In this video, Rick Santorum answers a question on SOPA. He doesn’t express an opinion about the bill, but he does explain his view that he regards all rights as limited and subject to regulation, including free speech rights:

Here are some highlights, but I recommend listening to the whole video:

My general feeling is that we have a free market and a free market should work. But like any freedom, there has to be regulation. We’re not unlimited in any right, even rights that we have within our Constitution: they’re not unlimited rights. There is, and can be, limitations on that. Freedom of speech, there are things that you can’t say: you can’t cry “fire” in a crowded theater. There are limitations to all freedom: there are no absolute rights. There are rights that have responsibilities that come with them. If you abuse those rights — piracy — if you abuse those rights, then you have a consequence of abusing that right. …

I would make the case that … there are limits to freedom on the internet. The internet is a powerful source for good. And, as we all know, it has been a powerful source for bad in this country. So the idea that we should just “hands-off” — and it’s a moral-free zone, it’s a regulation free-zone, and that people should be able to do whatever they want — I don’t know of any other zone in America where that’s the case. Why should the internet be different than everything else?

So I would say that responsible, well-[something], discussed regulation — if there is abuse, taking someone’s private property — if there is abuse, as there is in pornography and a lot of other areas where we are destroying the moral fabric of our country — to say, “well, it’s just tough, let people to whatever they want — let a 12 year old — let them do whatever they want.”

There are limitations that have to be put in place because your free speech rights can be incredibly harmful to someone else. Your desire to go a grab something that doesn’t belong to you can be very harmful to someone else. …

Rick Santorum views liberty as mere license to indulge in whims, including stealing from others. That’s an utterly corrupt conception of rights. A person does not have the right to violate the rights of others! Yet on Santorum’s view, protecting intellectual property from theft is on par with banning pornography to protect the moral fabric of society. They’re both a matter of limiting rights to prevent harm to others.

Oy vey.

Jan 202012
 

The 1/19/2012 edition of PJMedia published my OpEd, “SOPA, Guns, and Freedom“.

I open with the following question:

Q: What does the proposed SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act”) legislation have in common with gun control?

A: Both would punish the innocent for the bad acts of a guilty few.

Click through to read more on how this applies to SOPA, gun control, freedom, and limited government.

For more detailed discussion on how SOPA could have “broken the Internet”, technically-minded readers might enjoy Paul Vixie’s article from 1/11/2012, “Refusing REFUSED“. Because of the intense political pressure from anti-SOPA advocates, some legislators have proposed a modified version of SOPA that they claim will avoid some of these technical problems.

Diana has more links and information about SOPA in her recent webcast on this topic, “SOPA and Online Piracy“.

(Note: This OpEd was written the day before the 1/18/2012 “blackout” and subsequent political events.)

MPAA on the SOPA/PIPA Blackout

 Posted by on 19 January 2012 at 1:00 pm  Activism, Free Speech, Politics, SOPA/PIPA
Jan 192012
 

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) released the following statement (PDF) about the blackout of web sites to protest SOPA and PIPA. (Emphasis added by me.)

Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

Such words, particularly the paragraph in bold, could be straight from the mouth of that slimy villain Bertram Scudder of Atlas Shrugged. “The gall of these companies to stop offering their free services to the world for so much as a single day! What appalling ingratitude to the state, which is already is so generous in permitting them to operate at all! As for all that disinformation they’re spreading… we’ll have to do something about that.”

Or, as I saw on Facebook:

The MPAA calls the Internet going dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA an “abuse of power.” In related news, the Eye of Sauron accuses hobbits of terrorism.

As I stated in my webcast discussion of SOPA and PIPA, to defend intellectual property rights is hugely important. However, such must be done in the context of a general understanding of and respect for individual rights, including rights to property, contract, and free speech.

It’s a moral crime to attempt to protect some rights by willfully violating other rights. Alas, the MPAA doesn’t or won’t understand that.

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