If you are a fan of propaganda and that classic art form of stretching the truth, then you might want to check out this New York Times editorial penned by RIAA CEO Cary Sherman. In it he claims that technology companies like Google and Wikipedia were the only driving force behind the letter writing campaigns to lawmakers and website blackouts that happened in protest of SOPA last month. He also contends that misinformation was spread about SOPA and PIPA, causing unwarranted fear about bills that we can safely say he thought were "harmless."
There are a lot of astonishing claims in this lengthy editorial but the worst lie of all is that citizens were bamboozled by Wikipedia into believing lies. Others, like TechDirt, have done a pretty thorough job of debunking Sherman's claims, so we won't go there. It is quite disheartening to see that the RIAA hasn't learned anything from the protests that took place last month. They simply assume that what happened wasn't a reaction to what they were trying to do to the Internet, but rather a clever play on the part of Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia. Sure, those players finally forced the mainstream media to report on what was going on, but the truth is it was organizations like the EFF, ECA, Public Knowledge, websites like Reddit, Destructoid, Gamasutra, and Wired that really pointed every day internet users to places where they could have their voices heard; and everyday citizens that were upset with how our government was working against us. Sherman would love to discount the millions of people that emailed and phoned lawmakers voicing their opposition as being "confused" or "tricked."
The Internet has lead us to a new age where the corporate cronyism, influence peddling, and back-room dealings that we have let go on forever in Washington have finally been called out in real-time by the American public. Sure, it's scary to those interests who collude with lawmakers to get their way, but corporations and interests groups don't really understand that politicians have only so much courage and rightly fear those who can bring their careers to an end. We don't do these things because they are fun or because we crave power – we do these things because we believe in free speech and the free-flow of information. This is just my opinion, of course – in a free society we're allowed to have them.