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According to a report published by the AFL-CIO, online piracy costs content providers (mostly TV networks and movie studios) a lot of money. Around $20 billion annually. That, in turn, costs a staggering number of industry-related jobs - over 140,000 by some estimates.

As  a freelance film editor,  this scares the hell out of me.  If the  networks and studios I work for don't make money, sooner or later I'm  out of a job. And if I'm out of a job long enough, I lose my union  health benefits, my pension, the whole ball of wax.

I know it scares the hell out of my union, IATSE, judging by numerous emailswarning how my livelihood is in grave danger from "foreign rogue sites" dedicated to wholesale theft of the intellectual property of my employers.

On the flip side, there were petitions filing my inbox from internet watchdog groups urging me to tell Congress to "preserve free speech", and that if I didn't, the "internet as we know it" would cease to exist.

Now, if you don't know what they're talking about, you're not not alone. Until I started getting these emails, I too was blissfully ignorant about the alphabet-soup of anti-piracy  legislation currently grinding it's way through the bowels of Congress -  the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

But as I researched the bills and clawed my way though mountains of evidence on both sides predicting internet Armageddon, I quickly realized online piracy (and the solutions being put forth to curb it) is something we don't have the luxury to ignore. Because what happens in the next month could profoundly affect many aspect of our lives, not just how we interact online.

So I'll make you a deal: If you'll stick around to read this, I'll spare you the hyperbole and techno-speak and explain what I've learned in plain English.

Please, let my pain be your gain.

BUT FIRST, A HISTORY LESSON.....

SOPA and PIPA are designed to close existing loopholes in online piracy enforcement.  To explain how, I first have to talk about another law: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act , otherwise known as DMCA.

Enacted in 1998, DMCA was Congress's first attempt to deal with the brave new world of illegal file sharing. In a nutshell, it criminalized online copyright infringement while protecting "Fair Use" doctrine, as well as giving "safe harbor" to internet service providers (ISPs), websites and search engines which unknowingly hosted or linked to pirated material.

(I'll circle back to "fair use" and "safe harbor" later,  but keep these terms in your head.  They're really, really important - it's why YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and even small sites like this blog aren't sued out of existence every time someone uploads a photo or links to a movie clip.)

However, DMCA was limited. It only applied to domestic ISPs, websites and search engines. Why? Because US copyright law ends at our borders. Domestic plaintiffs can't collect damages for overseas copyright infringement.

Of course, the first thing online pirates did after DMCA became law was set up shop overseas and out of the reach of US courts.

So ten years later,  Congress passed another law, the PRO-IP Act, which increased penalties and gave new enforcement powers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency most recently known for mistakenly deporting a 14 year-old girl to Columbia.

ICE could, with a simple affidavit, obtain a court order to seize the site's domain name and IP address.  Anyone clicking on a seized site would see this:



Even though hundreds of domains were seized ( a partial list here), critics complained PRO-IP didn't solve the "foreign rogue websites" problem. Perpetrators - especially those operating overseas - disappeared easily, escaping fines and summary judgments, quickly setting up new and anonymous Internet storefronts at will. Even if found, there was often no way of tying the individuals who ran foreign sites to assets in the United States.

Got all that?

Good. Because this is where the fun starts.


SOPA AND PIPA TO THE RESCUE!

SOPA and PIPA are designed to do one thing and one thing only - tie online pirates to assets in the United States so our justice system can get at them to collect civil judgments and cut off sources of revenue.

Of course, making that happen is not so simple. The internet is a complicated, borderless thing which changes faster than a teenager's hormones on a Pepsi high.

So the bill's authors tried to come up with a number of different ways to skin the same cat.

  1. Extend the authority to seize domain names and IP addresses to foreign websites determined to be in violation US Copyright law.
  2. Compel domestic ISPs, websites and search engines to block internet access to any foreign websites determined to be in violation US Copyright law.
  3. Prosecute developers who offer products or services that could be used to  circumvent  the blockade of foreign websites determined to be in  violation US Copyright law.
  4. Compel domestic financial service providers (Paypal, Visa, Wells Fargo, etc....) and internet advertisers to close accounts and block payments to any  foreign websites determined to be in violation US Copyright law.

The bills also includes a provision the American Bar Association labels "a rather novel reinvention of online"market-based" enforcement" by allowing copyright owners and their agents to initiate a "private right of action" to seek termination of an infringing site's advertising and financial services.  

Lastly, this legislation gives blanket immunity to any US-based financial service providers, advertisers, ISPs, websites, and search engines which voluntarily blocks internet access or terminates its services. It does this even if the site's owners did not  knowingly host pirated material, or the  allegations later prove to be unfounded.


AND THIS IS WHERE IT ALL GOES SO HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG......

Even without SOPA/PIPA's First Amendment implications (you can read some pretty good arguments here, here and here) ,the bills as currently proposed are horribly flawed documents devised by people who either don't understand how the internet works, or worse, understand it all too well and are trying to game the system for unfair competitive advantage.

SOPA's sponsor, Texas Republican, Lamar Smith, thinks any fears are "completely unfounded".

"The criticism of this bill is completely hypothetical; none of it is based in reality,"said Smith, R.-Texas, in a statement. "€œNot one of the critics was able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet. Their accusations are simply not supported by any facts.....they need to read the language. Show me the language."€

You're on, Lamar.


SOPA/PIPA ARE BILLS BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF QUICKSAND

As I said before, ICE has seized hundreds of domestic domains under the PRO-IP Act. Well, it turns out some site owners are fighting back, suing the government for violating their First Amendment rights, saying the law's "seize now, ask questions later" enforcement equals prior restraint. In at least one case, a judge agreed, throwing out part of the government's case and expediting the site owner's suit.

And then there's the Kafkaesque case of dajaz1.com, a popular hip-hop music site which had it's domain seized in 2010, then restored over a year later - all without a single charge being filed.

As the details came out, it became clear that ICE and the Justice Department were in way over their heads. ICE's "investigation" was done by a technically inept recent college grad, who didn't even seem to understand the basics of the technology. But it didn't stop him from going to a judge and asking for a site to be completely censored with no due process.

The site's lawyer, Andrew Bridges, filed a motion to get the site back. Instead of responding as the law required, the government stonewalled Bridges while they secretly pursued multiple filing extensions from the court in order to hold on to the site.

The government was required to file for forfeiture by May. The initial (supposed) secret extension was until July. Then it got another one that went until September. And then another one until November... or so the government said. When Bridges asked the government for some proof that it had actually obtained the extensions in question, the government attorney told Bridges that he would just have "trust" him.

You can read the whole story here.  It's not pretty. Eventually, the government unilaterally decided it didn't have probably cause after all and just dropped the case without comment. 


SOPA/PIPA INTERFERES WITH UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY

Don't expect oppressive regimes like Syria, Iran, or Burma to take our lectures about internet freedom seriously, not while Congress is proposing protocols for site blocking that China already uses to restrict their citizen's access the web.  

Worse, if ICE starts going after software developers, they're going to have to go after contractors the State Department hired to do the very thing Congress just made illegal. 

Seriously. I'm not making this up.  Last June, the NY Times reported:

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy "€œshadow"€ Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype "€œInternet in a suitcase."

Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet......

Some projects involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe.......

"€œThe cool thing in this political context is that you cannot easily control it,"€ said Aaron Kaplan, an Austrian cybersecurity expert whose work will be used in the suitcase project. Mr. Kaplan has set up a functioning mesh network in Vienna and says related systems have operated in Venezuela, Indonesia and elsewhere.




SOPA/PIPA INTERFERES WITH US CYBER SECURITY

First, by mandating provisions completely incompatible with next-generation internet security standards and secondly, by throwing US software developers into legal limbo.

It turns out targeting software which could potentially be used for circumventing blacklisted websites also means targeting the same security software we use to keep our personal computers safe from malware, networked businesses safe from denial-of-service attacks and even payments to online financial service providers like PayPal safe from theft.

Meanwhile, as legitimate software developers sit around twiddling their thumbs, 20 year-old hackershave already created workarounds to domain blocking in anticipation of SOPA/PIPA.

Have fun with that.


SOPA/PIPA PLACES ALL THE BURDEN FOR ENFORCEMENT ON US WEBSITES AND BUSINESSES

Supporters, including my union, like to point out that SOPA/PIPA only affects foreign websites. This is demonstrably not true.

Remember, the Justice Department has no jurisdiction overseas, but it does have jurisdiction over domestic ISPs, websites, and search engines, domestic financial service providers and domestic software developers. SOPA/PIPA may target foreign sites, but all the legal liability and compliance costs would fall on American companies. As techdirt.com points out,

We've been trying to make this point for months, and the folks in favor of these bills just keep ignoring it insisting time and time again that this is just about foreign sites. Most of those people have never been entrepreneurs. They've never worked at a company where the threat of legal action is a BIG DEAL, that can massively disrupt operations (and cash flow). They don't realize that increasing liability, compliance costs and legal risks isn't just a nuisance -- it can force an entire business to shut down. We've talked about how these bills change things so that it's not just two engineers in a garage any more, but two engineers... who need a team of a dozen lawyers.



SOPA/PIPA CAN BE MANIPULATED TO STIFLE FREE SPEECH AND FREE MARKET COMPETITION

Remember how I mentioned "fair use" and "safe harbor" at the beginning of this post?  Let's circle back to that now.

I use a lot of social media - YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to share information, links, videos and other online content. And I do this under the"Fair Use" doctrine, which allows me to use copyrighted material without permission for "transformative" purposes such as commentary, criticism and parody.

What  is a "€œtransformative"€ use? If this definition seems ambiguous or vague,  be aware that millions of dollars in legal fees have been spent  attempting to define what qualifies as a fair use. There are no  hard-and-fast rules, only general rules and varied court decisions,  because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did  not want to limit its definition. Like free speech, they wanted it to  have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation.

Now, to illustrate my point, I'm going to link to this really cool video created by a fan of "Castle", the ABC Television show I work on. Go ahead, have a look. I'll wait.




Great video, isn't it?

It also happens to be made up of hundreds of copyrighted clips I'm reasonably sure ABC Television never gave permission to use. But that's OK, because I'm also reasonably sure the video is covered by Fair Use. But if I'm wrong about that, this is where DMCA's "safe harbor" provisions come in.

Safe Harbor assumes I didn't knowingly post anything which violates US copyright law.  So even if my ISP gets a take-down notice from ABC, Safe Harbor is supposed to protect me as long as I comply with the notice and remove the video.

Together, Fair Use and Safe Harbors allow for innovation because they create safe space for both free expression and honest mistakes. But content providers hate Fair Use and (more importantly) Safe Harbors because providers think these exceptions take the teeth out of enforcement, creating loopholes you could drive a truck through.

SOPA/PIPA gets rid of Safe Harbors. There is no safe space. A copyright holder can initiate a "private right of action", convince a judge to issue an injunction (which we now know is way too easy to do) get your domain blocked, your advertising pulled and your finances frozen.

And thanks to SOPA/PIPA's immunity provisions, a copyright holder wouldn't even need a court order shut you down, just a letter to your service providers threatening to.

This section says that anyone who takes voluntary action "based on credible evidence" basically gets full immunity. Think about what that means in practice. If someone sends a service provider a notice claiming infringement on the site under this bill, the first thing every lawyer will tell them is "quick, take voluntary action to cut them off, so you get immunity." Even worse, since this is just about immunity, there are no counter notice rules or anything requiring any process for those cut off to be able to have any redress whatsoever.

Between blanket immunity, the loss of safe harbor, and the lack of any redress for impacted site owners, SOPA/PIPA actually incentivizes wholesale abuse.

It's already happening. Entire legal industries have been built around responding to DMCA takedown notices in bulk. Thin-skinned businesses routinely ignore Fair Use to issue DMCA takedown notices against sites which criticize them.  Unscrupulous content providers also sue legitimate online competitors for copyright infringement just to bankrupt them.

In 2007, Universal Music Group (UMG) brought a lawsuit against Veoh Networks (Veoh), a video hosting website, alleging that Veoh facilitated copyright infringement by providing a website that hosted videos containing music owned by UMG. On December 20, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a summary judgment in favor of Veoh and held that Veoh was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) "safe harbor" provisions.... While Veoh'€™s website was found to be perfectly legal, its victory is bittersweet; the small startup company filed for bankruptcy early in 2010 from the high cost of defending its case.

At least under DMCA, Veoh could keep it's business running while the case was litigated.
The SOPA/PIPA bills, however, would have immediately shut Veoh'€™s website down before it even had its day in court, thereby keeping Veoh from running its business which, in this case, was ultimately found to be perfectly legal. There is cause for concern when copyright holders abuse the law to stymie innovative new startups.

There are also some nasty implications for political campaigns. Implications that ought to give the bill's Congressional supporters pause.

Imagine you are running for Congress in a competitive House district. You give a strong interview to a local morning news show and your campaign posts the clip on your website. When your opponent'€™s campaign sees the video, it decides to play hardball and sends a notice to your Internet service provider alerting them to what it deems "€œinfringing content."€ It doesn'€™t matter if the content is actually pirated. .... If you don'€™t take the video down, even if you believe that the content is protected under fair use, your website goes dark.

I'm sure nothing like that would ever happen, because, you know, it never has before.

During the waning days of the 2008 presidential race, there was an important but overlooked occurrence on the John McCain campaign. In mid-October, the McCain campaign awoke to find that its Web videos and online advertisements were disappearing from its YouTube page.

The culprit turned out to be a major television network claiming they owned portions of the videos and that posting the clips was a violation of copyright law. Even though the campaign, and many others in the online community, believed the content to be privileged under the €"Fair Use Doctrine","€ the videos were pulled down.


John McCain, by the way, is one of PIPA's co-sponsors.


THE DIVIDE OVER SOPA/PIPA ISN'T POLITICAL - IT'S BETWEEN THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THE INTERNET AND THOSE WHO DON'T

What do Darrell Issa, Nancy Pelosi, the ACLU, Daily Kos, RedState.com, Markos Moulitsas and Ron Paul have in common? They all oppose SOPA/PIPA.

Personally, I've never agreed with Darrel Issa on any issue ever, but I agree with him on this.

How is this possible? Because the divide over SOPA/PIPA isn't political, it's between those who understand how the internet works and those who don't,   those who see opportunities for growth and innovation and those who fear change and are holding on to old business models for dear life.

During the House Judiciary Committee's SOPA hearings last December, it became nightmarishly clear  Congressmembers who support these bills are in the "don't understand how the internet works" camp.

It'€™s exactly as we feared....this is like a group of well-intentioned amateurs getting together to perform heart surgery on a patient incapable of moving. "We hear from the motion picture industry that heart surgery is what'€™s required,"€ they say cheerily. "€œWe'€™re not going to cut the good valves, just the bad neurons, or whatever you call those durn thingies."

This is terrifying to watch. It would be amusing -€” there'€™s nothing like people who did not grow up with the Internet attempting to ask questions about technology very slowly and stumbling over words like "€œserver"€ and "€œservice"€ when you want an easy laugh. Except that this time, the joke'€™s on us.

It'€™s been a truism for some time that you can tell innovation in an industry has ceased when the industry starts to develop a robust lobbying and litigating presence instead.

Which brings me back to my union,  IATSE.

I believe my union leadership is acting in good faith to look after the best interests of its membership. But I don't think my union leadership understands how the Internet works. By backing the industry's position on SOPA/PIPA, I believe they're tying themselves to a business model that simply can't be sustained and won't be rescued by badly crafted legislation.

Look, you can't un-ring this bell. Internet file sharing, streaming  video, and movies-on-demand aren't going away.  Fans of American  television shows and movies use the internet toform international online communities, upload their favorite clips via YouTube and share them on Twitter and Facebook.As an industry, we should encourage them. Because today's "pirates" are tomorrow's customers. 

It's a brave new world out there.

We've been down this road before with the music industry. Ten years ago, while all the major record labels responded to file sharing by locking up content and suing Napster into the ground, Steve Jobs quietly developed iTunes. By tapping into a market that was already habituated to file sharing and offering quality content conveniently and legally at a price point people were willing to pay, Apple dominated the music industry while the record labels tanked.

We either follow the path of the record labels or we follow the path Apple took. 

I'd rather follow Apple.


cross-posted at www.venice4change.

UPDATE

I've had several kind-hearted folks say they want to share this diary, but are afraid doing so would somehow "out" me. While I appreciate the concern, that horse left the barn a long time ago. I link to my IMDB profile in the diary and my post has been circulating in email form within the film community for a week now.

Ours is an industry built on relationships - I have no reason to believe what I've written here will weaken my relationships. I share my union's concern about online piracy, I just differ when it comes to the solutions.  

Originally posted to msblucow on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 07:00 AM PST.

Also republished by The Royal Manticoran Rangers.

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  •  Oh they understand the internet... (27+ / 0-)

    They just see a lot of opportunity to make MONEY.  Lawsuits, licensing fees, access fees...

    It's like a corporate Christmas!  Except it's congress dressed as Santa.

    One of these days, I'm gonna learn that I'm only really good at convincing people when I'm being a wiseass. Reviewtopia.net

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 07:22:10 AM PST

  •  Thanks. (47+ / 0-)

    It's a great explanation, and given my interests, I especially appreciate this part:

    I believe my union leadership is acting in good faith to look after the best interests of its membership. But I don't think my union leadership understands how the Internet works. By backing the industry's position on SOPA/PIPA, I believe they're tying themselves to a business model that simply can't be sustained and won't be rescued by badly crafted legislation.
  •  This is an excellent diary (32+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your point of view and information.

    I learned alot here.

    This is another one of those difficult issues that you really need to think about before reacting.

    Outstanding work.

  •  An excellent diary! (18+ / 0-)

    Thank you!  I had reached many of the same conclusions you had, but without the solid understanding of background and of the issues that you have presented so clearly. Piracy is a serious problem, and in itself can and will go a long way to undermine innovation and destroy creativity, but these laws will be a disaster except for the likes of Rupert Murdoch.  I will use this - with citations, so you get the credit :-)!! - when I discuss this with people around me.

  •  This diary should be REQUIRED READING (26+ / 0-)

    EXCELLENT analysis, msblucow.  You demystify the issue so well, and the conclusion is so eye-poppingly obvious that I'm amazed no one has figured it out before.

    Tipped and recced (not retweeted because the larger world could easily figure out who you are and you don't need that especially on this issue).  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 07:51:03 AM PST

  •  Great piece (5+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate your presentation of the complexity of this subject, and I think it is important for people to understand why this legislation is happening in the first place.

    I'm not in the biz myself, but my partner works for a Hollywood studio, so you could say we definitely have some skin in the game. But Hollywood is going to have to adapt and figure out, as you say, how to move forward without shooting itself in the foot like the music industry has.

    They're going to have to start over. I hope that today's action means that SOPA/PIPA are dead in the water.

    "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

    by Lost Left Coaster on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:03:36 AM PST

  •  Personal chilling effect.... (19+ / 0-)

    I've been working on a website that would give people a nice online tool to create graphics. I was going to include a feature that would let them store their work on the website but now I think I'll eliminate that feature.

    It's all done in javascript which means all the code and data exists on the user's machine with nothing stored on my website except the original copy of the javascript itself. They'll be able to save their work to their computer in a number of ways, but not have much customization of their workspace and other kinds of continuity that could be implemented if I let them store stuff in a database on my site.

    I'm mainly worried about the feature that lets users include graphic files (jpgs,  png, etc) in their work; who knows what such files might contain? They can also draw anything they might want to, include text, etc of course.

    Much potential for mayhem. Keeping that off the site seems prudent.

    I'm still potentially facilitating copyright infringement, but in the same way that camera and pencil manufacturers do, so to speak.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:07:47 AM PST

  •  Another reason this site is so valuable! (17+ / 0-)

    Here we are given an industry insider's considered opinion, and I certainly learned a great deal more about SOPA and PIPA than I did before.

    Thanks so much for this valuable oversight. I don't have to worry about Bernie, but Welch and Leahy, my other two congressionals, can be influenced by industry, and this diary is getting emailed to their staff members.

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ~ George Washington

    by 4Freedom on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:16:16 AM PST

  •  Tipped Recc'ed and posted to my online (8+ / 0-)

    friends as a really good guide to what SOPA and PIPA mean.

    #Occupy Wallstreet - Politicians will not support the movement until it is too big to fail.

    by Sychotic1 on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:16:36 AM PST

  •  Hollywood fucked up (26+ / 0-)

    YouTube happened, took the world by storm, and Hollywood was caught completely flat-footed. Now they understand the implications suggested by the existence of YouTube. And now they want to drive aggregators like YouTube out of existence so that studios can devise their own (presumably pay-per-view) alternatives.

    This isn't about piracy. Hollywood has never taken appropriate action to stem piracy, for risk of making sales of units more difficult to carry out.

    This is about turning the internet into a pay-per-view media brothel. It's about as ethical as Simon Bar Sinister's famous desire to own "all the water in the world."

    •  This. (13+ / 0-)
      [T]hey want to drive aggregators like YouTube out of existence so that studios can devise their own (presumably pay-per-view) alternatives.
      This is strictly about cornering profits and instituting control of information flow. And for what it's worth, no one should respect any arguments from any so-called number-crunchers in an industry that gave us Hollywood accounting (oops, guess that Wikipedia link won't work until tomorrow – gee, that's sure a convenient site). Industry numbers for copyright infringement "losses" are grossly inflated because they count all downloads as lost revenue; the reality is that even if they can completely implement SOPA/PIPA or other convoluted schemes, they won't realize but a tiny fraction of their claimed "losses" because a large chunk of the people doing the previous downloads won't want or be able to purchase them outright.
      •  I'm going to disagree somewhat (16+ / 0-)

        Piracy really is an issue. Yes, the numbers are all over the map, but it doesn't mean piracy doesn't exist. Look, I know people who run small distribution houses who are losing their shirts over this.

        The problem is they're grasping at straws, following the lead of the studios, hoping this legislation will change all that.

        It won't. The tragedy is its almost impossible to convince them otherwise.

        •  Do you know of any smaller studios (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrblifil, nellgwen, sb, JesseCW

          that 'get it'? There are plenty of examples of musical acts that understand that you'll attract a lot more flies with honey than vinegar, but I can't think of any movie studios...

          We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

          by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:12:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't say it wasn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sb, kurt

          I read your diary. I certainly didn't say piracy doesn't exist or isn't an issue. It's now a valid, central concern for any content creator. I agree that this legislation won't do a thing to stop copyright infringement and opens the door for a boatload of abuse. But I see no contradiction between that and distrusting official MPAA/RIAA industry numbers, which really are ludicrous.

          This really boils down to a question of how much the mechanism of copyright is worth to society (and how much it costs in restriction of the public domain), and that points to solutions in social structure, not technology.

        •  Great point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          msblucow
          The problem is they're grasping at straws, following the lead of the studios, hoping this legislation will change all that.

          but... there seems to e an element of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  The anti-SOPA/PIPA forces (many of whom are charged with profiting from off-shore traffic) offer no real solution other than Hollywood needs to change its business model without understanding the Hollywood business model (any better than Hollywood understands the Internet). There is a misconception that Hollywood and the Recording Industries business models are analogous. The Exhibitor portion of the equation continues to be the pipeline detour in the Hollywood equation. It is not as simple as Hollywood needs to make it product available on iTunes. People forget about the entire movie theater/exhibition lobby.

          Like you, I'm in the industry and find it frustrating that something cannot be done about sites like The Pirate Bay - which profited some $3 million dollars last year while operating our of the Seychelle Islands. It should come as no surprise that we could both go there (Pirate Bay, not the Sechelles!) right now and dowload "Castle".

          Yours is one of the most thoughtful diaries I've seen on the topic - here or anywhere else. I'm curious what you think of this DGA statement from yesterday -http://www.dga.org/...

          •  Response (4+ / 0-)
            The anti-SOPA/PIPA forces (many of whom are charged with profiting from off-shore traffic) offer no real solution other than Hollywood needs to change its business model without understanding the Hollywood business model

            So? That's their problem. By your "logic", it's unfair of me to complain about having my pocket picked unless I do the legwork to find the pickpocket some other means of acquiring money.
            I'm curious what you think of this DGA statement from yesterday

            As usual, I started by doing a quick scan to see if any blatant lies jumped out at me. Sure enough....
            Rogue sites legislation provides the exact same due process protection provided to every individual who appears before a U.S. Court

            Nope -- the bills empower accusers to demand search traffic diversion, DNS removal*, and interdiction of financial transfers upon accusation, prior to any sort of due process.

            *Supposedly, this is being amended out. I'll believe that when I see it.

            After that, I went to TL:DR (Tawdry Lies; Didn't Read) mode.

            On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

            by stevemb on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:33:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for playing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bill W
              So? That's their problem.

              No it's my problem as someone who is employed in Hollywood. And it's the diarist's problem for the same reason.

              And there was a distinct reason I asked the diarist's opinion - this diary has shown an understanding of the mixed emotions about SOPA/PIPA and piracy.  Your comment does not.

          •  DGA post is full of straw man arguments... (0+ / 0-)

            It's frustrating.

            •  "Why unions shouldn't support SOPA" (0+ / 0-)
              The Writers Guild of America West has realized some of the implications of SOPA, and although the group is still concerned about piracy, has since come out against the bill in meetings with members of Congress:

              They discussed concerns with the bill's implications for competition and an open Internet. Although the WGAW strongly supports combating piracy, the competition, First Amendment, and due process concerns the bill creates must be addressed.

              But other, larger, unions remain behind the legislation. I can't be the only person who was surprised to see several top unions, including the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), SAG, and AFTRA, on the list of organizations supporting SOPA. I'm not sure how SOPA or PIPA would help the actual members of these unions, other than further enrich their employers' CEOs. But the AFL-CIO stands up for it.
              http://www.pbs.org/...?

        •  No. They're not. (0+ / 0-)

          Just because "Piracy" exists and someones business is failing does not mean that "Piracy" is the cause of that failure.

          It's precisely the people who dig indie productions who will pay for content they value.

          I've seen to many people go to concerts and buy CDs despite the fact that they've already "pirated" every track on them to buy into the idea that small artists are being harmed.

          Fear is your only God.

          by JesseCW on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:35:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Posting this on Facebook too... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, sb

    thanks for the summary.

    "...Can't do nothing, girl, without somebody bugging/ I used to think that it was me/ But then I learned it wasn't." --Salt NPepa None of Your Business

    by chicating on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:26:36 AM PST

  •  While I despise the people (11+ / 0-)

    who seem to think that Peter Jackson should spend five years and hundreds of millions of dollars to make movies that they somehow deserve to see for free, SOPA/PIPA is like setting the house on fire to get rid of cockroaches.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:27:24 AM PST

    •  I agree...sort of. (10+ / 0-)

      The reality is that Peter Jackson isn't spending that money out of his own pocket.  Either himself or the movie studio get investors to fund much of the movie.  They also make a lot of money up front selling distribution rights.  

      I'm going to use Kevin Smith's latest, Red State as a simple example.  He found people willing to invest 5 millino or so into the movie.  By the time he sold foreign and distribution rights, he already made that 5 million back...without ever selling a single ticket yet.

      Meanwhile, we hear all the time about movies that report hundreds of millions inbox office "not making money".   Forest gump?  Hell, even Star Wars technically only NOW is reporting a profit.  this is because the studios in many cases also own the distribution chain but they keep separate sets of books.  So what they do is they essentially "gouge" themselves with distribution charges to hide the actual profits made by the movie to avoid paying people who get paid based on profit percentage.

      So in short, piracy isn't hurting box office.  There is no evidence of that as profits in general keep going up.  And there is no shortage of content since it is becoming more and more common for TV or movie studios to only support content they fully control themselves.  How many TV shows get cancelled because their ratings are decent, but not high enough for the TV network to keep paying someone else the rights to air?   Especially when they can keep trying and failing to make their own fully owned shows a hit until they get it right?

      I agree that nobody DESERVES to see anything for free.  But the reality is that there is nothing that can be done to stop it, and as far as I can tell the only people being hurt are the "old school establishment" themselves who profit more from control and near-monopolization than actual creativity.

      •  So your argument is that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        as long as someone's making a profit, it's OK to steal from them? I'll have to try that out at a BMW dealer sometime.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:52:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  copy the car (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sb, kurt

          hey, if you can lay your hand on a beamer, wait 5 minutes and make a second identical beamer without damaging or causing the dealer to lose use of the first one, then maybe copyright infringement isn't exactly the same as theft.

          i'm not saying there's not a loss in profit, but it's not quite the same as taking my mom's ring from off her nightstand and creeping back out the window.

          We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

          by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:11:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  true, the dealer doesn't lose use of the first one (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29, Bill W, Wood Dragon

            but since you got yours for free you are making it harder for him to sell his for $40,000.

            especially if you make another copy of your free one and give it to another friend who copies it and gives it to another friend who copies it and gives it to another friend.

            pretty soon all the people who work at the dealership are out of jobs, as are all the people who work at the local coffee and sub shops that the dealership people go to, as do all of the people who those people would have hired to babysit their children and mow their lawns.

            I don't support SOPA, but as someone who once worked in the creative arts I have a problem with artists and their assistants and support staff not getting paid for their work because technology has made the work so easy to steal and share for free.

            "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
            Must see video: When Mitt Romney Came to Town

            by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:38:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sb, Chi, kurt

          I openly agree that nobody deserves to see something for free.  I totally disagree with that sort of overly-entitled thinking.

          What I'm saying is that SOME of this problem has been caused by companies ignoring developments in technology, and hoping everyone will stick to the "old ways" which they control and therefore make massive and extreme profits off of.   That sort of corporate thinking - the myth of infinite profits - is just as much self-entitled thinking as the logic used by piracy advocates.

          So the end result is one side thinking they deserves to make an insane amount of money by abusing or unfairly restricting normal market forces and/or limiting what people can get for their money, battling a group who thinks that just because they CAN get something for free they deserve to have it.   The intelligent solution - moderation - is no longer acceptable in our heavily corporatized economy.

          What I am saying is that there is always going to be ways to create new works/art and ways for artists to profit off of it.  There will alway be people willing and able and HAPPY to make new music, movies, paintings, or whatever, and others willing to invest in those things.  That isn't going to change.

          The way I see it though is that something HAS to give, and like or not, it isn't going to be the "pirates".  Not without seriously problematic and draconian legislation coming into play like SOPA which restricts the freedoms and rights of everyone (whether in the US or not) in a majorly bad way.  The ones who are going to have to budge are the corporations like the music and movie studios, publishers, etc.  And they are going to have to accept that their massive profits are no longer sustainable or even possible given the current technology.  

          In fact, given the current technology, those "gate keepers" may no longer even be necessary at all anymore.   The market is going to change and it appears to be changing in a way that more directly connects the actual artists/creators to the consumer.  There is no more need for the middle man - or corporations in this case.  Because under our current system, the corporate gatekeepers end up making all the money but do very little actual "creating".  And then customers are paying a ton of money to buy that product only a very tiny fraction goes to the actual creator.  And they may not even own the actual songs anyway in many cases.  Loko at Michael Jackson who owned the rights to the Beatles music because of how the studios work.  So HE had the rights to sell and profit off of Beatles songs however he wanted regardless of how the actual bandmembers felt.  How is THAT not stealing also?  But it is allowed because the corporate gatekeepers LIKE that part of copyright law.

          Going back to your analogy it isn't like stealing a car because BMW still makes money.  It is more like realizing why should be be buying from car salesmen at all, haggling and negotiating,etc, when we can (ideally) just go directly to the BMW manufacturing facility and pay cost plus %10 or whatever markup BMW decides.   Then again, car sales are a terrible example specifically because of the way dealerships work and do business.

          •  Michael Jackson & the Beatles (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi
            Look at Michael Jackson who owned the rights to the Beatles music because of how the studios work.  So HE had the rights to sell and profit off of Beatles songs however he wanted regardless of how the actual bandmembers felt.  How is THAT not stealing also?  But it is allowed because the corporate gatekeepers LIKE that part of copyright law.

            That doesn't strike me as the best example, since I'm pretty sure that Michael Jackson was only able to own the Beatles' catalog because somewhere along the line they were either greedy enough or stupid enough to sign away their rights.  

            •  It is appropriate. (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brown Thrasher, sb, Cassandra Waites, Chi, kurt

              Because most young new acts, even today, have to sign away their rights in order to be picked up by the big studios who will get them on the radio.  Research what has happened to most of the "boy bands" of the 90s including N*sync, Backstreet Boys.  I guarantee that Britney Spears doesn't own her own music, the production company and/or music studio do.

              This is common practice and has been for quite some time.

              •  It's "stealing"? (0+ / 0-)

                No, it isn't.  It may be taking advantage of someone's greed or stupidity, but it's not stealing.  Nobody "has to" sign with a big label, they choose to do so because there are certain benefits associated with that.  They have to decide whether or not those benefits are worth giving up future earnings.  
                It boils down to: don't sign a contract if you don't know what you're doing.  

                •  You misunderstand (0+ / 0-)

                  I never said that record companies are stealing when they control the rights of music they pay artists to record.  We've gotten way off topic.  But what I said was that when someone like Michael Jackson can own someone else's music, such as with the Beatles, that to me is not all that different from stealing - especially if we are going to call anything involving the artist/creator not being able to profit off their own work for ever "stealing".

                  •  Well, what you said was... (0+ / 0-)
                    "...Michael Jackson who owned the rights to the Beatles music because of how the studios work.  So HE had the rights to sell and profit off of Beatles songs however he wanted regardless of how the actual bandmembers felt.  How is THAT not stealing also?"

                    And my answer is that it's not stealing because he paid for it.  
                    If an artist wishes to sell the rights to their art to some other party, then that party owns the rights.  I don't see any parallel at all with the practice of copying and redistributing artists' work without their permission.

                    Funny thing -- I remember the uproar over Michael Jackson's acquisition of the Beatles catalog, and how angry the fans were.  Of course, that was right around the same time that "Sir Paul", who owned the Buddy Holly portfolio, was licensing those tunes for floor wax commercials and the like.  

          •  I refrained from reading the rest of (0+ / 0-)

            your comment

            I openly agree that nobody deserves to see something for free.

            as per your request.

            Fear is your only God.

            by JesseCW on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:37:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Do they lose their movie when you watch it? (0+ / 0-)

          Then in what sense have you deprived them of anything that was actually theirs?

          Fear is your only God.

          by JesseCW on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:36:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Deserves to see anything for free (8+ / 0-)

        As someone who plays in two community bands that give free outdoor concerts, donations gladly accepted, I take issue with the claim that art belongs only to those who can afford to view it.

        Especially since the only way I can afford to see live art, most of the time, is to help create it.

        •  Well, and I help run community events, and in my (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, sb, kurt

          experience, people are generous when they know its going directly to the artist. I am firmly convinced that a big chunk of piracy comes as a response to corporate greed and callousness. If people saw it as a matter of supporting vs. depriving an artist, the picture would look a lot different than it does to people wondering whether they should support or deprive Universal Studios.

    •  I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that. (9+ / 0-)

      Most people, lets say 90%, are fine with the idea of paying for content, while let's say 10% will pirate content come hell or high water.

      The more laws Hollywood passes to ratchet down restrictions on distribution of content, the only people who are going to face the consequences are those 90%. The other 10% will continue downloading content as usual.

      Software like Bittorrent is just a tool. Like any tool, it can be used to cause great damage, or do great good. If the Hollywood studios were intelligent, they'd utilize such tools to create a distribution channel that would bring in boatloads of money. A great example is World of Warcraft- their patches are issued in the background via torrent.

      I personally get my movies on Amazon Prime nowadays. But I'd happily switch to something else if a better mousetrap came along. The danger if legislation like this passes is that the litigation risk will be so high for new startups that nobody will have the incentive to get in the mousetrap invention business.

      We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

      by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:25:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  THIS (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sb, Cassandra Waites, Chi, kurt, samanthab, melo

        I'd suggest that there is a percentage at each end that will always purchase and will always steal. The middle ground of people are the ones who you want to reach.

        The best way to reach them, in my opinion, is to make it easier and safer to buy something than to steal it. Itunes did that for music. The bulk of college people I knew who were into original Napster/Limewire/etc, swapped to Itunes as it came out. It was safer: legally and from viruses, it was just as convenient, and the cost was, on it's face, reasonable.

        Did it solve musical piracy? No. Did it cut out a large chunk of casual pirates? Yes, and it removed a philosophical underpinning from people who want to argue about why what they're doing isn't "stealing."

        Game makers are constantly fighting against IP theft, and the people who end up paying for it are those who buy a game with limited functions, poor performance and foolish IP protection (only works online, installs malware, etc.) The pirates still pirate, don't have to deal with the pain and annoyance of the protection software and don't pay.

        This is the trap that MUST be avoided, or your customer base will rebel, because they're punished financially, and in user friendliness for staying legal.

        Argh.

        It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

        by Solarian on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:21:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sympathetic (7+ / 0-)

    to the plight of the film industry. Hopefully they're able to get something responsible passed (Not SOPA/PIPA) before they get smacked with what happened to the music biz. Also, I think it'd be beneficial for the studios to perhaps get together and create an easy, uniform system for legal downloading. The music heads were way behind-the-ball on that which has probably exacerbated some of their problems. Can Hollywood actually cooperate in that way though? Who knows.

    Also, any politician who wants to create laws for the internet should be required to take a class on it or something. Bajeez.

    •  From Courtney Love: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, sb, Chi, kurt, Matt Z
      "Record companies have a 5% success rate. That means that 5% of all records released by major labels go gold or platinum. How do record companies get away with a 95% failure rate that would be totally unacceptable in any other business? Record companies keep almost all the profits. Recording artists get paid a tiny fraction of the money earned by their music. That allows record executives to be incredibly sloppy in running their companies and still create enormous amounts of cash for the corporations that own them. The royalty rates granted in every recording contract are very low to start with and then companies charge back every conceivable cost to an artist's royalty account. Artists pay for recording costs, video production costs, tour support, radio promotion, sales and marketing costs, packaging costs and any other cost the record company can subtract from their royalties. Record companies also reduce royalties by "forgetting" to report sales figure, miscalculating royalties and by preventing artists from auditing record company books. "

      Maybe the film industry shouldn't alienate its own artists like the music business did. As I said above, these things aren't incidental. If you look like a greedy, soulless corporation to people, you can only be so surprised when people treat you like one. With SOPA, the film industry is doing a lot to demonstrate to people that they are made up of greedy, soulless corporations. I tend to assume they will pay for this in the end, one way or another. You can't stop technology, and you (thankfully) can't stop human ingenuity.

    •  I'm not sympathetic, at all, at least to the RIAA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, kurt

      and MPAA.  They've really gone off the deep end.  Claiming unrealistically large losses, claiming the aforementioned unrealistic lost revenue numbers is money that completely vanishes from the economy, supporting the DMCA (Which is way too open to abuse, and is much too easy to use to silence critics), demanding larger royalty rates from webcasters than from radio, collecting fees for music they don't own the copyright to (Abuse of monopolistic power, anyone?).

      If they'd actually focused on protecting their copyrights, instead of making mad power grabs, I would have been sympathetic to them, but they lost it long since.

  •  Excellent. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow, Catte Nappe, caul, MKinTN, sb, Matt Z

    Personally, I'm still on the fence regarding the legislation, though I'm inclined to believe that putting it on hold while concerns are addressed shouldn't be a problem.

    What I will say is that the position you've laid out in this diary goes a whole lot further in convincing me that a lot of the other material I've seen.  For instance, I'm not persuaded to oppose SOPA when many of its opponents seem to be not only anti-SOPA but actually pro-piracy.  In fact, my knee-jerk reaction to hearing such sentiments pushes me toward the pro-SOPA position.  

    I've heard the "information wants to be free", and "musicians should go back to being traveling troubadors making their living performing live", and "the dinosaur record labels suck, dude" lines so many times my eyes glaze over (when I'm done rolling them).  My advice is to lock those people in a closet someplace until the debate is over, because they're not persuasive.  

    You, on the other hand, are.

  •  While I'm willing to concede that there's a valid (9+ / 0-)

    problem - especially considering the job figures cited here from the AFL-CIO - the proposed solution is absurdly over the top.

    It's akin to opening a walnut with a jackhammer.

    If they can find a different solution that doesn't censor my internet - forever altering it as we know it - then I'm willing to take a look.  But this is hardly that.

    Killing jobs is what Mitt does. It's who he is. 'Jobkiller' should be on his business card.

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:30:33 AM PST

  •  Outstanding diary (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you very much for this.  Your section on the roadblock this would put up against innovation is particularly good, and the real life examples of what is likely to happen -- a virtual candy store for lawyers and competitors.

    I want to point out one link that sent me to a "page not found"
    http://nelsonchambers.com/...

  •  This belongs on the FP. (12+ / 0-)

    Outstanding deconstruction.  Thank you for the best plain-spoken analysis I've read to date.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:37:04 AM PST

  •  Also (8+ / 0-)

    since this is a thread about the film industry here is a photo of Kate Beckinsale for no reason:

  •  So an indsutry built on theft has bought more (19+ / 0-)

    legislation to protect their scam.

    During the Napster wars I learned the easiest way to deal with the pro-corporate parrots is to show them a standard production contract. Like so many other things in America, we just don't have a clue how bad it is out there.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:51:15 AM PST

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul

    That was pretty painless to read and easy to understand.

    I want to hear it in the halls of Congress and on the Senate floor. Mic-check motherfuckers! Mic-check! One Pissed Off Liberal

    by vacilando on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:07:37 AM PST

  •  Thanks a ton Msblucow (5+ / 0-)

    I'm in the camp of "doesn't understand the internet", so I tended to skip over most of the posts here and elswhere on SOPA and PIPA because I had no idea what people were talking about.

    I'm still not sure I get it all, but your post laid it out in the clearest way I've yet seen.

  •  false numbers (9+ / 0-)

    The issue I have with the number of dollars and jobs that online piracy cos is this- Someone who is pirating a copy of the jonas brothers movie is probably not going to be buying it.

    This just reminds me of when the industry said they couldn't afford to pay the writers for their work.  Of course they could, they just weren't going to divulge their business model going forward, because that would make it clear that it's possible to change your business model and still reap the rewards in an open system like we have.  

    itunes changed it up by offering the convenience of paying a buck for a song.  Redbox did the same.  

    Another thing is this- I have downloaded and watched episodes of parks and rec (as an example).  The episodes I have downloaded for free from a video sharing site are the main reason I watch the new season.  

    It's really not that hard.  

    Performers have to be performers, not couch cushions.  And vendors of the content need to do it in a way that swaps the inconvenience of finding pirated versions for the convenience of a lower price.  

    I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

    by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:13:24 AM PST

    •  They are complete BS and that has been well (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msblucow, caul, 0wn, BluePlatypus

      documented since the Napster wars. As you suggest, the people sharing for "free" are not buyers.

      See Dr. Dre's arguments from the late 90's.

      This whole issue boils down to the greedy and the talentless' desire to be paid forever for having one idea (or for stealing some else's one idea). Further, they accomplish this objective by buying legislators.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:43:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. Its not BS (8+ / 0-)

        Online piracy is real. We may quibble about the numbers, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        Further, we deserve to be fairly compensated for our work. We are neither greedy nor talentless. I resent that kind of attitude, and frankly it makes it much harder to make the case against Draconian and ineffective anti-pirating laws.

        •  The numbers you quoted and used to further (0+ / 0-)

          this obscenity are, just as otto points out, complete BS.

          The point is that the losses the industry suffers are the result of industry management's lack of imagination, incompetence, and greed, far more than file sharing. Trying to blame somebody else for one's own failings is human nature, but let's consider the consequences of catering to it.

          And not for nothing, I too worked in and around the  industry for quite some time and virtually everyone I knew is in the business as well.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:17:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  we CAN quibble about numbers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          msblucow

          Because those are the meat of this argument.

          Leave it to John Lennon to cleverly provide a clarifying example.

          On his "Mind Games" album there is a track called the Nuptonian International Anthem -

          the track is 2 seconds of slience (haha) - yet retails as a separate track for .99 cents.

          Maybe, just maybe, all music isn't worth .99.  Maybe its worth .19 a pop?  Maybe all TV shows aren't worth what they're being sold for either?

          The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

          by jgkojak on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:56:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So when a pirate site (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msblucow, NMRed, Alice in Florida, geph

        Uploads my books, CHARGES people to belong to the site so they can then get my, and other, books for free, that's moral and okay?

        •  No, they are charging for membership in your (0+ / 0-)

          hypothetical.

          Now, let's talk about how much you should be paid and for how long?

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:04:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, let's not (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites, NMRed, kurt, geph

            Next time you go into a book store, take a good look around you. 3% of the books on the shelves in there written by current authors (as opposed to dead ones) are written by authors who make a living as a writer.

            The other 97% are written by authors who work at other jobs as well, trying to make enough with their writing to support themselves, or at least make enough to buy themselves enough time off their bills so they can write another book.

            And it's NOT a hypothetical. At all. It happens to me all the time. One time a kid on Facebook complained to me that the $60 audio book he had purchased was crap. "You could hear the cars driving by in the background!"

            That book hadn't even been licensed to audio at that time.

            And even if the pirates aren't making money on another creator's IP, they're stealing.  Book publishing is a very slim margin industry (comics are even worse) and widespread piracy pounds the smaller houses and writers.

            But no, I don't support SOPA and am scared to death of these dinosaurs in Congress trying to legislate anything on the "intertubes."

            •  What you describe has nothing to do with (0+ / 0-)

              file sharing. The problems with the publishing industry are numerous, inevitable, and mostly self-inflicted. Blaming technology for the shortcomings of the people that control your industry will accomplish nothing but to extend the time it takes to die.

              Business needs artists, artists do not need them unless they control access. The web makes that control impossible. Like all artists, writers will write regardless of circumstance. Instead of trying to stop the tide, figure out a way to use it.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

              by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:01:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                While I'm concerned about my ownership and fair use rights in a book that I purchase, the distinction is the difference. (And I find it particularly amusing while watching High Fidelity)

                There is a benefit for an artist in partnering with a buisness that has relationships with sellers, advertisers and can speculate on an artist's work that allows them to make something. This relationship needs to be worked on, sure. And a successful artist can break out of a system that they find burdensome.  Ideally this allows everyone to win.

                We get content, investors get a reasonable rate of return, and artists have a system that helps them not starve.

                The exponential nature of modern file sharing is what frightens content makers and that IS a function of the technology. A mix tape in 1985 was hard to make, hard to share and degraded when copied. A mix "tape" in 2005 was easy to make, easy to share and didn't degrade.

                The same for movies. Copy a movie from Blockbuster in 1985? You get a bulky and poor copy of the movie. Download a rip from a DVD? You and everyone else on a torrent site get a DVD quality .iso file.

                It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                by Solarian on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:45:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Djinn is out of the bottle. (0+ / 0-)

                  Being paid is what this is about, and the old model you describe, while still useful as you say, is and will become less useful as time goes by. The technology removes the control they had that makes it possible for them to charge for picking and choosing who gets read/seen/heard.

                  The world's second moveable type printing press was probably used to make knock-offs of the Gutenberg Bible. It has always been possible to copy everything and it seems to me the technology also takes a big chunk out of the profit of the counterfeiters as well.

                  From the other side of the equation, I find nearly everything published today to be the literary equivalent of deep-fried HFCS. Why on earth would I lay out $20 to buy a book that is almost certainly crap? I wouldn't. But when someone tells me they have found an author worth reading, and I can check out their work for nothing other than a potential waste of my time, I will and do.

                  I think the cause of the debate is mostly the fact that all of these industries are, in their current form, doomed by technology and their insistence that business-as-usual continue. They will adapt or be replaced.

                  The changes are still coming, let's just be careful about the unintended consequences of "doing something about it" along the way.

                  "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

                  by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:17:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'd say the concern is with this: (0+ / 0-)
                    But when someone tells me they have found an author worth reading, and I can check out their work for nothing other than a potential waste of my time, I will and do.

                    How is the author of the book you're talking about being paid?

                    It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                    by Solarian on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:34:32 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I don't buy books (0+ / 0-)

          I check them out at the library.  

          Tell me how you think libraries support your work.

          I totally respect your right to earn a living, and I think that it can be done within the changing technology.  

          Have you read Corey Doctorow on this?  He gives away his books in electronic format, but he sells hard copies.  He doesn't allow donations, but he will allow you to purchase a hard copy for a school.  

          I think he has the right take on this, and if you go to his site, you can download his book of essays called "Content."

          It's a very interesting, forward thinking collection of thoughts.

          I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

          by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:04:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I sit on the Board of Trustees (2+ / 0-)

            at a library and am all for them.

            We're talking about different things. Libraries purchase books, and with that purchase, the right to loan those out to patrons. When libraries purchase e-books, that doesn't give open license for any patron to download the e-book. The library has "X" number of e-copies to loan, and can't loan more than that until the previous ones are returned (expire).

            Corey Doctorow is entitled to do whatever he sees fit regarding this. He's a brilliant writer and thinker.

            I expect he'll rethink his position soon, though, as e-books come to dominate the market. Three years ago, e-books comprised 2% of my back-list sales. Two years ago, it was 19%. In 2011, it was 41%.

            Certainly the business model is changing, and dramatically. E-books will give publishers better margins and authors better royalties, but they might well be the death knell for the publishing industry, and might well so scatter the readership in a sea of self-published work that few will find enough of a niche to make a living.

            I don't know. The pirate sites hurt me a bit, I'm sure (they'll probably hurt the video games I'm involved with more than the novels), but they absolutely clobber the legitimate audio bookmakers, the small publishers, and can ruin a lesser-known author's career in short order.

            So I don't know. But what I do feel in my heart on a very basic level is that stealing intellectual property is still stealing. If I can't afford a book, there is the library. If I can afford it, I will gladly support the creator of that book with a sale.

            •  The point about libraries (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kurt

              They buy a few copies of  a book, but the result is that more people get to know that author.  

              Where is one of the places that authors frequently go to give the type of readings that they will likely be doing more of in the future?  Libraries.  

              The point isn't that libraries are the same, the point is that libraries promote your work to the general public.  The general public then spreads the knowledge of your name, and that leads to more interest and more sales.

              It must have been 1995 that I heard an interview on NPR who had the self appointed title of "futurist." Typically, I can only pay so much attention to someone who self titles, but this person made a good prediction of what the future of art would look like.

              Basically, she said that the future of creative work like yours would be one in which artists give their work away for free, but then earn their living by doing the speaking tours and assorted side bets that go along with whatever kind of art someone is involved in.

              I think what she missed were some of the conveniences that we can have now like a 99 cent song that we can download with almost no trouble.  That leads to a sale, because it's just as hard to pirate as it is to pay 99 cents.  

              The people who this absolutely rips off, according to Doctorow, are the ones who are just trying to use the product they bought in a normal way.  

              If there were no piracy of movies, for instance, we wouldn't have these discs that come with a digital copy.  

              The thing that irritates the hell out of me is that when I purchase something, I like to think that it belongs to me.  

              I don't lease music when I buy it.  I buy it outright.  So when I am not able to do whatever I want to with what I've purchased, I get a little irate.  

              What I see coming is more of what we had when recorded music wasn't available.  Parties had live music, and the creative people were made more in the mold of performer.  

              I think this is very clear when it comes to youtube.  There are numerous bands and acts who have made their way to income earning through the work they did for free in their youtube videos.  

              Like I said, I completely respect your ability to earn a living, and I wish I had half the dedication and focus required to follow through in writing a book.  

              It just seems that this is something that can't be stopped, and when the train is moving through town, you probably have to hop on in some way or another.  

              I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

              by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:58:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There's a very profound (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kurt, otto, Ecclesiastaverbs

                difference between you buying a book and loaning it to a friend, or ten, and operating a free-bee download site that can cost an author/publisher a contract.

                But you are right. This is reality and the business model will have to adapt to it. i certainly don't want the internet going the way of the telecom wars.

    •  That's the biggest fallacy (9+ / 0-)

      The idea that very "pirated" download represents a lost sale.

      I work with a lot of 20somethings, all performers, who basically state that if they really want something, they'll pay for it.

      If they "grab it" for free, it's because they wouldn't drop coin for it.

      (The fact that they're performers may skew that a bit far afield from the larger 20something attitude, but it's all I've got :-)

      "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

      by ARS on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:55:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I refuse to re-buy my music collection (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greyhound, caul

        I spent much of my money I earned at summer jobs buying music cassettes.

        As a matter of principle, I refuse to re-buy those songs on iTunes and I will download them via torrents.  I could probably buy a device that lets me convert my music cassettes to MP3s, but it's more convenient to just download them.

        For those songs I never legally bought before, sure, I will pay the $0.99 for them.

        •  I hope that you consider (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto, mightymouse, kurt, Greyhound, geph, Matt Z

          purchasing music from the smaller bands and/or individual performers that aren't rolling in the dough.

          Many of my friends are performers who have to work "day jobs" to make ends meet. Every CD sold (or download paid for) really does make a difference in their daily lives.

          Also - whenever possible, I try to buy directly from the artist - They usually get to keep a much larger percentage of the cost of the music than if you purchase through itunes, Amazon or some other online mass marketing site.

          Personally, I see no need to further enrich the mega-corporations, but the artists who actually created the works are a different story, especially those who are struggling.

          That's just me - you must follow your own path.

          "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

          by ARS on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:19:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the direction it looks to be headed in now. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ARS

            The artist(s) have to build an audience that will pay them directly to make their art and that is more likely to happen the more people experience their art.

            "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

            by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:32:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  As a former sound editor at Universal (18+ / 0-)

    I couldn't agree with you more. This bill is meant to artificially protect old profit margins while wiping out competition. It's a corrupt boondoggle, and copyright infringement is merely the tool they're using to enforce their racket.

    •  It might be an act of desperation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NMRed, Cassandra Waites, Chi, kurt

      I don't that piracy is the only reason why movie ticket sales and DVD/bluray/CD sales are going down.

      Television shows don't get wached as often as they used to.

      Consider that "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" are the highest rated sitcoms that get an audience of 15 million viewers for new episodes.

      Those numbers pale in comparison to TV's heyday when "All in the Family" and "Three's Company" garnered 30+ million viewers.

      Top-selling comic books in the 1960s moved 500,000+ copies each.  Today's top seller might move 100,000.

      There's much competition for entertainment, and even if every instance of piracy is fully eliminated, the downward trend and the fracturing of an audience will continue.

      •  TV and comiucs have a common problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samanthab

        They've become obsessed and incestuously involved with narrow and narrowing "target demographics" to the exclusion of the general public.

        Commercial TV focuses on the 25-45 middle-class demographic (the very one that the Great Recession has been squeezing hard so they don't have the disposable income they used to) and they don't give a damn about anyone else.

        Comics are worse: they focus on 18-25 male readers exclusively and don't give a rat's ass about younger readers, older readers, women of any age, or anyone who isn't obsessed with T&A and Things Go Boom.

        In both cases they're spiraling the drain and it's a self-imposed doom. Their only hope is to change and reach out to broader segments of the public - but that's just what they dare not do, because it's taking a risk and they "can't afford" any risks.

        Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:44:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, MKinTN, kurt

    And on a side note, last week I legally downloaded the entire first season of Castle. I'm looking forward to diving in this week. Well, right after we finish saving the Internet.

  •  Abuse of Copyright (5+ / 0-)

    The biggest problem is that people like yourself, the "little guy" is stuck between a rock and a hard place while corporations fight tooth and nail to get more control and therefore profits for themselves.

    All the negatives you point out are totally true and accurate.  Unfortunately, your defense of copyright and the industry (for your own security and wellebing of course) is little more than the same political manouvering politicians use when they use "small businesses" to protect legislation and policies that primarily help the wealthiest minority of large corporate interests.  

    If the system itself is unsustainable and holding progress back, in the name of greed and corporate profits, then isn't supporting this sytem only supporting the bigger problem?  I think our media and entertainment insustries definitely need to be broken up and made more competitive and much smaller isntead of 5 companies controlling the entire system from creation to TV and advertising and rental/streaming, etc.

    The music and movie industry (as well as publishers, media, etc) have already been abusing copyright laws for decades now, eroding the whole concept of "fair use" and often dragging these small pointless battles into court where they can win based on money alone.

    As a recent example, think about the guy who wrote a sequal to Catcher in the Rye, and book that should be in public domain.  He was sued and his book was pulled and considered illegal due to copyright infringement even tough it was considered a satire AND based on a work that should be in public domain.   And big business has been fighting for years to INCREASE the amount of time they can control, and therefore profit off of someone else's work.  Copyright law as it currently exists doesn't benefit creators/artists any more.  It benefits the big companies who buy the work from the artists and then attempt to cash in for 50 - 75 years+.  

    I've even heard storied of game companies threatening/suing people who make old "abandon ware" games available (ie. Sierra).  They often win these cases even though they openly admit they have no plan on making the game in question available for sale themselves.

    As for that Castle clip you posted, if it gets shut down it's going to be shut down NOT by the TV studio (because this is basically free promo for them) but by the music studio who owns the rights to the song because they don't get much out of it having the entire song posted online for anyone to listen too.

    So I think we all agree that SOPA/PIPA is bad for a wide range of reasons.  But personally, I believe that copyright law as it currently exists is also very bad and needs to be reviewed and rolled back to its original intent - to protect artists/creators and to give people incentive to produce new works.  That is it.  And while the current studio/corporate system will hate that, the reality is that there will always be demand for your product just in a different form.  

    I feel you and your work should be protected from piracy and you deserve to profit off of it.  But the current copyright laws really aren't about that anymore.  It is more about holding artists and consumers alike hostage to an existing, abusive system that primarily benefits only a very small group of executives who technically create nothing.

    •  "Catcher in the Rye" was published in 1951 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, Cassandra Waites, kurt, Matt Z

      Salinger died just a few years ago, and under current copyright laws, that novel and Salinger's subsequent works are still under copyright protection.

      While I have problems with companies like Disney using their power to continually extend copyright protections for the Mouse, writers do and should have CP/IP rights that are for them and their heirs to use to sell those works as they desire.

      •  Copyright used to be much shorter (7+ / 0-)

        Copyrights (and patents) are meant to bring knowledge into the public domain, in part by ensuring the creator gets time to profit from an original work.

        Copyright as it is now, 75+ years of protection, with the burden of proof on the person using the work, is causing some knowledge and works to be lost, because the original copyright holder doesn't care or can't be found. This is especially problematic with old photographs which don't tend to be marked with the date or the photographer, but turn out to have historic (perhaps minor, but still) interest.

        Copyright is important and needs to be protected for current artists. But, the needs of Disney and their attempts to keep Mickey Mouse for themselves (and shouldn't he be protected by trademark anyway?) is not the full space of copyright.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:03:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More excellent points (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, MKinTN, Cassandra Waites

          On this issue of photography, even if you go to get a family photo taken, they supposedly own that image.  Seriously?  I am paying for a product and agree they have a right to charge for that service.  But what gives them the right to then OWN my image and the image of my family?   Especially for a ridiculous amount of time.

          That is why when I got married, I used a friend who is really good at photography to take out pictures.  There is no way in hell some company was going to claim they OWNED my image and the images associated with my wedding.  That is BS.  I went with someone who knows what they are doing and was perfectly willing to put all images on a disc for me to do what I wanted when I wanted.

          Also, the current system lets artists who have disappeared suddenly spring up and try and get money from people who may have used a photo for their own work.   Look at that painter who painted the iconic Obama Hope picture.  He was sued, and lost, by the guy who took the original photo the painting was based around.  Another example of modern copyright law being abused to actually STOP new works from being created.

          On the issue of Mickey, I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure trademarks on things like Mickey also have a set time period.  However, as long as the company can prove that they continue to be represented by that character, they can extend the trademark essentially forever.  So Disney keeps ensuring Mickey Mouse is the "image" of their company, sticking him in front of movies, etc, so that they can profit off the character (and protect any work/content featuring Mickey) essentially forever.  Again...another example of abuse of the original intent of copyright.

          •  Trademarks have no set time period (0+ / 0-)

            except if the owner of the mark goes out of business or abandons the trademark or fails to defend it (like all those ads tellling you not to say "Kleenex" as a generic term for tissue). Otherwise, trademarks are as immortal as the businesses they stand for.

            While some of Disney's oldest Mickey Mouse cartoons should be out of copyright, they have a right to keep Mickey as their trademark forever....Mickey Mouse symbolises Disney as a business, they have a perfect right to use him as a trademark. There are other ways that Disney pushes IP law all out of shape, but using Mickey as their trademark isn't one.

            Remember, the purpose of trademark isn't protecting artistic expression, it's to identify the maker of a product...like the apple with a bite out of it logo on Apple products.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:04:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  True, however (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, Cassandra Waites

        I had to look up the information for a refresher of the facts.   However, this is still a case where copyright law is being abused (in my own opinion) because it prevents the creation of an original work.  You can't copyright a character or a name in a book.  This case was won because the court was convinced the book is essentially a COPY of Catcher in the RYE and therefore infringed on their copyright.  

        The case was settled out of court, likely because there was no real case.  The book can be found and purchased outside the US and Canada and it seems the only real restriction put on the author (other than the NA ban...on a book probably few care about aside from the controversy anyway) is that he can't use the controversy OR Catcher in the Rye to promote his own book.

        So in short, the case was less about actual copyright as it was about using copyright to protect profit off a general idea that can't really be copyrighted or protected under copyright law.  They were worried this new book would profit out of the association with the original so resorted to a loose interpretation of copyright to stop a new work from coming onto the market.

        And that is ultimately my point.  Copyright as it currently exists is no longer serving its original intent - that is ensuring people who create new works will be able to try and profit off those new works.  That is the intent of copyright because before these laws there was concern that if someone could create something and immediately have it ripped off by someone else, then what would be the point of creating anything at all?   So laws were put in place to give creators of products time to try and profit off their product before it becomes public domain.

        Now, the laws have been extended so that people can control the product for LONG after the original creator has died.  I believe this actually restricts and discourages people from creating new works which is why I used that case as an example.  

      •  If perpetual copyright existed (6+ / 0-)

        Disney would never have come about- all their stories would be under lock and key of the Grimm estate.

        We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

        by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:31:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  copywrite problems are not a government problem (6+ / 0-)

    They could fix this any time they wanted by following any number of successful online businesses like Valve's Steam service for PC Gaming.  The MPAA and RIAA are using piracy as a strawman to try and explain away why they are running their businesses badly.  Hollywood accounting saying a movie like Titanic never made a profit?  Why is that not a problem in stealing from regular US Taxpayers?  Metallica making crap music no one wants to buy?  Nope, that is totally piracy!  You can't make this stuff up.

  •  Haven't heard a word on this on the MSM news (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, lastlegslaststand

    outlets, such as Scott Pelley, Brian Williams, etc.  Not. One. Word.  

    Thank you for this; I hope your colleagues gain in number and momentum to defeat these bills.

    Republicans...What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel

    by CanyonWren on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:44:23 AM PST

    •  collusion (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, stevemb, pot, Chi

      ABC/Disney, Universal (NBC), and Fox are all part of the MPAA. Can't imagine why their television arms don't talk about this.

      We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

      by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:57:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  an applicable quote: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfbob, Brown Thrasher, Chi

        A monopoly on the means of communication may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of monopoly in the means of production.

        - Robert Anton Wilson

        We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

        by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:58:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another Applicable Quote (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          papa monzano, Brown Thrasher, Chi

          There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
           --Robert A. Heinlein (from his first published story, "Life-Line")

          On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

          by stevemb on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:11:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh, good one. (0+ / 0-)

            ah, heinlein. "cat who walks through walls" was the first i read by him, same summer I read "cat's cradle" by vonnegut. Love them both.

            "Stranger in a Strange Land" will always resonate with me because of the scene where Valentine learns to laugh by watching the monkeys. It's so sad, yet true.

            I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much… because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting. I had thought — I had been told — that a 'funny' thing is a thing of a goodness. It isn't. Not ever is it funny to the person it happens to. Like that sheriff without his pants. The goodness is in the laughing itself. I grok it is a bravery . . . and a sharing… against pain and sorrow and defeat.

            We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

            by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:46:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the classic definition of a monopoly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          papa monzano, Brown Thrasher

          is when a business owns the content and the distribution. By any definition of the word "monopoly" applies to Disney, Universal, and Fox. You don't need to have a nuanced understanding of economics or law to know that this is true.

      •  I'm aware. One would think that "respectable" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson

        journo's such as Pelley and Williams would raise the issue, if only for journalistic integrity, was my point.

        Republicans...What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel

        by CanyonWren on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:09:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

          one would hope that despite the sigs on their paychecks they would remember some j-school and do some heavy lifting.

          We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

          by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:15:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The corporate interests screaming (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, 0wn, histOries Marko, Chi, kurt

    LOUDEST to be protected from piracy have, in fact, profited handsomely from it. These companies ought to be prosecuted under the laws they're pushing if these laws are ever enacted.

    "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

    by Sagebrush Bob on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:46:53 AM PST

  •  Outstanding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, kurt

    I hope a copy of this ends up on the desk of every elected official and staffer in the Senate and House, before any of them even think about crafting any more bills or amendments on the subject.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:49:09 AM PST

  •  Awesone breakdown, thank you for doing that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow, BlueStateRedhead

    legwork. I THOUGHT I understood those bills but after reading this diary, I really feel like I understand a lot better. Off to sign the petition...

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:52:55 AM PST

  •  thank you thank you thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow, BlueStateRedhead, kurt

    i tried to hold this same argument last weekend in a Chris Bower diary up against a "read the bill, show me the language" pro-sopa/pipa commenter.

    you have far outshone my efforts. thank you for strengthening the argument in layman's terms.

    We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

    by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:56:25 AM PST

  •  I saw Chris Dodd on Morning Joe (4+ / 0-)

    this morning arguing for support of SOPA & PIPA.

    He did touch on the DMCA and PRO-IP Act and the court injunction, however, I didn't find Dodd's arguments for support really clear. To be fair to Dodd & the panel, I was half awake during the discussion.

    I was going to go back to MJ site and try to review it again but after reading your diary, I won't waste my time. You've provided a thorough argument not to support these bills.

    Thanks so much for sharing your pain (great video by the way).

    To the world sick with racism, poverty and greed...get well soon.

    by Cintimcmomma on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:57:11 AM PST

  •  Best explanation I've seen yet (4+ / 0-)

    clearly defining both the problem that does exist and why this response is so completely wrong and damaging.

    Thank you - I know this took a lot of time to put together!

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:58:05 AM PST

  •  Given the craven actions of the MPAA and RIAA (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    0wn, MKinTN, Chi, kurt

    over the last decade, I'm not sympathetic to anything they want.  They're dinosaurs looking for handouts.  Fuck 'em and their overpriced crap.  I've sound more interesting artists who avoided the studio system on the internet than I can count.  And I've supported them.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:04:51 AM PST

  •  Tipped Rec'd and Shared (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    Excellent explanation of the issues. Thank you.

    One thing to to note, as you said, all the clip sharing turns fans into customers. How would the world have changed if similar file sharing existed in the 40s, 50s and 60s?

    How many forgotten acts would have been able to sustain careers long past their sell by date?

    Mobile apps for small and local business MoLoSo

    by Bionic on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:05:03 AM PST

  •  I steal (as in copy) but I also legally buy movies (5+ / 0-)

    I discovered classic horror movies from the 1960s first from public domain DVD sets, then from torrents.

    I downloaded pretty much the entire Hammer Gothic movie library (those with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, etc) but I also made a point of buying as many of them as possible legally on DVD afterwards.  This is a beautiful set for example: http://www.amazon.com/...

    I'm also trying to legally purchase Vincent Price's entire horror film library.  It gets hard with some of the more difficult-to-find movies because they're out of print or they're only available as 'manufacture on demand' subpar DVD-R editions.

    I think I am like most consumers--I pirate a bit, but I also buy.  I think those people who steal content without buying at all probably could never afford it to begin with, or they're so cheap that they'd never bother buying at all.

    Would eliminating all piracy increase sales?  Perhaps a bit, but there is so much competition for entertainment dollars that I think DVD, Blu-Ray and Music CD sales would have inevitably gone down regardless.

    •  You're a perfect example.... (11+ / 0-)

      Of why Hollywood needs to find a way to exploit this market instead of trying to put an "end" to it. First of all, it can't be ended. It never has been, it never will be. But many people who download free stuff are more than happy to buy content as well - and often will - if it's convenient enough.

      I can't tell you how many times I've had overseas "Castle" fans tell me they illegally download US episodes as they air because it's usually months before those shows air in their own countries. Yet they'll happily shell out money to buy a season's worth of DVDs as soon as they go on sale.

      Networks could make a lot of cash if they opted to do simultaneous world-wide releases instead of holding on to the system they have now.

      •  Does the RIAA and MPAA still try to sue their (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msblucow, Brown Thrasher

        customers?  Because every pirate is a past or future customer.

        Look at how many times the Star Wars franchise has fleeced their fans with various editions of the movies.  Do you want the original 1977 Star Wars without any of the new special effects?  You have to buy these limited editions where you'll see it on a bonus disc in non-anamorphic letterbox format.  And the new blu-ray release has 'enhanced effects' which I am sure was done in order to make a future 'original unaltered' blu-ray release in the future even more anticipated and more valuable.

  •  I'd rec this a million times if I could (4+ / 0-)

    And insist that each and every member of Congress who currently sponsors either SOPA or PIPA read it.

    Such terrific work. The passion and energy behind it are amazing; thanks for going through all the trouble of connecting the dots and doing so in such a transparent manner.

  •  I should be in favor of SOPA (14+ / 0-)

    But I'm not.

    I make video games. The market for PC games that don't require an Internet connection to play has plummeted due to piracy. Hense the huge move to console games and MMO's which mostly don't have this problem. There are genres of games, however, that are dying because they don't work on consoles and aren't MMO's. This is sad since those genres are some of my favorites.

    But the industry still makes money. And the fact is, because I work in software I know that there is no measure that pirates can't circumvent, that won't massively limit the usefulness of the Internet. That's why several game companies have come out against SOPA. We'll find a way to make games and make money. Film and music people will too. This bill is not necessary and won't solve the problem. But it will let Rupert Murdoch shut down sites he doesn't like.

  •  The best explanation of this issue I've seen n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, Brown Thrasher

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:22:34 AM PST

  •  I find it ironic that some of the sponsors (8+ / 0-)

    would be in serious trouble under their own bill.

    During the last couple of elections a number of candidates (most of them on the conservative side) appropriated songs written and performed by musicians whose views were starkly opposed to the views of those politicians. Instead of merely filing "cease and desist" letters, under SOPA/PIPA, those artists could have had the politicians entire campaign website shut down and made it damned difficult for their campaigns to find a new web host. Is that what the members of Congress behind these bills really want?

  •  NICE! Thanks for the turbo-education on (3+ / 0-)

    SOPA PIPA

  •  Awesome diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    Thank you thank you thank you.  It is a trying day.

  •  tipped and reccd for this alone: (5+ / 0-)
    I share my union's concern about online piracy, I just differ when it comes to the solutions.

    that sums it up. we all share concerns, we all want those concerns addressed differently than sopa/pipa, for the reasons you so lucidly outline above.

    We keep electing whores to congress, and we wonder why we get screwed while the money flows to their pimps.

    by papa monzano on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:30:25 AM PST

  •  While I agree (0+ / 0-)

    with your takes on the content and (lack of )ethics in the bills under discussion, I don't think much of the clip.

    Lots of quick jump cuts with a minimal (at best) narrative line and an annoying soundtrack do not, IMO, make for a "great video".

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:32:26 AM PST

  •  We live and die by CP/IP protections (7+ / 0-)

    And I am opposed to these new laws, and have written to both of my Senators explaining why.

    I've spent a fair amount of my work time in the last 15 years doing searches on the Web and contacting publishers to send out DCMA notices when I find the works of SF/F writers being illegally distributed by pirate sites, and even 'non-pirate' sites like Scrbd, which blithely allows users to put up the works of others, and then screws up again by not having actual eyes on the 'offending' materials.

    Say you write an essay about how women characters in Asimov's works are one-dimensional parodies of women scientists. You might use a few lines form the Foundation novels to illustrate your points. All quotes from Asimov would be considered 'fair use' in a printed publication. But the software at Scrbd just sees "Asimov" and takes down the essay without contacting the writer or allowing them to make their case before the essay is removed. It's like using a shotgun to hit one damn fly.

    Over the years, I've dealt with internet piracy and banged my head against the desk many times, but these two laws would vastly increase the powers of corporations to shut down any sites, writers or movements they don't like. Some would call that action 'prior restraint', and it ain't right or fair.

    Here's another example:

    Writers who have a back list that extends back in time to the 70's, 60's or earlier, are fighting to retain their rights to sell their works via e-books. Publishers are claiming that that contracts the writers signed in, say 1965, give the publishers the complete and total right to now sell those works as e-texts. Despite the fact that the Internet, the Web and e-book readers such as the Kindle and iPad were not even shiny objects on the horizon, and such 'rights' were not contemplated by the contracts signed in 1965.

    Some writers/agents/estates who have the money and the means to fight these claims are ending up in court, and the legal fights will drag on for years. Many other writers, or their estates, either can't afford the legal battle or have no idea what means of recourse they have. This is especially true of the heirs of many literary estates, they may be totally clueless about the publishing business, and are often taken advantage of by publishers.

    So imagine a writer with a good back list of work who decides they want to sell their e-book rights to a small entrepreneurial e-book company. Those works were originally published in the 1960's, and the original contracts have no mention of who owns the e-book rights because such right did not exist in the 1960's. The publisher of the 'hard copy' editions have pulled their editions from the market, and the works have been out of print for years, if not decades. The writer makes a deal with an e-book company, there's an advance paid, a royalty set, and the works get published in e-book formats. Old fans and new readers are happy to see the older works now available again. Sales may be modest, but are enough to keep the e-book company and the writer happy that they've made the works available once again.

    Then the writer's former publisher finds out that these older back list works are now being published by an e-book company. Without a legal proceeding of any sort, without any adjudication on whether the writer or the publisher actually owns the rights to publish in the e-book format, the publisher can get not only those 'offending' titles taken down, they can close down an entire e-book company without proving a damn thing in court.

    Is that fair? Hell no.

    I am an advocate for the rights of all artists to control their work. I have argued with countless trolls on the internet when I've found the works of writers I know on piracy sites to no avail. I've urged professional organizations in our genre to stand up and fight back against piracy. Hell, I've even given a deposition in a well known case from the 90's about piracy sites bootlegging the works of writers I know did not give permission for their works to be put out for free downloading on pirate sites.

    Without CP/IP rights protection, Mr Red and I would not have an income. Hell, the pirates could even take works by writers and re-write them at will with no recourse available to the creator.

    But these proposed laws are wrong, too broad and give too much power to corporations that have entrenched themselves in our political and legal processes. So I wrote to my Senators this morning, and will continue to pressure them to oppose these two laws.

    Your diary is an excellent discussion of why even people in the industries that have been affected by piracy are not supporting these bills, and I hope that many more people read it today. Thanks for letting me add my rant to yours.

  •  Thanks and well written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    My sister works in Hollywood (and has a friend who is a writer for Castle).

    Unfortunately for her, her movies are not popular enough for people to want to pirate...

    "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

    by Geek of all trades on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:39:52 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this! (3+ / 0-)

    I've been asked about SOPA by readers and I really hadn't been able to get my head around it. You really helped this reader!

  •  Thank you for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, FlamingoGrrl

    detailed, informative diary.  I would love to see this appear in every congressperson's inbox!

  •  In that case, facebooked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    and again, really really good work!

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:05:18 AM PST

  •  Thank You For This Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, FlamingoGrrl, kurt

    This is well written and clear for all those who don't understand the technical language we typically use when trying to explain the ramifications of SOPA and PIPA.

    I'd also like to add that I am a content creator, and while I'm not involved in Hollywood, it infuriates me that people like Chris Dodd assume that they represent all of us who hold copyrights, trademarks, and patents.  It is equally infuriating that congress is only listening to the MPAA and big content on this topic.

    "No man born with a living soul can be working for the clampdown" The Clash

    by Calee4nia on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:08:32 AM PST

  •  I'll moo to that, msbluecow :) (0+ / 0-)
  •  thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barbtries, FlamingoGrrl, kurt

    and i mean that. sorry that this bill does make people take sides on an issue everyone should agree on- the right to make money from your own work w/o it being stolen.

    However-
    SOPA/ PIPA just turned the issue into one of censorship and people into criminals.  Like others I BUY tv shows and music and movies AFTER seeing their clips on the internet.

    And i do not support SOPA/PIPA! I support a free internet AND  free speech!

  •  Protect your own content first RIAA/MPAA (0+ / 0-)

    Dear Hollywood,

    WHY..WHY..WHY are you still giving out DVD screeners of films in the theaters during awards season? You do realize that the majority of these things end up on the net and cost you money? The simple solution would require the voter to go see the movie in the theater. But I understand that's not always possible, so why not just stream the film on a secure site and abandon handing out physical copies? We would all like to take you seriously regarding your quest to stop profits from melting away, but you should be willing to do simple things to protect your interests as well.

    And the music industry - same thing - stop handing out review copies of albums. I know it's impossible to keep music from being made easily available to download for free, but you kill so many potential sales by releasing copies of the album well before it goes on sale to the public. STOP IT!

    •  It is not practical to require reviewers (0+ / 0-)

      to go to a screening.

      When they have to watch hundreds of movies and to be fair, the act of watching should be in a constant state of comfort and delivery, it's just not practical.

      Perhaps they could add a "bug" to the screen that has the name of the recipient of the screener on it to be able to identify whose screener got away?

      My new favorite RIGHT WING website: NewtCantWin.com It's what the RIGHT thinks of Newt! Enjoy!

      by pucklady on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:20:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There would be a lot less piracy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgnyc, estamm, dannyinla

    if the music and movie industry weren't constantly trying to rip off consumers. Here are a few examples:

    There have been at least 3 CD versions of 'The Who Live at Leeds'. There was the original double LP version, then an extended version, then the complete show including all of 'Tommie'. They've had the complete show forever, but they decided to squeeze every penny out of Who fans by doing it this way. Then there's 'Help Me Rhonda' by the Beach Boys. At least half a dozen greatest hits collections released on CD, none of them had the original radio 45 version of the song. They eventually released it as part of the Beach Boys 'Singles' CD set at an exorbitant price.
    Then there's the movie industry. Knowing that millions of people were waiting for the release of 'Alien' on blu ray, what did they do? They released it as part of a high priced 4 disc set, forcing people to buy the awful 'Alien 3' and not quite as bad 'Alien Resurrection'. They have still not released it as a stand alone, and I'd be shocked if they didn't end up doing the same thing with 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.
    If they want their rights respected, they need to start showing an equal respect for consumers.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:24:09 AM PST

  •  excellent piece! good work! eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:43:23 AM PST

  •  i dont believe (6+ / 0-)

    for a minute that piracy cost 20 billion a year.  Complete bullshit,  People who steal and download were NEVER going to buy instead.

    Two entirely different demographics.

    And its laughable that someone who actually likes or wants to own a movie would be content with some sucky street version.

    if you want to see who really steal, take a look at how artist are fucked over by the studios.  There is your real crooks.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:46:08 AM PST

  •  Brilliant job of explaining a complex idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl, msblucow

    well enough that even a Senator should be able to understand it.  Which is who I am sending a link to.  My Senators, and my Congressman.  They need to read this.

    Thank you.

    BTW, we love Castle too.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:46:20 AM PST

  •  God bless you for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow

    I've linked it in my Twitter feed and my Facebook. This is invaluable to all of us in the fight to stop this nonsense from becoming law.

    I will respect the Republican Party the day they decide to start respecting all Americans....therefore, I will never respect the Republican Party.

    by wolverinethad on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:49:31 AM PST

  •  Piracy does not cost the $$$ mentioned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Cassandra Waites

    The industry considers that every time someone downloads something for free, they lose money on a sale -

    which is just not true.  The reality is I may be interested in downloading the collected works of, say, the Doobie Brothers.  But... if I download their 10 or so albums and page through the various songs to see what I'm missing just hearing the radio hits, would I have actually bought ANY of it?  No.  I'd just forget about it and move on.

    Same with looking up an obscure b-side or album track on You Tube.  

    And I'd argue that fair-use tribute videos like the one you show, actually make people MORE interested in sampling music or TV shows and the industry has their heads up their ass for treating such things as piracy.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:49:50 AM PST

  •  I think you missed the biggest point (7+ / 0-)

    That this solution will not work at all, and it has to the potential to break for all time the internet as we know it. I'll sum up, in case you want to update:

    Computers don't understand www.google.com. Computers understand IP addresses. When you point your browser to Google, your computer has to find an IP address assigned to Google. It does that by making a look-up to DNS (Domain Name Service). All DNS servers in the free world (China and Iran, notably, run their own DNS root servers) point to a series of servers known as the root servers, run by ICANN, as the last word on where google.com exists.

    SOPA and PIPA give private companies the ability to kill the DNS record for any website at the root servers - BUT THIS DOES NOT KILL THE WEBSITE. I can still access the website by IP address. Moreover, if I chose to use a different root server, where this record has not been killed, I will never notice a difference. Up until now, only countries concerned with censorship have set up their own root servers, so the system functions pretty well.

    THIS is the problem with SOPA and PIPA. If the root server system fractures, we no longer have one internet - we have many internets. If you want to encourage a Darknet - an internet totally isolated from the rest of the web, managed by "illegal" DNS - I can't think of a better way to make it happen.

    It's not 11th dimensional chess; it's just chess. And he's KICKING YOUR ASS.

    by pneuma on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:53:26 AM PST

    •  As I understand it, SOPA and PIPA also (0+ / 0-)

      bring down the IP address as well as the DSN one.

      Is there a "dark" Internet that has different IP addresses?

      My new favorite RIGHT WING website: NewtCantWin.com It's what the RIGHT thinks of Newt! Enjoy!

      by pucklady on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:24:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there are several "darknets" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msblucow, dannyinla

        There's tor onion sites, freenet, I2P, and I forget what else.  They are mostly used for illegal activities.  If pirates are forced to move to these platforms it will just make it harder to track down the child porn traders.

        I think child porn is a pretty good case study here.  If the legal system is powerless to remove something as university reviled as child porn from the internet, what chance is there that they will be able  to get rid of copyright violations?

      •  Getting a new IP address is easy, and yes (0+ / 0-)

        If my site is a foreign hosted site, all I have to do is refresh my IP, and update my new DNS record on some other DNS root, and I am back in business. Meanwhile, because the entertainment companies are still using the US root servers, my website is still off the web. the only way they can find me is by IP address.

        Under SOPA and PIPA, they can still request that new IP gets blocked. Meanwhile, I just rinse and repeat. You'll never get that genie back in the bottle.

        This is a problem that is not solvable using current internet technology. The internet was designed to handle this kind of stuff and treat it as damage. It is not possible.

        Apple iTunes proved that it is possible to compete with free. Valve's Steam proved that it was possible to compete with free. The MPAA should try to compete instead of legislating their right to profit.

        It's not 11th dimensional chess; it's just chess. And he's KICKING YOUR ASS.

        by pneuma on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:14:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This diary is one of the reasons I love this site. (3+ / 0-)

    It explained clearly both sides of the issue, and what the effect of the legislation would be.  While I sorta understood it before, I certainly understand it much better.  Great diary.

    The struggle of today, is not altogether for today--it is for a vast future also. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:55:06 AM PST

  •  Thanks so much for this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    ...I've talked to two people today who didn't know about SOPA until today's blackout and, thanks to you, I was well informed.

  •  one of the most useful things i've read in ages. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    thank you so much

  •  Greatgrandsons were visiting and asked to use our (5+ / 0-)

    desktop with its 27" screen.  I found them later viewing a pirated movie on line.  When I explained why I thought that was not right - that it was actually stealing, they just stared at me.  It had not occurred to them that ideas could be pirated.  When I offered to use a pay service so they could watch the movie, they told me that it was not yet available - it had just been released!

    I think people should be paid for their work, whether they are on either side of the camera, but I was only able to stop the one act.  These kids, ages 11 and 12, thought it was fine.  All of their friends did it and they did not attempt to hide it from me, they simply didn't know it was wrong.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:01:18 PM PST

    •  the MPAA has not adapted to the business condition (5+ / 0-)

      that is their fault.  Instead of letting a company like Netflix offer the movie as part of their service or another service like purchasing it at a steep discount through Amazon or another company (no distribution costs mean they could offer it for next to nothing and still make a huge profit) they have made all these asinine decisions to prevent people from watching it until this date, or that date in this place.  Is it making them more money?  Your antidote story says probably not (actually I am pretty certain it is not).  This is not a government problem and the MPAA could fix this when ever they want.

      •  Interesting. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Solarian, Cassandra Waites, kurt
        no distribution costs mean they could offer it for next to nothing and still make a huge profit

        I remember a similar argument being made about e-book publishing and how it would result in lower prices for the consumer.  So far, at least on Amazon, prices for e-books remain closer to paperbacks, often higher or minimally lower than hardbacks.  Plus, as a buyer, I am not allowed to loan any of these books that cost the publisher so much less to produce, and that I apparently have no rights to.  No one can inherit my collection.  

        As I respect the rights of others, I would dearly like to have some of my own.

        "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

        by Susan Grigsby on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:24:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a ton of 99 cent ebooks on Amazon (0+ / 0-)

          They are mostly by people who publish directly through Amazon rather than going through a traditional publisher.  The prices are as high as they are because they big publishing houses are trying to keep their profits high during a time when people are reading less and less.

      •  Not that easy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites, mightymouse, Chi

        Studios have sued RedBox to maintain their 28-day window. There's a very big reason that there's a window before a new release can be made available to redbox or HBO or Amazon. And that reason is the megalithic motion picture exhibitors - the movie theaters. Hollywood's quandary is that they are trying to serve two masters - a public that wants a movie where, when and how that want it, and a group of theater chains that need a period of exclusivity. Without their exclusive window, NO ONE WOULD GO TO THE MOVIES. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Far less people would go to the movies.  They are the dinosaur that has stubbornly sat down on the pipeline of tomorrow's movie distribution model.

        •  even if you keep the 28 day window for theaters (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, kurt, samanthab, grael

          they have all kinds of other windows after that that ignore that the world is digitally a very small place.  Release a movie online in the US, but the UK has to wait 2 weeks or a month to see it?  Really?  The network latency from the US to the UK is ~200ms.  

          To contrast, digital game services that offer huge sales (a year old $60 game for $5) actually see an increase in sales at the normal price after the heavily discounted sale price.  And they give the Customer things they want like keeping the game up to date and making it easy to move between computers.  They understand there are no distribution costs and are passing them along to the Customer making gigantic profits in the process (Valve's Steam service is seeing 100% year over year growth)

          When you look at what the MPAA and RIAA offering digitally, from a business perspective it is just embarrassing and nobody's fault, but their own.  

          •  My boyfriend bought me Portal 2 for my birthday. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dan667, kurt, samanthab

            The main determining factor? The Portal 1 giveaway before the Portal 2 release. If it hadn't been for that giveaway, we wouldn't have discovered that I like first-person not-technically-shooters - there was no financial risk to me from obtaining Portal 1 legally and then finding out I didn't like it, so I was able to find out that I really did like it a whole lot.

            There were people who bought Portal 2 on release day or shortly afterwards who probably wouldn't have played Portal 1 if not for that free giveaway period.

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

            by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 02:57:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  now imagine being able to add to your collection (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassandra Waites

              "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" for free if you buy the "The Princess and the Frog" for $3.  It is very frustrating to watch the MPAA run their businesses so badly when you watch others do so well (like the Portal example).

    •  That's the sad part. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      I think we'll soon be looking at a generation, if we aren't already, to whom the concept of paying money for entertainment media is completely foreign.

  •  It always depresses me how much the entertainment (9+ / 0-)

    unions buy into the company line. "Oh, we can't afford to pay you residuals!" "Oh, we're all tightening our belts. Times are tough!" The studios have been pleading poverty for nearly 100 years, yet their employees keep falling for it.

    And now here they are, conning the unions into doing their dirty work. Their claims of how many jobs piracy costs are dubious at best. Supply and demand simply don't work that way. That "$20 billion" that piracy is supposedly costing the industry is phantom profit. It assumes that demand for their product would not change as the price rises from $0 to $10 or whatever they want to charge. It's a joke, but it tricks unions into thinking that stopping piracy (which, by the way, this bill won't do) will somehow save their jobs or create more jobs. It feels intuitively true, and workers cling to the idea as a way of having some control in a scary time. But it's truly against their own best interests as not only Americans, but as entertainment workers as well.

    •  I just posted a comment asking about this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      but can you elaborate on how they come up with the "losses due to piracy" numbers?  I don't see how they could do that without accurately knowing how much is actually downloaded/passed around each year, or how many people would buy it if it weren't available pirated.

      Reality has a liberal bias.

      by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:48:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The number of illegal downloads can be (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hayate Yagami, Cassandra Waites, Chi

        calculated fairly accurately. The technology is straightforward.

        It's the second part of your question (how many people would buy it if it weren't available pirated) that's key. And the industry assumes full retail price for every illegal download to get their number. Which is obvious bullshit. And tying it to job creation is even more tenuous. Namely, it has 0 to do with it. If a movie nets 100 million instead of 200 million, it has no effect on how many people worked on the movie or how many movies get made. It really doesn't.

        •  If it isn't too complicated, (0+ / 0-)

          can you explain how they track the number of downloads?

          Thanks. :)

          Reality has a liberal bias.

          by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:50:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not particularly knowledgeable, but the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hayate Yagami

            internet is not as anonymous as most people think. It's just a matter of monitoring the popular torrent sites and their web traffic. You always leave an identifying electronic trail whenever you connect to another computer (it's why you're likely seeing localized advertising on this very website). That's why studios and ISPs can not only count the downloads, but find the exact addresses of the people doing the downloading.

            Google "most downloaded torrents" to find out more about the methodology behind torrent tracking.

    •  "Phantom profit" and "dubious jobs" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brown Thrasher, Cassandra Waites, Chi

      Well said.

      Meanwhile, I'm launching a site today that could be jeopardized by this legislation.

  •  I know a fix for SOPA/PIPA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Cassandra Waites, Chi

    First rename it the STOP HOLLYWOOD ACCOUNTING ACT.  The MPAA and RIAA are stealing from people for sure.  I'll let you guess then next step.

  •  Well done! (4+ / 0-)

    I can affirm that IATSE doesn't understand the Internet.
    Years ago, as a board member of my local, I tried to interest them in setting up some training for using that "new-fangled" thing which would deeply affect the business and everyone in it. Silly me, I thought they needed to learn what it could do -and back then, it couldn't do nearly what it does now!

    Also from my experience with the MPAA - nothing they do bodes well for anyone but the 1%ers .

    What've you've done here is heroic and I urge folks to share it widely!

    We don't need a 'minimum' wage - we need a Living Wage!

    by brook on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:10:50 PM PST

  •  I watched that video. (4+ / 0-)

    I don't watch TV at all except for football (and alas, my team is out for the season) and Daily Show/Colbert.  I also got hooked on "Lie to Me" on Netflix just before it got cancelled.  After seeing that video, my first reaction was "hey, that looks like it might be a cool show."  It was not "heh-heh I got all that copyrighted content for FREE!"

    Ironically, the first thing I thought about learning more about the show was to look it up on Wikipedia.  Oops.

    History is won by the writers.

    by journeyman on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:16:29 PM PST

  •  Outstanding explanation! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, kurt, msblucow

    Thank you for explaining this matter so succinctly and coherently! As an internet professional who's livelihood could be totally devastated by this legislation, I thank you for presenting the facts here. Bravo!

    If the music, film and television industries can't innovate and change their business model to catch up with the technology, they don't deserve to remain viable as businesses (so say "free market capitalists" no?).

    "This is where some of my dreams become realities. And where some of my realities become dreams." -Willie Wonka

    by green917 on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:28:46 PM PST

  •  Though Veoh was able to continue operations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, mungley

    during the lawsuit, UMG also sued a big portion of their investors which caused Dmitry Shapiro to have to close Veoh and lay off all employees. You can find more about the Veoh vs UMG lawsuit (written by Dmitry) at http://minglewing.com/...

  •  I have a question (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    williamjustin, mungley, kurt

    How does the industry measure the losses due to piracy?
    I would think that any figure would be highly speculative, because there's no way to determine how many files of what type (tv episodes, movies, music, programs, etc) are downloaded every year, or how many people would have simply gone without it if it wasn't available pirated.

    If they were somehow monitoring all torrent sites, all third-party download sites, and whatever other p2p options are out there (including passing files around on flash drives), maybe they'd be able to determine the former, but I somehow doubt that that's what's going on.

    Reality has a liberal bias.

    by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:45:29 PM PST

    •  Great question. No good answers..... (0+ / 0-)

      The metrics for online pirating is all over the map. Ask 10 different people, you'll get 10 different answers. I used the AFL-CIO's statistics because they're A) as "good" as anything else out there and B) the numbers are pulled for a variety content providers so they're nominally more "objective" than the MPAA numbers (which have been widely disputed).

      The truth is nobody can give you hard, absolute statistics - it's a guessing game no matter what side of the issue you're on.  

  •  Why Don’t They Lock Their Digital Products? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Chi

    Can’t the files in the digital products be set with a series of pass-codes that allow only one-time use of the movies, music, etc?   I think they can (it might mean using a specialized hardware to properly operate the files).  I think they want the public to go out and promote their work to some degree while retaining the ability to control the process.  

     Fox wanted to strip a lot of its content off the net (they’ve said so many crazy and dangerous things over the years that having the ability of ‘knocking out the trail of evidence’ must be really appealing).

    Bad legislation just makes the people who put it up look bad (and begs certain questions about their own credibility).  I don’t think these people fully understand just how fast information moves these days.

    Also, the diarist mentions all of the money involved in the Entertainment Industrial Complex. You can still have unions without all of the giant conglomerates.

     If you ask me I’d bet that this bad legislation is based on the desire of a rather useless and expensive section of executives and profiteers, to hold onto power as the world is gradually learning this group is no longer needed.  

    If they are willing to put the much-died for tenant of free speech on the line, the least the public can do in return is to begin to ask if these people are competent enough to continue to hold onto control of the public’s broadcast medium.

    "It's only a movie"--1960's era PR Man for B-grade Hollywood flicks

    by williamjustin on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:19:34 PM PST

  •  ah yes online piracy (3+ / 0-)

    because everything downloaded was going to be bought otherwise, yeah, right.

    The DMCA is not exactly the most popular thing with the liberty community you know. Allowing the Government to block access to foreign sites means one thing today, and another thing tomorrow so I cannot help but feel you guys are clawing for cash that was never there to begin with.

  •  Called my Congressman, Rep Scott Garrett, R-bagger (5+ / 0-)

    First time I've ever bothered.  He's northeast NJ's teabaggin-est rep, even before they became popular.  The nice lady who answered the phone indicated they were receiving a lot of calls in opposition, and that Garrett had yet to take a stance on SOPA.  I noted that if he came out for the bill, then he clearly doesn't understand the internet and perhaps should hire some younger staff to educate him.  She (the lady taking my call) indicated she was under 30, and totally understood my point.

    I feel good.

  •  Great diary. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl

    Please Vote for the Democratic nominee for President in 2012.

    by mungley on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:12:41 PM PST

  •  SOPA: a non-serious solution to a serious problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla

    I worked in the industry for a few months and I definitely see the need for something to be done about piracy, particularly in states such as China where legal recognition for non-Chinese intellectual property is all but unavailable.  It is, without a doubt, a real issue.  It's a shame that the RIAA was so heavy-handed about music when broadband internet became widely available - they cried wolf and screamed bloody murder so many times that now it's not possible to seriously discuss protecting our nation's role as a producer of content and culture without thinking about people being sued for tens of thousands of dollars for downloading a Britney Spears album.

    Frankly, the RIAA and its alarmist posturing poisoned the well and politicians like Ted Stevens with his incoherent rants describing the internet as a "series of tubes," have ruined any chance of having a serious and meaningful endeavor to discuss possible ways to protect industry jobs from illegal activity.  Sadly, the inmates are in charge of the asylum and any legislation meant to protect the entertainment industry - a very real need to preserve one of few uniquely American commercial sectors - will come to the floor looking like SOPA/PIPA.  And SOPA/PIPA look like the kind of nonsense you would expect to come out of the East German Volkskammer, had Erich Honecker's GDR been around long enough to ineffectively censor the internet in that peculiarly East German fashion.

    It's a shame because something really does need to be done.  But SOPA/PIPA are like helping an injured person jump out of a plane by cutting their parachute cord.;p  All you've done is made it worse.

    "What Washington needs is adult supervision" - Barack Obama

    by auron renouille on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:00:29 PM PST

  •  This diary represents the best that dKos can be. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow, samanthab

    Huge thanks.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:18:12 PM PST

  •  Read the whole thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Your diary should be a FPer for reference purposes. Very well done.  Tipped and rec'd alone for this:

    How is this possible? Because the divide over SOPA/PIPA isn't political, it's between those who understand how the internet works and those who don't,   those who see opportunities for growth and innovation and those who fear change and are holding on to old business models for dear life.

    Ani't that the damn truth.  Ask the recording industry.

    "No, I'm being judged against the ideal. Joe Biden has a saying: 'Don't judge me against the Almighty, judge me against the alternative." --President Barack Obama, 12/11/11

    by smoothnmellow on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:19:16 PM PST

  •  Real solution to piracy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla, mightymouse, samanthab

    IMO, the industry is going about this the wrong way entirely. The answer is not to fight piracy by censoring the web and playing cat and mouse games with sites like Pirate Bay. Instead, content creators should be moving towards ending piracy by making it unnecessary.

    That means embracing the business model that has worked elsewhere on the web: free access to content, supported by advertising and possibly premium accounts for dedicated users. This is the way almost every web company from Google to Facebook to YouTube operates.

    Before you accuse me of being utopian, it should be pointed out that the industry is already moving in this direction. For instance, Fox, NBC and ABC offer TV shows for free through Hulu. I can now watch CNN's entire TV stream in real time from their website. Grooveshark offers ad-supported, free streaming music with royalties paid to copyright owners.

    It may be that the numbers don't quite add up yet. But it seems to me that there's a certain logic here that will eventually play itself out - and could eventually open up opportunities to independent artists in a way that haven't been available in the past.

    •  As long as movie theaters exist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ukit, mightymouse

      the industry will never allow this to happen. I think your post is spot on, but if the motion picture industry wants to stop piracy they have to cut their ties to the Exhibitors.  They need to weigh which they prefer - losing money to pirates or splitting their profits with exhibitors. That's why so much of this conversation centers of pirated MOVIES, there really isn't much market for or interest in pirated television shows for exactly the reasons you state.

  •  The Pirate Bay couldn't be happier (0+ / 0-)

    From their press release today -

    The reason they are always complainting about "pirates" today is simple. We've done what they did. We circumvented the rules they created and created our own. We crushed their monopoly by giving people something more efficient. We allow people to have direct communication between each other, circumventing the profitable middle man, that in some cases take over 107% of the profits (yes, you pay to work for them). It's all based on the fact that we're competition. We've proven that their existance in their current form is no longer needed. We're just better than they are.

    And the funny part is that our rules are very similar to the founding ideas of the USA. We fight for freedom of speech. We see all people as equal. We believe that the public, not the elite, should rule the nation. We believe that laws should be created to serve the public, not the rich corporations.

    http://static.thepiratebay.org/...

    The Pirate Bay, their Swedish ship anchored offshore in the Seychelle Islands, is the place to go if you're really pissed off at Hollywood. Go there and pirate copies of "The Artist" or "Castle" or "Call of Duty"... and then you can feel like you're exercising your rights to free speech.

    SOPA / PIPA is now likely going to die and Silicon Valley will celebrate.  Meanwhile, pirates will continue sucking on the teet of Hollywood while complaining about how evil it is.  

  •  You’ll soon be out of job... (0+ / 0-)

    You’ll soon be out of job... So you’ll probably have a hard time supporting yourself...
    But… you seem to a least understand basic economics

    As a freelance film editor,  this scares the hell out of me.  If the  networks and studios I work for don't make money, sooner or later I'm  out of a job. And if I'm out of a job long enough, I lose my union  health benefits, my pension, the whole ball of wax.
    But… you still don’t support SOPA… Congratulations you’re just as stupid as the corporations who gave the milk away for free… Schlimazel.  

    The internet is the stupidest thing ever…. Capitalism isn’t for free.

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 04:35:17 PM PST

  •  Some pissed off Hollywood donors (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Chi, samanthab, Matt Z
    Several moguls have informed Obama’s newly anointed Hollywood re-election liason to the entertainment community Nicole Avant and her husband who is helping her, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, that they are pulling out of major fundraisers planned over the next few days and won’t participate in any more headed by Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (whom they see as in the pocket of the Internet giants like Google).

    One of those events is a major January 31st fundraiser attended by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Beverly Hills home of Avant and Sarandos. There’s another LA fundraiser for the First Lady on February 1st. And both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be coming for more fundraisers here in coming weeks.  The moguls are telling Avant and Sarandos to count them out. “Now is when all the fundraises are starting. But everyone in my position is really pissed. It’s a real conundrum,” one mogul told me.
    http://www.deadline.com/...

  •  You make some good points but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    msblucow

    Marta,
    You make some good and valid points, particularly about the portions of the law that are aimed at software.  But some of your examples don't seem to hold up.  One in particular is your example of how this bill might be used to stifle a political campaign.  An opponent of a candidate could not bring a case without representing that he/she was the owner of the content in question or proving the he/she was the legitimate representative of the owner of the content.  Additionally, it would need to be shown that that content was intended to be released commercially and that use of it on the candidate's site was designed to earn money and that it would threaten the commercial potential of the property for the owner.  In general, the examples cited in the rollcall.com article are fanciful and demonstrate that the authors have either not read the bill or don't understand it.  I read your whole post but did not click on every link.  but the fact that the authors of that piece do no investigation of the McCain story tells me that at least one of your examples is full of holes.

    I think it's very brave of you to come forward against a bill that is supported by the industry that puts food on your table.  But to say that it is simply an argument between people who get the internet and people who don't is a bit insulting.  

    And last I checked, ISPs and search engines are big gigantic corporate interests. If this bill, or any bill, makes them share in the responsibility for making sure that their services aren't used to steal property, well that suits me just fine.  that's the price they should pay for making extraordinary profits by operating for next to nothing in our virtual town square.

    Oh, and the couple of examples of possible or hypothetical abuses are more than balanced out by the figures you cite at the top of your post of 20 billion annually and 140,000 jobs.  Those numbers are real and they're really big.  

    •  I think we can agree to disagree on a few points.. (3+ / 0-)

      ...but I stand behind the research I did. For every link I added, there are usually two or more cooroborating links I didn't add.

      As for your other point, clearly big corporations are on BOTH sides of this issue. But it's not just about corporations, it's about smaller content providers as well, below the line workers, artists, the infrastructure of the internet, and the future of entertainment and information-sharing as a business model.

      Something does need to be done - but this is an enormously complicated problem that requires an equally sophisticated answer to be even marginally effective. Up until now, I believe we haven't been moving in that direction at all.

      •  I'll agree to disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dannyinla

        But I do concur that we haven't been going in a an effective direction.  on the other hand, the film industry, which puts food on both our tables, has made it's product easily available in a way that the music industry never did.  So comparing the film business with the music industry doesn't really work for me.  in fact, there is more ability to legally and easily watch movies, old and new, big budget and small, corporate and independent, now then ever before.

        For the record I wasn't doubting your research so much as i was that of those whose work you cited.  You did more than due diligence.

    •  One correction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msblucow

      Most websites are not "big gigantic corporate interests" making extraordinary profits.

      Even among the so called giants of the internet, Twitter employs about 600 people and barely makes a profit. Facebook has a few thousand employees. Craigslist employs a grand total of 30 people.

      Now think about the thousands of successful web companies that are less well known. These really are small businesses - not in terms of audience, but in operation.

      In comparison, a company like Time Warner employs 50,000 and brings in $18 billion in revenue.

      One exception, of course, is Google, which is amazingly profitable. But remember - it's not only Google who will be liable for enforcing SOPA/PIPA. Every single site that indexes information will be on the hook. And depending on how high compliance costs end up being, it could well drive many of them out of business.

      •  compliance costs should be related to size (0+ / 0-)

        Small websites should have proportional compliance costs.  Small radio stations have no trouble writing down every song they play and sending the paperwork to performance rights organizations.  I appreciate your correction but I never said that websites were  "big gigantic corporate interests" but that ISPs and search engines were.  there has been a lot of hand wringing but I've yet to see any non-hypothetical examples of how this bill negatively impacts small websites that are supported by a reading of the bill.

        •  The problem is that search engine (0+ / 0-)

          is defined in the bill as any service that provides "links to other sites" based on a user query or selection.

          In other words, this doesn't just cover sites that you think of as search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) but pretty much every social networking site, blogging platform, or wiki.

          And in a way this makes sense - SOPA proponents don't just want Google to block The Pirate Bay, they want to scrub the web of all links to it, to the extent that they can. But this imposes a ridiculous burden on websites.

          The radio station comparison is exactly the kind of backwards thinking that probably led to the writing of this bill. I've worked as a radio DJ before and there's nothing difficult about keeping a log of songs as you play them one by one.

          On the other hand, for a site based on user-generated content where people are uploading millions of pieces of data every day,  it's simply not workable to proactively police and monitor every single link or piece of content a user posts for copyright infringement. It's completely ridiculous and many worry it will lead to sites get sued out of existence (as the video site Veoh was recently).

  •  The proposed OPEN act is almost as bad (0+ / 0-)

    It's the "alternative" bill being pushed by openets to SOPA and PROTECTIP.

    http://blog.curry.com/...

  •  Pirates are often the best customers (0+ / 0-)

    People who pirate media by more media legitimately than people who don't.  

    There have been plent of times I've downloaded an album off bittorrent to check it out then gone on to pay for it later.

  •  I'm on my fifth/sixth round of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, VelvetElvis

    paying for copyrighted material.

    I first bought singles.  Then I bought albums.  Then I bought 8 tracks.  Then I bought cassettes.  Then I bought CDs.  Now I'm buying from iTunes.

    The little bits I've downloaded from file sharing sites...well, I just don't feel as if I'm screwing any artists all that much.

    I'm paying for new technologies/formats...but to cover the same material I've paid for, multiple times already.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 06:28:53 PM PST

  •  Don't believe all these Piracy estimates? (3+ / 0-)

    Neither does the US GAO (warning: PDF file), nor apparently that hippie, tree-hugging, seal-scrubbing, leftist rag, Forbes.

    The US GAO report, while acknowledging piracy has an economic impact, has this damming indictment of the inflated numbers being thrown around so willingly by various industry and media copyright infringement groups:

    Estimates Sourced to U.S. Agencies Cannot Be Substantiated
    Three commonly cited estimates of U.S. industry losses due to counterfeiting have been sourced to U.S. agencies, but cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology. First, a number of industry, media, and government publications have cited an FBI estimate that U.S. businesses lose $200-$250 billion to counterfeiting on an annual basis. This estimate was contained in a 2002 FBI press release, but FBI officials told us that it has no record of source data or methodology for generating the estimate and that it cannot be corroborated. Second, a 2002 CBP press release contained an estimate that U.S. businesses and industries lose $200 billion a year in revenue and 750,000 jobs due to counterfeits of merchandise. However, a CBP official stated that these figures are of uncertain origin, have been discredited, and are no longer used by CBP. A March 2009 CBP internal memo was circulated to inform staff not to use the figures. However, another entity within DHS continues to use them. Third, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association reported an estimate that the U.S. automotive parts industry has lost $3 billion in sales due to counterfeit goods and attributed the figure to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The OECD has also referenced this estimate in its report on counterfeiting and piracy, citing the association report that is sourced to the FTC. However, when we contacted FTC officials to substantiate the estimate, they were unable to locate any record or source of this estimate within its reports or archives, and officials could not recall the agency ever developing or using this estimate. These estimates attributed to FBI, CBP, and FTC continue to be referenced by various industry and government sources as evidence of the significance of the counterfeiting and piracy problem to the U.S. economy.

    A little something to think about when taking MPAA "numbers" for granted.

    "Bite my shiny metal ass. And FTFY" - Bender

    by seronimous on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:43:57 PM PST

    •  Yeah, they claim this lost money is due to piracy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ecclesiastaverbs

      ... but you know why I haven't been going to the movies? When I try to justify spending 9$ a pop at a movie theater, sometimes I think about all the working class people that have sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars they didn't have.

      I think about how The MPAA and RIAA sued colleges, forcing them to dedicate part of their budgets to defending frivolous lawsuits, and pass that cost on to students. I think of episodes of celebrity excess, like the Kardashians. Do I really want to support that?

      So I end up going out to dinner, or maybe bowling or something else instead. It's not piracy that's hurting Hollywood, it's a weak economy with an increasingly informed public deciding to take their money elsewhere. SOPA and PIPA will just increase the backlash against Hollywood.

      "I read this- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read every last word of this garbage, and because of this piece of $#!^ I'm never reading again!"-Officer Barbrady

      by Broke And Unemployed on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:57:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As another who has worked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai

    in entertainment, your excellent point about NOT understanding the internet may be understated.  The book publishing industry, news papers and content conglomerates like FOX, NBC Universal and the ubiquitous THE Walt Disney Company (still) rely on ad revenue dollars with the base income on that shrinking like a cotton miniskirt in a hot dryer now has their Gucci shoes doing toe curls.  The way they monetize the business is on ever shrinking audience base.  (TV) Cord cutters proliferate, especially amongst the young.  The targeting of a younger audience that is not financially stable and with limited disposable income means there is not enough revenue to go around.  People are finding the least expensive way to get access to content.  The movie industry underwhelmed in 2011 and fear is really gelling about 2012.  

    Music professionals previously made most of their money by going on tour.  Rupert Murdoch bought the 1st big social media site My Space and look what they let it devolve into with the irony being that the very audience that many movies target (teens and twenty-somethings) were right there.  And he joins twitter this week to whine.

    Producers and showrunners are doing their version of outsourcing without recycling dollars in the US.  The city of LA and state of CA are belatedly trying to figure out how to get more entertainment dollars to stay but its an after the horse left the barn in a blaze of glory and refuses to come back.  The acrobatic accounting on some of these movies to keep the profits to a few also riles folks.  The entire business model for some of these companies needs overhauling but that would mean a shkeup on who actually gets the most gold.

    Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up...East Wing Rules

    by Pithy Cherub on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:30:34 PM PST

  •  exclnt diary. <eom> (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalHobbit
  •  Defend our freedom to share (0+ / 0-)



    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:23:08 AM PST

  •  Senator Leahy's statement, Jan 18 (0+ / 0-)

    Nothing In the PROTECT IP Act Can Reasonably Be Construed As Promoting Censorship????

    Protecting copyrighted materials promotes free expression, and courts have long-held that enforcing intellectual property rights – including copyright – does not stand in opposition to the First Amendment freedoms that promote free speech.

    The PROTECT IP Act does not make any activity illegal that is not already illegal – and stealing another’s intellectual property or copyrighted materials is illegal, in the physical marketplace, or in the virtual world of the Internet.

    The PROTECT IP Act does not expand the scope of existing copyright law and preserves important protections such as fair use, which remain in place as they would in any other context.  It merely strengthens the tools available to combat online activities that are already illegal under U.S. law.  As renowned First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams has written in support of the PROTECT IP Act, “copyright violations are not protected by the First Amendment.”

    Press Contact -  David Carle: 202-224-3693
    http://leahy.senate.gov/...

    Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

    by allenjo on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 07:21:54 AM PST

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