Nobody wanted the anti-piracy SOPA and PROTECT IP bills to pass more than the Recording Industry Association of America. Well, beside the MPAA. The music organization’s CEO Cary Sherman on Thursday blamed a purposeful misinformation campaign for lawmakers’ failure to pass both.
Touching on previous remarks made in a New York Times op-ed from February 7, Sherman readdressed why he believes the divisive bills were misrepresented by critics and shot back at those who argue piracy isn’t as big a deal as copyright holders make it out to be.
“The point of my op-ed was that those bills were killed by a campaign largely based on misinformation about what they actually said and did,” wrote Sherman in a post at the RIAA Music Notes blog. “So, it was especially disappointing to see the same misimpressions conveyed in a number of the comments.
According to Sherman, many SOPA critics who commented on his piece were citing dated information in their arguments.
“For example, the Chairmen of both the Senate and House Committees had already announced that DNS blocking would be taken out in Managers’ Amendments, yet a number of the commenters held Wikipedia up as providing comprehensive information about the legislation, but even Wikipedia missed, or simply chose to ignore, many of these changes.”
Wikipedia, Reddit and several other sites engaged in blackouts on January 18 to protest SOPA. Wikipedia in particular made a huge impact with a 24-hour outage that exposed millions of daily visitors to the following message: “Imagine a world without free knowledge. For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.”
Internet-based companies including AOL, Twitter and Facebook also rallied against the bill (.pdf). Google Counselor Katherine Oyama argued at Congressional hearing in November that the bill would “expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that could require monitoring of web sites and social media.”
“If the Internet is to be the force for good we all want, it is imperative for everyone to treat information and facts responsibly,” said Sherman. “And no one has more responsibility than those companies that are the strongest influencers on the net.”