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

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.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Browser
65

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.

Topic: Browser

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

65 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It's Probably a Lot More Than $524,977

    They're probably also getting fed insider information and given sweetheart deals that will provide them with amazing returns on their investments in their 'blind' trusts. That's how a person of average financial means when elected goes to Washington and leaves some time later a multi-millionaire.
    ancientprogrammer
    • the terrorists won!

      @ancientprogrammer
      the constitution is becoming irrelevant, and not just from SOPA.
      sparkle farkle
      • Our own elected "leaders" are the new terrorists

        @sparkle farkle <br>[i]the constitution is becoming irrelevant, and not just from SOPA. [/i]<br><br>Especially at the federal level, where the cloud hangs darkest. The lobbyists push it, then WE in turn are expected to pick up the legislative check. What a racket. Good for David not to mince words here.
        klumper
  • Prevailing industry standard

    1. Correction: the "America's" in "buy off America's Internet freedom" ... understates that SOPA is a global measure. I wonder whether countries like China ... or perhaps a European Union ... will vote to segregate the Internet into 'USA' and 'ROW'? Hey- you launched the first 'missiles'!<br><br>2. Best tackle your ZDNET colleagues first David. They view changes like ...<br><br>- secure boot to Windows 8 ONLY<br>- 30% tax on digital media through app. stores<br>- public cloud offerings<br><br>... as purely core technology improvements, ignoring the far tighter global corporate control. I have no doubt these corporate sheep will soon use the phrase 'prevailing industry standard' applied to these completely new thefts :-(
    jacksonjohn
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @johnfenjackson@...
      Well, public clouds aren't intrisically bad. They're just misused most of the time. But the best way to use them are for encrypted data storage/backup and non-sensitive processing/services.
      Natanael_L
      • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

        @Natanael_L
        Yes, but unfortunately 'clouds' are being pushed as 'the next big thing' by ZDNet and other media, which is inevitably leading to most big companies actually considering wasting money on the experiment. It will be a complete disaster. And Apple products being shoehorned into the workplace thanks to the same lemmings is already becoming an irritant.
        12312332123
    • tax?

      @johnfenjackson@...
      The 30% "tax" you refer to is the seller's profit for executing the transaction. Not too long ago a retailer's typical markup was a "keystone" markup meaning the retail price was double the wholesale. That's a 50% retail "tax" by your measure.

      It may come to pass that someone will tell Apple that they can't limit app sales for their devices to their own store for anti-competitive reasons, but you can't legislate any retailer's 'cut' of the sales price.
      use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @johnfenjackson@... Unfortunately the Internet can not be segregated from the USA because of the 13 root DNS servers that only the US controls. That is what makes this truly scary...
      UnixMan2501
      • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

        @UnixMan2501

        Darknet. All this does is screw people who are NOT motivated to go steal stuff. There are LOTS of alternatives for the crooks. non-authoritative DNS servers, text files listing IP addresses, etc. I wonder how badly facebook will be hurt everytime someone posts such a text file on their wall.
        tkejlboom
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @johnfenjackson@... "- secure boot to Windows 8 ONLY"<br><br>And that immediately discounts the rest of your comment because you're wildly misrepresenting the reality there in order to bias in your favour... exactly the thing you're accusing ZNet of doing.<br><br>Secure boot doesn't only allow Windows 8. It's not manditory (every hardware maker so far has said they'll make it switchable and Microsoft has never said it has to be Win8 ONLY - in fact they've repeatedly said they have no intent of requiring this). It's not Windows 8 only. The only thing it prevents is quickly rebooting between multiple OSes, and with the right certification, even that could be prevented.
      TheWerewolf
  • Immediate no fly zone and humanitarian bombardment

    International community is concerned about the situation in the USA, especially construction of concentration camps throughout the country and anti-democratic arrests and brutal treatment of peaceful protesters which are flagrant violations of the foundations of a democratic society.

    UN must issue immediate no fly zone resolution, impose total trade embargo and initiate humanitarian bombardment to save poor and oppressed american people from the tyranny of democracy.
    Beryllium8
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @Beryllium8: It would be ironic if that really happened.
      Natanael_L
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @Beryllium8 The U.S. being a prominent member, I doubt that would ever take place. Also, the violations taking place aren't as you make them sound ( concentration camps?).<br>Having said that, SOPA needs to die out. Luckily the current backers of the act do not make up a majority, lets keep it that way.
      jetsethi
      • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

        @jetsethi <br>Do you not read the news? Hell even Faux News has reported on the FEMA internment camps, there are a bunch all across the US getting ready to open the doors thanks to the new bill of being able to arrest a US citizen for anything with no trial! Look it up also there are leaked emails from a Halliburton contractor looking for others to bid on servicing these FEMA internment camps. Wake up there is no constitution anymore in this country! If you cant take the time to learn with your own Google searches, hope you will be one of the first to go to the new Gov sponsored Spa LOL
        vw-slowda
      • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

        @jetsethi Concentration camps? Guantanamo Bay.
        bargeemike
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @Beryllium8 Given that the US is the only member of the UN who really contributes to these types of actions, I don't think much would happen even if the UN recommended these sanctions.
      p0figster
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @Beryllium8 Why are you posting this exact comment to every article I've read today on ZDNet?
      cryptikonline
  • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

    Corporate money influencing politics is a real problem in this country. It is the biggest challenge facing our nation today because it creates so many negative outcomes, including our recent economic collapse. The Tea Party and Occupy Movements are both born of the public's frustration with our corrupt, broken political institutions. Our congressmen and senators get elected by the people, then they go to work for the corporations that bought them, their party, and their party leadership. They work for everybody except the people who voted for them, enriching themselves in the process. I think the best solution is to vote ALL incumbents out of office... Regardless of political party or whether you agree with their positions or not. We need to remind them, in no uncertain terms, who they really work for.
    steve6225
    • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

      @steve6225 They need to make paid lobbying illegal...yes I know that would never happen lol.
      dtdono0
      • RE: SOPA: So how much does it cost to buy off America's Internet freedom?

        @dtdono0 No what they need to do is charge these congressmen with treason try/convict/execute them. Accepting money to influence government is treason!!!
        mrlinux