SOPA Hysteria

So unless you've been living under a rock fo the last few months, you're probably aware of SOPA - the Stop Online Piracy Act. It's a bill that was winding its way through Congress which aimed to address the issue of overseas content piracy and counterfeit product sales. The legislation drew a slew of protests over part of its implementation method, which even if you're living in a cave, should be well known to you by now. It's the same kind of doomsaying nonsense that always comes up with internet legislation: The evil USA is stamping out my free speech!

Several websites have chosen today to "go dark" in opposition to the bill. Most of them are ill-informed morons though. They're almost universally putting forth a spew of propaganda about how it spells the end of the 1st Amendment on the internet, how "just anyone" can have an entire domain thrown offline never to be seen again, and how folks will be rotting in jail just like all those Iranian or Chinese dissidents. Which does a severe disservice to the actual plight of Iranian and Chinese dissidents by trivializing their situations for propaganda purposes.

What this does of course is make a gullible public who has no clue WTF is going on panic. They then flood their congressmen with thousands of emails with identical text from some ill conceived online petition about how they don't want their free speech curbed. Most folks you may talk to don't even know what the purpose of the legislation is, much less the process behind how it actually works to seek a site being taken offline.

There are even several sites involved in the "go dark" day that are using communist symbols to promote their agenda. That's just lovely. It has all the same hallmarks of the Occupy movement. Which isn't something to be proud of.

All of this should of course sound eerily familiar, unless your cave didn't have internet in 1998. I'm referring of course to the doomsday predictions for free speech and innovation that were raised over the DMCA back then. None of which have since been realized. The boy is crying wolf yet again.

The reality is, the legislation as proposed does not do any of the things people are scaring themselves silly over. It is specifically targeted toward foreign websites who are engaged in activity which is already criminal. It merely gives the content providers and product makers tools they don't currently have to enforce their copyright and trademark rights. There's even a rather extensive due process involved that's probably leagues ahead of how the DMCA operates.

Read along with the actual copy of the legislation. Specifically, Section 102, subsection b. The process by which a site can be taken to task is detailed there. The US Attorney General must initiate it, and they have to go through a notice and counter-notice procedure similar to how the DMCA works. Note that nowhere in there does it say that "just anyone" can file this notice. So already you actually have more protection against bogus claims than you do with the DMCA.

If notice is not acted upon, the AG still has to go to court and get an injunction against the site. Providers will not be required to do ANYTHING until a court order has been issued on the matter.

The rest of the proposed legislation deals with plenty of other things that also have similar high bars for action. So the only conclusion I can draw is that the majority of those opposed are either pirates or counterfeiters, or companies that directly benefit from the activities of both.

It is also worth mentioning, since every last article I have read to date utterly fails to mention it, ONLY a copyright holder has any legal standing to sue over infringement of their work. Similarly with trademark and patent issues. Facts like this are poison to those opposed though because it doesn't fit their agenda politics of "anyone can take any site down".

I am generally against the idea of passing new laws to deal with problems that existing laws can already address. This country has enough junk legislation on the books already that we're not paying attention to. In this case, however, the tools don't exist in the law to seek remedy against a site that's stealing your stuff overseas. There may be some implementation problems with the DNS portion of SOPA, but rather than protest like wild animals and whip up a public frenzy over an issue that never existed, one should instead seek to improve the bill to remove the objections.

Piracy and counterfeiting are not going away. The issue will come up in Congress again in the future. Tabling the bill they have now will only delay the inevitable. Hopefully by then the rabid and uninformed opposition will give way to reasoned analysis and FACTS. We wouldn't be in this situation at all if people would quit feeling as though they were entitled to their movies, music, and games, without having to pay for them.

As an aside, I posted some responses last night over at TES Nexus. For those who's caves didn't get the memo, that's a game modding site primarily focused on the Elder Scrolls series. My responses, save one, have all been deleted since last night. Which I consider rather ironic given the outcry against this bill. Censorship is only bad if you're censoring someone who agrees with you?
.........................
RIP United States of America

July 1776 - November 2012.

       
« 2012 New Hampshire Primary
2012 South Carolina Primary »

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 1:10 pm by Samson in: , | 57 comment(s) [Closed]
Comments
Personally i do not see these laws doing much at all to stop movie and music downloads, counterfeit handbags and watches sure it will sow them down, but on anything that is purely digital, it will not stop an damn thing. The worst thing that will happen with music downloads, is it will move underground again using private sites, bbs's and other such server means to distribute the materials.

Much tougher laws have not stopped the distribution of child pornography and the tougher these laws get the futher underground the move, the same will be with digital downloads, it will just move underground and into places where it is much harder to p[olice and detect.

       
That may well be true, but the excuse that we can't stop them shouldn't be used to say we shouldn't even try. The further rogue sites like that get driven underground, the better. If that means you have to use Tor to find them, it'll only reinforce my belief that Tor has been perverted from its original purpose.

The DMCA didn't stop infringement activity, but that doesn't mean we throw our hands up and tell the copyright holders that they're out of luck either.

       
Well i am not advocating giving up, but, maybe there are more cost effective ways to bring about the desired result without resorting to lawyers and the courts, which are highly inefficient. Also, the fact that this will revolve around domain names means that if you shut down my fury.hax.nz site after 6 to 12 months of court wrangling, all i have to do it pop up again at fury.dl.ru on a different server on a different host in some other part of the world and continue on business as usual as the US legal system try's to keep up. Mostly it will be an arms race that you, the US tax payer is going to fund and one you will never be ahead in.

       
I guess I'm a little surprised to see this particular post out of you, considering you were pretty unhappy with the DMCA back in the day, but oh well.

There's a lot to argue about re: SOPA, but as I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, I'll restrain myself from arguing about things like DNS blocking.

Several issues:

1. The DMCA, as troublesome as it is, would seem to me to be enough tool for the job, such as it is. Mechanisms already exist for enforcement of copyright protections, and adding more does not seem to me to be an effective way of combating the issue. This is to say that I find it likely that the number of Chinese pirates in sweatshops burning Microsoft Windows DVDs and camcorder copies of movies likely to be stopped by this law will be somewhere close to zero. Nor, for that matter, is it likely to do anything to prevent me, if I wished, from getting a CD from somebody and ripping a copy.

So the overriding point here is that we're discussing a law that's not actually going to prevent piracy unless the pirates for some reason decide to roll over and play dead. If you're against laws that amount to nothing more than ineffectual handwaving and shoving bad ideas down our throats, this fact alone ought to be enough to raise big red flags.

And that's not even to discuss the actual implementation problems inherent in the bill.

SOPA would seem to me to be about as effective at stopping piracy as banning bayonet lugs and high capacity magazines were at stopping gun crime.

2. SOPA would appear to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater by allowing for takedowns of entire sites as opposed to single infringing items. Pirate Bay may be one thing, this is true, but this would seem to be pretty troublesome for file sharing sites or, say, YouTube and its various clones. We all know there's plenty of infringing stuff on YouTube, but people using some song as the background music for their video doesn't seem worth shutting the site down over, which is certainly what they, with legal teams, seem to believe.

3. Contrary to what is written in the OP, my reading of SOPA (and more to the point, the reading of actual lawyers) would seem to support the idea that it grants both the Attorney General and random copyright holders ("qualifying plaintiffs" ) extrajudicial powers to issue takedowns on sites at their discretion (section 103/105). Moreover, never mind the idea of SOPA being targeted at foreign sites (a questionable idea in and of itself), it's altogether believable to me, based on a reading of sections 101/102, to interpret the law in such a way as to allow action against US sites. Insofar as people with actual legal teams believe the same thing, I think I'm on safe ground here.

The whole "grants the AG extrajudicial powers" bit of course raises any number of red flags, but that's a somewhat seperate argument.

4. Coming back to the DMCA for a moment, while I agree that it has not, contrary to belief, brought about the abject downfall of western civilization, it nevertheless remains true that it is a piece of legislation that's quite open to abuse, and that it has brought about a certain level of problem insofar as companies like YouTube and Scribd react to anything that might be a DMCA takedown notice with a "takedown first, don't ask questions at all ever" policy. I've personally written at some length on a Scribd case, and I'm aware of issues with YouTube as well.

All of which is to say that if you don't believe DMCA has been abused heavily by copyright holders, and if you don't believe that they likewise would love to do away with fair use provisions, you've been living under a rock for the last decade, and I find that the idea that the RIAA/MPAA wouldn't abuse the ever loving shit out of SOPA in any way they could to be beyond the realm of rational belief.

"Kind of like the DMCA, except worse" is no basis for good law.

       
Edited by Dwip on Jan 18, 2012 9:15 pm
On a rather different note, searches in your search box for "piracy" and "pirate" would appear to generate fatal Sandbox errors, for some random reason.

       
Sigh..
You've managed to (I hope, it is through ignorance) misunderstand SOPA and PIPA/Protect IP. Seriously, actually read the technical explanations of it; it is open to incredible abuse. The whole bill is rotten to the core (as is Protect IP.).

       
What I find interesting about this isn't the rampant "discussions" taking place at TMC for the last week and a half about it, but that Samson has implied (ok, basically openly accused) all the sites that "went dark" yesterday in protest of SOPA are either pirate sites or ones who directly benefit from pirate sites and yet even Google.com itself had a "censor block" over their logo for the day which, when one moused over it, read something to the effect of tell congress not to pass SOPA. To the best of my knowledge, they really aren't in the business of piracy nor are they truly benefiting directly from it. :shrug:

The_Fury said:

Well i am not advocating giving up, but, maybe there are more cost effective ways to bring about the desired result without resorting to lawyers and the courts, which are highly inefficient. Also, the fact that this will revolve around domain names means that if you shut down my fury.hax.nz site after 6 to 12 months of court wrangling, all i have to do it pop up again at fury.dl.ru on a different server on a different host in some other part of the world and continue on business as usual as the US legal system try's to keep up. Mostly it will be an arms race that you, the US tax payer is going to fund and one you will never be ahead in.

Alas, this is the real crux of the problem with bills like SOPA, DMCA, PIP, etc. Even if they are of the best intentions, and somehow nobody ever decides to abuse them, they're still ultimately essentially worthless in opposing the folks they specifically are meant to target.

I'm basically siding with Dwip on this one.
Dwip said:

So the overriding point here is that we're discussing a law that's not actually going to prevent piracy unless the pirates for some reason decide to roll over and play dead. If you're against laws that amount to nothing more than ineffectual handwaving and shoving bad ideas down our throats, this fact alone ought to be enough to raise big red flags.

Let's face it, big red flags do get raised in my mind about points like this. As Samson himself pointed out:
Samson said:

This country has enough junk legislation on the books already that we're not paying attention to.

And I'm very afraid that this is not likely to be an exception.

Dwip said:

The whole "grants the AG extrajudicial powers" bit of course raises any number of red flags

Personally, the very idea of granting any attorney general, let alone the federal one, any sort of extrajudicial powers absolutely gives me the chills, forget about merely raising red flags.

Dwip said:

it nevertheless remains true that it is a piece of legislation that's quite open to abuse, and that it has brought about a certain level of problem insofar as companies like YouTube and Scribd react to anything that might be a DMCA takedown notice with a "takedown first, don't ask questions at all ever" policy.

I think we've actually all seen this one at play with regard to YouTube and I suspect that we've all seen it at play on other sites from time to time as well. In fact, I'd even hazard a guess that some amongst us have even reacted similarly ourselves a few times in the past. Do we really want a stronger version of DMCA on the books to not replace DMCA but to potentially overlap it? Seriously??

Ultimately, Samson, you hit the nail on the head when you said in your closing of the original post:
Samson said:

We wouldn't be in this situation at all if people would quit feeling as though they were entitled to their movies, music, and games, without having to pay for them.

So the real question is how do we educate people so that they realize what we learned back in the 70s and 80s that our parents called "morals" rather than what laws can we pass to add to the already overwhelming legislative body we Americans routinely labor to pretend aren't so self-conflicted as to make it nearly impossible to actually live a normal life in a normal fashion without ever breaking a law?

       
I guess we should stop passing laws against anything then, because everything can potentially be abused and none of them actually prevent crime. Like, oh, I dunno, the numerous laws on the books making murder a punishable crime. Which, I can assure you, would make the leftist anarchist groups very very happy.

As for my opposition to the DMCA, I am more than willing to admit I fell for the hype and the doomsaying back then. Since the internet is still here and there aren't hoardes of people rotting in jail over it today, I freely admit I was uneducated and just plain wrong about it in 1998.

My reading of SOPA directly from the legal text does not jive with the same "sky is falling" wave of protests that have arisen. I've heard it all before and was sucked in once before. I heard it all again when ACTA was being bantered about. That's been ratified on our side of the Atlantic, and we're just waiting on the Euros to do the same. The internet is still here, nobody is rotting in jail, etc, etc. We all railed once against TCPA/Palladium too. That appeared dead at the time, yet it was quietly resurrected again later, and now there are numerous chips on the market with TCPA type coding in them. Only it isn't labeled as that. The internet is still here, privacy is still available, and nobody is rotting in jail.

There hasn't been a single coherent argument made yet, anywhere, by anyone, that I've read that can tell me precisely why the law is bad. "It just is" seems to be the rule of the day. It's "bad" because it "censors" the internet, yet the language of the bill itself says nothing about that and there's a pretty big barrier in place against arbitrary takedowns. Which is actually NOT true of the DMCA, which Hollywood et al could flagrantly abuse left and right if they felt like it because they have the money to do so.

They HAVE spent eons filing takedown notices left and right against Pirate Bay, Demonoid, and numerous other sites. That's about as effective as spitting on the moon. Take down 10,000 songs, 15,000 more take their place. SOPA arose from the frustration in the industry that they have no methods for dealing with sites who are dedicated to the purpose of facilitating theft. PIPA is essentially the same thing, only from the Senate.

I wouldn't waste time discussing it with lawyers either. You'll end up with as many interpretations as there are law firms to interpret it with. Probably the same as with judges too.

As far as Google, they directly benefit from ad revenues on many of the underground sites. Google is NOT the goodie two shoes company they claim to be. Where there's money to be had, they're more than willing to look the other way, and considering Youtube is filled with this sort of thing and they tacitly approve of it, they have every natural reason to oppose the legislation - ironic only because the DMCA could eviscerate them right now with very little effort.

Just know that I've not thrown in against the protest effort lightly. I do not believe for one instant that any of the horrible things that are claimed will happen are actually going to.

Murder laws haven't been effective in the slightest at stopping killers from killing. Should we scrap those too? That's basically the argument it sounds like you're all making.

(I'll look into the Sandbox errors. I haven't been able to determine what the deal is.)

       
Edited by Samson on Jan 18, 2012 11:07 pm
On the plus side of this thread, we appear to have drawn Conner out, so yay for that.

Conner said:


What I find interesting about this isn't the rampant "discussions" taking place at TMC for the last week and a half about it, but that Samson has implied (ok, basically openly accused) all the sites that "went dark" yesterday in protest of SOPA are either pirate sites or ones who directly benefit from pirate sites and yet even Google.com itself had a "censor block" over their logo for the day which, when one moused over it, read something to the effect of tell congress not to pass SOPA. To the best of my knowledge, they really aren't in the business of piracy nor are they truly benefiting directly from it.


I didn't make a big deal out of this, but the smell of burning strawmen in here is pretty strong. A screenshot of Ars Technica using a relatively generic revolutionary symbol (fascists used it too, as have plenty of democratic movements) does not thereby mean that Google, AOL, eBay, Microsoft, and Apple are communists. And, Pirates of Silicon Valley aside, I find the notion that Microsoft and Apple are actually akin to the Pirate Bay to be completely laughable.

So there's that. As to the murder thing, I think you're (Samson, not Conner) smart enough to know that's not what we're saying, nor is anybody actually saying anything like it, so let us kindly dispense with that strawman as well. Or murder it, as you like.

What people are saying is that this is akin to Prohibition. Doesn't get more illegal than sticking it in the Constitution, and making it more illegal than it already is (protip: piracy? Already illegal) didn't help any, but did provide us a bunch of junk legislation we had to get rid of. I've made an argument myself as to why actual piracy isn't likely to go anywhere if SOPA passes, and I'm quite sure that you're aware of the arguments involving the impossibility of the DNS filtering scheme. Hell, you even pointed out the use of Tor, et al yourself.

So we're left with legislation that's not accomplishing the goal it set out to accomplish, in which case why are we passing it?

Samson said:


We all railed once against TCPA/Palladium too. That appeared dead at the time, yet it was quietly resurrected again later, and now there are numerous chips on the market with TCPA type coding in them. Only it isn't labeled as that. The internet is still here, privacy is still available, and nobody is rotting in jail.


Man, you were rabid against that thing, too.

And not to go too far into bizzaro why-am-I-making-Samson's-arguments territory here, but remember how Steam was going to kill everybody's privacy and spell the death of PC gaming because Valve was going to shut everybody down? Yeah, me too. Which is why it's so damn strange to be the one arguing about privacy and death of rights and things.

Samson said:

There hasn't been a single coherent argument made yet, anywhere, by anyone, that I've read that can tell me precisely why the law is bad.


Well, I did just make one, complete with cites to the bill itself. I don't know, this is a pretty long thread, so maybe you just missed it, and I do have trouble with making leaps of logic from time to time, but it appeared solid enough for Conner to follow it. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has made a few (I thought) pretty compelling arguments. How about a ton of lawyers on the subject?

Plenty of people find the arguments pretty compelling and coherent. I can't decide if you just don't get that, or, given the amount of flaming straw in here, have decided not to get it. I dunno.

Again, sections 103 and 105 (pages 28 and 48, roughly) would seem at first glance to support the idea that random corporate interests can pretty much censor people as they like, and can't so much as be held liable for it. Hell, 105 makes it pretty damn plain you don't even need so much as a court order for it.

Samson said:


I wouldn't waste time discussing it with lawyers either. You'll end up with as many interpretations as there are law firms to interpret it with. Probably the same as with judges too.


Yeah, I know, right? What the hell would the EFF (lawyers), lawyers for the ALA, lawyers for Microsoft, AOL, Apple, Google, etc. know about the law, anyway? Hacks, all of them.

Samson said:


Youtube is filled with this sort of thing and they tacitly approve of it, they have every natural reason to oppose the legislation - ironic only because the DMCA could eviscerate them right now with very little effort.


You...haven't paid a lot of attention to this particular subject, have you? Evolution of how YouTube treats DMCA notices? Rise of advertising in videos, VEVO? DMCA trolling by companies for profit? Any of this ring a bell? I've already linked to at least one case study.

Anyway, I think I'm done. I kind of expected an actual discussion, but if the best you've got is disingenuous arguments and dodges, there's not much point, now is there?

Conner said:


So the real question is how do we educate people so that they realize what we learned back in the 70s and 80s that our parents called "morals" rather than what laws can we pass to add to the already overwhelming legislative body we Americans routinely labor to pretend aren't so self-conflicted as to make it nearly impossible to actually live a normal life in a normal fashion without ever breaking a law?


So, funny thing I've noticed in paying attention to the conversations in civilized places that talk about this subject is that it's not particularly a matter of education so much as it is convenience, for lack of a better word. People, aside from the few radical "all information is free!" types know well enough that piracy is stealing. What they seem to be objecting to, however, is the increasing number of hoops they have to jump through to make the stuff they bought actually work, only to continually get treated like pirates anyway (on which note, SOPA).

To quote Samson:

Samson said:

For the smart ones out there, just go use PirateBay and get your DLC the right way. Yes, you read right. I'm openly advocating that if you want it, pirate it. Get treated like a thief, you may as well play the part. If you feel guilty doing that, then cut a check to Bethesda Softworks for $5 or something and explain the situation to them.


I don't think I need to belabor this point to a crowd of PC gamers.

Somewhat on the other hand, I've noticed an interesting trend that people who just throw their stuff up online in probably piratable ways tend to do pretty well on it. Louis CK just made tons of cash for doing that, and if you aren't familiar with Radiohead's In Rainbows (see also: Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins), you probably should be. SF author John Scalzi has sold not one, but two novels, one of them a Hugo winner, off his website, and apparently did well on donations previously. Of the webcomics I read, Megatokyo, xkcd, Dr. McNinja, and Questionable Content all provide a living wage for their creators, despite the content being right up there on the web for free. The counterpoint to mp3 sharing turns out to be Amazon and iTunes, which provide the stuff people want for a good price.

Point being that it turns out a lot of people, maybe most people, actually like being able to support the things they enjoy, despite the availability of pirated copies. It's just that you need to let them be able to enjoy it.

Big topic. Others have spoke on this more eloquently than me. I'll dig up some links if anybody cares. For now, I need to go actually do my work.

       
I have to disagree about those murder laws not being effective, at least the ones that carry the death penalty when there's no miscarriage of justice, because once you actually put someone to death it's pretty damn unusual for them to commit murder again. ;)

Yes, you're right that they've spun their wheels on sites of the Pirate Bay ilk and SOPA/PIP have arisen from the frustration therein, but the ultimate problem with these bills is specifically what you've said; that every lawyer/judge out there can interpret it differently, and that applies equally to lawmakers trying to establish it. Thus, it's simply too easily abused and not easily enough enforced in a practical/consistent manner making it a potentially very dangerous law.

The fact that we all rallied against palladium chips and still lost doesn't mean that we were all wrong about them, incidentally.

I'll concede that Google does have clear reason to be concerned about a new law like this impacting them negatively because they can be seen as effectively benefiting from piracy, but they do try pretty hard to maintain a very respectable public image and to publicly denounce this one kind of implies that their lawyers feel this could hurt them more than the possibility of a tarnished image.

No, there aren't hordes of people rotting in jail over these specific acts/bills/laws, yet our prison systems are vastly overcrowded worldwide, especially here in the U.S., due to the oddly rising number of cases of whichever crime happens to be the political issue of the day... for the past few years it's mostly been sex offenses, but we've had several others that seem to intermittently become hot nationwide as well.

Ultimately, I say again: We already have far too many worthless, unenforceable, and/or conflicting laws on the books, why add another when we should really be focusing the time/effort/resources on bringing morals back to the world populace that include things like an understanding that possible punishment need not be the only motivational factor to not steal? Let's face it, if the general world populace were better able to control their impulses and simply do what's right, we wouldn't need half of the laws on the books that are worthwhile, let alone all the ones that simply reek of the bullshit that they really are.

As I seem to have failed to convey in my last post, if we must have a new law to cover this sort of thing, instead of enabling the attorney general to shut down a site or to force a site to remove certain content, why not render an actual punishment to offenders themselves? To utilize your example regarding laws that make murder punishable, the SOPA/PIP/DCMA/etc alphabet soup of attempts are sort of like saying if you murder someone we're going to confiscate your weapon rather than lock you up or put you to death. Just threatening to take down the site or force removal of specific content is far too easily gotten around, as Fury pointed out. Does that clarify my stance on this better for you? It's not that I oppose SOPA/PIP based on the horrors that they could bring about, despite feeling that they aren't something that should blindly be disregarded either, nor because on it's bad because it just is, nor even because of its potential to censor the internet, but because it's not written well enough to be consistently and practically enforced and because it lacks meaningful punishment while it also, apparently, gives attorney generals nationwide powers I'm not so confident they need or should have.

       
Damn, Dwip, not only did you ninja me, but you did it way better than I managed. :lol:

Oh, and on the point of not being an education issue so much as a issue of how legitimate purchasers are treated.. sadly, you've got an exceptionally valid point there. From what I've encountered among the generation or two that has come after me, I still think some moral fiber may be lacking, but perhaps the folks running the commercial enterprises most loudly screaming about piracy should be made to reconsider their own business practices a bit more closely with a little guidance from a representative of John Q. Public who actually understands both business and consumer perspectives.

       
Dwip said:

A screenshot of Ars Technica using a relatively generic revolutionary symbol (fascists used it too, as have plenty of democratic movements) does not thereby mean that Google, AOL, eBay, Microsoft, and Apple are communists.

Nor did I say they were. I said (I thought rather specifically) that Ars Technica comes across with the whole communist/fascist symbolism thing sounding like a bunch of self-entitled brats protesting for the sole purpose of sticking it to the man. Ok, maybe I didn't mention that last part yet, but there it is now.

Google has it's own reasons for why they don't like it. Half their entire business model on YouTube relies on users uploading copyrighted clips of things. Not all of which are being put there legally. So yes, they're scared that their time is coming. Although one wonders why since they're already subject to the DMCA and could be burned at the stake right now.

Couldn't tell you exactly why Apple dropped support. I didn't look into their case too closely. My guess is the disproportionate number of self-entitled brats who use their products had something to do with it, ala the Occupy movement.

As for the others, they didn't get mentioned as being for or against, so I didn't include them.

Have a look at who opposes it. Then think about why I might not be taking anything any of them have to say seriously at all.

So we're left with legislation that's not accomplishing the goal it set out to accomplish, in which case why are we passing it?

If you want the strawman argument slain, kindly stop bringing it up. Legislation against murder and <insert any other crime here> hasn't accomplished the goals they set out to either. So why did we pass them? You are aware of course that you're walking right into a moral relativism argument here. Apparently, society has decided it's NOT OK to kill without just cause, but it IS ok to steal movies/music/games because they want them.

Hell, nearly every site I've trawled through in the last few days leading up to this is FILLED with users who openly mock anyone who "actually pays for music". Does that not strike you as the least bit interesting that sites with usership like this are in support of it? These users pay their subscription costs. Yep, cynical old lizard boy says it's all about the money.

Man, you were rabid against that thing, too.

Yes, yes I was. I'm also not afraid to admit that I did next to no actual research into WHY I opposed it. A whole lot of the same experts trotted out their doomsaying scenarios on the end of privacy and of PC computing as a whole. It never materialized, and the entire thing became a staple of the IBM mobile computing product line. A feature which actual IT companies were very happy to have. Working for Behr was good for something in that regard because I got to see just how TPM worked in the real world and not in fantasyland.

remember how Steam was going to kill everybody's privacy and spell the death of PC gaming because Valve was going to shut everybody down?

The jury has not been sent to deliberate on that one yet. Having actually used Steam for myself, everything I ever ranted on about hating it for has come to pass and I'd just as soon see Valve burn in hell for having thought it up. This is so not the same thing here, at all. Ditto my feelings toward EA's Origin, largely based on their EULA being legally identical to Valve's. No thanks.

As for your argument, from page 28/29 aprox:
A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the holder of an intellectual property right harmed by the activities described in sub section (a)(1).

Sure seems like you need to be the rights holder or their authorized agent (read: lawyers) before a notice would be considered effective. Actually, reading on through all that, it sure feels like they've more or less cloned the DMCA into a form useful against advertisers and payment processors who are doing business with companies engaging in criminal enterprises. Yes, this sort of thing is already illegal, but it's butt-fuckingly expensive for you or I to go about filing a RICO claim in such a case, which would be the only current avenue available without this bill.

I'm sure you also noticed the counter-notification section on ~page 32. Also the section on ~page 34 regarding misrepresentation of your claim against a site. With civil penalties exactly like the DMCA that would come back to bite them in the ass for it. Followed at length by several pages of the procedure for handling a court filing for injunctive relief. After which a court order becomes necessary, just as with the DMCA, to bring down someone who files counter-notification. IE: Calling the bluff as I've put it before. In the hands of all but actual lawyers, this procedure will be nothing more than a bluff that is easily called. Which, I suspect, is why Section 102 has that stuff about having to go to the AG and having HIM proceed with pursuing injunctive relief.

Anyway, my reading of all that stuff seems to make it clear that, at worst, this is no more horrible and inhumane than the DMCA itself. We seem to have survived that without starting Armageddon.

Yeah, I know, right? What the hell would the EFF (lawyers), lawyers for the ALA, lawyers for Microsoft, AOL, Apple, Google, etc. know about the law, anyway? Hacks, all of them.

Sarcasm aside, the EFF is well known for having a "hands off my internet" agenda. If it were possible for them to openly support software piracy, I fully expect they'd do so gleefully. They are not to be trusted. Especially when their website you linked me to starts off immediately with the free speech propaganda. Stopped reading right there. Their argument has no validity IMO. SOPA can no more stifle free speech and innovation than the DMCA can. And again, I would point out the internet seems to have thrived despite all that.

That big open letter from all the lawyers? It starts off pretty much the same way. Declaring the end of free speech as we know it, along with the death of e-commerce as we know it. Then claiming there's no due process, when the damn bill itself is loaded with it. Has anyone, anywhere, read this thing AT ALL? Expert opinions are worthless when they're playing this kind of agenda politics game. Also, and you can feel free to call me a lunatic for it, but the opinions of a bunch of liberal law professors who reek of socialistic stances on things are unworthy of consideration to me.

You...haven't paid a lot of attention to this particular subject, have you? Evolution of how YouTube treats DMCA notices? Rise of advertising in videos, VEVO? DMCA trolling by companies for profit? Any of this ring a bell? I've already linked to at least one case study.

Google uses scare tactics to stop rights holders from filing claims. Yes, I've paid lots of attention to that. Advertising in videos? Nope. AdBlock Plus FTW. I haven't seen an ad on the web in years. (Wonder how soon SOPA will have me taken down for that.)

DMCA trolling eh? I fail to see how this would even be possible. But on the off chance you're referring to the Righthaven case, you are aware they got bitch-slapped hardcore for filing copyright infringement cases without standing, right? They've been driven to bankruptcy and had to auction off their domain name to help pay their enormous legal bills.

Link me the case study again, I don't see it?

Anyway, I think I'm done. I kind of expected an actual discussion, but if the best you've got is disingenuous arguments and dodges, there's not much point, now is there?

Look, you don't much care for it when I "label" you. I don't much care for it when you slam my opinions as not being an "actual discussion" just because I'm not refined enough to use elitist college debating tactics while doing it. So no, if we're going to enter into the insult trading portion of this whole affair, there isn't much point. Way to censor the debate.

As for your quoting of my post from 2009, though I was fuming with anger at the time, surely you do realize that it isn't something I actually advocate you go out and do? For whatever it's worth, I did end up buying them all on retail disc when Bethesda saw the light of reason and sanity. I could have played "stick it to the man" when they pulled the Steam-only bullshit with New Vegas. As you well know, I declined to take them up on their $5 sale when they offered it. I despise Steam, period. I see no value in the system. All it exists for is to take control away from legitimate customers (note: this wasn't caused by bad legislation). The pirates are laughing all the way to their higher frame rates and greater stability in Skyrim while those of us playing it legit, with Steam, have to suffer the fucked up way things work with that and deal with the disaster it created all while begging Big Brother for permission to play our games. My stance on this has not changed one bit, and likely won't ever.

This sort of thing does NOTHING to teach anyone about the morals of stealing content. Your own examples of how companies who don't use DRM is proof of that. Treat folks like thieves, they'll respond appropriately. Treat them like trusted friends, you'll get the same in return. CD Projekt Red learned this and defied their publisher's wishes by removing the DRM entirely from Witcher 2. They gained an enormous amount of respect among gamers and sold millions of copies of the game.

DRM is completely ineffective against piracy. The DMCA is completely ineffective against it. SOPA will be too. Laws against murder haven't prevented murders either. Oh, wait, I can't make that comparison though. It's "not actual discussion".

Conner said:

I have to disagree about those murder laws not being effective

The laws did not prevent the act from occurring, correct? They could only be applied after the fact to bring the criminal to justice. We'll ignore the liberal havens that don't believe in the death penalty. SOPA enforcement is no different. It's legal recourse that is being applied after the commission of an act. We don't have pre-crime laws in this country. Yet.

Thus, it's simply too easily abused and not easily enough enforced in a practical/consistent manner making it a potentially very dangerous law.

If this proves to be the case, then the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional. That's why we have a system of checks & balances here. Yes, it's better to have the legislation come out the gate in a better form. Do keep in mind the onerous DNS provisions WERE removed from the legislation as recently as last week. Perhaps the protest crowd is just too slow to have noticed, or they're deliberately ignoring that, but that seems like it was a right and correct step in the process. Refine it further. Don't just throw your hands up and say let them kill people... oh wait... steal content.

The fact that we all rallied against palladium chips and still lost doesn't mean that we were all wrong about them, incidentally.

It also hasn't been shown that we were right either. At best it's a push. It's there to offer those who need that function the ability to actually use it. Abuse of TCPA isn't the fault of the technology any more than murder is the fault of gun manufacturers.

If Google is making an active effort to police piracy on their own (which I've not seen demonstrated to date) then if you read SOPA carefully, they're not going to be held liable. Their site has a clear and distinct purpose beyond just being used to facilitate theft. Plus, they're in the US. It would have zero impact on them that the DMCA couldn't already burn them alive with. (I feel like a broken record).

Also, I know neither of you mentioned it, but I feel compelled to mention that every site I've visited is putting standard copyright infringement into the same category as Wikileaks, which as we all know was trafficking in stolen classified documents. All while actually and seriously trying to make BOTH into free speech debates when neither situation has a lick to do with it. They're obscuring the argument. Which is a sure sign they don't' actually have one to put forth.

As I seem to have failed to convey in my last post, if we must have a new law to cover this sort of thing, instead of enabling the attorney general to shut down a site or to force a site to remove certain content, why not render an actual punishment to offenders themselves?

For reasons already stated: We lack jurisdiction to shut those sites down. SOPA will not suddenly make the USA the world policemen of the internet. In order to punish those who are stealing US content and selling it back to US users, measures have to be taken to deny them the US traffic. Cut off the flow of links and money, and bam. The website folds and you've delivered the punishment. It's the next best thing to sending over the troops to seize servers, yes?

There is no way for US law to provide for punishment of crimes that are not committed by US citizens in non-US countries. I think you both known me well enough by now that I do not support that sort of thing. And before Fury tries to trot Assange into this as a counter-example, he is a military target. His actions were an act of war against the US. That is a wholly different thing than China pirating Windows. Even he's getting more than his fair share of due process in avoiding justice for his war crimes.

       
Edited by Samson on Jan 19, 2012 4:21 am
Samson said:

This sort of thing does NOTHING to teach anyone about the morals of stealing content. Your own examples of how companies who don't use DRM is proof of that. Treat folks like thieves, they'll respond appropriately. Treat them like trusted friends, you'll get the same in return. CD Projekt Red learned this and defied their publisher's wishes by removing the DRM entirely from Witcher 2. They gained an enormous amount of respect among gamers and sold millions of copies of the game.

DRM is completely ineffective against piracy. The DMCA is completely ineffective against it. SOPA will be too. Laws against murder haven't prevented murders either. Oh, wait, I can't make that comparison though. It's "not actual discussion".

Agreed. None of this helps teach morals. DRM is counter-productive, at best. DMCA is ineffective. As currently written SOPA would also be ineffective at best. Laws against murder serve as a deterrent to those who worry about ramifications and punishment for those who don't, they don't prevent murder by those who don't care about ramifications. On the other hand, those murder laws do prevent further murders by folks who've already killed once and been caught at it, particularly once the death penalty is actually invoked, as I'd mentioned earlier. It really is remarkable just how low the recidivism rate is for folks who've been put to death.. ;)

Samson said:

Conner said:

I have to disagree about those murder laws not being effective

The laws did not prevent the act from occurring, correct? They could only be applied after the fact to bring the criminal to justice. We'll ignore the liberal havens that don't believe in the death penalty. SOPA enforcement is no different. It's legal recourse that is being applied after the commission of an act. We don't have pre-crime laws in this country. Yet.

Sorry, I thought the whole notion of not having pre-crime laws was already understood, though laws against crimes are indirectly intended to serve as pre-crime in the sense of acting as deterrent to at least some would be offenders.

Samson said:

Conner said:

Thus, it's simply too easily abused and not easily enough enforced in a practical/consistent manner making it a potentially very dangerous law.

If this proves to be the case, then the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional. That's why we have a system of checks & balances here. Yes, it's better to have the legislation come out the gate in a better form. Do keep in mind the onerous DNS provisions WERE removed from the legislation as recently as last week. Perhaps the protest crowd is just too slow to have noticed, or they're deliberately ignoring that, but that seems like it was a right and correct step in the process. Refine it further. Don't just throw your hands up and say let them kill people... oh wait... steal content.

Um, yeah, that's why the Supreme Court struck down the recent health care bill too, right? Unfortunately, our Supreme Court doesn't always agree with the rest of us on these matters. So much for "For the people, by the people", eh?

Samson said:

Conner said:

The fact that we all rallied against palladium chips and still lost doesn't mean that we were all wrong about them, incidentally.

It also hasn't been shown that we were right either. At best it's a push. It's there to offer those who need that function the ability to actually use it. Abuse of TCPA isn't the fault of the technology any more than murder is the fault of gun manufacturers.

This is debatable, but I'm not sure it's really worth it as it's truthfully more of an old side issue.

Samson said:

Conner said:

As I seem to have failed to convey in my last post, if we must have a new law to cover this sort of thing, instead of enabling the attorney general to shut down a site or to force a site to remove certain content, why not render an actual punishment to offenders themselves?

For reasons already stated: We lack jurisdiction to shut those sites down. SOPA will not suddenly make the USA the world policemen of the internet. In order to punish those who are stealing US content and selling it back to US users, measures have to be taken to deny them the US traffic. Cut off the flow of links and money, and bam. The website folds and you've delivered the punishment. It's the next best thing to sending over the troops to seize servers, yes?

There is no way for US law to provide for punishment of crimes that are not committed by US citizens in non-US countries. I think you both known me well enough by now that I do not support that sort of thing.

I rather strongly suspect that there are those in our congress who would more than gladly see us become the world policemen of the internet, but setting that thought aside for the moment... Yes, I suppose, in theory, shutting down the website and consequently cutting off their income does serve as punishment, except that, as Fury pointed out early into this, that's simply not the reality of the situation. Shutting down the website, at best, serves to cut off components that may be legitimate of the web site while the actual offenders simply relocate their site to a new domain before the legal process can have any effect.

I believe this is a significant problem with the whole concept. We're effectively trying to legislate ourselves a means to impact foreign nationals on their own soil while still avoiding claiming rights that aren't ours. It's a very effective way to bog down the law books with new laws that are unenforceable. I'm not sure that I see a real solution to this issue, particularly via legislation, but I am fairly positive that SOPA isn't the solution either.

       
Edited by Conner on Jan 19, 2012 3:19 am
Conner said:

Laws against murder serve as a deterrent to those who worry about ramifications and punishment for those who don't, they don't prevent murder by those who don't care about ramifications.

...

Sorry, I thought the whole notion of not having pre-crime laws was already understood, though laws against crimes are indirectly intended to serve as pre-crime in the sense of acting as deterrent to at least some would be offenders.


Laws against copyright infringement also do exactly the same thing. They serve indirectly as a pre-crime deterrent NOT to engage in those sorts of activities. Keep in mind, criminal infringement on the scale SOPA is designed for is pretty severe here in the US. The FBI can fine you $250,000 per act, and throw you in prison for 10 years. Which, on balance, seems to be a considerably MORE severe penalty for US citizens here at home than it would be for foreign site operators abroad. I'm not seeing any protest against the current criminal copyright laws we enforce here at home because of this.

Um, yeah, that's why the Supreme Court struck down the recent health care bill too, right? Unfortunately, our Supreme Court doesn't always agree with the rest of us on these matters. So much for "For the people, by the people", eh?

Unless I've totally missed it somewhere, the Obamacare law has yet to come before SCOTUS. It has however had several rulings fall on both sides of the fence in the lower circuit courts. Thus, SCOTUS must eventually hear the case, or create an untenable situation in the law.

No, they don't always agree with the rest of us. They didn't bother asking me how I felt about Roe v. Wade for one. Not that my 1 year old self could have even answered the question, but still. Our system is not perfect, but it's better than all the others. (some smart guy said that)

I'm not sure that I see a real solution to this issue, particularly via legislation, but I am fairly positive that SOPA isn't the solution either.

No other better solution has yet appeared, and the underlying issue won't go away, which means the MPAA and RIAA are not going to stop trying. SOPA may not be perfect. I doubt any law more complex than "speed limit 75" is. I would much rather we get something relatively simple than scrap it entirely and wind up with something 10x the size 2 years down the road that gets passed in secret sessions like Obama loves so much. It's a 78 page bill, in large type, with legal spacing, and large portions devoted to simply defining terms. Frankly, unless Rep. Issa's OPEN Act is smaller and more focused (which people say it is, haven't looked into it yet) we're unlikely to get anything better. The devil you know, etc.

That the rats will continue to be rats should not deter us from leaving poison for them to eat.

EDIT: As I mentioned elsewhere in another thread, service providers already have immunity according to the 9th circuit. Which is another point against those claiming SOPA will stifle speech here in the US.

       
Edited by Samson on Jan 19, 2012 3:33 am
Chris Dodd said:

Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.


You know, there's something really wrong in this world when a scumbag like this says something I can agree with wholly. WTF?

       
I should probably go to bed instead of keeping up with this, but oh well.

And now maybe we're getting somewhere. Maybe.

Samson said:


Nor did I say they were. I said (I thought rather specifically) that Ars Technica comes across with the whole communist/fascist symbolism thing sounding like a bunch of self-entitled brats protesting for the sole purpose of sticking it to the man. Ok, maybe I didn't mention that last part yet, but there it is now.


It would be one thing if that's what you actually sounded like, but your first couple of paragraphs are pretty much calling the whole bunch communists, when in fact this is demonstrably not the case.

I think we've made that point, though on the subject of fists, random North Africans don't seem to care. I guess I could also talk about hipster appropriation of communist symbolism for style points if not actual belief, but does anybody actually give a shit? Anti-SOPA folks are big, widespread, and broad-based, and eBay isn't run by communists. Horse is dead now, moving on.

Samson said:


Google has it's own reasons for why they don't like it. Half their entire business model on YouTube relies on users uploading copyrighted clips of things. Not all of which are being put there legally. So yes, they're scared that their time is coming. Although one wonders why since they're already subject to the DMCA and could be burned at the stake right now.


See, this is why I accuse you of not paying attention, because man, we've been hearing about this shit for years, which is why this looks a bit silly:

Samson said:


Google uses scare tactics to stop rights holders from filing claims. Yes, I've paid lots of attention to that. Advertising in videos? Nope. AdBlock Plus FTW. I haven't seen an ad on the web in years. (Wonder how soon SOPA will have me taken down for that.)


And if you were actually paying attention, you'd know something about the history behind those ads and links to songs and things. Since you give almost no indication of actually using YouTube for anything at all, well, maybe not knowing is understandable, but.

Leaving aside the actual legal case I linked to re: takedown notice abuse, the case in point I mentioned is here. I'm sure you're going to be very sad that he doesn't like the DMCA (surprise!), so if it hurts your feelings, skip to the "ANYWAY. bit for the fun part. And actually, now that I notice, the really fun one with the actual DMCA trolling is this one.

I also have a nice writeup describing a particularly amusing dustup between SFWA and Scribd over improper DMCA takedown notices, but that one's pretty involved, so I think this will suffice.

There are multiple basic issues here, both of which are at the heart of why the DMCA, and check it out, SOPA, are problematic:

- The takedown process is open to several forms of abuse, as we can see, and is disrespectful of the fair use provisions of copyright law (all those videos I'm talking about? Fair use applies, come to find out). Any burden of proof on the part of the copyright holder is, so far as I can tell, pretty routinely flaunted, and have you heard of anyone being tried for perjury over it? Me either.

- Legal authority over your work (derivative though it may be, much of it is still yours - I trust I don't need to explain that one) becomes dependent on some random dude who, as it happens, may or may not actually be the copyright holder, without the involvement of the actual legal process.

- By forcing sites to take action without review in order to uphold the law, then forcing the filing of a counter-claim by the supposed copyright offender, both the DMCA and SOPA invert the core principle of the US justice system, innocent until proven guilty, and turn it into guilty until proven innocent. I find that to be something of a problem. And should it come to lawyers, well, good luck with that one.

So there's that. This:

Samson said:


Sure seems like you need to be the rights holder or their authorized agent (read: lawyers) before a notice would be considered effective. Actually, reading on through all that, it sure feels like they've more or less cloned the DMCA into a form useful against advertisers and payment processors who are doing business with companies engaging in criminal enterprises.


Just makes the entire point I was trying to make in the first place, which is that, check it out, copyright holders have extrajudicial powers to throw takedowns at what they want. As I just got done demonstrating, and would be more than happy to continue to demonstrate, this is a thing that is monstrously open to abuse, among those other points I just got done raising.

In other words, as I said originally, "kind of like the DMCA but more draconian." That we have survived the DMCA does not retroactively make it a good law, nor does it make SOPA the same thing.

Moving on.

Samson said:


If you want the strawman argument slain, kindly stop bringing it up. Legislation against murder and <insert any other crime here> hasn't accomplished the goals they set out to either. So why did we pass them?


There's a pretty long argument I could go into here about state monopoly on violence and increased police presence leading to a safer society as opposed to the law itself, but that's entirely besides the point, which has to do with burden on society and goes something like this:

- Murder laws (and laws against shoplifting or burglary, say) do not impose an appreciable burden on anyone. Were the laws against murder repealed tomorrow, I would not then pick up my rifle that's sitting here and go snipe my neighbor. They are not, furthermore, preventing me from, say, going to the store and purchasing something, then taking it home and enjoying it.

- This shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone, but SOPA (and the DMCA, if we want), do present burdens on my lawful enjoyment of things that I have purchased, mainly by restriction of fair use and derivative works, as we just got done talking about. Moreover, if I murder someone I can expect a presumably fair and honest trail by my peers, if I'm making a video under fair use and some dude at EA or wherever decides they don't like it on their own whim (or the whim of their web crawler bot), I'm pretty much fucked at that point.

In short, SOPA proposes to place additional and unreasonable burdens upon innocent people despite not stopping any actual piracy.

So, ok. There's that. And since I'm here I may as well address this particular argument:

Samson said:


That may well be true, but the excuse that we can't stop them shouldn't be used to say we shouldn't even try.


Since we're all up on murdering dudes, let us make an example.

Murder, as we all know, is bad. And current law has not prevented gun-related murders. Thus, in order to combat this problem, we ought to ban assault weapons with folding stocks, bayonet lugs, high capacity magazines, and flash supressors. By means of this ban, we will appreciably stop gun related murders.

I don't think I'm going to surprise anyone when I note that this was a bad law that attempted to turn law abiding citizens into criminals while not actually appreciably affecting the crime it was supposed to stop, never mind the severe legal problems.

Guess what.

Samson said:


You are aware of course that you're walking right into a moral relativism argument here. Apparently, society has decided it's NOT OK to kill without just cause, but it IS ok to steal movies/music/games because they want them.


The problem here is that nobody with any kind of standing appears to be saying any such thing, and you appear to be the only one who believes it. Would statements by actual copyright holders make you happy? I've already linked Shamus Young a couple times, so here's him, but maybe he's too low grade for you, so let's just go through the bookmarks of the stuff I check on a daily basis:

- Megatokyo, popular webcomic and small business;

- Questionable Content, ditto;

- xkcd, ditto;

- Dr. McNinja, check, and yes I read a lot of webcomics, why do you ask;

- John Scalzi, author and current president of SFWA, who I assure you has things to say about his copyrights;

- And lest I forget, Wil Wheaton waxing wroth. Actor. Author. Maybe you remember him from a few things.

All of these people, I assure you, have more stake in the matter than you or I do. More to the point, all of them, as I have previously pointed out, make a living doing things that are pretty easily piratable, and yet. I've previously gone on about that, so I won't belabor the point, but there it is. Also, if you bother to check the comment threads at Twenty-Sided or Whatever, you'll find not a lot of sympathy for piracy. Which is as it ought to be.

Which, speaking of high-horsed moral-relativism grandstanding:

Samson said:


As for your quoting of my post from 2009, though I was fuming with anger at the time, surely you do realize that it isn't something I actually advocate you go out and do? For whatever it's worth, I did end up buying them all on retail disc when Bethesda saw the light of reason and sanity.


Well, actually, and I don't really want to belabor this point too much, but you and I both know that you've actually for real pirated stuff in the past, never mind advocating it (and, for that matter, so have I, though I think neither of us in anything like the recent past, correct me if I'm wrong), and whatever your justification for it may be, you knew what you were doing and did it anyway.

So why don't we just preempt that whole teaching the morality of stealing thing and go with "if you really want it, you aren't going to let the law stop you." Maybe Conner has the moral standing for that one, but I'm pretty sure the rest of us are in the sinners camp and ought to know better.

This again goes back to that point I was making earlier, which is that the entities behind SOPA, namely the recording, movie, and video game industries, are getting hammered by piracy precisely because of draconian measures that hurt the consumer more than is warrented, and cause a turn to piracy because it's pretty much easier to get a better experience from the pirates. That doesn't make it right, per se, which is one of the reasons I'm no longer personally doing anything like it, but I think we all understand how the thought process works, don't we?

Laws don't teach morality. Bad laws actively undermine morality. Need I continue.

Now, a couple of random things before I'm done.

Samson said:

Also, I know neither of you mentioned it, but I feel compelled to mention that every site I've visited is putting standard copyright infringement into the same category as Wikileaks, which as we all know was trafficking in stolen classified documents.


No, actually, you're the first person I've seen bring it up, and I've been trolling SOPA-related materials all god damned day at this point. That said, I'm sure somebody did, but let us not seriously consider this as a topic.

Samson said:


Look, you don't much care for it when I "label" you. I don't much care for it when you slam my opinions as not being an "actual discussion" just because I'm not refined enough to use elitist college debating tactics while doing it. So no, if we're going to enter into the insult trading portion of this whole affair, there isn't much point. Way to censor the debate.


Two things here:

- Re: "elitist college debating tactics", What. The. Fuck.

- We are now, I think, having an actual discussion. Declaring my entire last post to be incoherent nonsense was not, in fact, actual discussion or debate. Randomly demonizing the entire other side is not, in fact, actual discussion or debate. Actual discussion and debate requires a presumption of good faith by the other side, which I am just now barely starting to see.

The whole calling people liberals and communists and shit like it's an actual real argument that means something is a topic I will likely blow up at you about another time, but I'll settle for having called you on it earlier.

Shit, I really need to go to bed now.

       
@Chris Dodd -

Yeah, how dare those uppity assholes not do things the civilized way, like spending almost $100 million to lobby Congress! Those assholes!

...yeah, fuck that.

       
Yes, the communist fist thing has been beaten to death. You likely already know that I consider its use a telling sign of something far more than just hipster appropriation. We could probably split that whole thing off into another post entirely though. This would go back to my whole point on how history has been sanitized and the real meaning unknown to most folks. Which is why I see it, and then have no inclination to listen to the kinds of arguments that typically accompany sites ignorant enough to use it. They tend to be ignorant in so many other things too. Ars has that problem in spades. Again, I thought I made it pretty clear the fist thing was directed at them. I don't see Microsoft foolishly associating with communist symbolism.

Dwip said:

See, this is why I accuse you of not paying attention, because man, we've been hearing about this shit for years

By burning at the stake, I am specifically referring to them being hit with a barrage of legitimate takedowns. A concerted effort on the parts of rights holders to do so would tear them a new asshole. I'm not talking about the abusive cases like Warner and Viacom where the clip's usage could be legitimately argued as Fair Use. Do keep in mind though that arguing Fair Use is a defense against an infringement action, not a shield to prevent one from being filed.

When I say Google uses scare tactics, I'm not kidding either. That's the whole point of the Chilling Effects website, and Google summarily CC's them on any DMCA complaint filed with them. Whether its legit or not. Personally I think they should burn in hell for that. People have every right to seek a proper claim, and FUCK Google for using bully tactics to keep people from wanting to. "Do no evil" is a complete joke.

Also, I have a YouTube account, thank you. So I do use it. I even have videos up there. The ones that Veritas gave me to keep alive for TIE. I've watched stupid amounts of stuff there, which I'm sure is at least equal to the usage you get from it unless you're secretly publishing stuff that I don't know about.

I have in fact read about the Warner case, probably from the same Ars link even. They got slapped for abusing the system, which I believe I already said was possible, yes? Not sure what point you're trying to make there. They didn't get away with trolling it the way patent trollers thrive on doing that. Ars doesn't mention the penalty they got, but if the courts were inclined to do so, they could have slapped them with perjury charges up the wazoo for it.

If Google's system allows random joes to file copyright claims against video uploads, then that system is fatally flawed and Google needs to rethink their policy. That isn't a failing of the law.

As far as derivative works, you are surely aware that you can't just sit down one day and modify someone's stuff and then upload it without having first obtained their permission to do this, right? Fair Use is an entirely different concept as you well know. I should think after all the times you've heard me rail on about code thievery in the MUD community that you'd have picked up on the difference.

Well, actually, and I don't really want to belabor this point too much, but you and I both know that you've actually for real pirated stuff in the past, never mind advocating it (and, for that matter, so have I, though I think neither of us in anything like the recent past, correct me if I'm wrong), and whatever your justification for it may be, you knew what you were doing and did it anyway.

Ah, I see. The Newt Gingrich argument. Once bad, always bad, can't ever change, right? Yet if I say the same about scumbag Clinton, look out! (Note: Clinton hasn't demonstrated that he's changed)

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I was conducting actual, real piracy on a scale that could have landed me in jail? 25 years. Long before we knew each other. So I guess I'm no longer qualified to discuss the issue at all. Apparently I'm also no longer qualified to discuss morality either.

Considering how much I rail against DRM, you should already know I'm fully aware that unreasonable restrictions will only cause people to seek the path of lesser resistance. Eventually it will kill the industry if they don't adapt. You seem to have made the argument in the past that PC gaming has adapted, with use of things like Steam. We strongly disagree on that.

Erm. Anyway, my head is pounding, and I've utterly lost whatever train of thought I had going.

Last bit, the Chris Dodd thing, he's a complete scumbag, but even complete scumbags can make valid points. He may not have worded it in the nicest, most diplomatic way, but he speaks truth. These sites abused their influence to stoke FUD in the public mind, which translated into a lot of angry, uninformed people clogging up the phone lines in DC to rail on about something they're only minimally aware of and got a completely one-sided view of. Which is amusing, because you accuse ME of being entirely one-sided all the time as though it's a bad thing. Which brings me back to the whole "it's only bad to be one-sided if you disagree with my one side" line.

His last paragraph sound bad, but even I can see he wasn't directly calling Wikipedia's blackout punishment for Congress. He was referring to the flood from the uninformed masses.

Also, all those senators and representatives who are now bailing out? They didn't do that because of the blackout. They did that because Obama, in a politically expedient move, has threatened to veto the legislation in another transparent effort to act like he's a champion of our freedoms. I lol'd hard.

Last minute thing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16642369 - To which I will only concede that yes, we do have SOME laws on the books to deal with this sort of thing, but I can guarantee you this investigation lasted for years prior to this debate ever getting traction. It may even have been a partial catalyst for SOPA/PIPA to make the process of doing a MegaVirus takedown less ridiculously difficult. You'll note we still had to ask (read: beg) NZ to make the actual arrests.

Oh, and WTF were you still doing awake at 7am?!?

       
Edited by Samson on Jan 19, 2012 2:25 pm
They let locke out early this year.

Nice to see a lone voice of reason on SOPA too, Samson. As if they're going to come after MUDs and other little guy sites. LOL!

       
Samson said:


Oh, and WTF were you still doing awake at 7am?!?


Part of the whole thing with being sick and sleeping a ton meant it screwed up my sleep schedule something fierce. I actually went to bed at like 9:30 the other day, and that sure sucked.

I would have gone to bed earlier had I not spent 2 hours writing that post, but, well, you know. :P

Samson said:


Also, I have a YouTube account, thank you. So I do use it. I even have videos up there. The ones that Veritas gave me to keep alive for TIE. I've watched stupid amounts of stuff there, which I'm sure is at least equal to the usage you get from it unless you're secretly publishing stuff that I don't know about.


I dunno. I watch a couple hours of YouTube most days at work, so... :P

And actually, no, aside from like 3 Oblivion/Skyrim videos I recall you posting, I don't know that I was aware of this. Certainly every time the subject has come up you've been pretty negative on video in general, so one can make the assumption.

Ass out of u and me and all that.

Samson said:


If Google's system allows random joes to file copyright claims against video uploads, then that system is fatally flawed and Google needs to rethink their policy. That isn't a failing of the law.


As far as I'm aware, Scribd and everywhere I've come into contact with re: DMCA rolls just about the same way, because of the way the law is set up.Again, I don't really want to go to the trouble of posting the zillion cites it would take to document the whole case, but it's not just YouTube having to act this way. YouTube just gets the brunt of it because it's so huge.

Basically two points I'm trying to make here:

- YouTube and whoever pretty much get forced to act this way because of how the safe harbor provisions are set up in the DMCA. If you check out SOPA, you've got basically the same thing right there. It works out to "take it down immediately or get sued, and then whoever's video it is can file a counter claim." Even if the trolls are perjuring themselves, it's often very hard for YouTube to know this, and so it's legally safer for them to just yank stuff.

- Actually fighting this sort of thing supposes that either YouTube or the actual video owner (who is almost certainly just some guy) has the time and cash to fight it in court with lawyers. Given the scale, I'd imagine YouTube would go bankrupt if they tried, and the number of people who have the time and cash to go to court over a YouTube video, even if they're in the right, would seem to me to be pretty low.

Thus, the whole system allows copyright trolls to flourish. And notice that the relevent cases involving YouTube were people filing against YouTube and not the other way around, which I think just reinforces my point about how hard it is to fight this sort of thing.

Samson said:


As far as derivative works, you are surely aware that you can't just sit down one day and modify someone's stuff and then upload it without having first obtained their permission to do this, right? Fair Use is an entirely different concept as you well know. I should think after all the times you've heard me rail on about code thievery in the MUD community that you'd have picked up on the difference.


I think we're all aware of the relevent copyright law and how it works (and if you aren't, onlookers, Samson would probably be more than happy to give you a good brief). I think you get the point I was making, though, yes?

Samson said:


Ah, I see. The Newt Gingrich argument. Once bad, always bad, can't ever change, right? Yet if I say the same about scumbag Clinton, look out! (Note: Clinton hasn't demonstrated that he's changed)

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I was conducting actual, real piracy on a scale that could have landed me in jail? 25 years. Long before we knew each other. So I guess I'm no longer qualified to discuss the issue at all. Apparently I'm also no longer qualified to discuss morality either.


The fun part here, of course, is that I've actually known you for most of that time, and man when did it stop being 1997, but I'm specifically thinking of instances from 10 years ago or less.

That said, the point is not to berate you for being a heinous software pirate, since, like I said, I'd be a giant hypocrite if I tried. The point remains, however, that software piracy wasn't somehow more legal back in the day, we all knew precisely what we were doing at that time, and yet somehow the legality or illegality of the act didn't seem to have any moral bearing whatsoever. Making things even more illegal isn't going to change that fact, which is that laws, in and of themselves, do a very poor job of deterrance.

You can be all against piracy on moral grounds all you like. Hell, I am too. None of that derails the point I just made.

Samson said:


Considering how much I rail against DRM, you should already know I'm fully aware that unreasonable restrictions will only cause people to seek the path of lesser resistance. Eventually it will kill the industry if they don't adapt. You seem to have made the argument in the past that PC gaming has adapted, with use of things like Steam. We strongly disagree on that.


This really isn't the place to relitigate on Steam, I just want to make note of the fact that my stance isn't so much "I love Steam" (although in a lot of ways I kind of do), as much as my stance is "If companies are going to go the DRM route with games, and that particular ship seems to have sailed, value-added solutions like Steam are a much better deal for consumers than the bad forms of SecuROM or Ubisoft's various heinous DRM schemes." If we all went back to disc check tomorrow I'd be pretty much ok with that. I could go on about Steam and the rise of indie game publishers, but this isn't really the place.

Samson said:


Last bit, the Chris Dodd thing, he's a complete scumbag, but even complete scumbags can make valid points. He may not have worded it in the nicest, most diplomatic way, but he speaks truth. These sites abused their influence to stoke FUD in the public mind, which translated into a lot of angry, uninformed people clogging up the phone lines in DC to rail on about something they're only minimally aware of and got a completely one-sided view of. Which is amusing, because you accuse ME of being entirely one-sided all the time as though it's a bad thing. Which brings me back to the whole "it's only bad to be one-sided if you disagree with my one side" line.

His last paragraph sound bad, but even I can see he wasn't directly calling Wikipedia's blackout punishment for Congress. He was referring to the flood from the uninformed masses.


Um, no, he's pretty much calling out Wikipedia, Google, et al there, and that seems pretty obvious to me.

And, look. This is pretty simple. Either corporations have free speech rights like the rest of us, or they don't. Insofar as the courts have pretty consistently upheld that corporations do have free speech rights like the rest of us, those that took part in the blackout are well within their rights to have done so. Moreover, every blacked out site that I saw made at least some attempt at education on the matter, though obviously I didn't survey the entire internet so I'm sure there's somebody.

The point also remains that citizens of the United States have a right and duty to participate in their government. They have done so.

The point likewise remains that on the other side of this, the number I'm hearing for pro-SOPA lobbying in Congress is $94 million or thereabouts. We have deemed this to be free speech on the part of corporations, which is to say that the RIAA and MPAA (and let us recall that Chris Dodd is head of the MPAA and is not particularly impartial on the subject) have a perfect right to have done what they did.

The difference, of course, is that the MPAA just kind of went ahead and did their thing without any transparency, whereas the blackout folks were quite public and did their best to provide a call to action with some information behind it. If the MPAA wants to make a public case for why they're correct on matter, I don't see why anybody would have a problem with that.

In short, the question must be asked: which is more responsible? Public engagement on the issues, or backroom deals? You can disagree on the merits of the argument all you want, but Dodd is being disingenuous here, and deserves to be called on that.

Samson said:


Last minute thing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16642369 - To which I will only concede that yes, we do have SOME laws on the books to deal with this sort of thing, but I can guarantee you this investigation lasted for years prior to this debate ever getting traction. It may even have been a partial catalyst for SOPA/PIPA to make the process of doing a MegaVirus takedown less ridiculously difficult. You'll note we still had to ask (read: beg) NZ to make the actual arrests.


Well, ok.

- Yay.

- SOPA/PIPA wouldn't have helped arrest anybody in NZ anyway, unless there's a section to those laws I just didn't see. So you're still going to go through that no matter.

- More to the point, the impetus behind SOPA/PIPA that you've laid forth (and that other proponents have done likewise) is to go after US-based supporters of guys like this, and not the actual guys themselves who are subject to different law. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't you just have a conversation with Conner about applying US laws to non-US citizens abroad? So, well, yeah.

       
Anonymous [Anon] said:
Comment #21 Jan 19, 2012 5:52 pm
But without SOPA/PIPA the US would never be able to shut down sites like MegaUpload!!

(If you are detecting any sarcasm it's because I'm laying it on pretty thick.)

       
Man you buys have been busy. I had another post mostly types out last night but that seems redundant now. So i will ask you 1 question that i feel is pertinent to this debate.

Seeing that the Attorney General's office and the Judges are all on the public payrol, and that these are the ones charged with enforcement of this laws, and that the legal system is highly inefficient and expansive, Why should the American tax payer have to foot the legal bill to protect the copyright interests of private corporations who already have legal remedy and international laws that protect their interests?

       
Edited by The_Fury on Jan 19, 2012 6:10 pm
Dwip said:

And actually, no, aside from like 3 Oblivion/Skyrim videos I recall you posting, I don't know that I was aware of this. Certainly every time the subject has come up you've been pretty negative on video in general, so one can make the assumption.

It isn't something I make a huge spectacle out of, and in fact, I haven't even checked those videos in ages. For all I know they're gone now. :P

The point was, I'm not as YouTube ignorant as you seem to have thought.

As far as I'm aware, Scribd and everywhere I've come into contact with re: DMCA rolls just about the same way, because of the way the law is set up.Again, I don't really want to go to the trouble of posting the zillion cites it would take to document the whole case, but it's not just YouTube having to act this way. YouTube just gets the brunt of it because it's so huge.

This is still a failing in the systems used by these places if just anyone can hit a button that says "thief stole this" and have it actually arrive at a takedown. This is not a failing in the law, because as you're well aware, a counter-notification is super easy to send. You don't even need a lawyer. You just need a site with balls enough to actually tell you you've been subjected to a claim. THAT is another area I know YouTube at least fails hardcore on. They do knee-jerk takedowns and often leave the authors wondering WTF happened.

The DMCA (and SOPA) do not require that this be so. Safe Harbor would still protect them in the event a content uploader contested the claim. It only gets expensive if a content owner decides it'w worth litigating, and THEN I'd probably be OK with Google disabling access to avoid getting dragged into it while the case is decided.

That said, the point is not to berate you for being a heinous software pirate, since, like I said, I'd be a giant hypocrite if I tried.

The difference is, you and I see that it's wrong, and even though we chose to engage in it anyway, we didn't preen about screaming about how we're entitled to it and the rights holders be damned. Surely you can see that there's a MASSIVE number of people out there who do think exactly that way and they comprised the bulk of this entire protest movement. I need only cite Anonymous as an example.

Making things even more illegal isn't going to change that fact, which is that laws, in and of themselves, do a very poor job of deterrance.

Except I'm still left with the impression that your case is "we can't stop it, so stop trying" whenever you raise this point. I don't really get that, because the logic behind it applies to every law on the books.

And, look. This is pretty simple. Either corporations have free speech rights like the rest of us, or they don't. Insofar as the courts have pretty consistently upheld that corporations do have free speech rights like the rest of us, those that took part in the blackout are well within their rights to have done so.

Did I ever once claim corporations and websites have no right to participate? That corporations don't have the right of free speech? Maybe I've never openly said so, but the Citizens United decision was something I was very happy to see come about on 1st Amendment grounds.

Surely you thus recognize that even a total scumbag like Chris Dodd has every right, both as a representative of the MPAA, and as a citizen of this nation, to speak his mind about how HE feels the whole thing went down?

Moreover, every blacked out site that I saw made at least some attempt at education on the matter, though obviously I didn't survey the entire internet so I'm sure there's somebody.

I didn't crawl over every last one out there either, but their "education" generally consisted of scare tactics like "this is the end of free speech" and/or "this will mean the end of e-commerce as we know it". Neither of which is even remotely the case. So it wasn't hard to dismiss them at their word.

The difference, of course, is that the MPAA just kind of went ahead and did their thing without any transparency

Hogwash. We've all known they were behind this legislation since it was introduced in October. It isn't their fault that nobody bothers to read the bills. Good lord, this one is even readily available online so you don't have to filter the crap coming from all these commentators on it.

If the MPAA wants to make a public case for why they're correct on matter, I don't see why anybody would have a problem with that.

They did. In the most public way anyone in this great nation can. They took up their grievance with Congress and attempted to have it redressed. C-SPAN, while often boring as fuck, had plenty of SOPA/PIPA coverage on the air.

SOPA/PIPA wouldn't have helped arrest anybody in NZ anyway

That's probably handled under the parts that deal with what the AG can do.

The huge error in your argument about the MegaVirus takedown is that they operated more than half of their actual business assets right here in the USA. Plus, the violations they committed were also crimes in the jurisdictions they were arrested in. They can be tried under NZ law at this point. Possibly will be too, unless we get them extradited here to answer for having run their criminal enterprise within our borders. Not at all the same thing as selling counterfeit copies of Windows in China from a Chinese website stored on a Chinese server in a Chinese city.

Of note, too, Anonymous is having a temper tantrum over the whole thing now. Boo hoo, can't download their warez anymore. I lack sympathy. The gross hypocrisy of that bunch is stunning. Champions of free speech launching assaults on sites for exercising their rights to free speech. I hope they burn just like LulzSec did for being so colossally stupid as to think DDoSing the government was going to accomplish something.

The_Fury said:

Why should the American tax payer have to foot the legal bill to protect the copyright interests of private corporations who already have legal remedy and international laws that protect their interests?

Because right now copyright holders in the US can only utilize the DMCA and have US sites taken down for this. The remainder of MegaVirus' servers were in Hong Kong and other Asian countries where there would have been no relief possible except via a large and expensive muilti-national seizure like this. SOPA would give them the ability to use the DMCA-style process to at least try. Sure, it's no guarantee of success, but it beats throwing your hands up in surrender at the problem.

       
Edited by Samson on Jan 19, 2012 6:22 pm
Samson said:

The remainder of MegaVirus' servers were in Hong Kong and other Asian countries where there would have been no relief possible except via a large and expensive muilti-national seizure like this.


This kind of makes the assumption that the majority of digital downloads come from a centralized source, which they don't. Like i said in my first post, this might work for physical things like a Gugi Handbag, where shutting down a digital store front might slow down the sales of such items, but, for anything digital it is just not going to work because it is not centralized, highly moveable and for the great majority of it there are no sales, no servers and no way to stop it.

So, to how i see it, you have a pointless law that is going to cost the tax payer billions that will do nothing to stop the problem, that will cause issues for legitimate use businesses. And there is nothing in the bill about how to get an IP address or URL unblocked when it has a new user who is not selling pirate goods. Sure looks easy to block them, but what happens when innocent business are effected because they are on a shared server or shared IP and the list of potential problems just keeps coming when you start to think about it. Let alone using a proxy to bypass the filters, hell China cant stop everything entering its boarders, Egypt shut its internet down and people still managed to get information in and out via the internet and you think filters are going to work.

Now i am all for measures that stop people making money through the sale of pirate and counterfeit goods, but it has to actually achieve its goals in a cost effective and efficient manner and not cause more trouble that it attempts to solve, something these laws will not achieve.

       
Pirate Bay has given its feelings on SOPA

They actually make a legitimate point about the industry itself, but they miss the whole point; they don't just hurt the industry but the artists, game designers, musicians etc on the next level down who are dependent on the sale of this sort of stuff to make a living.

Also, I've spotted at least one spelling error (it looks like there may have been some translation issues as well) and it mentions Civilization. Woo.

       
<< prev 1, 2, 3 next >>
Comments Closed
Comments for this entry have been closed.
Anonymous
Register

Forgot Password?

SuMoTuWeThFrSa
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Click for Chino, California Forecast