SOPA’s Political Fallout

Jan 23 2012 @ 5:06pm

Timothy Lee sees an opening for the GOP to become the party of Internet freedom:

[B]oth parties are backing away from SOPA and PIPA. But so far the Democrats have shown more interest in reviving the legislation. Reid and Leahy have pledged to bring a modified version of the legislation back to the Senate floor later in the year. On the House side, Smith has continued to champion his proposal, but he has gotten no real support from the House Republican leadership, which has pledged to put the bill on hold until a consensus is reached. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is also opposed to SOPA.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Republicans have been attacking the bill, explicitly tying their opposition to GOP themes like limited government, free markets, and antipathy to Hollywood. If Republicans play their cards right, the last week could mark the dawn of a new political alliance between Silicon Valley and the Grand Old Party.

Nick Baumann and Siddhartha Mahanta differ somewhat. David Post thinks bigger:

It’s a terrible label — “netizen” — but an important concept. If people don’t really believe they have an interest in this thing that we have built, then it is doomed. The converse, alas, isn’t true — but people giving a damn about the health of the Internet is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for it to be healthy, going forward. And that’s what the events of this past week were about. All of a sudden, millions of people took the Net seriously as a place that needed defending, and millions more tried to figure out why those first millions were so upset and what they were upset about. It does not, by itself, solve any problems — we might still get some terrible law down the road, on this issue or any one of a number of others, that will strangle this medium. But it sets the foundation for processes that can solve those problems, and that is a very, very good thing.