SOPA and PIPA stopped — for now


I didn’t expect anything like what happened, and apparently neither did anyone else — including the MPAA. From the e-mail I received from

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled. “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk…. This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”

Mr. Dodd is also claiming that we who oppose SOPA and PIPA are lying about it:

For the more traditional media industry, the moment was menacing. Supporters of the legislation accused the Web companies of willfully lying about the legislation’s flaws, stirring fear to protect ill-gotten profits from illegal Web sites.

Mr. Dodd said Internet companies might well change Washington, but not necessarily for the better with their ability to spread their message globally, without regulation or fact-checking.

“It’s a new day,” he added. “Brace yourselves.”

Citing two longtime liberal champions of the First Amendment, Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Mr. Dodd fumed, “No one can seriously believe Pat Leahy and John Conyers can be backing legislation to block free speech or break the Internet.”

Oh? I can seriously believe that they didn’t read the bill themselves, and don’t know anything about the infrastructure of the ‘net. Many senators and congresspeople don’t, probably most of them — and some are even proud of that ignorance.

The article goes on to say…

Mr. Smith, the House Republican author, said opposition Web sites were spreading “fear rather than fact.”

“When the opposition is based upon misinformation, I have confidence in the facts and confidence that the facts will ultimately prevail,” Mr. Smith said.

The facts, Mr. Smith? The MPAA and RIAA are their own worst enemies in this fight. The facts are that they’ve proven they’ll abuse any power they can get over the Internet. One of the best articulated descriptions of the problem that I saw is from user “wootah” on the Scott Adams blog. Unfortunately that blog doesn’t seem to offer permalinks to comments, but you can find this comment on this article if you dig deeply enough (it’s at the top of comment page three of four at the time of this writing). I haven’t followed all the links, but the cases he cites are common knowledge to those of us who’ve been watching. Please forgive the writer’s various abuses of spelling:

Jan 18, 2012
Scott, You are looking at it wrong.

Lets look at it entirely from a new view. When a dictatorship is caught abusing their legitimate powers, they will often make new laws to allow them to continue their behavior under the paradigm of legitimacy. Of course we know that this doesn’t stop them from coming up with new and creative ways to abuse their new powers. Ideally though, in this land of the just and free, a lobbying group would want the law to be so vague that just about any future abuse whether planned for or simply accidental will still fall within the law.

If you were opposed to the abuses of the original law, then you are going to be opposed to the new ‘privileges’ granted under the new law. So all we have to do is find examples of abuse under the current law and then compare them to the vagueness of the new law to get an idea of what we are up against.

Here is an example of the Existing DMCA law being abused by filing automated takedowns. They claimed that it was impossible to examine everything individually so they were just going to brute force screw everybody in a blanket automated takedowns:

Here is one where a Music blog was seized FOR YEAR. Because it was allegedly infringing… only to be later returned because nothing was illegal on that blog, and all music hosted was given WITH permission from all artists. No wrong doing was admitted:

The Music industry has ridiculously attached absurd numbers and penalties in an effort to create a new business model since theirs is failing. When they sued limewire, they asked for 75 Trillion (with a T) dollars in penalties… Apparently the infringers stole more value in music than there was money in all the markets of the entire planet.

An example of the RIAA trying to close down Penn State Physics Department Computer infrustructure because of a similarly named song… Openly admitting they sent the takedown without bothering to listen to what they thought was infringing matierial:

The people harboring the law want a double standard. When they were found atually pirating music that they didn’t own (by putting together ‘hits mixes’ and selling them without compensating the author,) they used their extensive group of lawyers to protect themselves from the type of fines they want to levy on other people.
Summary, Infringement based on their own numbers: 6 Billion
Result, Settling for 45 Million.

Does the music industry need any more power to go after people? No they don’t. They want to put you in Jail for FIVE years for infringing. And their definition is so broad that me posting a 50 second video containing a small portion of another video distributed legally (and therefore already compensated once) would risk both you and me going to jail for 5 years AND the shut down of your sight.

Here you go Scott, Isn’t this little guy cute:

Note Due to posting this on the blackout day, some of the links will redirect to blackout. But they should work tomorr

I’ve heard of many more abuses by the RIAA and MPAA over the last ten years. Congressman Smith, after reading that, do you really think that Internet users would change their minds if they knew “the facts”? I suspect they’d form lynch mobs instead, with you as one of their targets.

Believe it or not, I sympathize with the MPAA’s and RIAA’s position. As the owner of a small software company, I see people steal my work all the time, and it drives me nuts. But I can’t support any law that essentially gives a handful of corporations the power to silence any site on the Internet essentially at will, and has such a chilling legal effect on any site that allows user comments. And that’s not even counting the consequences for the future… if they had succeeded in putting the infrastructure of censorship in place, how long do you think it would be before it was hijacked for other uses as well? People with power do everything they can to retain and increase that power, and a setup like that would be irresistible to them.

SOPA? Just stop-a.


  1. I agree, this is pretty big. Another blog I follow ( posted:

    “In terms of business/politics/history, this whole series of events also represents a pretty massive shift in the entertainment-industry power structure – essentially, the tech/digital side of the amusement biz (video games, Google, Wiki, YouTube etc) were on the winning side of a legislative defeat while the film/TV side came out the (corporate) losers. The Internet is now ‘officially’ more powerful than Hollywood – that’s a big change, and the aftershocks will be felt for a long time.”

    It looks like the old-school music and movie industry is being overtaken by the digital industry, and no amount of kicking and screaming is going to prevent it from happening.

    • I wish that were the case, but I’m pretty sure this is a one-off. The MPAA will never make the mistake of trying something so blatantly horrible again, assuming that no one will notice, so the people will never be riled to the point that they’ll come together like that again.

      Of course, I could be wrong. The MPAA might not learn its lesson immediately. We’ll see.

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