According to Salam and Ruffini,
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.
Both Salam and Ruffini emphasized that that they think that “Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial culture is a perfect fit for the GOP’s free-market policy agenda” and that the fight over online piracy legislation is a “golden opportunity for the GOP to build a lasting political alliance” with tech interests.
Notably, conservative Republican Darrell Issa of California is an opponent of SOPA and also, along with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the sponsor of a related bill, the OPEN ACT. This bill would make the International Trade Commission rather than the DOJ the enforcer for online piracy and also offers a narrower version of pirate websites.
Conservatives’ “general suspicion of big government” is indeed reflected in the arguments made against both SOPA and PIPA. Lee points out that the Tea Party is itself a “decentralized movement organized largely online” which, accordingly, has a huge interest in keeping the internet as unregulated as possible. Republican philosophy and the belief in the free market both align ”naturally .. with the creative destruction that is a hallmark of the technology industry,” as Ruffini argues.
Is the opposition against SOPA and PIPA the harbinger of a new alliance between the GOP and the tech industry?
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