Lamar Smith Calls Wikipedia Blackout Protest a 'Publicity Stunt'

January 17, 2012 -

SOPA sponsor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) thinks Wikipedia's decision to shut down the U.S. version of its popular site is a stunt to garner attention. Smith continues to say that SOPA will not harm sites like Wikipedia, and will only target foreign websites identified as trafficking in counterfeit goods or copyrighted material. Wikipedia's protest will apply only to the English version of the online encyclopedia and will last for about 24 hours. Wikipedia is the fifth or sixth most visited site in the U.S.

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SOPA Markup Hearings Resume in February

January 17, 2012 -

Public Knowledge let us know that, as many of us expected, markup hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act will resume in February in the House of Representatives. The announcement was made by lead sponsor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

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DNC Chair is a SOPA Supporter

January 17, 2012 -

I don't know if SOPA or PIPA will have an impact on the presidential election, but it is disconcerting to note that the person serving as the spokesperson of the Democratic party is listed as a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D- representing Florida's 20th District) is the current chair of the Democratic National Committee and is listed as a supporter of SOPA at ProPublica.org.

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White House Questions SOPA, PIPA

January 14, 2012 -

The White House has finally responded to a petition submitted by citizens expressing everything from concern to outright opposition to both SOPA and PIPA. Today the official web site for the White House has a rather lengthy post on these bills. The short story is that it seems like good news for those who oppose these bills in their current forms. From the Whitehouse.gov site:

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House Majority Leader: SOPA Will Not Get Floor Vote Without Some Consensus

January 14, 2012 -

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) brings some good news for those against the Stop Online Piracy Act: he has decided that he won't allow it to come to the floor of the House for a vote unless there is some real consensus on the bill. If this tells us anything it is that the American people have flooded House members with phone calls and emails complaining about this bill and how it is being fast-tracked by some members with power like sponsor Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

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Reddit, Rackspace to Testify Before Congress on SOPA

January 10, 2012 -

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has announced that it will listen to a handful of experts on January 18.

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Congressmen Paul Ryan Opposes SOPA, Promises to Vote Against It

January 10, 2012 -

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan issued a short statement today on his official House website announcing that he strongly opposes the Stop Online Piracy Act and says that if it comes up for a vote on the floor of the House he will vote against it. While some credit a campaign on Reddit to oppose him in his upcoming election bid by supporting his Democratic opponent (which more than likely did have some affect on his decision), chances are he also got an earful from constituents that hate the bill sponsored by Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

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Smith Says Reddit SOPA Protestors are 'Not Legitimate or Large in Number'

January 4, 2012 -

Speaking to political publication Roll Call, SOPA sponsor and House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took shots earlier this week at critics of the bill that has gained as much bi-partisan opposition as it has support.

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Entertainment Industry Pays Over $1.9 Million in Campaign Cash to SOPA Supporters

December 21, 2011 -

Lawmakers that support SOPA can say that they haven't been bought and paid for by special interest groups, but an article on MapLight shows that the 32 sponsors of the bill have received four times more campaign contributions from the entertainment industry than from tech companies that oppose it.

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Why SOPA is a Futile Effort for Lawmakers, Special Interest Groups

December 21, 2011 -

A software developer who goes by the nickname of "T Rizk," who thinks Congress will make the wrong decision on the SOPA anti-piracy bill, has decided to create a work-around before the bill ever becomes law. That work-around is a Firefox plug-in that he has named "DeSOPA." It basically unblocks sites like The Pirate Bay by reverting the blocked site back to its raw IP address.

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SOPA Hearings: Greatest Hits for Dec. 16

December 16, 2011 -

If you were smart enough to avoid the committee hearing yesterday (it went on for a very long time), but care that SOPA doesn't pass in the U.S. House, then you should check out these clips put together by California Congressman (R) Daryl Issa's staff. The clips also feature California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO). As you watch these clips taken from yesterday's hearings it is clear which side of this issue is well-informed and which is not interested in the information being presented to them.

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Internet Pioneers Send Letter to Congress Opposing SOPA and PIPA

December 15, 2011 -

Today, a group of 83 Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the United States Congress, voicing their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills that are under consideration in the House and Senate. Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP; Jim Gettys, editor of the HTTP/1.1 protocol standards; Paul Vixie, author of BIND, the most widely-used DNS server software; and Elizabeth Feinler, director of the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International are just some of the names that have signed this letter.

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SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

December 14, 2011 -

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) fired back strongly at critics of SOPA Wednesday, accusing various tech companies and their executives of not understanding the bill. He made a point of singling out Google for its opposition, calling it "self-serving."

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Joke License App Gets Pulled, Senator Celebrates

December 14, 2011 -

It didn't take long for one misinformed and overzealous lawmaker to help get a poor developer's app removed from Apple's store. The app in question, " Driver License," allowed users to create a mock driver's license to entertain and amuse friends. But Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) didn't see the fun in it, and was concerned that it could be used to create a license. Apparently the Senator believed that this program was so sophisticated that a terrorist could download the app and make a fake ID on the fly for some nefarious purpose.

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Writers Guild of America West Expresses Concerns About SOPA to Lawmakers

December 14, 2011 -

It looks like the Writers Guild of America West has some concerns about SOPA. In a recent post on the trade group’s site, they wrote about a recent visit to Washington D.C., where they met with various lawmakers and other trade groups about SOPA and other legislation they think is important such as Net Neutrality and the ATT/T-Mobile merger. From the paragraph about their visit to the House of Representatives (I’ve highlighted the important stuff for emphasis):

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Congressman Jim Himes on SOPA

December 9, 2011 -

While we're likely not going to post every letter we get from readers who receive some sort of response from their elected representatives concerning SOPA and Protect IP, the following response received by ECA president Hal Halpin from congressmen Jim Himes (D- Connecticut’s 4th District) is worth reading - only because it strikes a balance between thinking free speech and rights (like due process and fair use) should be protected with copyright holders' interests.

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Sponsors of the OPEN Act Seek Input from the Public

December 8, 2011 -

As we mentioned last week Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa introduced an alternative bill to SOPA and Protect IP that would put the power of fighting so-called rogue web sites into the hands of the International Trade Commission. The OPEN Act (which stands for Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act) focuses on interrupting the flow of funds to web sites that are proven to be trafficking in counterfeit goods or copyright materials.

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Lawmakers Offer Alternative to SOPA, Protect IP

December 2, 2011 -

While some in the U.S. House and Senate would love to jam SOPA and Protect IP through the legislative process, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have drafted an alternative proposal that would make use of existing trade laws and the International Trade Commission to deal with counterfeit goods, piracy and the "rogue web sites" that deal in those things explicitly. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating a proposal that would use trade laws to battle online piracy as an alternative to the controversial bills currently pending in both chambers of Congress.

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Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

December 1, 2011 -

If you want to know why your favorite senator or congressional representative is supporting Protect IP and SOPA, all you need to do is follow the money. First where is the money coming from? Big media, of course. The Sunlight Foundation does an excellent job of gathering all the info on this topic in one easy post.

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EFF Issues Appeal for Help to Fight Against SOPA and Protect IP

November 23, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up arms against the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and they want your help to do it. The advocacy that supports internet rights and freedom of speech online says that these new bills are "a threatening sequel to last year's COICA Internet censorship bill" and that this legislation "invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation."

Ron Paul, Nancy Pelosi Voice Opposition to SOPA, Protect IP

November 18, 2011 -

In a strange twist of fate or because of some sort of cosmic alignment of certain planets, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul actually agree on something: they both think that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, are bad ideas. The latest SOPA opponent is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but Paul has been against it from the start.

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ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers'

November 16, 2011 -

A new article over at TechDirt penned by the Entertainment Consumer Association's Vice President and General Counsel, Jennifer Mercurio, explains why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP are bad for everyone - especially gamers. Mercurio lays out what this means to everyday internet users when it comes to video performance and fair use in the first paragraph:

Republican Senate Resolution to Kill FCC Net Neutrality Rules Fails

November 11, 2011 -

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-Texas) effort in the Senate to kill the FCC's net neutrality rules has failed. The Senate voted, 46-52, against moving forward with a resolution that would have overturned federal regulations enacted in 2010 that govern anti-competitive behavior online.

"It's time to push back" against federal agencies that are overreaching their authority and enacting burdensome regulations, she argued before the Senate voted on a motion to proceed.

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White House Hosts Digital Promise Initiative This Week

September 14, 2011 -

This week the White House will launch what it calls the "Digital Promise Initiative," a gathering to promote breakthroughs in education and learning technologies. The event revolves around the national center created by Congress to advance breakthrough technologies that will improve America's education system will be launched on Friday, September 16, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 10 a.m.

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Congressman Joe Baca Rails Against SCOTUS Decision

June 28, 2011 -

California Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto, CA) has unsuccessfully sought controls on violent videogames in the past, so it should come as no surprise that he is "disappointed" and shocked at the Supreme Court Decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court ruling on Brown v. EMA.

"I am disappointed the multi-billion dollar video game industry will continue to go unchecked in its ability to profit from selling heinous depictions of violence and sex to minors," Baca wrote in a statement issued Monday.

"Unfortunately, the industry is still not doing enough to provide parents with accurate information regarding the content of many games," Baca said, ignoring the ESRB and the latest Federal Trade Commission report that said that the videogame industry had the best record when it came to keeping mature rated content out of the hands of children.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Republicans Unveil 2011 Tech Agenda

June 3, 2011 -

Yesterday House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) detailed the Republican tech agenda, a one-page list of priorities for Republican lawmakers in 2011 and beyond. While Republicans loathe regulations that stymie productivity and put a burden on businesses, they don't seem to have a problem with regulations on consumers' lives when it comes to flying, purchasing goods, legislating morality, or doing things on the Internet. In other words, regulations that punish the everyday citizen are cool, but regulations that keep corporations in check - like net neutrality - are bad.

The bullet points of the Republican tech agenda  are mostly conceptual and non-specific at this point, but here they are:

 

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Register of Copyrights: Illegal Streaming Should be a Felony

June 3, 2011 -

The new head of the U.S. Copyright Office says that illegal video streaming should be a felony. The new Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante spent her first day testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, giving her approval to the IP Enforcement Czar’s recommendation that the government should stop treating illegal streaming offenses as "unauthorized performances" and start classifying it as a serious crime, or "unauthorized reproductions and distributions." The White House backs the IP Czar's recommendations. This would turn illegal streaming into a felony - up from a less serious misdemeanor charge.

Pallante said the following before the House Judiciary Committee hearing:

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AT&T's Generous Contributions to Lawmaker-Linked Charities

June 1, 2011 -

How do you give money to politicians without actually giving them a big fat check directly? Write a check to a charity they are closely associated with. That is just what AT&T has been doing, and it is getting the attention of the public and media outlets.

AT&T has given a substantial amount of money to charities connected to several lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who just happens to be the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. A charity associated with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who just happens to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee. AT&T also gave a generous contribution to a charity associated with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the No. 3 House Democrat. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn also happens to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

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Report: Sony to Testify Before Congress

May 30, 2011 -

Earlier this month a congressional subcommittee looking into the PlayStation Network outage and data leak asked Sony Computer Entertainment America chairman and Sony Corp. executive vice president Kaz Hirai to testify. He declined at the time. While Hirai didn't make it to Washington D.C. his company provided a detailed list of answers that - at least temporarily - pacified lawmakers. Now with the PSN back online, Sony had decided that it will comply with the request from House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Ken Johnson, an aide to subcommittee chairwoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), told The Atlantic magazine that Sony Network Entertainment president Tim Schaff, is scheduled testify before the subcommittee next week.

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Who's responsible for crappy Netflix performance on Verizon?:

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Matthew Wilson@pm I doubt it. Google seems to be distancing themselves from G+07/25/2014 - 9:31pm
Papa MidnightGoogle+ Integration is coming to Twitch!07/25/2014 - 8:41pm
MaskedPixelanteThis whole Twitch thing just reeks of Google saying "You thought you could get away from us and our policies. That's adorable."07/25/2014 - 2:52pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - hopefully that's the case, but I wont hold my breath for it to happen.07/25/2014 - 1:08pm
SleakerUpdate on crytek situation is a bit ambiguous, but I'm glad they finally said something: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-25-crytek-addresses-financial-situation07/25/2014 - 1:07pm
E. Zachary KnightMan Atlas, Why do you not want me to have any money? Why? http://www.atlus.com/tears2/07/25/2014 - 12:06pm
Matthew WilsonI agree with that07/25/2014 - 10:45am
james_fudgeI think Twitch will have more of an impact on how YouTube/Google Plus work than the other way around.07/25/2014 - 10:22am
IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
 

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