Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jon Stewart takes on SOPA

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Perhaps as a result of working for the pro-SOPA Viacom, or maybe because he really was too busy with the Republican nomination media circus, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart hadn’t even heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) by last week, despite the fact that they had already been making virtually everyone in the Internet business wet their drawers for months. Well, Stewart’s apparently been quietly doing his homework, and he chose yesterday, aka the Great Internet Blackout In Protest of Censorship Day, to share his take on the matter in a typically brilliant and incisive rebuke to the usual idiots in Washington who are so eager to control and regulate things they haven’t the slightest understanding of:

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My summary: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

Stewart says that he’d been hearing about “SOPA” for days without knowing what it was, so he went online to look it up on Wikipedia – only to find the website blacked out. Rather than “go the the library like a common masturbator”, he turned to a “decidedly unreliable source” – gag face – “the news”.

Cut to a news report explaining that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) presented the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in a bid to stop websites from posting copyrighted content illegally, a bill that would also allow the U.S. government to shut down websites that do it. Stewart calls this “a little draconian”, but clarifies – due to having been contacted by lawyers all day – that the government would actually cut all access to these sites, similar to “prevent[ing] teen pregnancy” by “filling penises with cement” – it’s still there, but completely inaccessible.

Stewart continues that although public outcry led lawmakers to scale that provision back, there are still troubling issues, such as prosecution and years in prison simply for posting copyrighted music videos.

Stewart then shines some light on the bill’s sponsors, such as Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), who explicitly admits that “as an old country boy” and clearly has zero understanding of the Internet or what SOPA would do to it. Stewart points out Rep. Watt is actually the “ranking member of the Intellectual Property sub-committee”.

We see a montage of numerous members of this purportedly Internet-centric committee declare that they are not “nerds”, which Stewart translates into “experts”, slapping them for regulating the Internet without knowing how it even works. (Stewart also compares them to Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds [1984].)

Stewart then launches into a satirical rant against “parasites” who use copyrighted material from other sources, all the while playing clips from various movies such as Hook [1991] and Alien [1979], and even mocking himself for using various copyrighted images under the Fair Use doctrine over the last 13 years at the helm of The Daily Show.

That was worth the wait.