The fight for SOPA/PIPA in their present forms is effectively over – President Obama had already expressed serious reservations and a potential veto of the bills BEFORE yesterday’s internet “blackout” protest, and after the massive public backlash, several of the bill’s original sponsors are jumping ship.
That said, the groups pushing for more stringent internet controls will be back – there’s too much money and institutional inertia. SOPA/PIPA will come back in a different form – maybe better worded next time, maybe not quite so limiting in the internet as a whole, but it’ll be back. I blogged previously about just how bad these laws would be for our democratic institutions – here’s hoping that everyone that got so worked up about it yesterday can keep their focus:
“Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that.”
For those interested in broader issues of DRM and control of intellectual property, this speech by Corey Doctorow is worth reading in it’s entirety.
Now, it may seem like SOPA is the end game in a long fight over copyright, and the Internet, and it may seem like if we defeat SOPA, we’ll be well on our way to securing the freedom of PCs and networks. But as I said at the beginning of this talk, this isn’t about copyright, because the copyright wars are just the 0.9 beta version of the long coming war on computation. The entertainment industry were just the first belligerents in this coming century-long conflict. We tend to think of them as particularly successful — after all, here is SOPA, trembling on the verge of passage, and breaking the internet on this fundamental level in the name of preserving Top 40 music, reality TV shows, and Ashton Kutcher movies!