Published on January 19th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian Appears on CNN to Talk About ‘Geekiest Protest Ever’
Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian- known better to Redditors as kn0thing- did the cable news circuit Wednesday, a day tech big shots like himself were supposed to head to Washington to give lawmakers a piece of their minds about the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills proposed in the House and Senate, respectively.
SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act, seem to have been rushed through by Senators and Congressmen who did not really fully understand the impact such legislation could have on the internet going off half-cocked. This morning on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Ohanian railed against the role of lobbying in proposing the bills, and noted that had such legislation been in place at the time, Reddit would have never been created:
“Both SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are threats not just to the U.S. economy and not just all the jobs that this tech sector creates. If they had existed, Steve Huffman and I could have never started Reddit. It’s frustrating to see legislation that was written by lobbyists and not technologists perhaps become law.”
O’Brien criticized Reddit and Wikipedia for going offline for the day, saying the sites should have stayed a “part of the conversation” during the protests. Ohanian replied:
“I just wish we had been called to the table when this legislation was written. If you look — last year, $94 million was spent lobbying to get this bill — to get these bills made. It’s just so frustrating because we look at Congress and we can’t see them do anything that’s important. They can’t solve the problems of unemployment, they can’t solve the problems of the deficit. Yet as soon as a lobbyist shows up with $94 million, Democrats and Republicans line up to co-sponsor it. Something is wrong.”
Do you think ultimately that going offline brought more attention to the dangers of PIPA and SOPA than staying online would have?