We already know that today’s SOPA hearings for the House Judiciary Committee are totally stacked in favor of the bill. But with the hearings getting underway, we wanted to dive in and look at what’s about to be said. Most of the testimony leaked out yesterday, allowing us to spend some time going through it — it’s all embedded below. However, here’s a taste of what’s going to be said… with some additional commentary (of course).
First up, the most troubling of all: Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights (aka, Head of the US Copyright Office). She should be here to defend the public and to make sure that massive regulatory capture by a couple of stagnant industries doesn’t happen. But, that’s not how the Copyright Office rolls. Instead, her testimony is basically the US Chamber of Commerce’s key talking points (perhaps not a surprise, since the main lobbyist at the US Chamber who’s in charge of shepherding this bill into law only recently worked at the US Copyright Office). If you had hoped for some reasoned argument about pushing back on the massive excesses of SOPA and the broad definitions, you’re not going to get it from Pallante.
Please go read it and check out all the other material at Techdirt. They are all over this.
IP is a concept that permits the establishment to nullify any real benefit of the First Amendment. If Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube are shut down, how many news stories will ever go viral? Who will report on Congress?
And if they are not shut down, it will be because they make the Establishment happy. This tool can and will be used ideologically, like the Kennedy Administration used “the Fairness Doctrine,” to neutralize opposition.
It is wrong on so many levels and it looks like it is going to happen.