On SOPA/PIPA, what Atrios said:
Not a particularly deep or original thought, but if not for the internet I doubt I would have purchased a CD or gone to a newish music concert since about 2004....
The internet provides an immense amount of free marketing. That's really sad for the people who earned lots of money based on their supposed ability to market things, but generally it's a feature, not a bug.
The fact aside that it stifles Internet freedom and innovation, while not stopping online piracy, the truth about SOPA/PIPA is that it is less about protecting the people who create intellectual property, and more about protecting the people who broker it. The Internet is a boon to the vast majority of intellectual property creators because it allows them to go around the traditional gatekeepers—the record labels, movie studios, publishers, software companies, etc.—and market and sell directly to consumers. Yes, it could cost the biggest stars a little money—they profit handsomely under the old system—but most artists are not stars.
Rather than adapting to this new medium (I mean, if Redbox can make money renting new release DVDs for a buck, you'd think the studios could make money streaming them for two), Hollywood is seeking to prop up their antiquated business model by crushing online competition. These bills are wrong, not just because they harm the Internet as a whole, but because in the long run, they can't work, and as such just get in the way of Hollywood making the changes necessary to survive.