Is SOPA a Shakedown?
I must admit that I have become somewhat cynical over the years. While I still believe in truth, justice and all that, I view politicians in general and congress in particular with considerable skepticism.
Congress is currently considering SOPA and PIPPA. While these sound like Pokemon names, they are being put forth with the stated purpose of combating piracy. Critics, of which there is a multitude, contend that SOPA and PIPA will be devastating to the “small” players in the internet realm.
Being a professional writer and an ethical person, it is hardly surprising that I am against online piracy and have argued that it is immoral. As such, I do support reasonable, just and fair means of combating piracy-if only for the selfish reason that I would prefer that people not steal my work. However, I would prefer to live with the risk of piracy than have draconian laws and regulations in place. Naturally, this is a false dilemma: we can obviously have mechanisms to combat piracy that are not draconian.
Getting back to my cynicism, I suspect that SOPA and PIPA are shakedown tools. In the current political system, members of congress need to spend significant sums of money in order to be re-elected. In order to keep this money flowing in, they need to give people and corporations a reason to fork over that sort of cash. One obvious way to do this is to create legislation that folks with large sums of money are interested in passing or preventing. SOPA and PIPA are backed by many large media corporations and they have, as might be imagined, dumped a lot of money into the campaign coffers of the folks in congress. Those who oppose SOPA and PIPA will need to lobby against them and this also involves money being tossed into those same coffers. As such, these laws are a win-win situation for the folks in congress in that they help them generate the vast sums of cash they need to ensure that they will remain where they can get even more vast sums of cash.
On this matter I find myself agreeing with true conservatives: I am opposed to this expansion of government regulation.