Popehat will be blacking out tomorrow, January 18, 2012, to protest SOPA and PIPA. Even though those measures appear to be on the ropes, vigorous resistance is essential.
If we had any doubt, the MPAA helped clear it up today with a press release that reveals it and its allies for what they are: rent-seeking thugs using their political influence to push through legislation beneficial to them and detrimental to everyone else.
In the MPAA's release, shill Chris Dodd comes out swinging:
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.
Only the MPAA and a used-up ex-Senator like Dodd could imbue "technology business interests" with a mock-populist sneer whilst lobbying for one of the titans of American business interests. Note also the sneer at internet users, who are mere "pawns" of sites participating in the blackout. Also note the ambiguity of the last phrase, "a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging." What problem is that? SOPA and PIPA's creation of dangerous avenues of censorship and MPAA-driven government control? Piracy? The MPAA's and RIAA's long-standing hostility to technological change?
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services.
As opposed to the actions of the MPAA and RIAAA, which propagandize to make fundamental changes to the way the internet works, increase government control of it, and rent-seek in order to protect their 1950s-era business model. That's perfectly responsible.
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.
Nice freedom you've got there, Reddit and BoingBoing and Wikipedia. Shame if something happened to it. Shame, shame if influential lobbyists from the MPAA and its allies had to start thinking more about how it might be restricted. [Note to people who decry Citizens United and despise the idea that corporations have free speech rights: I think Dodd and the MPAA agree with you in this instance.]
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.
The "punishment," of course, comes in the form of lack of financial and electoral support, which the MPAA apparently views as inappropriate. It is "dangerous" to "punish" elected and appointed officials by organizing opposition to measures they support when you disagree with that message. That does not comport with the MPAA's view of what America is: a protected market. A feeding ground. The role of the citizenry is to pay for the MPAA's products through the venues the MPAA favors, and the role of the government is to protect the MPAA's market, using any means necessary.
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.”
It is my hope that everyone involved will invite the MPAA to snort their taint. But that's probably too much to ask for.
The MPAA is crossing into Westboro Baptist Church territory: it has the Constitutional right to do what it's doing, but decent people everywhere should regard it with contempt and rise up against it.
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