Things on which “we can all agree”: Ari Emanuel, and a year since PIPA was introduced

BY CCIA Staff
June 5, 2012

[Author’s Note:  This post was adapted from the author’s post on the DisCo (Disruptive Competition) blog — If you haven’t checked out http://project-disco.org, please do!]

The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) was introduced in the Senate on May 12, 2011.  It is remarkable that that was now more than a year ago, and to think about how much has changed.  SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) wasn’t introduced in the House until October 26, 2011.  SOPA was broader upon introduction and as such more threatening, became a surprisingly more memorable acronym, and now stands for the whole legislative initiative and its failure.  SOPA has become a verb—“Don’t get SOPA’d”—and it now appears to have become toxic to even its biggest supporters.  Even the entertainment industry is starting to recognize that overbroad legislation may not be advisable, in terms of bad publicity and also bad public policy.  Prominent Hollywood insider Ari Emanuel recently seemed to recant on his past views, acknowledging:

“To be clear, I don’t want to rehash SOPA as we can all agree that was a reflection of Southern California’s arrogance, and let’s also not pretend that we’re working together on this issue because we have Youtube [sic] channels together. This is a larger conversation. It’s time for Hollywood, our government and Silicon Valley to step up and collectively resolve this problem. Let me know where and when and I’ll be there.”

While Emanuel and many others frame the debate as Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley with the government impartially in the middle, there are several problems.  First of all, it is naïve to ignore historic alliances within government.  Even as recently as the SOPA hearing, there were five witnesses in favor of the bill, with one Google Policy Counsel opposing the bill.  This fueled the popular misconception that only Google opposed the bill, when in fact there were thousands of varied stakeholders, including cybersecurity experts, international human rights advocates, artists and creators, CEOs, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, academics, and many others.  Additionally, this framing neglects the many people who consume content using technology, and spend much of their lives—for work and for play—on the Internet.  With public engagement increasing, leading up to and in the aftermath of SOPA, it is ignorant to not include the public—who create and disseminate art in addition to consuming it—as essential stakeholders.

Now, more than a year after PIPA was introduced, to quote Emanuel himself, “we can all agree” that these bills were a failure. The most important lesson is that from now on, “we”— the wide range of individuals and organizations and companies who are affected, the engineers who understand technology and the Internet, the public—should be involved in Internet and intellectual property policy and legislation going forward.

Related Articles

Copyright Office Releases Study On Safe Harbors, Recommends Further Reviews

May 21, 2020

Washington — The Copyright Office released its study today on how copyright provisions within the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act are being used. The study does not recommend wholesale changes to the Section 512 safe harbor system, but identifies areas where Congress may want to step in with legislation. The Computer & Communications Industry Association…

France’s new hate speech law risks excessive takedowns, harms freedom of expression

May 13, 2020

Brussels, BELGIUM — The French National Assembly today adopted its “Avia Law” aimed at combating hate speech online. The Computer & Communications Industry Association is concerned that it could lead to excessive takedowns of content as companies, especially startups, would err on the side of caution.  The new law requires platforms to takedown manifestly illegal…

USTR Releases Notorious Markets Report

Apr 29, 2020

Washington —  The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released its annual Notorious Markets Report identifying online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate piracy and counterfeiting. USTR also released the 2020 Special 301 Report.  The Computer & Communications Industry Association is an international trade association which has members that enforce policies aimed…