Fred Wilson's Post-SOPA Recap

If you've been reading Fred Wilson's blog the last couple of years, you already have an incomparable perspective on PROTECT IP / PIPA / SOPA that it's not possible to get from any news organization, aggregator or partisan.

6226789690_81c9af419b_bIn that uncanny way he has to pull a longer perspective while still in the middle of something, Fred posts this morning about how the MPAA / RIAA attack on the internet was quashed (for now), and how he sees the road ahead. That is, how the tension between the tech and content industries should be addressed going forward.

There's a huge difference between how Fred characterizes the opposition to SOPA, and how the MPAA's chief lobbyist, Senator Chris Dodd, characterizes it.

Fred's view:

"Our industry does not have an MPAA or an RIAA. For the past 15 months we have been working with various individuals, a few companies, and a few advocacy groups to fight these bills. We found each other over the Internet, coordinated efforts (or not) over the Internet, and used the Internet to protect the Internet. The opposition was chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end. Just like the Internet."

Contrast that with the view of the Senator for the entertainment industry (MPAA-Hollywood):

"[S]ome technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests."

I'm hoping the tech industry won't organize itself into trade associations that lobby and perpetuate the same corruption that produced Dodd. To paraphrase what I wrote in this New Year's Day post: the tech community has the skills to topple the current, corporatist shadow of democracy that would shame our nation's founders. "Getting smarter" with how the Congress of today works, organizing within that system, establishing outposts on K Street, perpetuating the corrupt system and getting used to paying the indirect tax of campaign contributions, year after year after year - #Occupy has taught us that we can expect more of ourselves than that.

Flickr photo, "Occupy Philadelphia October 8th 2011," by Craig Fineburg.

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