- One person who opposes the digital vigilante bill is Tara Sue Grubb, the Libertarian candidate opposing Coble in the November election (there is no Democratic candidate). A 26-year-old Realtor who lives in High Point, Grubb seems bright, earnest, and young; I don’t know enough about her yet to judge her as a serious politician. She casts the bill in terms of a larger struggle between personal liberty and corporate power. “P2P is the issue that forecasts the future,” she says.
Whatever Grubb’s merits, she faces what might optimistically be termed an uphill battle: Coble got 91 percent of the vote against the previous Libertarian challenger. He is popular for a lot of reasons, and his district seems unlikely to be galvanized by this particular single issue.
But suddenly Grubb stands to get a lot of support from people across the country who oppose this bill. Any discomfort among local voters over the help she may receive from outside the district should be more than offset by the massive financial support provided to Coble by the entertainment industry. That’s the bigger story unfolding here: the use of the Internet to push power — information and money — to the people, to offset the enormous clout that corporations hold with our elected officials. Tara Grubb appears to be the first congressional candidate to have her own Web log; that may be the real revolution. The Web isn’t going to beat Howard Coble in November, but this new network will help determine a closer race somewhere, and soon.
Copyright protection is a serious issue, but enforcement shouldn’t overly empower an entertainment industry that has a history of resisting new technologies from television to the VCR. My hope is that Coble, who two years ago reversed his stance on work-for-hire rules for musicians when an industry-backed bill he supported came under fire, will live up to his reputation for fairness and emerge as a champion of individual liberty. Fixing the digital vigilante bill would be a great place to start.
Blog on Tara Sue.