointed out in the comments, you were not listening to everyone. When your #1 reason is "I want stuff for free," you've already closed your ears.

    Personally, the #1 reason I don't like IP is because it is used almost exclusively against artists themselves, and supports an industry founded on indentured servitude. But that's just me.

    I also want DC to be supportive of clean tech. I hope Silicon Valley use its influence there, but I'm not sure it will.

    You really should take a gander at Google.org. That is the site for their official nonprofit organization. A major focus is on green energy. Other efforts include womens' education, STEM education, and eliminating human trafficking.

    What I think is a stretch is to suggest anti-PIPA/SOPA forces will now become Republicans.

    I personally will never vote Republican. Unfortunately, it was largely the Democrats who contributed to this, by claiming it was Republicans who derailed SOPA and PROTECT IP. If the Democrats don't distance themselves from the bills' backers, and quickly, I'm afraid the Republicans may get a few fence-sitters.

    Individual Democrats, of course, I would be more than willing to see lose over this issue. Biden is one guy who should have been voted out decades ago - pity we can't do that now.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    As I pointed out in the comments, you were not listening to everyone. When your #1 reason is "I want stuff for free," you've already closed your ears.

    I was outlining arguments from least persuasive to most persuasive. There are people who want content for free.

    You really should take a gander at Google.org.

    I'm very familiar with what Google has done in terms of clean tech. I also know they have cut back recently.

    I have actually been a big fan of Google. I no longer need to keep massive amounts of print materials on hand for research because I can find so much online now. Google has enabled me to massively downsize my life.

    And I think YouTube is the best thing that has happened to the music industry in recent years. The easier Google can make uploading music, the better. The licensing issues have been complicated and I think Google is pushing in the edge in that regard, which I think is good.

    But the privacy issues and the lobbying have taken the company down a notch in my mind. I actually don't blame them at all for the lobbying. I've just become more aware of the self-interest element of their activities as the lobbying cranked up. I'm just as wary of what big tech can become as what I have seen other companies become in the past.

    The excitement over "big" in the stock market shows me that the players have changed, but the mentality hasn't.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    The point is all of these people are in a cabal most certainly and they all use their wealth to influence public opinion. That's their right, but let's not pretend this is a grassroots thing, it's not, it's the platform owners using the enormous power of their platforms to propagandize users and get them to virally spread their marching orders.

    Perfect example of the frothing anti-googlers, Karl. :-)

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was outlining arguments from least persuasive to most persuasive.

    You also left out most of the arguments altogether. There is no mention of DRM, region restrictions, laws against "jailbreaking" cell phones, laws making it illegal to view DVD's in Linux, or other anti-consumer practices that copyright currently allows.

    There is no mention of Veoh's elimination by lawsuit, the near-impossiblility of startups to license music, the bogus lawsuits against Google and YouTube, or other costs to media-related companies that happen when you grant a single industry a monopoly on culture. No mention of the patent quagmire surrounding cell phones, damaging software patents, Intellectual Ventures, or the tremendous costs IP places on the economy in general.

    There is no mention whatsoever of the RIAA lawsuits, bogus takedown notices, Righthaven lawsuits, domain seizures, or other ways that copyright allows for the abuse of the court system, and the elimination of due process and free speech rights.

    No mention of Monsanto's lawsuits against farmers, patents on genetically-modified food, drug companies trying to eliminate generics, "grey market" drugs, or any other way IP laws damage public health (especially in third-world countries).

    And no mention of how higher-ups from the worst IP industries are being granted government positions at an alarming rate (such as when Monsanto's VP was made senior adviser at the FDA, or how the Justice Department is staffed with RIAA lawyers in top positions).

    These are the major reasons that most people are against IP laws. And you didn't even mention them. It's like writing an article on people opposing drug laws, and saying they only want to smoke pot and do crack.

    I know IP issues aren't your major interest. I know that a lot of this was new to you when you wrote the article. But you really should have at least listened to the actual reasons people are against IP laws. As it is, you're just arguing against a straw man.

    I also know they have cut back recently.

    Where did you hear this? From what I've seen, they've increased spending on green energy:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-van-diggelen/googles-green-spending-sp_b_1095849.html

    But the privacy issues and the lobbying have taken the company down a notch in my mind.

    The privacy issues are why the EFF keeps suing Google. Personally, I think they're overblown, at least in this case. You don't want your info to be aggregated and used, don't put it on the web, simple as that.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 3:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I personally will never vote Republican. Unfortunately, it was largely the Democrats who contributed to this"

    One of the sad truths of American politics is that the left wing isn't represented by mainstream parties. Most Democrats would be considered right wing in most other democracies, or centrist at best. That tends to skew things.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I was outlining arguments from least persuasive to most persuasive. There are people who want content for free."

    Indeed there are, as there always have been, unless you're the sort of fool who thinks that piracy suddenly appeared with the internet.

    My major objections are related to the ridiculous regional models insisted upon by the industry. This leaves the US spoilt for choice in some ways, yet many countries literally have zero legal digital options. These countries also just happen to be the same countries targeted by SOPA and other laws. The industry would rather skew the market, then use legal sanctions to address the resulting problems, than change to fit the current market. That's a problem, and it's not worth people losjng freedoms to protect their profits.

    Did you discuss that argument?

    As for Google, I don't give a shit. If I don't like their actions, I have many other choices. The entertainment industry won't even give me that.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 4:08am

    Re: No, That's Agitprop

    I love paranoid conspiracy theories too. But, to be honest, when it comes to passing laws I prefer the real world.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 4:11am

    Re: Selective Geek Religious Doctrines

    So, you have no facts so you call names and lie about the positions of your perceived opponents. Fascinating.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You also left out most of the arguments altogether.

    I based it on the most common discussions I had read here and other places. I found many of them not very persuasive. My point was that if you want to over turn IP laws and make a case for the average citizen, you need more firepower. In fact, I think it's fine if that is your goal. But do a better job at arguing it.

    Where did you hear this? From what I've seen, they've increased spending on green energy:

    Google quits plans to make cheap renewable energy | Reuters: (Reuters) - Google Inc has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts.

    Google powers down its renewables drive

    Google Chooses Web Investments over Green Energy

    The privacy issues are why the EFF keeps suing Google. Personally, I think they're overblown, at least in this case. You don't want your info to be aggregated and used, don't put it on the web, simple as that.

    I don't put my info on the web and I don't use services like Google+ and Foursquare or mobile Facebook because of privacy issues. But this will be an issue. For the same reasons that "shutting down the Internet" got people stirred up, so will "they are spying on you all the time." I'm just reporting trends here. If you think it won't be an issue, see what happened with Path. The revolution that wants the Internet to be free also doesn't want corporations like Google to run the show.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What I see happening is that Apple, Google, and Facebook are moving into Walmart and McDonald's territory in terms of image. They are now huge brands and their bigness and whatever actions they take are increasingly scrutinized. The PIPA/SOPA lobbying did bring into clearer focus the business decisions driving these actions.

    The perspective has been that big media is bad and tech is good. But now I see more awareness that there are still power grabs here and as older industries die out, you have new ones moving in to protect their turfs.

    As this article points out, the new system looks a lot like the old one in terms of power dynamics.

    How SOPA and PIPA did and didnít change how Washington lobbying works - Sunlight Foundation: And, as the Center for Responsive Politicsí Viveca Novak reported, computer and internet companies hired 246 lobbyists to advocate on SOPA and PIPA issues, as compared to 241 lobbyists hired by the TV, music and movie industry. Companies lobbying on these issues spent $104.6 million combined on these issues in the fourth quarter of 2011. Yes, Hollywood has been at the influence game longer. But tech has been rapidly catching up the last few years.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know, the privacy arguments along the lines of "If you don't want your information shared, don't use the sites," isn't a lot different than, "if you don't want to pay a fine for illegal downloads, don't do it."

    I think privacy will be a big PR issue in the coming months because people want to think the entire Internet is theirs and will oppose attempts by Facebook and Google to have the pipelines run through them. Perhaps there will be new companies to bypass them. Or perhaps there will be more hacker take-downs. But I think the "people should control the Internet" spirit will continue. Anything big will potentially be a target.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know, the privacy arguments along the lines of "If you don't want your information shared, don't use the sites," isn't a lot different than, "if you don't want to pay a fine for illegal downloads, don't do it."

    Yes, but so what? Once again, the meaningful arguments against the current copyright regime do not equate to "I don't want to pay a fine for the illegal downloads I'm doing". In the case of privacy, "don't use [fill in service]" is a viable though imperfect solution. "Don't be a pirate" doesn't solve any of the serious problems with copyright.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but so what?

    This post is about why Google is getting attention for lobbying against PIPA/SOPA when other companies and other organizations were also against it.

    I wanted to add my perspective to that. (I stay out of the IP discussions because I don't really care much. The rest of you can do battle. If you can bring down companies involved in GMOs, I'm all for it, but otherwise, I'll focus efforts on issues of more immediate concern to me.)

    Any company that is big, and especially one that is hiring lobbyists, is going to get increased public scrutiny. Google and the other tech companies have gone from being perceived as "one of the good guys" to "one of the big guys." Google, Apple, and Facebook are now the new establishment. And there are grassroots efforts that will aim to take down any establishment entity. It goes with the territory.

    Big tech has gotten more negative press in recent months and I expect to see even more of it. Here's an example:

    Appleís Brand Is at Stake as Customers Demand Better Labor Practices - Business - GOOD: Apple ignores these demands at its own risk. Such assaults on a company's reputationóespecially a company as brand-focused as Appleóhave rattled powerful organizations before, from the recent controversy at the Susan G. Komen Foundation to Nike's labor rights failures in the 1990s.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 8:23am

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    Suzanne - I'm going to reply to various posts in this one. Hope you don't mind.

    I based it on the most common discussions I had read here and other places. I found many of them not very persuasive. My point was that if you want to over turn IP laws and make a case for the average citizen, you need more firepower. In fact, I think it's fine if that is your goal. But do a better job at arguing it.

    I know for a fact that I personally expressed some of these concerns to you before you wrote the article. You did not even mention them. I've also been surfing reading other blogs and sites about this issue, and nearly every criticism of copyright laws has to do with 1.) ridiculous enforcement (suing users, seizing domains); 2.) regional restrictions, DRM, and consumer restrictions generally; 3.) outrageous copyright lenghths. Almost nobody gave any of the arguments you mentioned.

    Result? You were arguing against a straw man.

    I do not think you are lying or ignorant. I think this is a case of confirmation bias. You are not convinced that IP laws should be scaled back, so you only heard the arguments you wanted to hear.

    So, don't say that any of us need to "do a better job at arguing it" when you won't listen to the arguments.

    And, so far, the 1500+ sites that participated in the blackout seem to be firepower enough. Look at what's happening with ACTA, especially in Europe.

    In fact, the biggest issue facing IP reformers is not that we're making bad arguments. It's that we were never allowed a forum to make them. The bills, laws, and treaties were all passed behind closed doors, out of the eyes of the public (and any industry that wasn't in the RIAA/MPAA). In a sense SOPA/PROTECT IP were the best thing to happen to copyright reformers. It was litigation that was so awful, that it negatively affected even those who don't care about IP at all.

    What I see happening is that Apple, Google, and Facebook are moving into Walmart and McDonald's territory in terms of image.

    Apple? Absolutely. Facebook? Probably. Not so much Google, at least not in the eyes of the public.

    If anything the SOPA/PROTECT IP protests made Google look much better than before. People hated these bills, even before the blackout. The blackout only made people aware of the issue, and once they were, they were absolutely livid.

    As this article points out, the new system looks a lot like the old one in terms of power dynamics.

    It's an interesting article. You left this part out:
    The contours of the audience paying attention to a policy usually determine whether that policy ultimately passes. When a broader public gets wind of a crude bill that would transparently benefit a narrow public, that bill is typically rendered toxic and thus politically finished.

    It used to be the case that for this to happen, the mainstream media had to be involved in calling attention to the travesty. Those days are disappearing, and this is generally a good thing. By lowering the barriers to entry, the Internet has the potential to make political activism more democratic than ever before, and the SOPA turnaround is proof that it can work politically to engage a broad crowd in short order.

    I understand their concern. But, frankly, I think it's completely overblown. It's rooted in the fact that prior communications mediums were controlled by gatekeepers. Newspapers, television, and radio are not democratic in any way, shape or form. The Internet is. Google, Wikipedia, and the rest simply cannot be gatekeepers to the internet, even if they wanted to be. If their claims are bogus, there will always be somebody calling them out - and the internet is always willing to go viral with that info.

    It's also not very accurate about the protests themselves. Not once, for example, do they acknowledge that the blackout idea did not come from any of the companies they mentioned. In fact, those companies only jumped on board after a grassroots movement had already started.

    Here's another, and I think better, article about the tech industry's lobbying efforts:
    The stop SOPA campaign is also noteworthy because it was not directed by a grand design launched by the large companies, but came from the bottom up, from small companies and independent Internet activists.

    They started a wildfire of opposition with companies such as Google and Facebook adding their voice as the movement reached a crescendo.
    - SOPA defeat a victory for tech, but influence will remain muted

    And as for the tech industry stepping up its lobbying efforts? According to MapLight, the tech industry was still outspent nine to one on SOPA.

    So, you are absolutely right to be concerned about lobbying efforts. You are wrong if you are singling out the tech industry.

    You know, the privacy arguments along the lines of "If you don't want your information shared, don't use the sites," isn't a lot different than, "if you don't want to pay a fine for illegal downloads, don't do it."

    Fair point. On the other hand, most sites (Google, Facebook, even Myspace) have tons of options to limit sharing of information that you may or may not want private.

    And if those sites have privacy policies you don't like, you're not forced to use them - because there is tremendous competition. That's not true of "illegal downloads" - if you don't want to support the RIAA, for example, you can't go elsewhere (legally) for a song on one of their clients' labels. They have a monopoly. Google (and tech industries in general) do not. This makes them orders of magnitude more invested in keeping good faith relations with the general public.

    But you're right that it is a concern. It was (and is) a concern with Facebook's behind-the-scenes data gathering. It was certainly a concern with Google Wave (the program, which folded almost immediately, that prompted an EFF lawsuit against Google).

    What's also true is that the privacy issues are often blown out of proportion. The bit last year about Google streetcars gathering data is an example. Also, keep in mind that sometimes these issues are deliberate attacks by competitors - such as when Facebook hired a PR firm to smear Google's privacy image.

    But if you want the largest threats to privacy, you need to look to Washington. For example, the "Internet Snooping Bill" (it actually has the unrepentently dishonest name of "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act") would require, by law, that all internet providers store records of user data and IP addresses, to be used by law enforcement for whatever purpose it wants.

    Its main sponsor? You guessed it - Lamar Smith, the same guy behind SOPA. The same guy who said the only reason anyone was against these bills is because its opponents are "somehow benefiting by directing customers to these foreign websites" or "profit from selling advertising to these foreign websites."

    Such bills are not new. In 1991, there was the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, a bill that would require law enforcement access to plaintext emails and outlaw encryption. It was the primary reason Phil Zimmerman created PGP. Its author? None other than our current Vice President, Joe Biden. The same Joe Biden who held a closed-door "IP Roundtable" to discuss copyright and the Internet - but only invited media conglomerates and high-level law enforcement officials, and completely left out anyone from the tech industry, public interest groups, or academics. Then had the unmitigated gall to claim "all stakeholders were present."

    I am not suggesting that the RIAA, MPAA, or any other "big content" industries are behind these particular bills. I'm not even sure they support them. I am saying that "big content" hates the Internet and the tech industry, and are funding politicians on that common ground. When that happens, they end up funding invasions of privacy by the government - at far, far worse levels than anything Google, Facebook, and so forth are even capable of.

    All of your concerns are valid. They are, however, misdirected. At least right now.

    This post is about why Google is getting attention for lobbying against PIPA/SOPA when other companies and other organizations were also against it.

    Google is not getting attention for it. The pro-SOPA forces are trying to throw attention onto them. It is designed to discredit anyone who was against SOPA and PROTECT IP, by painting them as "pawns" of Google.

    These are the same people who call Ron Wyden "Google's pet senator," despite the fact that his #1 campaign contributor is Nike, a supporter of both bills.

    You're right about the reason they chose Google: they are big - meaning they are successful. In their eyes, any company that is successful on the Internet is stealing from them. More importantly, Google is a threat. They keep winning court cases (e.g. against Viacom and Perfect 10), and they have enough money to actually fight back.

    Witness Lamar Smith's comments about SOPA opposition. You think it wasn't a subtle threat against Google?

    But this "attention" isn't coming from the public. It is, and always was, a political ploy, pure spin and propaganda. At least as far as SOPA is concerned.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bravo, Karl. Looking forward to your response Suzanne - not in a gleeful, can't wait to tear you apart way or anything, I just think the conversation is getting good.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are not convinced that IP laws should be scaled back, so you only heard the arguments you wanted to hear.

    No, it's that I don't really give a damn. I definitely believe there are IP abuses, but it isn't my cause. I don't want to spend my energy fighting IP laws. I want to spend my time on other things. I haven't been convinced it's a more important cause to me than fighting fracking, for example. What I said is this is what I hear from anti-IP people. Do a better job of reaching me. You haven't yet convinced me my life and future generations will die because of IP laws. Similarly, I am an environmenalist, but I think the global warming argument isn't all that effective. It's too removed from our day-to-day life so people don't think it's an immediate threat to them. It's not the reason I care about the environment and I've said as much in global warming discussions. Sometimes, when people are passionate about something, they don't understand why they aren't getting through to those they need to convince.

    As for Google starting to get negative press, yes, I am seeing it from pro-tech people. Some recent examples. I can give you many more.

    Two-Face: Will Google Become The New Patent Villain? | PandoDaily

    Pseudo masochism is fuelling ACTA witch-hunt ē The Register: In reality, it is hard to get excited about the very diminished world offered to us by Google and Facebook - the one they call an interconnect utopia - when it has the economy of a malfunctioning Banana Republic, where talent isn't rewarded, our private activities are catalogued and pathologized, and rational argument is closed down by roaming herds of nasty bullies.

    Google privacy policy: The missing opt-out isnít the only problem. - Slate Magazine

    Watchdog sues FTC over new Google privacy policy - Los Angeles Times

    Google's Privacy Blowback Helps Microsoft Gain Mindshare - Forbes

    Consumer Watchdog Says Google's Lobbying Expenses Show Firm Has Adopted 'Cash and Carry' Approach to Politics; Spending Soars 87 Percent | Consumer Watchdog

    Spending Plus Online Clout Put Google In Lobbying Class of Its Own|Inside Google

    Google Lobby Tab Highest Ever Ė First Street Research Group

    Google Overtakes Microsoft in Federal Lobbying Spend - Search Engines - News & Reviews - eWeek.com

    Criticism of Google - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Here are a couple of other articles that might be of particular interest.

    These Guys Arenít Startups Anymore: Big Tech Lobbies Washington | InTheCapital

    SOPA: the tech industryís self-inflicted wound | Just Well Mixed: More tellingly, though, none of the major tech associations has as its primary mission the protection of the open Internet. Their members all benefit from an open Internet, of course, but the existence of that open Internet is not a direct concern of, say, the Entertainment Software Association (representing video game publishers, $4.6 million) or ITI (enterprise computing, $2.6 million). Even worse, one of the few major associations on the tech list, the Business Software Alliance ($2.1 million), actually supported SOPA, until outcry from the rest of the tech sector led them to back off.

    Here, then, we find the real reason why tech was nearly sandbagged by SOPA. It wasnít because tech is getting outspent by the deep pockets of Big Content; itís because tech spends its lobbying money in dumb ways.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    Because we can only boot people out every other year.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Whether or not it influenced PIPA/SOPS, Google still spend a ton on lobbying

    I suppose one could argue that if Google DIDN'T influence anti-PIPA/SOPA sentiment, were they wasting money on lobbying?

    Lobbying Spending Database - Google Inc, 2011 | OpenSecrets

    Q4 2011 Lobbying Report Shows Google Spending Skyrocketed | Consumer Watchdog

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, it's that I don't really give a damn.

    So, you didn't give a damn enough to listen to IP critics, yet gave a damn enough to write a blog post criticising them?

    As for Google starting to get negative press, yes, I am seeing it from pro-tech people.

    Okay, now I'm confused about what you're trying to say. Are we still talking about SOPA/PIPA, or are you just trying to dredge up dirt against Google?

    Here's what you said: "The PIPA/SOPA lobbying did bring into clearer focus the business decisions driving these actions."

    Yet, most of the links you provided had nothing whatsoever to do with SOPA/PIPA.

    For example, Google acquired Motorola Mobility in August - two months before SOPA was introduced. (And, in fact, the criticism was not of Google per se, but their possible decision to continue in Motorola's footsteps.) The majority of complaints about Google's privacy concerns happened because Google recently integrated their TOS and privacy policies across their entire family of services. This had absolutely nothing to do with SOPA, or Google's lobbying in general.

    In fact, in the entire Wikipedia article about Google criticisms, their increased lobbying due to SOPA/PIPA was not even mentioned.

    I'd also like to point something out. This discussion has now turned away from the bills themselves, and the focus is now almost entirely on Google in general.

    This is exactly what the supporters of SOPA and PROTECT IP want to happen. They want to turn the narrative of the protests from one of a grassroots movement that spanned thousands of websites and dozens of organizations (most of them non-profits), and into a story of one company controlling minions. It is simply incorrect, but they believe if they repeat it loudly enough, people will listen - especially people in the Beltway.

    This highlights the reason why:

    the existence of that open Internet is not a direct concern of, say, the Entertainment Software Association (representing video game publishers, $4.6 million) or ITI (enterprise computing, $2.6 million). Even worse, one of the few major associations on the tech list, the Business Software Alliance ($2.1 million), actually supported SOPA, until outcry from the rest of the tech sector led them to back off.

    The BSA is actually an IP maximalist, representing as it does software companies who don't like piracy - such as Microsoft. (The BSA is known for publish bogus reports about losses due to piracy.) And, is Comcast a member of the "tech industry" for being an ISP, or a member of the "content industry" for owning NBC Universal?

    Because of this confusion, the IP maximalists can't paint it as entirely a picture of "tech" vs. "content." Nor can they afford to paint it as it really is: "content" vs. "everyone on the Internet." They need a scapegoat: someone powerful enough to be a threat, and for whom the existence of an open Internet is a direct concern. Someone whose business model you can discredit, especially if you can claim they have a financial motive for defending piracy.

    In their eyes, Google fits that narrative. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows them to portray the anti-SOPA/PIPA forces as being "misled" by a single, monolithic, self-interested entity. Of course, most of the voices against SOPA and PIPA were 501(3)(c) nonprofit organizations: the EFF, Public Knowledge, the FSF, Wikipedia, Demand Progress, and so forth. To make their narrative work, they need to spin public opinion (or, more importantly, D.C. opinion) to make it sound like these are all merely "astroturf" organizations, with Google in charge. Hence Bob's rantings, matching nearly word-for-word with Chris Dodd's, and repeated uncritically by Lamar Smith.

    The second thing it accomplishes is a plan of action. "If we can handle Google," they think, "the rest of the Internet will line up like good little soldiers." Hence, the public statements by the bills sponsors that they are willing to "work with Google" (yes, they mention Google by name) to work out problems with the bill. In this way, they can go back to business as usual - backroom deals, made outside the public eye, where Google represents the only one in the room who does not benefit directly from stronger IP laws.

    But Google had almost nothing to do with the blackout or the SOPA/PIPA protests. If Google had actually supported the bills, the protests and blackouts would still have happened, exactly as they did (and are). Consider the letter to Congress asking to completely halt work on IP-related legislation. Of the 70 groups that signed it, about half are nonprofits, and Google is notably absent.

    This revisionist narrative is a grave misstep, a huge miscalculation. It has already started to come back and bite them in the ass. If you actually believe it, I'd advise you to rethink your opinion.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 8:23pm

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    Karl, you're the one being dodgy.

    1. You cite a blog post I wrote quite awhile ago. I was giving reasons why the anti-IP folks haven't explained why IP reform should be a big issue for those of us who care more about other things. I still feel that way. IP doesn't hit me in my neighborhood. I'd be perfectly happy if you eliminated all IP protection, but that doesn't mean I don't also spot BS arguments when they are given.

    2. I said that the PIPA/SOPA battle brought into focus the amount of money Google has spent on lobbying. This draws attention to its corporate self-interests. In general people no longer see Google, Facebook, or Apple as underdogs. They are the new power structure. In this day of OWS, they are as suspect as other big entities.

    3. I didn't see a need for PIPA/SOPA. It was badly written, unnecessary, and would just add more layers of legal complexity. However, people like me do not necessarily therefore support the companies that were anti-PIPA/SOPA. I'm actually in more favor of radical economic change than many of the people embracing the usual Techdirt approach. A lot of what I have read in defense of Google, Apple, and Facebook could have been said by the supporters of big corporate American 30 - 50 years ago. I see the same thinking now, just a different group of people representing a different group of companies, but still dancing for Wall Street and investors.

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 10:15pm

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    Okay, one more reply, then I think we should let this drop.

    Karl, you're the one being dodgy.

    For the record, I never called you "dodgy." I think the conversation is getting off track, and you're muddling the issues a bit, but I don't think you're being dodgy.

    1. You cite a blog post I wrote quite awhile ago. I was giving reasons why the anti-IP folks haven't explained why IP reform should be a big issue for those of us who care more about other things.

    Here's the thing. IP reformers have been giving plenty of reasons. You barely touched on any of them. The only reasons you gave for IP reform were variations on "we want stuff for free." That's not even a small part of IP reform.

    Picture this: It's 1973. Someone writes an op-ed about feminism. Their argument: "I don't care much, but I know that if the anti-men folks want feminism to be a big issue for those of us who care about other things, they'd better do something other than burn their bras, leave their husbands, and grow their leg hair. I mean, c'mon, ladies! There's a war goin' on!"

    Would that be more reflective of feminism, or about the person who wrote the article?

    Obviously, your article is not that bad, and you did touch on some good points. But here are some places where you were obviously, staggeringly wrong:

    "Why, I think to myself, should lawmakers change current laws if a strong case hasn't been made to do so?" (Since the article was written, there have been four attempts by lawmakers to change current laws, all at the request of IP maximalists, none of whom have made a strong case to do so.)

    "Chances are that if they [concepts] are currently in the public domain, they will remain so." (Golan v. Holder took material out of the public domain.)

    "For example, poor nutrition and inadequate health care in Africa are not IP issues." (As I said in the comments, absolutely they are - and not just for Africans. IP is the only reason drugs are cheaper in Canada. That's why people like RxRights are against SOPA/PIPA.)

    "Rarely has the case for lessening IP protection been made so that it is relevant to the average person. When we go to vote, IP issues tend not to be a priority.If anything, the emphasis on copyright and music lessens the perceived relevance because most voters don't see that as a major issue in their lives." (Thousands of blacked-out websites, millions of signatures and phone calls to Washington, hudreds of thousands of protesters marching in the streets, and "most voters don't see that as a major issue in their lives"?)

    And, though it's in your comments (not the article), here's the real kick in the pants:

    "What I'd like to do is to get the anti-IP folks more involved in the political process. To get the laws changed, you can either lobby legislators or you can make it an issue with voters." (So, why exactly are you criticizing Google again?)

    Speaking of:

    I said that the PIPA/SOPA battle brought into focus the amount of money Google has spent on lobbying.

    You said that the PIPA/SOPA battle, and specifically Google's increase in lobbying spending to fight it, had negatively affected Google's public image, and brought the company under increased scrutiny.

    There is no evidence of any of that. Google has been under tremendous scrutiny for years now, and none of the complaints about them have anything to do with SOPA/PIPA. (Unless they're from Chris Dodd.)

    However, people like me do not necessarily therefore support the companies that were anti-PIPA/SOPA.

    That's OK. As long as you recognize that the companies that were anti-PIPA/SOPA did not drive the protests, then we're all fine and dandy.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no evidence of any of that. Google has been under tremendous scrutiny for years now, and none of the complaints about them have anything to do with SOPA/PIPA.

    Here's the deal. I'm one of those people who didn't know Google had a negative image until recently. (Sure, I've read the stories over the years, but nothing stood out to me.)

    I actually still like Google. I think Google's involvement with YouTube has provided a much needed push to bring music licensing/copyright into the 21st century. And I appreciate everything the company does to advance clean tech.

    But my perception of Google has changed somewhat. Now I filter everything they do in terms of their self-interest. I didn't used to do that.

    This sort of coverage has influenced me. You can blame Hollywood, if you want, for bringing it to light. But the PIPA/SOPA debate did end up pointing me to sources like this. Hollywood didn't invent the increase in lobbying money Google is spending. Just as the anti-SOPA/PIPA people were smart in saying it would result in censorship, the for-SOPA/PIPA people were smart to show how much tech companies have been paying to influence politicians, too.

    Lobbying Spending Database - Google Inc, 2011 | OpenSecrets

    Q4 2011 Lobbying Report Shows Google Spending Skyrocketed | Consumer Watchdog

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I love the way you ignored the rest of his comment to make that particular "point". Yes, you have discovered that Google as a corporation are not whiter-than-white and operate according to what's best for them. It's not a surprise to those who know how Google actually operate, but they are still saints compared to those trying to push these laws onto us.

    I also love the way you ignored his very next sentence, which was to remind you that it's irrelevant what you and anyone else thinks of Google, since they were not the driving force behind the protests. I can still despise Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and any other organisation's business practices and still oppose SOPA. I don't but it would not necessarily affect my opinion of these laws.

    Telling, I think, that you don't want to address all of his points, only the ones that seem more interesting to you personally and the general narrative you've been concentrating upon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  159.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Telling, I think, that you don't want to address all of his points, only the ones that seem more interesting to you personally and the general narrative you've been concentrating upon.

    Oh, common on. I've said I didn't support PIPA/SOPA, I don't fight anti-IP forces, and I like Google, and you are still trying to attack me. You're kind of proving my point. I can support the cause and still question big chunks of it for reasons like this. You guys want to argue just to argue and I question the wisdom of it. If you want to turn on potential allies, you've got something to learn about coalition building.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  160.  
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    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Potential ally? You've ignored most of the major criticisms being made, and not even acknowledged them when you quote the posts where they've been made. You constantly mention Google, even though they're irrelevant to the larger story. Karl pointed out specific quotes of your that were either totally wrong or based on faulty logic, and you ignored them in favour of another screed about Google.

    Sorry, but this is what an "ally" is, I'd rather not have you. Anyone on my "side" has to at least acknowledge the points I'm making, or at least be willing to discuss them. We have enough problems getting points past the propaganda and misdirection without allies doing the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  161.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 1:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anyone on my "side" has to at least acknowledge the points I'm making, or at least be willing to discuss them.

    Karl wanted to discuss something I had written several years ago. It wasn't specific to this discussion. I was focusing on discussing news articles I had found about Google in the last month (I intentionally limited my search to the last month). I take it some of you don't agree with my theory, which is fine.

    I'll stand by my perspective and you can stand by yours and I'll agree not to be your ally. Now I should turn my attention back to trying to stop fracking and GMOs in my county.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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