Emerging Tech optimize

Where SOPA supporters went wrong

What SOPA supporters and lawmakers didn't realize was that the law provided a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem.

SOPA, the legislative shorthand for the Stop Online Piracy Act, has been a hot topic as of late. The law aims to stop theft of U.S. intellectual property (IP), focusing on illegal downloading of songs, movies, and other content in electronic format, as well as websites selling counterfeit products based on U.S. IP. The "teeth" of the legislation is where it has run into strong resistance, mainly provisions that allow the government to demand Internet service providers with U.S. customers block access to a site accused of profiting from or facilitating IP theft. The rationale behind co-opting U.S. Internet service providers is that SOPA is meant to stop sites outside the U.S., where the U.S. government has no jurisdiction. Were a U.S.-based site to offer "faux" Gucci products, for instance, the government already has the legal means to shut down the site.

Attempting to reduce IP theft seems like a reasonable objective, despite the juvenile arguments that range from "that [movie/software/song] costs too much" to "it's OK to steal from those ‘evil' corporations." IT in particular is a knowledge-intensive business, so most of us get that the "harmless" act of copying some bits and bytes actually does have a monetary impact on a fellow knowledge worker. While it's still not reason enough to condone stealing, there's a fair argument that the movie and television studios in particular have done a poor job of providing a service that seems in high demand: an ability to consume their content easily on any device. Unfortunately for the industry and its customers, that capability is not legitimately available at any price.

When you dismiss those who object to SOPA based on the grounds that it will put a damper on their ability to steal someone's IP, there are still two very legitimate concerns: the "slippery slope" factor and concerns around due process. Slippery slope proponents suggest that many of the technical elements that SOPA would require are the same as ones used by repressive regimes to control their citizens' activities on the web. With these measures in place, an unfriendly government could spy on citizens or restrict their access to the Internet. Concerns about due process center around provisions of SOPA that require ISPs to essentially block first, and ask questions later. An unscrupulous competitor could report a website for SOPA violations, and potentially use the government to temporarily put that competitor out of business. Depending on your political leanings and trust in your government, these could be seen as moot points for the law-abiding citizen, or legitimate concerns about government overreach and co-opting government to serve corporate interests. So, could SOPA have been "sold" to the American public more effectively?

It's probably fair to say that most Americans understand that intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime, but where the outrage over SOPA comes in is that it brings out the worst in heavy-handed government intervention to a problem that seems a bit petty when couched against other socioeconomic challenges. I would imagine the bipartisan majority that signaled their support for SOPA spent about eight seconds considering the law before concluding something to the effect of: How can anyone be against IP theft? What they didn't realize was that the law provided a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem. Couple this with volumes of copyright law and SOPA feels a bit like double-secret probation: punishing an activity that's already illegal with particularly draconian countermeasures.

While it's easy, and in more than a few cases warranted, to drag the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) through the mud, tech companies' dire predictions of Facebook being taken offline by SOPA and violent opposition to these laws are also somewhat disingenuous. Google has built a billion dollar business surrounding others' intellectual property with advertisements, walking a fine line between fair use and wholesale commercial exploitation of others' work. Trumpeting themselves solely as champions of freedom while quietly defending this business model is not much better than RIAA suing teenage downloaders.

I see a twofold silver lining to the SOPA mess. SOPA has thrust the question of intellectual property protection into the spotlight, and forced people to consider how they consume and pay for intellectual property generated by others. There's a fair argument that traditional notions of copyright may be a bit outmoded; should someone posting a video on YouTube with a popular song as a soundtrack have to pay licensing fees? What if they generated millions of hits and millions in revenue for Google? Some even take the extreme position that all this IP should be free for the taking. That may be fine and dandy, but if no one is willing to pay for an elaborate theatrical production, how will it get produced in the first place?

The second major coup I see resulting from SOPA is that the massive backlash may force lawmakers to deeply consider highly technical legislation before acting on it. Most professed die-hard SOPA activists don't understand the technical provisions of the law, let alone a senator who may have spent all of a couple of hours using a PC during their entire career. I have doubts the "wild west" days of the Internet are coming to a close, and hope that lawmakers will take a more considered approach to its regulation on everything from copyright law to taxation, due to the hoopla over SOPA.

Regardless of your thoughts on SOPA, I'd encourage you to consider your stance on intellectual property, especially in light of the fact that most of us are effectively in the knowledge or IP business. Make an independent assessment away from the draconian predictions that range from the end of professionally-produced music and movies, to a Stalin-esque Internet where sites are regularly banned. With an increased awareness of these issues on the part of citizens and legislators, addressing the concerns of all parties around Intellectual Property is a good thing, even if SOPA is the wrong vehicle to do so.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company, and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology, as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. Patrick has...

54 comments
AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

First point is that this was simply a bad law, not necessarily in its intentions, but the law as written was a bad idea. Creators need to understand the nature of the problem they face, and most importantly, the scope. Yes, IP is getting ripped off, but how much money is it honestly costing them. Does a video with a song posted on YouTube actually cost the musician anything? Do they honestly believe that many potentially paying customers are downloading this material without paying for it? In a few cases, maybe... Creators (of IP) need to get more imaginative about how they market their IP. Maybe Google should have to pay a small fee for every copyrighted song that gets uploaded, but maybe the band (just an example) would make additional song sales if they posted their own music videos to YouTube in low quality sound versions. And to all the creators and purveyors of IP I would say that they need to look at how much they make, not how much they supposedly don't make. Authors are finding that one book released as a free teaser can lead to many book sales. Maybe other media creators should look at that model. There is plenty of opportunity to make money with your IP, but when you spend your time defending the old revenue stream, rather than building new ones, then you should lose your "creative" moniker. Times change, and so does the way we consume media. The winners will be those who adapt to the way people want to consume media. Most people don't want to steal, but they will when they can't get what they want, they way they want it. This is what happened to the music industry, and others need to learn that this is not the way to go.

Snak
Snak

... which obviously really stands for Stop Our Profit Attrition one wonders if western politics needs a really good shake-up. I would suggest that Lobbyists should be community-driven rather than vested interest-driven (if you have to have them at all), that politicians should not be allowed to own, run or be a director of any business whilst in office and that anyone proposing bills should be tested on their knowledge of the subject upon which they're trying to get a bill passed. Oh, Utopia....

fhrivers
fhrivers

SOPA is the result of a creatively bankrupt (from a technical perspective) entertainment industry, running to the government to "fix" a problem they're too lazy or unwilling to fix. They would rather sell us $20 plastic discs and $30 DVDs forever instead of coming up with a viable digital consumption model. Piracy of music existed long before the Internet, just on a smaller scale. I remember "pirating" music off the radio with my tape recorder. I would hear a song I like, pope a cassette tape in and hit the record button. Or a friend would let me borrow a tape and I'd copy it. To me it was no different than my friend letting me borrow the tape. "Piracy" has existed in some form since men started writing things down. So people having access to things they didn't pay for will always be a problem. Instead of being creative and changing their business model to adapt to a changing environment, they run to the government who we know always has draconian measures. That's the only thing that can result from a group of people long removed from the real world, making decisions that affect the real world.

sjok
sjok

There is way too much yammering and knee jerk reactions on internet privileges. SOPA is a fine example. The knee jerk reaction ???this is terrible ??? it???s a slippery slope??? gushes out of the pores of internet companies who, to a large degree, are quite cavalier about the debt they owe to creators of intellectual property. In addition, Amazon used the SOPA yammering as an opportunity to provide a cell phone application for people to scan the code of a book they found at a local store and Amazon would sell for $5.00 less. This is unfair competition and similar to embezzlement. Another common reaction from the IT community is that preventing theft of intellectual property interferes with ???free Speech???. Using this in the SOPA context trivializes and greatly weakens the concept of free speech. As with all rights, it comes with associated responsibilities. The IT community should do what various industries in the past did ??? produce their own standards. For example, IEEE, ASME, SAE, UL, IEC, etc. Creating some standards that address the intellectual property issue in a reasonably open minded way would be a good start.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The takeaway is a good example : "What SOPA supporters and lawmakers didn???t realize was that the law provided a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem." SOPA supporters and Lawmakers wanted exactly that. This is legislation that was made to be used, and abused. Where they did go wrong (but won't the next time), was in letting the public know of the legislation. Next time it will be passed in silence, attached to something entirely different, and with not one whisper to anyone. You are screwed. Your only hope is massive citizen disobedience when the law does turn out to have been passed. Refuse to follow that law, and go out of your way to pee on the Corporate instigators. If that fails, take up arms. It's your last fragment of freedom from corporate rule that is at stake.

don.howard
don.howard

Over all a decently balanced article. However I have contention with a couple of points. First the Takeaway: "What SOPA supporters and lawmakers didn???t realize was that the law provided a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem." This may be true of the lawmakers, but I believe the RIAA and MPAA know exactly what was in the bill and would ask for more if they thought they could get it. After all, the bill was drafted by their lobbyists. In reality this has been going on ever since consumers had the ability to copy record albums onto cassette tape. The second item is where it is stated: "While it???s still not reason enough to condone stealing, there???s a fair argument that the movie and television studios in particular have done a poor job of providing a service that seems in high demand: an ability to consume their content easily on any device. Unfortunately for the industry and its customers, that capability is not legitimately available at any price." I would content that the capability is legitimately available. It is called "fair use" and is a part of long standing copywrite law in the US. Say I am traveling and want to watch a movie on my laptop during the flight. "Fair use" says I have a legitimate and legal right to reproduce (rip) the movie for personal consumption. The MPAA would have me to pay for two versions, the original DBD/BD and the electronic digital copy. As a photographer (in addition to being an IT geek) I understand very well the concerns about Intellectual Property. But there are already legitimate ways to enforce and control this without trampling due process and using the federal government as free enforcement muscle for the entertainment industry.

tkejlboom
tkejlboom

This isn't about protecting IP. It was never about protecting IP. IT WAS WRITTEN BY LOBBYISTS! The sponsors don't even know what any technical part of the bill is! This wasn't poorly considered by the writers. The people that authored this legislation deliberately crafted it to do exactly what it says. The RIAA and MPAA ARE BAD! They LIE. Read Tim Wu's [u]The Master Switch[/u]. Follow the references. Watch this video: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D9h2dF-IsH0I&h=nAQGGJub5 Look up the legislation Clay Shirky references. This is a deliberate, repeated, concerted effort to make this country a worse place. These are bad people we're talking about. BAD.

BentLightyear
BentLightyear

"a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem" -- exactly! How about the death penalty for jaywalking? 'Seems to me the internet is a huge stack of cards just waiting for something like this to shake the table. I remember when it was a bunch of graduate students playing with a DARPA grant. It's certainly come a long way, but it only takes a scare like this to remind us that it could be destroyed by lawyers. I hope the rest of the world doesn't follow suit on this, so you could at least VPN to someplace that's still free. Freedom isn't a natural state: it takes blood, sweat, and tears to keep it going.

tbostwick
tbostwick

Politicians delve into something for one of a couple reasons: 1> There's money to be made - as they're advised by a multitude of consultants, advisors and worst of all - LOBBYISTS 2> They don't understand something - so they try to bolt it down out of sheer ignorance. As in the case of SOPA/PIPA - (horrible legislation), that when you actually read it, showed the pure ignorance and total control of the MPIAA and others, over US legislators, and of course, the user-public. Move on Mr Politician - put a law on the books today that will easily have a workaround tomorrow... and no one will be accountable. All the while - we're still waiting on the Rep majority to put the handcuffs on Wall Street and pay us back roughly $500+ billion that the American citizen is due. This legislation, if passed, would have

bestbenwade
bestbenwade

One of the people who commented on your article uses the name "HAL 9000" and a picture of HAL's red eye from "2001." While I'm sure that whatever company owns 2001 is NOT going to shut you down over that, under SOPA they COULD. Also you know as well as I do that somewhere there is someone with copyrights over something, who WOULD be nutty enough to shut you down over a similar infraction of copyright. Scary, huh?

fishystory
fishystory

I'm very worried about the future of the web with SOPA and PIPA legislation looming. What I find frightening is that the US government was able to take down the whole web site of megaupload.com so unexpectedly and so suddenly. According to Alexa.com, MegaUpload is the 72nd most popular web site globally (source: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/megaupload.com), however that didn't seem to stop the FBI and the Department of Justice from shutting it down on an international-level. But what is even more scary, however is that neither SOPA nor PIPA have been voted on. The Department of Justice has went ahead anyway before the unpopular bills have become law (and that's assuming that they do pass) and closed down everything available on the web site (including pictures, documents, videos that belong to [b]legit[/b] users of megaupload.com). What hope is there for web sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and even TechRepublic which, like MegaUpload, all have some form of user interaction on their sites. Will they also fall victim to the same fate as MegaUpload, simply due to a given portion of negligent users? The totalitarian approach reminds me of films like [i]V for Vendetta[/i] and [i]Equilibrium[/i], Every day, it seems like the world is moving towards an Orwellian-society despite George Orwell only intending for [i]1984[/i] to be a fictional story and not an accurate portrayal of the future.

mpasco
mpasco

Because of the intense lobbying by industry and the exhorbitant contributions to campaign chests, Congress has been "bought" and the public will be victim. There already exists strong law and penalties for violating copyright law if you are guilty. SOPA goes beyond that and penalizes the internet users just in case they may be thinking about it. It is analogious to strip searching everyone entering a bank or jewlery store because they might want to rob it. "Innocent until proven guilty" will be a thing of the past under this legislation, as will the free and open use of the Internet. Will it stop piracy? NO! There are already a plethora of methods being mentioned to avoid the restrictions of SOPA.

kraabeasa
kraabeasa

Wow! Finally a reasonable, well thought out, objective article on SOPA. Thank you.

Dknopp
Dknopp

Was watching the Daily Show and they showed clips of the members of the Intellectual Property Subcommitee -Democrat and Republican ( of which, even if they pooled their intelligence, they still look like marketing d-bags ) saying they know nothing about what SOPA is supposed to be addressing, so - get this - bring in the "nerds". Really, nerds? What is this the 1980's? Who says nerd nowadays? Oh, congressional d-bags do.

wompai
wompai

That's all I can ever say about it.

sissy sue
sissy sue

"The law provided a howitzer-sized deterrent to a peashooter problem." Isn't that what laws typically do? Especially when government determines that its citizens' victimless acts of civil disobedience are worse than acts of violence and murder.

ibdirtpoe
ibdirtpoe

Dam Republicans don't care about censorship or personal freedom! They will stop at nothing to give corporate America complete control over the citizenship!It's so shameful that a political party in America can be such lap dogs to Corporate America with no regard for the people the represent!

Snak
Snak

I have a vested interest in 'intellectual property' - not mine, but that of (to date) 670 bands/musicians. I run a website (and organise music events and festivals) which allows musicians to upload their music to allow visitors to listen and vote/comment/review or buy. I also have an internet radio 'station' which plays a random selection of songs 24/7. It is a central tenet of the site that the music is protected - the uploader makes a declaration of ownership and then gives us specific permissions as to what we can do with it - there are separate tickboxes for example for radio streaming, profile streaming, posting to Facebook and other sites etc etc. One thing we do not allow, is free downloading. The musicians can opt to allow bona fide radio stations/presenters to download high quality versions of their songs and they can choose to 'sell' their music for $0 if they're happy to give it away. Yesterday I received an email from a company threatening me with prosecution if I did not buy a license to 'broadcast' this music. It is obvious that they have not bothered to look at how we conduct our relationships with 'our' bands. 'We will make sure the musicians who own the music will get their royalties' claimed the email. As we do nothing with music uploaded without express permission, the 'royalties' thing just does not apply. It bothers me somewhat that SOPA, in it's first incarnation would not only encourage similar intimidation, it may engender a 'take-it-down first, ask questions later' attitude from ISP's and/or other so-called 'authoritative' bodies. As an aside - why on Earth is Realplayer's default 'download this movie/song' popup not illegal? Why are the directors of Realplayer not languishing in jail, because this software IS exactly the tool required to steal intellectual property.

Johny Morris
Johny Morris

From over here in Europe we fear the extra-territoriality of SOPA and similar bills. There is no due process where the party impacted is small and in a different jurisdiction. Even a reasonable sized company in Europe could not easily undertake a law case in the USA Federal courts. And it is naive to assume that a blunt instrument like this will not be used by the unscrupulous to silence competitors. It won???t be the Google's or YouTube's who are impacted ??? they are big enough and rich enough to tie the courts up for years ??? it will be the small guys. Also beware the backlash. Already over here in the UK there is a groundswell of opinion against the way the US appears to bully the British courts on extradition matters over extra-territorial criminal alegations. If there start to be blackouts of legitimate UK based internet sites and losses of jobs here, there is the real chance of a 19th century trade war developing on the internet that will benefit nobody, especially an America desperate for export growth. How long before someone spots an economic opportunity to have a Euro-Google or Asian-Google unfettered by the state censorship of Uncle Sam? It has already happened to internet betting sites.

l.kobiernicki
l.kobiernicki

It is only another attempt by the closed-sourcers, to turn IT into a monopoly business, dominated by their cartels and condominiums .. There is absolutely no value in it, for the ordinary people leading their own lives. The only ones who gain, are those with a weakness for control over other people's lives. Plain speaking would have to admit, that those are the psychologically-deficient, not strong enough emotionally to allow others the freedom to conduct their own affairs, without interference from outside intervention. The totalitarian temptation, only appeals to the half-witted, the venal - and, of course, to the criminal fraternity, who can only function by predation. Everyone else simply wishes to get on with people - which does not include restrictions and thought-policing, to distort technological issues into political ones. No-one in their right mind, wants the functionally-impaired rubbish that is protected ( closed-sourced ) from copying - as if one wanted to ! - when you can have Linux for free ..

dogknees
dogknees

Zero Collateral Damage This is the principle that should apply to ALL legislation of this sort. Do what you want, but under no circumstances stop or delay access to any IP by those who have a legitimate right to do so. No taking down a whole site if people have their own stuff on it. The same should have been applied to DRM and a host of other measures.

dogknees
dogknees

" I would imagine the bipartisan majority that signaled their support for SOPA spent about eight seconds considering the law before concluding something to the effect of: How can anyone be against IP theft?" What? Are you sure you got that right? The support IP theft?

tuoteg
tuoteg

Manufacturing a false equivalence between what the RIAA/MPAA is doing with their heavy handed everyone is a pirate nonsense and Google???s search and ad business is out of line. Here is a word for you robots.txt.

dayen
dayen

If this ever pass you will only hear their side of every story and We will have to fight and die to have freedom in America again I may not write well but I know histroy and thes people don't stop on less you kill them I know that hard to live with but my Mother told me she should have killed Hilter when she met him and millions would have lived, I hope I am wrong but I see freedom fading in America

john.mcartney
john.mcartney

You are right ... and ... during an election year isn't this the kind of tough love that swings votes? Play to your regional voting base even if the law is not that well constructed and stir well to create the froth. "Yesterday" TV showed some of the discussion by the law makers themselves and I was not shocked to hear them admit that they had NO idea of the how to address such an intricate problem with thier level of knowledge. They openly wondred if the wording was either adequate to address the original concept or be so open to interpritation that it not only doesn't solve the original issue but opens up whole new areas of problems that will wast everyone's time and money including the inevitable rush to the courts.

Ken Dally
Ken Dally

What started out as means to ensure that content creators received compensation for their efforts and encourage sharing knowledge and innovation has grown into a system that dose the opposite. Large corporations and armies of lawyers now use them to maintain hegemony and stifle new players. The lifetimes of copyright and patents have expanded to ridiculous lengths of time, patents have been granted that are overly broad and for things that should never have got them in the first place. Both systems are long overdue for major overhauls as it is long past having a detrimental effect on both the innovator and the consumer and is bad for the advanced of society in general. The United States has lead the world in this appalling process in which only shareholders and lawyers profit at the expense of society.

digital riverrat
digital riverrat

We already have videos posted to YouTube that aren't visible (or audible) in some countries because some copyright holder complained. My Brazilian girlfriend regularly sends me links that she can see and hear but that turn as big black boxes to me, with the words: Content Blocked in Your Country. Or words to that effect. The copyright holders can't be everywhere and can't eyeball everything posted to sited like YouTube. But they want to hold such a wide umbrella over what's theirs and such a small umbrella over what's not, that a US blockage of sites such as Google IS a reality if draconian laws like this are passed. At least temporarily. MAYBE, if we're lucky, and a case is caused to go to court, the website may be allowed to go back into business. But after how long and after how much damage is done? As for software-based IP, if the makers of these pieces of software were to make trial periods longer and make the trial packages full-featured, we might see quite a bit less piracy. It really sucks to read about a particular piece of software being able to do this and that, decide you want to try it, only to find out that if you want to test THOSE features, you have to buy the software, usually with no possibility of a refund if it turns out you don't like it. This can be expensive. If you're looking for a graphics package, and want to try Adobe Creative Suite, you're looking at a couple thousand dollars. And if it turns out you only need Illustrator or Dreamweaver, you're SOL.

eknowle
eknowle

SOPA is just the latest in a long line of bills, some of which unfortunately become law, that are basically developed behind closed doors with (could say by) lobbyists. And as such are quite flawed because they only address the needs and/or wants of the lobbyists, and not the needs and/or wants of the majority. As SOPA exists today, it should never be allowed to become law. There is no team approach taken in developing this type of proposed law to address the needs and/or wants of the majority. As one commenter mentioned Nancy Pelosi's infamous quote, if she worked in the business world, you would hope that she would have been fired for such stupidity!! Too bad her voters haven't fired her yet!! Until we get lots of people in government who have the character, the intelligence, and the backbone to work in a team approach to solve the problems facing this country, and stop letting lobbyists write one-sided bills, SOPA will not be the last such flawed bill!!!

merlyn
merlyn

We have to pass the bill to find out what is in it . . . Nancy Pelosi or You have to let them deprive you of your freedom before you know what you have lost! Except then it is too late and they won't give it back.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I could not see one statement in that which did not seem to be at odds with itself. Please qualify your stance.

sjok
sjok

The SOPA purpose is to control the theft of US intellectual property only in foriegn countries. Most of the comments here appear to apply only if the legislation is for internal US theft. As indicated in at least one comment domestic IP theft is somewhat under control. However, its takes some degree of effort by individual and corporate citizens to implement some control. Globilization cannot be complete until the suppliers and consumers of intelleculal property have a reasonable worldwide economic interaction. So the question is, does the IT profession have the ability to provide positive input to making this possible? If not, somebody who is not well qualified will do it for them.

tbmay
tbmay

I'm not sure there are any currently effective legitimate ways. But that still doesn't give the government the right to disregard the Constitution (1st Amendment). Now, people should think about legitimate ways. That will separate the honest opposers from the ones who simply want to keep getting free mp3's, or whatever other content we're referring too.

tkejlboom
tkejlboom

This isn't the death penalty for jaywalking. It's gunning down everyone on the street/sidewalk [i]around[/i] the jaywalker at the scene, without due process. No! It's not even that. It's gunning down everyone standing near the offender, on the spot, on the anonymous [i]report[/i] that the individual had jaywalked.

rduncan
rduncan

Scary = yes, Policable on the internet = no

tkejlboom
tkejlboom

The tone isn't reasonable, because the author is ignoring the history of the industry, the content of the bill, and the way lobbyists spent $100 million trying to ram it through congress before anyone was even aware of it. Taken in context, the only reasonable tone to take when writing about SOPA is contempt.

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

Members of both parties were on board with this garbage. Presently, most of the former co-sponsors are Republican. Yes, it was a Republican in the House that came up with SOPA, but PIPA was introduced by Leahy, a Democrat (actually a Socialist). And most of the support was from Democrats. At least one sensible Democrat (a rarity, I know) threatened a filibuster if PIPA made it out of committee. There is enough blame to go around here for both parties, but right now it seems the Democrats are having a harder time getting away from this.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Republicans who build dams? Incidentally, 'dam' Democrats backed this bill too.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I got hung up at the notion they spent as much as eight seconds thinking about it.

sissy sue
sissy sue

"The United States has lead the world in this appalling process in which only shareholders and lawyers profit at the expense of society." Some people call this "freedom."

bestbenwade
bestbenwade

Politicians will always obey the highest bidders until campaign finance reform makes the PUBLIC the ONLY bidder. Of course, the lobbyists and special interest groups will never let that happen and will come up with a bunch of reasons that makes it seem a bad idea.

merlyn
merlyn

'quite flawed because they only address the needs and/or wants of the lobbyists, and not the needs and/or wants of the majority.' And they ignore the rights of the minority. Raw Democracy is one of the worst tyrannical political forms ever devised, the Founders of this Country gave us a Constitution to protect us from that and from our own Government.

rpollard
rpollard

We should know everything that they are doing. All the things they are doing that affects our lives should be an open book. And whilst we're at it make them follow the same rules we have to. Like use the same insurance they're forcing down our throats and not be immune to prosecution for insider trading.

don.howard
don.howard

that they were effective (or efficient). But there are processes in place to address the situation. Part of that comes about because of limits imposed to protect individual rights. The question then becomes is the alleged violation of IP rights of sufficient scope to make it financially feasible to pursue remediation. That is really what the lobbies want with this type of legislation - to remove the cost burden on their own industries so that they can go after the most trivial of cases.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Their aim is not to take out all pages with copyrighted materials. The law will allow them to take almost any page they want. That's the thing, they don't care about the unpolicable stuff... they care about being to take out anyone who disagrees with them. Like ... Wikipedia. Or Tea Party message boards. Or Occupy Movement message boards. Or anything else you can imagine might be uncomfortable to someone in political or corporate power. It's like the power Putin has, via the back door.

tbmay
tbmay

In fact, at this point in time, more Democrats than Republicans support it. But blood is most definitely on both parties hands if you're a jersey wearing partisan. Look here...click the party names to the left to see how many and who of each party. http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/

sissy sue
sissy sue

American citizens are taught that we are a democracy, and not a republic. We are taught in our public (i.e., government) schools that democracy is an idea that is almost holy. Most Americans think that "majority rule" is a wonderful thing, and that the rights of the minority should be sacrificed to the will of the mob. At the same time, many of us do not understand that a small minority of well-heeled and powerful do-gooders can and do use government to force us to do what they cannot persuade us to do ("for our own good," of course). A person has to leave school and start thinking for himself in order to undo this brainwashing.

tbmay
tbmay

The rights of the INDIVIDUAL is what the Bill of Rights is all about and we should be absolutely uncompromising with regards to it.

Zorched
Zorched

...watching our politicians as we do consuming the junk media that they're trying to punish us over, we wouldn't be having this problem. It's that very junk media that's keeping people complacent, almost like a happily drugged addict, and not watching what their politicos are doing. Maybe it's just time for a break from the media and let those that are causing the problem starve. People will only allow themselves to be oppressed to a point before they strike back. I wonder if this is Americans' break point or if we have to be put down further first? I hope this is as far as they go. As long as people believe that they have no voice then that voice may very truly be taken from them. It's better to plug the hole in the boat before we have to start bailing.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Being cast in the foundations for a hydroelectric plant is pretty permanent :D

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

except it needs to be permanent. The Internet has done marvelously well with minimal government interference.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

And make "dam" a verb : meaning to submerse something in the concrete poured for a massive hydro-electric plant. Dam all the politicians. Then Dam their replacements. After that, Dam all the lobbyists and the CEOs of companies paying them. Maybe then they'll give this legislation a (temporary) rest.