Great post by Mike Masnick on Techdirt:
from the don’t-let-that-happen dept
For years we’ve seen Silicon Valley basically ignore what’s happening in Washington DC, and this has allowed certain other industries to take advantage of that policy. Hopefully, more people are beginning to realize that this is a problem and that speaking out and doing something may have an impact. Thankfully, some in Congress are helping to spread that word as well. Senator Wyden, who we’ve obviously mentioned a bunch due to his willingness to actually fight against attacks on free speech and innovation, showed up in San Francisco earlier this week to speak at the Web 2.0 conference, where he laid out the issues behind PROTECT IP clearly. You can see the full interview below:
Let me go right to the question of the PROTECT IP Act… What this is, at its heart, is a question of whether one part of our economy — the content sector — can use government as a club to go after another part of our economy — which is the innovation sector and everything that the internet represents.
My only issue with this characterization is that it’s a little broad. For example, Techdirt is, very much, a part of “the content sector.” But we’re quite worried about PROTECT IP. I recognize that the Senator was using shorthand, but it’s helpful to distinguish the legacycontent sector from the next generation content players who don’t want to rely on the government to prop up our business models. Either way, the overall point is absolutely true, and it’s too bad that almost no one else in Congress is willing to address the reality of the situation. It has everything to do with a small group of companies — who are unwilling to adapt — trying to lash out at the industries they need most.
The PROTECT IP, when you really strip it down, is about whether or not you’re going to have arbitrary seizure of domains. Whether or not you’re going to have these vague standards for going in and seizing a domain. And then, and something I think is particularly ominous, ceding a significant portion of the authority over the internet to private companies, in effect, allowing them to bring private rights of action…. This legislation, in its current form, would take a significant toll on both freedom and innovation. And particularly now, when the digital space is one of the most exciting parts of an economy, where we’ve had some tough times.
The rest of the interview is equally interesting as well, touching on his efforts to make sure the 4th Amendment applies to the GPS info associated with your mobile phone, his efforts to press the Obama administration to reveal its secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act, and a variety of other subjects that we talk about here all the time — including the idea that people here need to pay attention to what our government is doing and speak out when lobbyists and politicians are trying to hold back civil liberties or innovation.
I know it feels like we mention Senator Wyden pretty frequently, but there are two reasons for that: (1) So much of the things he gets involved in are the issues that we normally discuss here and (2) he’s one of the only people in Congress who seems to really be interested in these things. It’s good to see him come to Silicon Valley and spread that message directly to folks here.