Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia's "Corporate Pawns"

Large portions of the internet -- most notably Wikipedia -- have announced a "black out" today in protest of SOPA (the "Stop Online Piracy Act"), a proposed bill which they say would do massive damage to the basic infrastructure of a free internet, paving the way towards enhanced copyright trolling, reduced innovation, and even outright censorship. If you go to Wikipedia, you'll find that the site is mostly offline except for information about SOPA and why it needs to be stopped.

The social media driven backlash has begun to take its toll, as two former supporters of the bill (Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Cornyn (R-TX)) are now backing off, and momentum definitely seems to be in the corner of the anti-SOPA crowd (incidentally, the debate over SOPA really does seem to cross ideological borders -- while SOPA's main architects are Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the primary alternative to SOPA on the floor, the OPEN Act, is cosponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)).

And so we get this response from former Senator and current MPAA Chris Dodd (D-CT):
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.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.

Ah yes, the famously "corporate" wikipedia -- especially in comparison to the well-known altruists at the MPAA. This is, to say the least, impressively tone deaf. And I can't help but comment that the design of the MPAA's blog would have look dated in 2004. Is it any wonder that they're getting their heads handed to them in the public debate?

1 comment:

troll_dc2 said...

Just out of curiosity, what would you do about Internet piracy? Nothing?