Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
March 17, 2014

Lobbyists who once unsuccessfully pushed for federal control over the Internet are now finding new hope in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

President Obama recently named Robert Holleyman deputy U.S. trade representative. Although he has worked until recently as a “chief executive of BSA/the Software Alliance, a trade organization for software companies that counts Apple, IBM, Microsoft and other top computer firms among its members,” a couple of years ago, Holleyman worked as a professional promoter of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill introduced in 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

The official purpose of SOPA was to “expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking in counterfeit goods.” In reality, though, the measure would have surrendered control of the Internet to federal agencies.

Much to Holleyman’s chagrin, the reaction to SOPA was so widespread that it led to the “largest online protest in history.” The bill was practically stillborn in Congress, but the multinational industries promoting it were not to be denied.

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