The entertainment lobby, writes Siddhartha Mahanta and Nick Baumann of Mother Jones, is such a powerful group that it managed in 2010 to ban "movie futures as part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill". When a lobby group can beat Wall Street, it's a sure sign that it usually gets what it wants. Or so it thought.
It turns out that nothing went as they had planned:
Venture capitalists and tech investors weighed in, too. "All of a sudden, this group of investors who'd been apolitical... found themselves dealing with issues that had political consequences," says Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist with Union Square Ventures who opposes SOPA. On Twitter, techie-cum-media types like ex-Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau (a major tech investor himself) railed against the bills.
Minds changed. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the chair of the powerful House budget committee announced on January 9 that he would oppose the bill (after taking nearly $300,000 from pro-SOPA donors). Ryan's aspiring 2012 opponent, Rob Zerban, had raised tens of thousands of dollars through a Reddit campaign denouncing Ryan's position on the legislation.
Late Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the Senate bill, announced that he would consider dropping the DNS-blocking provisions from the bill. Late on Friday, Smith, SOPA's sponsor, did Leahy one better, removing the provision altogether. Not long after, six Republican senators -- including two cosponsors -- released a letter they wrote to Reid, asking him to hold off on a January 24 vote to end debate on PIPA and move to passage.
But Hollywood has a lot of money to buy politicians with, so I wouldn't hold my breath, just yet.
Meanwhile, -- perhaps as a sign of things to come -- file sharing website MegaUpload.com was shut down today by officials in the US without the need for SOPA or PIPA. More info on the Justice.gov site -- assuming they've mitigated the DDOS. The Pirate Party UK is not amused.
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