Monday, January 30, 2012

Senator Leahy Hands Republicans A Gift

Senator Leahy Hands Republicans A Gift By Giving Them Credit For Delaying Vote On PIPA/SOPA

Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 24th 2012

from the do-these-people-have-no-clue? dept

We've noted how intellectual property issues are historically non-partisan. Sometimes, that's good, because it means that debates on the issues don't fall into typical brain dead partisan arguments. Sometimes, it's bad, in that it basically means both Republicans and Democrats are generally really bad on IP issues... happy to give industries greater and greater monopoly rights for no good reason. However, we noted an interesting thing happening on the way to the collapse of PIPA and SOPA: the Republicans were first to come together as a party and decide to speak out against these bills, recognizing the groundswell of public interest. That resulted in Republican leadership coming out against the bills, and Republican Presidential candidates all rejecting the approach in the bill. The Democrats, who have traditionally been considered more "internet friendly," simply couldn't bring themselves to go against Hollywood and unions -- two regular allies.

However, as many more net savvy Democrats have explained, this appears to be a major miscalculation on the part of Democratic party leadership -- potentially losing an entire younger generation of voters to the Republicans. Already, mutliple strategists have been suggesting that the Republican Party use this as a chance to cozy up with Silicon Valley, despite its typically "blue" leanings (though, generally with a strong libertarian bent). It certainly appears that the Republicans are ready to do just that. House majority leader, Eric Cantor recently tweeted about meeting with Sergey Brin.

The Democratic leadership, however, still doesn't seem to recognize the importance of the tech community and the wider internet. Rather than learning anything from what happened last week, PIPA sponsor Senator Leahy is actually trying to blame the Republicans for killing PIPA. It's (yet again) an amazingly tone deaf response. It's as if he's pushing the internet and the tech community right into the Republicans' arms. Perhaps he's making a bet that those constituencies don't matter as much as Hollywood... but that seems like a pretty risky bet to make.

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