Antipiracy fix crashes in a new-media storm

  • Article by: JOHN RASH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 8:03 PM

Fighting the legislation known as PIPA and SOPA, Silicon Valley and citizen activists overwhelm the Beltway.

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darkknight9Jan. 20, 12 9:29 PM

Two things to take form this: (1)Thank goodness someone is finally organizing enough to stop the .gov from taking more of our rights away from us and (2)They didn't kill it, they just set it aside. It will be back.

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grizzly2011Jan. 21, 12 6:54 AM

Example: A beautiful woman walks down the street. She is a model who does runway and print. She makes money from her physical appearance. A man gazes at her as she walks down the street and admires her beauty. The model approaches the man and DEMANDS a royalty because he looked at her. She makes her money off her physical appearance, right? So shouldn't she get paid when a man admires her? That doesn't make any sense, does it? It makes NO MORE sense than a musical "artist" or a film "artist" demanding a royalty every time someone listens to their song or looks at their movie. It costs the artist or production house NOTHING when someone listens to a song or watches a movie or copies the zeroes and ones that represent it digitally. The fact is that these people make a lot of money for doing nothing. They just sit back and collect their royalties sometimes for work they did decades ago. Copyright law MUST be reformed. Give these music and movie makers ONE YEAR copyrights so they can recoup their investment and make as much profit as possible then put it in the public domain. If these people want to keep control of their work, they should not release it to the public. Once they release it, it is out there and should be freely disseminated by anyone. Would anyone be upset if there are no more crappy Tom Hanks movies?

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balderdashedJan. 21, 12 8:01 AM

Chris Dodd should know about "kids who can't get their way, hold their breath and start screaming," since bringing lawsuits against children has been one of the key tactics of those who would combat piracy by intimidation and trampling on the rights of everyone else. But the analogy is better applied to the MPAA itself. Their claims with respect to dollars lost to piracy are patently absurd -- they and the RIAA, etc. presume that the movies, songs, etc. that are illegally downloaded would otherwise have been purchased. And when they can't get their way, they don't just start screaming, they break things. They secretly introduce new copy protection schemes that make the movie you just bought and paid for suddenly unplayable on your DVD or blu-ray player. They suddenly disable functions on equipment you bought and paid for, so you can longer use that Playstation or other device as you see fit. Or they'll go so far as to install malicious software on your computer without your knowledge (remember Sony's "rootkit" scheme that left computers vulnerable to viruses). Commentator Rash suggests that "If Silicon Valley really wants to prove Dodd wrong," it will take it upon itself to help solve the piracy problem for MPAA. While piracy is a problem, it is the MPAA itself that resists any serious solution, which might begin with making movies available in the formats consumers actually want, at a reasonable price. Instead of listening to their customers, they prefer to live in their own version of a Hollywood fantasy, one that belongs in another century. The MPAA denounced the anti-SOPA blackouts -- in what sounds like a line from a bad 1950s sci-fi film -- as a gimmick spawned by "foreign criminals" to turn us all into "corporate pawns." Really, Mr. Dodd. How can I hold my breath to get my way, when I can't resist laughing at such bad, B-movie dialog?

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teddytwotoneJan. 21, 12 9:23 AM

"Chris Dodd has little patience for opponents of federal antipiracy legislation." Of course he doesn't. His party is heavily funded by Hollywood. Hollywood is so powerful that the penalty for copying movies is more severe than killing someone.

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ashleystpaulJan. 21, 12 9:49 AM

This would all be a lot more credible if it wasn't supported by the likes of Google. This is the same Google that claims that it has a right to publish any book, written by anyone, at any time, whether the book is under copyright or not. In other words, according to Google, a writer is not entitled to make a living from their work. Google has a right to steal it from them. This isn't about someone seeing something in the public domain - such as a person walking down the street - and sharing it with others. Public domain remains public domain. This is about people taking private property that other people have worked hard on, re-publishing it without permission, then claiming that because they published it it is now in the public domain. And using it to sell ad space on the site on which they published it. So why not use existing law to protect copyright? Because existing law doesn't cross borders. All someone has to do now is set up their web site 30 feet across the border and existing law can't touch them. Don't forget that most of the copyright holders who are being protected by this law are your neighbors. Photographers, writers, etc. Yes, the big media companies are in favor of this, but Google and Wikipedia are big media companies as well. The difference is that Google and Wikipedia make their money from other people's labor that they are unwilling to pay for. And see what happens if you try to use something on your website that Google has copyrighted. Google will stomp on you with every lawyer they own. These aren't the protectors of free speech, democracy, or the little guy. They are protecting a business model that allows them to use other people's property without paying for it. Where I come from that's stealing.

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captainblighJan. 21, 12 9:57 AM

"Google that claims that it has a right to publish any book" Can you provide something to back up that claim? That is like Xerox being responsible for someone copying a book on a machine somewhere.

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gojohnnygoJan. 21, 1210:00 AM

Not sure the US Gov't should be regulating the internet. It will dawn on congress soon that the internet is much bigger and stronger than any individual countries' government. Ham-fisted policies proposed by the USA will be seen in hindsight as ridiculous and full of hubris. An organization much more related to the internet itself should do the policing, not the cowboy-like USA and their Gov't policies.

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lemminkainenJan. 21, 1210:05 AM

Fox owner Murdoch is pro-SOPA and PIPA, as is, as are the other corporate media conglomerates. They're trying to keep their gatekeeper of information status opposed to the free flow of information of a free and informed society.

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getcrazyJan. 21, 1210:17 AM

"It shows the power of the Internet, and it also shows that as powerful as interest groups may be in providing information and lobbying members of Congress, at the end of the day they are still responsive to the people who have the power to vote them in and out of office."-----This is exactly why we can't let these two bills go through. It would allow elected officials and their corporate sponsors to stifle voices of the American people and let media companies turn the internet into the same model as cable television and network media. Then they only show us what they want us to see so they can manufacture consent for what they want to improve their bottom lines or political dogma. The internet is the only thing we have where we can quickly and effectively affect the choices our elected officials make. The fact that both bills hit a brick wall this week is testament to that. The federal government would be able to shut down media with due process. This goes against our constitutional rights. They already have a way to deal these issues through due process. They shut down the massive online piracy website Megavideo this week without either bill and have arrested the people who ran the website. This was done without either of these new bills. There is already a way to deal with this. We don't need to give up our constitutional rights for this and it shouldn't even ever be suggested we give up those rights for any reason. If we don't have freedom of speech and due process in law and our judicial system we don't have anything.

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mn_cameraJan. 21, 1210:41 AM

It looks like people, some people anyway, are finally drawing the distinction between opposing infringement (let's call it what it is, no one is boarding a ship with guns blazing here) and giving corporations the unlimited right to shutter sites with no hearing or other due process.

I was in a heated forum exchange the other day with an indie film distributor who complained that a film her company was handling was being passed around online before it hit theatrical release. She didn't seem to like my pointing out that that clearly indicated that someone upstream of the theaters was the leak source.

You want to stop infringement? Get a better class of internet users. There is no DRM scheme yet, nor is there likely ever to be one, that can't and won't be circumvented. That includes shuttering websites.

It's not about supporting "piracy" nearly as much as it is about supporting due process.

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