Freedom To Innovate

For something like seventeen years, I have been investing in entrepreneurs who have had the freedom to innovate on the Internet. It has been a powerful life lesson for me. These people imagine something, they create it, and they are off and running building a business, hiring employees, generating cash flow. They ask nobody for permission. They don't need any permits. They don't need any real estate. All they need is a server (now rented in the cloud from Amazon and others) and a laptop or two and they are good to go.

Almost of two decades of this environment of "permissionless innovation" has led to the creation of a huge new industry, which is global in nature, but unquestionably led by the US. Almost every young person I meet coming out of college these days wants to work in this industry.

This industry is the Internet industry. And the Internet and this freedom to innovate is under its first existential threat right now from the MPAA and the RIAA and their legislators in Congress. They want to fundamentally change the way the Internet works and they want to regulate the Internet. We must stop this and the time to do it is now. Here's how you can help:

1) Visit, get your talking points on jobs, free speech, and security, and then call your representative. I'm told that making the phones ring in Washington is still the best way to let your representatives know that you are upset. So please do this. It's super easy thanks to, of course, the Internet.

2) Visit I Work For The Internet, snap a photo of yourself, and add your face and first name to a list of all the people who work on and for the Internet. There are a lot of us, more than anyone in Congress knows. It's time to show our faces and names.

3) Censor your blog posts, tweets, and/or facebook wall posts. Fill the internet up with blocked out text. Show those in Congress the world they are taking us toward. You can do that here. I will do it tomorrow.

4) Read what our contry's leading information security scientists have to say about the SOPA and PIPA proposals. Not surprising, the approaches outlined in these bills will lead us to a less secure Internet.

But most of all, we need you to Occupy Congress this week in opposition to PIPA and SOPA. We have the facts on our side and we have the numbers on our side. But we are behind in this fight, the votes are not on our side. It is time to change that.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    all institutions are behind the times … pick your progressive cause, nature is on your side

  2. Ric

    It’s a shame http://iworkfortheinternet…. focusses on US-only states. While I probably won’t have much influence on a US politician, they should also hear that this is not just a US issue. With large parts of the Internet’s underlying infrastructure resident there, decisions in the US may have a much broader impact … add to that treaties such as free trade agreements that the Australian Govt has with the US (which, for instance, already force US copyright laws on Australians) and the chances that this will repeat itself over here are pretty high. I’d rather fight it on the first beachhead.

    1. fredwilson

      great point

    2. William Mougayar

      See my response above. If the US falls, the other countries will follow.

    3. ShanaC

      It is a pity that our congresspeople are so internally focused that they don’t understand how technologies like the Internet are positive when it comes to spreading US values

      1. Dale Allyn

        It’s a pity these congresspeople don’t actually read what they sign or vote for, but instead take a summary from an aide. But mostly they accept influence from a lobbyist who presses for an issue during an $800 dinner for two, during which campaign contributions are promised. Nice new avatar pic, by the way. :)Edit: fixed run-on sentence

        1. ShanaC

          and that is an uggg statement.  it also makes life too expensive to live on for the normals in the DC metro, so you get wage inflation there, preventing DC people from relating to the rest of us.And thank you.  For the record, it is a CC licensed Picture (as per the photographer’s request).  You can remix it

          1. Dale Allyn

            Shana, my remark was a bit cynical, though too close to reality, I’m afraid. The good news is that we citizens are reaching a point of saturation and there is bound to be a wave of change coming about, thanks to the way we all connect and communicate now. :)I must admit, I’m so used to your previous avatar that it takes me a second to realize that it’s you commenting. I’ll adjust though. 

          2. ShanaC

            I do miss my old one, but this is a bit closer to how I look

      2. markslater

        internally focused? – i would characterize them as “bought and paid for”

  3. EmilSt

    I’m not a US citizen but I will do whatever I can from the above and I will ask anyone I know who “works for the Internet” to do so. Because I understand how important is to win this for the World as we love it.

  4. John Revay

    Quick Thoughts – force multiplier:1. Is there a listing of Senators or Congressmen we need to target – re: key votes or votes we need to change2. Assuming you are reaching out to your portfolio companies asking them to have their Founders & Employees write congress3. Lobbying ( I hate these people) – assuming NVCA has money to spend4.Get Mayors/ Governors in city & states where Tech people are employees – re; JOBS, JOBS, JOBS5. Big Internet companies (& their employees)   Google, Amazon, FB, MS – they have money, influence & people6. FB & Twitter  –  any central way to get their users signed up

    1. fredwilson

      1 – good question. we need to move the Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate…http://www.judiciary.senate…all NYC entrepreneurs should reach out to Nadler and Schumer and let them know how they feel2 – yes3 – the NVCA has not been as helpful as we’d like on this. The CEA and some of the top tech companies have been more helpful4 – doing that in NYC. but it’s not easy. the big media companies have been working the big city mayors hard.5 – they are doing a lot to help6 – i wish we could get more from FB and Twitter

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        I’m glad that Representative Issa is trying to write a counter proposal.

        1. fredwilson

          Me too. He’s stepping up bigtime

          1. Dale Allyn

            Yep, Darrell Issa has been stepping up in a few ways recently. It’s good to see.  cc @davewbaldwin:disqus 

          2. William Mougayar

            I like Issa. He is bold & trying to make an impact. Does his bill have a chance ? Is it being discussed appropriately in the House & Senate?

          3. fredwilson

            the leaders aren’t behind it yet

      2. Eitan Hochster

        I’ve contacted Nadler and Schumer a few times. Schumer is pretty firmly in favor of SOPA and Nadler hasn’t given an impression one way or the other. 

        1. fredwilson

          so we need to work on them harder

          1. Eitan Hochster

            Couldn’t agree more. I was very disappointed to see Schumer quoting Chamber of Commerce stats on the impact of piracy. He needs to hear information from people who aren’t lobbyists for big media companies. 

          2. kidmercury

            they got richer customers. every business is beholden to their existing customers…..congress is no different. 

          3. markslater

            absolutely agree – a million of us are fighting one of them with a million benjamins. guess who wins.

  5. Valentin

    Hi Fred, I really enjoy your blog when I have time to read. I have been following this discussion about SOPA and etc, and I have some comments against the opposition of the SOPA. Mainly my disagreement with the anti-SOPA crowd and anti-imposed self regulation is the fact that virtual enterprises should make sure to work with the same set of principles as enterprises in the physical world. For example, if you run a venue for music gigs, you are by law obliged, as an owner, to make sure noone is dealing illegal items on your premises. The same way internet companies have the moral and hence they should have a legal obligation to observe that no illegal activities is happening on their “premises” and should be liable when they have failed to ensure this. If you are interested, my full argumentation on this on personal blog:…

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Without reading your tumblr, the problem with your premise is as follows:Someone had posted “US-THEM” from Dark Side of the Moon with footage of 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY on YouTube.  21st Century had a problem and at whichever point, the post was blocked due to the footage.  The song though stayed on YouTube.In the new legislation, YouTube would be liable for the footage, though in the case of current law, they had taken it down.  So YouTube should be sued and shut down before they have the chance to block it? The legislation is simply too heavy handed.

      1. Valentin

        Yes, there are details that need to be addressed. But in general, yes, I think that Youtube should be also liable.If I were selling LSD in a pub, the pub owner would also get his business shut down, wouldn’t he?

        1. fredwilson

          A pub as big as the entire world with people from every country in it all the time is not really a pub. You need a different paradigm to think about this issue

          1. Valentin

            Thanks for the comment.I don’t see why diffrent paradigm should apply. The internet world is not some other universe where different gravity applies, and economic and social externalities stop to work. It is the same product of human intellectual abilities and is governed by the same principles we apply to each other in our daily lives. Every website is a venue in many senses. It has its regular visitors who know what they can find there and like to hang around. It has the occasional come-byers that found their way somehow. It is not the entire world that is visiting this venue – they could be, if they typed the URL, and from the point of view of ease of access this is times easier. But still an action is required, which is driven by a particular intention.The only problem of size of audience does grant internet companies some kind of priviliged rights over companies in the physical world. Life is hard for everyone, and if an enreprenuer is really standing behind his idea, he should be capable of keeping his house in order by hiring the necessary moderators to control the content posted. In the very same way in which the law requires a venue owner to hire security personel which checks the visitors for guns, drugs, etc. Distributing pirated material in the form of CD or otherwise would also get a venue shut down. It should not be otherwise for any internet enterprises. I do agree that the proposed act is quite radical, but the general premise that internet companies should also be held responsible for the actions of their users, audiences, whichever way you want to call it.It is a quite clear problem of negative externality that one industry has on another and corrective action needs to be taken.Another example: If I came up with a technology which allows people to teleport their garbage (anonymously) anywhere they want, and suddenly it becomes clear that these actions devastate Cancun beaches, wouldn’t I be held responsible by the hotel industry?@leigh:disqus  , I need a particular example in order to be able to grasp what you are talking about – in general, yes, the general notions are right. It would be interesting if you provide an example of how an ecosystem of the kind you are mentioning transcends/defies the relationships of the material world. 

          2. fredwilson

            first of all, there is no single country that has legal jurisdiction over the Internetby making linking out to rogue sites illegal, you just incent the creation of google bahamas, or twitter switzerlandthis is not anywhere near the same thing as something going on in your local pub

          3. Valentin

            By the same logic all banking should be in Bahamas or Switzerland as well, and it clearly isn’t.If regulated properly these offshore internet services, would not be able to sustain themselves, since their income streams from advertising would be severely restricted. 

          4. markslater

            i’ll give you an example.We have built an amazing real-time conversation platform, where users and merchants can chat. Each chat occurs in memory – not in read -write mode – that means that it is fully synchronous. we could potentially play platform to millions of simultaneous conversations happening at the same time……There is no physical or technological way for us to as you say “monitor” conversations for the “actions of our users”Does someone monitor the conversation i am having in your bar? i fucking well hope not. while you see this through the lens of a “pirated CD”, this bill gives the wrong powers the rights to literally censor anything.

        2. leigh

          You have to start thinking ecosystem when it comes to the power of networks and the emergent systems we see develop online.  Five characteristics of an ecosystem:- they are the consequence of relationships- they are open to energy and material flow- they have no boundaries- in an ecosystem, everything is linked to everything else – they are intractable Ok.  Now that we get that – a premises, a pub – like Fred said, wrong paradigm.  I’d be interested if you think more like this and look at your arguments whether or not they would change.  

    2. fredwilson

      The internet is not a physical space. It is a global network. A different beast entirely

      1. Esayas Gebremedhin

        An infinite space similar to the universe. A reflection of our imagination, thoughts and ambitions. Controlling the internet is equal to controlling people’s thoughts.How can a democracy live up to it’s name if it doesn’t support what it stands for?

        1. Valentin

          Well, it is getting a bit mystical. I still need to go for groceries, despite internet’s infiniteness.And if you are under the impression that the internet is not controlled as it is at the democracy – How can a democracy live up to it’s name when it allows an industry to be granted priviliges over others, which not only allow that industry to gain a cost advantage, but also thretens to destroy others?

          1. kidmercury

            the internet will re-wire all industries. soon your groceries will come to you and food shortages (which exist because of distribution problems) will be solved. but in order for you to get quality food delivered to you at a cheaper price, the other aspects of the internet need to be allowed to flourish. 

          2. markslater

            bravo – the internet has, does and will disrupt out moded methods of commerce, study, interaction, expression and so on…….its the people that are afraid of change that embrace control……i vote for change because i refuse to accept that my kids will grow up with this “status quo”. 

          3. markslater

            the internet is controlled……where did you read that? positively comical. 

        2. fredwilson

          damn straight

  6. jason wright

    Get Google and Bing et al to close search for one day and replace their search boxes with a joint statement. That will get the mass attention the issues needs.

    1. fredwilson

      Google has been made out to be the devil here. They need a lot of help on their flanks. Microsoft is not an internet company and probably never will be. They are proving that once again by their stance on PIPA/SOPA

      1. leigh

        might want to get people writing to MSFT as well then.  It’s amazing what social media crisis fear will get people to say these days.  

      2. gorbachev

        Actually, Microsoft has come out against SOPA in the past week, if you’re to believe what Declan McCullagh wrote at CNet:…Given Declan’s reputation, I’m going to take his word for it.

        1. fredwilson

          that’s a win. maybe they are becoming an internet company after all. so happy to hear this.

          1. JamesHRH

            There are rumblings in Redmond – sleeping giant waking up?

      3. Mark Essel

        Microsoft did release a win32 port of Redis, but it wasn’t accepted by the author (@antirez) with good reason. There are folks in Microsoft who get the Internet, and how important it is to the company’s future.

    2. Tom Labus

      Let them put their cards on the table and pull the plug for a day.

  7. Tom Labus

    Votizen is saying that you can no longer write letters through their site.Somehow it’s in preparation for the 12 election cycle.Shouldn’t it be enhanced?

  8. Dave W Baldwin

    I had sent a letter to my Senators, McCaskill and Blunt.  The response from Blunt was sadly laughable showing he doesn’t know anything about tech and it is all a political game.Also sent to my Congresswoman, Emerson.  Didn’t hear anything back. Will send another note to McCaskill and Emerson telling them they need to look at the counter proposal in progress from Wyden and Issa.  We shall see.  At least there is the element of the Consistitution.

  9. awaldstein

    I’m in.Sent this out to my networks.

  10. Kevin

    I do not work in an Internet business, but in real estate development.  What I enjoy about it is the creativity, construction, and design.  What I hate about it are the permits and regulations.  To be fair, some are needed.  But in real estate you have to ask for permission to do just about anything, and it is mind-numbing.  It is also why there is so little innovation.

    1. JLM

      How many worthy projects do you think have been killed or delayed by regulation gone mad?  How many jobs eliminated or still born?Real estate is a perfect example of an industry gone mad with regulation and the results speak for themselves.

      1. Tom Labus

        When Greenspan came back to congress in November 08, he testified there was a flaw in thinking about markets being “self correcting”. If there had been some intelligent regulatory approach to the derivatives business, the intensity of the collapse would not have been as severe.  Synthetic CDO’s shot into bloodstream of the economic system were as lethal as any planned attack on the US.And I’m a market guy.  

        1. JLM

          It is impossible to find any flaw w/ your comment.  It is perfectly correct and true.I suspect the problem is like the spice or drugs analogy — a bit of spice makes the soup more savory or the right dose of drugs can cure one — while too much spice destroys the soup and an overdose kills one.Markets need to be guardrailed for reasonable outcomes.If the keel is not attached to the sailboat, it is not coming right side up when it rolls.

        2. JamesHRH

          Don’t think JLM is saying that regulation is bad.Large, incomprehensible sets of regulation become a lever for vested interests to game the system.The role of Wall Street is not to game the economy – they have paid to have the system set up that way.

      2. JamesHRH

        I bought a US property this year – in California, just for context.Compared to the Canadian real estate process (sorry to use the Red & White as an example again, but it is my comparable, obviously), it was a complete and utter joke.20X the paper, easy. All because the agents are not held to a fiduciary relationship.Which is mostly because the legal system does not use costs to keep asinine lawsuits out of the courts.Huge headaches; simple causes.

      3. fredwilson

        please do not mention real estate permits here at AVC. i have lost more money than i can comfortably think about because of that process.

  11. Rohan

    Anything us non-US folk can do?

    1. Alexander Close

      Spread the word…

    2. Cam MacRae

      Get started calling people lest this garbage gets worked into our copyright treaties.

  12. Rohan

    And Ive been wondering as to why some of the big powers of the Internet eg: Facebook, google, twitter seem to be as excited to help?

  13. TDKlein

    One other thought:  my experience living in this town (DC) is that members of Congress only listen to the high profile people they see at cocktail parties.  So, Fred are you involved in Startup America and do you know Steve Case?  It is people like Case and a few others in DC who have any stroke with the ruling class here, otherwise it’s just noise from the hinterlands for those on Capital Hill.  Your blog has enormous reach and if we want to move on this we need to mobilize the influencers, and that’s local, monied Internet executives.  I’ll activate my network and I would encourage all A-VCrs to do the same.

    1. fredwilson

      i am seeing Steve on Thursdayi hope its not too late

      1. ShanaC

        My congressperson’s office said they are actively listening on the subject.

        1. fredwilson

          good. thanks for making the call Shana.i like the new avatar

          1. ShanaC

            you’re welcome, and thank you. As a note, it is CC licensed.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      The opposition to this whole, sad, corrupt, affair is a classic case of level-mixing.As important as it is to vigorously oppose this global internet sinkhole, the present effort seems too little too late and by necessity, at this late stage, focused on the flames not the coals.The coals, of course, being decades of decay in meaningful democratic process execution that has been expediently ignored by one and all while seeking to gain advantage by gaming the system at every level.The result is a classic Prisoners-Delema outcome.When the ratio of Defectors to Players reaches a tipping point the whole system collapses and everyone, even the early defectors, become losers.Team-America seems to have forgotten every behaviour that makes a team a team.At its heart this is a community standards, norms, value-systems collapse problem.It kind of reminds me of the old:First they came for the trade unionistsand I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionistThen they came for our savingsand I didn’t speak out because I could play Wall St. leverageThen they came for our pensionsand I didn’t speak out because I still had a pensionThen they came for our jobsand I didn’t speak out because I still had a jobThen they came for our homesand I didn’t speak out because I still had a homeThen they came for our future tax baseand I didn’t speak out because that was my kids problemThen they came for our kids educationsand I didn’t speak out because I could still finance thatThen they came for our democratic controland I didn’t speak out because I was to busy making a buckThen they came to execute Deep-CaptureCheckmate over our internet futureDeep-Capture of what?INTERNET SOFTWARE”Software code is the crucial componentof everything in the 21st centurySoftware is what the 21st century is made ofWhat steel was to the economy of the 20 th centuryWhat steel was to the power of the 20 th centuryWhat steel was to the politics of the 20 th centurySoftware is nowIt is the curial building blockthe component out of which everything else is madeand when I speak of everything – I mean of course:FREEDOMas well as Tyrannyas well as Business as usualas well as Spying on Everyone for free all the timeIn other words the very composition of social lifeThe way it works or doesn’t workFor USThe way it works or doesn’t workFor those that OwnThe way it works or doesn’t workFor those who OppressAll now depends on software!”- – Eben MoglenSORRY – I know this is not very helpful.Just venting a sense of powerless frustration

      1. JLM

        Gotta love the purity of a good rant.

  14. Brad

    Most of the politicians know very little about the issue and will vote with whatever group gives them the most money for re-election.

    1. fredwilson

      sadly you are right

      1. markslater

        bought and paid for, the lot of them.Lobbying is a crime, pure and simple.

  15. gorbachev

    I’ve contacted my representatives and senators, and they all support the bill.Schumer, Gillibrand and Gary Ackerman…all enthusiastically in favor of the bills, if I’m to believe their form letters.

    1. fredwilson

      we’ve been working hard on Schumer and Gillebrand. we will soon see if we have had any effect.

      1. Curtis Sumpter

        I just called my congresswoman’s office, Carolyn Mahoney.  I’ll try Schumer and Gillebrand too.  But NY has a big music community and media lobby.  What are the chances they’ll listen?  And Fred, what about the Prez?  Isn’t he friends with Mark Zuckerberg and those Silicon Valley kids?  Any chance this won’t pass?

        1. fredwilson

          the point i’ve been trying to make to Schumer and Gillebrand is that NYC has many industries, not one. and they should focus on what is best for everyone. not just one industry.

          1. CP

            Agreed, especially since Schumer was happy as a pig in shit when Facebook chose NYC for their new engineering offices (

          2. markslater

            no shit. where is bloomberg on this subject?

      2. matthughes

        I contacted my congressman a couple weeks ago.The good news is the staffer I spoke with was quite amicable.The bad news is it didn’t sound like he’d received very many calls.(Merkley, Jeff – D – OR)

  16. Prashant Gandhi

    I cant help but think of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. Fred Wilson recast as John Galt.

    1. andyswan

      You’re gonna make heads explode here.  🙂

      1. Prashant Gandhi

        I am undecided whether its a good thing or a bad thing..

      2. SubstrateUndertow

        Taken from WikipediaIn 1991, a survey conducted for the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club asked club members what the most influential book in the respondent’s life was. Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was the second most popular choice, after the Bible. Rand’s books continue to be widely sold and read, with 25 million copies sold as of 2007 and another 800,000 sold in 2008.<hr/>As a first approximation Rand’s Objectivism has a very appealing and arguably useful, 19th century, linear surface structure.But in an age of organically-networked-everything where self-referencial strangle-loops of social-software regularly create emergent new social realities they have become a serious zeitgeist coefficient of drag on social progress.Rand’s Objectivism is ok as far as it goesbut as Steve Jobs might sayits time to move on to theNeXTstep

        1. andyswan

          “But in an age of organically-networked-everything where self-referencial strangle-loops of social-software regularly create emergent new social realities they have become a serious zeitgeist coefficient of drag on social progress.”Ahhh, the old “new reality” trick….where things have changed so much that we mustn’t concern ourselves with ourselves anymore….but rather on “social progress”….as defined by….”others”. Got it.I’ll pass.

          1. Aaron Klein

            The best “social progress” are things invented by individuals to increase the productivity and wealth of the entire world.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Aaron Klein

            So true…

          4. matthughes

            Yep.And people who embrace individualism and self-reliance are generally the best at helping others. 

          5. Aaron Klein

            So true. I think that’s largely because they care about the results more. Bottom-up doing good is always more effective than top-down.Blogged about that here:

          6. SubstrateUndertow

            The history of new technologies creating sweeping social change is and ongoing immutable process.Concerning ourselves with our role in steering those technology driven waves of social change is always our first order of business. It is simply built into our biological wetware as the prime progress”….as defined by….”others”Who are the other peopleWe are the other peopleYou’re the other people toIf you’re out here networkingThen you didn’t take a pass! 

      3. Prashant Gandhi

        I now know what you mean

      4. JLM

        I hate to be such a simpleton but is the Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged analogy not becoming frighteningly apropos?This pipeline deal — the Keystone Pipeline — is just the latest example of politics killing jobs.We need the hydrocarbons both from the perspective of a national defense issue but also because they are cheaper than other imports.Every state through which it traverses has approved it.It will create mad jobs both in its construction, operation and at the refinery end.And we happen to be in a JOBS crisis just now.

        1. andyswan

          Just waiting for the anti-dog-eat-dog act at this point.

    2. Valentin

      I don’t think Ayn Rand and John Galt would argue against the major premise of the SOPA.Digital content piracy is looting. Facilitating looting and accepting compensation for it is also looting.They’d be much more inclined to condemn all that general and fluffy talk about new ecosystems, new ways of wealth creation and blocking innovation that is so widely procliaimed by the other end of the argument.

      1. Prashant Gandhi

        I am not sure about your “Facilitating looting” bit. Going by your previous responses, you are still adhering to your metaphor of platforms as pubs.I dont think its as black and white as that.

        1. Valentin

          I am adhering to this metaphor because it makes the most sense to me, and for the time being with my rational facilities, it is the conclusion I am arriving at.At the same time, I am very open to all kinds of arguments, because as you can perhaps see if you read my original tumblr post, I am struggling   with a few leaps of faith that I think are being made on a big scale.You, as an Ayn Rand reader, should know that believing in half truths and non-absolutes is a dangerous pursuit. So if you have a better and more clear reasoning than mine, I am very eager to get to know it.And for the sake of form, let’s use the word “venue” rather than “pub” 🙂

          1. Prashant Gandhi

            I have no doubt that there are vested interests on both sides. But I also have no doubt about what has created this bill in the first place.. an active lobbying by interested parties to a group of people who arent well versed in the issues & implications of the act but have the power to make it happen.  My rationale suggests that the half-truths are being spoken by those who want to see this happen.I am also looking at the broader picture here – the music industry has been crying foul over piracy for years – but again they were not speaking the whole truths. They were trying to protect an exploitative business model which saw the artists getting only meagre royalties. Not quite the victims they were making themselves out to be.Finally, there are always going to be rogues out there who are exploiting services like Youtube. Would I shut down the service if it was in breach thereby punishing the whole community of users ? The answer is no.

          2. SubstrateUndertow

            “believing in half truths and non-absolutes is a dangerous pursuit”couldn’t agree less – all truths are grey-scale!Because – TRUTH is not a nounIt is a representation-data qualifier that speaks about degrees of accuracy with which a messaging system characterizes external realities which even when experience first hand are full of interpretative grey-scale subjectivity.YES! YES!never mind what the dictionary says:Truth – noun:the quality  or state of being trueThere is the thing or process in and of itself which is neither true or faults. It is whatever it is!Truth characterizes the degree to which the description or other representational-data accurately maps on to that external thing or process relative to how it would have been perceived via a direct first person experience.Well!I’m glad I got that pet peeve off my chest ;-))SORRY about that!

      2. SubstrateUndertow

        looting?the music industry has never looted its artists or customers?the word looting is not all that objective!maybe time for a flexible third way

    3. John Ball

      Seriously, having followed Fred for longer than I care to admit, any resemblance to John Galt, like Ayn’s works, is purely fiction.



      1. Prashant Gandhi

        Self reliant and rational was where I was leaning not the selfish dick part. Thought that was clear – clearly not.

  17. andyswan

    Loving the shift towards rejecting government intrusion round these parts!p.s. the internet works for me, not the other way around.  Still dig the site….great design implementation.

    1. fredwilson

      i am headed your way andy. people i thought were smart and committed to public service have turned out to be corrupt idiots.too bad i can’t stand mitt. newt may be a different story.

  18. William Mougayar

    This fight is an international fight for the future of the Internet. The US is the Internet’s first hotbed for innovation, but it’s also what other countries might follow in terms of excessive regulation. I just emailed a top Canadian lawyer on this topic, and his response was: “As was the case with the dmca (digital media copyright act), when the lobbyists get it passed in the US, they will come after us.  Which is another reason why the fight in the US is so important.”So, the international community must help the US fight this. 

    1. fredwilson

      your lawyer friend is right

      1. William Mougayar

        I asked him why does it look like they are more prepared and do they have more money to achieve their objectives? He went on:”It’s what the US media cartel did with the DMCA. When Congress refused, they pursued it as a treaty, knowing that the executive was easier to influence than the legislature, in the short term.  Once the treaty process completed, they came back to Congress after investing millions in the meantime in lobbying.  Then they went after other countries.  Like Canada.Diaperloads more money.  They are using the profits from their dying businesses to preserve their grip on it as long as they can.Content – music, movie, TV – is the money.  They have now thoroughly paid off Congress, taken over the US Chamber of Commerce and infiltrated the US Trade Rep’s office.  The US govt is now onside because export of culture is a big US business.”

        1. ShanaC

          IF they have so much money, why are they complaining exactly?

          1. JamesHRH

            They see the pipe of money being shut off.Rather than build the new pipeline (which they are way behind on & not likely  to succeed at), their goal is to stop others from building it.One of my favourite sayings:’ Politics happens when people see they are going to lose something. ‘

          2. ShanaC

            Are there ways of making the transition easier to kill the politics?

          3. William Mougayar

            Politics have no logic. Otherwise it wouldn’t be politics. One can’t easily understand the rationality of political decisions.

  19. JimHirshfield

    Twillio + Smart Hacker = Nope-a-SOPA-PIPA-RoboCallerLet’s get some smart engineers to spin something up and apply politicians’ “best practices” back at them.I want to dial one number, leave my personal message, and have it call every senator’s and congressman’s office in the nation.I’m Jim Hirshfield, and I approved this message.

    1. kidmercury

      hahhhaha brilliant!

      1. JimHirshfield


      2. JimHirshfield

        this is very close to what I’m talking about:

    2. matthughes

      Good stuff.

      1. JimHirshfield


    3. ShanaC

      That would be awesome

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I like the new pic, Shana — it’s so YOU!Also like your idea @JimHirshfield:disqus Although I will say that I like how easy makes it to call my rep.  They give talking points on the screen and then call you (a recording) to give some additional points before connecting you to your rep’s office.  I’d like for them also to put all the the points on the screen that they provide over the phone.  I wasn’t prepared and didn’t write them down. But still was able to make a good case based on the script in front of me.  Tomorrow I’ll write my own script and call again.

        1. ShanaC

          Thank you Donna – I look prettier now.  More like myself.My friend took it as long as it could CC licensed. (so you can remix my face as much as you want…that being said, personal request, no pr0n)

          1. Donna Brewington White

            You do look prettier, more like yourself.  

          2. ShanaC

            Thanks! Yeah, I was getting comments with the previous picture that I looked different and younger in person….

    4. Aaron Klein


    5. Rohan

      Haha. Brilliant!

    6. Lindsay

      Jim – have you seen this site yet: http://www.reverserobocall…. ? In addition to your own representatives, there’s a list/product there for “All SOPA and PIPA co-sponsors and lobbyists (301 Offices)”

      1. JimHirshfield


    7. Mark Essel

      clear product and communication described. checking reverse robocall now, thanks for bringing it up.

      1. JimHirshfield

        There are a couple similar services already. See other replies to my original comment.

  20. baba12

    Mr.Wilson proposing a revolt, being anti establishment… Wow.I feel in America in general there is no critical mass for any of he problems that ail us, be it the so called free market folks or in this case those who feel their ability to work on the internet etc are being hindered by laws such as PIPA and SOPA…Mr.Wilson may feel that these laws could impinge future entrepreneurs from innovating and for the USV’s to make investments that help build out ventures and grow the economy, but there is no critical mass to stop such things from happening.Howard Schultz of Starbucks wants to kick everyone in Congress out. Will the people wake up and start smelling the wild flowers or do they prefer their manicured, beautiful but cold stainless lives with no abilities to smell.Ability to think laterally is lacking and thus things like this will always get done.

  21. im2b_dl

    Fred, The problem is…PIPA and SOPA are bad… but both sides are wrong on this.  The revenue model has to change.  & it will.  But BOTH sides are fighting what is the inevitable change.The problem …  VC’s (perhaps not you but most) who invested in these platforms want those platforms to still be the platform to be the biggest potential and control for delivery of the revenue model… via virtual real estate (either for rent>paywall models, or for ad placement won’t work) but this works until the content becomes the platform. When the platform is about placement on, within, near, and around the content architecture itself… not the multiple access channels to deliver that content. We then see the value is more integrated within the content architecture and how and when it is produced, not delivered.When the content becomes the actual platform/virtual real estate (via hypervideo/transmedia/cubic/interface pervasive structure that is finally now evolving with HTML5 AR etc) …the platforms that presently exist (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook etc… who haven’t evolved to create their own content) will lose value to advertisers and paywalls will shrink… but piracy and censorship will virtually shrink to a non-issue because the model will be much more about spreading the content and not selling the content.  Both sides are fighting in this paradigm shift for their own free services from the other side and their own ability to hit the gold rush. (Let us remember the internet is the only delivery service that was given disclaimers for use of property in the last 50 years without over massive threat of lawsuit… just to spur the revenues/industry in start-ups we have seen, including a few that have made billions for people). SOPA and PIPA are bad, very bad… but they will matter little (outside of the horribly over-reaching government shut down abilities) when the business model changes. And let us not lose sight that the content industry (film/tv/music/entertainment) is arguably the second largest economy in the world driving billions in payroll.  The content creators who are restricted by people who risk much to create the complex content (Unions, signatory residual contracts etc.) ..the models don’t work. They are scaled entities that need to fall back but that will damage our economy, never mind making those signatory changes with a union is a messy long, drawn out democratically voted change (that may never happen until everyone goes down). When both industries are hurt… it hurts the world economy. We are not just speaking of studios in a bubble… we are speaking of millions of people who work in the entertainment industry. Inevitably the internet and free sharing will help all of it…but let’s not confuse scaled platforms with the “open internet”… as we should not minimize the need for individuals creating content en masse as a possible small business industry (where they can actually en masse make a living on just the content they create because it IS the platform) valuable if not more to the world and internet as a start-up that becomes Twitter.Just as the “start-ups” who succeeded are now scaling(structures with massive payroll and overhead too quickly but unavoidably) and can’t pivot because it was a faulty platform in long tail… because in the long run the value and focus of eyeballs and more importantly the instigation of purchase…is much more in the individual architecture of content/story architecture. The crossroad/gathering event becomes the content itself… leaving the platform as we see it now… not having a very good hand in controlling/placing value with virtual real estate.There was a bill of goods sold to much of the content industry that giving things away for free increased their revenues… but that has predominantly failed in the reality and predominance of a mass sharing structure. It increases marketing on a scale… but not wide open with no restrictions on giving away the milk for free ended. That is why the other revenue structure will alleviate that. Revenue models / industries are like water and we will achieve that new structure but PIPA/SOPA as horrific as it is and needs to be overturned… only had a window to happen because both sides fought fixing their own issues. If it is overturned I can guarantee you it will be back again and again until we get to the new revenue model that much of the start-up tech investment community does not want, but is the best answer for everyone, the industry, the democracy, the market and the internet. & most importantly innovation… because it opens the market past technology start-ups but individual creators outside technology to be the platform.

    1. fredwilson

      i am a huge fan of what Lous CK is doing. i am a huge fan and investor in what Kickstarter is doing. the artists are developing the business models to go direct. that is what is happening, what will happen, and SOPA/PIPA are fighting yesterday’s war with bombs aimed at the internet architecture. which is a very bad thing.

      1. im2b_dl

        I know you are.  I should have clarified that.  SOPA/PIPA won’t be passed… but a lot of the discussion has been bad in the extreme. (Not that you are saying that).  The reason we have SOPA/PIPA (which I hate and warned many was going to happen because the models were not going to work for a massive industry like entertainment who have signatory issues) is because of arrogance and extremes on both sides of this argument.There is a road forward… not about Kickstarter or even what Louis CK is doing.  Louis CK has notoriety and will make some money but about how all of the internet revenue models work.  How advertisers will get more specific about where they place retail integration and who has the “first in first out” priority contract. with that placement.  A delivery service who has no control of where in the emotional, logical, ethical placement or the production of the content.It is about changing ALL of the revenue models (not the investment models necessarily but the group funding laws will be fantastic if they get passed) of the internet. & by doing so will remove this debate…and give the government no leg to stand on and studios a much smaller impetus to do so in shutting down  any site who is delivering communication that is not a real threat to someone’s life.

  22. FlavioGomes

    I needed to get up to speed quick on these bills but wanted enough meat to fine tune my perspective. Here’s a detailed enough overview that will get you the facts quickly…

    1. Dale Allyn

      That’s a very helpful link, providing quite a lot of related material. I have been to many individual sites discussing this issue, but this is a great overview. Thanks for posting it. 

    2. William Mougayar

      What an alphabet soup of Acts and Associations. 

    3. Nick Grossman

      Yes, props to Alex Howard at O’Reilly for writing this up.  He is the man.

  23. FlavioGomes

    I’m strongly against the SOPA and PIPA Bills for the record, but I need to ask… what alternatives are there?  Is content now free?

    1. fredwilson

      no, content is not freeit costs $5 here

      1. FlavioGomes

        This is the new model then: From Louis CK”To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.”Sincerely,Louis C.K.

        1. fredwilson

          geniushe is paving the way forwardi tumbl’d a few things from him last night

          1. FlavioGomes

            The key lesson for me:  Make it easy to buy, easy to use and at a reasonable price. Distribution on the net brings COGS down considerably.Lets say you had 100% safe guards against torrents…what would the potential revenue be? maybe 10% more?  I dunno and would like to find that out..however, I’m of the mind the vast amount of torrent users wouldn’t buy regardless.Real fans will buy….focus on building real fans. The fringe will always have the gifted tickets to the show.Factoring torrents in your business model is likely a less expensive proposition than what may potentially be a very restrictive distribution scheme.The opt-in economy…something to really think about.

          2. SubstrateUndertow

            “The opt-in economy…something to really think about.”Indeed-  love it !

          3. Rohan

            That’s an important key lesson. And the big reason why iTunes succeeded in getting iTunes off the ground.The assumption is that people are good. They just need easy access.

          4. fredwilson

            i’m telling you, he’s a genius and he’s paving the way. it’s so inspiring to see.

          5. tyronerubin

            Let’s not forget muso’s like radiohead who did try the pay what u feel like with in rainbowsAnd also went direct with King of limbs they did exactly what Louis did.Let every artist sell directly to us please

      2. Jedd

        Digital commerce will not thrive and innovate until there are better curbs in place, like SOPA.The DMCA must be destroyed. It is counter productive and prohibits innovation as it’s too cumbersome and frustrating.Embrace the new world and create companies around SOPA, just like what companies did when DMCA was introduced.

        1. fredwilson

          DMCA provides the framework for digital commercelast time I checked the music industry does more business digital than physical

          1. Jedd

            DMCA provides a framework for only a select few in the digital world.People hated the DMCA when it was passed saying it was the end of the internet.Watch digital go crazy with sales through the roof when this SOPA passes.

          2. Gary Gesne

            Maybe so. Maybe sopa will be growing pains for some companies.Sopa could finally kill physical sales if freeloaders are curbed?I don’t know. Most people won’t pay for stuff, though.

        2. SubstrateUndertow

          The sweet spot for digital-data profits is affordability for the rest of us.Find that affordability sweet spot, make it irresistibly fun / convenient and most of us will be more than happy to pay up.Try and extract excess profit and the future will sweep around you!Organic Capitalism = Optimal Profitsfor Suppliers – Producers – Workers – Consumers – Citizens

      3. tyronerubin

        Bought it today because great content deserves $5 that’s for sure!

  24. kidmercury

    The military industrial complex is the source of this tyranny, and they are going to keep cpming at you- – even if this proposed legislation is blocked, that will mean we have wone a battle- – but not the war. To win the war the military industrial complex. Must be dismantled. The key to any non-violent victory is the truth.Also, time to think of political candidates, a they ultimately propose and pass this stuff. Who you all gong to vote for in the 2012 elections? Heaven help us if people say gingrich…….hahahahhaaha. ron paul is the only answer. Just look at the voting recors and this become clear. The failure of the tech crowd to rally around ron paul, as well as their genral willingness to ignore things like NDAA and only comment on issues that affects them, will only hurt us in the long run in this war for freedom.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      I like ron paul.He is the only one with 1/2 a clue.My problem is that I not sure we can trust him to fine the other half!

      1. JamesHRH

        He is still half a clue ahead!I don’t think he can govern though – he’s been an agent provocateur for too long.

  25. William Mougayar

    Why is the other side seemingly lobbying more and further ahead? It strikes we’re on the defensive, and they have been on the offensive.



      1. Dale Allyn

        Destroying copyright is the wrong goal. The right goal is to keep copyright (and compensation) in the hands of the creators, not those who exploit the creators of artistic and intellectual content. The creator of said content can give it away, grant it, license it or whatever. Her family still eats and has a roof over their heads. Vertical integration. 

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Dale Allyn

            I see your point on this (and have read it before), but it suggests a commissioned process only, i.e. prepaid for work which is requested. That will stifle many types of creative output. It’s not a bad plan for part of the problem, but it’s a technical solution to a problem which has many threads, some of which are emotional on the part of the artist (or artistic technician). E.g. Commercial photography works this way, but fine art photography does not. The solution must be more deeply thoughtful and more creative. Edit: typos

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Dale Allyn

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus Let’s keep working on it. “No other solution possible” is not an acceptable conclusion. It’s submission. We can do better. 

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. Dale Allyn

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus wrote: “EMBRACE FUTURE IS OPPOSITE OF GIVE UP.”Accepting one view of the “future” without endeavoring to mould the future in the best possible way for all concerned is acquiescence, not disruption in the most positive way. I accept the future and look forward to it, but I also intend to have a very positive effect on it for as many as possible. That includes those creative people who are not interested in becoming contract workers, or artists-for-hire. I hope that as you proceed on your solutions in this area, you will also take such things into account. The best of luck and success in the pursuit. (edit: dropped a “not” and fixed it)

          6. fredwilson


          7. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          8. COMRADITY

            There is an inherent conflict between the technology and creative business models.Technology makes money by lowering risk: delivering something more efficiently for a lower price.A creative business defies efficiency. It takes time to develop an idea and the win to loss ratio is low. When an individual or company makes money on an idea which takes off, little attentionis paid to the amount of time, money was “wasted” to get there . . . Or how many ideas never made it. The big companies don’t bear this risk, the independent, freelance creators do.Anyone who thinks the Internet, for example, kickstarter, is “good enough” is ignoring a fundamental barrier to replacing the established creative industry with something better.

          9. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          10. fredwilson

            kickstarter isn’t good enoughit’s a piece of the new platform for artistsbut we need to build morewe have made and continue to make investments that fill this space out

          11. William Mougayar

            What other pieces are missing?

      2. fredwilson


        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  26. Vinod

    Great post

  27. Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

    I appreciate your strong stand, Fred, and will get to it! I agree, they don’t realize how many lives and livelihoods depend on good access to the internet, to our own IP on the internet, and to a hassle-free experience with the Internet. Thanks for leading the charge. @Mojo40_Mavens or

  28. JLM

    This debate is a microcosm of the greater issue of the heavy hand of government in the arena of regulation — the very real “thumb on the scale” of picking winners and losers through bought and paid for legislation.  And legislators.It is interesting to see that the sponsors of this legislation are the known “Johns” in the whorehouse that is the US Congress.And why its opponents are folks who are against burdensome government regulation of all industries as a fundamental principle of governance.It has been visited upon a myriad of industries through the years and each has fallen prey to whomever has the biggest pocketbook and the most persuasive lobbyist and the most artfully crafted program of influence peddling.  And whomever is able to buy or rent the greatest number of Congressional courtesans.This is why smaller government, a lighter regulatory fingerprint and getting the money out of politics is such a fundamental lament.It is this industry in the crosshairs now but it is really the fundamental principles of governance which are driving the efforts.The greater the regulatory footprint and the more focused it is, the more those wallets will open to fund the support and opposition.It makes me want to puke to see such an innovative almost all-American infant being smothered in its cradle.

    1. Dale Allyn

      Could not agree more, JLM. 

    2. fredwilson

      i didn’t realize that the sponsors of this bill are well known “johns” doesn’t make it feel any better, but at least it’s helping me understand what is going on here better

    3. andyswan

      One day, in the not-to-distant future, we’ll hear a candidate for public office decry “Big Internet”.And we’ll wonder how we could have been so naive as to cheer them on when it was others in their cross-hairs.

    4. William Mougayar

      The ones forging this one are the “Content” (music, tv, movies) companies who are using their money to protect their dying businesses. They have “sold” the idea that this protects US exports of content culture which is a big business.

    5. ShanaC

      What happened that our congress seemed to fall in love with not governing and instead buying and selling the US?  Damn Congress…

    6. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      So, how do we define “smaller government, a lighter regulatory fingerprint, and getting money out of politics…”?The reality is that “smaller” normally is defined as less government social services, or doing away with the EPA, Department of Education, or some other federal bureaucracy; all of which fall under the President. Yet, the most onerous complaints of “picking winners and losers” is something Congress does, and stripping all these executive departments will not stop Congress from passing bills such as this one.As far as regulations go, I think the oil industry and the scandals of the minerals management service shows that the idea of a “lighter regulatory fingerprint” is one that can too be bought; or take the example of the exemptions to Obamacare being issued to companies.The reality is that we have an economic system where “competitive advantage” now includes the government to ensure shareholder value and or market share.I know lots of business leaders who love to quote Ayn Rand and debase government but then they have no problem lobbying government the next day for something that will benefit them.Business leaders want us to believe that without tax cuts or special favors they will NOT create jobs; as if demand or the debt load carried by the middle class has anything to do with wealth creation or job creation.I always blamed supply side economics for creating the current environment of corporate entitlement, too big to fail, and giving CEO’s the idea that they are rock stars. For 30 years we have heard the same ol’ tired lines of smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation and yet the problem keeps getting bigger and bigger and now we have whole industries that can claim to be “too big to fail” and we have whole industries that can refuse to innovate.

      1. JLM

        Take just the simple example of the Keystone Pipeline.  Approved by our neighbor Canada, approved by all states through which it traverses and held hostage by the administration under the guise of an environment impact statement which is finished.Of course, it is being held hostage to political whim.The pipeline provides oodles of oil from Canada our largest and most reliable trading partner and the greatest source of cheap oil for the US.It has huge jobs and national defense implications and it is otherwise going to be built to the Canadian west coast with the capacity sold to China — a rival of the US.That is just dumb.Take the example of the creation of the Dept of Homeland Security which was supposed to excise the applicable portions of different departments in a zero sum game.  Folks go to DHS and leave other departments.  OK idea, did not work that way.  Almost all jobs are duplicated.The creation of the PCAOB from the SEC.  A total duplication and waste of time.The acceleration and proliferation of high paying jobs in the administration.These are real examples in our lifetimes which should never have happened.

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          All of which tells me what we need is a different, more efficient government rather than a smaller version of what we already have. I think its time to reconvene what I call “The Founding Fathers 2.0” and just start all over; creating a 21 Century vision of democracy and government that leads; that leads to the future rather than continuously protecting current entrenched interests.That’s why I do not champion one party over the other; because the reality is its “six of one or a half dozen of the other” when it comes to the big picture of how the two parties differ from one another.By the way, you and I might see China as a “rival” but there are quite a few on Wall Street and within multi national corporations who see the Chinese market as their next great profit engine as our market matures; those folks are the ones that pay lobbyists the big bucks.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. chernevik

            The crucial assertion of the Founders was the inevitable corruption of power.  They reserved, divided and opposed power precisely because they saw no way of ensuring that power would always be used intelligently and justly.Nothing since suggests they were wrong.The genius of the American constitution _predicts_ self-serving behavior by any entrenched elite.  That’s why we have tools for the peaceful and reasoned removal of elites.

          3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            So, exactly what are these “tools” that you speak of? In light of the fact that our government serves elites and is made up of elites?With gerrymandering at the state level and the laws enacted to limit third party candidates from getting on the ballots the two parties have created elite institutions that benefit from the electoral college.The reality is the Founding Fathers gave us the tools to allow for amending the constitution, but to amend the constitution requires action by the Senate and House along with a majority of state governments; which will not happen in a two party environment.Remember, the Founding Fathers did not have to take into consider political parties, corporations, and or special interest groups when writing the constitution.

    7. Luke Chamberlin

      Why do you think those politicians who stand for smaller government and less regulation are so silent on this issue?If every elected official who ran on an anti-regulation platform voted against this act it wouldn’t have a chance of passing.

  29. tyronerubin

    Artist direct to customer that’s what I want.I think…I live in South Africa and love HBO so much but damn near impossible for me to get it legally at the same time as the US, can’t blame me for trying.I’m addicted to great content, been so my entire life

  30. tyronerubin

    And by great content I mean blogs like this one, music, film, tv, educational content, lectures, audiobook and so much more.legalities of legal content delivery has been in a flux for a while.Spotify with all u can listen to music for $5 a month seems impressive. Doesn’t seem lack luster at all, has most of the music on earth right there.side note: 2012 things I am hoping are more great educational initiatives like Stanfords free courses and great fun educational stuff like codeacademy. Sorting out of this mess you referring to. Ways to get great content on subscription models. Open source hardware and 3D printing seem very exciting to me right now. And more surprises like turntable and the like.

  31. Ciaran

    Fred – you obviously know your stuff. There’s no doubt about that. But last time you wrote about this I asked your opinion on a piece by Andrew Keen (it’s here if you want to read it… which suggested that your fears were overblown and that your suggestion that the web is a great creator jobs and wealth is not in line with the facts – the entertainment/content industry still employs plenty of people, most start-ups employ very few and make no-one wealthy other than the founders and investors.Your responses to this were, to put it mildly, not that constructive. So, I’d honestly love to hear your response to Keen’s arguments as to why your fears aren’t just Chicken Little-like. After all, it’s not as if the Google#’s of this world aren’t capable of throwing money at lobbyists, and if anything, they should have more money to throw.…

    1. fredwilson

      Andrew Keen is a reactionary whose opinions i do not respect and do not deserve the time of day to respond to

      1. Ciaran

        I’m sorry to hear that, as they made some sense to me, and I’d like to think I’m not a reactionary. I make my living off of the web too, but would appreciate some meat in terms of why this is so bad as I tend to think that innovators often disregard the damage that they can do (this… is a perfect example).That said, the link in the comments to a piece on O’reilly Radar seemed to go into the meat of the issues. That said, they kept quoting the CDT who, it seems to me, are funded by vested interests too.

        1. kidmercury

          keen doesn’t understand how industries change. if he lived 100 years ago he would say that we should ban automobiles because they are killing the horse and carriage industry, destroying jobs of horseback riders and horse groomers, making it so that anyone can travel around and creating too many transportation problems as a result…..blah blah blah.  skilled communicators can make this line of thinking sound logical but if you study how industries change and how free markets create prosperity for all it does not really hold. 

          1. Valentin

            This comparison makes no sense. Carriages and automobiles are competing industries producing the same product – transportation. Over time the more efficient one prevailed. Content industries and internet industries are not directly competing since they do not produce the same goods. Content industries produce, yes content. Internet industires produce communication tools, distribution and aggregation services. There isn’t yet an internet/app/etc service producing music, movies, etc ON ITS OWN without the input of a creative human being. Well, there are some attempts but the results are pretty lame.So internet industries should not be allowed to cannibalize income from content industries and should make sure that they are not serving as distribution points for pirated content.All the fuzzy talk about changing business models is the blah blah we’ve been fed for so many years. It does not work. If we keep believing this magical words, we are headed to a new economic and cultural devastation.

          2. kidmercury

            the internet is largely a content production vehicle at this time. that will change, but media is the foothold from which internet companies can grow to disrupt all else. so, it is content vs content, just like it was back when horses competed against cars for the job of transporting people. i am all about doom and gloom, and am down with fearmongering stories about economic and cultural devastation. that is exactly what happens without the internet to re-wire the world and solve the problem of shortages and misallocation. 

          3. Ciaran

            “free markets create prosperity for all it does not really hold.”I think that the last few years has shown us that markets need to be managed, not entirely free.

          4. kidmercury

            i agree, although it depends on who the manager is. we already live in a managed economy. and it sucks. there’s a right way to manage and a wrong way to manage. 

      2. Jerry Love

        Andrew Keen is pretty dead on with his commentary. He’s tough and honest and not really biased.You have to respect that.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        You make time to respond to nearly every commenter who addresses you on your blog (which reflects well on you, btw). Why not make time to respond thoughtfully to a prominent critic of your position? Scrolling down to your comment, I expected something more than an ad hominem swipe at Keen.

        1. LE

          “Why not make time to respond thoughtfully”Time.It would  take a significant amount of time to respond to Keen’s points. And while Fred does respond to comments I can’t say I’ve seen him write a long response or anything involved to anyone.  A sentence or a paragraph at the most. And this makes sense. I can’t even begin to imagine the time he spends on this blog even doing just that and reading the comments.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            If Fred intends to just preach to the choir on this, then there’s no need for him to respond. But if he wants to enlist broader support, then he might want to respond. His choice.

          2. LE

            Dave, I can and do see your point of view. So I could just as easily make a case that it is a good idea to mount an effort to respond to Keen. That doing that has obvious value.  That said Keen has his purpose (write polarizing blog post and take contrarian point of view in order to get hits (link baiting)) and Fred simply is saying he will have no part in it. Now assuming I had the time and money to do so (I would pay someone to write something which I could edit if I didn’t have the time) I might very well see this as an opportunity to get broader interest in my point of views. But that’s my way of thinking and being opportunistic if at all possible. I mean Keen’s post provides a good framework to launch a rebuttle.If it was me fighting this battle I would have already paid someone to ghost write a well thought out opinion piece for the WSJ or the NYT.

        2. fredwilson

          because he’s an idiot dave. you and the others here are not.responding to idiots and trolls is beyond the call of duty.

      4. Valentin

        A rather disappointing comment!

        1. fredwilson


    2. sigmaalgebra

      “creator jobs and wealth”It’s easier to say that the Internet is great for economic productivity.  E.g., it has lowered a lot of the overhead in shopping, buying, and selling.  It’s lowered the cost of advertising.  It’s providing MUCH more news than before.Economic progress — wood to stone to bronze to iron to steel, domestic animals, wheels, ships, steam, electricity, etc. — have long been like this. Such progress raises economic productivity and, then, only indirectly creates jobs and wealth.Jobs? What has Google done to reference librarians, the Internet versions of newspapers done to printed newspapers, Amazon done to old book stores, Kindle done to printed books, CDs done to phonograph recoreds, CCD based cameras done to film and Kodak, and more. Indeed, what have computers done to typewriters and mechanical calculators?If you want to slow down change, then how slow? Roll back change, how far? Want to get from NYC to SF via bus or train instead of airplane? Want 78 RPM phonograph records instead of CDs or downloaded MP3s? Want horses instead of cars? Want to return to 90% of the population growing food and fiber instead of 10%?Yes, close to the limiting case is a computer-robot for $100 that can do the work of any human better than that human can do it. Now what do the humans do? Sure: Tax the makers of the computer-robots and give everyone a guaranteed income. But we are a very long way from that now.There can be some ways to soften the effects of change, but we can’t go back and we can’t really slow down much.Thus ends Reality 101.



        1. LE

          Oh people will get run over. I feel sorry for many young people actually. I don’t think they realize they should be working so much harder and spending less time (sorry USV) on social things and having fun.  And I’m talking about people who are in a position to have a fighting chance that are asleep at the switch (same with their parents) with what is going on economically and what it will mean for them in the future. 

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. Rohan

            Haha. +1 Grimster

          3. fredwilson


          4. Dave W Baldwin

            Everyone suffers from ‘Lazy Brain Syndrome (LBS)’.  Of course you can spend more time in that state if everything is bought and paid for you.All we can do is try to change the future.  The old money interests want everything to stay the same.  They plus newer money who want the local educators to fawn over their kids are of no help.The computer robot represents anticipation of the cataclysm coming.  Those supporting the ‘slowing down’ of things for political points with ignorant voters only increase the odds of the smarter machine being solely controlled by greedy/vain interests.

      2. LE

        I agree with what you are saying. The only thing is that in the past these things have played out over a much longer period of time. This allowed  workers to retire or labor to relocate somewhere else it was needed. Now the time frame is so short that natural adjustment can’t happen.  On the Titanic there were two men employed as lookouts. We had people called typists and typesetters. We had bookeepers. Just a few short years ago people collected tolls and there were three men to a trash truck. “computer-robot for $100 … Tax the makers of the computer-robots and give everyone a guaranteed income ” Think for a second how an extreme of this, the labor less society, would distribute wealth.  Sure we are a long way from what you are saying but in a sense what you are talking about is surely the reason for many problems we are having today. I mean the concentration of wealth is somehow directly related to the increase in efficiency brought on by automation (and of course cheap labor overseas obviously). An exception?  Lawyers. They still don’t type their own letters. Many if not most still dictate and employ secretaries to type for them.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          LE — I just now found a comment from you from a couple of weeks ago thanks to @wmoug:disqus  ‘s Engagio and just responded. 

  32. Howard Brooks

    wonder if any of the RIAA membership really understand where their memebership $$ go?

  33. paramendra

    These people are imitating China. Hard to believe. 

    1. fredwilson

      that’s what my post today is about.but it has been censored

  34. Jamie Lin

    This goes to tell you how screwed up America’s political and lobby machines are.  Technology is the only bight spot left in its economy but, guess what?  They’re trying to kill it!

    1. sigmaalgebra

      No, no, no!  The US has the very best representative government money can buy!   “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”.  :-)!!!!

  35. Andy

    I almost threw up at your comment: “But most of all, we need you to Occupy Congress this week in opposition to PIPA and SOPA. “Don’t you know that VC’s/bankers are the target of OWS?

    1. fredwilson

      that’s fine. i have been to Zuccotti Park may times. I’ve talked to the assembled masses there. i applied to do a teach in called “Capitalism: The Good Bits”. i am sympathetic to their cause.

      1. Andy

        Hard to believe.Anyway, everyone on this board should go out and support artists and the creative community.A day without content is a day without anything on the internet — a blank page.

        1. fredwilson

          i totally agree

  36. Jon Atrides

    Good policy requires long-term thinking. Re-election is short-term thinking. Politics fail in between.

  37. Donna Brewington White

    Hey, wait, our rankings are gone!  What happened?And after I just got promoted.  Do I still get to keep the check?

    1. Rohan


      1. Donna Brewington White

        I seem to amuse you, Rohan.

        1. Rohan

          You always do, dear Donna. 😀

    2. fredwilson

      hmm. i made a small change that rohan suggestedwelcome back stranger will now be welcome back friendsomehow i nuked the rankings entirelywill investigate and fix

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Great suggestion. Quite @Rohan:disqus -esque.

    3. Rohan

      Oops. you’re not going to spare me now, are you??



    1. fredwilson

      i wanted to post my avatar toowent with a photo, but not without some grumbling to myself



    1. chernevik

      Can’t exceed rounding error on votes / donations interested in social security, medicare, medicaid, state / local aid, discretionary appropriations, ag policy, regulation of finance / medicine / environment / labor, housing and student credit policy, procurement, transportation projects

  40. LE

    Hmm. Disqus sent me an email of this comment but not the comment that you commented on. 

  41. LE

    A FULL PAGE print ad  ran in the WSJ and NYT today by this organization in support of SOPA: http://creativeamerica.orgThe ad that ran today (pdf):…These are the companies in the ad that support SOPA and helped pay for it:ABC AFTRA – American Federation of Televisionand Radio Artists AFM – American Federation of Musicians AAP – Association of American Publishers ASCAP BMG Chrysalis BMI CBS Corporation Cengage Learning DGA – Directors Guild of America Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc. EMI Music Publishing ESPN Graphic Artists Guild Hachette Book Group HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. Hyperion IATSE – International Alliance of TheatricalStage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories and CanadaInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters Kaufman Astoria Studios Macmillan Major League BaseballMarvel Entertainment, LLC McGraw-Hill EducationMPA – The Association of Magazine Media NFL – National Football League National Music Publishers’ AssociationNBCUniversalNews Corporation New York Production Alliance New York State AFL-CIO Pearson Education Penguin Group (USA), Inc. The Perseus Books Group Producers Guild of America East Random House Reed Elsevier SAG – Screen Actors Guild Scholastic, Inc. Silvercup Studios Simon & Schuster, Inc. Sony Music Entertainment Sony/ATV Music Publishing Time Warner Inc. United States Tennis Association Universal Music Group Universal Music Publishing Group Viacom Warner Music Group W.W. Norton & Company Wolters KluwerPositioned as protection of american jobs.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s how they have always positioned this

    2. Tom Labus

      That’s some serious cash behind this bill.

  42. LE

    The ad and website is an impressive bit of PR work. Lest anyone think that you can play the game without doing things like this. You can’t.  Watch the people that do this for a living and follow their example if you want to have a chance beating them at their own game.

    1. Andy

      It’s good the the artist community. Hard to argue with that.

  43. saikat4951

    We are ignoring our freedom to innovate and exercising our freedom to occupy (wall st).

    1. fredwilson

      Might have to join you

  44. John Revay

    HA – you are the man!

  45. fredwilson

    thanks. i thought about it for a while before writing it. i wanted to frame it well.

  46. another cultural landslide

    Thank you, Fred. Really. We’re linking it as much as we can.

  47. Rohan

    It does sound like a rallying cry.Independence day types….”We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!”……..