Soapbox: Stop SOPA and Protect IP

Finders and Keepers was started as an internet spaceships blog; a place to regale in stories of theft, trickery, schemes, and general griefing and mischief within the world of Eve Online, and with the very infrequent deviation, I’ve maintained that. I keep this blog centered on the gaming universe we all play, and away from real life personal issues, worldly happenings, and politics. Today’s post however, breaks that, but I’d encourage you to keep reading.

 

 

If you live in the U.S., go ahead and mark your calender tomorrow; put a giant red X over Thursday December 15th, because tomorrow, Congress is most likely going to pass the bill known as SOPA: the Stop Internet Piracy Act. On the surface, you might look at that and shrug, knowing deep down that yes, downloading that DVD-rip torrent of the second Twilight movie from a Danish website is in fact against copyright law and that something like this had to happen sooner or later. Well, yes and no. Read this.

What SOPA allows is for content owners to go after what they feel is copyright infringement on the net without a court of law, as long as they have “specific facts” (actual wording) to back their claim; talk about vague. Once submitted, they can then bring their “case” before a court, who will in turn demand that providers have 5 days to “prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site.”

We can all agree that at its core, giving away a product for free that someone else invested money in in order to make a profit is wrong, and to a certain degree, stealing. The gray area of “internet piracy” though is not all that SOPA addresses. Search engines will be liable for “providing” links to blocked material or linking to those who build or utilize tools for the “circumvention or bypassing” of the Internet blocks. Furthermore, a few “rouge” links on a site otherwise full of legal material can become cause for liability, in effect making Google and other search engines, as well as site owners and hosts liable for user-submitted content, forcing them to police and censor their own user-submitted content or be shut down.

Content owners can go after search traffic and most importantly, ad revenue in pursuit of what they feel isn’t good enough policing. The backlash? An internet legal climate so on edge and risky that it discourages startups from even attempting to launch.

Markham Erickson of NetCoalition put it best:

“However, we do not believe that the solution lies in regulating the Internet and comprising its stability and security. We do not believe that it is worth overturning a decade of settled law that has formed the legal foundation for all social media. And finally, we do not believe that it is worth restricting free speech or providing comfort to totalitarian regimes that seek to control and restrict the Internet freedoms of their own citizens.”

Still not sure about what to make of all this? Watch the video below and then visit AmericanCensorship.org.


 

I’ve brought this up here on F&K despite its lack of obvious relation to Eve because as internet spaceship nerds, this effects us all, in or out of Eve Online. Both SOPA and Protect IP involve language that is far too general, too sweeping, and too open to interpretation, and yet both of them are here, right now. Congress votes TOMORROW on SOPA, so I would encourage you to say something. Go to AmericanCensorship.org where with a simple form, they’ll contact you, and provide you talking points and even a connection to your local Congressman.

Dock up and go AFK for 10 minutes, and do something that counts. Spread the word.

 

o7,

-Aiden

 

/soapbox. We will return to our regularly scheduled shenanigans shortly.

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~ by Aiden Mourn on December 14, 2011.

6 Responses to “Soapbox: Stop SOPA and Protect IP”

  1. RL Tears, best Tears

    Try Paying for what you use.

    • Dear sir/madame, I actually work within the music industry in real life, so I’m aware of intellectual copyright law, legal rights of ownership, and how all that pertains to an artist.

      What people should be concerned about, and maybe I didn’t make this clear enough, is that this doesn’t say “stop people from actually downloading something they shouldn’t”, it broadens that to “stop people from even viewing or visiting a website we think you shouldn’t see or look at.” You might already know this by its other name: “censorship”.

      I’m not boohooing the end of downloading Photoshop and episodes of Family Guy on PirateBay (and hell, you’ll still be able to do both those things), I’m lamenting the idea that this has a frightening potential to be a clamp on free speech and expression, passed under the guise of protection of intellectual property.

      Now, if you’d like to label my lobbying for freedom of speech and creativity on the net as “RL tears”, be my guest, but I’d encourage you to actually go read up on this before going with lowest common denominator canned responses.

      • Aiden,

        I feel that the response above may not have clearly illustrated my position on this topic. As you have mentioned your RL work in the Intellectual Property / copyright related fields I’m sure that you are aware that RIAA/Hollywood is regrettably always a couple years behind the next big innovation. They want to protect their money and the only, or in my opinion main way they have to do this is with their legal arms. I imagine that the legal teams of said companies also support this tactic as it keeps them employed.

        So how does one go after the nebulous “internet downloading infringers”? Also who seems to be the target audience for this type of special treatment. You and I? Assumedly savvy internet users that potentially have more downloaded content then the library of Congress?

        OR, Little brother/sister/friend/mom/dad/partner who asks… “How can I download for free?” Big content houses (music, movies, tv) spend big money to try and get our money out of our pockets.

        This brings me to Point one, RL Tears.

        You are bemoaning the system that has been the product of a few smart internet developers trying to make some money. The fact that they only developed a content distribution system (yes I’m talking about Napster, as many could argue is ground zero for this particular debate) and not a content tracking and control system doesn’t seem to enter into anyone’s argument these days. Part of me wonders what the internet would be like right now if RIAA and Hollywood bought into digital downloads from the first second that they could, I imagine that they probably could have made a truckload of money, but then again would these systems have become so popular if everyone had to pay a fee from the get go.
        People want these systems and as time has gone on they have become more sophisticated and some could say more devious. (Viruses, Trojans anyone?)

        Also the assumption that the internet is a free and open place also seems to be missed by many people. Nothing is free. Servers aren’t free, bandwith isn’t free, connections aren’t free, your time to respond to my hapless drivel isn’t free.

        Now let’s talk about Point two, Best Tears.

        Well there’s not much to say other then we have been the architects of this policy. Big corps can only slap the individual person with their legal teams. I totally see why these companies want to enact legislation that will make it easier for them to control their assets. They want to go after the lowest common denominator. It’s hard to stop a car zooming down the highway, but it’s much easier to close the road that the car is traveling on. In view of this particular legislation, even preventing the car from getting on the road.

        Again, pay for what you use. It’s just that simple.

        I do concede that this reactionary type of lawmaking probably isn’t in the best interest of the freedoms that we hold so dear. I also feel that people need to think about the REAL reason why things like this are becoming a problem. Is it really the content houses? Maybe, then again maybe it’s the person in the mirror.

  2. What is Obama’s stance on SOPA? If I understand the process that bills go through in the US, this can be stopped dead in its tracks if Obama vetos the bill.

    Of course, Obama would have to be against SOPA in the first place, and I’m not sure his stance on the issue.

  3. Yeah…land of the free?
    Never has been, never will be.

    Is it true that you also must not play internet poker?
    That you can get arrested for being naked?
    Are not allowed to do a wheelie on a motorcycle (reckless driving charges?).
    All quite hard to believe in good old Europe.

  4. What you fail to see is the real reason behing the attempts to control the Internet.
    Politicians and governments feel threatened from this media. And rightfully so. Just look at Anonymous, Occupy Wallstreet etc.
    People have a way to communicate freely and uncontrolled, to gather, rally support for their cases.
    And there is (at the moment) nothing they can do about it.
    That is the reason why the attempts for censorship are made. The internet is totally democratic or even anarchistic. They don’t like this, they need to be in control.
    Noone cares about music downloads except the music industry who failed to use the potential for their profit and now fight an already lost war.
    It does not really matter, the Internet is way out of their control already, all people with a technical background can bypass any barrier they try to instal with ease.
    Trust me on that one, I am writing communication(networking) software for a living. At a high tech corp.

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