SOPA and PIPA are not gone. We didn’t win. We were impressive. But, the politicians and the commercial interests involved have just stepped aside and allowed the wave of protest to pass. They are expecting us to go back to sleep.
Alec Rawls writes on Watt’s Up With That about Cass Sunstein, an Obama czar, wanting to use copyright laws to stop rumors and conspiracies, in other words to stifle free speech. The copyright laws in the US have the idea of fair use. That idea is to be modified so that you can’t write about ideas I espouse on this site. That would stop discussion of those rumors and ideas.
Harry Reid, the chairman of the US Senate, is rewriting PIPA to try and get it through the Senate and to the House. The bill is about getting the government to enforce copyright law for Hollywood. The most heinous aspect is the efforts to dispose of due process. The change is to make one guilty until they can prove their innocence. That’s an over simplification but…
What is more despicable is that once the government is enforcing copyright law they can easily control any speech against them. It is a small step. It is a bit of sleight-of-hand that Sunstein is using by tweaking the fair use part of copyright law and cover for politicians supporting the bill.
I say we have not won because the Senate did not vote on PIPA. (Reference) What we have in the US is the idea of a cloture vote. This is where members vote whether to keep discussing and working on the bill or stop and vote on the bill. If cloture shows approval for discussion, they keep talking trying to get something members will approve. If rejected for discussion, the bill is brought up for a vote. If the vote on the actual bill fails the bill is dead. The process has to start from the beginning, wind its way through committees, and eventually come back to the Senate floor as a new bill.
Senator Reid postponed the vote on cloture. That means they just wait until we are not paying attention. He can hold off on the vote until he knows he has the votes to pass the bill. Until he is voted out of office or the Democrat Party loses the majority, he controls the game in the Senate.
As one starts to tie all the government actions in regard to controlling media together one starts realize the potential it gives politicians and large media companies to control the media. Sunstein has been working on aspects of this for years, in fact written a couple of books on it. Sunstein is not a person that promotes free speech or individual freedoms. Nor is Harry reid. But, Reid is more of a politician and must face elections. Sunstein is an ideologue and as a czar does not have to run for office.
This problem is not going away. It will be back again and again. It can only be stopped by voting those promoting it out of office. So, if you are serious about opposing this loss of freedom, find the names of the politicians supporting this bill (See the links in: SOPA is Still a Problem) and see which are representing you. Write their names where can find them and vote against them in the next election.