I'm having contact issues with my Rep (nothing new, I live on the district line and no one wants to claim me) but I'm trying. Fortunately my Senators cannot refuse me.
Last edited by Orthodiva; 01-18-2012 at 02:59 PM.
Web Protests Piracy Bills, and 2 Senators Change Course
By JONATHAN WEISMAN
Published: January 18, 2012
WASHINGTON – Internet protests on Wednesday quickly cut into Congressional support for anti-Web piracy measures as lawmakers abandoned and rethought their backing for legislation that pitted new media interests against some of the most powerful old-line commercial interests in Washington.
Freshman Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back anti-Internet piracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure that had been set for a test vote next week.
Mr. Cornyn, just before 9 a.m, posted on his Facebook page that it was “better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the Internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time.”
Their decisions came after swathes of the Internet were shut down Wednesday to protest two separate bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, written by Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, drafted by Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social Web sites, appeared caught off guard by the backlash to what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them. The Senate’s high-tech expertise was mocked in 2006 after the chairman of the Commerce Committee, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, called the Internet “not a big truck” but a “series of tubes” — a comment that landed the late Republican in the Net Hall of Shame.
The backlash to the pending legislation had caused the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, to go dark. Google’s home page had a black banner across its home page that leads to pointed information blasting the bills.
Such new-media lobbying was having an impact.
“As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs. However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies,” wrote Mr. Rubio on his Facebook page.
Mr. Rubio has outsize influence for a junior senator entering his second year in Congress. He is considered a top contender for the vice presidential ticket of his party’s White House nominee this year, and is being groomed by the Republican leadership to be the face of his party – with Hispanics and beyond.
The moves on Capitol Hill came after the White House over the weekend also backed off the legislative effort.
“While we believe that online piracy by foreign Web sites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” White House officials said. With the growing reservations, a bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy may be in serious trouble without significant changes. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader and Democrat of Nevada, has scheduled a procedural vote on the Leahy version for early next week, but unless negotiators can alter it to satisfy the outraged online world, no one expects it to get 60 votes.
“I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor,” Mr. Rubio wrote. “Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.”
The content industry, everyone from Hollywood studios to book publishers, have been pushing for a legislative response to Internet piracy for some time. Groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as giants such as NewsCorp, are practiced at old-time lobbying – hiring big-named Washington personalities such as former Senator Chris Dodd and salting campaign funds with contributions.
Mr. Dodd, who is now chairman and chief executive of the motion picture association, forcefully denounced the shutdowns in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging,” he said.
In the Tea Party era of grassroots muscle, though, the old school was taken to school, Congressional aides and media lobbyists agree.
“The problem for the content industry is they just don’t know how to mobilize people,” said John P. Feehery, a former Republican leadership aide and executive at the motion picture lobby. “They have a small group of content makers, a few unions, whereas the Internet world, the social media world especially, has a tremendous reach. They can reach people in ways we never dreamed of before.
“This has been a real learning experience for the content world,” Mr. Feehery added.
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I wonder how many of our Congressmen and women know how to turn on a computer?
So sad, but probably so true.
Originally Posted by Lizard76
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Saw this on tumblr, was just about to post it.
Originally Posted by ivygivy
Ok not having wiki while doing a project in school was rough. I really hope this bill does not get passed. I signed the google petition it had on it's site. The protest is awesome though and does have a good effect.
Just saw this on twitter and retweeted.
Originally Posted by ivygivy
I told my Dad about the SOPA thing and he's like, "Damn, it's Communism all over again."
I have no idea whats going on but wikipeadia is down!
*panics*, how will i find stuff out????!!!!!!!! What if i want to know how many miles away the moon is from earth? How will i find out how many studio albums Rihanna has recorded?
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I know right! Today has been rough. lol. No one realises how much they need Wikipedia. Gosh, imagine if Google shut down for the day???
Originally Posted by Julie
I could not function!
Originally Posted by Marissa87
How did we survive before the internet?