SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

Summary:I'm not saying we're being sold out for mere chump change. But I am saying that each time we look at this bill, we find something else that just ain't right.

I want you to remember these names: Lamar Smith, Joe Baca, Howard Berman, Marsha Blackburn, Mary Bono Mack, John Carter, Steven Chabot, John Conyers, Jim Cooper, Elton Gallegly, Robert Goodlatte, Tim Holden, Peter King, John Larson, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Lee Terry, Melvin Watt, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Barrow, Steve Scalise, Ben Luján, Judy Chu, William Owens, Karen Bass, Ted Deutch, Ben Quayle, Tim Griffin, Dennis Ross, Alan Nunnelee, Thomas Marino, and Mark Amodei.

These congress-critters are the sponsors of the completely unacceptable Stop Online Piracy Act, otherwise known as SOPA. If SOPA manages to pass (and the Internet is effectively gutted), these are the people to blame.

The sad part is that these people are representing the entertainment industry's interest for chump change. According to a report by the Knight-Batten Award-winning nonprofit MAPLight, the 32 sponsors of the bill received just under $2 million in campaign contributions from the movie, music, and TV entertainment industries.

To put that in perspective, this weekend's box office take for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (you can't make this stuff up) took in $23 million in just one weekend. So, for less than a tenth of the take from Alvin and the Chipmunks, our congress-critters have let themselves be influenced by a historically and unendingly regressive group of trade organizations.

By the way, if you calculate up the contributions the tech industry has made to these same 32 "lawmakers," you'll find the total to be $524,977 -- one fourth the amount contributed by the entertainment industry.

Despite all the cries from tech experts throughout the United States, Congress is still doing its best to pass SOPA. Is there a correlation? Are our elected representatives paying four times more attention to the entertainment industry compared to us in technology? You be the judge.

By the way, don't forget a few other stories I recently ran about SOPA, including how the bill's architects suddenly found themselves employed in cushy positions by the lobbying groups behind SOPA.

See also: Everything that's wrong about politics: latest SOPA and PROTECT-IP outrage

See also: Dear Congressman Posey, SOPA is both dangerous and un-American

See also: New House of Representatives bill may strangle the Internet or nerf the First Amendment

I'm not saying we're being sold out for mere chump change. But I am saying that each time we look at this bill, we find something else that just ain't right.

Topics: Enterprise Software


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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