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What I really want to know about SOPA

My daughter was talking about SOPA recently. She brought it up while we were shopping in Future shop on the Island, while she was looking at some game. She made a negative comment about how none of them would be available to pirate anymore and how that would likely annoy some people she knew, but it sucked that in trying to stamp out piracy, SOPA was going to kill the internet entirely.

She's very active in an art community/fan group on Deviant Art, and they seem to be quite concerned about how SOPA will affect them. The piracy thing - well, Jazzy is virulently anti-piracy of any type. While most people think nothing of snagging the occasional item, she throws a tizzy and will lecture just about anyone about how piracy is bad, and if you can't afford to pay for it, then you should suck it up and deal. I am sometimes amused at how hardcore she is about it, and I'm glad that she's made a moral choice and is sticking to it. And just so you know, she puts her money were her mouth is.

I've heard/seen people talking about SOPA, but honestly, I haven't been paying that much attention. But what Jazzy said made me wonder, so I started doing some reading on it today, and wow. I see what she's talking about. Holy crap. Talk about overkill. It sounds like they want to put out a house fire by bombing the entire suburb.

So here's what I want to know. A quote I found from Goodlatte (underlining my own) stated, "...American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws... This legislation will... ensure that the economic incentives our Framers enshrined in the Constitution over 220 years ago—to encourage new writings, research, products and services..."

Does this mean that fanfiction writers will be on the chopping block, subject to legal action for stealing and infringement? Cuz it sounds like we could be.

I could live without 90% of what's on the internet. I'm here for the community of fans, writers and artists I discovered when I first stuck my toes in to see if there were other Pretender fic writers online many long years ago. But seriously, if fanfic comes under fire... yeah. That would suck.

Thoughts? Opinions? Bueller?



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah....SOPA sucks. Every time I sit down to read it, I get just a little bit more stabby than I was when I started.

I'm not one who pirates things but I *am* a person who does screencaps and such like that and the language is almost so restrictive that it sounds like even THAT could go the way of the dodo. (I much like Jazzy, rail against my friends when they are all "oh I got XYZ from my friend" in fact my friends have taken to preempting their statements with "I got this legally...blah blah blah")

Oh! And I had a real blast yesterday at your drop in thing. It was fun. :)
Jan. 2nd, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
The whole thing is so poorly thought out that it will wreak havoc on the internet.


Pretty much says it all. :-(
Jan. 2nd, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
SOPA may or may not cover fanfiction. There was a recent US Supreme Court case that dealt with the fair use doctrine, and that gave a pretty broad reading to fair use. Fanfiction and things like fanvids or fanart are probably covered, because they are transformative works that reinterpret the original, rather than just being direct copies.

SOPA, however, is sort of like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. It uses vague language, and it's all kinds of stupid. I don't know that passage of the law would actually mean the end of the internet or the end of fandom, but it's a really, really terribly written piece of legislation.
Jan. 3rd, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
This is what SOPA does: it gives Hollywood and copyright holders the ability to censor any website or email, via the ISP, if there's any possibility of copyright infringement (through actual content or links) without due process of law.

It gives anyone the ability to report copyright infringement and shut down a website without due process.

It will stop legitimate traffic on the internet.

It won't stop piracy. Why? Because there are several ways to access those "foreign sites" without pinging your ISP, and that information is available on the net right now.


It's all about Hollywood controlling its content on the internet. People don't pirate because they don't want to pay for content; they pirate because they want that content on the internet in formats they can download now.

And Hollywood, once again, is fighting technology so they won't have to change their business model. They fought player pianos, phonographs and vinyl records. They fought cassette tapes and recorders. VCRs and tapes. CD players and CDs. DVDs, DVRs, TIVO, and now the internet.

People who market creative products hate change. People who understand technology love change because of the marketing opportunities.

Why do you think iTunes is so successful? Apple saw what was happening with Napster and the like, cut the deals with the record companies, made it legal, and marketed the hell out of it.

The "pirates" got what they wanted: songs available for download at reasonable prices on demand. Where's Napster now?

The "piracy" issue won't be solved through legislation. The fact is, they'd rather destroy the internet than change their business model. And that's what they'll do if we let them.

For the record, I do torrent. If I can't find it anywhere else, I look for it there. And you'd be amazed at the number of torrents that get put up by the original artists. With links to their official websites. Music, indie films, self-published books, free software. Why? Free advertising for small entrepreneurs. Loss leaders for their albums, catalogs, product lines. They've changed their business model. And they're starting to compete with The Establishment.


Another reason to shut down those "pirate" sites.

I heard a song on a vid the other day. Found the torrent. Found the artist's website. Bought the whole album from the artist. No middleman. No record company. 100% of the profits to the artist.

And that's why the RIAA and the MPAA are backing SOPA/PIPPA to the hilt. How dare an artist/filmmaker make money without cutting them in on the proceeds? Anyone who does that must be a pirate. Shut them down. And the internet with them.

And let's not even get into the North American/UK/Euro television cross-pollination effect. All those TV shows flying back and forth across the pond! (And everywhere else.) Do you think the Beeb doesn't know its shows are popular here? Internet torrents are the 21st century version of Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Monty Python. Dr. Who. Upstairs, Downstairs. We're their biggest market. Of course, they want their shows listed on the torrents. And ours on theirs. Hey, when the DVDs sell, they get a cut of that too. It's all the British government.

But is Hollywood getting a cut of BBC profits? Oh, hell, no. That makes them pirates. Shut 'em down. And the internet with them.

Same goes for Bollywood, Japanese anime, Mexican soap operas, on and on. Torrents allow people all over the world to experience the world and buy those products.

Hey, you like Hong Kong kung fu movies? I've got a link for you: [CENSORED]. Even if it's legal to purchase in the US because it might be copyright infringement. Or so says Hollywood because Hollywood didn't get a cut off that "foreign" site.

Yeah. Shut 'em down. And the internet with them.
Jan. 6th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Here, as I understand it, is the sort of thing that will happen under SOPA:

1. Shaddyr sets up her own Wordpress site to publish and promote SGA fic.

2. The rights holders to the Stargate franchise see Shaddyr's site and decide she's infringing on their intellectual property. Whether she actually is or not is immaterial.

3. They go in front of a judge and ask for an order for the site to be shut down. The judge agrees.

4. Suddenly the traffic to Shaddyr's site drops to zero, literally. She can't get to it from work. She pings it and gets "unknown host." If she's Internet savvy enough to have memorized the IP address, she finds that the site is still reachable by dotted quad, but the DNS entries for her site are gone. Erased. Off the net.

5. Now start applying this to movie review sites. Fan sites of every kind. Sites run by DJs. Sports blogs. Facebook. Google. Pretty much every site on the Web that someone else can claim uses someone else's intellectual property. Whether they actually do or not, or whether it's fair use or not.

You think that's bad? It would actually be worse than I just described, I'm sure. And the worst part is, it's already happened at least once.

And don't think Canada would be immune. If this travesty passes in the US, you can bet Big Content will be breathing down your MP's neck, working hard to get Parliament to "harmonize" with US law.

They say the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. This would be Internet ebola. I just hope we geeks are up to the task of figuring out how to route around this. Not because of Pirate Bay and the like - forget about them - but because this is a threat to the Internet itself as we know it. And for better or worse, these days the Internet is my home, and I'd kind of like to defend my home, thankyewverymuch.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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