Despite reports that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been shelved, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian is not through educating the public on the dangers of this controversial bill and the Protect IP Act.
How come Congress can’t seem to agree on anything that matters to this country when it comes to unemployment or the deficit, they’re totally gridlocked. And yet when Hollywood shows up with $95 million paid to lobbyists to get a bill that they wrote passed, Republicans and Democrats line up to co-sponsor. … We don’t need more government attempting to meddle in places it does not understand. The solution is innovation, not legislation.
Ohanian has been one of the most vocal opponents of SOPA. Late last year, he made a similar personal appeal on YouTube and helped spur Reddit’s decision to go dark for 12 hours on Jan. 18 to protest the controversial bill. (Ohanian was scheduled to testify before Congress at that time.)
On Sunday, Ohanian was a guest on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes,” where he debated SOPA with Richard Cotton, an NBC Universal executive vice president. Cotton argued that U.S.-run websites like Reddit have nothing to worry about because SOPA only focuses on foreign sites that “are wholesale devoted to theft.” Ohanian disagreed, saying that the anti-circumvention policies in the bill would give the government power to essentially take down any U.S. site.
“Piracy is a service problem,” Ohanian says on the program, referencing Valve and its successful video game delivery model. “It is simply because pirates can deliver something easier than you can get it otherwise, when you have to wait three months to get access to something. When there are barriers to getting the information, the content you want, people will go through other means. But if you can provide a service that is better, you can win with business.”
While the vote on SOPA has been postponed, the Protect IP Act is still up for debate. As General Manager Erik Martin confirmed earlier to the Daily Dot, Reddit plans to move forward with its blackout protest on Jan. 18.