I haven’t posted this week, since I’ve been on vacation. Obviously, between the SOPA blackout and the Megaupload takedown this was the wrong week to take off. But so it goes. I’m still away, but I’ll have more to say on both of these issues next week. Until then, I wanted to point readers to a few pieces on the subject that I think are very smart. I’m not saying I agree with them completely – but I think they’re well worth a read.
-On the day intelligent debate died, technology thinker Jaron Lanier wrote a New York Times op-ed that got to the heart of the debate. This isn’t really a debate about free speech – it’s about how the Internet should work. The problem is that, after mocking the media business for refusing to adjust its business model, large technology companies are trying to preserve theirs.
-Andrew Orlowski wrote an amusing analysis of the debate over SOPA and makes a point that can’t be repeated enough: “Last year, Google made 11 million sites disappear on a whim, removing the .co.cc domains from its search index because the sites were deemed by Google to be “spammy”.” (It had no way of determining that absolutely all of them were.) I don’t have a problem with this. But most SOPA opponents would find this reprehensible, since they object to the idea that Google should de-index sites devoted to piracy. But if it’s OK for Google to exercise good judgement in a way that helps its own business, why isn’t it OK for it to do the same in a way that upholds the law? Like Lanier, Orlowski is especially interesting to read because he knows technology so well.
-Jeffrey Rosen wrote an interesting analysis of SOPA in the New Republic that calls it “A Bad Solution to a Very Real Problem.” I admit: I’m biased because he mentions my book favorably. His piece is refreshingly free of the sky-is-falling rhetoric we’ve heard from Google and Stanford. (There’s so little space between them that I will call them either ‘Googford’ or ‘Stanoogle’ from now on.) He, too, makes a point that can’t be repeated often enough: “There are lawyers and lobbies on both sides of the debate, however, and neither side is devoted to the promotion of creativity for its own sake.”