Yesterday I reported that Netflix had created a Political Action Committee (PAC) to throw some money around Washington D.C and further their business interests. Nowhere in the article did I mention that Netflix had been or would be supporting SOPA. There simply wasn’t any mention of it in the dull pages of the federal form that created the PAC.
But some others were not so responsible, speculating that FLIXPAC would be lobbying congress for “anti-piracy” legislation such as SOPA and CISPA. The rumor caught on Twitter and Reddit, and soon it was internet-fact that Netflix had joined the dark side. The outcry reached so far that I even had a comment on my original story yesterday that simply assumed the story was anti-Netflix.
Thank goodness for real reporters. Chris O’Brien of SiliconBeat did the responsible thing and emailed Netflix. He quotes a Netflix spokesperson as saying:
“PACs are commonplace for companies that lead a big, growing market and Netflix is no exception. Our PAC is a way for our employees to support candidates that understand our business and technology. It was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA. Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act.”
In fact, Netflix remained neutral on SOPA and PIPA, making no endorsement or condemnation of the legislation. Also, you won’t find it on the list of companies supporting the CISPA legislation. The way I see it, Netflix wouldn’t have much to say in the debate over online piracy. They have their own battle to wage against the old guards of movie and television regarding their legal distribution model.