Here’s one reason why the MPAA and other lobbyists may have felt blindsided last week by the outpouring of protests against the Hollywood supported anti-piracy bills: Young people cared about the subject far, far more than the rest of the population did, according to a weekly measurement by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The researchers found that 23% of people between ages 18 and 29 tracked the news about the debate over the Senate’s Protect IP Act and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act more than any other story — making it No. 1 for the week for this group. By contrast, just 7% of all adults considered the dispute, which resulted in Wikipedia going dark for a day, to be the week’s biggest news. For them it ranked behind the Italian cruise ship accident, the elections, and the economy.A mere 6% of people between 30 and 49 considered anti-piracy to be the lead story, falling to 2% among people between 50 and 64, and 1% of those 65 and older. Stepping back to look at who followed anti-piracy very closely — as opposed to most closely — Pew found that 20% of Democrats and 19% of independents did so, but only 11% of Republicans were as interested. The bills were shelved last week as lawmakers responded to a flood of protests. Entertainment companies wanted to give the government the power to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content, saying it would save U.S. jobs. But tech companies and other who objected said the proposals were too broad and could stifle free speech and dampen investment in the Internet.
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