Chamber Of Commerce, Main Lobbyists Behind SOPA, Suddenly Wooing Silicon Valley

from the good-luck-with-that dept

The US Chamber of Commerce doesn't have a particularly good reputation among innovators for a very good reason. It's the epitome of protecting legacy players from innovation, using backroom lobbying and dealmaking, and representing the interests of the highest bidder. While it trades off its name -- and the fact that some people think it's actually a part of the US government, rather than an extremist lobbying group -- its positions are generally considered problematic to actual innovators that are driving the "commerce" of tomorrow. The US Chamber was the main outside lobbying group (beyond the MPAA) that was behind SOPA and PIPA, and was a major voice pushing completely ridiculously bogus "facts" about the evils of "IP theft" and "rogue sites."

While some big tech companies were members, the relationships have frayed over the past few years. Apple dumped the Chamber over its anti-science position on climate change. Yahoo dumped its membership because of the US Chamber's position on SOPA and PIPA. While some other big players, including Google have made noises about dropping out, they haven't yet done so. But, smaller startups and innovators know the Chamber's reputation, and are staying away for good reason.

Perhaps realizing that relying on Hollywood to keep paying for lobbying powers going forward isn't the best idea, the Chamber has apparently decided to start wooing Silicon Valley, opening an office here and sending one of its top execs to try to convince entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that they need to join the Chamber. As the WSJ article notes, this is a long shot at best. The US Chamber of Commerce's position on a whole lot of things is antithetical to nearly everything entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley stand for. The USCoC is about using politics to kill off competition and let a few top businesses collect more of the pie. Silicon Valley is about trying to innovate and expand the pie, even if there's lots of competition.

And, really, just the fact that the Chamber of Commerce still runs its laughably bogus propagandist Global IP Center, which does nothing but push for greater and greater intellectual property maximalism, shows how out of touch it is with the innovation community. I'm sure they realize that they backed the wrong horse on SOPA, but it's not like everyone in Silicon Valley is going to be fooled by their name.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    'The USCoC is about using politics to kill off competition and let a few top businesses collect more of the pie.'

    and what is so annoying about that statement is, none of the politicians give a toss that the people know what they are doing and the reasons behind the backing, like money, power, friendship, stupidity! but i'll bet they will be crying wolf when it eventually all comes out and names are named! one wont be able to name the rest quick enough! saving their own ass is something everyone agrees that politicians do best!!

     

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

  2.  
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    Beech, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

    "The US Chamber of Commerce's position on a whole lot of things is antithetical to nearly everything entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley stand for."

    Maybe, but not if it decides that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are a more effective avenue to get at the Almighty Dollar than those who are paying for it's opinions now

     

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

  3.  
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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    It's interesting to see that an entity like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is really run by the Lobbyists who are pushing their own agenda.

    Sigh...Another day, another set of Government officials that are willing to screw over the masses to pad their own pockets.

     

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

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 4:03pm

    Apparently the USCoC are sponsoring a cleanup event near where I live, ostensibly for the good press.

    It's a shame, I wanted to volunteer for that!

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    I can't tell if the pols who have their backing do so with the full knowledge of what this group stands for or if they're merely 'useful idiots' that are easily persuaded with buzzwords like 'capitalism,' 'liberty' etc etc

     

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

  6.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    Re:

    It's interesting to see that an entity like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is really run by the Lobbyists who are pushing their own agenda.

    They're not "really run by lobbyists" they are lobbyists.

    Sigh...Another day, another set of Government officials that are willing to screw over the masses to pad their own pockets.

    They're not government officials.

    The US Chamber of Commerce is a lobbying organization, not a government agency. There's a Department of Commerce, which is a government agency, but it is totally unrelated to the Chamber of Commerce which is a private company whose sole business is lobbying.

     

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

  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re:

    You know, as crazy as it sounds, this almost seems like exactly the kind of situation that trademark law is supposed to deal with, the 'deceptive naming' bit.

    Calling themselves the 'US Chamber of Commerce', while there's a 'Department of Commerce' seems like a pretty blatant attempt to get people to confuse the two, and believe that both are government agencies, as happened here.

     

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

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2014 @ 8:09pm

    Re:

    What would they be cleaning up?

    The Chamber Pot of Commerce?

     

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

  9.  
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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Apr 8th, 2014 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re:

    I didn't know that... Thanks for the heads up Mike.

     

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


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