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Democrats and Internet Censorship

Tristan Sloughter Jan 24, 2012

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is currently the cosponsor of the Protest IP Act (PIPA)–the Senate version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). PIPA was written by and for the large entertainment companies and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

So little do the politicians in support of the bill care about being puppets that Utah's Attorney General Mark Shurtleff put his name on an op-ed article for the Salt Lake City Tribune that was literally, and obviously, written for him by the MPAA.

We know this because the content of the op-ed can be found verbatim in other propaganda. For example, there's this sentence from the Shurtleff's op-ed: "It will take a strong, sustained effort to stop Internet thieves and profiteers." This exact sentence was used by MPAA President Bob Pisano in 2010.

There are numerous other instances in the op-ed that are taken verbatim from other sources and passed off as the writing of the attorney general.

Durbin has taken hundreds of thousands from the entertainment industry.

Both PIPA and SOPA are attacks on freedom, innovation and even job creation. Movie companies use what is called "Hollywood accounting" in order to claim nearly every movie they release loses money. These are flat-out lies so that they can play the victim.

They have paid off our politicians to support their goals of being able to have almost unlimited ability to shut down websites, without a hearing. SOPA and PIPA even threaten the security of the Internet due to possible changes to Domain Name Services (DNS). This is the equivalent of the National Defense Authorization Act for the Internet.

The acts show either a clear lack of understanding of how the Internet works or malicious intent by the politicians who support the proposals. The powers in these acts include forcing websites to shut down if content on that site is claimed to be copyrighted material that is being misused–even if the content in question is user submitted. In theory, companies like Flickr and YouTube could be forced to shut down when any user uploads what someone claims is a violation.

This isn't such an issue for large companies like Google, Facebook, Flickr (owned by Yahoo) or YouTube (owned by Google), because they have the money to fight lawsuits. However, since the potential laws and regulations would be so damaging to their infrastructure to implement and enforce, such companies have rightfully come out to lobby in opposition.

If SOPA and PIPA are passed, the real losers will be small businesses and self-run websites, not to mention regular Internet users.

Prominent "angel investors," very important to web startups, have already stated that if these bills pass they will change their investments because of the great risk that will be put on sites that are now so popular, including those with user-generated content.

Politicians who speak so often about "innovation" and "job creation" clearly only say these phrases to garner support while, behind the scenes, they do the bidding of those who fill their coffers–the 1 percent.

In this case, the 1 percent they are fighting for include the parasitic capitalists of the media industry who have failed to innovate and thus have been left behind by this new Internet era. No matter how we feel about the sharing of media by people, it is important to note that this does not affect the profits of these industries. Most of those who engage in file-sharing would not buy what they download, even if they could.

There is much more that can be written about the many studies and cases showing the corporate propaganda about PIPA/SOPA to be false. Even more can be said to show the love that real artists feel about the ability to share their works online and have people enjoy their art and pass it on.

But the capitalist parasites do not care. They are convinced that they can increase their profits through introducing censorship to the Internet–and they have succeeded in convincing many of our politicians of the same.

Six Republicans, some co-sponsors of the acts, have called on Harry Reid to delay the vote. Yes, the "more evil of the two evils" is the party attempting to make changes after the outcry from their public. Another example of the thin line that exists between the "lesser evil" of the Democrats and the "greater evil" of the Republicans.

But a delay and revisions are not enough. Both acts must be stopped completely. To protect our freedoms and to make clear we will not allow any censorship or a "national firewall" on the Internet.

Call, write and mic-check Dick Durbin and other congressional representatives and to tell them to end their support for PIPA and SOPA.

This article was originally published by Socialist Worker.

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