How to Know if Legislation Benefits You2 min read

It’s as simple as checking who is supporting it. If Wall Street supports it and you don’t work there and don’t have a few million dollars in a hedge fund, it probably doesn’t help you. Even if you have a 401K, those kinds of investments are not being helped by anything that has been proposed in a long time.

If your community leaders oppose it, it is because they believe it will have an impact that isn’t good for that community.

We need our politicians to support the people instead of companies. More mass media needs to help us understand who the winners and losers of legislation are.

Let’s break down SOPA to give us an idea of how this would work.

Opposition

I got this from Wikipedia.
  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Facebook
  • Zynga
  • Twitter
  • AOL
  • eBay
  • Mozilla
  • Kaspersky
  • Mojang
  • Riot Games
  • Epic Games
  • Reddit
  • Wikipedia
  • Y Combinator
  • The CATO Institute
  • The Library Copyright Alliance
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • EFF
  • ACLU
  • Human Rights Watch

Supporters

  • ABC
  • NBC Universal
  • CBS
  • NFL
  • NBA
  • Zuffa
  • Disney
  • Time Warner

The Take Away

The winners were going to be television content creators including sports companies. The losers were going to be websites and entertainment companies in some industries.
We can learn this without even looking at what SOPA was supposed to do. We didn’t need to read the legislation or an interpretation of the legislation.
Now that we know the winners and losers, it informs us when we form an opinion when we actually do look at a proposed bill’s impacts. In this case:

Provisions included the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and web search engines from linking to the websites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the websites. The proposed law would have expanded existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Does what is listed above help you personally? Are the companies that are helped going to change their behavior if this doesn’t get passed? Will the companies who oppose it change their behavior if it does? If there are winners and losers and no clear cut gain, it is our clear duty as Americans to oppose legislation and regulation. It costs money to enforce laws and has societal costs when you reduce freedoms.

We should view everything through this lens. Does the government doing this help someone? Does it hurt someone? Does it help or hurt me? If this law doesn’t exist, what happens?

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