Freedom Of Speech

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit:

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Uncensor This


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Pink Floyd, and another brick in the wall.It looks a little like conceptual art.Or, Enigma code.Perhaps you should have organized a PR stunt – VC runs naked down Madison Avenue in protest at censorship.

    1. fredwilson

      we can do better

      1. jason wright

        Is the VC industry united when it comes to challenging this kind of threat? Does it have  a lobbying association that represents its interests?

        1. fredwilson

          NVCA represents the VC industryit has come out against SOPA and PIPA

  2. Mordy Kaplinsky

    It’s a topsy turvy world when the laws of the United States are inspired by the Chinese.

    1. fredwilson


  3. Dan Lewis

    I think those against the bill — the big players, I mean — should shut down their sites for a day — or even an hour. Imagine the outrage of Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia just disappeared, unreachable, with a message saying “If SOPA passes, this could become permanent.  Tell your Congressperson to vote no.”

    1. fredwilson

      wikipedia is considering it…

      1. John Petersen

        I hope they go through w/ it. Was very impressed by the Tumblr call to action a few weeks back.P.S. Fred can you please have all links default to open in a new tab or window.. It gets me every time…

      2. Franz

        Getting rid of Wikipedia is probably a good thing.

      3. Nick Grossman

        Here’s a real-time visualization of the voting: http://hacksandthoughts.pos…

    2. Mordy Kaplinsky

      Their shareholders would kill them, though in the long term it may actually be good for business.

      1. jason wright

        I’ll be interested to see how this plays out long term with Facebook. For the first time ever a corporation has control of so much personal information, and yet is still a corporation, and has this legal profit obligation. It could get very messy.

        1. Mordy Kaplinsky

          Who do you trust more is the big debate on privacy, is it government or a corp.  On the one hand the government has nobody to answer to and they do whatever they want, while the corporation must answer to the government so in theory the corp can be better, in reality however I don’t know that there is a right answer.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            “On the one hand the government has nobody to answer to”Not in the US:  If an elected official messes up, then we can get rid of them at the next election or before and commonly do.If an unelected official messes up, then we can yell and scream to our elected officials and commonly do with the result that the unelected official gets a fast lesson in US democracy with slow learners out’a there.

          2. Mordy Kaplinsky

            In theory the elected official is responsible to his constituents but in reality they are more responsible to their parties and the special interests and donors, hence the low approval of our elected officials.

    3. jason wright

      I had a similar idea yesterday. Having see this post from Fred today I wonder if Google and the others would consider presenting organic search results with words randomly blacked out too? That would get the message across.

  4. Rohan

    You know the world is weird when…….the US does a China@mordyk:disqus 

    1. jason wright

      This view of China is presented to democratic populations by the very governments and corporations that are pushing for this type of ‘Sino’ legislation, but is China quite what we are encouraged to believe it is? I don’t know, but the truth probably lies somewhere in between the black and white rendering.

      1. Mordy Kaplinsky

        @jasonpwright:disqus Corporations are self serving and will use any argument that suits their current needs.  The ideology is “my needs come before everyone else’s, let’s find a justification!”

        1. jason wright

          Isn’t it more to do with the legal definition of what a ‘corporation’ is, and what its primary legal responsibility is, namely to maximize profit at the expense of any other consideration? A CEO has this profit obligation, whether he or she likes it or not. The idea of the corporation is a flawed one.

          1. Mordy Kaplinsky

            True but I like to think that morality is also a factor.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Morality very much is a factor.  E.g., McDonald’s cut off business with a chicken egg supplier where some secret video showed that they were being cruel to the chickens. A US public corporation still has enormous latitude in what it does even just as part of ‘maximizing shareholder value’.As was learned in very clear terms years ago, a public corporation has to be seen as good for customers, employees, the community, and stockholders. Else many customers won’t come; many employees will leave; and many in the community will protest, throttle various ‘permits’, etc.E.g., look at Apple’s proposed new HQ: It’s huge yet barely comes above the trees and, thus, is nearly invisible from the streets. Why? The local community has to approve or the building won’t get built. Similarly for the IBM Watson lab in Yorktown Heights.Gotta keep the locals happy in all respects or can’t even put a microwave dish on the roof. No joke.E.g., a large fraction of the more successful corporations run lots of ads with all the ads just ‘image’ ads just trying to build a good public image and not trying to sell anything. The ads are expensive, and still the ‘profit maximizing’ corporations run them.Yes, a corporation is a legal person, but, still, in a corporation the Members of the Board, the employees, the customers, the stockholders, and the people in the community are all flesh and blood, thinking, feeling people.Welcome to US ‘capitalism’ version 2011.

          3. gorbachev

            You could argue that sort of thinking leads to short term profiteering rather than growing your company in a sustainable way.See the banking industry.

          4. Mordy Kaplinsky

            With wall street running the show the short term approach is pushed to increase share value and damned the long term consequences. That’s one of the reasons why companies try to stay private as long as possible.

        2. gorbachev

          That is also the reason why the current US Congress has a 9% approval rating.The Party’s needs come before everyone else’s (gee, I wonder in which, now defunct, country that was also true).The needs of my re-electability comes before everyone else’s.

          1. Mordy Kaplinsky

            It surprises me that they even have 9%. I would accuse that there’s bias in the polling which accounts for the 9% margin of error 😉

          2. Rohan

            Haha 😀

        3. SubstrateUndertow

          Corporations are self serving by design and maybe that is as it should be.Getting corporate money out of democratic governance is the key to restoring balance.

      2. Rohan

        I do agree about the truth being in a shade of gray.My hypothesis is that it’s a darker shade.

        1. Druce

          maybe it’s lots of little dots of different sizes, shapes and colors http://www.firstcoastnews.c…not sure that if there are two widespread points of view, the truth must necessarily lie between them, nor that any country, especially China, is monolithic.if a reporter from China watched Michael Moore about US social problems and wrote about it, and another else watched Fox News, and wrote about plans to attack Iran or whatnot, what would that mean to a Chinese reader?perhaps Red Scare-mongers and panda-huggers each have valid points, and the truth has other aspects even more extreme than are reported.

        2. SubstrateUndertow

          China need to get on with doing what China needs to do.America needs to get on with doing what America needs to do.These are two competing experiments in political economy.We need to put our noses to the grind stone, mind our own business and focus on our challenge. Perfecting the fit and finish of a capitalist democracy.Our problem is that we offer a democratic, rule of law based, platform on which corporations can secure their position but mandate no commensurate responsibilities or loyalty to platform America.Is you or is you not my baby!

        3. SubstrateUndertow

          “My hypothesis is that it’s a darker shade.”Great line and very humorous!

    2. laurie kalmanson

      China: beating the world at making things, one conscripted labor factory at a time

  5. jason wright

    A point of law on jurisdiction. If a website was being hosted on servers in another jurisdiction, say Sweden (or even Madeira) where media rights are strongly in favor of publishers, how would it be possible for ‘aggrieved’ parties to make use of this legislation and shut down the website or have the ‘offending’ content removed?

    1. fredwilson

      that may be where we are heading with our venture capital if this passes

      1. Mordy Kaplinsky

        @jasonpwright:disqus The problem is that they can still block the services at the ISP level and block US companies from linking and benefiting.  There’s also the mess with payments as the gambling industry learned the hard way.

        1. jason wright

          It sounds like the US is in danger of legislating itself into digital isolation. It creates a new environment, and within it new opportunities will exist for the quick and the nimble to offer alternatives. 

          1. Mordy Kaplinsky

            There is only so much the US can offer that can justify the premium cost of operating a business in the US.  If they continue pushing businesses out, we are in effect providing an opportunity for some other friendly country to benefit from a true market economy.he visa mess is a case in point.

      2. jason wright

        Yes, this could be the spark for a new kind of ‘offshore’. Iceland is positioning itself as the new safe haven for liberal media rights. If a territory could combine that with tax efficiency too the exodus may begin.This could be a persuasive argument to put to the politicians against enacting the proposed legislation.

        1. fredwilson

          i have made it

          1. gorbachev

            Make sure you follow through. They’ll call your bluff.

          2. LE

            Doesn’t help that according to NVCA data on Q374% of VC money was in CA, MA, NY, TX – 4 states.47% in California alone.

      3. ShanaC

        We’ll lose jobs.  Great! *rolls eyes*

    2. Guest


      1. kidmercury

        exactly. which is why those interested in a free internet should be interesed in alternate DNS systems. that is a whole can of worms though and ultimately takes us to the world beyond the nation state. 

    3. Pēteris Paikens

      The big global payment companies (Visa, Mastercard, Paypal) and the big global advertising companies (Google Adsense) would be required to stop paying you as they are bound by US laws. SOPA would harm worldwide free speech greatly in this way.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      From the BBC at…is in part “Court jails Pirate Bay founders”and that legal action was in Sweden.And Pirate Bay didn’t provide downloads of any copyrighted content but just gave links to Torrent sites. Still, with old laws, the founders were put in jail. But not all the founders — a least one was on the lam!

  6. LIAD

    First they came for the communists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me. Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) — Free Speech, the whole enchilada

    1. fredwilson

      powerful stuff

      1. FlavioGomes

        It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this level of temperature. I think the last was roughly 2008/9.Riveting.

    2. Ciaran

      Seriously? We’re comparing this to the Nazis now?

      1. LIAD

        not comparing this to anything.the quote resonates with me and came to mind when I read the post.

        1. Ciaran

          Fair enough, but the quote was about the Nazis and I just think that there’s enough hyperbole about this issue without doing a Godwin

          1. Mike

            What comparison would you use?

          2. Ciaran

            I wouldn’t. I honestly don#’t know enough about it, but I’m pretty sure that not even EMI or the Republicans are suggesting rounding people up and executing them on an industrial scale.

          3. SubstrateUndertow

            @Ciaran:disqus Well not physically.They’re more reasonable than that.They just want to round up other people’s wallets, opportunities and execute their internet access.But what if we experience a global disturbance in the force?Say a global financial collapse or a major global food production short fall or a serious pandemic then what?Then the threat of public panic and social chaos suddenly become a gravity well for justifying even more internet censorship and worse.Passing laws like this are like throwing banana peels all over your floor, it’s just a mater of time before you slip on one and something breaks.

      2. Dave Pinsen

        Liad breaks the Godwins Law land speed record. 

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          As much as the Nazi Analogies are over the top and guaranteed to emotionally hijack the discussion, it’s an analogy that is universally comprehended by all.If you want to dial back on that, out of control over centralized power analogy, then what universally recognizable historical archetype can you ride in on ?Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

      3. Johnny

        Ciaran, you are right.How awful you are comparing this to Nazi’s?You racist fucks!

        1. Rohan

          Johnny,That language, we do not need.I’d seek to understand what LIAD had in mind before name calling.

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            I thing Johnny may have just forgotten to put the smiley at the end of his post? 

          2. Hd

            You have a problem with “fuck” but not “nazi?”

          3. Rohan

            I had a problem with both.The nazi part was being dealt with others.. 

        1. Ciaran

          I bet Hitler would have linked to Wikipedia if he could

      4. kidmercury

        absolutely. there are a ton of similarities between the nazis and the current US government. back in nazi germany everyone thought that was cool too, only when it blows up do people realize how messed up it all was. same will be true in the states. 

        1. Ciaran

          I really hope that you’re joking but have a terrible feeling that you’re not. Are you seriously suggesting that the US government is going to start trying to exterminate entire sections of society? Or is this just a Hipster Hitler reference that I’m too tired to spot?

          1. kidmercury

            you’re terrible feeling is actually a wonderfully accurate one — i’m not joking. although i’m not a hipster either; conspiracy theorist is the subculture i prefer to associate myself with (as well as amazon fanboy). if you read rise of hte fourth reich by jim marrs, you will see how US policy mirrors nazi germany policy, and how the US government is filled with nazis who came here via project paperclip (declassified CIA operation to bring nazi scientists into the US after WWII). also, look into the bush jr’s grandfather, and his involvement with the nazi party back in the day.  

          2. Ciaran

            Yep. US policy just mirrors that Nazi policy of gassing Jews and Gypsies. Take a breath, FFS

          3. kidmercury

            Locking up innocent people en masse is the next step. 15 years ago it would have been unthinkable to see the patriot act passed and NDAA and SOPA on the table. Thanks to ignorance and denial, we have those laws in place. we have college professors put on the no fly list for criticizing the president. We have TSA strp searching people and all the airport shenanigans.But anyway, do your research, you will see the roots of nazism are already here. Nazis love gun control and we have more of that in the states than ever before. Nazis pioneered water fluoridation- – now in virtually all american municipalities. The list goes on and on

          4. Ciaran

            I apologize for not being able to reply properly, but let’s just go with this. Nazis love gun control? Guess who kept the Nazis at bay? Us, the Brits. Guess who have more controls on guns? Can I suggest you check the link about using the Nazis as an example in arguments, it should be below this comment

          5. kidmercury

            The brits have it worse than americans, lol I can’t believe what you guys put up with. So that argument is not persuasive to me, if anything it only affirms my viewpoint in my opinion

          6. Alex Murphy

            fourth reich is a bone chilling book.  way to close to where we are today within Congress and the inability for the two sides of the aisle to communicate effectively with each other.a good thing to do is to listen to cspan once in a while. listen to the complete f’ing bs that is going back and forth.  if you ever think you have a bad board meeting, tune in for 25 minutes of open floor debate and you will feel happy and sick to your stomach at the same time.Ciaran, the point in all of this is not that we are “going to” go and round up a bunch of people in some ethnic class.  Times today are different, it won’t look the same.  The point is that in order to avoid bad outcomes, we the people need to stand up and tell our employees (the elected officials) what we want them to do, and what we don’t want them to do.   That is the simple reality.

          7. Ciaran

            @amurphy59:disqus Some weird little jig in the Disqus system means I didn’t see your comment, and don’t seem to be able to reply to it.I take your point, and do find politics depressing (I’m from the UK and guess it’s similar, if possibly a little, but only a little, less extreme than the US).Anyway, if we want to get worked up about a piece of legislation, this is one I could indeed see some nasty historical comparisons working for:

          8. Alex Murphy

            The flip flop of the current administration simply illustrates that it is the system going down the wrong path, not just one party or another.  The bill that is discussed here is topic appropriate for AVC.  It is emblematic of the greater problem.  It is not “THE” entire problem, it is not even the biggest part of the problem.  Having said that, it could be the catalyst that takes us down a very slippery slope towards more censorship.  The issues of gitmo are big and the power creep that is going on is scary.  It is all bad.

        2. jason wright

          Germany was a democracy at that time, and so that ‘modern’ distinction of the legitimate government and the ‘rogue state’ can’t be used successfully.

          1. kidmercury

            democracy or whatever the openly declared form of government is not as relevant as teh nature of the leaders and the type of legislation they pass. hitler was a warmongerer who used the reichstag fire to launch an imperial agenda and take away people’s rights, destroying the economy in the process. in the US bush/obama used 9/11 to launch their imperial agenda and take away people’s rights, destroying the economy in the process. 

          2. jason wright

            The Treaty of Versailles destroyed the German economy (an economy of what was still at that time a young country) – having to remember to take your shopping bag full of Reichsmarks with you to buy a loaf of bread wasn’t helpful in creating an atmosphere of political thoughtfulness.I don’t want to talk about the Nazis. Germany is different – a  country to admire.

        3. Mark Essel

          I might refer to your perspective as pre-vigilant, seeing things that could exist. The what if’s of marvel comics years ago.While I don’t concur with many of your truthiness theories, I respect the importance of keeping the gov transparent. Anything that inhibits that is a pathway for corruption.

          1. kidmercury

            9/11 is the core of my religion, for which there is more supporting science than any other theory about 9/11 (such as the caveman theory, in which a guy from a cave led a bunch of dudes with box cutters to get past the world”s most powerful air defense and defy the laws of physics by taking down three buildings with two planes). But of course what I believe is irrelevant, if conspiracism is an unpleasant religion to most they can believe whatever they want and vote accordingly, as they are already doing. Perhaps, though, people should ask themselves why they are so dissatisfied with their elected officials — after all, we are the ones who elected the..

      5. SubstrateUndertow

        Yes the quote’s emotional hook is what the Nazis did.( they came for the ________ )But the sub text is about how they corralled the power to get away with it.That is the core message of the quote!

        1. Ciaran

          But the core message is such that using it to describe something like this is ridiculous if not offensive to those who lived through it

          1. Cam MacRae

            I see you did not live through it.Without wishing to cast any aspersions, it is always best that before speaking for someone you first speak with them.Your equally reactionary stance makes a poor counter-balance.

          2. Ciaran

            I didn’t. And only wished to suggest that it might be offensive to those who did. I guess we’ll just have to disagree on our definitions of the word reactionary

          3. SubstrateUndertow

            I suspect that those who lived though such evil are very sensitive to guarding against any historical repeating of that slippery slope.The core message is don’t be complacent about public or private centralized power and over reach.No where in history have societies consciously chosen fascism. Fascism always sneaks up incrementally, masquerading as an expedient path to some form of physical or financial security.The slippery slope to fascist expediency is always hard to recognize in the context of contemporary circumstance.It is always masked by social stress or fear and by the assumption that such extremes can’t happen here!

      6. sigmaalgebra

        The Nazis?  Yes, such disasters could happen in the US if we don’t keep them from happening.  Just a good reading of history shows that even in Germany nearly all of the disasters came on quite slowly often with lots of quite normal people cheering approval. The US has no shortage of nasty people; we just try to keep them out of power. That we have so many ‘checks and balances’ has so far too often been just crucial.Still we can have dangers: E.g., at present we are way too close to, to paraphrase, “My client would like to ask a favor for which you will have his undying gratitude. You are about to have some regulatory problems, and my client can make them go away.”. Or, “Yes, it appears that we can get your $500 million loan guarantee approved. And your supplier of wind turbines has told us they are thrilled with your progress. Now we would like to discuss with you being one of our leading campaign fund leaders.”For your”not even EMI or the Republicans are suggesting rounding people up and executing them on an industrial scale.”Yes, that happened in Germany, but even there it wasn’t proposed in public but was kept quite quiet.A lesson is, something like the Nazis don’t come on all at once but slowly. So, get a little power and use it to get a little more power. E.g., when there are some really severe regulations and also some wavers, then can enforce the regulations against enemies and give wavers to friends. So, if you are operating a company subject to such regulations and a union shows up the day after you just met with a regulator, what are you going to do?We have to watch all the time, and this situation is not new: Attributed to Thomas Jefferson is: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.One of the most important resources for our democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom, along with economic growth, is our free press and, thus, now, the Internet. So, broadly, we have to be careful to keep the Internet free.

        1. Ciaran

          No, it really couldn’t. This is more offensive than any web legislation and I’d love to see Fred Wilson saying so. They killed millions. Get some fecking perspective

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. leigh

            Grim best comment ever. my fav quote always:an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.- martin luther king jr.  

          3. Ciaran

            Path to bullshit always start with throw-away fortune cookie philosophy

          4. sigmaalgebra

            Hitler is a big and ugly subject.  So, let’s stay within the context of this thread.In…LIAD gave a famous quote about Nazi Germany and attributed to Martin Niemöller and included:”Free Speech, the whole enchilada”In…you wrote:”Seriously? We’re comparing this to the Nazis now?”Kidmercury responded in…with:”absolutely. there are a ton of similarities between the nazis and the current US government. …”and in…I responded with:”The Nazis?  Yes, such disasters could happen in the US if we don’t keep them from happening. …”and in…you responded with:”No, it really couldn’t.  This is more offensive than any web legislation and I’d love to see Fred Wilson saying so.”They killed millions.  Get some fecking perspective”I will start with the LIAD”Free Speech, the whole enchilada”Easily, a big, huge point about the Internet is “free speech”.  Then easily enough SOPA and PIPA are threats to free speech because as in the video from at     http://www.FightForTheFutur…with one judge we could have a lot of free speech throttled.  Or as in the video, one URL on Twitter and some judge could bring down all of Twitter, remembering that Twitter has already brought a lot of free speech.Then, in response to my saying that something like Nazi Germany could happen in the US, you wrote:”No, it really couldn’t.”No, just read the history of Nazi Germany.  Start with a lot of angry soldiers back from a foreign war with an unsatisfactory outcome.  Add one wacko leader.  Have the economy go far south with some massive inflation, e.g., as from printing too much money.  Get some funds to organize some of the angry, cold, hungry soldiers into a political movement led by the wacko.  Add in an economic depression from an asset crash and destruction of the capital of the banks.  Have a confused election with various far left to far right factions fighting each other and with the wacko leader coming out with a plurality victory.  Throw in some class and/or ethnic divisions.With me so far?Then, for the here and now, there might be more from the crash of the Euro, an oil crisis from a blockade of Straits of Hormuz, war in Iran, a crash of the Chinese economy, something political from Russia, something from North Korea going “Boom”, etc.So, there were ‘uncontrolled exogenous inputs’ to Germany, and the US is subject to such also.Now you seem to be saying that SOPA and PIPA can’t bring on another Nazi Germany.  Well, of course they can’t, not by themselves right away.  But that doesn’t mean that they are not threats or should not be taken seriously.  To see this, back to history:  The disasters of Nazi Germany took, say, the history of wars in Europe, background of Prussian militarism, and from the end of WWI to the end of WWII.  More narrowly the disasters got started from 1933 to Hitler’s second four year plan in 1938 or so (I will save time looking up exact months and days).So, the disaster of Nazi Germany came on not all at once but only gradually, over years and didn’t happen from just some one law or one event.  So, right, SOPA and PIPA won’t alone create such a disaster.So, the German pattern was (A) fertile ground, (B) a lot of individually small events, and (C) a wacko leader who got a little power and used it to get more and repeated this loop.So, your:”This is more offensive than any web legislation”is correct:  Nazi Germany is more offensive than SOPA or PIPA.  Right.But with your:”They killed millions.  Get some fecking perspective”you are not so correct:  Nazi Germany didn’t kill “millions” right at first — it took them years, counting from 1933 or with more detail from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Prussian militarism, more of European history, etc.So, a concern about SOPA and PIPA is not that they will cause the US to be like Nazi Germany and kill “millions” soon but that we need to be careful not to start down the long wrong road that Nazi Germany went down.  Sure, we’re not at the end of that road or the beginning of the end but let’s not even be at the end of the beginning — no thanks, I don’t need a cigar or brandy just now, thank you.This civics lesson was clear in one of the ‘Star Wars’ movies when the Chancellor took on “special powers” ostensibly to put down a threat to “the republic”.  The lesson was pitched at the middle school level, and I am sure you can get it.Yes, the US has a strong constitution and some strong democratic traditions.  Alas, in early 1933 Germany had a constitution and a democracy.Also it is too easy to notice that over the past 100 years in too many US cities we had mayors who were close to dictators.  Net, dictators are not fully unknown in the US.Do SOPA and PIPA really promise something like Nazi Germany right away in the US?  Of course not.Net, the point, and it’s big, is just Jefferson’s “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.Without such vigilance, we could be on the way to Nazi Germany.In particular, for the sake of freedom, we have to be vigilant and push back against SOPA and PIPA.Got it now? 

          5. JamesHRH

            SIG – easily your best post ever.Bartender – set up the SIG with his favourite!The Jefferson quote ends this thread – emphatically and unequivocally.

          6. fredwilson

            what are you suggesting i do James?

          7. Alex Murphy

            This is outstanding and right on.  As the saying goes … ‘those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’  The funny thing is that history doesn’t repeat itself exactly, it morphs and becomes modern for the time, and history judges the people of the time as fools for not being able to see what will be so clear in hindsight.

          8. Ciaran

            I still think the argument suffers from comparisons to the Nazis but would honestly like to thank you for making a reasoned argument. It’s more than almost anyone else has managed

          9. fredwilson

            Ciaran – the kid has been making provocative statements here for years. i don’t get worked up by his comments. but i do listen to him. he has a point of view.

          10. Ciaran

            Fair play. I’m interested in how Andrew Keen is a reactionary, and the kid isn’t, but it’s your site.

          11. fredwilson

            they are both “out there” in their viewsKeen’s a reactionary. he hates change. he wants us all to go back to a world that doesn’t exist anymore.The Kid’s a kook. he’s into conspiracy theory and the like. he wants us to go forward to a world that doesn’t yet exist and may never exist.very different people.

          12. Ciaran

            One man’s kook…

          13. fredwilson

            Is A VC

          14. Ciaran




        1. kfalter

          don’t let the HN community be lazy!! help them realize by upvoting this!… — the easiest way to email our representatives

      8. leigh

        I think it’s well worth your while to watch Manufacturing Consent if you haven’t seen it.  The control of media and it’s role in history from the witch burnings to the rise of Natzism shouldn’t be ignored.  If one doesn’t look at freedom of speech in this context, you will certainly miss the forrest for the trees.  

      9. Mark Essel

        You may have wanted to refer to the above quote as a logical fallacy: http://www.logicalfallacies…I can see the relevance of the quote, liberty is a tricky issue to protect when balanced against ownership, and public safety, aka the greater good.

    3. jason wright

      Einstein said something about evil flourishing because good people stand aside and do nothing to intervene, something like that. He may have been paraphrasing someone else. Can’t quite remember the nitty gritty of it, bu you get the meaning.

      1. LIAD

        All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothingEdmund Burke – (apparently)

        1. jason wright

          Nice one.

      2. Rohan

        Jason, I think you are looking for..The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. | Albert Einstein:)

        1. jason wright

          Cheers Rohan, that’s the one…and he’s so right. We sleep walk our way, and are encouraged to do so, to uncomfortable situations. 

        2. Kevin Pillow


    4. Dave Pinsen

      I’m not an expert on either piece of legislation, but I find it interesting that so much attention is being paid to SOPA, which pits VCs against Hollywood producers, and not as much is being paid around these parts to the NDAA, which apparently gives the US government the authority to imprison US citizens indefinitely without trial. Seems like sort of a big deal.

  7. testtest

    ███████ █████████ ██████ ██████. ████ █████████ ██████, ████████  ██████████ ██████ ██████.  ███████ █████ ████!███████.

    1. fredwilson

      ^10well done chris

    2. ShanaC

      The link is missing to translate?

      1. PrasannaKrishnamoorthy

        It starts off as censoring some, and ends up censoring everything… 

  8. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Ah, Fred, I think “compat” should be spelled with a “b” as I am sure you met “combat.”

  9. RichardF

    Living outside the US I’m interested to know how aware the US general public of SOPA and the PROTECT IP act.

    1. fredwilson

      not enoughtrying to change that



    2. Howard Brooks

      not much at all –  most (if not all) of the outrage I’ve seen has been confined to the tech echo chamber. and though I do appreciate Fred’s (and other’s) efforts – this is an issue that requires a broad based campaign to the general public. The RIAA, MPAA and other SOPA supporters are counting on voters to be asleep at the wheel – and unfortunately they are right…

      1. RichardF

        Thanks Howard, that’s what I was wondering.

      2. AVCoholic

        It seems like only the internet aggregators are aware of its consequences. Everyone else will only realize it after its passed. To the average person, they simply know how to go online and do whatever they want to do there. They don’t care how it got there or how it works. They’ll only start caring when a censorship actually affects them. We need a company like Facebook or Twitter to censor their site like Fred did with his post. Even for 5 minutes. You’ll have people up in arms because they felt what it could do.

        1. Rob Hunter

          You’re not wrong, but I can’t help but feel like this is the sort of issue that shouldn’t need broad exposure.  The public is hard to motivate to care, especially when it isn’t over a moral issue (though this one can certainly be framed as such).Because of the difficulty in motivating the public, the folks who end up good at doing so gain a pretty good advantage, whereas one issue activists tend to suffer from a cold-starting problem.  I hope that the outrage over this can get out of just the tech scene, but we’ll see – censoring Facebook for a time would be brilliant, but I’m not sure that they’re still young and brash enough for that sort of thing.

          1. AVCoholic

            Completely agree with you. People are rarely motivated to care for even moral issues until it affects them in some way. The way I see it, the only way the outrage trickles out of just the tech scene, is if a visible, vocal and influential person outside of it takes up its cause. Twitter would do the trick also. I know Fred has some connections with some people there. Maybe he can put in a good word 🙂

          2. JamesHRH

            ‘All politics is local.’- Legendary Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill.

      3. LE

        “this is an issue that requires a broad based campaign to the general public”Agree. Things that go on in the echo chamber are not general knowledge to the everyday public. And by everyday public I mean more than the public that is on FB and twitter.

      4. sigmaalgebra

        On SOPA and PIPA, Congress is “backing into an Internet buzz saw”.  Yes, the general public is not yet in this fight, but, net, the Internet communiity is and is much larger than the movie community. Narrow interests DO get heard in Congress. Why? If you are in Congress and on issue A anger 2% of your voters, on issue B anger another 1%, and do such a few times, then you have 10% of the people definitely working against you. Since usually elections are close to 50%, you just LOST. That’s why a politician can’t afford to anger very many people and commonly just kisses babies and talks vague generalities.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    3. William Mougayar

      Richard, there’s a belief that if the US “falls” with the passage of these bills, that the lobbyists will take that fight internationally and be emboldened by their win. That has happened before. So, this fight in the US is an important one for the rest of the Western world at least. In Canada, there is amendment to the copyright act called Bill C-31 which is being discussed now, and it gives more power to the consumers.

      1. RichardF

        The lobbyists are already here in the UK.  There is a “voluntary” code of practice that ISPs in the UK are “encouraged” to sign up to which means that they will block pornography unless you opt in to be allowed to access pornography online.  It’s only one small step until that is extended to downloading or accessing torrent sites

    4. kidmercury

      lol not aware at all. there’s some awareness of NDAA (not much, some) but none of the SOPA stuff. and many of those who are aware think it’s good lol

  10. Howard Brooks

    We need an “UNCENSOR THIS” plug-in for WordPress as well as facebook and tumblr integration TODAY!. 

    1. fredwilson

      will or won’t?the link suggests won’t but your comment suggests will

      1. Tom Labus

        That’s not.

  11. Ashwin

    You know what’s ironical…During the last week, the Indian IT minister suggested that websites do self-censor as a way to keep hate speech and such content away from the internet. There was a huge backlash and he had to swallow his words.The irony comes from the fact that Hillary Clinton said “There is no social internet, political internet or regional internet. There is just internet. Keep it free!” (not in those exact words). This was her advice to India.I wonder what prevents the censorship advocates from pursuing against content generators using the existing legal framework!

    1. gorbachev

      Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent article about Hillary Clinton’s crusade for all that’s just in the world earlier this week:…I know Mrs. Clinton is a rather intelligent woman, so she must be realizing what kind of grok of shit she’s spewing on this. I’m just wondering how she internally justifies it.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        She is dedicated beyond belief to ‘saving the world’.  She wants to save everyone but in particular wants to save the women and the poor people. This feeling, some would call it a compulsion, is astoundingly common and strong in US women who have had a lot of influence, direct or indirect, from parts of Christian religion.Apparently part of the compulsion is based on the strong and nearly universal desire of women to get security by praise and approval from, and membership in, groups. And, surprisingly, the whole world is not too large for such a group.W’s wife now wants to save the world. One of her daughters is off in Africa trying to save the world.My guess is that Melinda Gates got Bill to promise to help her give away at least half of the fortune to help save the world and also talked Buffett into joining in. If I’m right, then Melinda moved, what, $50 billion or so?There’s lots more evidence.Hillary? She wants to save the world.



  12. Ciaran

    I don’t have a congressman so can’t read the uncensored version.

  13. ShanaC

    It seems to be you are trying to evoke the modern version of the four freedoms.Also, you should all bother Obama to make sure if it passes it gets vetoed.

    1. fredwilson

      My partner met with his chief of staff on Monday along with other VCs and tech leaders

      1. HowNowBrownCow

        The problem with the Obama administration is that they don’t listen to anybody outside of their admin; they truly believe they are the smartest people in the room, even if they are not in that room. Hope your partner got his point across. 

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I have a different reading:They  do believe that they are the smartest people in the room but not in general but just for a particular reason: They believe that they have found the key to political and economic power in the US.Their key is their coalition of blacks, Hispanics, union members, government workers, poor people, youth, and liberals.Their goal is to grab power and use it to control from DC essentially all of health care, energy, finance, K-12 education (expanding to parenting), the Internet (‘The National Broadband Plan’), and more. Then with that control they will have more power.With their power they will be able to get on with their agenda of spreading the wealth around, social justice, economic equality, and a foreign policy where the US is just one more nation among many.For SOPA and PIPA, they may see it as a source of power they could use to get other things they want on their agenda.

  14. jason wright

    A simple technical question please.How do you create these text blocks with black ‘bricks’ obscuring selected words?

  15. jason wright

    I have a plan. We all go to live in Reykjavik, build a libertarian capitalist commune (?) and data center, live in homes heated by geo thermal energy, improve our telemark turns, listen to Bjork, and plot the digital revolution against evil corporations.

    1. JamesHRH

      Your poster child country is #1 on the “should have regulated the banking industry” Top 40 (Ireland is #2).

      1. jason wright

        Yes, Iceland is now essentially bankrupt, which makes its need to innovate new industries an imperative. Bjork is my poster girl :-). She has attitude.  

  16. Esayas Gebremedhin


  17. laurie kalmanson

    when the riaa failed to control the world by suing their customers, they had a chance to learn how to engage. instead, they are trying this: not getting smarter, just more thuggishthe battle now looks like this: thugs vs. the future

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Even more historically generic!Karl Marx”History is class warfare”H. G. Wells”History is a race between education and catastrophe”Laurie Kalmanson”History is a battle between thugs and the future”FAKE GRIMLOCK”HISTORY IS WHAT HAPPEN WHEN FUTURE KICK THE PRESENT’S ASS”



        1. SubstrateUndertow

          So Noted !List of historical perspectives has been edited.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        an entire line of bumperstickers; kickstarter’s community would totally fund it

  18. Charles

    I wonder what AVC’s Censorship Board — William and Shana — think about this post.

    1. William Mougayar

      There’s a big difference between spam control and censorship which seems to have gone over your head. Why are you afraid of hiding your identity and post under various hit and run names, such as: Charles, JJ, tony, Jack, Rufus, Jaed, Jonathan…from MN…shall I go on?  What I think is being expressed in the comments as usual- don’t need your prompting. Goodbye.

    2. ShanaC

      I think the following:I am a 30-years old lady, mature and beautiful. Finding love can be tough enough but finding a mate that’s wealthy can even be harder. MillionaireLoveLinks.ζσm  is meant to be the place to connect with beautiful and successful people. Check it out and flirt with those wealthy, handsome or beautiful! Love means more ! DON’T MAKE YOUR CHRISMAS LONELY!Actually, I don’t care about Christmas, I care that that comment isn’t all over the place.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Haha, I suggested my wife click “Charles’s” MillionaireLoveLink. It’s a tough economy and startups can be rough. She can do better. 😉

        1. ShanaC


      2. Donna Brewington White

        So…um…is this a consumer internet startup?

        1. ShanaC

          Nah, just some old spam I canned. I thought it would make for a funny response.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            It was a great response. I was just being silly, Shana.

    3. Rohan

      William and Shana aren’t the AVC’s censorship board.They are more like managers of the AVC community board. Where somebody like you can show up, write what you please (incl diss them) and still be made to feel welcome again.I, for one, am thankful they’re doing what they’re doing. Maybe one day you’ll choose to be a pillar of a community as well…I’m hopeful.

      1. ShanaC

        Thank yo. It’s funny, I don’t see myself as a pillar of the community. Just trying to live my life here

        1. Rohan

          Partly said to shut him up. ;)Hope it didn’t embarrass you..

          1. ShanaC

            Nah, I just want there to be realistic expectations.  I’m not a perfect goodie two shoes.  Far from it.  I have my wilder moments, and I just don’t broadcast them.  That and I’m young(ish).  The responsibility of being a pillar should probably go to someone who isn’t quite where I am in life, still having many many decisions to make 🙂

          2. Alex Murphy

            in internet / startup land, 30 is the new 50. you can be a pillar. 🙂

          3. ShanaC

            @amurphy59:disqus  don’t make the girl feel old before her time :-P.

  19. Jason

    Way to get action for engagement Fred! Now how to spread it viral among non-tech folks???

  20. Mark

    Sent. Thanks.However, I am afraid that even if we win this battle, we are losing this war against freedom in the US. The House and Senate are moving forward with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which will allow the indefinite military detention of US citizens without charges.…Unfortunately this isn’t hyperbole. This is reality.We need a major disruption of news in this country. We fight these battles because monopolized media markets enable this type of perversion to advance unchecked and unknown to the general public.

  21. gregorylent

    american government has succumbed to the same fear issues as all other governments in the world … and fear = controlcompare … china, legalizing enforced disappearances,… and the #dnaa hashtag … essentially allowing martial law and detention without trial .. in america!this world is going through a paradigm shift … it will get worse before it gets bettersstay in your heart, create the next paradigm, don’t look at what’s falling apart, focus on what’s being bornenjoy, gregorylent

  22. andyswan

    In 2018 we’ll have the first idiot running against “Big Internet”, just as the idiotic statists run against “big oil”, “big pharma”, and just about every other industry that makes our lives incredibly better every day.By 2030 we’ll have the “revitalization of the Internet Act”.Just look around every once in a while.  What are the things that get better and cheaper every year?  The things that government barely touches.But hey….how do you create voting blocks or repeat donors without doing favors for one group at the expense of another?Reagan said it best….the Government’s view on things…”If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”..

    1. JamesHRH

      Andy – I have never heard that Reagon quote before. It is the neo-con call to action.Of course, it is never that black and white, but what a killer quote.

    2. jason wright

      …if it stops moving, subsidize it”. If it’s not moving it’s either standing still…or it’s dead. Is this  proposed legislation a ‘subsidy’ the old school media industries want as they realize they’re already dead…on their feet?

      1. JamesHRH

        Go ask farmers who are paid not to plant crops…….

        1. jason wright

          ‘Tis the lesser of two evils. 

    3. Rohan

      great quote, Andy!

    4. kidmercury

      hte economic problems we have now are largely the result of reaganomics. reagan cut taxes, raised military spending, and created huge deficits as a result. deficit spending is how bankers takeover a country via debt enslavement, is basically exactly what the founding fathers warned against and why the launched a revolution, and is even what reagan campaigned against before he sold out and picked bush sr as his running mate. campaigning against big oil and big pharma is legit as those industries give capitalism a bad name and equate capitalism with monopolistic wealth consolidation, buying of politicians, and planned obsolescense rather than disruptive innovation. such effects are a by-product of deficit spending. 

    5. SubstrateUndertow

      Granted!We need to take responsibility for fixing our own governance processes.That is a long, slow, evolutionary road.But effective democratic governance is the challenge not the problem!

    6. Luke Chamberlin

      There is a difference between “advances in medicine funded by private companies” (which has made our lives better) and “big pharma” (which has not).”Big pharma” donates money to the campaigns of the same politicians who approve their products. It’s a perverse incentive system that has little to do with the free market or innovation.That’s what the prefix “big” means to me at least.Great quote by the way.

  23. Chris Johnson

    The problem that the whole tech community has is that americans are more or less indifferent to censorship.  Meaning that what we have to do is talk about the economic issues.  No words?  No problem, I don’t say anything offensive.  No jobs?  Huge problem.

  24. Brad

    We abolished ruling monarchies years ago, however Feudalism still exists. The Lords want to tell us what we can and can not do, all while providing for us a safety net. We have different mechanisms today, but the reality is we are all serfs working the land while the Lords play.

  25. Dan Bowen

    Fred I understand your concerns with these bills and I’m with you…what I do have bigger concerns about however are sites such as Wikileaks and the collection and distribution of stolen information that risks national security. As a former member of the US military intelligence community (15 years), I know firsthand the consequences of the unauthorized release of classified information.  In many cases people have died because some angry private decided he knew better how to handle information than those he worked for and I personally believe the US Government has an obligation to act swiftly in those cases to protect our national interests.  While I realize any government control of the internet poses some risk, there are always exceptions to a complete lack of control.  The Wikileaks incident is a prime example and the government (in my opinion) should have had the ability to bring whatever force to bare against that operation in order to protect our interests.  I recognize I have a unique perspective because of my former work, however I love to get your thoughts on it.

    1. LE

      I’m in total agreement with this. And I would add that sometimes those who are in charge are going to make mistakes and err on the side of safety using their best judgment given the facts at hand. To me that’s much better than an individual with their sole opinion of what is right and what is wrong who has read some stuff in the paper and forms their opinion based on that.

    2. kidmercury

      i would be sympathetic to your argument were it not for the case of how corrupt the US government is. they simply have no credibility. this is not a comment about you or many of your peers, as i realize that probably most of the people in US government are good and honorable, but the people at the top are not, the legislators certainly are not, and so the system as a whole does not have the moral authority needed to be an enforcer. that is not to say that there will not be unfortunate consequences of things like wikileaks, only to say that the noble intentions of such efforts may be more legitimate because its proponents have more credibility/moral authority. 

      1. LE

         “only to say that the noble intentions of such efforts may be more legitimate because its proponents have more credibility/moral authority””more credibility/moral authority”What are you basing that on?

        1. kidmercury

          all moral authority comes from truth. the more you lie, the less moral authority you have. from that equation, the US government has almost no moral authority. 

      2. Dan Bowen

        I’m also sympathetic with your point of view although I disagree with the blanket statement that the US government has ‘no credibility’.  While I have countless issues with our government and the seemingly endless stream of things that they do that make me roll my eyes, in the end, I still believe this country and our government have their hearts in the right place.  We make enormous mistakes but I would argue we make agressive mistakes and we are one of the few countries in the world that does try to correct what we have done wrong.  Moral authority doesn’t come from the ‘truth’ simply because the truth is in many situations lies in the eye of the beholder…social media and our always on, always connected society have proven that one persons truth is typically far from reality and the wikileaks drama is a classic example of that.  Many people want to hang the helo crew for ‘murdering’ the camera crew they mistakenly saw as enemy combatents.  I assure you, those of us who have been involved in airborne combat see things quite differently…so who’s more truthful?  Who has the moral high ground? I have a question for you following your statement: “the more you lie, the less moral authority you have” – have you ever lied to protect yourself or someone else?  If so, was your lie the morally correct thing to do?  Are your morals correct? These are deep difficult questions without simple answers and blanket statements don’t resolve the foundational issues.The Freedom of Speech that the US was founded on is an ongoing and fluid concept that is not boundless but these discussions will ultimately help us bridge the gaps and hopefully make the world a better place.

        1. kidmercury

          you got me, i do agree with the “sometimes you gotta lie to protect” argument, though even then you are lying for love, which is up there with truth. i think our disagreement is probably in the degree to which we find the US government to be a lost cause. to me it is a corrupt dying empire on the path of self-destruction, like the nazis and the roman empire — i think it is time for american revolution 2.0 and a return to constitutional principles that helped america become such a leader in the world. i agree that for those who have a more sympathetic view of the US government your points are very valid.  

          1. Dan Bowen

            The fact that we are talking about this and finding common ground suggests to me that we can fix the problems…we just need to remain open to doing so. I really enjoyed this chat and I hope for both of our futures more people do what we’re doing rather than throwing bombs at one another.Cheers!

    3. SubstrateUndertow

      Color me sceptical!

      1. Dan Bowen

        Of what?

    4. JamesHRH

      Prosecution of leakers (i.e, military personnel) has to suffice. There is no Wikileaks without insiders.

      1. Dan Bowen

        James do you really think you would be saying this if a leaker destroyed your company by creating a false impression through the release of stolen information never intended to make it outside your four walls?  What if someone took nude photos of your girlfriend, sister, mother?  What if the leaked information put people in harm’s way or even got them killed as the release of classified information has done…what if the person killed was your brother?  Do you really think you would say oh well, thats why we have courts?  Glorifying Wikileaks and a complete lack of safeguards on the web scares the hell out of me as much as complete government control.  As I’ve mentioned in my responses here, because the web has allowed everyone to have an opinion, whether or not there is an ounce of truth to it, ‘leaking’ information is not always as benign or well intentioned as many Wikileaks supporters believe it is. 

        1. JamesHRH

          Dan, Wikileaks is an exercise in self aggrandizing attention seeking (I have posted a lot here on my belief in the founder – startup DNA connection, so that ought to tell you what I think of Julian Assange).But, there is a big difference between publishing information and the unauthorized release (or in your photo examples, collection) of information.I will defend the right to publish any and all information. It serves us more than it harms us.However, I will also support the harshest penalties for the unauthorized release or collection of information that put’s people serving their country (can’t say ‘our’, I am a Canuck) in harm’s way.I think Assange is a river rat with a compulsive need for attention. I don’t support him or think he is well intentioned or even benign.I do think that throttling his right to prove his is an ass will, in the long run, be fatal to the concept of freedom and self government.

  26. William Mougayar

    Is it accurate to say that the SOPA/PIPA side is biased for protecting big corporations whereas Issa’s OPEN proposal is more favorable towards the creators and consumers?  

  27. Kevin Pillow

    We need the support of the artist too, please take the time to read this. It is a perfect example of why SOPA/PIPA can still fail but do irreversible damage to internet innovation. Louis CK, Comedian, decided to place his new stand up special online for $5 in an easy download format against the advice that it would lead to mass piracy of his Intellectual property. This is his letter in response to the result of the sales.*It went on sale December 10th*Thank you Reddit for getting this to the front page

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Thanks for the link!  Everyone should read.

  28. Shawn Cohen

    My congressman and the main SOPA sponsor have adjacent districts. The staffer I talked to hadn’t even heard of SOPA but at least my rep should have some clout to stop this mishegas.

    1. ShanaC

      I suggest talking about the people in his district you are going to fire…

      1. Shawn Cohen

        Yeah, that would get their attention. The staffer was genuinely concerned, though, and listened to what I had to say.

    2. fredwilson

      even more reason to do so

  29. DannyJames

    Fred your post seems a little dry today: in case your readers are looking for something I wrote an article about what it is to be a potential King without a Crown:…

    1. fredwilson


  30. Andrew

    I’ve wanted to ask this question for a while now.Say this bill does pass. Does it apply to companies that operate in the United States, or everything that passes into the United States.What I mean is what if all these companies relocated to Europe or Canada or India or wherever they could do what they are currently doing, legally.Would they still be subject to the rules just because Americans are accessing their stuff?And I recognize that there’s a lot to picking up and moving operations, but I’m just wondering what this might do to the global tech/startup world.

    1. fredwilson

      it only applies to companies that are located in the US. the next startup we invest in could move to berlin and escape this nonsense.

      1. Andrew

        Well, I guess if I were a policy maker looking to attract start-ups, I know how I would start marketing my country to U.S. companies….

      2. LE

        “next startup we invest in could move to berlin and escape this nonsense”Maybe but I can also imagine that it wouldn’t be to hard to take this a step further and prevent investment overseas in a company that circumvents the law in the US. Similar to what happens when you try to sell something to a country on the restricted list.  There are currently over 4000 federal laws on the books adding another one is certainly possible. Or, thinking creatively, change the tax laws to disadvantage the behavior you are contemplating.

  31. Otto

    Censor black, the hip new font. Scary to think of it that way. I would call my congressman but I don’t have one right now. Mine was the guy who was caught running around in tiger suits.I’m wondering if some type of union or association is in order for people who work for the Internet. Organize the geeks and give the parties another constituency to pine away for. Then again, that might erode the DIY ethic of the Internet and there would always be the fear of union or association leadership selling everyone down the river. But then again, SOPA would do those things anyway. So, should indie Internet workers, developers, etc., organize formally?

    1. fredwilson

      maybe is the start of something more. great thinking egodiary

      1. LE

        http://www.iworkfortheinter… is great but it is lacking words to go along with the pictures.The narrative and rhetoric is an important part of this and what is trying to be achieved.Right now it’s just a collection of pictures. And a collection that is not very easy to view with that page that scrolls on forever. 

    2. LE

      “Organize the geeks”Different dynamics, situation and different people then trade unions. You are talking about something that would be voluntary, and if it requires payment of money (union dues are mandatory) a non starter.So to summarize – “union” not applicable to the dynamics here and you are taking one problem and replacing it with another problem. “Association” – never get enough critical mass to offer any meaningful resistance.That being said I think the idea would be to more or less (for lack of a better way to put it) “open source” the opposition create an ad hoc association of capable people that can thoughtfully present the opposing side of this and other issues. That’s something that’s not really being done now.  The labor would be free and money could be raised to cover costs for things needed not labor related.



  33. Mark Essel

    Here’s my 2 cents. If a single body attempts to censor the net, folks will find a backdoor around it, an encrypted pipeline through it, and invent a new subway of free information beneath the reach of centralized authorities.The cat’s out of the bag.

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      Some folks will find a way around it but the majority of people will go about their lives without realizing that they’re being censored and controlled.

    2. fredwilson

      I agree. But that is not ideal from an architectural point of view

    3. LE

      “backdoor around it”Look anything is possible. But the government has de facto and can pass laws to have de jure control of the final mile to the majority of users in this country as well as the control points on the network. Forgetting for a second even the issue of getting a tipping point of people on board (who care) those people would have to connect by, say, satellite to avoid some kind of government control.  And they would have to connect to sites located outside of US jurisdiction.  That being said they haven’t been able to control drugs crossing the border but I think the difference is with the drug issue the money is on the other side (supply) and trying to get in. There is no such driving force with free information.

      1. Mark Essel

        Great argument.Two things would be necessary for a free Internet (it’s not free today). 1) An Ad hoc network of peers.2) anonymous and encrypted informationFor the network think routers and mobile phones communicating with each other through willing intermediaries which are the same. Photon generation and receipt is surprisingly cost effective. On the other hand distributed network technology is non-trivial and susceptible to partition (learned more about CAP and partition tolerance today after a train wreck 4th interview- needless to say I was far from my best).These requirements of an ad hoc network and anonymity are in conflict. How can you have an ad hoc network where the source and destination aren’t authorized or known apriori? I refer you to the locker project and for one possible realization.

  34. Jim Tousignant

    I just spoke with the Legislative Assistant for my Congressman Daniel Webster from Florida and she told me that a new “Manager’s Amendment” to the SOPA bill has been drafted and will be circulated shortly. This Amendment includes major changes to the original bill, and she believes this will force a delay in any vote by Committee this week on the current SOPA bill and will require the Committee to hold new hearings on the material Manager’s Amendment, including getting additional testimony from various companies and third parties impacted by the amendment, which cannot be scheduled until January due to the holidays, as lots of people will need time to review the major changes in the Manager’s Amendment. This delay will also allow representatives to get important feedback on the Manager’s Amendment from their constituents during the the holidays.This key delay suggests we are beginning to make some real progress in raising the visibility of this bad legislation within Congress and this delay will give us several weeks of time over the holidays to get more people involved in understanding this important issue and backing our cause, including writing letters, sending emails, and calling their representatives to oppose the proposed bill HR3261 (SOPA) in the House and the proposed bill S968 (Protect IP) in the Senate. Also, because many Congressmen and Senators will be returning home for the holidays for several weeks to their states and local communities, this will give our supporters the important opportunity to press any concerns face-to-face with their representatives about the proposed bills and any amendments that are put forward. We need to keep up and increase the noise and the pressure over the holidays and beyond until this bad legislation is defeated.

    1. fredwilson

      wow, this is excellent news Jim. thanks for taking the time to engage your representatives on this issue.

      1. Jim Tousignant

        Fred – here’s a great link that compares the original House bill with the recent Manager’s Amendment.…

        1. fredwilson

          thanks Jim

  35. Jim Tousignant

    Here is a link to the latest press release issued yesterday by Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (… claiming that Google, Twitter and eBay were spreading lies about SOPA – got to love it :)Also, here’s a link to a summary of Chairman Smith’s proposed H.R. 3261 Manager’s Amendment (… to address all the critics and concerns of his bill.Both are worth reading. I am curious what people think of this latest amendment?

  36. danbuell

    Totally agree!!!!

  37. Blsavini

    Hmmm, is accusing “the opposition” of Nazism, the new black? Why doesn’t big business and the government entertain a new approach?Cooperate with each other for the good of the whole. I fail to see any REAL differences between the 2. Both seem more concerned with personal power and the ability to make a decision as opposed to the end result.Maybe its time for the leadership tiers within America to GROW the F up.

  38. Tom Labus

    Not knowing what the Net is is no longer acceptable.… 

  39. Dave W Baldwin

    Happy to report my just receiving a response from Senator McCaskill regarding PIPA.  Basically it went through the importance of protecting IP but concluded with her knowing of the concern regarding dangers to those not given the chance to correct things that happen.Replied back with advice toward keeping in touch with Senator Wyden on this.

  40. Rohan


  41. kenberger

    cracking up at that 1, I just fell off my SOPA box !! 🙂

  42. laurie kalmanson

    bumper stickers. wait, this could be a kickstarter project

  43. Bofh

    I agree completely, but who is standing up to them?  I don’t even see a Stop SOPA facebook group. WTH man?  Where do we congregate to stop this?  Why are we even bothering with letters and phone calls anyway? This is ridiculous.  The fox is guarding the hen house.  Do you think they’ll stop eating the chickens if the chickens just send a few more letters in protest?  We can’t appeal to their sense of integrety. They have none. These people are scum.We can stop this. Directly. Their entire system depends on US.  One man, Terry Childs, shut down an entire municipality by standing up to politicians.Most of us perform critical functions at our companies.  Without us, they are totally screwed.  In a lot of cases, we are specialists.  They can’t even fire us because we are the only people who know how our systems work. In a lot of cases, we’re the ones who built the darn systems. If even a handful of us refuse, if even a handful of us stop performing these critical functions, they will be unable to stop us.  They must cede to our demands.It’s time we all stood up for ourselves.  We built the fscking internet. We built the sites, the infrastructure, every bit of it.  These politicians and hollywood types have become immensly powerful thanks to our work.  It’s time we reminded them who made them that way.It’s time we take a SOPA sick day.  Take the day off.  Take a few.  Shut down the internet with our absense.