Hey, did you know that Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and Reddit are trying to turn you into their corporate pawns? We didn’t either, but to hear MPAA honcho Chris Dodd tell it, the “gimmick”y blackout darkening the Internet today isn’t actually a way for tech sites to spread awareness about a critical issue to a possibly uninformed segment of the population – instead, it’s just a “stunt,” an “abuse of power” designed to punish users and elected officials alike. In related news, two of SOPA’s and one of PIPA's co-sponsors have asked to have their names removed from the bill.
Normally we’d pick the juicy bits to share, but in this case, all of Dodd’s rhetoric is pure gold. So here’s the full text of the MPAA press release for your perusal. (Hey, should we be worried about sharing press releases if SOPA/PIPA passes?)
Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.
A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.
Meanwhile, PC World reports that two of the Representatives that previously supported SOPA – Benjamin Quayle of Arizona and Lee Terry of Nebraska – have asked to have their name stricken as co-sponsors of the controversial bill. A spokesman for Terry told the publication that the widespread backlash from tech companies and civil rights groups helped convince the Congressman to drop his SOPA support. CNET reports that Misouri Senator Roy Blount is doing the same with PIPA, and says that several other SOPA/PIPA co-sponsors' commitment to the bill now seems much more tenuous.