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Piracy Censorship The Almighty Buck United States Politics

SOPA Creator In TV/Film/Music Industry's Pocket 345

First time accepted submitter en4bz writes "Representative Lamar Smith, the creator of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has been consistently receiving donations averaging $50 000 from the TV/Film/Music industry for each of his re-election campaigns for the past ten years. Smith has received roughly half a million dollars from the TV/Film/Music lobby over the past ten years according to opensecrets.org. Check out the source link for a full breakdown of donors to Smith's campaigns." Speaking of SOPA, new submitter DarkStar1O9 submits this "explanation in simple terms of why this dangerous new bill in congress could result in the extinction of sites that are based on user-generated content like YouTube, Reddit, and StumbleUpon." Update: 12/18 20:42 GMT by T : An anonymous reader writes "Eric S. Raymond weighs in on SOPA and the question of why so many people hate this bill and not the dozens of others just like it that get passed on a regular basis."
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SOPA Creator In TV/Film/Music Industry's Pocket

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  • LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @02:39PM (#38417934)

    Well DUH.

    Go vote for Ron Paul.

    • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @02:52PM (#38418030)

      As observed here [metafilter.com], we could realistically defeat Lamar Smith [wikipedia.org] in 2012 because his district [wikipedia.org] picks up much of Austin, including the University of Texas. Fill his local media with talk about Lamar Smith's attempt to destroy the internet.

    • I agree with Ron Paul 100% that we need to get corporate influence out of our politics.

      However, everything else he believes will destroy our economy, his beliefs are economic suicide.

      We don't defeat the plutocracy in Washington DC by embracing a vision even worse than the plutocracy.

      • pretty much this for me. I love a lot of what Ron Paul has to say, and I agree with him about 80% of the time but some of his views on the economy and such just feel a bit out of touch with the real world. Still i'm tempted to vote for him.
        • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
          I really feel you on this one. I agree with Ron Paul on so much but I vehemently disagree with him on some fundamental issues that are close to me and represent some of my hottest buttons. This election season has led me to a new conclusion: as a voter I cannot have my cake and eat it too. If I agree completely with a candidate, something is wrong.

          I have decided (grudgingly) that those issues where I agree with him due in fact take precedent over areas where I consider him to be completely backwards. As
      • But will it destroy the economy faster than what everyone else is doing? The most common criticism of Paul's policies tends to be that it's naive, but naive is usually better than malicious.
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @02:39PM (#38417936) Homepage

    Color me surprised!


  • No shit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @02:41PM (#38417952)
    Which representative isn't in someone's pocket? Good fucking luck finding one...
  • Broke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @02:48PM (#38418002) Journal

    Speaking as a non American, this is how the USA looks today to non Americans. The USA economy is broke, bust, only surviving by the willingness of countries like China to prop you up. Like many Western countries, you sent your manufacturing economy abroad, believing in the fairy story of "Intellectual Property" as the new way of making money.

    Intellectual Property is worthless, especially to the many countries that don't care about it. It's not as if the USA cares about fair trade, using geopolitical muscle to frighten smaller states into submission.

    If you keep on electing the same morons who push controls on the internet for big corporate friend donors, then the only person you can blame is yourself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, not quite. US manufacturing has recently been on the decline, yes, but we're still top in the world for now. It's more that Chinese output has skyrocketed in recent years. (data) [greyhill.com]
      With recent increases in Chinese labor costs, the balance is also slowly starting to shift back in our favor. But it remains to be seen what will happen in coming years.

    • Re:Broke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:03PM (#38418128)

      If you keep on electing the same morons who push controls on the internet for big corporate friend donors, then the only person you can blame is yourself.

      If you lived here you would see the sheer numbers of completely ignorant people there are in this country that don't give a fuck about anything beyond what is happening on Keeping Up With the Kardashians

      Far too many of our populace has become completely complacent. Throw some McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and NASCAR at them and nothing else in the whole goddamned world matters, so long as we're "fighting the terrorists".

      Things will change, it is inevitable as this level of ignorance is unsustainable; unfortunately, this country is going to have to suffer a total economic collapse before people start opening their eyes. I wish it were not so, but there's been a real anti-intellectual bent in this country over the last 30 years or so, so there are just too many people that can't see beyond tomorrow or their own backyards. Hell, any attempt to upset the status quo is widely dismissed and mocked, go to CNN and read the comments on any article about an Occupy protest here in the states and you'll see for yourself what we're fighting against.

      So you tell me, Non-American: what do we do? Start locking up stupid people? Require IQ tests to vote? How do we nullify the moron voter base? They don't want to hear reason, because they're trained by Talk Radio ideologues to distrust anyone that disagrees with them. So what's your solution? Because honestly, we could use one, and I would really like to find one that doesn't involve Hitler-esque eugenics programs...

      • The moron vote is herded like cattle by demagogues who are paid to do so by the Faux News corporate propaganda machine. The demagogues appeal to their prejudices, to ignore the policies that might hurt the plutocracy. So you have the insane situation where the lower middle class hates health care reform, where they are the actual benefactors of health care reform. We have a dynamic where their health and the education of their children is damaged by policies they fully support, because they believe fairy tales like welfare queens with 20 kids and lazy illegal immigrants, that that is the real threat. And they don't want to reward these stereotypes. When of course it is themselves who are having their benefits removed, and the real threat is the corporation who doesn't want their bottom line impacted and the health care insurance corporation who wants the money to keep flowing in the wasteful healthcare system we have.

        So what do you do? Forget the morons for a moment, you can't do anything about them. Aim like a laser beam on one issue that even the morons understand: corporate influence in our politics. Keep up a constant drumbeat of how our elected representatives represent the influence of those who pay for the reelection campaigns, rather than the actual people they are supposed to serve. Even a moron can get behind that. It will take time, but enough inertial movement will eventually be established that the point will be too loud and obvious, and even the demagogues can't distract the morons anymore from the real tragedy going on.

        It is "We the people", not "we the rich people and the corporations." Hammer on that point every day. This is the weak point in the propaganda machine that the lower middle class morons are currently under full influence of. Their standard of living gets worse every day. And it is exactly because of the agenda of those who pay for the propaganda machine that keeps them spellbound. Break the spell. Show the little plutocrat behind the curtain creating the illusion of the fake frightening Oz.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        How about supporting smaller, weaker, less expensive, less powerful government? Then when someone wants to (mis)use government power ... there won't be much government power. A powerless government is a harmless government. And a weak government can only do limited harm.

        Can we do that? Or do you need a huge, powerful, active government to enact your schemes upon your neighbors?

        Like ESR (whom I quoted below), I wonder if anyone here will ever learn.

      • Re:Broke (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:50PM (#38418514)

        I'm an American, but here's my answer to your question: Educate. That's our only hope, to educate our way out of this, and that's where the Democrats should narrow their focus. An uneducated person doesn't understand Rawlsian economics. An uneducated person doesn't understand that the U.S. Constitution is outdated and needs to be replaced. Or that socialism isn't a dirty word.

        What the neo-cons have done is make a religion out of Americanism. They paint their opponents as unpatriotic blasphemers and the general public buys it. They buy it because they're uneducated, which makes them suckers.

        Educate children. Extend the schoolday to 9-10 hours long (most people work at least 8 hours a day, so a 6-7 hour school day necessitates child care of some sort), allow more time for physical activity, self-study, and hands-on learning. Keep these kids away from their idiot parents as long as possible and teach them about the world. Ensure that they're well versed in logic, mathematics, science, and multiple languages. That they are in good physical condition.

        There's this bizarre attitude in this country that a parent knows best. That by becoming a parent, some slumbering genius is awakened in each and every one of us and these instincts will guide our children to happiness. Mothers especially love this bullshit - the "maternal instinct" they speak of so reverently. Of course, they fail to mention that infanticide brought on by postpartum depression is nothing more than "maternal instinct."

        I would rather see a Brave New World than my country devolve into ancient Rome, a land of bread and circuses, which is the way things appear to be headed. Take these kids away from their parents and fill their heads with every bit of objectively verifiable knowledge we can. That way, when they get older and start making subjective assessments, they'll at least be rooted in logic, which is clearly not the case right now.

        • you didn't think it over, did you?
          you think that the US is a disaster, that there is a gap between the ruling elite and the masses... so tell me this - who would be responsible for implementing that plan? Wouldn't that be the same bureaucrats that are a part of the problem? Who says they wouldn't take advantage of the situation and brainwash the kids with massive propaganda to support the status quo? And to be clear, Reps are bad, but Dems are not angels either.

          When your problem is too much power in the han

    • Ha ha, English, right? English people all seem to thing America needs subsidized manufacturing. It's totally bizarre.

      9 of the 10 best universities in the world are American. 4 of the world's 10 largest corporations are American. America has less debt per capita than Western European nations.

      How many people in England use an iPhone, drive an American car, are currently typing this program on Windows or a Mac? Just about everybody. How many English products do I own? Let me look around...(30 seconds la

    • Re:Broke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:10PM (#38418186)

      You're misinformed. China owns a whopping 8% of the US debt. The country is nowhere near broke. Eliminating the Bush tax cuts and putting some common sense reforms in place in Medicare and Social Security (e.g. means testing, increase the payroll tax cap, allow young healthy people to buy into Medicare) are all we need to get back in the black.

      Our problem is a political one, not an economic one. The Republicans have abandoned any notion of loyal opposition, and now view politics as a war in which one's opponent must be destroyed utterly, no matter the cost. So solutions that are entirely reasonable, such as Obama's proposed plan to reduce the deficit by $2 trillion, get torpedoed, simply because a Democrat proposed them. Instead we get plans like the super committee, which was supposed to cut $600B from each of domestic spending and the military. But even that's too much compromise for the Republicans, so now they're trying to weasel out of the very same deal that they insisted on a few months ago.

      As long as voters continue to view politics as a team sport, we're screwed.

    • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )

      Like many Western countries, you sent your manufacturing economy abroad, believing in the fairy story of "Intellectual Property" as the new way of making money.

      While there is a lot of merit in what you say, the notion that IP has become most of our economy is not true. If you take the broadest definition of media -- including not just CDs and movie tickets, but things like Internet advertising and billboards -- total US media revenue is something like $450 billion per year. That is about 3.1% of the economy

  • The House of Reps may very well pass this bill since it's currently Republican controlled, but it stands very little chance of making it through the Senate or getting signed by the President. Internet-aware politicians like use the 'net wisely like the way Obama ran up large numbers of small donations just by asking for them on Twitter.

    • The House of Reps may very well pass this bill since it's currently Republican controlled, but it stands very little chance of making it through the Senate or getting signed by the President.

      This is one of the problems in politics today - people automatically attributing everything bad to the party they oppose. Erroneously convinced that they bear no fault for the ills of the country, they continue voting the exact same corrupt politicians into office year after year. (In this case Democrat voters are in

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:04PM (#38418140)

    ESR on SOPA opponents: [ibiblio.org]

    It’s a bad bill, all right. It’s a terrible bill – awful from start to finish, idiotic to the core, corruptly pandering to a powerful special-interest group at the cost of everyone else’s liberty.

    But I can’t help noticing that a lot of the righteous panic about it is being ginned up by people who were cheerfully on board for the last seventeen or so government power grabs – cap and trade, campaign finance “reform”, the incandescent lightbulb ban, Obamacare, you name it – and I have to wonder

    Don’t these people ever learn? Anything? Do they even listen to themselves?

    It’s bizarre and entertaining to hear people who yesterday were all about allegedly benign and intelligent government interventions suddenly discovering that in practice, what they get is stupid and vicious legislation that has been captured by a venal and evil interest group.

    Yeah, no shit? How...how do they avoid noticing that in reality it’s like this all the time?

    • When were incandescent bulbs banned? I thought they only banned inefficient bulbs.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        This is your point? How about minding your own business about what lightbulbs people use?

        If you can choose your neighbors' light bulbs, why shouldn't Hollywood get to choose what content you can and can't link to?

        • How about if my neighbors mind their own business while I dump mercury into my land? It's not my problem if they have to spend money to clean their well water.

          I don't agree with SOPA, but I hardly see how citing examples of government taking action to avoid a tragedy of commons and declaring it a slippery slope helps the argument against it.

      • Correct. It's a de-facto ban on plain old incandescent bulbs because they can't possibly meet the new efficiency standards, but the hallogen bulbs can. It's just called a 'lightbulb ban' by opponents because it's an easier way to stir people up then honestly describing what the law actually does - and shorter too. Shorter helps a lot.
    • by Halo1 ( 136547 )

      It's bad bunch of drivel, alright. It's a terrible flamebait — awful from start to finish, idiotic to the core, superficially pandering to the populist notion that pretty much everything a government does by definition must be evil.

      Buit I can't help noticing that a lot of people critical about ESR's latest outings are the same people who've been cheerfully referring to other texts by him over the past decade — Cathedral and the Bazaar [catb.org], The Magic Cauldron [catb.org], you name it — and I have to wonder

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:04PM (#38418142)
    Does someone want to reply to this post with a list of Senators/Representatives who are for SOPA? If Slashdot had a list of these people, we could just vote them out next election. Intent to violate our first amendment rights should be a good reason to vote them out.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:20PM (#38418280)

    NBC reported last week that this Congress is on a pace for a record low number of bills passed, and cited the failed Super-Committee effort to reach a budget deal as one of the time wasters as they were doing that required-to-keep-the-Government-running step rather than marking off new territory. So, it looks like we're going to have SOPA floating around for the rest of this term until January 2013...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scareduck ( 177470 )

      Yay for the "do-nothing Congress!"

      "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

      -- Gideon J. Tucker

      It's interesting to me that Smith is in Texas. It always seems like the entertainment biz is keeping cow state politicians in cash. For a long time, one of the senators from South Carolina -- I want to say Ernest/Fritz Hollings -- was in Disney's pocket. The lesson seems to be, buy a Southern politician: they're cheaper and they stay bought.

  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @03:21PM (#38418294) Homepage

    One of the shocking things to me is how cheap it is to buy your own laws. A million people could part with one dollar and easily block these laws. A million people isn't even 1% of the population. I think we need to start a PAC (or some type of corporation) and start buying our laws just like everyone else. Surly, as non-caring as everyone is about these issues, we could get 1% of the population to go in on some laws that favor the people.

  • What, you think that Lamar Smith has suddenly developed a deep and abiding love for DNS ? Or that he intrigued by the parallels between the Border Gateway Protocol (version 4+) and the Book of Exodus ? Anyone who doesn't think he is coin-operated is a mark and an idiot, ripe for the fleecing.

  • So, ESR considers equates SOPA with the following as power grabs:

    >> "cap and trade, campaign finance “reform”, the incandescent lightbulb ban, Obamacare, you name it"

    More to the point, he equates attempts to assist the public interest by: 1) mitigating climate change, 2) limiting the power of big money to buy representation and reelect entrenched incumbents, and 3) provide health insurance as a public service rather than a profit center to putting the Federal Government at the full disposal of entrenched IP rent collectors.

    Coming from Eric, or anyone else, this demonstrates my problem with libertarians: glued to a dogma, regardless of the context.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun