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How Traditional Media Got/Get Tech Policy Wrong

My SXSW 2012 panel on "Why Doesn't Congress Grok the Internet" identified one key reason for Congress's weakness for toxic tech-policy bills like SOPA and PIPA: Thin and uninformed coverage among the traditional media led many in the House and Senate to think that most people liked those bills. This talk will continue that discussion to explore how the traditional media overlook many of these stories, either not covering the debate at all (for example, ACTA and, in a prior decade, UCITA) or over-representing the views of large, incumbent companies and lobbies (much early coverage of SOPA and PIPA and, in a prior decade, the DMCA). It will be based in part on my experience covering tech policy for more than a decade at the Washington Post, but also on my own observations as a reader, viewer and--most important--a user of technology.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. Did major press outlets cover things like the passage of the DMCA or the expansion of the patent system to cover software and business methods in sufficient detail to give people fair warning of the problems that might (and did) arise?
  2. What keeps trad-media outlets from covering some of these tech-policy debates at all?
  3. What factors lead many big-name-media pieces to overweight the views of incumbent entertainment companies (and, to a perhaps lesser extent, incumbent tech firms)?
  4. Has this situation gotten any better after episodes like SOPA?
  5. What can you as a concerned reader/viewer/user do about all this?

Speakers

Organizer

Rob Pegoraro Prose Hacking, LLC


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