California loves Obama. Two of the state’s most prominent industries – entertainment in Hollywood and tech in Silicon Valley – make up some of the president’s most dependable and moneyed supporters. But one controversial new bill on online piracy might force the president to choose between the two. The Hill reports:
Obama hasn’t taken a position yet on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that has divided senior lawmakers in both parties, but that will have to change if it clears Congress.
If Obama signs the bill, he will dash the hopes of Silicon Valley executives who donated heavily to his 2008 campaign and are vehemently opposed to the anti-piracy measure.
But the entertainment industry would see a veto as a betrayal by the administration on its most significant priority.
SOPA would “…empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines, Internet providers and payment processors cut off access to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement.” Critics balk at giving the government such power to control Internet content.
Hollywood sees it as a way to control online piracy, but major tech companies – including Google, Facebook, and other consumer groups – say SOPA would stifle innovation.
Obama has a tough choice, and not just because of the bill’s policy implications. Both factions have donated millions to his campaign war chest over the years:
Employees of computer and Internet companies have donated a total of $1.3 million to Obama’s 2012 campaign, one of the highest figures for any industry, according to an analysis of campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics…
Employees of television, movie and music companies have donated more than $1 million to Obama’s reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
[Obama] also makes time for fundraisers in Los Angeles, some of them attended by A-list Hollywood stars, from Tom Hanks to Eva Longoria.