Monday, January 23, 2012

Some ideas on what to do with your pitchforks

Here are two suggestions, from two very smart people:

  • David Pogue: Put Down the Pitchforks on SOPA
    In this case, the solution is to work on the language of the bills to rule out the sorts of abuses that the big Web sites fear. (And to fix the other minor point, which is that the bills won’t work. For example, they’d make American Internet companies block your access to domain names like “,” but you’d still be able to get to them by typing their underlying numerical Internet addresses, like In other words, anybody with any modicum of technical skills would easily sidestep the barriers.)
  • Clay Shirky: Pick up the pitchforks: David Pogue underestimates Hollywood
    This is a general problem — there is a reasonable conversation to be had about sites set up for large, commercial operations that are designed to violate copyright. And because there’s a reasonable conversation to be had, Pogue (and many others) simply imagine that the core of SOPA must therefore be reasonable. Surely Hollywood wouldn’t try to suspend due process, would they? Or create a parallel enforcement system? Or take away citizen recourse if they were unfairly silenced?

I think that the overall discussion around SOPA/PIPA/etc. has been valuable and I have certainly learned a lot by following it. I hope that the discussion continues, and more importantly I hope that the discussion continues in the open: as Mike Masnick points out on TechDirt, a major problem with the legislative process here is that our representatives constructed the bill in secret, rather than via open debate.

no hearings, no debate, no discussion. It was a seven minute session that wasn't recorded or available to the public. That's a sign that the fix is in, not that the public is being represented.

Hopefully, the major lesson that everybody learns from this is that things are better when discussion and debate occur openly. Isn't that what open government is supposed to be?

No comments:

Post a Comment