Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Candidate Campaigning Against SOPA Supporter: Jack Arnold

On Friday we posted about Karen Kwiatkowski running for Congress against Rep. Bob Goodlatte in Virginia using SOPA as a key campaign point. With Goodlatte being one of the key supporters of SOPA this makes a lot of sense. Soon after we posted that, we heard from Jack Arnold (and from his campaign, separately), noting that he's running against Rep. Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee and is also using SOPA as a key campaign issue. His "common sense" writeup about SOPA is absolutely worth reading. Here's a snippet:

As SOPA is drafted at present, no thinking person could possibly support it. It would give unheard-of censorship power to the Department of Justice and would have numerous foreseeable negative consequences. For example, it would cripple the internet as it exists today and would remove Google, Yahoo and Bing from their positions as market leaders in internet searches in favor of less-restricted foreign search engines. Plainly, this would move U.S. jobs overseas.

Worst of all, Congressman Marsha Blackburn claims (in public) to be staunchly anti-regulation, but she co-sponsored this bill. The same woman who is so ?anti-regulation? that she leapt to the defense of Gibson Guitar?s right to use foreign endangered lumber instead of the home-grown kind ? literally jumping in front of an ongoing federal investigation ? now finds herself to be regulation-loving. The same politician who is in the fore of (correctly) lambasting Eric Holder?s mismanagement of The Fast and the Furious wants to turn over our right to use the internet to the management of the same man.

What gives? Well, the answer isn?t hard to find. We?re coming up on an election year. Some heavy-hitting lobbyists are behind SOPA: the MPAA and other media conglomerates, including ones that own record labels, pay their D.C. firms well. And these big corporations and interests are tired of seeing their bottom-line eroded by the theft of their products. These corporations, like Gibson and its Brentwood CEO, have deep pockets and are spreading around a lot of free cash and campaign ads to get the most draconian version possible of an anti-piracy law through Congress. Congressman Blackburn isn?t the only co-sponsor they bought. This bill has a total of 31 of them, from both parties.

I expect that, as other candidates pop up around the country and realize that the incumbent they're challenging is actively supporting a bill that would enable censorship of the internet, hurt the American economy and put online security at risk, we're going to see plenty of others campaigning on this issue as well.

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