Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Google We Trust, Part 1


So apparently major tech firms like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia joined forces yesterday to protest attempts on the part of the U.S. Congress to pass SOPA/PIPA or whatever-their-offspring-would-be-if-they-were-consolidated into law. The three, together with a sizable chunk of the Internet's movers and shakers, blocked off access to their sites. By the end of it, SOPA's/PIPA's (initially high) hopes of evolving into law abruptly came crashing down. Netizens around the world, of course and rightfully so, rejoiced, while owners of content producers like Ruport Murdock lashed out against what he claims to be misinformation about SOPA/PIPA proliferated by hypocritical tech firms...and by "tech firms," he meant Google. Murdock felt so strongly about Google leading the cavalry charge against SOPA/PIPA that he found himself impelled to tweet: "Nonsense argument about danger to internet. How about Google, others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?" Oh my, fighting words! I can almost taste the hate! Meanwhile, the content producers themselves (read: Hollywood) are lamenting the White House's (read: U.S. Pres. Obama's) decision to distance itself (himself) from SOPA/PIPA, threatening to tone down their support for Obama's presidential re-election bid as a consequence.

I am not surprised Murdoch and Hollywood reacted the way they did. After all, SOPA/PIPA, I'm betting, was their brainchild. Imagine, after hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of hours and dollars invested lobbying for the passage of either or both, the same is defeated by partial internet blackout?! If I were in their shoes, upon receipt of news of SOPA's/PIPA's demise, I would have emphatically exclaimed: "Are you kidding me?!" In addition to SOPA/PIPA being their pet project/s, their non-elevation to the exalted status of law can only mean the continued erosion of their cash flow. This is a big deal. I mean, if this is allowed to go on, millionaire/billionaire businessmen and Hollywood A-listers like Lady Gaga will be doomed to a life of semi-luxury. The horror!


Kidding aside, in my opinion, I think what irks them the most is the fact that Google and the other tech firms are beating them at their own game. They intended SOPA/PIPA not only to protect their content, but also to level the playing field, given that Google and the like, specifically, the income of the latter, are not as adversely affected by online piracy as they are.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Part 2 will be posted next week.

--Jan Nicklaus S. Bunag, Entry No. 5

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