SOPA: Watts Up With That?

Most netizens will be aware that today is a day to protest SOPA, the controversial “Stop Online Piracy Act” bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives in October 2011 but not yet passed.

In essence, SOPA would give content creators a tool to enforce copyright by, among other things, blocking access to “infringing” websites. The driving force behind this are wealthy corporate interests in the music, television and film industries. The concern is that this will be used as a tool for suppressing free speech by simply alleging copyright infringement.

In the context of climate denialism you’d think that Anthony Watts, who often rails against imagined suppression and censorship of “climate skepticism” would be particularly concerned. But no. Crickets over there on an issue that Anthony would have us believe is fundamental to his activities.

Perhaps Anthony sees an easy way to harass people expressing views he doesn’t like and tool for impeding his critics. He’s tried, comically, to use copyright infringement as a weapon in the past.

2012-01-19 Update: I track Anthony’s blog by RSS feed, which apparently didn’t include his post about the horrors of SOPA. It ends with a press release from conspiracy enthusiast Senator Jim Inhofe, who has in the past seemed eager to use the power of his office to intimidate. Anthony’s late-in-the-day take on the issue turns out to be predictable, as are many of his reader comments are about how SOPA is intended to help the Obama communists crush individualism. Progressive resistance is more nuanced; SOPA is a gift from beholden politicians to media conglomerates intent on protecting their profits that, through ill-design, places free speech at risk. Isn’t that the same thing?

5 thoughts on “SOPA: Watts Up With That?

  1. The mainland Chinese and Iranians maintain some of the most restrictive firewalls in the world, in order to limit their own citizens access to open propaganda free news and information and yet within hours of closing just one loophole, another ten open up.

    In addition, one should not forget the very evil “Research Works Act”! This act as it stands, will effectively grant ‘Elsevier’, an almost monolithic or complete and absolute control of copyright on how all basic research works are published and disseminated to the public at large!

    Sadly, soon in the “land of the free and the brave”, all the assorted tools required to breach the Chinese and Iranian Firewalls, will now become very illegal to either use or install on every computer in North America, should the idiotic corporate for pure greed and absolute profit written SOPA/PIPA and RWA be passed!

    Two wrongs, do not make a right!

  2. I don’t think it would ever get passed anyway. Its a money pit & would have to spend many millions on plugging the holes. They would block a particular site & the site would either move offshore if it isn’t already, or people will develop public vpn’s for certain sites. It would be almost impossible to police. It might catch a lot of mums & dads, but news will get out pretty quick on how to bypass it.

    [I agree that SOPA is deeply flawed just on a technical level. Reminds me of conservative attempts to legislate biology and the value of Π. – Ben]

    • Given the long way it has already come, I wouldn’t underestimate the chance it will pass. Perhaps after some meaningless amendment.

  3. “But no. Crickets over there on an issue that Anthony would have us believe is fundamental to his activities.”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying. When I go to his website, I get a notice saying that WUWT is protesting the SOPA proposed legislation and there will be no new threads for today. Not exactly crickets. He’s a big dunce when it comes to climate issues but he is on board the SOPA protest.

    [Anthony jumped on board rather late in the day. Naturally his take, and his reader’s, is that SOPA is a liberal conspiracy. When Anthony’s right it’s always the same way a broken clock is right… – Ben]

  4. moan and bitch, then discover you moaned and bitched in error, but instead of having the class to admit you got it wrong, ypu bitch and moan a bit more. i predict an early demise for your classless blog.

    [Thanks for your perspicacious observations. – Ben]

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