The world's largest lobbying organization, the US Chamber of Commerce (which thrives off the fact that many people mistake it for a US government body), along with the biggest lobbyists representing the recording and movie industry, have ramped up their efforts to get PROTECT IP approved
as quickly as possible. The groups held a conference on Capitol Hill and then began visiting Senators to talk about how much they needed this protectionism, because they're unable to adapt to a dynamic internet where they're no longer the gatekeepers. Who's doing this? Well, along with the Chamber of Commerce, we have NBC Universal, Sony Music and Pictures, Walt Disney Company, the MPAA, the RIAA, News Corp. (watch your voicemails, senators), the National Association of Theater Owners, Warner Music and the American Federation of Musicians.
Basically it's a who's who of those who want to change the internet from a communications platform into a simple broadcast medium that they can control.
And, of course, Steven Tepp, the main guy at the Chamber of Commerce (and a former government official
with a history of mocking
concerns of consumers when it comes to copyright issues) trotted out totally debunked stats:
"IP-intensive industries are responsible for the jobs of 19 million Americans, $7.7 trillion of our gross output, and 60 percent of U.S. exports."
Note the basic fallacy here. It assumes that "IP-intensive industries" only exist due to stricter IP laws. This is false. In fact, some of the most "IP intensive industries" around, such as the tech industry, are opposed to this law. That the Chamber of Commerce would stoop so low as to include those who are against this law in its argument for why this law should be passed really just highlights the kind of sleazy politicking the organization is famous for.
Either way, there's no doubt (there's never been any doubt) that PROTECT IP was introduced with tremendous support from certain lobbying groups who have tremendous sway in DC. They've actually come up against more roadblocks than they expected, but they're not going to let that stop them. This is the first stage of the endgame to get the law passed. To be honest, I'm surprised they've even had to go this far, because from the beginning it looked like they had the easy support. The fact that they felt the need to break out this little stunt shows that the opposition to PROTECT IP has actually drummed up enough noise that some politicians are concerned about the very real unintended consequences of the law.
And while politicians may be confused
and send back the wrong form letters, don't let that stop you from at least making your voice heard. The folks at DemandProgress (with whom I have no direct connection, even if the MPAA will claim otherwise
) have set up an easy form
to use to make your voice heard. The EFF has set up a similar form
. Both of these let you edit the form and say what you want, and making an impassioned and reasoned (and calm) argument in your own words is much more powerful than just submitting the form letter. Of course, the entertainment industry has set up its own form letter generator
too -- but it's completely uneditable. In their world, creativity from the people is not allowed. Only the big industry gatekeepers are allowed to be creative.