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Meet the Strange Bedfellows Who Could Stop SOPA 231

Posted by timothy
from the oh-for-enough-mortar-and-enough-bricks dept.
jfruhlinger writes "In a political environment that's become very strongly defined by partisan lines, the SOPA debate has offered an unexpected ray of hope: the two main Congressional opponents of the bill are Ron Wyden, an Oregon Senator deemed a 'hardcore liberal' and Darrell Issa, a California Representative who is one of the Obama Administration's fiercest critics. (There are both Ds and Rs in favor of the bill, too.)" (Read more below.)
In the technical rather than political world, opposition seems easier to find: Trailrunner7 writes "A group of engineers, networking specialists, security experts and other specialists deeply involved with the Internet's development and growth have sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing the highly controversial SOPA and PIPA bills and imploring them not to pass the legislation, which they say would stifle innovation and 'threaten engineers who build Internet systems or offer services that are not readily and automatically compliant with censorship actions by the U.S. government.' The letter is signed by a long list of Internet pioneers and other respected figures, including Steve Bellovin, Paul Vixie, Vint Cerf, Jon Callas, Tony Li, Robert W. Taylor, Esther Dyson and Fred Baker, among many others. Both SOPA and PIPA have been criticized heavily by technologists, privacy advocates and security experts who say that not only would the proposed bills make it difficult for companies to create innovative new technologies, but they also would likely not even accomplish the goals their authors' had in mind, namely preventing copyright infringement and content piracy."

And (hat tip to Rob Malda), here's the letter itself (PDF).
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Meet the Strange Bedfellows Who Could Stop SOPA

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:34PM (#38384312)

    This summary makes it sound like they're heroes fighting for our freedom or something. In actuality, they're just advocated for their own alternative Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act [wikipedia.org] (OPEN). And the only difference between their bill and SOPA is that SOPA will put enforcement in the hands of the Justice Department and OPEN will put it in the hands of the United States International Trade Commission [wikipedia.org], which in practice will make ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to most sites being busted.

    The only reason Darrel Issa and Ron Wyden are supporting it is because it provides more protection for the Googles, Facebooks, etc. and they're both from states where those companies are big players.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094)

      Sometimes advocating a less offensive alternative is the only viable means of effectively opposing something vile.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:46PM (#38384454) Journal

        This is the mindset that has caused the US to move steadily to the right for the past 30 years. The lesser evil is still evil.

        • by Shatrat (855151) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:56PM (#38384568)

          The mindset of drawing battle lines in terms of 'right' and 'left' is what has allowed politicians to move steadily into lobbyist pockets (like hermit crabs) for the past 30 years... I can't think of a better illustration than the SOPA, ACTA, DMCA et cetera garbage that has been getting pushed through lately with bipartisan support and almost zero outcry or media coverage. Everyone is too busy fighting about stem cells and carbon credits and which politician is banging their stenographer.

          • "[...] and carbon credits and which politician is banging their stenographer."

            They're called 'office assistants' now, get it right.

            ;-p
          • "The mindset of drawing battle lines in terms of 'right' and 'left' is what has allowed politicians to move steadily into lobbyist pockets (like hermit crabs) for the past 30 years"

            The mindset of viewing money as speech, and thus allowing 0.05 percent of the citizenry of the US to fund all political campaigns is what has moved our critters into the lobbyists pockets. The only practical solution to this is to legislate that all elections are State-funded, and any outside money found in any campaign is the en

            • To summarise the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
            • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:54PM (#38385276) Journal

              The only practical solution to this is to legislate that all elections are State-funded, and any outside money found in any campaign is the end of that campaign

              That's also open to abuse, because how do you determine who qualifies for state funding? If the barrier to entry is too high, then you risk keeping the same oligarchy you have (or swapping it for a new one). If it's too low, then people can easily use it to funnel money to their own pockets (e.g. set up a leaflet printing company, nominate 10 candidates that all use you to print their own content-free leaflets, profit). Or they can simply flood the system with generic like-the-opposition candidates. For example, in the UK a few elections ago we had a Literal Democrat candidate, who got enough votes to get their deposit back because people confused him with the Liberal Democrats and split the Liberal Democrat vote just enough to cause them to lose the election to the Conservatives (who weren't running against a Conservatory Party candidate in that election). If you have a constituency that is 60% liberal and 40% conservative and the barrier to entry is sufficiently low, the best strategy for the conservatives is to back half a dozen liberal candidates...

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                That's also open to abuse, because how do you determine who qualifies for state funding?

                Easy, if you can actually get on the ballot, you get funding. The hard part, which public financing wouldn't change, is getting enough signatures on the ballot petition to actually get on the ballot.

          • by tbannist (230135) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:39PM (#38385086)

            Of course, this is enabled by the consolidation of media control into the hands of 5 or 6 corporations. In effect, a few dozen people get to decide what is news in the United States, based on the orders of a half-dozen CEOs. And where the interests of the corporations coincide with each other there will be casual collusion to promote or bury stories, as the case may be. If the CEOs who run the corporations that own the majority of the news media don't want anyone talking about SOPA, (for example because they think it will boost the revenues of their entertainment divisions) then they are perfectly able to make it known that it is in every employee's best interests to make sure it is not covered in any depth, if it absolutely has to be covered at all.

            Of course, the flip side is the issue just isn't nearly as interesting to most people as celebrity gossip, so they may not even have to do that. After all, bread and circuses is a very old formula.

          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:41PM (#38386058) Journal

            I can't think of a better illustration than the SOPA, ACTA, DMCA et cetera garbage that has been getting pushed through lately with bipartisan support and almost zero outcry or media coverage.

            I can. The War on Drugs. This policy has been a complete and utter failure for at least 40 years. No independent group of experts has ever recommended this policy. There is not, nor has there ever been an honest, well meaning argument in favor of the War on Drugs. 40 years later we can see the carnage this policy has wraught, and we cannot even get our politicians to discuss the possibility of change.

            If you want to see how totalitarian America really is, look no further than the War on Drugs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I take it you vote for cthulhu? By your logic, why vote for the lesser evil. If you are going to vote for evil lets just go all out!

        • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:07PM (#38384692)

          This is the mindset that has caused the US to move steadily to the right for the past 30 years. The lesser evil is still evil.

          The Right? Damn, man. I've been alive and aware those 30 years and you're so wrong. It's been moving steadily toward totalitarianism, which is neither Right (limited government) nor Left (social welfare). Left and Right in America aren't opposites of one another, they just happen to use the same resources (like a family does). Social welfare *in moderation* is what makes a great country. They're two players on the same team. If you bring in totalitarianism, that's unlimited government (anti-right), and temporarily, the Left is unrestrained, and everyone thinks it's great to get all this free stuff (because people will always be greedy)... until the totalitarian decides that enough bread and circuses have been given out, and then it's time for Social Inequity, Totalitarian's partner in the league of super-villainy, to enter into the picture and slay the Left (because people will always be greedy). Limited Government died a while back, and Social Inequity is rising. The Left needs to help the Tea Party bring back Limited Government before society has no one that fares well, save nobility.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Limited Government died a while back, and Social Inequity is rising. The Left needs to help the Tea Party bring back Limited Government before society has no one that fares well, save nobility.

            You're joking right? The biggest threat to this country is unrestricted growth of the upper class on the backs of the lower classes. The government does have a very important place in the lives of the populace, and one of the primary roles is to protect it citizenry from abuses just like SOPA. Limiting government too much just give the businesses more power. The government ostensibly has the serve the populace. The corporation only has to serve its shareholders and they don't have to give a good god da

            • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:12PM (#38385606)

              [government] protect[s] it citizenry from abuses just like SOPA

              SOPA doesn't have teeth without the might of the government. Totalitarianism (we have to pass the bill before you can read it) is the mechanism through which the social inequity is being forged. With a limited government (note I didn't say *lack of government*), the nobility has a much shorter sword to threaten the populace with.

              • To clarify, limited government WITH TEETH is much more effective than a totalitarian government.

                A limited government, in charge of socialist mandates (mandates to help the people as a whole) who can make good on punishments for those who abuse the system, will enable a balanced society without preventing freedom of action by individuals within that society.

                Think of such a government as protecting your house with a guard dog. Think of the alternate as protecting your house with an encompassing swamp, comple

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                With a limited government (note I didn't say *lack of government*), the nobility has a much shorter sword to threaten the populace with.

                By "populace" you must mean "the corporations". Limited government means no environmental regulations... bye bye clean air and water. It means fewer banking regulations... say bye bye to your money. It means fewer safety regs (as in OSHA). Say bye bye to your brother who just died in a preventable industrial accident.

                Taking away government's teeth takes away its ability to

                • by Culture20 (968837)

                  Taking away government's teeth takes away its ability to protect you from the powerful. This is exactly what the rich want. Sorry, but you've been fooled by the rich and powerful

                  The rich are rich because they have money or are owed money. The powerful have power because of influence or force of arms. (The Federal) government isn't supposed to have teeth except for external threats. The people are supposed to have the teeth, and the government is supposed to fear them.

                  By "populace" you must mean "the corporations".

                  I love how you set that straw man up. Knock it down! Burn it! Beat it bloody! Stop putting words in my mouth. I learned to feed myself when I was a toddler.

                  Limited government means no environmental regulations... bye bye clean air and water. It means fewer banking regulations... say bye bye to your money. It means fewer safety regs (as in OSHA). Say bye bye to your brother who just died in a preventable industrial accident.

                  Limited government means none of those things. Limit

                  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:15PM (#38388760) Homepage Journal

                    See, here's the thing. The constitution only authorizes limited government. No sane person can read it any other way. The federal government, for its part, has found such actual authorization too limiting... seriously... and so basically ignores the constitution. In doing so, it has exercised the power to enable various things it doesn't actually have the authority to implement, such as a nationwide social safety net. It has also destroyed the bill of rights and unleashed a veritable laundry list of evils upon the population.

                    Now, if you want the federal government to be restrained, either you need an entirely new constitution to be put in place (how???), or you need the government's exercise of power to be chopped back to the current constitution's authorized limits, and then the constitution will need amendment so that the good things, which actually consist of a fairly long list despite the long, long list of evils, can be legitimized as functions of the federal government -- because really, the constitution as it stands doesn't authorize much power for the feds at all unless you read it with a mumble, two glass eyes, and a brain tumor.

                    On the other hand, if you want the federal government to be free to do whatever it wants, constrained only by what congress can agree upon, so that inconveniences like constitutional conventions aren't required to implement, for instance, nationwide medicare for old folks, nationwide schooling and standards for children, and making it legitimately illegal for your neighbor to own an anthrax factory or a nuke, then (a) we're already in that situation, but (b) it unfortunately has brought with it a whole host of evils, like the sundering of almost the entire bill of rights, the inversion of the commerce clause, ex post facto law, usurpation of article 5 powers under the guise of article 3, assassination of US citizens (aka premeditated killing by stealth without anything even remotely resembling due process), congress-folk voting in things like their own raises and being immune to insider trading laws. From my POV, government freedom has been tested and found extremely wanting.

                    But getting to a constitutionally restrained government... I haven't got even a clue about a workable process for that. I don't think anyone else does, either. The "ammo box", so beloved of Internet tough guyz, I can't see working. Supposing the unlikely event of a successful armed revolution, I truly can't imagine enough of a framework remaining to create a new government. OTOH, if the military does it for us, that'll leave us directly in the hands of a known conservative religious organization with huge firepower, and I think the only thing that would possibly arise successfully from that is a theocracy -- something considerably worse, IMHO, than what we have now, strange as that may sound. Certainly the congresscritters aren't going to limit themselves, they're quite literally fat and happy with the status quo, and looking at the political requirements for becoming one (basically you need to be corrupt) and the bennies once you're there, why wouldn't they be?

                    What's going to happen here -- IMHO, of course -- is that our society is going to continue this slide down to the outright ultimate power of the 535; elections will continue to be less and less subtly rigged, as we see with the media ignoring Paul, despite his essentially equal to front runner status, with the public being steered carefully to vote only for approved candidates, and/or voting machines rigged as required, when required, again as we have already seen; laws will continue to be made regardless of constitutionality, and then backed up by the bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces on the supreme court; and the vast majority of the country will continue to not care. Technology will step in with robotics and manufacture on demand, and keep the population generally happy with "stuff" and comfort, and all will be well, as long as you are willing to be the round peg in the round hole the government makes available fo

            • What do you think is the cause of the "unrestricted growth of the upper class on the backs of the lower classes"?

          • by number6x (626555) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:09PM (#38385532)

            Very good post, thanks. I think you will find it even easier if you stop thinking about right and left as being aligned with limited government and social welfare. The political right is not about limited government. Political 'right' and 'left' have nothing to do with where the solutions to problems come from. There are plenty of right wingers that believe in increased government and in government vs private sector solutions.

            Think about how complacent we are that large corporate special interest groups get government help on the taxpayer's dime. Guitar maker Ernie Ball was raided by the BSA [slashdot.org] using local law enforcement to conduct the raid. Laws have been passed forcing businesses accused by the BSA to pay fines up-front, guilt can be decided later. People just seem to expect that government should drop everything and do what corporations want, no expenses spared. This is right wing, but certainly not conservative and limited government. copyright and license infringement that Ernie Ball was accused of is a civil not criminal matter. Law enforcement should have no role beyond serving a warrant, and law enforcement should only be called upon if private efforts to serve the warrant fail.

            In the late 19th until the mid 20th century in America, the right wing tended to believe in limited government and be more conservative, and the left wing has been more socialist asking for government based solutions to problems like poverty, homelessness and loss of jobs. After World War II the trend for corporate America to feed at, and become dependent on, the government and the taxpayer has been constantly increasing. The people who back this kind of socialist welfare for the corporations has also increased.

            There are plenty of examples of both right wing socialism and right wing totalinarianism throughout history. You can have someone with right wing ideals, like say a preference for management vs labor. Some of these right wingers will be conservative and think that we need less governement and more free market, knowing full well that this could result in the failure of many businesses who take too many risks(no safety nets). Others among these right wingers will be more socialist, like most of the Republicans in the USA. These socialist right wingers expect huge government backing of corporations and work to implement their beliefs in redistributing the taxes from middle class Americans to businesses and corporations.

            Right and left does not translate to conservative and liberal. They are orthogonal attributes. Your conclusion that the liberals need the Tea Party to get government limited down to size again is spot on. Its not about right vs left, its about socialist solutions vs private sector solutions. Both right and left need to create private sector solutions to issues they are concerned about. Government is not always the solution.

        • by khallow (566160)

          This is the mindset that has caused the US to move steadily to the right for the past 30 years. The lesser evil is still evil.

          It's going to be a lot of work to come up with an alternative. As a US voter, I voted in the 2008 election for a mainstream candidate, McCain precisely because he was the lesser of two evils (a view unfortunately confirmed by subsequent history).

          Personally, I'd rather third parties like the Libertarians or Greens get enough influence to matter at the national level, but I'm aware that the system is set up to favor the two dominant parties and any change, currently, would require both parties to cooperate

          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:00PM (#38385402) Journal

            As a US voter, I voted in the 2008 election for a mainstream candidate, McCain precisely because he was the lesser of two evils (a view unfortunately confirmed by subsequent history).?

            And if we were in a war with Iran right now, you would be to blame.

            Personally, I'd rather third parties like the Libertarians or Greens get enough influence to matter at the national level

            Then vote for them.

            So in other words, the choice has been "framed".

            Agreed. Break the frame.

            I'm not going to cast a vote for a non-Republican unless the Republican candidate is similarly harmful

            Democrat and Republican policies are both so incredibly harmful that the differences are really insignificant. The only issue that matters is breaking the hegemony. Period.

          • McCain lost any possibility with me when he flew back to Washington, in the middle of his campaign, to work on a bailout bill. Up until that moment, I allowed for the possibility, as with Obama, and all the other candidates, of convincing me of their worthiness to run this country.

            The two major party candidates, both promising bailouts that the populace neither wanted, nor could afford, proved to be so far out of touch with reality, that come election night, no further consideration of their virtues could b

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            I'm not going to cast a vote for a non-Republican unless the Republican candidate is similarly harmful

            I find it cute that you somehow consider the Republican candidates "non-harmful"

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            I don't know why I'm responding, since you're a hard core Republican (so was my Grandma which is why I know I'm wasting electrons), but

            I voted in the 2008 election for a mainstream candidate, McCain precisely because he was the lesser of two evils (a view unfortunately confirmed by subsequent history).

            Obama's far from the best President we ever had; we needed an FDR but unfortunately there are none these days. But your comment comes on the day THE IRAQ WAR IS OVER.

            After bleeding jobs since Bush was elected

            • I guess that's this election, then, because none of the current Republican candidates is fit for office

              Ron Paul? What makes him "unfit"? He's running neck-and-neck with the clown-shoes-of-the-week put forth by the party machine; he's fairly consistent, he has clearly articulated ideas. So how does he fit in with your evaluation?

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:30PM (#38384956)

          This is the mindset that has caused the US to move steadily to the right for the past 30 years. The lesser evil is still evil.

          We have not really moved left or right exactly, so much as we have moved towards statism - where the state controls everything. That is what we must withdraw from to regain freedoms we have lost.

          However it must be noted that currently the Left is far more into promoting statist ideals than the Right (which was body-checked by the Tea Party over this issue).

          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:32PM (#38385906) Journal

            However it must be noted that currently the Left is far more into promoting statist ideals than the Right (which was body-checked by the Tea Party over this issue).

            Two observations about this. First, the republicans don't control the government right now. So obviously they're not going to want to increase the power of the government. Put republicans back in charge and they will rapidly increase the power of the state just like they've done every time they held power.

            Second, the Tea Party alternative to statism is corporatism which is even worse than statism.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            However it must be noted that currently the Left is far more into promoting statist ideals than the Right (which was body-checked by the Tea Party over this issue).

            One more thing. Barack Obama is not a leftist. He is a center rightist, somewhere between Reagan and Nixon.

            The true left hasn't had a voice in Washington in the past 30 years.

          • Corporatist (Score:5, Interesting)

            by hellfire (86129) <deviladv@gmCOFFEEail.com minus caffeine> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @03:00PM (#38386420) Homepage

            Wrong. The US is not becoming statist, it's becoming (is?) corporatist. You got modded up by all the Libertarians, who love this line of argument but it doesn't make sense.

            The traditional left, especially the progressive wing of the Democratic party, espouse civil libertarianism, regulation of corporations, and control of industries where they feel competition does not work (i.e. medicine).

            The traditional right, espouses fewer regulations on corporations so as not to become a dictator ship that picks winners unfairly and fiscal responsibility of the government as a whole, and striking a balance between federal and state powers. In the past, they have not liked spending, but when spending was called for, they called for a sensible balanced budget at all times.

            The current Democratic part still espouses civil Libertarianism as a whole, but doesn't push it too hard because it stirs certain idiot groups to froth at the mouth and rather than go after them, they quiet down, and because Americans as a whole aren't very socially progressive (one of the last developed nations to free black slaves and give women the right to vote, and we'll probably be one of the last to allow some kind of marriage reform). Corporations actually fund these idiot groups and claim it's grassroots behind cleverly used laws designed to shield nonprofit corporations. The no longer push hard, as a group, for corporate regulations, because the only people able to put together enough money to help them run for office are the corporations, so they don't chime up too much about regulations. So thanks to clever corporate greed, the Democrats as a group are simply pussies.

            The current Republican party still espouses fewer regulations, but to the detriment of the people as if to have no regulations and an anarchy state. This is thanks to corporations donating to them and giving them speeches that simply state that we have too many regulations and taxes when corporations are already free to run rampant and we are going broke. They get donations from those same corporations that fund the idiot groups, and are basically paid to say the same things these idiot groups say about social causes. They no longer push fiscal responsibility because they don't care if we have the money, they just keep chanting "lower taxes" instead of "fair taxes" or "just enough taxes." The taxes are lowest on the upper class and keep going lower, under the guise that if the rich get more money, they'll hire more people, which hasn't shown any truth in in decades. It's called trickle down economics, and it doesn't work. But they don't have time to talk about any other fiscal matters because they are too busy pushing the idiot group agenda. And they push it so hard then end up being supreme dicks about any issue they are on. And they look like dicks when open their mouths about some social issue that people just want to stop talking about. So thanks to clever greed, Republicans as a group are really big dicks

            So yes, our government is run by a bunch of pussies and dicks fucking around and not getting anything done, being directed by corporations to not get anything done unless it makes more money for them. And we all watch it expecting something new to happen when it's the same boring stupid shit over and over. Welcome to porn Washington, DC style. Statist my ass, the state is dead!

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            However it must be noted that currently the Left is far more into promoting statist ideals than the Right (which was body-checked by the Tea Party over this issue).

            Statist ideas like controlling who can actually get married?

            Furthermore, the Tea Party is promoting Corporatist ideas, which can be even more harmful, as there is absolutely no check on their power.

        • by element-o.p. (939033) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:43PM (#38385128) Homepage

          This is the mindset that has caused the US to move steadily to the right for the past 30 years. The lesser evil is still evil.

          Well...I suppose it is better than moving steadily to the WRONG for the past 30 years :D

          I kid, I kid! In all seriousness, I really wish our political system was a little less one-dimensional. We look at everything in terms of "left" and "right", never even considering that there might, perhaps, be an "up", a "down", a "forward" and a "backward" as well. For all I can tell, the two major political parties are just two sides of the same coin; they are more interested in wresting power from the other party than in actually fixing any of the problems this nation faces. That's the real problem, IMHO.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:51PM (#38384512)

        No, no, a hundred thousand times NO. That's known as "changing the window," and it's a well known problem with politics.

        Example: For the kids, we're now going to conduct random warrantless household searches across the nation.

        With your approach, we should approve of a less offensive alternative, like, say, "but this will only happen twice a year, instead of once a month." You feel like you "won" something when in reality, by any measure, you have objectively lost. This is basically how the Constitution and our "inalienable rights" have been eviscerated over the last century or so.

        This approach is extremely common in politics, and less offensive alternatives are absolutely NOT the way to address it! Wholehearted refusal of THE ENTIRE PREMISE is required, potentially along with civil disobedience if either version does get enacted.

        CAPTCHA: frauds. How appropriate.

        • by TheLuggage2008 (1199251) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:07PM (#38384694)

          Exactly this.

          I've used this very tactic at home; I started out telling my wife that our entire AV setup is outdated, the larger living room in our new home necessitated a 70" TV and surround sound to fill the room, as well as my aging computer no longer being able to handle the demands of a home theater PC server...

          What I actually really wanted: The green-light on building a new computer. We negotiated down from the TV, surround sound and new computer to just the new computer. My wife feels that that she managed to put the breaks on a lot of needless spending and I got exactly what I wanted short-term. In truth, I eventually want all three, but I have the patience to wait a while before complaining loudly that I can never hear the TV properly because of the crappy speakers, and the game will be afoot again. I wonder how long after the passage of SOPA or OPEN before they start complaining loudly that they can't fully protect us without expanding their reach to U.S. sites as well...

          • by MobyDisk (75490)

            That should be modded funny, not informative. Hopefully your wife doesn't read Slashdot.

            A friend of mine did this with his wife over parties.
            Year 1: "Can we have a fog machine for our New Years party?"
            Response: No.
            Year 2: "Okay, so the small fog machine will be in the basement with the music and laser lighting, and the big one will be upstairs so it rolls down the steps which would look awesome!"
            Response: You can have just one fog machine.

            And yes, the parties rocked. :-)

      • So powerful are the media interests. I say boycott them all and make them feel the loss of profits, so substantially that they will abandon the idea.

        Otherwise in our capitalistic system, just get used to the fact that the entire internet will be in private hands and those foolish enough to believe in social or economic justice can simply go extinct.

        The choice is yours as only you can do anything about it.

        Its ironic that the old, the sick, the poor, the young are not entitled to any government benefits, but

      • I think I'd prefer Jefferson's method of refreshing the tree of liberty to settling for the lesser evil.
      • Only if you're experiencing duress, which in all honesty guarantees a disaster further down the road.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:55PM (#38384562) Homepage Journal

      This summary makes it sound like they're heroes fighting for our freedom or something. In actuality, they're just advocated for their own alternative Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act [wikipedia.org] (OPEN). And the only difference between their bill and SOPA is that SOPA will put enforcement in the hands of the Justice Department and OPEN will put it in the hands of the United States International Trade Commission [wikipedia.org], which in practice will make ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to most sites being busted.

      The only reason Darrel Issa and Ron Wyden are supporting it is because it provides more protection for the Googles, Facebooks, etc. and they're both from states where those companies are big players.

      They should rebadge it Digital Online Protection Enforcement.

      It would be most fitting.

    • by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:59PM (#38384616)
      This isn't actually true. OPEN makes it harder to transfer money to sites that have been ruled "infringing" by a court. It doesn't include capabilities for takedowns, blocks from searches, etc. SOPA, on the other hand, could possibly require deep packet inspection to keep people off infringing sites.

      Basically, OPEN only goes after commercial infringement, and only does so in a commercial way. I'm OK with that.

      • by makomk (752139)

        This isn't actually true. OPEN makes it harder to transfer money to sites that have been ruled "infringing" by a court. It doesn't include capabilities for takedowns, blocks from searches, etc. SOPA, on the other hand, could possibly require deep packet inspection to keep people off infringing sites.
        Basically, OPEN only goes after commercial infringement, and only does so in a commercial way. I'm OK with that.

        That doesn't follow. For example, YouTube is obviously a commercial website, but the people sharing their home videos on it aren't doing anything commercial. In fact, pretty much any non-commercial sharing of content has a commercial step in it somewhere that can be attacked - someone's got to pay for the hosting, the infrastructure required to transfer the data, etc.

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:41PM (#38384398)

    There are both Ds and Rs in favor of the bill, too.

    Meet SOPA author Lamar Smith, Hollywood's favorite Republican [cnet.com].

    He may be a Tea Partier from rural Texas with an "A+" rating from the National Rifle Association," but the TV, movie, and music industries are the top donors to Smith's 2012 campaign committee, according to data complied by the Center for Responsive Politics [opensecrets.org].

    The Tea Party are marks. His donors are his real constituency.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:57PM (#38384584) Journal

      The Tea Party are marks. His donors are his real constituency.

      Because the Tea Party has staked out such a strong opinion on copyright? I'll bet if you explained this bill to random people on the street, 5% would be in favor, 5% would be opposed, and the rest would stare at you blankly. Copyright affects programmers directly since we are content creators, but most people are as interested in copyright law as they are in foreign-fish importation law.

      When voters don't care about a subject, it leaves the congress-people free to do whatever they want. So they do.

      • by mbone (558574)

        When voters don't care about a subject, it leaves the congress-people free to do whatever they want. So they do.

        Yes. True leaders tell their constituents things that they need to know, so they can be better informed about the issues at hand. Conmen and grifters always try and befog their marks with a blizzard of words and concerns about extraneous things. The marks may mean well, but they're still being played.

        • Yes. True leaders tell their constituents things that they need to know, so they can be better informed about the issues at hand.

          Heh, once again, imagine if during a debate a candidate started talking about the finer points of lumber-importation policy. It wouldn't matter how great a leader he/she was, because people aren't interested in that. They want to hear about the things they are interested in.

          The only times we get great leaders is during wartime, because that's when everyone is paying attention. As soon as voters stop paying attention, we get grifters. As they say, democracy doesn't guarantee good government, it guarantees

      • if you explained this bill to random people on the street, 5% would be in favor, 5% would be opposed, and the rest would stare at you blankly.

        Heh. Well said, and it applies equally to most important issues, bills or policies. Disinterested, incurious and apathetic people make a perfect breeding ground for opportunistic politicians.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        Given the Tea Party's claim that they're for "smaller government", they absolutely should be against this. The fact that so many of them aren't is telling about what the Tea Party's true motives are.

  • And this is good? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:43PM (#38384428)

    So these two politicians can do what countless citizens petitioning,calling,and writing cannot... What a tragedy.

  • I'd like to know who is calling Ron Wyden a hardcore liberal, because they clearly haven't been paying attention to Mr. Wyden recently. Just his co-sponsoring of this bill that would partially privatize Medicare [oregonlive.com] should convince anyone that he's not a 'hardcore liberal.'

    He's quite moderate, actually, which explains why he's trying to cut through the bullshit and actually work with people from the "opposition" party.

  • Bait and switch. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:46PM (#38385148)

    Wait. So the main opponents to such a bill are Ron Paul and Pelosi, but IT World would rather poo-poo Ron Paul because they (like so many other liberals I could mention) would rather cut their nose to spite their face, and support a watered down version of the bill coming from more mainstream politicians? And Pelosi isn't worth mentioning at all?

    Yeah, fuck you IT World.

  • But the fact that he is now considered a 'hard core liberal' really show how far the party line has moved toward republicans.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:33PM (#38385926) Homepage

    Does anyone with any amount of technical training actually think this bill is a good idea? No.

    Why do they think this isn't a good idea? Because they understand the internet, its design, and the people affected better than these lawmakers. Sadly, these lawmakers only here the sound of "bling bling and clink clink" as they sell out their constituents for what must be the thirteen-thousandth time. Someone should sit them down, use small words, and explain to them just how badly they're selling out their own offspring. But I digress, our culture is one of being wealthy for one day, and poor for the rest of time.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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