We’ve been writing about SOPA quite extensively over the past two weeks, and so I wanted to do you the favor of drawing the lay of the land in regards to the Act, as it relates to the world of technology.
Let’s backtrack to the moment that we learned that the Business Software Alliance (BSA), and its component 29 technology giants, were supporting SOPA in a somewhat surreptitious manner. Things have changed greatly since then. Not only has the BSA pulled its support of SOPA, it did so at the behest of Microsoft (of all people), and now even AT&T is leaning against the Act.
What this means is quite simple: The world of technology, and to a small extent the realm of communications (Microsoft owns Skype, Google runs Android, etc) are against SOPA. Microsoft and Apple (who opposes the Act by proxy, as it previously supported it by proxy) are not as vocal as Google and its merry band of companies such as Zynga about the issue, but the battle lines are drawn: It’s the technology crew against Congress over SOPA. That SOPA is a technology-related Act makes the distinction all the more humorous, and frightening; the people who know the least, and are the most influenced, are holding the gavel.
That makes this a critical moment in the life of the burgeoning technology sector of the United States; its influence will be tested. Much has been made of Google’s lobbying efforts, and Facebook’s to be frank, but that has all been throat clearing for this moment: The best, and brightest technology companies are facing an existential threat to their ability to exist and innovate. Can they lobby and influence their way out of it?
The technology titans have the reserves to out-lobby nearly any industry in existence. Cash rich and profitable, the technology sector has no reason to be buffeted about by its Congress. Will they step up to the plate? The dynamic between the government and the technology sector is about to redrawn. What it will look like when complete is the only question.