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Netflix creates pro-SOPA super-PAC
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Netflix creates pro-SOPA super-PAC

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Netflix creates pro-SOPA super-PAC

As United States lawmakers continue to consider anti-piracy legislation in Congress, they’ve found an ally in Netflix. Now the streaming content giant has created its own super PAC, whose main goal is to promote SOPA-like legislation.

Hollywood and record industry support didn’t help Congress get SOPA and PIPA to pass the House and Senate, but now they have a new accomplice in their continuing fight to try and push for anti-piracy legislation. Netflix, the number one name in (legally) streaming video services in the US has announced the formation of their own political action committee.

Appropriately titled FLIXPAC, the just established-agency will be able to endorse politicians by way of stuffing their pockets, which in turn could influence even more congressmen to condone increasingly controversial bills that are being considered in the House and the Senate.

Following the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act (or SOPA and PIPA, respectively), Congress has been drafting an array of options that, if passed, are being touted as the long-awaited solution to what lawmakers consider a dire problem in the States: online piracy.

While the newest SOPA-substituting legislation have been authored already and ushered through Congress, the backing of streaming behemoth Netflix could ensure that the next attempt at censoring the Web sees US President Barack Obama signing it in no time.



Among the newest bills authored out of Washington is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. While proposed under the guise of legislation necessary to implement federal protection from foreign and domestic cyberattacks, if passed CISPA would also put in the hands of the government the power to monitor and interfere with practically any online interactions.

Only last week, George W. Bush’s former special adviser on cybersecurity, Richard A. Clarke, also addressed the necessity for such laws and proposed that the Department of Homeland Security start moderating what goes in and out of the United States’ Internet “borders.”

The last time anti-piracy legislation came close to approval, massive Internet campaigns stopped SOPA and PIPA dead in their tracks, but only after opponents practically waged a war against the entertainment industry and supporters of the bills. Netflix, a long-time opponent of online piracy, will now be able to endorse elected officials by way of big-time contributions, with the PAC now approved to hand out up to $5,000 per election.

At the dawn of the SOPA scandal, Netflix was among the entertainment industry titans to support the proposed bill, only to late alter their stance as “neutral” amid massive public backlash. With other Internet services and service providers still throwing their weight behind the newest anti-piracy bills, however,

Netflix is expected to follow suit, and use more than just urging to influence lawmakers. As they become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, the pull Netflix has over politicians could be major in terms of seeing CISPA or other similar acts are signed.

While SOPA and PIPA saw support from both the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, the stance taken by Netflix in terms of what Washington has to offer is bound to be only viewed as more important as time goes by.

Trade publication HIS Screen Digest released a study last week estimating that the 3.4 billion online viewings expected to occur by the end of 2012 will outweigh 2.4 billion DVD and Blu-Ray disc views estimated for the same timeframe. Additionally, online streams and downloads in 2011 were clocked at only 1.4, which showcases the seriousness of how Netflix will be respected in both Washington and Hollywood in the coming months.


Netflix creates pro-SOPA super-PAC — RT

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Get ready to boycott Netflix

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kbit View Post
Get ready to boycott Netflix

Right on.

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No, Netflix Has NOT Formed A Pro-SOPA SuperPAC | Techdirt


Quoting 
Update: Netflix has confirmed through its official Twitter account that the PAC was not set up to support SOPA/PIPA.

Okay, can we kill this story quickly? There's a ton of buzz going around claiming that Netflix has built up a Super PAC to promote a pro-SOPA agenda. As far as I can tell, this is simply not true. It started from a report in Politico, which mentioned (accurately) that Netflix had formed a PAC called FLIXPAC, and is getting much more aggressive in the lobbying/legislative front. This follows Netflix's trend of spending more and more on lobbying in the last few years: $20,000 in 2009, $130,000 in 2010 and $500,000 in 2011. Where it gets odd is that Politico tries to tie this to SOPA/PIPA by listing out those amounts and noting that the $500k in 2011 was spent "as legislative debates over the Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act and Video Privacy Protection Act raged."

In turn, the folks at RT played a game of bad reporter telephone and spun it into Netflix funding a pro-SOPA super PAC, "whose main goal is to promote SOPA-like legislation." I don't know what's up with the folks at RT. While their TV reporting can be quite good, their online reporting is abysmal at times. They clearly exaggerate stories or write from a position of ignorance.

The truth is that Netflix was basically neutral on SOPA, knowing that it had to balance its technology side and the fact that it is constantly negotiating with the big Hollywood studios on deals. Politically, it basically had to take a neutral position. But the company knows better than to out-and-out support really bad internet legislation. The company has been active on things like net neutrality and the Video Privacy Protection Act -- things that do have a direct impact on it. Sure, it would have been great if Netflix had been a strong anti-SOPA faction, the fact that it stayed neutral and is now ramping up its lobbying does not, in any way, mean that it's suddenly pushing for pro-SOPA legislation. The company appears to have a lot of other things on its legislative agenda.

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I remember Netflix supporting SOPA originally until there was an uproar...didn't you post a list in the off-topic section with thier name on it. (from another source)

And from the RT article: "Netflix is expected to follow suit, and use more than just urging to influence lawmakers. As they become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, the pull Netflix has over politicians could be major in terms of seeing CISPA or other similar acts are signed."

It says "expected to " not actively or currently....and then "could" ....That's why in my comment said get ready to boycott as opposed to just boycott now or something.

Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see RT as misleading anyone on this .....

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kbit View Post
Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see RT as misleading anyone on this .....

You certainly could be right, but they've not announced their intentions or officially made a decision.

They could be testing the water.

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Netflix: Our committee ?nothing to do? with SOPA — RT

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SOPA lobby games: Why Netflix PAC agenda is NOT convincing

After an RT article caused, as Netflix calls it, "a bit of a firestorm," the streaming video service requested a clarification from our side. We are happy to offer it and explain exactly why we still have a lot of unanswered questions.

Following RT’s write-up this week on FLIXPAC, a political action committee just launched by California-based Netflix, the company has asked us to clarify that by no means do they intend to use their new DC ties to lobby for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

"PACs are commonplace for companies that lead a big, growing market and Netflix is no exception,” the company’s director of corporate communications, Joris Evers, tells RT in an email. “Our PAC is a way for our employees to support candidates that understand our business and technology.It was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA.Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act."

We appreciate Netflix's reaction and think that this statement makes a lot of sense, actually — we even believe that every word they wrote to us is true, particularly since both SOPA and PIPA have been killed by Congress and have essentially no chance of being reintroduced in their previous forms.

What raises concern on our part, however, is that FLIXPAC has been created alongside an array of proposed congressional bills that, while differing in name, emulate many of SOPA and PIPA's negative provisions. Will Netflix and FLIXPAC support those bills?

Netflix says that FLIXPAC will serve to support candidates that will further promote what’s good for their business in Washington, but for a company that, “officially,” took a “neutral” stance on SOPA and PIPA, it is peculiar that they would file to start a political action committee to advance an undecided take on such a critical issue for their customers.

In our article, we alleged that FLIXPAC would be a perfect outlet for the DVD-rental company that also provides streaming video services to millions of clients to lobby the US Congress for anti-piracy legislation that would benefit their business. After all, Netflix had previously been linked as a supporter of SOPA, only to later officially announce that it would take no side in matter.

And although both SOPA and PIPA have been thankfully axed before they could be approved by Congress, new legislation, such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, could prove to be even more damaging if passed.

Could that happen with help from FLIXPAC? We don't know, because Mr. Evers declined our offer to come on our network and clarify Netfix's position. Which, as you might imagine, makes us even more suspicious.

According to congressional records, in 2009 Netflix lobbied Congress to the measly sum of only $20,000, only to increase that amount by 25-fold when they spent half a million in Washington in 2011. Although today Netflix says they are undecided on the topic of SOPA and PIPA, “Netflix sent a letter which was supportive of legislation that accomplished those [SOPA] goals,” the US Chamber of Commerce told The New York Post back in January, the paper reports.

Deadline.com reported that Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, vowed to withdraw from participating in Obama fundraisers over the president’s anti-SOPA stance.

The entertainment industry’s anger at the White House’s position to oppose SOPA and PIPA was so significant, in fact, that Vice President Joe Biden went to both Silicon Valley and Hollywood earlier this year to address issues from supporters who were thrown off by the administration’s approach, according to Variety.

Additionally, the non-profit, non-partisan public resource site OpenCongress.org has listed Netflix (along with other major names as the Recording Industry Association of America, Disney and the Motion Picture Association of America) as one-time supporters of SOPA in their “Money Trail” page detailing who has helped with H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.


SOPA lobby games: Why Netflix PAC agenda is NOT convincing — RT

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