Even Without COICA, White House Asking Registrars To Voluntarily Censor 'Infringing' Sites

from the censorship-through-political-pressure? dept

While there's been increasing attention paid to the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (COICA), the proposed law that would allow the government to require ISPs and registrars to block access to websites deemed to be "dedicated to infringing activities," it looks like the White House (which we had thought was against censoring the internet) appears to be working on a backup plan in case COICA doesn't pass.

That is, while most folks have been focused on COICA, the White House's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IP Czar) Victoria Espinel has apparently been holding meetings with ISPs, registrars, payment processors and others to get them to agree to voluntarily do what COICA would mandate. While the meeting is carefully focused on stopping websites that sell gray market pharmaceuticals, if registrars start agreeing to censoring websites at the behest of the government, it's as if we're halfway to a COICA-style censorship regime already. ICANN, who manages the internet domain name system was asked to attend the meeting, but felt that it "was not appropriate to attend" such a meeting.

While Espinel has certainly been a lot more open to talking with those of us concerned about the state of intellectual property laws (and has actually seemed quite willing to pay attention to what we're saying -- which I appreciate), these kinds of meetings appear quite troubling. I understand why the meetings are focused on so-called "illegal pharmacies," because then everyone supporting these actions can hide behind the claim of "protecting Americans from dangerous fake drugs." But the truth is that while some online pharmacies are quite questionable, many are simply "gray market" attempts to import drugs to the US from elsewhere where the identical drugs are sold for much less. In a global economy, that should be allowed. In fact, one could argue that keeping drugs artificially expensive in the US does a lot more harm to Americans than the chance of them getting a fake pill.

On top of that, it seems out of line for the US government to be involved in pressuring these companies, whether they're ISPs, domain registrars, payment processors or ICANN itself, to "voluntarily" block websites without a trial or due process. Yes, I can recognize that there can be legitimate health concerns with some of these websites, but those are better dealt with elsewhere. If a company is selling fake or harmful drugs, then laws within that country should be able to deal with it. If there are concerns about such drugs getting across the border, then it seems like a matter for border control. Asking internet companies to act as de facto "voluntary" censors seems like a big step too far.

And, of course, if it starts with such gray market pharmacies, you can only imagine how long it will take until the RIAA/MPAA/etc. come calling for the same sort of "voluntary cooperation" from the same companies for sites "dedicated to infringing activities," potentially killing off all sorts of innovation, before the market has a chance to adapt. When world wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and tons of other internet luminaries have come out against COICA, shouldn't the White House be a bit more careful before trying to get various internet players to voluntarily do the same thing with even less due process?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    CLOACA

    The acronym COICA reminds me of the word CLOACA, in more ways than one. Look it up. Pictures help.

     

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  2.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re: CLOACA

    "The word comes from Latin, and means sewer."

    That about sums it up.

     

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  3.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Talk is cheap...

    So how do we resist these kinds of back alley politics? Protest? No, they just pull the "protesting in a non-free speech zone" tactic. Write our reps and senators? Thank you for voicing your concern on "insert social problem here", we appreciate your input and would like to ask for your support for the next election. Lobby? Sure, when I have a multi-million dollar budget I can skim from to buy politicians, maybe I can lobby for real hope and change? Run for office? Ha, fat chance that will work! Maybe America is such a cesspool of legislation because nobody with a brain can get into office because they don't vomit the rhetoric of religion to win voters who should be looking for ethical solvency rather than piety?

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: CLOACA

    That's how I pronounced it before I went back and sounded it out. Yes, quite appropriate.

    Maybe we can start an urban dictionary entry for coica and define it as a bastardized version of cloaca.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    Another tatic

    Make them irrelevant. So registrars must censor domain names of websites with "evil" content, even if the domain name is just a name and has no relationship with the content? Great, let's unveil a distributed site naming service. So web hosters must take down a site on an accusation without any need for proof? Great, let's unveil a distributed web hosting application. And so on.

     

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  6.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Talk is cheap...

    Now children, this is the reason we don't post comments when we are angry...

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Re: Talk is cheap...

    ya. that.

    we need to start killing corrupt politicians again.

    politicians have nothing to fear atm from doing corp's dirty deeds. and everything to gain.

    the cycle doesn't stop unless its stopped violently.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Ignoring whatever perceived problems this proposed bill may have, is there anyone here who can see some modicum of merit to the positions adopted by people who are against unauthorized distribution via the internet? Remember, while the "big dogs" carry a lot of weight, they are not the only ones who believe that what the bill is intended to address does have provisions that are meritorious.

    Merely as an aside, I note in the above the proposed bill is limited solely to matters associated with Title 17, US Copyright Law. If drugs are also being discussed, certainly this would relate to some other, as yet unidentified federal law.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Talk is cheap...

    Politicians have nothing to fear AT ALL. Not only are they not fearing for their lives (e.g., like during say the Renaissance), they are not even afraid of losing their political offices. In fact, they've even legalised corrupt politics (i.e., "lobbying" and "campaign donations"), so they can't even technically be exposed or anything like that.

    The situation is, quite frankly, pathetic.

    But, when will people realise that things don't need to be like this, and are frustrated enough to throw their oppressors out of power? Alas, probably centuries from now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Another tatic

    That was going to be my comment.

    The government is becoming increasingly irrelevant in determining technology do's and don'ts on the internet. While I do laugh at their attempts at enforcement, they simply aren't making a dent AT ALL in actual infringing. A lot of energy with very little reward, and quite a bit of unintended consequences occur.

    Magnet links now can simply be applied to domain names. Don't like the results of a DNS query? Go with another DNS host. Don't like the return on your query to content you want but is blocked? Go elsewhere. There are any number of hundreds of ways that computers can rapidly work around humans censoring manually site by site. Really don't even need DNS or name resolution for the underworld, we have powerful servers that can resolve parts of the net that are in demand but beyond the control of registrars.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Censorship or Anticompetitive behavior?

    Regardless of whether or not this act passes there is already a non-governmental trade organization cutting deals under the auspices of safety to shut down or interfere with legitimate businesses as they relate to healthcare online.

    LegitScripts, which is a pseudo-subsidiary of the NABP (North American Boards of Pharmacy) is already attacking competitors to brick & mortar pharmacies on several fronts. The NABP, official as it may sound, is a trade organization comprised of current and former employees for major pharmacy chains.

    They are opposed to more efficient models which threaten their incumbent businesses and as a result they consider any non-traditional practice (no matter how safe or legal it is) to be 'rogue' and pursue it via their 'legitscripts' subsidiary, claiming (sometimes falsely) that it is unsafe and/or illegal.

    They have taken their 'VIPPS' certification to payment processors, registrars & ICANN and are or were part of the IP meetings in DC. Many of those approached by LegitScripts have already voluntarily applied the VIPPS standard (Bing, Google, GoDaddy to name a few) presuming it to be regulatory, possibly not realizing the anticompetitive nature behind it. Trade organizations with vested interests should not be given regulatory authority over an entire industry, even under the false pretense of safety.

     

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    chris (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    Re: Another tatic

    So registrars must censor domain names of websites with "evil" content, even if the domain name is just a name and has no relationship with the content? Great, let's unveil a distributed site naming service.

    that's what DNS is *for*. there's no law that makes you use your ISP's or even your country's DNS.

    i use google's DNS because i hate isp search pages. there's no reason you couldn't use another, or better yet, roll your own using a hosts file:

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Hosts_%28file%29


    So web hosters must take down a site on an accusation without any need for proof? Great, let's unveil a distributed web hosting application. And so on.

    there are already hidden services in many darknet technologies like TOR, but once you have a tunnel established into a safe zone, you could use the "normal" internet from that insertion point.

    geoip might mess with the default language but there are ways around that as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    haha USA internet is dead

    time to get off the tube and just go over to the neighbor who will then go to his neighbor

    or move to a country that actually has some freedoms

     

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    Thomas (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Payback..

    The White House and members of Congress need to give back something to the entertainment industry groups that "contributed" to the election campaigns. It's simple: you contribute perhaps 20 million (indirectly, of course, and in cash under the counter) to the election campaigns and you d*** well expect something in return. It's the worst government money can buy and a sure sign of a plutocracy.

     

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    Adam, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    A lot of this article is based on fear of the unkown, and uses conjecture to advance one idea over to the next one. Try researching a little more, rather than assuming what people are talking about behind closed doors. I'm taking techdirt off of my twitter, because this is just annoying now.

     

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  16.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    is there anyone here who can see some modicum of merit to the positions adopted by people who are against unauthorized distribution via the internet?

    Personally, I do think mass usage by an individual who contributes nothing back to be greedy and disrespectful to creators, especially with those who could pay for what they use.

    However I do not feel that the existing 'middle man' industry of copyright ownership and exploitation is worth giving up freedoms to save. Plain and simple. Some of these industries (like RIAA players) might have a little more sympathy from me if their industry had not spent the last century locking out most creators and ripping off the rest. Even if they had represented artists, however, I feel I would not be supportive of writing 'dinosaur crossing' laws to lock out new industries.

    Regulatory capture is regulatory capture, no matter how you write it.

    I can agree with none of the positions where the remedies consist of limiting due process, unbridled censorship or stifling economic progress.

    Mercantilism still sucks.

     

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    Lee Graczyk, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    I'm glad you made the point that "one could argue that keeping drugs artificially expensive in the US does a lot more harm to Americans than the chance of them getting a fake pill." There are many legitimate international pharmacies that offer safe medications way cheaper than Americans can buy at their neighborhood pharmacy.The people who need these drugs are often seniors, on fixed income and they've been re-ordering their prescriptions from the same non-U.S. pharmacies for years - safely. The only reason some of these folks are still around today is because of this practice. While there are some scary operators on the internet who need to be blocked, We need an approach that allows the legitimate outlets to do what they do best while protecting Americans from the rogues. I wonder if the White House is thinking about that?

     

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  18.  
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    Joe Nobody, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Another tatic

    "Don't like the results of a DNS query? Go with another DNS host. Don't like the return on your query to content you want but is blocked? Go elsewhere."

    Um, they're talking to ISPs. How exactly do you go elsewhere? Only one ISP serves my neighborhood. Are you saying I should MOVE in order to get around censorship?

     

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    Some Other Dude, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another tatic

    You don't have to change ISP to change DNS. Look into OpenDNS for example.

     

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    artistrights, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    I can agree with none of the positions where the remedies consist of limiting due process, unbridled censorship or stifling economic progress.

    No one is in favor of unbridled censorship or of stifling all economic progress online. In fact, COICA contains specific provisions for a website owner to challenge the Attorney General's petition in court if he or she believes the charges are unfounded (which, despite the calls for fear, wont' be). Many on this site and in these comments seem to assume that the Internet can only be a wide open free-for-all or a government-censored nightmare. Really? Content owners are berated for suing infringers, berated for trying to change the law to better protect their property, and berated, it seems, for even asking for help. Enough! As a major channel of commerce in our country that carries IP, personal and confidential information, we can't assume that the Internet will exist forever without any regulation -- just as every other channel of commerce is regulated. COICA is a straighforward law that can avoid expensive litigation in the majority of cases where sites are obviously illegal, and provide judicial review for those few cases where there may be a legitimate defense. Moreover, COICA is nearly identical to another law that already exists and protects trademark owners from cyber-squatting domain names (ACPA). The sky hasn't fallen since that legislation was passed, and it won't if COICA passes either.

    What would be nice to hear for once is a productive discussion on sites like this and others that takes a more realistic and circumspective look at what the Internet should be in the future. Content owners are legal, tax-paying, job-creating entities that deserve protection, no matter how much money they make. If you don't like their business model, don't buy their products. But we should be working together to find a solution, instead of trading on fear and misinformation so as to ensure that illegal behavior can flourish.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another tatic

    "Um, they're talking to ISPs. How exactly do you go elsewhere? Only one ISP serves my neighborhood. Are you saying I should MOVE in order to get around censorship?"

    Not necessary, thankfully. ISPs provide DNS servers, but you're not locked into using them. First Google result: How to Change Your DNS Settings. There are plenty of free DNS servers out there.
    If the blocking is less "DNS" and more "Net Nanny", you could use a VPN or proxy to bypass it. Basically, any censorship method they can try has already been circumvented.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    Oh no!

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Re:

    "which, despite the calls for fear, wont' be"

    Seriously? That's it?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another tatic

    Also you can create your on DNS lookup table or simple use IP numbers to navigate, how hard is to bookmark an IP address?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    So what you want is a nuclear head to open a nutt?

    That is just crazy talk.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Re:

    Piracy is flourishing in spite the best efforts of you people, it ain't going away anytime soon and those COICAsucking laws will not be used to deter piracy at all because it can't be stopped by legislation or enforcement for that matter as history have proven time and again, specially when piracy is characterized as being the act of copying something.

    What this law will be used for is pure and simple censorship and anti-competitive behavior, there is no other uses for such legislation.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    @ 20

    First off an idea isn't property no matter how much people try and legislate other wise you can NEVER own an idea. All information is, is entropy and the people who try to control entropy are fighting a losing battle against the very laws of nature.

    I'm sorry but when push comes to shove my tax dollars are going to support a group which regularly plays dirty and has even violated the very laws they force through congress. COICA will be used and abused just as the DMCA is now. There WILL be frivolous cease and desist orders sent out, and despite the claims you make it will not be an easy process to get your web site up once it has been hit.

    Censoring of information is also at a fundamental level wrong. You can not have a free society and censor information. If a site is doing something wrong then according to you there are already methods that that people can go about to rectify the issue.

    I'm sorry but the reason why content creator are being berated is because they act like jerks and have succeed in distorting the original intent of the law into something it was never meant to be.

     

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    trinsic, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    We need to put a stop to this

    I emailed the EFF today and got a response back from them. They are in a meeting at this very moment to talk about what we can do to stop Congress from asking ISP's and Registrars from block sites they deem inappropriate. We cannot allow congress to censor sites regardless of the reason. If we allow them to do it for one supposed legitimate reason, they will just use it for other non-legitimate reasons down the road. The real motive, my guess is to suppress free speech.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Re:

    No one is in favor of unbridled censorship or of stifling all economic progress online. In fact, COICA contains specific provisions for a website owner to challenge the Attorney General's petition in court if he or she believes the charges are unfounded

    Guilty until proven innocent, huh?

    Please look up prior restraint.

    Many on this site and in these comments seem to assume that the Internet can only be a wide open free-for-all or a government-censored nightmare. Really? Content owners are berated for suing infringers, berated for trying to change the law to better protect their property, and berated, it seems, for even asking for help. Enough!

    If the efforts you make deserve to be berated, they will be berated.

    All of the things you talk about are bad ideas, that don't work and do serious harm to individuals' rights. Rather than doing that, how about taking a step back, and recognizing where there are *positive* opportunities for you to use the internet to your own advantage, rather than trying to break it repeatedly?

    COICA is a straighforward law that can avoid expensive litigation in the majority of cases where sites are obviously illegal, and provide judicial review for those few cases where there may be a legitimate defense.

    Who knew that we should skip due process because it "avoids expense"? Someone needs a civics class.

    What would be nice to hear for once is a productive discussion on sites like this and others that takes a more realistic and circumspective look at what the Internet should be in the future.

    We have such discussions all the time. We show how forward thinking artists are embracing the internet as is to create more fans and make more money. Why are you so against them doing so?

    Content owners are legal, tax-paying, job-creating entities that deserve protection, no matter how much money they make. If you don't like their business model, don't buy their products. But we should be working together to find a solution, instead of trading on fear and misinformation so as to ensure that illegal behavior can flourish.

    We have been working to find a solution. The problem is some of you still want to break the internet, rather than embrace the solutions that are out there already.

     

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  30.  
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    artistrights, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Prior Restraint?

    Mike:

    Thank you for your response. First, I recognize that my ideas are in the extreme minority on this site, but I express them anyway, in hopes of engaging in a respectful and thoughtful discussion.

    With respect to your assertion that COICA constitutes “prior restraint,” let’s look at the actual text of the bill: Once the Attorney General finds a potentially infringing website with “no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than” to violate US Copyright law, she must give notice to the domain name owner of the pending proceeding. § 2324(c)(1)(B). The AG then files the complaint with the court. § 2324(c)(1). The court then hears the case on the merits, where the domain name owner may attend to defend him or herself. Only after a full hearing MAY the court issue an order instructing the domain name registrar or registry to take down the site. § 2324(d)(2)(B). Does that sound like prior restraint to you? Does that sound like guilty until proven innocent?

    COICA allows courts to take down infringing sites themselves, instead of engaging in protracted lawsuits against individuals or website owners for copyright infringement (a practice your site has taken pains to condemn). The “expense” avoided is that of a drawn out copyright infringement trial that results in a hundred-thousand dollar verdict that the defendant cannot afford, and that you so evidently dislike. With COICA, the website owner gets a day in court to defend herself before a neutral magistrate, the site is taken down quickly, no huge fines are awarded, and some infringement is curbed.

    Insert snarky, condescending comment here about reading or studying…

    COICA: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-3804

     

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    someperspective, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 7:18pm

    Explain the difference to me:

    "I've got an amazing new business model -- it will revolutionize the world! It will change the way that people dress, provide the highest-quality clothing to those who need it the most, at little to no cost! This idea is so innovative, that I have already enlisted the support of 10,000 volunteers, who are motivated, bright, and ready to work. I have office space, infrastructure, and over 100,000 people who are ready to participate.

    All I need to get started are clothes. I plan to take only a few garments from each branch of Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus -- the most rich and successful department stores in the world. They won't miss the small amount of product, and in aggregate, the clothing will allow my company to thrive, thereby helping those who need it most. And, after all, this is MY innovative business model! How dare anyone tell me I can't take their products!! This could be the model that changes the entire world! What would have happened to YouTube if they were shut down for violating federal law?!"

    Without getting into a theoretical discussion of the difference between intellectual property and physical property, what, on a logical, fundamental level, is the moral and legal difference between breaking the law of infringement to start a business and breaking the law of theft to start your business? Are we prepared to shape laws around those who take the property of others on the chance that they may become successful?

     

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    Ted, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    bad juju

    The real solution is the one no one is thinking about. Pharmaceuticals are bad. Grey market pharmaceuticals are bad just the same. These drugs are fake substitutes for natural medicines and patented to turn a profit using fiat money. This entire system needs a reboot. I am not mad for some guy trying to turn a buck using a Mexican pharmacy to sell grey market drugs into the USA. These are mere pawns in a much larger crime and even they do not realize the scope of the problem. neither does the person penning this article.

     

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  33.  
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    Matt, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 10:25pm

    Change you can believe in.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 30th, 2010 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    Does that sound like prior restraint to you? Does that sound like guilty until proven innocent?

    Heh. Yes, actually. You seem to be confusing prior restraint and due process. Existing law already allows copyright holders to seek out and remove infringing material. What this law does is pure prior restraint, in banning publication of *an entire site* based on allegations of possible infringement via the site (not even by the site).

    COICA allows courts to take down infringing sites themselves

    If the site is infringing, there are already laws in place to go after the infringing material. That's not what COICA does. COICA seeks to ban third party websites based on how they're used. As mentioned, nearly every major technological innovation for the content creation industry would have been banned under similar rules, as, in the early days, they were all declared as "dedicated to infringing activities," by legacy folks who just wanted to "protect" some outdated business model.

    instead of engaging in protracted lawsuits against individuals or website owners for copyright infringement (a practice your site has taken pains to condemn).

    Isn't it possible that both of those ideas are bad ideas, and in the set of possible responses to such activities, there are a larger number than "2"?

    The ļæ½expenseļæ½ avoided is that of a drawn out copyright infringement trial that results in a hundred-thousand dollar verdict that the defendant cannot afford, and that you so evidently dislike.

    You are confusing two separate issues, yet again.

    With COICA, the website owner gets a day in court to defend herself before a neutral magistrate, the site is taken down quickly, no huge fines are awarded, and some infringement is curbed.


    I like how you make the lack of a real trial sound so nice.

    Insert snarky, condescending comment here about reading or studying

    Hint: when mocking people for not knowing what they're talking about, it helps if they really don't know what they're talking about.

    Otherwise...

     

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    Any Mouse, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    Yes, of course, take down sites. ... And what of sites that are not in the US, and thus not under US jurisdiction? The Pirate Bay is a common target in these posts. Not a US site, not subject to US law, and yet can be screwed by the US quite easily if the registrar is in the US.

    Seems that this would violate Sweden's rights as a country unto themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 12:15am

    Re:

    Problem is that if they bow to large corporation then they are not doing their job for the people which is what they are supposed to do. This is supposed to be a Democratic country yet time and time again the politicians make Fascist decisions. Not to mention that if they allow this it will and I guarantee violate constitutional rights on top of laws already in place. For example did you know it is perfectly legal to record a show and remove the commercials and even put it on a DVD eventually making your own box set of a show...Yet the RIAA,MPAA,etc try to go after people for doing this. Yes it is completely legal and it is called Time shifting. Another example Windows activation so you can only put it on one of your computers guess what... That's a violation of copy right law. Once you buy it you can use as you see fit for your own use. So if you have 5 computers owned by You it is well within copy right law that you can install one copy of Windows on all of those computers instead of having to buy 5 separate copies.
    I think it is about time these big companies stop[ building fortunes on the backs of the average person and Politicians stop helping them do that, perhaps they should all review their US History from around about the time of the 1700's.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 12:15am

    Re:

    Problem is that if they bow to large corporation then they are not doing their job for the people which is what they are supposed to do. This is supposed to be a Democratic country yet time and time again the politicians make Fascist decisions. Not to mention that if they allow this it will and I guarantee violate constitutional rights on top of laws already in place. For example did you know it is perfectly legal to record a show and remove the commercials and even put it on a DVD eventually making your own box set of a show...Yet the RIAA,MPAA,etc try to go after people for doing this. Yes it is completely legal and it is called Time shifting. Another example Windows activation so you can only put it on one of your computers guess what... That's a violation of copy right law. Once you buy it you can use as you see fit for your own use. So if you have 5 computers owned by You it is well within copy right law that you can install one copy of Windows on all of those computers instead of having to buy 5 separate copies.
    I think it is about time these big companies stop[ building fortunes on the backs of the average person and Politicians stop helping them do that, perhaps they should all review their US History from around about the time of the 1700's.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 12:27am

    Re:

    Have you not read the bill? Media Companies will essentially have authority to shut down sites and have them blocked from all over the world. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". Now maybe you should go do some research on how these companies have tried to stop "Piracy" in the past and review the laws that keep stopping them basic US rights stop them and to allow this violates US Rights on top of the rights that have already been violated and removed and I'm not even going to get into the Constitutional violation that are in place as it is that most Americans don't even know have been removed and violated. Basically what you'll end up with due to this kind of action is really no different then book burning and monopolies. Seriously;y don't you find it funny that the companies that want this are also the same ones who makes billions and trillions of dollars and throw that money at politicians.

     

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  39.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 1:12am

    Re:

    Good Riddance!

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Andy, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 4:21am

    Re: Talk is cheap...

    well said my friend.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    artistrights, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    Mike:

    Unfortunately, you are the one who doesn't understand the concept of prior restraint. Prior restraint is not defined as any activity in which the government interferes with any communication. Prior restraint is censorship by the government of a communication before it reaches the public, without due process of law. Free speech is not an absolute pass to engage in mass acts of copyright infringement, and it's naive to suggest that the Internet should be treated as such.

    But the bigger point, and the one you have made clear in your responses, is that your only answer with respect to content owners is "no protection." You at once argue that "there are already laws in place that go after the infringing material" and then argue that suing individuals for copyright infringement is a "bad idea." At least the content owners are building in judicial review. Your ideas and comments, on the other hand, suggest you have little to no regard for the IP rights of others.

    Finally, there is no "outdated business model." This argument is nonsense. The only "business model" you don't like is that of charging for music. Today, you can consume music via interactive streams, non-interactive streams, ringtones, downloads, and more. There are dozens of legal digital music providers, offering ways to synch your music in the cloud, download to your mobile phone, or listen to hundreds of radio stations online. What is so archaic about the legitimate music industry and the dozens of new tech sites that deliver music? And what is so superior about the illegal options? Limewire and BitTorrent are virus-ridden and slow with broken links and degraded files. Ten years ago, protesters argued that shutting down Napster would spell the end of technological innovation. Has that apocalyptic prediction come true? The Internet cannot always be the same; it cannot always exist in the unregulated state that it once did 10-15 years ago. Let's get real and start coming up with forward-looking solutions, instead of harping on what the Internet was like at its infancy.

     

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  42.  
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    Ziro_Opinion (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Instead of complaining...

    Why not write a letter to the president and your elected government officials similar to the one I wrote!

    Dear Mr. President,

    I am surprised and appalled at the attempted legislation known as COICA and the continued attempts at censorship in this country by requesting voluntary censorship of "infringing" websites by ISPs. In my opinion, this is against everything America stands for. I cannot help but feel that this legislation is being pushed through by big pharma, the RIAA, and other lobbyists that only have the interests of their industries in mind and not the interest of the people. COICA and the request that ISPs shut down infringing websites without any due process is a very dangerous affront to free speech and to capitalism and must NOT be allowed to happen. There is too much potential for abuse here, the same abuses as have been occurring with DMCA takedown notices.
    The government was founded on "We The People" not "We The Businesses". If this pressuring continues or COICA legislation is pushed through, I will not be voting for you a second time and I will discourage anyone else from voting for you or anyone from your administration.
    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    (I put my real name)

    Yes, I did vote for Obama because I felt he might be on the right track and because I was very afraid of a "President Palin" situation.

    Sorry

     

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  43.  
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    Liberum, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:11am

    SUCKERS! Yea, he is against censorship. Yea, he is against increasing taxes for 95% of Americans. Yea, he is for liberty and freedom and apple pie and all that stuff. If you believe that, then you are either delusional or just fools. He is turning this into a fascist state. Stand or die, it is coming and you will think I am the fool for saying it is coming. Just remember Nazi Germany, the Soviets (Stalin,Lenin), China (MAO), Cambodia, and countless other nations where people stood up and said the same thing.

     

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  44.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    Unfortunately, you are the one who doesn't understand the concept of prior restraint. Prior restraint is not defined as any activity in which the government interferes with any communication. Prior restraint is censorship by the government of a communication before it reaches the public, without due process of law. Free speech is not an absolute pass to engage in mass acts of copyright infringement, and it's naive to suggest that the Internet should be treated as such.

    Again, you are confused. No one said free speech means it's okay to engage in mass acts of infringement. Why would you make that up other than a recognition that you have no argument.

    The issue here very much is prior restraint. It's blocking an *entire* website based on claims that some of it is *used* to infringe (not that any of the content on the site itself is infringing).

    And no one has said that the internet should be treated such that mass infringement is allowed. Again, we already have laws against infringement.

    This law has nothing to do with infringing content, but prior restraint on sites that the DoJ declares is helping people infringe. Just like radio. And cable TV. And YouTube.

    But the bigger point, and the one you have made clear in your responses, is that your only answer with respect to content owners is "no protection."

    If protection is used to harm others, without overall benefit, then why should it be allowed?

    You at once argue that "there are already laws in place that go after the infringing material" and then argue that suing individuals for copyright infringement is a "bad idea."

    Yes. That position is not inconsistent.

    At least the content owners are building in judicial review. Your ideas and comments, on the other hand, suggest you have little to no regard for the IP rights of others.

    Again, you are confused. I respect others IP rights. I just think that they are making a mistake in relying on IP. But I don't infringe. I don't download unauthorized content at all. I just think that those who focus on protection rather than embracing what the tech allows are missing out and harming their own opportunities.

    Finally, there is no "outdated business model." This argument is nonsense.

    Ok. Then there's nothing to complain about then, since the business model works so well, right?

    The only "business model" you don't like is that of charging for music.

    Heh. It's got absolutely nothing do with what I "like." It has to do with economics. Why do people who rely on obsolete business models always try to suggest that I "like" or "dislike" some business model when all I'm doing is explaining why it's no longer working.

    Today, you can consume music via interactive streams, non-interactive streams, ringtones, downloads, and more. There are dozens of legal digital music providers, offering ways to synch your music in the cloud, download to your mobile phone, or listen to hundreds of radio stations online.

    Yes, and so?

    What is so archaic about the legitimate music industry and the dozens of new tech sites that deliver music?

    If there was nothing archaic, why has that part of the business continued to shrink?

    And what is so superior about the illegal options? Limewire and BitTorrent are virus-ridden and slow with broken links and degraded files.

    Indeed. But you seem to have a habit of confusing two different things. If the industry embraced these tools none of those problems would be there. Besides, complaining about this is like saying blogs don't matter because they're just about people talking about their cats or Twitter doesn't matter because it's just about what people had for lunch.

    I'm always amazed at the blindspots people have for innovation because some people use it for less than impressive purposes.

    Ten years ago, protesters argued that shutting down Napster would spell the end of technological innovation.

    [citation needed]

    The Internet cannot always be the same; it cannot always exist in the unregulated state that it once did 10-15 years ago. Let's get real and start coming up with forward-looking solutions, instead of harping on what the Internet was like at its infancy.

    I've been coming up with forward-looking solutions for over a decade. And it's people like you who keep pretending I have not.

    Oh well. Good thing plenty of content creators who get it are moving forward with those solutions and making more and more money without having to break things, as you prefer.

    It's not about protection. It's about economics.

     

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  45.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    "Just remember Nazi Germany, the Soviets (Stalin,Lenin), China (MAO), Cambodia, and countless other nations where people stood up and said the same thing."

    More like greece meets argentina ... with a little 1984 mixed in for good measure.

     

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  46.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: Instead of complaining...

    "We The People" not "We The Businesses"

    Didn't you hear? corporations are individuals now ...

     

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  47.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Talk is cheap...

    We won't even go into the fact that politicians can gerrymander their districts to continue to find support for themselves.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    well said, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Talk is cheap...

     

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  49.  
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    duffmeister (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Re:

    Since ideas and property are different the idea you have proposed holds no value. Show me one idea that can be owned and I will agree your idea has merit.

    You can remove what can only grow by the taking. An idea shared is now 2 ideas. How does this deprive anybody of goods?

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    artistrights, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    Mike:

    If we disagree, it doesn't mean I am confused. It means we disagree.

    The issue here very much is prior restraint. It's blocking an *entire* website based on claims that some of it is *used* to infringe (not that any of the content on the site itself is infringing).

    But, that's not prior restraint. If you're selling drugs (or allowing drugs to be sold) out of the back of a store, does it matter that the store sells magazines out front? Prior restraint occurs when the government censors on the basis of content, not on unlawful activity. COICA is a federal law, which is trumped by the Constitution and a claim of prior restraint (First Amendment). Should a website owner believe that COICA is being used to censor the content of their speech, they are free to bring a claim of prior restraint under the Constitution at any time.

    I just think that they are making a mistake in relying on IP

    So we throw IP out the window? Movies, software, games, trade secrets are all up for grabs on the Internet because of the chance that regulation might suppress some as-of-yet unknown miracle technology?

    I just think that those who focus on protection rather than embracing what the tech allows are missing out and harming their own opportunities.

    These ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can embrace technology, and still desire protection over your work. This is the problem; technology does not and should not equal unregulated access to other people's works. Moreover, technology need not exist in an IP-less world in order to advance. The host of powerful, fast, user-friendly music and movie technologies are proof of this.
    Perhaps the question you should be asking is, would technology have advanced to the point it is today without IP protections? Think about it. Would Microsoft or Apple continue to develop powerful software platforms if they had no IP protection? Then there's nothing to complain about then, since the business model works so well, right?

    You missed the point -- the "business model" argument mischaracterizes the situation. We're not talking about competition in which a business model has been outdated by better, more efficient product. We're talking wholesale infringement. Would you argue that Wal-Mart's business model was broken if people were looted the stores? That's an enforcement problem, not a business model problem... a concept that is constantly muddled by those opposed to IP.

    If the industry embraced these tools none of those problems would be there.

    If the movie, record, and software companies allowed their content to be distributed by peer-to-peer and bit-Torrent technologies, free of charge, they would have avoided all their problems? How do you figure? Content companies make money by selling copies of the result of their very expensive investments. How does giving it all away with new technology secure the future of those industries? Did you expect them to buy up every new distribution technology and company in order monetize the distribution? It would put them in the same position they are in today -- they buy Napster and Grokster pops up, they buy and patent the P2P technology and they have to sue to shut down others, and on.

    It's not about protection. It's about economics.

    There is no money in fan funds and t-shirt sales. Sorry. Our music culture, not to mention the livlihoods of professional songwriters and musicians, has a bleak future without enforcement.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Chris, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    invariants

    Artistrights makes some good well-backed arguments, and it's nice to see somebody support their statements with real data.

    I must still respectfully disagree that COICA is in the interest of our country, explicitly from a data-less position. The problem really lies in the progression of these tactics, not in their current form. This is a foot in the door with regards to internet censorship and the government is the last group I would trust to stop grabbing more power whenever it becomes convenient (or profitable for lobbyists).

    I think this is where all the animosity comes from that is so evident in most of these posts. We continually see politicians set up an infrastructure with an explicit and benevolent purpose only for the next generation of politicians to use that infrastructure as a tool to help them enable more general and questionable controls. Then, everybody argues based on precedence that the sky didn't fall last time. The truth is that if the sky falls slow enough, nobody will panic over it. If somebody from back in the day who knew zero income tax suddenly saw our current state, he'd probably have a stroke. We're standing on the concessions of our ancestors, so we whine a little, but we accept it. Once you see the world this way, you can't help but scream when the government gets any ideas on how to "improve" our lives.

    This is exactly why there was a large group of people enraged over the idea that the president can order the assassination of individuals, if you remember that from earlier this year. The guy he wants assassinated should probably be assassinated, according to what I saw on the news (how credible is that, though?). The issue is that this is a foot in the door to an Orwellian world of smear campaigns that end in assassination (and the crowd goes wild and says "finally they killed that son of a &*#% " even though they've never seen any real evidence of his guilt).

    So, in the interest of sticking to time-proven invariants (censorship is bad, government interference knows no limits), we should not let COICA get passed, and we should probably cripple Leahy (or at least his career) while we're at it, for being so shortsighted (or evil).

     

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  52.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Prior Restraint?

    If we disagree, it doesn't mean I am confused. It means we disagree.


    That's one possibility. Another is that you're confused.

    But, that's not prior restraint. If you're selling drugs (or allowing drugs to be sold) out of the back of a store, does it matter that the store sells magazines out front? Prior restraint occurs when the government censors on the basis of content, not on unlawful activity.

    And, indeed, that's exactly what this law does. It censors on the basis of content. Remember, the websites themselves do not infringe. Some users may be using the website to infringe, but the website itself does not. And yet it is being blocked. Classic prior restraint. If the content infringes, take down the infringing content. Taking down the entire site is stifling the speech of that site, and is, without a doubt, prior restraint.

    COICA is a federal law, which is trumped by the Constitution and a claim of prior restraint (First Amendment). Should a website owner believe that COICA is being used to censor the content of their speech, they are free to bring a claim of prior restraint under the Constitution at any time.


    COICA, thankfully, is not a federal law yet and hopefully never will be.

    But, yes, as I pointed out from the beginning, it would be struck down as prior restraint, but I'd prefer that my gov't not waste my tax dollars defending its attempt to censor. That you think this is a good use of my tax dollars is upsetting.

    So we throw IP out the window? Movies, software, games, trade secrets are all up for grabs on the Internet because of the chance that regulation might suppress some as-of-yet unknown miracle technology?

    I did not say that.

    I do not quite understand why people like you need to put false words in my mouth.

    It's almost as if you can't actually respond to what I say.

    These ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can embrace technology, and still desire protection over your work.

    No. You can't. If you ask the gov't for protection over your work, you're not embracing what the tech allows. You're limiting yourself.

    This is the problem; technology does not and should not equal unregulated access to other people's works.

    Should has no meaning in this debate. We're talking what is, not what should be. Given what is, how best to deal with it? Protectionism is not the answer.

    Moreover, technology need not exist in an IP-less world in order to advance. The host of powerful, fast, user-friendly music and movie technologies are proof of this.

    I don't know what this means.

    Perhaps the question you should be asking is, would technology have advanced to the point it is today without IP protections? Think about it. Would Microsoft or Apple continue to develop powerful software platforms if they had no IP protection? Then there's nothing to complain about then, since the business model works so well, right?


    Again, I don't understand your point.

    You missed the point -- the "business model" argument mischaracterizes the situation. We're not talking about competition in which a business model has been outdated by better, more efficient product.

    No, we are, actually. If you can't see that, you're going to have trouble adapting.

    We're talking wholesale infringement.

    So it has been said about nearly every "competition in which a business model has been outdated by better, more efficient product."

    Would you argue that Wal-Mart's business model was broken if people were looted the stores?

    Theft is not infringement. I'm not debating this again.

    But, if you have to make a dumb analogy, then let's work with it to prove my point (yet again). Let's say that via people looting Wal-Mart's stores, there was a business model that allowed Wal-Mart to profit even more from those looters. Then, yes, I would argue it is a business model decision.

    If your choices are (a) police enforcement to stop looters and make less money or (b) adjust your business model and make more money, then I'd argue that it's very much a business model issue.

    You may disagree, but I hope you don't run a business.

    If the movie, record, and software companies allowed their content to be distributed by peer-to-peer and bit-Torrent technologies, free of charge, they would have avoided all their problems?

    No. If they did that and put in place smarter business models.

    Content companies make money by selling copies of the result of their very expensive investments. How does giving it all away with new technology secure the future of those industries?

    Heh. If I say "you have an outdated business model," asking me to explain how to keep the outdated business model is asking the wrong question.

    Did you expect them to buy up every new distribution technology and company in order monetize the distribution? It would put them in the same position they are in today -- they buy Napster and Grokster pops up, they buy and patent the P2P technology and they have to sue to shut down others, and on.

    No, buying the distribution platforms makes no sense. The problem is that distribution is no longer the bottleneck. You keep acting like it needs to be. It's not, let it go.

    There is no money in fan funds and t-shirt sales. Sorry.

    Ok. If you say so, though plenty of artists have found otherwise. But if the fan's money isn't enough then, um, why are you complaining about them downloading music?

    Our music culture, not to mention the livlihoods of professional songwriters and musicians, has a bleak future without enforcement.

    Heh. You make me laugh. All of the evidence suggests otherwise. In the last year alone we've highlighted 4 different studies showing that as enforcement has become more difficult artists have made more money (significantly in some cases). At the same time, we've done case studies showing artists from the top of the chain to the bottom making more money than they did othrewise by embracing these models. The ones at the bottom wouldn't even be in the business at all without these new business models, but the ones near the top are raking in much more cash then when they relied on the old way of doing things.

    So, please, please, please provide ANY evidence to support the "bleak future." The only area where the future is bleak is for economically clueless folks who want to hang their hat on an obsolete business model, rather than on innovating.

    For your own good, I would suggest rethinking the path you're on.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    artistrights, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Remember, the websites themselves do not infringe. Some users may be using the website to infringe, but the website itself does not.

    That is just not true. The bill is not aimed at sites on which there are "some users" infringing and a substantial amount of lawful content. The site must, when taken as a whole, have NO significant purpose other than to infringe, or facilitate the infringement of, copyright. (See Section (a)(2)(A) of the proposed bill). It makes no difference whether the site hosts or delivers the infringing content itself. We may disagree about whether there are non-infringing uses of a particular site, but that is for the court to decide.

    It censors on the basis of content.

    The government may "censor" content where it has a compelling reason for doing so, such as a judicial finding of infringement. Taking down a site with child porn is not prior restraint. Prior restraint does not prohibit the government from stepping in to curb unlawful activity.

    I do not quite understand why people like you need to put false words in my mouth.

    Please explain what you mean then. You said "I just think they [content owners] are making a mistake by relying on IP"¯ But now you say you are not in favor of throwing IP out. What value do IP rights have if you believe copyright owners should not enforce them?

    If you ask the gov't for protection over your work, you're not embracing what the tech allows.

    Then why do iTunes or Netflix exist? Both are powered by innovative technology, and yet are completely legal. Again, technology and copyright are not mutually exclusive. If anything, copyright has proven to be beneficial for both copyright owners and the most innovative technology companies that have found ways to market their distribution platforms to the copyright owners and the public.

    Theft is not infringement.

    I agree. The words are different for one. Second, copyright is Constitutionally enshrined.

    Let's say that via people looting Wal-Mart's stores, there was a business model that allowed Wal-Mart to profit even more from those looters. Then, yes, I would argue it is a business model decision.

    A way to profit from looters? Are you suggesting that content owners can make money from those who don't want to pay for their content? Please explain, with proof, how this is possible. Can you show that record labels and movie studios would "profit even more"¯ by giving away high quality copies of their content for free on peer-to-peer or bittorrent sites? Do you actually believe that the "greedy"¯ content owners would not jump on the opportunity to make more profit if there was any validity to your assertion?

    If your choices are (a) police enforcement to stop looters and make less money or (b) adjust your business model and make more money, then I'd argue that it's very much a business model issue.

    You haven't proven that an "adjustment"¯ of giving away content for free makes money for the content owners (i.e., the ones who would be adjusting their models). See above.

    No. If they did that and put in place smarter business models.

    What is this "smarter business model"¯? In this response, you seem to separate it from distributing content on peer-to-peer and torrent sites for free. Please explain.

    The problem is that distribution is no longer the bottleneck. You keep acting like it needs to be. It's not, let it go.

    I agree! Distribution is no longer a bottleneck. But that doesn't lead to the conclusion that everyone can distribute and consume others' property without compensation. That is illegal, and content owners have a Constitutional right to control the works that they create. The problem, again, is one of enforcement. We now have powerful distribution networks, which is good. But just as much as child porn and trade secrets and classified government information shouldn't pass through that network completely unregulated, we should respect the Constitutional rights of creators.

    Ok. If you say so, though plenty of artists have found otherwise.

    What about professional songwriters? What about music publishers? What about software engineers? None of them can tour or set up fan funds to support a career.

    So, please, please, please provide ANY evidence to support the "bleak future."

    "Fan financing of music seems best suited to exceedingly small projects. While it is cheering to see the success stories at Kickstarter and other sites, it is dismaying to see just how modest are the goals of the most successful. Support that is enough for full-time pursuit of music is still nowhere in sight. Gas money for Austin may turn out to be about good as it gets."

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/business/04digi.html?_r=1

    As music industry expert Donald Passman explains, "It is difficult to make much money touring until you're a major star . . . . In the beginning . . . you will most likely lose money on touring. Indeed, the entire purpose of touring for new artists is to generate enough buzz to sell records. Passman estimates that new artists can expect to earn about $250 - $1,500 per night playing at local venues, for a few months of every year. From this income, the band or artist must pay tour expenses, which, even for a small band, can total around $10,000 per week. Without tour support from a record label, Passman concludes, "you don't need to be a math genius to see that you're going to lose money . . . [a]nd the longer you stay out the more you're going to lose."

    Source: Donald Passman, All You Need to Know About the Music Business 356-359 (7th ed. 2009).

    In 2009, North American concert revenue totaled $2.8 billion. According to Pollstar data, however, the top 45 North American music concerts compromised more than 70% of all concert revenues collected in 2009. This means that artists like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Britney Spears, Madonna, and Cher took home the vast majority of concert revenues last year, leaving less than $800 million for division between every other touring artist in the country tracked by Pollstar.

    Source: Compare Top 50 North American Tours, Pollstar, Dec. 18, 2009, http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/Pollstar2009Top50.pdf; and Global Concert Business Healthy in 2009, Dec. 11, 2009, Grammy.com, http://www.grammy.com/blogs/global-concert-business-healthy-in-2009.

    "More compelling, when data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the number of people employed under the category of "musical groups and artist"¯ is compared with music sales, a strong correlation is evident. See chart below. What does this show? Selling music is an important motivator to creating music, and that the decline in sales has correlated with fewer people making a living in music."

    Source: http://www.riaa.com/blog.php?content_selector=Illegal%20Downloading_Fewer%20Musicians (You can double check the census data if you are incredulous of the source)

     

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  54.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 9:25pm

    Re:

    That is just not true. The bill is not aimed at sites on which there are "some users" infringing and a substantial amount of lawful content. The site must, when taken as a whole, have NO significant purpose other than to infringe, or facilitate the infringement of, copyright. (See Section (a)(2)(A) of the proposed bill). It makes no difference whether the site hosts or delivers the infringing content itself. We may disagree about whether there are non-infringing uses of a particular site, but that is for the court to decide.

    Again, you appear to have (willfully?) misread what I said. The sites themselves do not infringe. The users do. The sites are a form of speech -- and non-infringing speech, for the most part -- and yet are being blocked entirely. Hence, prior restraint.

    The government may "censor" content where it has a compelling reason for doing so, such as a judicial finding of infringement. Taking down a site with child porn is not prior restraint. Prior restraint does not prohibit the government from stepping in to curb unlawful activity.

    Heh. Compelling reason backed with specific blocks *for the specific content* that it has a compelling reason to block. Not an entire site.

    You are wrong. Please learn about prior restraint.

    Seriously. You're making yourself look foolish.

    Please explain what you mean then. You said "I just think they [content owners] are making a mistake by relying on IP"¯ But now you say you are not in favor of throwing IP out. What value do IP rights have if you believe copyright owners should not enforce them?

    I am not sure if IP rights should be thrown out or not. I have yet to see any evidence that they are helpful, but I am open to such evidence. To date, however, I believe that content creators are much better off ignoring them.

    Then why do iTunes or Netflix exist? Both are powered by innovative technology, and yet are completely legal. Again, technology and copyright are not mutually exclusive. If anything, copyright has proven to be beneficial for both copyright owners and the most innovative technology companies that have found ways to market their distribution platforms to the copyright owners and the public.

    Both are legal, but limited. In a copyright-free world, there would be much better services out there.

    I know you don't believe this, but creating artificial marketplaces where none needs to exist is a hugely economically limiting move. It's just not a good idea.

    And, in reality, what both sites are offering has little to do with copyright. They're both selling convenience -- and convenience sales can absolutely still exist sans copyright.

    But the bigger point, of course, is that I never said there is no innovation in the copyright world, as your examples falsely tries to pin on me. But that the innovation is limited from what it could be.

    Trust me. I'm trying to expand your opportunities. You're focusing on limiting them.

    I agree. The words are different for one. Second, copyright is Constitutionally enshrined.


    Ha! They're also entirely different situations, involving entirely different issues, problems, and impacts. So that's rather important if you actually want to understand these things. Of course, if you don't want to understand them, you're free to make snarky, but wrong, statements.

    Separately, as for the constitutionally enshrined bit, you do know that that's only true in cases where copyright "promotes the progress" right? Or did you conveniently forget that part...

    A way to profit from looters?

    Not from looters, no.

    It's a shame, of course, that someone would ever refer to fans as looters. No wonder you're grasping at straws and demanding gov't protectionism.

    Are you suggesting that content owners can make money from those who don't want to pay for their content?

    Nope. I'm suggesting they focus on figure out ways to get more people to want to pay them for something.

    Please explain, with proof, how this is possible.

    I've done so many, many, many times on this blog, with numerous examples. Here are a few examples:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091119/1634117011.shtml

    If you'd like to hire me to help your specific case, feel free to contact us.

    Can you show that record labels and movie studios would "profit even more"¯ by giving away high quality copies of their content for free on peer-to-peer or bittorrent sites?

    I can explain basic economics, that shows that artificially limiting an abundant resource *always* results in a smaller market. I can show that freeing that resource, and recognizing what scarce goods become more valuable and then *selling those scarce goods* has always proven to make companies more profitable.

    Don't fight basic economics. You'll always lose.

    Do you actually believe that the "greedy"¯ content owners would not jump on the opportunity to make more profit if there was any validity to your assertion?

    As you are proving, it's often difficult for people so wedded to one model to understand how new models work. Such is the history of disrupted organizations. Remember, "the VCR is to Hollywood what the Boston Strangler is to a woman at home."

    Institutional blindness is a bitch.

    You haven't proven that an "adjustment"¯ of giving away content for free makes money for the content owners (i.e., the ones who would be adjusting their models). See above.


    I believe I have. Where is your confusion?

    What is this "smarter business model"¯? In this response, you seem to separate it from distributing content on peer-to-peer and torrent sites for free. Please explain.

    Follow the link above. Also this one:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml

    I agree! Distribution is no longer a bottleneck. But that doesn't lead to the conclusion that everyone can distribute and consume others' property without compensation. That is illegal, and content owners have a Constitutional right to control the works that they create. The problem, again, is one of enforcement. We now have powerful distribution networks, which is good. But just as much as child porn and trade secrets and classified government information shouldn't pass through that network completely unregulated, we should respect the Constitutional rights of creators.

    Good luck with that. You're still focused on the wrong thing.

    What about professional songwriters? What about music publishers? What about software engineers? None of them can tour or set up fan funds to support a career.

    There are business models for all of them. It's already killing me to take this much time to respond to you, so I'll have to leave those aside, but I have discussed all of those elsewhere.

    And, by the way, no one said that "touring" or "fan funding" was the only answer.

    "Fan financing of music seems best suited to exceedingly small projects. While it is cheering to see the success stories at Kickstarter and other sites, it is dismaying to see just how modest are the goals of the most successful. Support that is enough for full-time pursuit of music is still nowhere in sight. Gas money for Austin may turn out to be about good as it gets."

    Ha! A ridiculously one-sided article that does not prove any "bleak future." I'm sorry, but cherry picking a few Kickstarter projects as "proof" that an entire new business model is bust? Really?

    By that same notion, I could point to some failed album releases in the 1960s to prove that LP sales were not a business model at the time.

    Logic fail. Sorry.

    As music industry expert Donald Passman explains, "It is difficult to make much money touring until you're a major star . . . . In the beginning . . . you will most likely lose money on touring. Indeed, the entire purpose of touring for new artists is to generate enough buzz to sell records. Passman estimates that new artists can expect to earn about $250 - $1,500 per night playing at local venues, for a few months of every year. From this income, the band or artist must pay tour expenses, which, even for a small band, can total around $10,000 per week. Without tour support from a record label, Passman concludes, "you don't need to be a math genius to see that you're going to lose money . . . [a]nd the longer you stay out the more you're going to lose."

    Ah, so if we only live by the old ways of doing things, then, yes, you will fail. But (1) we're not saying that touring alone is the solution and (2) if you're *smarter* about touring, you can still do quite well (see Jonathon Coulton as an example discussed in one of my previous links).

    In 2009, North American concert revenue totaled $2.8 billion. According to Pollstar data, however, the top 45 North American music concerts compromised more than 70% of all concert revenues collected in 2009. This means that artists like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Britney Spears, Madonna, and Cher took home the vast majority of concert revenues last year, leaving less than $800 million for division between every other touring artist in the country tracked by Pollstar.

    No one said touring was the only answer. Nice try.

    "More compelling, when data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the number of people employed under the category of "musical groups and artist"¯ is compared with music sales, a strong correlation is evident. See chart below. What does this show? Selling music is an important motivator to creating music, and that the decline in sales has correlated with fewer people making a living in music."


    The RIAA appears to have correlation and causation confused. It's also misusing the BLS stats.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    artistrights, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Mike:

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posts.

    As for COICA, I disagree, both with your reading of the statute and in your legal analysis of prior restraint. There is nothing in the text of the proposed bill that limits its application to “users” committing infringement. A site which hosts infringing content itself falls squarely within the bill’s scope. Sites that deliver, or have no other purpose than to facilitate, infringing content are not protected by the First Amendment, and thus, prior restraint does not apply.

    Also, I find it more than a little hypocritical that you condemn an article that “cherry picks” failed fan-funding ventures, only to respond with an article that cherry picks successful ones.

    In any event, I am not a content owner of any stripe. I simply believe that the best way to “promote the progress of science and useful arts” is to focus on the intrinsic value of the art itself. Art is too often conflated with the term “business model” thereby devaluing it to the price of making a digital copy. A reality for now, but not one that is the natural, obvious, or even necessary result of the rise in digital technology.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    As for COICA, I disagree, both with your reading of the statute and in your legal analysis of prior restraint. There is nothing in the text of the proposed bill that limits its application to “users” committing infringement. A site which hosts infringing content itself falls squarely within the bill’s scope. Sites that deliver, or have no other purpose than to facilitate, infringing content are not protected by the First Amendment, and thus, prior restraint does not apply.

    Should the law ever pass, we'll find out in court.

    Also, I find it more than a little hypocritical that you condemn an article that “cherry picks” failed fan-funding ventures, only to respond with an article that cherry picks successful ones.

    It's not at all hypocritical. You were trying to prove that they couldn't work. I was trying to show that they do work. Given that, a few failures does not prove that the model cannot work, but a few successes does prove that it can.

    You see?

    I simply believe that the best way to “promote the progress of science and useful arts” is to focus on the intrinsic value of the art itself.

    There is no such thing as "intrinsic value of the art itself." Everyone values art their own way. If it has value to you, then that value exists, but to you. It's not intrinsic.

    Art is too often conflated with the term “business model” thereby devaluing it to the price of making a digital copy.

    That's a totally different discussion. I rarely see art conflated with business model by the way, and please don't confuse price with value. The two are separate. I value plenty of things that I got for free. So do you, I imagine.

    A reality for now, but not one that is the natural, obvious, or even necessary result of the rise in digital technology.

    The laws of economics suggest otherwise, but we shall see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    Censorship

    support the federal reserve
    follow your AIPAC orders
    trust the government
    trustļ»æ that 9/11 story
    trust the media

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    The Oracle, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    Internet censorship

    Smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors.

    Remember the retroactive immunity given complicit telecom companies who broke laws on orders of the Bush/Cheney administration? (Why give them retroactive immunity for the breaking of our nation's laws if they hadn't broken any laws?)

    The criminal, warrantless-wiretap Bush/Cheney administration, starting in 2001, pressured these telecom companies, threatening them with the loss of federal contract dollars, if they didn't do the Republicans' bidding...and this happened even before the right-wing religious fundamentalist 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Qwest refused to participate. It's CEO was targeted).

    The Obama administration seems to taking a lower-key less-threatening approach. It would be interesting to know if someone from Obama's DOJ attended these meetings, not that this would mean anything (wink, wink).

    The going after "gray market pharmaceuticals" is obviously just a "cover" for getting Internet "gatekeepers" to monitor and report ALL suspect Internet activity, kind of like what Communist China, and Australia, and so many other countries are doing in regards to the Internet, based entirely on what a few conservatives find offensive, and thus must be censored. I knew all this would occur over ten years ago, when the Internet was like the Wild, Wild West, kind of an on-line "No Name City" from "Paint Your Wagon." Conservatives worldwide were NOT going to allow the "lawlessness" of the Internet to go unaddressed, unmonitored and uncensored. It always happens. I'm not surprised.

    Freedom? Internet freedom? Hah. Conservatives are so predictable. There is no such thing as liberal censorship. When and where censorship arises, you can bet conservatives are behind it. It never works, but they do keep trying. Why else do you think history seems to just keep repeating itself? What's censored is always still present, just driven underground. This is why in the most conservative of censored societies there is always a huge black market. And the Internet is no different.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Leo Sigh, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Obama's admin scarier than Bush's

    when you vote in a Democrat, you don't expect the rampant censorship and adherence to the Patriot Act that we're getting from Obozo's government. These folks are becoming scarier than the Republicans with all their talk of what we can and can't see on the internet. What do you expect from a lawyer though?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Thebes, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 9:33pm

    "Voluntary" censorship???

    This is still government sponsored censorship, it just involves corporations doing the dirty work in some unholy corporofascist alliance.

    Its still an abomination to freedom and liberty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Oct 17th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    More Censorship

    Need more government in the Internet,
    Another trillion dollar budget. F#&k, only billion dollar tax evaders will be able to afford Internet.
    No more free market - no more USA, sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Mal Human, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Screw the internet. People matter more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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