A Little More Ranting on SOPA and PIPA

Many of us have read and heard enough about these bills this past week to last the rest of the year. But, if you can tolerate just a little more, here are a couple more important viewpoints on the subject.

In his anti-SOPA/PIPA, web blackout post from last Wednesday, Seth Godin looks at the two bills from a broader perspective and discusses the lack of real leadership in Congress.

When did we lose Congress? Not just in terms of losing our respect for just about everyone there (one of the least respected careers in the USA) but in the sense that they no longer even pretend to represent our interests or act as we would act if given the chance?

Godin says that their approval ratings are so low because “Congress has a marketing problem”, but that problem is “largely because they have a problem with the decisions they make and the way that they make them.”.

As good as his post is, Godin makes one glaring error when he says the debate is “now winding down”.

As Clay Shirky explains in this excellent short talk he gave recently at the TED offices, SOPA and PIPA are just the latest attempts by the media industry to eliminate the concept of fair use and exercise complete control over popular culture, and they have no intention of stopping with this minor setback.

The worst part of these two bills is the fact that Congress would be altering centuries of American legal precedent to allow a few large companies and their lobbyists to proactively censor the web, to declare users guilty with minimal evidence, and then force them to prove their innocence. At great cost to the accused, of course.

Godin is right that SOPA and PIPA are likely dead in their current forms, carrying their current names. However, the dangerous and destructive concepts at their foundations are not going away until we get some leadership in Congress that is willing to do their job and actually represent the people.

Don’t hold your breath.

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