Position Briefs

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA & PIPA now!

OK. So you're probably not surprised that I am opposed to these two fascist acts of government-enabled, corporatist censorship.  After all, I'm a free-speech advocate that once took to defending that scumbag, Fred Phelps' right to spew his bile even at military funerals. But what might surprise you is that it took me until today to actual come around to opposing them!

You see... This was originally going to be a post asking for some advice / information / schooling from all of you as to WHY, exactly I should oppose these acts. Serioulsy. For the longest time, reading what little I could about them (becuase the biggest problem that I saw was that the media was stifling all coverage of them, so there really was no public debate about them!) I could find very little that didn't seem right-minded.  I mean... free speech is not about protecting the piracy of copyrighted material. And all the “It will end the internet as we know it!” stuff just sounded like so much alarmism to me.  My inital thought was, "Bullshit. Global Warming is more likely to end the WORLD as we know, than any one bill is to end the Internet."

And while it pays lip-service to protecting site like YouTube, who would voluntarily take down copyrighted content, the fact is that this is just another exampel of a BAD LAW, that gets made when OLD MEN (and their corporate bosses) start legislating about things they don't understand.

Part of me wants to laugh - because this law will be largely uneforcable in any meanigful way. The U.S. Gov't has no jurisdiction to stop some site in Mozambique from hosting Pirated Content. And the fact that Google links to them? Hey: I can see that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I also firmly bvelieve that Intellectual Property must be protected. But this? This is not the way to do it.  I think the Wikia folks make the best case:

While the goals of SOPA and PIPA are clear and we support them, the way SOPA and PIPA attempt to accomplish the goals amounts does not work for the internet and companies such as Wikia because:
  • they assign legal liability to site owners for ALL user generated content -- Wikia would have to inspect and filter everything users upload -- all text, images or video for copyright infringement and prevent it from being posted. This would be almost impossible to do and would create a terrible user experience with long delays between content submissions, approval and posting. We would have to do this even though we are not a target of this legislation.
  • they completely bypass today's notice/takedown provision of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) where content owners can demand copyrighted content be taken down and site owners have to comply -- which was a carefully constructed approach that balances the needs of internet companies and the content industry. This will stifle innovation on the internet that has become the 7th largest sector driving the health of the economy.
  • they deny site owners the due process of law by enabling DNS blacklisting based on any good faith assertion by an individual copyright owners. A site like Wikia could essentially disappear from the web because of the claim of a single content owner who asserted they saw infringing content on our site without recourse.
  • they also compel payment processors to stop doing business with the web site in question. Wikia could have our entire revenue stream stopped because a single good faith assertion of infringement on a single page in Wikia.
  • while the laws are aimed at foreign companies in general, they can be equally applied to US companies such as Wikia.
The internet is free. And it must remain free to continue to accomplish all of the good that is has. Al Gore knew this when he drafted, sponsored an dpuch the legislation that created it. And there is no doubt in my mind that a hypothetical President Gore would have already given the signal that a VETO would be awaiting this legislation. (I am not so optimistic about Obama doing the same.)

So to show my solidarty with those who have also chosen to stand up and educate the public about this facsist law (seeing as how the media refuses to) here as some screen captures from various members of my Hall of Fame from earlier today, in protest of SOPA and PIPA:

Google:






And, of course, the folks who starte dthe movement to protest this: WIKIPEDIA:


so TAKE ACTION.

RAISE HELL.

Contact your representetive and remind them that when s/he took office they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and Protect our FREEDOM.  And while protecting Intellectual property (and let's face the profits of the corporations who own it) is important, it must never take precedence over our liberty, and our right to free expression.  The Wikia Page will help you do this. So take action. It's your interent. Don't let our Government - or ANY government - censor it.

BTW...

Here an AMV that I love which might make you wish you never heard of 'FAIR USE" (something the Robert's court, despite their relatively decent record with overly broad laws, has apparenlty NEVER HEARD OF.)  And I don"t know what's more shameful - that I know all the words to the song, or that I've seen about 80% of the Anime used in the Video!  Anyway... ENJOY IT, before the Government comes to take me (and YouTube) away!




LOL.

Come on... Would you REALLY want to live in a world where that's a felony?!

13 comments:

  1. I've already been in contact with my Senators, both online and by phone (well, their offices, at least). Haven't gotten a substantive reply yet. Not really expecting one from Schumer, but Kirsten Gillebrand is very good about really responding to the issues I raise. She doesn't always do what I want (New York is too dependent on the financial sector for that), but she doesn't patronize, either.

    I expect Obama will oppose SOPA/PIPA until he's re-elected, then sign a version with cosmetic changes. I hope I'm wrong.

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  3. I think a lot more people will be affected by this than are led to believe and it will also spark other piracy rights. For example, candidates using unlicensed material at rally's, or the Five on our favorite channel using music that I am sure is unlicensed. In fact in response to this, I am looking up every song played on the Five and contacting the artist letting them know it has been used and the artist should be compensated (if they are not already)

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  4. What is wrong with authors of music/videos/ect getting proper compensation when others use their work for profit? I think the internet should not be any different. Why would the internet be excused from paying for using other people's creations? I guess if I owned a business that relied on making money by using stuff (other people create) for free, then I would oppose these bills also. However, from what I've read about those acts/bills I would support them because they give the rightful owner of certain products full compensation for use of their product.

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  5. NOTHING is wrong with authors of music/videos/ect getting proper compensation when others use their work for profit.

    The problem is that these bills will not accomplish that. Most of the pirated content is hosted on verseas servers, in places outside of U.S. Jurisdiction. In trying to address this, these bills would allow a court to shut down an entire website, if they even LINK to a site that hosts pirated content, or that tells someone how to get pirated content.

    So GOOGLE, for example, who doesn't host ANY content AT ALL could be shut down because of the behavior of SOME OTHER site owener, who they happen to link to. And there are hundereds of millions of links on Google. And they would not only have to police ALL of them - which is impossible - but also the content on all those millions of sites THAT THEY DON'T EVEN OWN.

    And sites like YouTube and Wikipedia, which consist entirely of user-generated content, and who ALREADY take down content that violates copyright whenever they are notified of it, could be shut down, in their entireity, becuase one person contributes a LINK to a site that has pirated content. (Not even the PIRATED CONTENT itself!)

    No one - not even those site protesting these Bills - denies that something must be done to protect intellectual property. These Bills simply go too far, are too invaseive of out individual liberty and our free speech, and in the end will accomplished very little in terms of getting pirated content off the internet.

    It IS something that must be done, but this is not the way to go about doing it. The people writing these laws seem to lack even a basic understanding of how the internet works. (And WHY it works SO WELL.) And when you start legislating with a sledge hammer (sledgislating? LOL) concerning things you don't understand, that's DANGEROUS. And these bills are DANGEROUS. Dangerous to the freedom of speech.

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  6. Rob makes a very interesting point. Imagine what would happen if a law like this is passed and lets say Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich decide to blast Springsteen or Petty at their rally.

    I think there should be more focus on penalties and enforcement of current laws like the DMCA, which seem to have been working rather well

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  7. As a side note, just thought of a song the Republicans won't be pirating at one of their campaign events - Neil Diamond's "America." It is like an ode to the multi-cultural immigrant masses that plague our lands!

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  8. Kevin,
    What would you expect from a guy who went to a (Brooklyn) high school with Barbra Streisand? Why do they hate America? :>)

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  9. "And these bills are DANGEROUS. Dangerous to the freedom of speech."

    Let me use an analogy that may or may not work in the description you give for why SOPA is bad;

    I own a very large lawn and very diligently planted several species of grass in my lawn. I have Kentucky Blue Grass, I have Bermuda Grass and several other varieties. Without me knowing it, a neighbor kid plants his type of "grass" in my lawn in an area that isn't easily accessible and not very noticeable by me, because my lawn is so big.
    After a while (during normal conduct of business) the police fly over (in a helicopter) and see that I have some illegal content in my yard. They come to my house and arrest me for having an illegal "grass" growing on my property.
    I try to explain that I didn't plant it there, but they say since it is my property I should have been more aware of what is there.

    So what YOU are saying is that SOPA is wrong because I should NOT be responsible for checking the content of what is on MY property because: 1-my lawn is too big to patrol the entire thing, 2- it would infringe on someone else's Constitutional right to put illegal product on my property whenever they want?

    It sounds like you saying that sites like Wikipedia and Google are too big to check their own property and should NOT be responsible for trash left on their lawn by others? And therefore should be be excluded from the laws that others must adhere to?

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  10. Will,

    First of all... Do you REALLY think that you (or your hypothetical hoemowner) SHOULD be charged in that case? Really?

    Second of all, no, you're missing it. It's more like: They could taking your house and land away becuase you TOLD SOMEONE ELSE where to go to buy some pot seeds, even though your own lawn is perfect, pristine and 100% legal. (ACTUALLY, you could have all that happen to you just for telling someone that there's some pot on the other guy's lawn!)

    It's one thing for Google, YouTube and Wikipedia to police themselves. They ALREADY DO, and they do a pretty decent job of it. How are they supposed to police EVRRY SITE THEY LINK TO, EVERY DAY, from the day the link is first put up until the last day that the site it links to is still active? See it's not their "lawn" that's the problem! But they link to other sites, and they could therefore be shut down due to the behavior of other site owner on OTHER SITES - sites that they don't own, control, manage or have any authority over. (IOW: Someone ELSE's lawn!) And a site might be 100% Legit they day it's linked to, and have illegal content put up a year later. (That's not 40 Acres - that's the WHOLE WORLD.)

    And if sites stop linking to one another? The whole system stops working.

    And also - with USER GENERATED CONTENT. They can police it, yes. And under the current regulatory environment, if I put something on YouTube and the copyrigth owner complains to them about it, youTube takes it down. Simple. Works. Under the new laws, the WHOLE of YouTube - not just the one page hosting the illegal content - could be taken down over it. WHY is that necessary? HOW is that right? And WHAT does it have to with copyright holders gettign paid for their work?

    It's isn't. It isn't. And it doesn't.

    If you want it in terms a conservative can appreciate? This is the GOVERNMENT interfereing in our right to free expression. And the GOVERNMENT, though STUPID REGULATIONS, punnshing those who do NOTHING WRONG, and DENYING the rest of us our CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM, in an effort that, in the end, couldnot POSSIBLY accomplish any of the "good" it set out to. This is THE worst example of BIG GOVERNMENT run amok. So this violates Conservative principles as well as Liberal ones. Don't be so quick to support something just becuase your political opponents oppose it!

    Intellectual property MUST be protected. Yes. Aboslutely. No question about it. THIS LAW, however, is NOT the way to go about doing it.

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  11. Ed,
    Sorry, I don't believe that is correct. You wouldn't have the wording of the actual bill that says that do you? Not that I don't trust you, but liberals are known for taking things out of context and misquoting so often it is hard to determine when one is telling the truth.

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  12. Speaking of freedom, Eddie, here is the final paragraph of a must read essay in the 2/13 edition of THE NATION, written by an ex-Marine, Iraq Vet who worked for Merrill Lynch on Wall Street, and ended up with Occupy Wall Street.

    "But more fundamentally, if Occupy has taught me anything it is that we must live up to our own values. There is nothing you could write on a sign that could offend me more than seeing police take away someone's right to free speech. What we do as soldiers is meaningless if our government takes away those freedoms while we are sent to supposedly defend them. Americans applaud protest throughout the world as a legitimate way for people to express their thirst for democracy. Is it really possible that everyone has a point except those who protest here?"

    http://www.thenation.com/article/165871/iraq-vets-journey-wall-street-ows

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  13. Over a month and still nothing to show SOPA/PIPA can shut down web sites as Eddie claims it can. I didn't think you were being honest with that claim.

    As for OWS ... I hate to think that vet, you're talking about, is a criminal. But, if he is living up to his own values and he joined OWS to achieve that, then he is a vandal, thief and/or rapist. Because that is what other OWS members do during OWS 'get togethers'.
    I can't wait for spring/summer to get here so I can watch more whiney liberals camp out in public land creating unsanitary conditions and destroying private property ALL to show that their message needs to be brought to light. However, their message of 'destroy as much private property as possible' isn't really a good message to bring.

    Hey, you know why OWS stopped camping out on public lands during the winter? Because they have no conviction for what they think is important. They would rather wait until it isn't so difficult to sleep in a tent in a park where it is illegal to camp. I think the public park personal should turn on the sprinkler system every noon and midnight for an hour or two just to watch the little cockroaches scatter like the bugs they are.

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