The other side of SOPA and anti-piracy legislation

I like Michael Marshall, and his blog post about the other side of the piracy debate is worth your time. Not all anti-piracy sentiment comes from swivel-eyed loons or Disney.

The government is supposed to be on the side of laws, isn’t it? Copyright is a law too. If they don’t defend that law in the new kind of social space that the internet represents, where will the laxity end? What other laws will be let slide on the grounds that they might impede the rights of Internet users to do what the heck they feel like? What about your right to privacy? You care a lot about that one, don’t you? What makes it so desperately important for the government to defend your rights there, but not defend others’ rights to be paid for their intellectual property?

8 thoughts on “The other side of SOPA and anti-piracy legislation

  1. Squander Two says:

    Fair points abotu copyright protection in general, but I do think he’s wrong about SOPA.

    The US government doesn’t have the time, resources — or, I’m sure, the will — to chase down every single man jack of you for trivial offenses.

    Ah, if only. Have you followed any of the stories about the FDA shutting down kids’ lemonade stands? The state certainly doesn’t have the resources to victimise ordinary people for trivial offenses, but appears to be willing to do it anyway and pay for its absurd overreach with debt. In today’s America, you’d have to be crazy to think the state weren’t going to pursue the little guy for a harmless bit of nothing.

    The reality is that no-one has the time or cash (law enforcement and legal proceedings cost a lot of money, and the government has budgets like everyone else) to hunt down the average Internet user, or close down every site that could technically fall foul of a psychotically super-heavy reading of the bill.

    As I understand it, isn’t this precisely the problem with SOPA: that it bypasses the expense of legal proceedings by forcing you to take your site down when someone makes an allegation rather than waiting for a verdict?

  2. Hunnymonster says:

    The weird thing about SOPA & PIPA is that they both seem to turn the burden of proof on it’s head – in both cases if your site is SOPAed or PIPAed, you can get the ban overturned if you (at your own expense and risk) go to court – nice for the innocent that.

  3. Gary says:

    That’s actually one of the big problems with all such legislation. The Digital Economy Act was similar – the idea that the entertainment firms allege, and it’s up to everybody else to sort out any mess if they fuck up. Which they often do.

  4. Gary says:

    Given the raids on megaupload today – a new zealand site targeted by US authorities – you have to wonder, why do they need extra legislation if they can do this now?

  5. Hunnymonster says:

    Seems to me that there’s a lot of posturing (or possibly some sort of “my knob is bigger than your knob” competition) involved in it – that rather than actually enforcing existing law which covers it ( which is both expensive and has expensive consequences) they can pass a new one (relatively cheap) and be *seen* to be apparently doing something about it but not bother enforcing either law.

  6. Hunnymonster says:

    “As a consequence of failing to act, there will continue to be a safe haven for foreign thieves; American jobs will continue to be lost; and consumers will continue to be exposed to fraudulent and dangerous products peddled by foreign criminals,” MPAA CEO and former US senator Chris Dodd wrote.

    So there’s already no piracy in the US if I read that at face value. Aye, right.

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