Opinion

Felix Salmon

Do any real people support SOPA?

By Felix Salmon
December 15, 2011

Very few of us live in a world remotely representative of the nation as a whole; I certainly don’t. How many of my friends and acquaintances have a college degree? How many live in dense urban centers? How many have smartphones? How many have ever voted Republican? In all these respects and many more, the world I see is incredibly skewed. But what about the Stop Online Piracy Act?

I spent last night with a fascinating group of Silicon Valley geeks, talking Bitcoin; among them was Dan Kaminsky, who’s spending most of his time these days lobbying hard against SOPA. And it occurred to me, as we talked very briefly about how the lobbying effort was going, how very lopsided my view of SOPA is.

Everybody I know, and everything I’ve come across on the internet, falls into one of two categories: either they’re vehemently opposed to SOPA, or else they simply don’t know about it. Racking my brain for any counterexamples, the only one I can come up with is a pre-roll ad which I’ve seen before a couple of my videos here on Reuters.com, which complains about pharmaceutical counterfeiting.

In one sense, this is entirely natural: I’m a journalist, and journalists by their nature hate anything which smacks of censorship. On the other hand, I’m also a media professional, and the pro-SOPA lobby is led by media companies of various descriptions. I just don’t know anybody who’s part of it.

Yet the bill is very much alive, and it seems that if a bill makes it to Barack Obama’s desk, he’ll sign it.

Today, in his big NYT piece about the war being fought in Washington, Edward Wyatt is careful to be symmetrical in his descriptions, and talks about how “the howls of protest” against SOPA “have been loud and lavishly financed” by Silicon Valley — it’s one of those articles based on the idea of explaining that there’s a disagreement, without bothering to try to adjudicate whether one side makes vastly more sense than the other.

You don’t need me to tell you that SOPA is an incredibly bad idea — others can do so much, much better than I can. But here’s where I have a genuine question. I know that the MPAA and the RIAA are lobbying hard for SOPA. (As well as, oddly, the AFL-CIO.) They seem to have a lot of politicians on their side. I can also point to an almost unlimited list of people and organizations who are lobbying equally hard against it — although it’s harder to find die-hard opponents of the bill in Congress.

But does SOPA actually have any popular support? Are there any real outside-the-beltway people who think it’s a good idea? If so, where are they? And if not, how did Congress become so bad at reflecting popular opinion?

I guess what I’m asking here is whether the strength of support for SOPA in Washington is an example of the failure of democracy, or whether it’s just another case of a bitterly divided country. I suspect it’s the former, but I really would be interested in finding out about anybody who doesn’t share my views on this subject.

Update: I’m told that Creative America is a grassroots organization of real people who support SOPA. I’m not entirely sure I believe it, though.

Comments
96 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

From a purely cynical/economic sense, the bill makes quite a bit of sense. In short, taking a position guaranteed to generate *huge* amounts of lobbying to sway congress. Note that I’m not actually referring to whether its a good or bad idea. Its just sufficient that the idea be sufficiently divisive that enough (monied) people would find it in their own best interests to support/oppose it.

Interestingly enough, patent/copyright reform is an edge case of this scenario, i.e., a situation where *small* changes in the law are sufficient to attract *huge* lobbying – an argument could be made that the status quo *is* a stable equilibrium, since any change, however small, will result in maximal lobbying (and hence benefit) for Congress.

I know, cynical, but hey, it seems to be accurate…

Posted by dieswaytoofast | Report as abusive
 

I’ve seen a few people who are pro-SOPA, but they tend to be either

A. Trolls
B. Clueless, naive doofs who think that the bill will only be used against Evil Foreign Pirates and nobody else

The rest are smart enough to not support it. I mean, even the EU got off its butt and passed bills AGAINST it.

Posted by Satireknight | Report as abusive
 

I was wondering when you were going to chime in on SOPA…
or Protect-IP…
or the regularly scheduled take down of online free speech.

Posted by GRRR | Report as abusive
 

I suspect it’s something of a case of asymmetrical warfare. The narrow group people and companies who stand to benefit *really* stand to benefit a lot, and also have custom-built DC lobbyist shops, so their voices are very loud, to Congress (and when getting laws passed its usually how loud your voice is to Congress that counts). The somewhat larger group of people vehemently opposed to it are less organized, though they’ve rapidly organized as the details have gotten clearer. And the very large mass of people who probably would be opposed if they had it explained to them haven’t had it explained to them and therefore don’t care.

Posted by jfruh | Report as abusive
 

I’m a real person, and I’m very much in favor of SOPA.

1) It’s about time somebody gave a damn about protecting creators’ rights. Felix has long been going on with excuses about how it’s ok to steal anything you want whenever you want, and I imagine his hard drive is full of stolen material. But as a creator of material a lot of people like, it’s made me sick that we as a society apparently don’t care that creators actually be protected, and that those with big megaphones (if small minds, with regard to this) like Felix are cheerleading stealing from the mountaintops.

2) Felix’s example of the good arguments against it are ridiculous. For example, the argument he references says:

“First, both bills would still result in the censoring of non-infringing speech. That is because they allow for the blocking of entire websites – even though the site may contain a great deal of perfectly legal speech. ”

This is a bad argument. One can have a new website up in 30 seconds today for the ‘non-infringing speech’. So put it up and go on with your business.

“Professor Laurence Tribe puts it, “The First Amendment requires that the government proceed with a scalpel – by prosecuting those who break the law – rather than with the sledgehammer approach of SOPA, which would silence speech across the board.””

A strawman argument if I ever saw one. There are many ways to ramp up enforcement in a “scalpel”-like way. 1) Cease and desist; 2) Fine, 3) 1 day site shutdown.
etc, etc.

I don’t have time to go through it point by point, and I know the “screw the creators, steal whatever you want, and hell, monetize it if you can” crowd like Felix are unswayable.

But it’ s about time we did something –anything– to protect creators.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

The practical effects of SOPA will be a general data & web services flight from the US. Companies that built cloud infrastructure inside the US will see their assets depreciated substantially. IT engineers who support such assets will find themselves less valuable or unemployed.

However, we software engineers can be anywhere relative to where the technology is actually deployed. SOPA might kill off the infrastructure to host & deploy web services inside the US, but engineers can develop inside a separate corporate entity and be protected. Just like the internet, we route around random failure enacted by a body with a 9% approval rating. ;) Our brethren in IT will take it in the nuts, but nobody likes them anyway!

Media will get subsidies and market controls in the US eventually, I believe that to be inevitable. Most likely it will come at the expense of companies that are building business models for the 21st century. I am against SOPA, but I believe something like it to be inevitable. Besides, patent law is so screwed up that it is already impossible to develop successful software without hordes of lawyers. At least now we can keep those lawyers fed fending off take-down notices while they wait for patent trolls.

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

@EconomistDuNort
“A strawman argument if I ever saw one. There are many ways to ramp up enforcement in a “scalpel”-like way. 1) Cease and desist; 2) Fine, 3) 1 day site shutdown.
etc, etc.”

Universal Music Group and other media are already trying to do that. see:
http://torrentfreak.com/universal-censor s-megaupload-song-gets-branded-a-rogue-l abel-111210/
Then Lied about an artist issuing a DMCA:
http://torrentfreak.com/will-i-am-i-did- not-authorize-megaupload-video-takedown- 111214/
Then they shut down a news video reporting on the takedown:
http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/15/univer sal-yanks-twits-tech-news-today-episode- from-youtube-due-to-mega-video-clip/

This is all before SOPA is passed. You can’t tell me they won’t abuse SOPA if they are already abusing DMCA.

Also, I AM an network admin. I know all about how the internet works and SOPA WON’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. A large majority of pirates are tech saavy enough to just create ways around the SOPA blocks OR use legal encryption technologies to hide their actions.

Not to mention that all SOPA takedowns require are allegations, NOT proof. Taking down a web page or site will damage its business, even if it’s only for a couple hours. Web Business is based off people looking for products NOW, not later. You can’t tell me that will be good for jobs.

Finally, the entire tech business, from the 70s to today, is based off someone else’s idea being taken and then improved. Almost everything out there is from something that came before it. Microsoft’s Windows came out of MS-DOS, which itself was a program made by another company that MS took and improved. Same with Mac OS X. How does that fare in SOPA and IP law?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

The reasons for SOPA’s political support seem obvious. People in government like to govern which makes unregulated markets an anathema. Regulation brings power and, as Henry Kissinger famously said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Besides power brings supplicants and supplicants bring money. If you are a politician what’s not to like about SOPA?

Posted by OregonJon | Report as abusive
 

@EconomistDuNort: Take a look at what Louis CK was able to do https://buy.louisck.net/statement . SOPA will exist because that model (direct artist to fan contact) cuts out the media distribution & production companies. It also cuts down on the number of union members needed to “produce” content.

Apple sells a ton of music digitally without DRM and no need for “takedown notices”. They are successful because they provide an excellent shopping experience and reasonable prices.

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin said:

“You can’t tell me they won’t abuse SOPA if they are already abusing DMCA.”

Fine, go after the abuses. Just because the police occasionally abuse their power doesn’t mean you give up trying to stop murderes.

“I AM an network admin. I know all about how the internet works and SOPA WON’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. ”

That has nothing to do with it. It’s a step, it’s an attempt, it can be made better, but at least it’s leaning in the right direction. Your “just give up and let me steal whatever I want” argument ignore the bigger picture. Something needs to be done to protect creators. You’d make the same argument whatever solution they came along with.

“Finally, the entire tech business, from the 70s to today, is based off someone else’s idea being taken and then improved. Almost everything out there is from something that came before it. Microsoft’s Windows came out of MS-DOS, which itself was a program made by another company that MS took and improved. Same with Mac OS X.”

Exactly. So apparently you believe creators should have no rights.

Your attitude is the whole problem in a nutshell.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

k9quaint said:

“Apple sells a ton of music digitally without DRM and no need for “takedown notices”. They are successful because they provide an excellent shopping experience and reasonable prices.”

Only 5% of music is paid for. 95% is stolen.

Apple makes a few bits, and pays a couple paltry crumbs to creators.

But this is statistically nothing compared to the volume of stolen material.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

Creative America is a grassroots organization of over 80,000 members united in the fight against content theft who support SOPA. Many of our members felt strongly enough that they took the time to videotape messages to Congress asking them to support this legislation. If you want to hear and see real people who support SOPA, go to the Creative America YouTube Channel and you can see hundreds of them.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_29p 780ShXM&feature=relmfu

Posted by CraigHoffman | Report as abusive
 

@EconomistDuNort
Us creators need protection from the writers & promoters of SOPA, not the so called “pirates”. The SOPA folks want to lock everything up for perpetuity then regulate access to all intellectual content through lawyers and contracts instead of browsers & readers.

I can make money just fine without the “protection” racket they are proposing.

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

@EconomistDuNort

I respect your assertion that creators have rights, but ALL of technology and science moves forward by improving and building on preexisting ideas.

Another thing that you, and the SOPA supporters, seem to miss is that tech and the internet follow very specific protocols which HAVE to be adhered to for it to function – simply doing “the work to innovate” doesn’t work here as new ideas/protocols take YEARS to adopt, if at all. Many of the same protocols that governed Networks in the 60s and 70s still govern them today.

And again, there is no possible way to force STOP piracy entirely – the internet, by definition, is decentralized – there is NO governing entity to it. The only true way to cut it down heavily would be to restrict all internet use by country (which would be a step backwards) or for owners to offer goods in a way that pirates wouldn’t want to pirate. Even then, you will still have pirates.

Another thing everyone is forgetting is that most of the tech professionals and Network engineers are AGAINST the bill and the know and understand the internet FAR BETTER that you EVER WILL. No congressman or MPAA suit is going to know more about how the internet works than the actual engineers that keep it running. Don’t you find it strange that not once has Rep. Smith invited an IT Professional or Network Engineer to testify on how this bill may affect the internet as it exists?

One thing we are taught in college is to ALWAYS give the least amount of access, then slowly increase it as needed. Here is an example of the opposite, they are potentially taking away access that has been there for years, this will anger more than it will please – this is supposed to be a Democracy – where the Majority, NOT minority, that decides the outcome

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

Here’s what SOPA does: It cuts away more due process. It’s DMCA on steroids.

And anyway, there are existing laws on the books that address IP in both patent, copyright and trademark infringement.

This is just more of the 1% trying to control the 99%.

Posted by GRRR | Report as abusive
 

FYI, Creative America is an (astroturf) group formed by former Disney piracy lawyer Mike Nugent who also used to be general counsel for Citibank. Craig Hoffman is the communications director for Creative America. He used to be an “Executive Consultant” at the Motion Picture Association of America.

Clearly, both of these folks have important things to say about SOPA. ;)

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

@CraigHoffman

That’s great that 80,000 members of your organization support the bill. 87,000 people called (not counting the additional people that emailed in) into congress last month against the bill. The way things are supposed to work, you would already lose the fight there.

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

k9quaint said:

“Take a look at what Louis CK was able to do https://buy.louisck.net/statement.”

If he made enough money for him, good for him. I love LouisCK and wish him nothing but success.

But what one guy did is irrelevant. This is about society coming together and trying to protect creator rights. And that’s a very, very good thing.

The method may be flawed, complicated, problematic. But the attempt is a sure piece better than all you theft apologists out there like Felix.

You could care less about creators. You just want to steal anything you want whenever you want it. So you make up silly arguments like “well this guy made a little money”, and “censorship!!!!”

The latter is the most pathetic ridiculous thing I’ve seen on this whole issue. Censorship means freedom of expression is taken away. Nothing about this law takes away anyone’s right to say anything. You wanna say something, put it on a website and say it. No one’s stopping you.

To claim your inability to torrent movies is “censorship” is an abhorrent disrespect to people throughout history who actually WERE censored.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

GRRR said,

“And anyway, there are existing laws on the books that address IP in both patent, copyright and trademark infringement.”

Yeah, and how’s that working out?

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

The entire explanation for this political corruption is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik1AK56Ft Vc – the US Congress does not represent voters interests any more. The Republic is over. Gone. It will take major effort to get it back.

EconomistDuNort: this stuff isn’t a step towards combating piracy. It is a step towards corporate-controlled censorship of the internet. It won’t have any effect on piracy, because – if you are a actually an economist – that is driven by supply and demand. There is a demand for low friction ways to access good content. There is very little low-friction supply, however, outside of things like torrents. But iTunes, Spotify, and even Louis CK’s experiment show that when you reduce the friction, people open their wallets. But this bill is an attempt to defeat the iron rule of economics. The result will be what it always is in these situations: black markets.

Posted by BarryKelly | Report as abusive
 

k9quaint said:

“The SOPA folks want to lock everything up for perpetuity then regulate access to all intellectual content through lawyers and contracts instead of browsers & readers. ”

This is complete and utter nonsense.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

BarryKelly said:

“the US Congress does not represent voters interests any more. The Republic is over. Gone. It will take major effort to get it back.”

I certainly agree with you there.

“when you reduce the friction, people open their wallets”

What a load of garbage. When you reduce friction, people steal.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

@EconomistDuNort

Another thing that stands to lose with SOPA is what we call Open Source Software. Open Source is a type of software that freely distributes the code out to users by the original creators. This can be done with free software or paid software.

the problem that shows up is that for years Apple and Microsoft have claimed that Linux Distributions have “stolen” ideas from them for use in operating systems such as Red Hat and Ubuntu. Most of these Distributions are offered up entirely free and as such have no money to give them the patents or copyrights to “protect” their content (nor do they want to as their software is offered free of charge and for anyone to modify). Yet, in our current system, people can come up with ideas, then have it stolen by large companies simply because the companies have the money to “buy” the patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Take the music industry that SOPA is supposed to protect. Did you know that on average a music artist or band get’s only $1 or less of a record sale? The rest goes entirely to the Record labels. How is that fair. Because of that, you now have independent artists who use iTunes, Blogs, Megaupload, and torrents to distribute their music and are tending to be MORE successful than popular artists (not to mention that not a single record label gets a cut).

So my question is: Are we trying to protect the artists or the companies that control the artists – all in the name of jobs?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

Don’t you find it strange that you can’t find ANY information on SOPA from the big media giants? You must go to independent firms, such as Reuters, or online blogs to find it. Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS aren’t mentioning it at all – not even in support. It’s like they want us to be ignorant.

If that doesn’t throw up red flags, that I don’t know what to tell you

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDoNort: Are you seriously suggesting that reducing the cost of something reduces its sales, and increases theft? I put it to you that your statement is the garbage.

This bill cannot even increase the friction of piracy, because we’re dealing with two things: software, and general acceptance in the population of a moral right to share culture. No matter how high a technological mechanism you introduce, because it’s software, the evasion of the technological mechanisms can itself be automated. So the height of the wall doesn’t matter; software can be written to scale any wall.

And the software will be written and distributed because too many people agree with its aims. It’s not like child pornography, which is genuinely hard to stumble into, and the laws have popular support. People don’t freely collaborate to get around those kinds of blocks. The democratic will orients towards sharing of cultural objects. Congress’s paymasters don’t agree, but the masses do. And this gap increases the lack of faith in government.

Posted by BarryKelly | Report as abusive
 

26% of American Internet users would support surveillance of their own Internet activity to stop copyright infringement.

33% support “government censorship” to stop infringement.

That’s your SOPA constituency. And it tracks old and poor. In other words, people who aren’t buying much recorded media anyway.

http://piracy.ssrc.org/the-copy-culture- survey-infringement-and-enforcement-in-t he-us/

Posted by JKaraganis | Report as abusive
 

I love how EconomistDuNort keeps spluttering about how ridiculous opposition to it is (without giving any data or basis for his claims), and “wahwahwahing” about those meaniepantses who want to “steal” from the poor starving creators.

Funniest part: Claiming that SOPA won’t be used to violate free speech. Really? Heard Megaupload’s video lately? Are you really naive enough to think that if a politician doesn’t like what a site says, he won’t just file a false allegation that the site violates copyright? Because he CAN. Therefore he will.

Posted by Satireknight | Report as abusive
 

Another thing I despise about this bill is that it uses the Domain Name System (the backbone of the internet) to redirect users to other websites away from the “infringing” sites.

The problem with this is – that’s the EXACT same thing that hackers and thieves do to steal people’s personal information and from a Security standpoint has always been a cardinal sin in networking to do that.

If it’s implemented as law, how are administrators or DNS systems supposed to tell the difference between true court mandated redirects and fake ones using forged documents (that are very easy to make)?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

I am a real person, a long time professional songwriter who supports this bill. Wanna know why the bill is moving? Try this. Google, any hit song followed by the either ‘mp3′, ‘download’ and you’ll get you answer in full color. Foreign rogue web sites. In the case of any of my songs, they are there by the 100′s of thousands, everyone making $ with every click of the mouse except those of us who brought the song to life. Movies, TV, same thing. Big tech has had a free ride for a decade and it’s coming to and end, hence the howling and hyperbole.

Posted by write_em | Report as abusive
 

@write_em
Big Tech is also the entity that understands how the internet works more than your average person and if we (a Network Administrator) are against it for technical reasons, then you ought to listen – we know what we’re talking about.

Additionally, this bill only really protects “Big Media” interests, not the little guys. And, as I stated above, music artists don’t get anything for their work when they contract with Big Media. Nor do they own it (this goes for music, TV, movies). Is that anymore fair and just than the pirates are?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

write_em said:

“I am a real person, a long time professional songwriter who supports this bill. Wanna know why the bill is moving? Try this. Google, any hit song followed by the either ‘mp3′, ‘download’ and you’ll get you answer in full color. Foreign rogue web sites. In the case of any of my songs, they are there by the 100′s of thousands, everyone making $ with every click of the mouse except those of us who brought the song to life. Movies, TV, same thing. Big tech has had a free ride for a decade and it’s coming to and end, hence the howling and hyperbole.”

Exactly. Very well said.

Unfortunately I suspect big tech’s free ride is not coming to an end, and you and creators like you will continue to get the shaft while all these freeloaders like Felix rejoice and make bogus arguments for theft.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

Satireknight said:

“I love how EconomistDuNort keeps spluttering about how ridiculous opposition to it is (without giving any data or basis for his claims), and “wahwahwahing” about those meaniepantses who want to “steal” from the poor starving creators.”

This is exactly the attitude. I’ll bet $1000 this guy’s hard drive is nothing but stolen media.

Let’s all work hard to create great stuff so that people like this guy can just steal it and insult people who want to protect creators’ rights.

What a world.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

BarryKelly said:

“EconomistDoNort: Are you seriously suggesting that reducing the cost of something reduces its sales, and increases theft?”

No, I’m not suggesting anything about prices. In a hypothetical world where there were no free options, reducing prices increases demand.

This hypothetical world is irrelevant to the world we actually live in, where all you happily unrepentant thieves live, with all your free options.

You said reducing “friction” makes people open their wallets.

Napster, Limewire, Bittorrent, et al prove your claim to be ridiculous.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort:

I’m not in anyway advocating for theft. You have to understand topics like these are addressed when learning about internet/network security and core functionality.

You can’t have what SOPA offers AND have the privacy and security you want on the internet. It’s not possible. To combat piracy the way SOPA advocates could require my company to expose our SSL/IPSec Certs to people for “packet inspection”, but then those same people could end up selling our secrets to competitors, because we now have no security on our systems? How does that protect content.

I hear about far more problems and money lost from identity theft and corporate theft than money lost from piracy (Jobs and Profits have actually increased for the MPAA in the last couple years). Yet, the actions to prevent piracy uses the EXACT same mechanism that thieves use to commit identity and corporate theft and that’s OK? All in the name of protecting Big Media, oops I mean “content creators”?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin said:

“Big Tech is also the entity that understands how the internet works more than your average person and if we (a Network Administrator) are against it for technical reasons, then you ought to listen – we know what we’re talking about.”

Congratulate yourself all you want for your perceived technical superiority (newsflash, pretty much everyone understands how p2p works and why it’s very hard to stop), but your point is in any case irrelevant.

Just cause someone knows easy ways to break into someone’s house doesn’t mean society should not try stop it.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort:

BitTorrent isn’t by any means a technology like Napster. Napster, I would argue, was created to pirate. BitTorrent is a communications protocol that is used by many legitimate companies (Microsoft, Canonical, Apple, Blizzard, etc) to more quickly distribute their software by using their customers peer-to-peer connections. Don’t make accusations about something you clearly don’t understand

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin said:

“You can’t have what SOPA offers AND have the privacy and security you want on the internet. It’s not possible. ”

When compared to Facebook, spyware, botnets, Chinese distributed hacking, etc, SOPA is of completely negligible concern as far as privacy and security.

So pretending privacy and security are your worry is just silly. If that were true, you’ve got MUCH bigger fish to fry.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort:

“Congratulate yourself all you want for your perceived technical superiority (newsflash, pretty much everyone understands how p2p works and why it’s very hard to stop), but your point is in any case irrelevant.”

I said nothing about P2P, I was talking about the freaking BACKBONE of the INTERNET. Where did you get P2P from?
DNS is the backbone of the internet, screwing with it is a very bad idea and always has been. If someone so much as screws up a DNS redirect once, they could damage a company beyond recovery. Is stopping piracy really worth that?

Is the entertainment industry really more important than any other in this country, or even world?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

I have over 20 years of professional content creation, mostly writing, but also presentations, videos, and webcasts. I’ve made a consistently good living at it. I am rather flattered with the notion that anyone would find it worthwhile enough to consider using without attribution or payment.

No one would accuse me of being a Felix cheerleader, but I sincerely doubt that he has a hard drive full of stolen content. I think what we have is rapidly changing ideas concerning the place of owned content in a larger discourse. I’ll also say that in such circumstances, it is foolish to bet on the status quo winning out.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin said:

“BitTorrent is a communications protocol that is used by many legitimate companies (Microsoft, Canonical, Apple, Blizzard, etc) to more quickly distribute their software by using their customers peer-to-peer connections. Don’t make accusations about something you clearly don’t understand”

Oh, NetworkAdmin, you truly are a comedian, aren’t you? You should see if LouisCK needs a warm up on his next tour.

“BitTorrent traffic is estimated to account for 17.9% of all internet traffic. Nearly two-thirds of this traffic is estimated to be non-pornographic copyrighted content shared illegitimately such as films, television episodes, music, and computer games and software.”

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=& esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url =http%3A%2F%2Fdocuments.envisional.com%2 Fdocs%2FEnvisional-Internet_Usage-Jan201 1.pdf&ei=sT_qToy3FYW4tweOi_H0Cg&usg=AFQj CNGt-oqIRoc_sQfc3ts5M_I-KH9AGg

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort:

I never said it WASN’T used for piracy, but that’s not the reason it was created. Should we take down the FTP (file transfer protocol) and it’s sister SFPT (Secure FTP) simply because they can be abused?

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

Curmudgeon said:

“I think what we have is rapidly changing ideas concerning the place of owned content in a larger discourse. I’ll also say that in such circumstances, it is foolish to bet on the status quo winning out.”

Exactly. Very well said.

My argument is limited to:

1) If we want good creative content to consume, we need to as a society somehow protect the creators’ ability to generate a living from it.

2) A huge part of society and the Felixes of the world don’t care about creators. Fine, that’s their right, but let’s at least be honest enough to admit that.

3) A huge part of society and the Felixes of this world and most of the commentators here make up BS arguments to justify their own stealing. They make up silly stuff like “the tech is too complicated for you to understand”, and “well LouisCK made a little money, so there!”

4) How we protect incentives to create great content, I don’t know. I agree SOPA probably won’t do it, because society doesn’t care a whole lot, and all these self-justifying thieves will just some other way. We all know this.

5) So I’m honest about the world we’re living in. I’m just glad to see someone trying to do something about it, whether or not it will ultimately succeed.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin said:

“I never said it WASN’T used for piracy, but that’s not the reason it was created. Should we take down the FTP (file transfer protocol) and it’s sister SFPT (Secure FTP) simply because they can be abused?”

Geez, your argument is supersilly: A stick in my front lawn can be abused. No one’s talking about “taking down” bittorrent or anything else.

The point is not technology, it’s society’s desire or nondesire to protect incentives to create.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

Earlier in the comments, Satireknight claimed that SOPA supporters fall into one of two categories (and I quote):
A. Trolls
B. Clueless, naive doofs who think that the bill will only be used against Evil Foreign Pirates and nobody else

Thanks to EconomistDuNort, I think we can add a third category to SOPA supporters. “C. All of the Above” ;)

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

k9quaint said:

“Earlier in the comments, Satireknight claimed that SOPA supporters fall into one of two categories (and I quote):
A. Trolls
B. Clueless, naive doofs who think that the bill will only be used against Evil Foreign Pirates and nobody else

Thanks to EconomistDuNort, I think we can add a third category to SOPA supporters. “C. All of the Above” ;)”

Wow, did you think up that brilliant statement up all by yourself?!

Truly an intellect like yours is a rare thing.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

That’s the point though, SOPA won’t solve anything – the pirates will still pirate. From a tech standpoint, here’s where SOPA fails:

It relies on DNS and IP blocking to block piracy website abroad (that’s where a lot of them are), but here’s the problems:

1. The US only has control of DNS servers (DNS translates names like http://www.google.com into IP addresses the internet understands) in the US – all a pirate in the US would have to do is point their DNS to a DNS server outside the US

2. ISPs issues what are called Dynamic IP addresses (they change every time the connection is lost) to most customers, only Businesses and Hosting providers get Static Addresses that never change.

3. With the above two facts taken into account a pirate hosting material would only need to do 2 things – unplug and replug in the modem to the wall to get a new IP address (that’s not blocked) and register for a new domain name – then they’re back up.

Finally, a huge issue to take into account with IP/DNS blocking. From the outside an ISP or Gov’t oversight can ONLY see the external IP address, not the internal. Many times one IP on the internet (especially in business) is actually associated with several users on private addresses behind that public address – who’s responsible?

Read this article about piracy found in the MPAA’s own studios by tracking the public IP of users pirating material: http://torrentfreak.com/busted-bittorren t-pirates-at-sony-universal-and-fox-1112 13/

What happens now – does sony sue themselves for infringement?

Another study from earlier this year, done by NBC Universal, shows that a large majority of piracy is their own fault – should the Gov’t pass laws to bail them out of the consequences of their own actions?
Source: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/2011020 2/12013712931/nbc-universal-study-shows- that-its-hollywoods-own-damn-fault-so-mu ch-content-is-pirated.shtml

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin wrote: (a whole long lecture on internet tech).

You persist on missing the point.

Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we should give up trying to make the playing field fairer.

Posted by EconomistDuNort | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort might even be a real lay person instead of a communications director for the MPAA. Google says his account has only ever commented today on this particular topic. However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Still, it is curious that such a rabid supporter of SOPA should suddenly appear in response to a member of the media commenting on the subject.

I do wonder if the EconomistDuNort account was created this morning by our friends over at Creative America. ;)

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

Forget about all the tech-geek-everything-wants-wants-to-be-f ree stuff, or who can have what kinda-sorta pirated content on their hard drive. SOPA is a battle between two business models: Hollywood v. Silicon Valley. They don’t get along. They may never get along. My take:

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/economy/2011/1 2/14/4005/why-cant-hollywood-and-silicon -valley-get-along/#disqus_thread

Posted by mattdebord | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort:

I agree that piracy needs to be stopped. But you can’t take a sledgehammer to this kind of problem. That’s my point – you’ll end up missing the actual pirates and end up hitting innocents simply because there was “alleged copyright infringement”. Sorry, not worth it. find a better method. Better yet, instead of writing the bill only with the MPAA, RIAA, etc. Include the Tech Giants as well. Get the technical side involved. At this point, SOPA has failed to do just that. Right now the MPAA, RIAA, etc want it their way or no way.

There’s something to be said about the rise of Netflix, Hulu, Hulu+, Indie Music, Indie Gaming and Open Source Software. People just aren’t willing the pay the prices that are set anymore.

People would rather pay $9 a month for streaming movies/TV shows from Hulu+ than pay between $25-60 for every DVD movie they want.

People would rather pay $1-20 for games like Bastion and Angry Birds than $45-70 for a computer console game

Businesses (like mine) would rather learn and set up their own Open Source Solution for their needs than pay $20,000 a year for a service

Then there are the pirates, who should be stopped, but not at the expense of the average person or business.

Posted by NetworkAdmin | Report as abusive
 

I am a real person that supports SOPA. I am a musician and artist. Intellectual property represents the hard work of many people and it deserves to be respected and protected against theft just like the results of anyone else’s day at work.

I do not appreciate the flakey rationalizations and cheap distortions that usually accompany this issue. I am not a corporation and this is not a corporate vs individual right issue. Everyone that creates an original work subject to IP protection under existing law is an individual. If you might ever create something of value that you might wish to place on the marketplace, SOPA protects you too.

Enforcing copyright law is not censorship. You have to say something yourself to be censored. It’s the rights of the people whose work is being disrespected who are being abused, not the people that are doing the disrespecting. Obviously.

Posted by mintmilano | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort, and even a flawed pay model like iTunes and Kindle proves you wrong.

If i buy a dvd, I am limited to what region i can play it in – so i bought a load of DVDs in the UK move to Japan then suddenly I can view a local dvd exactly 5 times before i have to throw away my old dvds. If i want to have a hard drive version so i don’t have to lug around 20 discs every time i travel then i can’t do that with the original dvd. On top of that I have to watch ads on why i shouldn’t steal dvds if i have a legit dvd. None of this is an issue with downloaded movies or dvds with the DRM hacked. So not only are you asking me to pay well over the odds to buy content but you are also asking me to massive inconvience myself too. Ditto music, ditto software.

k9quaint, this guy/girl pops up whenever this topic appears. Apparently anyone who doesn’t want to pay for the privilege of being treated like a criminal by his vendor and doesn’t like having to jump through hoops to watch content he has already paid for is a thief and personally stealing money out of his/her pocket. Even the advertorial he/she linked to puts a figure of less than 24% of the global traffic being IP infringing, in the US it is less than 18%. Not quite 95% of content being stolen that was originally claimed.

Posted by Danny_Black | Report as abusive
 

I am a real person. I develop cloud application on the Internet. I also worked for 8 years as a network engineer. Before all that I fought for the US in a war. I can tell you as a network engineer and a veteran of the Armed Forces I question why I risked my life for a country which thinks the entertainment industry is more important that freedom of speech.

As a programmer and network engineer I can also tell you the bill will accomplish very little in terms of fighting piracy. I am sorry to see musicians, producers and publishers dup-ed into thinking it will Unfortunately their ignorance is our loss of freedom.

Thank you… And what have you done for this country??

Posted by Samcomments | Report as abusive
 

NetworkAdmin:

I have followed your replies all the way through this thread, and have to commend your efforts, even while being personally attacked. I too am a network admin, and have found myself in similar debates. The unfortunate thing here is, no matter how descriptive we try to be – a non “techie” will never understand the true complexity of the “Internet”.

Everyone knows Pirating is wrong, and should be stopped. But as NetworkAdmin has stated several times, not a single internet engineer was involved with this bill. A solution is out there, but it’s not SOPA.

Bring in the people who’s hard work makes the Internet even possible. It’s not a good idea to change the backbone in such a drastic way – Changes take decades to be adopted, and it doesn’t take a lot of common sense to understand why. The “Internet” is not a single entity – It’s a Network of billions of servers. You cant just flip a switch and say, “Do it this way, and now.”

Posted by Fraz0r | Report as abusive
 

EconmistDuNort:

“Only 5% of music is paid for. 95% is stolen.”

I’d like to know where exactly that statistic came from.

I do not support pirating in anyway and do not have a hard drive that “is full of stolen material.” Or one that has anything that has been pirated at all. I do understand the tech side of this legislation which you obviously do not despite numerous attempts to make it seem as if you do.

And it doesn’t seem as if you fully understand these bills. For instance, if you’re site is shut down, which it can be without notification or without you getting a chance to defend it at all, you have to file for a counter notification. This means your site could be down weeks or months, not just hours. Imagine what that can do to a business, especially a small/local business!

Also (and mintmilano, this is for you, too), it doesn’t just give them the right to pull down sites that allow illegal downloads. It also allows them to pull down sites that even appear to support copyright infringement in anyway, shape or form. For instance, this website could be taken down because its users are posting on the site in opposition to SOPA & PIPA which they can take as support of copyright infringement. The creator of the site doesn’t even have to do anything to support it, their site can be shut down just for not deleting comments quickly enough! The specifics of these laws are way to broad allowing for an abuse of power that is sure to happen.

The needs of the few do NOT out weigh the needs (and the rights) of the many. I have a first amendment right to express my opinion whether you want to hear it or not. You are right in that we shouldn’t just let people illegally download because they’re going to do it anyway. However, this is NOT the way to do it.

You need to make sure you 100% understand what it is that you’re supporting!

Posted by alley81 | Report as abusive
 

SOPA will be to IP rights what the TSA is to homeland security.

Posted by ottnott | Report as abusive
 

Also, to the person that fought for the country:
…And?

Posted by AndrewSee | Report as abusive
 

The best case for SOPA is very easy to make: The entertainment, software and publishing industries spend huge amounts of money on lobbyists and campaign contributions. The entertainment, software and publishing industries want SOPA and can reallocate their expenditures on on lobbyists and campaign contributions based on the degree of support individual elected representatives are giving to SOPA. Most voters don’t understand enough about the process to realize that their elected representatives’ votes are being bought and paid for, and the extra campaign money practically guarantees reelection. How can you go wrong with a proposition like that?

Posted by Bob9999 | Report as abusive
 

I am a web developer and freelance writer. Believe me, I have sent out my fair share of DMCA letters over the past several years. However, SOPA is ill conceived and will do more harm than good. How many of the law makers currently debating this bill have the technical experience to understand what they are debating? I would bet the farm that very few do. Also, this bill has had a frightening lack of input from technical experts. The fact that most professionals who work with this technology on a day to day basis are against the bill should be concerning to every internet user. Do we need to stop piracy? Yes. However, there are far better ways to accomplish this task. Why is there such a rush with this bill? Where is the input from the technical experts? The internet and technological innovation will be the economic engine of the future. This bill is like draining the oil out of that engine. To stop piracy and protect creative rights, Congress must create a bill by working in unison with the same engineers and technical experts that have created the internet and continue to develop it. Otherwise, the economic situation in this country will continue to deteriorate…but, more importantly, the freedoms that make this country so special will be cast aside in a futile attempt to protect a handful of industries at the expense of the entire population.

Posted by sixalarm | Report as abusive
 

It used to be hugely expensive to make a book and get it in the hands of a consumer. The equipment to print the book, the distribution channel to get the book to the store and the bricks and mortar stores to hold vast quantities of books were all necessary to make the model work. Because of the huge investment involved, spending on marketing was also hugely important to realize the most out of the sunk capital costs.

Now the internet comes around. We don’t need bricks and mortar stores. We don’t need trucks to carry the bits & bytes. We don’t need printing presses make the bits & bytes. Don’t need a publisher to market it since a viral spread through the social networking sites is the preferred method of transmission anyway. So almost all of the capital costs of producing a book have been removed, yet somehow, magically, the price of an ebook is roughly the same as the price of a real book. It wasn’t until the price of music reflected the ease with which it can be distributed that the online music industry took off in the form of iTunes. It formed the killer app for Apple which is now the second largest public company in the US. The books publishing industry also ceded this power to Amazon, and those publishers are similarly doomed. The movie guys see the writing on the wall and are already being pressured by players like Netflix & Redbox. So we have SOPA, a last gasp attempt to put the worms back in the can and extend the business model of “data about Mickey Mouse on plastic” for a few more years.

The content distributors are desperate. The second the creators realize they can direct market and direct sell (and get the lions share of the proceeds), the entire legacy content distribution scheme collapses. The media distributors *have* to strangle internet distribution and they will never ever give up trying because the alternative is their demise.

Posted by k9quaint | Report as abusive
 

The people who support SOPA are the selfish people who think that just because they create something the world has to conform to their creation.

That simply is not how this country, no, the world works. Society evolves and if you don’t evolve with it, you will fall behind. Those who fall behind are the ones who support SOPA.

With the evolution of the internet, creative properties has hit a rough patch. However, because the internet is widely accepted by much of the world, the opinions of one creative mind who supports SOPA does not deserve the same recognition as the vast majority that is everyone else.

The world has evolved, you have not. If you wish to continue making creative properties, then I wish you the best of luck. But you need to update your business models and how you reveal your creations to the public.

Turning America even more Socialist than it already is just because some people don’t know how to market their properties correctly is not fair to the rest of the country who DOESN’T rely on creative properties.

Don’t set America on fire because you’re too selfish to take responsibility for your creations. Down with SOPA and down with Protect IP. If you disagree, then I strongly urge you to get out of this country and move to China; you would probably be much happier there anyway.

Posted by R315r4z0r | Report as abusive
 

SOPA is unconstitutional – it eliminates due process, and allows private corporations to be judge, jury, and executioner, when they decide their copyrights have been infringed.

While it is unfair that people steal from other people, it is even more unfair that a lot more people will lose their rights in the name of protecting the infringed.

SOPA will do very little to stop piracy, and will transfer an abusive power to businesses that have no business possessing that power.

Posted by KenG_CA | Report as abusive
 

In addition to being a retired SW engineer, I am a musician. I would like to be able to earn money from my work,just like anyone else. I refuse to take offers of a “free” copy of works of art because I want to support the arts community. I buy DVDs, and sometime the accompanying sheet music books. The total investment is between 30 and 60 dollars per DVD in this case. Even after that much investment in artists’ works, I often cannot perform because RIAA, or somesuch well-meaning but ill-acting body threatens to sue my potential employers for not paying THEM.
I evangelize against piracy

… but as far as SOPA is concerned I ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT SUPPORT THIS SHORT-SIGHTED APPROACH. There is a better way, but we will never see it while such draconian measure are in effect.

95% pirated? Oh, give me a break. I’m not as stupid as I look.

Posted by commonManBob | Report as abusive
 

I’m not exactly a “regular” person in that I work for an entertainment industry union (I’m speaking as an individual here though), and I am pretty ambivalent at best about SOPA. Content theft (“piracy” overly romanticizes it) has most definitely affected our rank and file members’ earnings, people who need that money to pay their bills, and I believe it needs to be dealt with far more firmly and effectively than it has. However, I’m not entirely sold that SOPA, regardless of its effectiveness, is the way to go about it, even with the amendment taking the DNS language out.

I think in the long run, it’s going to make more sense for the producers to more aggressively adapt to a market where, frankly, theft (as the economic model currently stands) is far too easy and rampant to ever truly control without risk of over-reach. Maybe we will see more private and government subsidies of work than we have now, but I believe it’s more likely going to commercialize work in a way that will be almost unrecognizable. Something will have to happen though because creation costs.

All that said, the hyperbole around this has been absolutely ridiculous. I’m really sick of this being posited as simply “free spirits and thinkers of the internet Age of Aquarius” versus Hollywood Corporate Overlords and government jackboots. Big Tech is absolutely real, they’ve made billions off the trafficking of content of others, and they absolutely stand to lose profits once it gets reined in. Of course they’re throwing around words like “censorship,” much less wailings like this will “destroy expression” and “set America on fire.” I hope all of the rabid /b/ros out there blustering about this realize they’re really ultimately doing it in the service of corporate overlords and middlemen on the other side of the coin.

Posted by Barrymore | Report as abusive
 

This is a BAD idea. A review of the organizations behind this “railroad train” confirm it’s adoption will NOT be good for “we, the people”.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

I’m a software engineer and 100% of my salary for decades has come from people paying for the copyrighted intellectual property I made. I get why copyrights need to be enforced.

But as someone who has seen DMCA takedown notices used more for evil than for good, it’s clear to me that the SOPA is the wrong way of going about enforcing copyright.

DMCA, the current stupid law, only allows people to take down a particular infringing piece of speech (file, text, etc). But the SOPA allows taking down the whole website for a single infringement.

Does anyone think that googlegroups.com, facebook.com, or yahoogroups.com should be shut down completely if someone posts infringing material on those sites? If so please raise your hand.

Posted by rolamis | Report as abusive
 

AndrewSee, on what basis do you accuse 75% of your mother’s customers of being criminals?

Posted by Danny_Black | Report as abusive
 

Property is property, whether it is a car, a patented process or a idea, and should be protected by the law…hey Salmon, here is your real person that supports the lawmakers protecting the rights of the creative class to profit from their labor…

Posted by D.D.T.KOOL-AID | Report as abusive
 

D.D.T.KOOL-AID, by creative class you presumably mean the cokeheads who work in record companies?

Posted by Danny_Black | Report as abusive
 

Barrymore, what profits do “Big Tech” stand to lose once all that pirated content magically disappears? Care to quantify how much, say, Google will lose?

There are plenty of models for creative content distribution. The reason the record companies and film studios don’t like it is because almost certainly they are not goig to be part of it in their current form. If someone has genuinely useful content then the vast majority of people will pay for it.

Posted by Danny_Black | Report as abusive
 

I oppose SOPA. Information and knowledge should be free and dissimenated

Posted by tombvortx | Report as abusive
 

I oppose SOPA. Information and knowledge should be free and disseminated.

Posted by tombvortx | Report as abusive
 

EconomistDuNort said:

“NetworkAdmin wrote: (a whole long lecture on internet tech)”

This is a huge problem and is how the majority of congress is dealing with tech talk. You can’t just ignore it because it proves you wrong…

And this:
“Wow, did you think up that brilliant statement up all by yourself?!
Truly an intellect like yours is a rare thing.”

Kids say things like that, grow up

Posted by throwaway51230 | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, I like the convenience of downloading stuff that I simply can’t afford. The other day I needed a copy of Mathematica, so — poof! — I grabbed versions of Mathematica 8.0 for Windows and OS X from one of the bit torrent sites. It’s that easy. Broadband paid for itself yet again.

My 14 year old son spends all his free time looking at porn on the Internet (that’s when I’m being respectful of his unconstrained right to to surf the Internet without constraint). There is no safe version of safe search.

The business model of the Internet is built on theft of intellectual property, distribution of pornography, and anonymous defamation.

It’s become tiresome. Somebody needs to be held responsible and I think Google and the ISPs are a good place to start.

Posted by xyz70 | Report as abusive
 

The U.S.Chamber of Commerce, AARP, Major Media, and a vast demographic addressed by shils like Robert Wagner’s in his appearance for “reverse mortgages” has a listener in Congress. They hear foreign, rogue, copyright theft, and Internet in one sentence and it sounds bad. It sounds evil. Stomping that out sounds like a good thing to do so we can restore the American Way and slow down the bewildering global network. That’s what Congress does. Someone said they don’t know the complexity of it all, that they might break it. Well, I am glad they don’t “know” it. The Internet was never intended to be the one-and-only neural network for everyone and everything. It is a cobbled-together mess. Along came e-commerce, then media, and engineers have coded, routed, open-sourced, standards-ized, and creatively built a more capable cobbled-up version. Someone said “they can’t just say stop!” (because it’s really just millions of individual servers – ghost or real). The CONGRESS won’t do that. Even Ronald Reagan, at his best, would not have said such a thing.
Relax. The Internet, ideally, would self-regulate and content creators would be certain of receiving their payment. Something needs to be done. If not now when? After China’s 400 or 500 million finally get online as they build out? This debate is like what happened in the 1800′s when English copyrights were ignored and were printed onshore here. Now we have the Library of Congress. They have a copyrighted issue of What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Not a bad thing.

Posted by twocreeks | Report as abusive
 

I am an artist and Musician. I have wholeheartedly fought against SOPA, PIPA, and the DMCA. We need a better system that bases itself more within the market structures of the net, as opposed to forcing the brick and mortar systems onto the internet consumer.

also, the clarity of the bill, or many bills for that matter. Succinct and transparent law would be pleasant.

Posted by atomdari | Report as abusive
 

Congress has not been reflecting public opinion for some time no. One example, the Clinton impeachment which was wildly unpopular. Or, to move into your domain, the tax debate. It comes as a surprise that this is a surprise to you.

Posted by SaulTann | Report as abusive
 

I’m a real person, I’m very much against piracy, and I’m a web developer.

I’m against SOPA for a few reasons:
1. It’s not going to stop piracy. To think that it can is naive; it’s too big a problem. We never stopped people from making mix-tapes in the 80s/90s; they stopped because something better came along. The internet is far too big to police in this way, and it’s going to cost MORE to stop people from pirating things than anyone is loosing on pirated content in the first place.

2. It’s not going to hurt the major pirates. They have the resources and the man power to put up content and move content faster than anyone can play whack-a-mole on it. It’s going to hurt little start-up companies who are doing their best on a shoe-string budget and can’t afford to fight a court battle when they aren’t quick enough at removing content that was user-generated, even if they have the best intentions. Most of those major silicon valley companies started out as a couple of guys with a cool idea.

Posted by rainedragon | Report as abusive
 

“Care to quantify how much, say, Google will lose?”

Google, which owns YouTube, which looks the other way on millions of hours of copyrighted material on its website that it sells advertising for? Presumably a sizable amount.

Of course, I’m sure Sergey Brin is against SOPA merely because he is against “censorship,” though.

Posted by Barrymore | Report as abusive
 

Re: “Creative America”.

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-nugent  /0/226/321

With an executive director with that background, does that look like real sod?

Posted by MaysonLancaster | Report as abusive
 

The media industry is acting like the internet is the problem. BWAHAHAHA. Seriously, what happened with vhs? Cassette? CD? DVD? Don’t need the internet to pirate.

VHS, record right off the tv or borrow a movie from a friend.

Cassette meets radio.

CD meet computer with burning software. (borrow musician’s hard work)

DVD meet computer with burning software. (borrow movie)

No internets or tubes needed to do the above.

See what I did there? Piracy doesn’t end with censoring the internet. It ends when the archaic format for distribution evolves to meet the consumer(The people you are trying to screw over.)

Sure, censor the net and you have all your profits back…(sarcasm) Good job big media!

Posted by Jimnay | Report as abusive
 

Barrymore, so just to translate your response “I have no idea but I will insist it is a non-trivial amount despite the fact that youtube hardly contributes to Google’s bottom line”. Weird how when pushed how little real data advocates have but how they are absolutely adamant that priracy – as opposed to a model solely designed to screw the customer and crappy content – is the real cause of the decline in earnings

Posted by Danny_Black | Report as abusive
 

The problem with SOPA deals with the fact that the ones who wrote the bill really do not know what they are talking about. This bill, if passed will censor US owned IP addresses, not just IP addresses owned in the US. This may seem like a small oversight, but in the layman’s terms this means that the censorship will also be put in place in Canada. The bill is full of oversights like this. I support copyrights, but this bill is not the way to protect them. Not by a long shot.

Posted by astrojz | Report as abusive
 

I’m a “regular person” and I support SOPA.

What is entirely missing from the anti-SOPA crowd is an intelligent conversation, or even inkling regarding how completely useless copyright laws are. They simple cannot be used to defend a copyright holder’s rights. Sure you can point to this or that antiquated copyright law, and say you have some legal recourse, but the reality is that in the digital economy there is absolutely no way that a copyright holder can enforce their rights, even if they are willing to go bankrupt to do so.

I see SOPA as a reaction to the reality that copyright laws simply offer no real protection. I did not realize this until a friend; a small time artist found that her private, unreleased work had been pirated without her permission. She turned to me, an attorney for help, and although I was hesitant and had no experience dealing with such issues, I agreed to volunteer my time for her. What ensued was a nightmare.

In order to discover who it was that pirated her work, we had to contact dozens of web hosts, subpoena dozens of entities, contact law enforcement (which is not willing to assist in any civil matters, especially for individuals), attempt to file in several states, etc. The vast majority refused to cooperate. Then we discovered that her work was uploaded to dozens and dozens of pirate sites. I am not talking about sites which are simple forums for art work or discussion; I am talking about sites which exist solely to pirate digital files. We discovered that pirates were copying files, uploading them to web lockers, and getting PAID for the amount of downloads they got: a veritable underground black market where pirated goods were traded for profit.

What began as a search for one culprit ended up being a lesson in how she as a copyright holder, had no real rights at all. The actual cost for trying to file ONE suit against an individual is multiplied thousands and thousands of times over on the internet, to the point where a copyright holder has no real enforceable rights. Discovering that your work is now being pirated overseas, means that you can kiss your rights goodbye. After exhausting a chunk of money, and burning through some of my good will, my friend simply decided to stop.

Having seed how my friend’s work was pirated, how dozens of sites hosted her work, how such sites exist solely to pirate, and how pirates profit, I can see where the backers of SOPA are coming from. For my friend, this has meant the stuff she had been working on for years went down the drain, and such a sense of frustration that she has decided to call it quits. For small copyright holders, there is no day in court, no vindication of one’s rights, no holding anyone to account. Given that major companies, with millions in profits cannot even control their copyrights, what makes anyone think that the little guy has a chance of protecting their works?

This perspective, that of the copyright holder, and how utterly inadequate current laws are, is entirely missing from the anti-SOPA crowd.

Posted by JWal9 | Report as abusive
 

I, blogger Michael Crook, support SOPA:

http://blog.michael-crook.com/2011/12/so pa-is-good-for-america.html

Posted by michaelcrook | Report as abusive
 

I Support SOPA
the entire thing just seems strange.
http://tagzme.com/blog/view/599/i-suppor t-the-move-for-sopa

Posted by mrcoffee | Report as abusive
 

I must admit, as an artist who has seen his work reposted in the past by people claiming to be the original artist, I can understand why we need some form of copyright protection beyond the current laws in place. There’s no way the common artist could afford to pursue each issue of this happening, nor could anyone hope to stop pirating of their work once it’s begun.
Looking at SOPA though, I find myself thinking about how I got my start, by posting fan art of my favorite subjects on fansites, getting feedback from other artists and giving said feedback in turn. Yes, my work got posted beyond where I had originally intended, but in hindsight, I realize that the benefits I gained through my sense of community helped me to grow as an artist. Not only that, but the fansites I posted on exposed me to other series, artists, and so forth which I would never have seen or heard about otherwise. Many times, a good piece of fan art would lead to me purchasing the DVD set of a series, or the CDs of other musicians when I heard one of their works on a fansite.
Should SOPA go into effect, fan sites would be completely wiped off the face of the internet. Why? Because any artwork, images, music, scenes, quotes, or even the mere mention of the licensed work’s name would have the potential for the provider to consider it a violation of their copyright. It doesn’t stop there. Say you post a photo of your child on your Facebook page. No harm in that right? Wait, what’s on the child’s shirt? Is that a Disney character? Instant takedown and lock out of your Facebook account, and government agents will be there shortly to arrest you for copyright infringement because you forgot to pixel or airbrush out the picture of Mickey Mouse on you kid’s shirt. Also, you had a picture of yourself in Nike tennis shoes at a basketball game? Well, you can’t depict the Nike logo nor that official NBA basketball you all were playing with in your photos, so those two companies are now suing you for copyright infringement as well because you claimed your photographs were your own work and not givng them proper citation in your work. These seem like extreme cases, but why do you think that reality shows have to blur out commercial product logos on clothing and billboards in the background? Because these things are copyrighted, and the company could sue them for “representing their company in a way the company doesn’t wish to be represented.”
I wish I could talk more about the technical reasons why SOPA would be impossible to run without destroying the internet. My basic idea of how it would work would be to compare it to a search engine. Type in a work of a licensed item, such as “Wolverine.” This could refer to Wolverine boots, or it could refer to the character Wolverine from the X-Men published by Marvel Comics, or it could simply refer to the animal. Now, under SOPA, companies would have to do a general web search for that word. Do you think it would be feasible to send a “cease and desist” order to only those sites with images of the character or boot, and not the animal? Nope! Instead, any mention of the word “Wolverine” will lead to the instant take down of the offending website, barring legal action to prove the site did not have any copyright violation. This is essentially a case of “Guilty until proven innocent.” More so, you are responsible for any legal fees generated by the process of serving you with said notice, the legal fees of the potential copyright owner(s) you may have inconvenienced with the necessary investigation, and your own defense. Oh, and odds are you’ll be fined by the company hosting your site as well. (Which is probably why a certain webhost started out supporting it until it lost too many big name customers.) I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to pay Stephen King thousands of dollars and risk jail time for every time I use the word “It” in a sentence simply because it’s the copyrighted title of one of his book. (Used as an example due to the commonality of the word, not because I think Stephen King would sue everyone who ever used the word “It” in a sentence.) Keep in mind, this isn’t even getting into all the coding and programing that is in place with the internet, this is just the basic concept of how a search engine works to give an idea of the scope of the problem with SOPA.
Also keep in mind that many of the companies supporting this bill also have been trying to make it illegal to resell their product. Game companies have been putting in codes to prevent playing past certain levels or even preventing access to the game itself without connecting to the their server with the code tied to your account. Some music companies and motion pictures have codes to redeem to get access to special features. Now, if you were to post your used CD, DVD, or game up, they could claim it’s a violation of their copyright since they’re not getting paid from you reselling it, enabling them to force say, Amazon or Ebay’s service providers to shut the site down until they go through the legal litegation to prove that it’s a lawful transaction. How many times do you think these companies will go through the trouble of doing so before they simply shut their doors and lay off the thousands who work for them?
Lastly, the very products and brands that SOPA is trying to protect will be harmed because of these strict regulations. People won’t be willing to chat about their favorite things online for fear of legal action being taken against themselves. All those forums where people discuss films and music? Gone. All that free advertising and referrals? Also gone.
When you’re too afraid to say what you want to say because you know the Government and Big Business will ruin your life and possibly have you thrown in jail just for saying what you want to say, that is censorship. If this goes through, you won’t see me on the internet, as I’ll be too afraid of goosestepping brown shirted people coming to find me because I said I didn’t like a product or simply this act of denouncing SOPA before it goes into effect.

Posted by Mik88 | Report as abusive
 

Maybe if SOPA was explained in laymen terms I would no what the hell you all are talking about.

Posted by Tennie | Report as abusive
 

Maybe if SOPA was explained in laymen terms I would no what the hell you all are talking about.

Posted by Tennie | Report as abusive
 

Maybe if SOPA was explained in laymen terms I would no what the hell you all are talking about.

Posted by Tennie | Report as abusive
 

Get it?

Posted by Tennie | Report as abusive
 

I absolutely support SOPA and I am a real person. I have a relative who is a songwriter, and who is now going to abandon this profession. I know writers who have abandoned the idea of ever finishing that Great American Novel. What kind of world are we advocating when we don’t support our artists, our writers, our philosophers? Google and the other search engines are big bullies who are whining about creating methods that would protect piracy. It’s possible to do, but they would rather jump up and down and stomp their feet like toddlers. Sorry — doesn’t cut it with me. It’s time to protect our creative folks — not the big companies — the actual creators of the material: the songs, the books, the screen plays.

Posted by CaliLiz | Report as abusive
 

I am a composer, and I oppose SOPA.

Numerous studies have shown that piracy does not have a negative impact on sales.

Here’s one:
http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/publications/s ummary/11010021.html

The value of an artist is not in the works they create, but in their ability to generate said works. The consumer’s dollar is an investment in your next project. If you’re worried about someone stealing your ideas, keep them to yourself.

SOPA is an extreme and irresponsible response to what has been shown to be a minor problem.

Posted by ArtistAntiSOPA | Report as abusive
 

I am a composer, and I oppose SOPA.

Numerous studies have shown that piracy does not have a negative impact on sales.

Here’s one:
http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/publications/s ummary/11010021.html

The value of an artist is not in the works they create, but in their ability to generate said works. The consumer’s dollar is an investment in your next project. If you’re worried about someone stealing your ideas, keep them to yourself.

SOPA is an extreme and irresponsible response to what has been shown to be a minor problem.

Posted by ArtistAntiSOPA | Report as abusive
 

A response to ArtistsForSOPA:

Are you serious? Have you just NOT seen the 5 comments prior to yours which were made by self-proclaimed creators (network admins notwithstanding) who oppose this bill? I am an unknown (save by friends and family) piano/orchestra composer, I use Cubase 4 (purchased in full for 800$) and a rinkydink piano to create music. I have built over 30 original works. All of which aren’t bad, just not industry standard materials.
I oppose SOPA. Don’t you get it? My opposition (and that of many on this Board) has nothing to do with copyrights! Cut the hand off of the thief! It has to do with balance of power! This nation’s Court system is based and built upon the “tried and true” approach of ‘so-and-so vs. Nebraska 19XX’. We as a country use cases tried earlier to strengthen our interpretations of “conduct”. If this bill passes, there will be hundreds or thousands of court cases which will be nominated the precedents for future cases. New ideas and interpretations of “conduct” will be open for debate, with the courts (remember the lady that got off scott free for killing her kids) and presidential/congressional contributors set as the interpreters.
THAT is the problem, and THAT is exactly what you and the rumored thousands like you don’t quite understand. You just get swept away by the idea of a one-hit-KO on piracy, but its just not that simple.
Instead of spending tens of millions of dollars trying to shortcut the internet, why not invest a few million in new forms of digital medium? or better copy-wright enforcement programs? It can be done, but no one does.
Think about it.

Posted by Variations | Report as abusive
 

Just for a repost if anyone hasnt gotten it already :D
EC 17, 2011
10:33 PM EST
The media industry is acting like the internet is the problem. BWAHAHAHA. Seriously, what happened with vhs? Cassette? CD? DVD? Don’t need the internet to pirate.
VHS, record right off the tv or borrow a movie from a friend.
Cassette meets radio.
CD meet computer with burning software. (borrow musician’s hard work)
DVD meet computer with burning software. (borrow movie)
No internets or tubes needed to do the above.
See what I did there? Piracy doesn’t end with censoring the internet. It ends when the archaic format for distribution evolves to meet the consumer(The people you are trying to screw over.)
Sure, censor the net and you have all your profits back…(sarcasm) Good job big media!
Posted by Jimnay | Report as abusive

Jimnay whoever you are,
your a brilliant person. as he states clearly, its not about what the internet does or doesnt do,.. people will still find ways to pirate stuff. as for me i find means of finding ways either getting it for free or finding a alternative, for example… microsoft office, its pricy…. comparison? Openoffice.. same exact thing. just not so glamourous.. expensive high detailed 3d image maker…. close to $1000 right? comparison… blender3d…. warcraft 3…. comparison.. = glest!!!

Posted by mike32547 | Report as abusive
 

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