Friday, January 27, 2012

Why the opposition to SOPA and PIPA was so effective

A lot of people feel like the world, or at least the Internet, dodged a bullet this past week when SOPA and PIPA were finally shelved. What is very interesting is how it came about. Everyone connected to the Internet probably noticed the black-out-day last week and quite a few people contacted their representative or senator to let them know what they thought of these bills.

News outlets have since written about the awesome power of Internet companies like Google, Reddit, Facebook and organizations like Wikipedia. There may be something to that line of reasoning but I don’t think the Internet companies would have had nearly the leverage they did this time unless public confidence in congress was at rock bottom and public confidence in the entertainment industry, non-existent.

I think the actions of the entertainment industry over the past thirty years have finally come back to bite them. Nobody called congress on their behalf because they have no allies that haven’t been either paid (politicians) or scared (Metallica) into working on their behalf.

Their decades-long fight against all innovation or progress has not only made them miss out on generations of customers and generations of artists who now have found alternative ways of doing business but also painted themselves into a corner where nobody will speak on their behalf.

While politicians like money (and they get plenty from the Internet industry as well) they are no fools, millions of calls from angry voters and none on behalf of the entertainment industry is a train-wreck they do not want to be part of.

People, organized or not, vote. Money doesn’t.

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