During the past few months some of our favorite billionaires have been pressing the levers of power with the hope of being able to convince Congress and The President, to either pass or kill SOPA.
The Anti-SOPA billionaires have been much more open and outspoken with their opposition to the bill. The billionaires who want to see SOPA become law, with one notable exception, have been more inclined to sit this one out, letting their well paid PR flaks and lobbyists, carry the water for them.
Well they can run but they can’t hide! Billionairechronicles has done the research, and is now going to tell you the names of the people, who own and/or control the corporations, who stand to make the most or lose the most, depending on the outcome of this kerfuffle.
Let’s start with The Ridiculously Rich.
Bill Gates (Net worth $59 billion) is retired from Microsoft, but he still has a small stake in that outfit. Microsoft is a major participant (along with Apple, Adobe, Dell, Quark, McAfee, Rosetta Stone, and several others) in The Business Software Alliance (BSA). If you have a grudge against your former boss, and happen to know that he/she is using a little bit of pirated software, BSA wants to hear from you. They might even make it worth your while.
About BSA, and their members’ positions on SOPA, Let BSA’s words speak for themselves.
ON October 26, 2011, they issued a press release that included this paragraph
The Business Software Alliance today commended House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) for introducing the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261) to curb the growing rash of software piracy and other forms of intellectual property theft that are being perpetrated by illicit websites.
Less than a month later (Nov. 22, 2011) they back pedaled with this
Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill. It is intended to get at the worst of the worst offenders. As it now stands, however, it could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors. To fix this problem, definitions of who can be the subject of legal actions and what remedies are imposed must be tightened and narrowed. Due process, free speech, and privacy are rights cannot be compromised. And the security of networks and communications is indispensable to a thriving Internet economy. Some observers have raised reasonable questions about whether certain SOPA provisions might have unintended consequences in these areas. BSA has long stood against filtering or monitoring the Internet. All of these concerns should be duly considered and addressed.
So where do and Microsoft and BSA stand SOPA? Before the avalanche of negative PR, they supported, but now they’re more concerned about filtering and monitoring the internet.
The Waltons; Jim, Christie, S. Robson, Nancy Walton Laurie, Alice, and Ann Walton Kronenke,. They control Walmart. Their collective net worth is $93 billion. Walmart supports SOPA.
Michael Bloomberg (net worth $19.5 billion is sort an interesting fence sitter. His company, Bloomberg L.P. is opposed to the bill. As Mayor of New York, a city that is economically dependent on the entertainment industry, but which is also the home of a burgeoning online publishing and tech community, Bloomberg sounded like your typical politician. This week he told reporters
”If you make a threatening phone call over the telephone, going after the telephone company is not something that makes some sense.” Then he threw a bouquet to the other said when he said
“I am very sensitive to the people that create the content. People that create something deserve…[to be].. compensated for it. And I think everybody has an obligation to help make sure that there is not piracy. Piracy hurts everybody, and so they’ve got to come to some agreement in Washington that protects the rights of the content owners, at the same time is something that is enforceable. But I think to just say, ‘Anybody has a right to- we can’t stop it, so just have piracy,’ is not the right answer to that.”
Jeff Bezos (net worthn $19.1 billion) controls Amazon. Amazon opposes SOPA
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (net worth $17.5) has personally campaigned against the bill. He as been personally been “out there” with opposition to SOPA. Look at his Facebook post about it. (Notice how many “likes” and “shares” he got.)
Sergey Brin and Larry Page (each with a net worth of $16.7 billion) are the co-founders of Google.
Page posted this on his Google+ account
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.
Brin posted this on his
“Imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the U.S. government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial),” Brin wrote. “While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”
Michael Dell (net worth $15 billion) of Dell Computers is also a member of BSA. As was the case with Bill Gates, he was for it (SOPA) before he was against it.
Steve Ballmer (net worth “only” $13.9 billion) is Billionaire #2 at Microsoft. He is still CEO. He’s been mum on SOPA. This week Bloomberg (the publication, not the mayor) reported that they had received a press release from Microsoft stating
“We oppose the passage of the SOPA bill as currently drafted,” They explained why they would not join last week’s “blackouts” with this. “Hundreds of millions of customers rely on our services every day so we don’t plan to shut those down to express our view.”
Here’s how the merely filthy rich weigh in on SOPA.
There are three other “lesser” Facebook billionaires, Sean Parker (net worth $2.1 billion), Eduardo Saverin (net worth $2 billlion), and Dustin Moscovitz (net worth $1.7 billion) presumably are in the “opposed” camp.
Additional Anti SOPA billionaires include:
Yahoo Co-fouders David Filo and Jerry Yang (both with net worths of $1,1 billion
Reid Hoffman, Linkedin founder (net worth $1.5 billion)
Pierre Omidyar, Ebay (net worth $6.2 billion)
Filo, Yang, Reid, and Omidyar all signed “An Open Letter to Washington, which appeared on CNET.com on Dec. 14, 2011
We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online.
However we’re worried that the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act–which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online–will undermine that framework.
These two pieces of legislation threaten to:
* Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation;
* Deny website owners the right to due process of law;
* Give the U.S. Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and
* Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet.
We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet. Let’s not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had.
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square
Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch
David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo!
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post
Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube
Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and co-founder of Alexa Internet
Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay
Biz Stone, co-founder of Obvious and Twitter
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation
Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter
Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!
Before moving on to the longer list of Billionaires who support SOPA, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Godaddy’s Bob Parsons (net worth $1.5 billion.) The SOPA controversy went viral after Godaddy made this official statement in support of the bill
Go Daddy has a long history of supporting federal legislation directed toward combating illegal conduct on the Internet. For example, our company strongly supported the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP). Go Daddy has always supported both government and private industry efforts to identify and disable all types of illegal activity on the Internet. It is for these reasons that I’m still struggling with why some Internet companies oppose PROTECT IP and SOPA. There is no question that we need these added tools to counteract illegal foreign sites that are falling outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement. And there is clearly more that we could all be doing to adequately address the problems that exist.
After reading the Godaddy statement, Reddit.com user selfprodigy posted this on December 22, 2011.
The post drew (as of today) 36,924 “up votes” and 32,103 “down votes, as well as 3,123 comments.
One day later Godaddy reversed its position. Their change of heart was no doubt inspired by the tens of thousands of domains they saw being transferred from Godaddy to various competitors. On December 24, 2011, Venturebeat.com reported
Hosting and domain registrar company Go Daddy has lost more than 37,000 domains in the past two days due to the company’s wishy-washy stance on the Stop Online Piracy Act.
This brings us to the last Anti SOPA billionaires on our list. Until September 6, 2011, Reddit.com was a division of Conde Nast, one of the world’s largest magazine publishers. Conde owns Vogue, New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and many more. The parent company of Conde Nast is Advance Publications Inc., which is owned by Samuel (S.I. Jr.) Newhouse (net worth $6.6 billion) and his less affluent brother Donald Newhouse (net worth $5.9 billion.
With the change on September 6, Reddit.com is now listed as “a subsidiary of Advance Publications.
Now let’s look at the other billionaires who support SOPA.
Major League Baseball, National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Hockey League; all support the bill
Mihael Prokhorov, NJ Nets (and opposing Vladimir Putin for the Presidency of Russia, net worth $18 billion)
Paul Allen, Seattle Supersonics, Seattle Seahawks, Microsoft co-founder (net worth $13.2 billion)
Phillip Anschultz , LA Kings and Lakers (net worth $7 billion)
Richard DeVos, Orlando Magic (net worth $5 billion)
Micky Arison, Miami Heat (net worth $4.2 billion)
Theodore Lerner, Washington Nationals $3.3 billion)
Ronald Burkle, Pittsburg Penguins (net worth $3.2 billion)
Stan Kroenke, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche (net worth $3.2 billion
Stephen M. Ross, Miami Dolphins (net worth $3.1 billion)
Malcom Glazer, Tampa Bay Bucs (net worth $2.7 billion)
Charles Dolan, NY Knicks (net worth $2.6 billion)
Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks (net worth $2.3 billion)
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys (net worth $1.9 billion)
Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves (net worth $1.8 billion)
Robert Kraft, New England Patriots ($1.7 billion)
Daniel Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers ($1.5 billion)
Michal Ilitch, Detroit Tigers ($2 billion)
Robert McNair, Houston Texans ($1.5 billion)
Steven Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens ($1.3 billion)
Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints ($1.1 billion)
John Henry, Boston Red Sox ($1.1 billion)
Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles ($1.1 billion)
Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins ($1.05 billion)
Ronald Perelman, Revlon (net worth $12 billion)
Leonard Lauder, Revlon (net worth $6.3 billion)
David Geffen, Dreamworks ($5.5 billion)
Sumner Redstone, Viacom ($4.1 billion)
Barbara Piasecka Johnson, Johnson & Johnson (net worth $3.1 billion)
Stephen Spielberg, Dreamworks (net worth $3 billion)
Ray Dolby, Dolby Stereo (net worth $2.4 billion)
Jim Davis, New Balance (net worth $1.8 billion)
Darwin Deason, Xerox (net worth $1.05 billion)
Frank and Lorenzo Furtitta, Ultimate Fighting Championship ($1.2 billion each)
And finally, our favorite SOPA-Supporting billionaire is Rupert Murdoch (net worth $7.4 billion). No surprise, his Newscorp supports the bill. While he hasn’t made any public statements specifically supporting SOPA, last week he posted two heavily re-tweeted rants on Twitter, accusing “piracy leader” Google of “plain stealing,”
According to Forbes
hat touched off Murdoch’s tirade was, in fact, something that happened during a presentation he attended at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Hosted by Google, it was a demonstration of Google TV, a service that makes it easy to watch over-the-internet video on a television set.
At one point, according to sources with knowledge of the events, the presenter was explaining the different ways to find content within Google TV: You can go through a “Shows and Movies” app that catalogs offerings from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc., or else you can use standard browser-based Google Search. Murdoch asked what would happen if he were to search for a particular blockbuster film, and the presenter explained that the results would be the same ones you’d find in any Google search. Including links to content-pirating sites? Murdoch pressed. Yes, unless those sites have already been removed from search results in response to takedown requests, the presenter confirmed.
Billionairechronicles likes @robdelaney take on the Rupster.
Sup bro you’re doing great on Twitter nobody thinks you’re a weird asshole or anything keep it up
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