A striking trend in Congress’s reaction to Wednesday’s protests against the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act was the partisan divide in the Senate. At least 16 Republican Senators—more than a third of all GOP members in the body—declared their opposition to PIPA for the first time on Wednesday. In contrast, as far as we can tell, only three Democrats jumped off the bandwagon that day.
Why were Republicans so quick to abandon PIPA? For an inside perspective, Ars talked to two conservative operatives who have long opposed Hollywood’s campaign for ever-more draconian copyright laws. Reihan Salam is a blogger at National Review and a policy advisor at Economics 21, a conservative think tank. And Patrick Ruffini is a conservative political strategist and founder of the PR firm Engage.
Salam and Ruffini told Ars on Thursday that the differing reactions to the online protests reflects structural and philosophical differences between the two parties. They said Democrats have deep ties to Hollywood and to labor unions who staff Hollywood productions, which makes it hard for them to buck these interests and vote against PIPA. In contrast, they said, Republicans have few ties to groups that support PIPA, and they have a Tea Party faction that has grown increasingly invested in Internet freedom as it has become more reliant on the web for its own organization.
That seems about right. Read the whole thing. Also, repeal the Eisenhower tax cuts!
UPDATE: A reader emails: “Along with the repeal of the cuts, shouldn’t we also institute a Cinema Windfall Profits Board that decides how much is reasonable for a movie/television show to earn, and tax any excess profits at 100%, just like the Democrats recently proposed for the Oil Industry?” Now see, if I were in Congress I’d start attaching this to every bill that went by, just for fun.