SOPA Opera

SOPA Opera

Congress Shelves SOPA After President Obama’s Involvement

Rep. Issa, Internet hero?

Detractors of the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) may have reason to celebrate, albeit momentarily. According to Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-Rep.), an opponent of the bills,  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has assured him that SOPA will not move forward in Congress until “a consensus” has been reached.

Rep. Issa also said that a hearing regarding SOPA’s impact on cybersecurity scheduled for today has been postponed. On Friday, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-Rep.), chief sponsor of SOPA, said he would take out a portion of the law that would allow the Justice Dept. to seek court orders requiring American ISPs to block subscriber access to foreign websites accused of infringing copyright, reports PC World.

Although Mr. Cantor’s camp has yet to issue a public statement, Rep. Issa, who is pushing for alternate legislation called the OPEN Act claims: Read More

SOPA Opera

Rupert Murdoch Finally ‘Gets’ Twitter, Using it to Go After Google and President Obama

Plotting. (Photo: File)

Rupert Murdoch joining Twitter was one of the more shocking developments in the history of microblogging; not so much because it was an old person using Twitter, or an old, famous person using Twitter, but because it was an old, famous, media conglomerate chief using Twitter. They’re not exactly the type to engage with the public. It would seem, only a few weeks after joining, he has finally got the hang of the thing. Read More

SOPA Opera

SOPA Falling Apart! DNS Provision Pulled Even Before DNS Hearing

Guess Alexis Ohanian and Brad Burnham won’t be going to Washington after all. Rep. Lamar Smith, one of the co-sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act, just announced that the bill “will no longer include a provision that would require ISPs to block access to overseas web sites accused of piracy,” according to CNET.

The announcement comes a week before Mr. Ohanian and Mr. Burnham were scheduled to appear before the committee to talk about the issues raised by the bill’s provisions for DNS and search engine blocking. Read More

SOPA Opera

NYC Startup Founder Says Schumer’s Office Told Her the Senator ‘Is In Favor of Censoring the Internet’


Message Party founder Amanda Peyton was in for a rude awakening this morning when she tried to do the right thing. Rather than taking the Internet’s word for it that the proposed Protect IP Act (PIPA) is inherently evil—”I know how myopic the tech world can be sometimes,” she notes—Ms. Peyton decided to go to the source:  Senator Chuck Schumer, co-sponsor of the bill. Read More

SOPA Opera

The Villain Behind SOPA, Rep. Lamar Smith: Copyright-Violating Hypocrite?


Texas congressman Rep. Lamar Smith has become a national household name, rare for obscure politician such as himself. It’s because he’s the author behind the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, which if passed, could give our government the power to shut down any website they find in violation of online piracy laws.

Including, it would seem, his own. Read More

SOPA Opera

The Internet Strikes Back: Reddit Going Full Blackout to Protest SOPA


Reddit is shaping up to be ground zero for the SOPA backlash! After forcing Paul Ryan to come out against SOPA, Reddit is forfeiting ad revenue and risking a massive user backlash with a bold pledge to black out the entire site on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and replace it with a “simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit.” Tumblr pulled a similar move back in November. What will the world do without Reddit? “This is Digg’s big chance for a comeback!” Silicon Valley veteran and Laughing Squid founder Scott Beale joshed over Skype.

SOPA Opera

Reddit and Union Square Ventures Go to Washington to Explain Why DNS and Search Engine Blocking Will Break the Internet

Rep. Issa.

Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Breadpig, Hipmunk and Google+ are headed to Washington to testify as witnesses for an “Oversight Hearing on DNS and Search Engine Blocking” on Jan. 18 called by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a fierce opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act and a cosponsor of the similar but completely different Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act. Of SOPA, he’s said: “Butchering the internet is not a way forward for America.”

SOPA allows for Hollywood, record labels and other intellectual property holders to cut off U.S. users’ access to the servers hosting the bad content. That happens by basically removing the DNS entry for the infringing site. The law also applies to sites that link to infringing sites, which would give search engines a primary spot on the collateral damage list.

Opponents have pinpointed DNS and search engine blocking as failure points of the legislation. We know SOPA is bad because it counteracts the protection from user-submitted content made sacred by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a law whose protections are credited for much of the innovation on the web. But DNS—the protocol and registry that translates natural language domain names into IP addresses—is a little more technical, so Betabeat asked New York tech godfather Anil Dash who helped Betabeat out with an explanation. Read More

SOPA Opera

RSS Father Dave Winer: SOPA Is Great Because It Gets Techies Thinking Politics

dave winer

Aside from the vitriolic /r/politics subreddit and the class of politically-minded startups, tech and politics often don’t meet. Entrepreneurs and developers are so focused on building and making that they can become isolated from the workings of government (which is perhaps why the Occupy Wall Street protests rubbed some New York techies the wrong way).

But that may be changing. The rise of hacktivists from Anonymous to Aaron Swartz, the Y Combinator alum facing prison for downloading a massive data dump of academic papers from the MIT library because information wants to be free, suggests that geeks may be waking up to the impact government has on their lives. Read More

SOPA Opera

News Networks: Totally Ignoring That Whole SOPA Thing (Maybe Because Their Owners Are All For it?)

Surveillance nation.

You know that whole Stop Online Privacy Act that threatens to give our government control to basically turn off whatever part of the internet they want? It’s really scary. And cable news networks don’t really care about it enough to cover it. Or they’re simply afraid to poke at their corporate overlords because of it. Or they’re part of a vast conspiracy theory to help it pass. Read More

SOPA Opera

Who Supports SOPA? This Hack Shows You How Congress Members Are Leaning

Mr. Win Nguyen.

The most effective way to campaign against a particular piece of legislation in this country is to go after the elected officials behind it. There has been some confusion as to who in Congress supports and who opposes the increasingly unpopular Stop Online Piracy Act, but now local Manhattanite and ProPublica developer Dan Nguyen has created a website,, to clear things up. Read More