Santorum voices support for SOPA-like Internet regulation

posted at 2:50 pm on January 9, 2012 by Tina Korbe

At a campaign stop this weekend, in-the-spotlight GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he supports increased Internet regulation. According to Santorum, our rights aren’t “absolute” and stop at whatever point their exercise begins to infringe on the rights of others. Piracy represents an abuse of intellectual property rights — and that abuse should have consequences, Santorum says.

So far, so good. Everybody agrees that piracy is a problem.

But Santorum seems too ready to look to regulation for the solution to the piracy problem, suggesting that government interference might be an effective way to thwart piraters. That, to me, seems short-sighted, given that rampant piracy is at its core an indication of inferior service from legal sellers. Let actors, musicians and others whose intellectual property is routinely ripped off come up with a more effective way to serve customers and, suddenly, piracy won’t be such a problem. Take a look at the example of comedian Louis C.K. whose faith in his fan base and willingness to offer his product in an innovative manner has been richly rewarded.

Thankfully, Santorum stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. (He isn’t familiar enough with provisions of that bill to have an opinion about it one way or the other, he said.) But that the first solution to piracy he can fathom involves more regulation is still troubling.

View video of Santorum’s comments here.


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