Episode 6: The Future Was Now

In January, 2012, America's digerati pulled off the broadest, most powerful political protest ever orchestrated on the Internet.  One year later we ask, what happened? And what next?

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Reader Comments (23)

Wonderful reporting, and thank you for honoring Aaron Swartz in that way. I am loving this podcast so far.

Small criticism: the American Pie adaptation in the background was distracting, made it a little difficult to focus on the talking.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMay

Thank you for this wonderful and instructive reporting,

After the death of SOPA and PIPA, the sponsors continued to pursue the Anti-Counterfitting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an alternative way to achieve a similar objective. The SOPA and PIPA legislation pushed by Media firms was eventually undermined when the full depth of the challenges to connectivity became transparent to the Aaron Swartz of the world. Note that the White House that curiously withdrew their support for SOPA and PIPA in the 11th hour of the battle quietly released a statement of further support for ACTA in March 2012 available at below: (http://www.scribd.com/doc/84365507/State-Department-Response-to-Wyden-on-ACTA). The behind the scenes nature of Trade Agreement negotiation as described in your piece avoids the liability of transparency. This removes some of the fuel from the fires of future internel rebellions. International agreements that may be related to SOPA that bind the connectivity behavior of US citizens and are negotiated in a non-transparent manner warrant a healthy dose of skepticism

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJGC

Best episode yet. Thanks

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterj

The reporting in this piece was not complete or responsible. The fact is that the so-called "grassroots" protest against SOPA was funded and orchestrated by large corporations -- primarily Google, the world's largest copyright scofflaw. Google's corporate agenda includes abrogation of authors' and artists' rights and opposition to any legislation which might effectively enforce copyright. SOPA, whose purpose was to stop pirates from shielding their operations by moving them offshore, posed no threat to legitimate speech on the Internet, as anyone could see by reading the bill. But Google and its lobbying organizations -- including the ones with which Aaron Swartz worked -- lied about this to the public so as to incite misguided protests against the bill. This is the REAL story, which is not reported here.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrett Glass

BTW, it is important to know that the salary of Yochai Benkler, who works at a campus "lobbying shop" supported by Google, is paid by money supplied by Google. His attempts to minimize Google's role in the astroturf lobbying campaign are therefore transparently self-interested. The reporter, however, does not investigate this, nor does she report on the extent to which Google in particular benefits from rampant copyright infringement on its properties, especially YouTube.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrett Glass

@Brett Glass: YouTube has become pretty strict about copyright infringement. Things you once saw there, you will no longer see. I would be curious to see some examples of what you're talking about.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindi Burkey

Without Google it would not have happened. Google is where people go to search every day over and over again.
"Grass Roots" needs leaders and Google led this.

So it's really the same old stuff in Washington, after all.
Check out Evegeny Morosov's book 'The Net Delusion'. It's depressing, but it shows pretty clearly how real grass roots protest is shut down by the people who run things. I mean the invisible people who really run things.

This was a nifty thing, but it all began with the money and the lobbyists. It was not "grass roots" ---ie word-of-mouth among human beings. Because few people understood the bill. They took the word of Google and the Net and called their reps....but that's still taking the word of powerful communications groups. And these communications groups are becoming the "establishment".

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindi Burkey

Brilliant!

Thanks for the air of hope in this story.

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdon

I would feel more hopeful if the "grass roots" had been able to defeat NDAA, but when people got into the streets to protest last fall they got pepper sprayed, fined, jailed and prosecuted by the justice system their taxes support.
But then, they didn't have Google on their side.

February 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindi Burkey

Nice blog

Best episode :)

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