Did President Obama just bite the hand that feeds him campaign cash?
You might remember him as the guy who ties up traffic a few times a year when he comes to L.A. with his hands out, looking for the millions in contributions that are surely coming to him. He's a relatively liberal president backed by a relatively liberal Hollywood entertainment industry.
All good. Except that the Obama Administration's freeze frame on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ...
... pissed off some of the biggest titans in the film industry.
Former LA Weekly columnist Nikki Finke writes at her site deadline.com that major studio heads have allied against the prez and are vowing not to give him another dime over the apparent demise of SOPA.
(The Hollywood Reporter refutes the report).
You see, Hollywood was the main lobbying group behind the act, which would have prohibited search engines (and some say even regular sites like this one) from linking to those accused of intellectual piracy.
Internet service providers would also be allowed to put up roadblocks to what you could see (namely said copyright infringers).
It's obvious why Hollywood wanted this: To protect its films.
It's obvious why the rest of us are up in arms: The web is meant to be a free range universe based on unfettered connections. The film industry wanted to hold a gun to our heads for even pointing at a pirate.
The Obama administration agreed with the avalanche of anti-SOPA sentiment, which included yesterday's internet blackout protest from sites ranging from Wikipedia to Boing Boing. It declared (on the slammin' news day known as Saturday):
... We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.
Yay, said the entire world. Boo, said six white guys in Brioni.
Finke calls their penny pinching stance a "declaration of war" against Obama. One of the studio gods told her:
We just feel very let down by the administration and Obama for not supporting us.
Horrible. A people's rep who actually sided with the people. Wait, there's a word for that. What was it? Ah, yes, democracy.