Regarding SOPA, government says users “poisoned the well”

Apparently, the government thinks we’re all stupid. That’s the only conclusion we can come to after reading what Stephanie Moore, chief counsel for the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, had to say about the online SOPA protests. Bloomberg reports that Moore believes the groundswell of anger against SOPA was a misinformation campaign perpetrated by a small number of large technology giants. At a panel discussing SOPA and PIPA, Moore stated:

“Netizens poisoned the well, and as a result the reliability of the internet is at risk,”

The discussion appears to have been very heated. Steven Metalitz, a lawyer in Washington, DC, claims that the DNS blocking provisions in the law were overstated and that if they were a problem, we'd already know:

“Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal to deal with this problem. If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken.”

To test this statement, TechDirt dug up the list of countries that do indeed have DNS blocking: China, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma (Myanmar), Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. That’s hardly “most” countries, and isn’t a list of the most upstanding countries in the world.

The biggest issue with SOPA and many other bills is that the language in the actual bill doesn’t match what people are being told it’s for. One of the panelists addressed this point by saying, “If you want to get consensus on passing legislation then you need to have what it says match what you say it does.

Sources: Bloomberg, TechDirt

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US government: "but everyone else is doing it!!!"

I'm glad we didn't have that mentality during the Revolutionary War.

Illegal sites are already illegal, and can already be taken down with current law. The government just doesn't want to have to go through something called "due process"

Geezy said,
Illegal sites are already illegal, and can already be taken down with current law. The government just doesn't want to have to go through something called "due process"

SOPA didn't dismantle due process.

It was a bad bill that promoted internet censorship and to stifle differences in political opinion, nothing more. The person that wrote the article didn't "frame" anything except what was said. They are butt hurt that they didn't get to have full spectrum control over every facet of our lives with the full consent of the "dummies", as they so lovingly refer to us all as.

It's unfortunate that Neowin's post barely delves into the arguments from the source. You've actually managed to somehow pick exactly the right way to frame this as if the government was looking down its nose at citizens. Congrats.

Let's ignore the fact that there was massive corporate support for the opposition to SOPA, regardless of whether the bill was good or bad. And let's ignore the fact that the "volume of noise" should, in fact, NOT dictate the decisions made by the government--an opinion everyone here would agree with whenever they're on the minority side of a debate. But this selective interpretation of democracy is pretty typical of your average American, I suppose.

Let's ignore the fact that most of what this official said was posed as questions, not accusations, and that most of the questions were valid. Let's ignore that, yes, it's true that the vast majority of SOPA's opposition never read the bill. Let's ignore the possibility that both sides of the SOPA battle could have been wrong-headed, because hey, it's easier to believe that everything is good vs. evil. No gray areas, right guys?

Joshie said,
It's unfortunate that Neowin's post barely delves into the arguments from the source. You've actually managed to somehow pick exactly the right way to frame this as if the government was looking down its nose at citizens. Congrats.

Let's ignore the fact that there was massive corporate support for the opposition to SOPA, regardless of whether the bill was good or bad. And let's ignore the fact that the "volume of noise" should, in fact, NOT dictate the decisions made by the government--an opinion everyone here would agree with whenever they're on the minority side of a debate. But this selective interpretation of democracy is pretty typical of your average American, I suppose.

Let's ignore the fact that most of what this official said was posed as questions, not accusations, and that most of the questions were valid. Let's ignore that, yes, it's true that the vast majority of SOPA's opposition never read the bill. Let's ignore the possibility that both sides of the SOPA battle could have been wrong-headed, because hey, it's easier to believe that everything is good vs. evil. No gray areas, right guys?

Sorry Josh, but your comment is simply too logical for Neowin.

mrbester said,
' “There's this thing called 'mob rule', and its not always right.” '
Except we call it 'will of the people'

Once you start ignoring the dangers of mob rule, you miss the point of democracy.

Joshie said,

Once you start ignoring the dangers of mob rule, you miss the point of democracy.

Good point. Which is why it's also worth noting that America is a republic.

Larry the Lobster said,
Damn. Things would be so great for the government if it wasn't for those pesky citizens!

Right?! /shakefist

People are stupid because they didn't want the Internet censored at the whims of corporate interest? Yeah that must be it

They are completely right. The interweb turned into mindless sheep protesting something they didn't understand fully. I saw a bunch of kids handing out sopa flyers and asked then what it was about and none of them had a clue. They read it online and thought it was cool to follow. Happens alot.

Colin McGregor said,
They are completely right. The interweb turned into mindless sheep protesting something they didn't understand fully. I saw a bunch of kids handing out sopa flyers and asked then what it was about and none of them had a clue. They read it online and thought it was cool to follow. Happens alot.

So... you supported SOPA?

sanctified said,

So... you supported SOPA?

I doubt he does. It is just that some people have no idea, one way or the other, how SOPA affects them. For them, it is just a fad that they want to be a part of.

surrealvortex said,

I doubt he does. It is just that some people have no idea, one way or the other, how SOPA affects them. For them, it is just a fad that they want to be a part of.


It's true. Asking for more information at the time was almost as taboo as declaring outright support for SOPA. There was a thick, undeniable sense of with-us-or-against-us among the Internet opposition to the bill.

Ignorance was forgiven among SOPA opponents, because all that mattered was being part of the opposition. So what if you didn't know anything about SOPA? So what if 95% of the campaign against SOPA was made up of arguments that were easily objected to? None of that mattered as long as you voted the right way on surveys and forwarded pre-written letters with your name filled in at the designated spots.

Opposition was visceral, knee-jerk, and painfully misinformed of the bill, existing legislation, and the legislative process as a whole. But don't you dare point that out, because criticizing side A means you automatically support side B.

Ironically, these people would probably agree whole-heartedly that two-party systems are broken and artificially polarize citizens. Yet there they sat, voluntarily accepting polarization on an issue with every fiber of their being.

It wouldn't have been so bad if people acknowledged that some kind of law needed to be passed, and SOPA just wasn't the right one. No--the attitude was two levels: 1) SOPA is evil, and 2) Any law written, for whatever reason, that would impact the Internet as they understand it, must be fought against tooth and nail, because no legislation should ever, EVER touch the Internet.

You can go to Reddit any day of the week and find another thread about another law, either state-side or elsewhere, that is called "the new SOPA" or "as bad as SOPA" or "SOPA 2.0" or "worse than SOPA", in a glorious display of everything we were supposed to learn from the Boy Who Cried Wolf, continuing to remind us that these people continue to fail to understand what SOPA was, as well as whatever law they're talking about is. Ignorance is worn proudly, because being informed isn't the point: fighting the battle is.

Colin McGregor said,
They are completely right. The interweb turned into mindless sheep protesting something they didn't understand fully. I saw a bunch of kids handing out sopa flyers and asked then what it was about and none of them had a clue. They read it online and thought it was cool to follow. Happens alot.

True, but these people may know and trust someone who DOES understand the ramifications of legislation like SOPA and is against it. Not everyone can know everything about everything. Thats why people build relationships with people that they can trust. Lots of FUD gets out there still, but to say that I can't be involved in the political process for something just because I don't have 100% understanding is rubbish. That is what our powers to be want us to think - "if you don't understand fully then don't bother getting involved". I.e., keep your head down, stfu and let the Feds take even more power away from the States and the citizens.

@Shadrack, I agree, especially if our representatives for that matter are capable of making decisions like this for us as well when THEY don't even know how it all works, or the ramifications it could bring...

Shadrack said,

Not everyone can know everything about everything. Thats why people build relationships with people that they can trust.


You realize you've literally just described our representatives in government, right?

Enron said,
These guys are completely out of touch.

yeah tell me about it...one of those guys is even named Stephanie? wow due your parents must have hated you?

jorel009 said,

yeah tell me about it...one of those guys is even named Stephanie? wow due your parents must have hated you?

What is this I don't even-

jorel009 said,

yeah tell me about it...one of those guys is even named Stephanie? wow due your parents must have hated you?


Ever heard of women? They're delightful!

kezzzs said,

Ever heard of women? They're delightful!

I generally refer to a mixed gender group as "guys". It might be a misnomer, but I wouldn't be offended by that. The internet contains more offensive material. And besides, being offended by something is not a badge of honour that gives you any greater right. Chill.

Proof that these bureaucrats are totally unaware of internet's nature. We don't need to be orchestrated by anyone, we react as one.

They are aware of the nature to a degree enough that they want to control it so they keep in some power over people... like how the countries mentioned in the article, they want to keep propaganda of our side the only side people need to know, while making money from dying monopolies who still want control over Intellectual Properties when their format of control has become obsolete in this day and age and all the start ups are pecking away at their "share" when in reality in a true capalist society, companies rise and fall to what the people want without any damn government protection.