Yesterday’s anti-SOPA and PIPA blackouts and other online demonstration gained national attention. Does that mean the battle is won and those bills have been defeated forever? No, not at all. Shadoe Huard perfectly articulated my concern at Smarter Bits. But first, a bit from T.C. Sottek, former D.C. lobbyist, writing for The Verge:
“The conversation may reach a flashpoint in the next few days, but Congress has plenty of time to sit on SOPA and PIPA until the fervor dies down. Wikipedia can’t shut itself down every month to protest the bills every time they take a new turn for the worse, and the public’s attentiveness isn’t likely to last forever.
… Even if SOPA and PIPA die on the vine, Congress will be back with fresh legislation and cute new propaganda-laden titles, courtesy of the MPAA and RIAA’s ruthlessly effective combination of money and patience — a combination the tech community has shown little interest in matching.”
“Will we be back protesting SOPA/PIPA 2.0 three months from now? Will Wikipedia and co. stage Blackout 2.0 in response? How effective can continuously doing so be if it only serves as a delay, a stop-gap? As the [quote from Sottek] makes clear, the unfortunate reality is that laws are neither born nor laid to rest solely on the letters and votes of concerned citizens.”
Exactly right. Couple that with the public’s short attention span and realize that, in the end, nothing has changed. Yes, it’s likely that millions of people called and wrote to their representatives yesterday. But tomorrow is a new day for a new bill with similar goals.
See also: the late, great George Carlin (NSFW language).