Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein C
Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screeing of the documentary "Bully" at MPAA in Washington, DC. The producer has become an outspoken critic of the "Open Internet," calling it "stealing."
In the ongoing battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over the future of entertainment, two major events - one tragic, the other, comical - have defined the last few weeks.
The tragedy was the apparent suicide of "Open Internet" activist Aaron Swartz. It provoked an outpouring of support for Swartz's at-times radical vision and returned the debate about whether online content should roam free of copyrigh to the national agenda.
The comedy was Kim Dotcom, whose Megaupload site was shut down by the U.S. government last year on the grounds that it was enabling Internet content piracy. Dotcom (not his real name) rolled out a new site last weekend, from the relative safety of New Zealand. He isn't even messing around with the "upload" part any more; the new site is simply called "Mega."
President Barack Obama answering questions on Reddit on Wednesday. Did he come out in favor of the open Internet?
As you've all probably heard, President Obama took to Reddit, the Internet discussion site, to...have an Internet discussion! Which was in no way intended to upstage Paul Ryan's Really Big Speech at the Republican National Convention. Really. In no way.
As KPCC's Tony Pierce reported earlier at our Represent! blog, Obama's arrival at Reddit actually broke Reddit, for a few minutes at least.
What was truly rather Earth-shattering, however, was his answer to the first question he was asked, from "SharkGirl":
Q: We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?
Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT)
The debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act is heating up. The SOPA bill could come to a vote this week in the House, and a similar bill is under consideration in the Senate. This has kicked the so-called "Geek Lobby" into high gear. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm in New York, has been vocal on his blog, going to far as to symbolically censor his post today as a call to action.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has suggested that the online encyclopedia could go on strike in protest. And California Republican congressman Darrell Issa has broken ranks and proposed his own alternative legislation, allying himself with Silicon Valley against Hollywood and the Big Content industry that supports the SOPA legislation.
The opposition has also created a video explainer on why the legislation is the worst thing that's ever been proposed. It's over-the-top and doesn't present the issue with anything resembling complete accuracy. But it is worth a watch (In the interest of reasonable objectivity, I'm not going to embed it, so follow the link if you're interested).
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Calif. Republica Rep. Darrell Issa has some questions for Energy secretary Steven Chu.
California's own Darrell Issa has started asking some tough questions in the aftermath of the Solyndra bankruptcy and the ensuing fracas with the Department of Energy's loan-guarantee program. This is from Jake Tapper at ABCNews:
Issa…chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government on October 7 wrote to Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu to see just what other problematic loans might exist.
Specifically, Issa is seeking “additional information regarding the loans approved on the final day of the program,” ones made to First Solar Inc, SunPower Corp., and ProLogis Inc.
“Did DOE have an independent audit of First Solar, SunPower, or ProLogis conducted prior to finalizing loan guarantees for these companies on September 30, 2011?” Issa asked in the letter.”Does DOE have any ongoing concerns about the financial viability of First Solar, SunPower, or ProLogis? In their respective loan applications, did First Solar, SunPower, or ProLogis disclose their cash reserves?”
More market madness as inflation retreats, the dollar rallies, and gold collapses. "'Liquidation selling in gold and silver seems to be outweighing its safe-haven buying," said James Moore, research analyst at Fastmarkets.com, 'but we would expect that to return before too long.'" (The Street)
Zynga's dismal second-quarter earnings raise questions about going public: "Zynga's IPO is more likely to be affected by the roiling stock market, analysts said. The company in June declared its intent to publicly sell shares to the public, but has yet to pull the trigger on a date to begin trading." (LAT)
Rep. Darrell Issa throws his weight behind Mitt Romney. Also insists the the current Chief Executive lives in an economic fantasy land: "'President Obama never worked in the real economy — we can’t afford to have another president who has spent his career outside the real economy,' Mr. Issa said in a statement."