The Article On The E-PARASITE Act That You Need To Read

from the hollywood's-attempt-to-turn-back-time dept

Not surprisingly, I've been reading up a lot on E-PARASITE/SOPA, and Larry Downes' recent analysis at CNET is, hands down, the most thorough and complete article I've seen highlighting the massive problems of the bill. Here's just a taste:
Stripped of their obfuscations, SOPA and Protect IP suggest increasing desperation by media companies. A bill that was to target only the "worst of the worst" foreign Web sites committing blatant and systemic copyright and trademark infringement has morphed inexplicably into an unrestricted hunting license for media companies to harass anyone--foreign or domestic--who questions their timetable for digital transformation.

Nothing can change the fact that Hollywood's way of life is transforming once again. The only unknown is time--will a profitable future for digital content arrive in a few years or will it take another decade? SOPA only seeks to delay the inevitable, at the cost of wasteful litigation and overzealous law enforcement.
The article is relatively long, but is still worth reading in its entirety, clearly quoting problematic sections of the law, and highlighting where and how it will likely be abused. I'd love for the small group of E-PARASITE defenders in our comments, such as the guy who claims to have worked on the bill and who still (incorrectly) thinks that it only applies to "foreign" sites, to see if they can actually defend against what Downes wrote (without resorting to insults), and actually respond to our concerns directly. Because, so far, every time we've raised key issues, we've been lied to and insulted, rather than having anyone address these issues. It's really quite amazing.

In the meantime, one other point that Downes raises, which is absolutely true, is that this bill shows the downside to Silicon Valley's general position of ignoring what's going on in DC. That has to change, and if one "good" thing comes out of this bill, perhaps it's that it's so insanely bad that it'll jolt people awake in Silicon Valley, and get them to recognize that they need to speak up.


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    xenomancer (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:31pm

    Google

    All they would need to do is redirect all searches to a government take down notice with a delayed redirect to that CNET article for a couple hours (and make sure the wayback machine captures it for punking friends later) and I think the message would sink in. Or they could briefly block all submissions to youtube on copyright grounds (you know, to test out "compliance" issues in a real world situation).

    Realistically, they could just list all the current "rogue sites" as a backdrop to the main search page.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:22pm

      Re: Google

      The government came out with their own view of things today, backed up with some numbers, too:

      http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111102boogeyman

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:12am

        Re: Re: Google

        And it was commissioned not by the government but by the industry right, people are dumb and they will believe in it.

         

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 3:39am

        Re: Re: Google

        The government came out with their own view of things today, backed up with some numbers, too:


        And by "the government" you mean IIPA, a lobbying group made up of other lobbying groups including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA, ESA, NMPA and others.

        So, um, no. Also, that report has been debunked many times over. All it says is "the industries that we arbitrarily declare as "copyright industries" make a bunch of money." It makes no attempt to show that any of that revenue is *because of copyright*. Hell, there may be evidence that those industries could do better with weaker copyright. But that report doesn't explore that at all. It just adds up a bunch of industry revenue and makes no statement on the actual value of *copyright law* to those industries.

         

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        xenomancer (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re: Google

        Those "numbers" are about as effective an industry benchmark as rubbing your face on the number pad on your keyboard. Actually, if you happen to move your head over slightly to the left while seeing if that method works, you might come up with the real backers of the report as listed above by Mike.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re: Google

        From the report:
        Compensation paid to U.S. workers
        in the copyright industries substantially exceeds the
        average compensation paid to U.S. workers.
        Hence, we find the root of the media industries' overvaluing of their content. They're overpaid!! These guys are entitled beyond comprehension.

         

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          Karl (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Google

          Hence, we find the root of the media industries' overvaluing of their content. They're overpaid!!

          I wouldn't put too fine a point on this.

          I can tell you first-hand that if they are talking about the music industry, they are full of B.S. I worked at Tower Records, and not a single person who worked on the floor (managers included) got more than $8/hour.

          Certainly, the musicians themselves don't make more than the "average compensation paid to U.S. workers." At least not from the income they're paid by the record labels. If you're a musician on a major label, you're likely not getting paid more than the equivalent of working at 7-11 (if you're getting paid at all).

          Those numbers are probably inflated due to the movie industry - which employs far more people than the music industry. Those wages are only higher because most of the crew is union labor, and union labor generally gets paid more.

          It's frustrating, because it gives the impression that those that work in the music or movie industries are "fat cats." That's certainly true of the senior executives, but not anyone else. And I don't want to fuel the idea that artists are overpaid - they're not.

           

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        lucidrenegade (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re: Google

        The only government reports I tend to believe are issues by the GAO.

         

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        Neetish, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: Google

        If 10% of the US workforce actually is involved in the copyright industry, then THAT is a serious problem.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:38pm

    I must admit being surprised when I read his comments regarding the role of government in dealing with foreign sites. They could be interpreted as providing implicit support for ACTA, and explicit support for the involvement of the Department of State.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    According to Downes:

    "If parasitic foreign Web sites are truly costing the U.S. economy significant losses (a claim made regularly by content industries but without credible data to back it up), then the best use of government resources is not to surgically remove hyperlinks and DNS table entries. Rather, we should step up the pressure on foreign governments to enforce their own laws and international treaties extending U.S. protections abroad."

    While I agree that this is a strategy, there are any number of foreign governments who could care less and/or cannot enforce its own laws or treaties. Rogue sites simple register in these countries. Total non-starter.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:20pm

      Re:

      While I agree that this is a strategy, there are any number of foreign governments who could care less and/or cannot enforce its own laws or treaties. Rogue sites simple register in these countries. Total non-starter.

      "Total non-starter." Why? If the bad actors all end up in a few limited areas, it won't help their credibility.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:04am

        Re: Re:

        Mike, the internet isn't exactly location sensitive in that way. If all the pirate sites end up in Sweden, example, then what? Online users can't tell. The Swedish government supports them (or has laws that makes it impossible to get after them), so what does the US do? Nothing?

        The internet is the history of "whack a mole", as bad actors move their websites around the globe, hiding them in whatever jurisdiction doesn't prosecute or is slow to act. Yet they are still available everywhere, because of the magic of the internet.

        What is the US suppose to do?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Shut it all down.

           

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          Hephaestus (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "What is the US suppose to do?"

          They can't do anything. Every law passed to censor the internet, will be overcome by technology and programming. DOJ confiscating URL's, and BT blocking Newzbin2, both being overcome are perfect examples of how simple these laws will be to circumvent. Thinking that a law will prevent tools from being built, to route around obstructions online, is sheer unadulterated stupidity.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What is the US suppose to do?


          My personal current opinion is: nothing beyond working with the nations they are having a problem with.

          But I can tell you definitively what the US should not do: engage in action which will cause more harm to the US than the problem it purportedly is trying to solve. E-PARASITE certainly would cause this level of harm.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:48pm

    Again from Downes:

    "Search engines (a term broadly defined that includes any website with a "search" field), along with payment processors and advertising networks, can also be forced to cut ties with the parasites. Operators of innocent sites have limited ability to challenge the Justice Department's decision before or after action is taken."

    Perhaps search engines need to be more narrowly defined, I don't have the bill in front of me. However, I do believe that a notice is filed, a website can simply file a counter-notice and have the whole matter bounced to a court. That seems like ample opportunity to challenge.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:02pm

      Re:

      The counter notice provision doesn't apply to actions taken by the DoJ.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Re:

        The counter notice provision doesn't apply to actions taken by the DoJ.

        But the DOJ must use due diligence to serve notice before taking action. Why wouldn't an innocent website simply accept service and make its case in court?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That provision (now that you're reading the actual bill instead of relying on what you "believe" it says) only applies to foreign websites, registered out of the U.S. The diligence the DoJ must use to notify them ahead of taking action is minimal and easily avoided (as is the case with ICE's domestic seizures under the 2008 Pro-IP Act). To respond at all, the foreign sites must waive personal jurisdiction requirements that would surely exempt them from U.S. courts otherwise, and of course must then litigate against the U.S. government in the U.S. Making one's case in court requires a great deal of money. Most of the sites that are erroneously targeted don't make any money at all.

           

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          Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          An innocent website, like that of a start-up may not have the resources for both maintaining business operations and fighting a lengthy court battle. They've done nothing wrong since it's already agreed they are innocent, so forcing them out of business to prove that innocence is contrary to the ideals behind what our legal system is supposed to stand for, as well as a perversion of justice.

           

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          moneymoneymoney, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 1:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Think if it's just some small website, they may very well not actually have the money to pay for the means to defend themselves in a court case.
          I mean, the court could assign them someone, but really, that person will probably not be very interested in the matter and may not provide a very good defense.

           

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          Barker, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 7:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How would an innocent website owner in some place that is half way around the world and may or may not speak English defend themselves?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 3:39am

        Re: Re:

        Nor does it apply to vigilante actions taken 'voluntarily' by service providers.

         

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          Karl (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nor does it apply to vigilante actions taken 'voluntarily' by service providers.

          This is a good point, and it's an often overlooked portion of both bills.

          Any advertiser, search engine, payment processor, etc. can blacklist your site based only on a "reasonable belief" that you, for example, "promote" IP infringement.

          You have absolutely no recourse if they're wrong. No counter-notifications, nothing.

          Now, admittedly, they can do this right now - any business can refuse service to you. But under this bill, you can't even take them to court over it, because the sites are completely immune from any liability.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Right. And there's no transparency to see if their 'reasonable belief' is anti-competitive in nature. Or perhaps their belief was sparked by a word from a congressional staffer hoping to get an executive job at the RIAA. Or it could be a phone call from the DOJ wanting to avoid the whole due process thing.

             

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              Karl (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And there's no transparency to see if their 'reasonable belief' is anti-competitive in nature. Or perhaps their belief was sparked by a word from a congressional staffer hoping to get an executive job at the RIAA. Or it could be a phone call from the DOJ wanting to avoid the whole due process thing.

              Exactly. The bill says there must be a "reasonable belief," but doesn't say that anyone has to actually show what that belief is based upon.

              It doesn't even have to be prompted by nefarious DOJ agents or overzealous RIAA twerps. They are actually encouraged to block sites without a rights holder ever contacting them at all. Essentially, this is a legal pass for censorship and anti-competitive behavior.

              For example, PayPal could declare anyone that uses CCNow on their site could be a "rogue site," and refuse service to the site, or any of its affiliates. No appeal, no need to show cause, and they are immune from any legal liability.

              Or, Bing could block any links to open source software sites. After all, open source software is piracy, according to the IIPA. The fact that Microsoft has been trying to destroy FOSS software for years, is just a "coincidence."

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:55pm

      Re:

      Well I want to see the studio who hired Lindsay Lohan be responsible for her drinking and driving, I also want to see labels cleaning up their roaster of the criminals they employ like drug addicts, girlfriend beaters and the like, why are those people allowed to have a bank account?

      The people who employ Winona Rider should also be liable for what she does if she ever tries to steal things from stores again.

      Until all their issues are resolved Mel Gibson should not be allowed to have a bank account the studio should be criminals responsible for his actions and all means of financing the guy should be stopped.

       

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      Karl (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      I do believe that a notice is filed, a website can simply file a counter-notice and have the whole matter bounced to a court.

      Nope. The Justice Department notifies you at the same time as it destroys your site. You are not given any chance to respond before it happens.

      And you cannot "file a counter-notice" to any of the advertisers, search engines, or what have you. You can only file a motion with the court.

      Until the court replies - a process that can take months - your site is still blocked. And the court, of course, is under no obligation to release the block.

      You might be thinking of the "global DMCA" part of the bill - a section which, I might add, the Justice Department is not obligated to follow (under the bill). You are allowed to provide a "counter-notice" in that case. And once you do, the rights holders can simply sue you.

      At which point, they have the same options as the Justice Department. That is: they bring suit, send letters to advertisers and search engines, and your website is again blocked until the court determines it's OK for your site to be un-blocked. Which, again, may take many months, if it happens at all.

      If your site is found not to be a "rogue site" at all, then you have no recourse, other than to have your site un-blocked. You cannot sue the rights holders, or the government, for false claims, lost business, legal fees, etc.

      So there is absolutely nothing preventing the rights holders from doing the same thing all over again.

      It is a horrible, horrible bill, and it's transparently written to target not "rogue sites," but sites like YouTube. Something a few of the bill's supporters have unintentionally (but obviously) revealed.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 1:56pm

      Re:

      "Perhaps search engines need to be more narrowly defined..."

      Really Mr. Central Control? Who is going to do the "defining"?
      You? Govt Forces?

      Just like "Reporter" has morphed into something for the better, your heavy handed, centrally "defining” is the very problem. This post is trying to make that point with the crappy bill that is being proposed to “define” things.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:06pm

    Downes also says :"Critics of Protect IP pointed out that most of its provisions would only harm innocent foreign Web sites, since truly rogue Web sites could easily engineer around all of its provisions."

    How exactly? Why hasn't Wikileaks successfully engineered around the cutoff of payment processors. They claim contributions are off 95%. What about ad networks? Maybe there's a way to circumvent DNS blocks but that's only part of the puzzle. And why wouldn't an innocent site simply file a counter-notice?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:22pm

      Re:

      Because Wikileaks isn't a rogue site engaged in the wholesale abuse of copyrighted films and songs, the actual target of this legislation. All the bill would do would be to incentivize the creation of rogue payment processors, ad networks, and a splintered DNS system. Truly criminal enterprises would not be slowed or deterred by these provisions; only sites targeted by media companies and trademark holders who want to harass or stop legal activities that interfere with their channels and business methods.

       

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        Jay (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Truly criminal enterprises would not be slowed or deterred by these provisions;

        Small note. There is no money to be made in piracy. Therefore there are no actual criminal enterprises in this pursuit of people wanting content in their area.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Truly criminal enterprises would not be slowed or deterred by these provisions"

          Small note. There is no money to be made in piracy. Therefore there are no actual criminal enterprises in this pursuit of people wanting content in their area.

          Didn't Ninjavideo's principals have to forfeit much of the half million or so that they made over a couple of years? That's money, at least to me. I think you're about 100% wrong with that assertion. Didn''t the Napster guy have to pay a judgment in the hundreds of millions? Where did that cash come from the Powerball?

           

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            Aerilus, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            most likely garnished from any future wages they ever make, just because the court says that I owe someone a million dollars doesn't mean I have a million dollars. but then again I am not going to read through a stack of court transcripts to find out the courts logic or if the financials of the individuals fined were ever revealed to the court

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I can look back at the article, but I believe the forfeiture was from bank and brokerage accounts. The Napster case was a settlement so in order to settle he had to have the cash.

               

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                Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The Napster case was a settlement so in order to settle he had to have the cash.

                Napster had cash because it had raised a bunch of money from Hummer Winblad, not from revenue. That was back in the days when people actually trusted what copyright law *said*, and before the courts totally made up this concept of "inducement."

                It wasn't from revenue.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:09am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  It wasn't from revenue.

                  Are you saying that Napster did not make any money from piracy Mike? Or simply that the money paid in settlement was from Winblad.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:25am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    He is saying what everybody already knows.
                    Napster never turned a profit(it didn't had the chance) and had no money on their own to pay anything, it was given to them by others.

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:28am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Want to see who pays for the crazy laws you pricks want to pass?

                    Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the internet

                    The defenseless that is who will have to bare the burden so you can have your life + 95 years granted monopoly.

                    At the cost of due process and free speech, not to mention the violence against others.

                    If anything copyright should and so you people truly start working for a living.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:32am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      * copyright should end.

                      and adding to that, it should end because its time have passed, a new revolution is approaching and that revolution is the "individual industrial age", where everyone will be able to produce anything they want at their homes.

                      What happens when money is no object anymore?
                      Where do the power go?
                      What happens when everybody is capable of producing the things they need for survival inside their own homes(i.e. food, clothes, medicine)?

                      IP laws are in the way of that revolution and they need to go.

                       

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Same thing with Limewire. That guy started a hedge fund.

            No money in piracy, hahahahahahahahaha, what a lie.


            Money is the only reason piracy exists


            demonstrated on both ends of the chain via the suppliers, who make money via ad revenue and subscription revenue, and by the freeloading downloaders that are too greedy to pay.

             

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              techflaws.org (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Money is the only reason piracy exists

              Says you. It must be true then.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                There has to be at least enough money in piracy to pay to keep the website lights on. Hosting isn't super expensive at the low end, but when you are getting a couple of hundred thousand visits a day, things can add up.

                Busy pirate sites can't stay up out of someone's pocket for very long. There are few people willing to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month to keep a site active, keep the software in good shape, and deal with any issues. Short term, maybe. Long term, never.

                There is plenty of money in it. Do you think the ads on TPB are run for free? Nope. Tons and tons of money (50k a month for site wide placement back in the day was a number I heard from someone I know who was buying ads there). TPB was likely taking in well over a million a year, not sure about now.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Long term as in a decade? 'Cause my favorite site (~20-80k users over the last decade, constantly growing) is fully funded out of the owner's pocket. No donations, no ads, no revenue source from the site. Invite only, tight knit community, a wide selection of...ahem...goods. So "Long term, never"? Rarely. But not never.

                   

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                  Brendan (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 6:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You do realize that money from ads to pay hosting costs does not mean they /make/ money, right?

                  If they bring in $50k in ads amonth, and spend $50k of hosting, servers, network hardware etc, they have /made/ zero money. No profit.

                  You understand revenue and profits are not the same, right?

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So you are saying all pirates are making real money?
              One has to wonder why the government wants to crack down on something like that because they trully could use the taxes, still picking one or two cases where there was no profits or they were very small doesn't make your contentions look true at all.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Really?

              Tell that to the mother that spent the night in jail for filming her daughter's birthday inside a movie theather, tell that to all the people wrongly accused of piracy that were targets and are still targets of extortion schemes, tell that to Thomas-Rasset who I believe has not profit from her criminal activities did she get $500 K? Taneubaum got any money?

              Who did the labels target in their ill faithed legal campaign?

              People, they target people sharing things and labeled them criminals and this is what you crazy people want to do now, create liability so you can threaten normal people to make them comply with your silly rules, this will not only be used against Ninja video types it will be used against people who never made money out of anything.

              Want to see how ridiculous that sounds, lets put you people in the spot and make labels and studios liable for their musicians and actors, so any artist that is accused of anything should have all their finances frozen, their assets seized how do that sound?

              Would royalties for Winona Rider a convicted felon be suspended? Will movies directed by Mel Gibson been seized and taken out from the market? after all we don't want crime do we now?

               

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            •  
              icon
              Jay (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ninjavideo - A grand total of $30 came from Google Adsense. They made money from providing a service and donations. But there is NOTHING about how much those donations were nor where the money came from. Not an ICE report, not a court document, nothing. So you're still barking up the wrong tree.

              Limewire - The guy HAD a hedgefund before he started Limewire. Get your story straight.

              When I say a criminal enterprise, I'm thinking more mafia or gang related ties. They don't have profit margins because DVD players and CDs/DVDs are common goods.

              In other words, the "criminal element" has moved on to drugs or guns as a way to make money through illicit goods. But piracy, for the most part, doesn't have those types trying to break down your door for downloading ET.

              Anyone can go to TPB, find a movie and download it before watching in theaters. But somehow the profits continue to eclipse the US economy. Fancy that.

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 5:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Really? I'm standing here with money in hand wanting to buy some old movies on DVD. They have never been released (even on VHS). If I ever find them available for download, I will not hesitate and I will not feel bad about it.

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 6:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Wait... if the freeloaders are too greedy to pay, who's shelling out cash for subscriptions?

               

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            •  
              icon
              BigKeithO (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If pirates are getting rich on all this "stolen" content what is stopping the rights holders from doing the same? You'd think the actually rights holder could offer a better experience/product than a pirate could wouldn't you?

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 12:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Of course there's no money in piracy:

              big media is competing against *free*. Why spend money on a service you can get for free?

              Yes, piracy-based sites have made some money off of advertising, but that money has to be justified by driving business to their backers.

              The simple point is, RIAA and their associates lead us to believe there's a large scale criminal conspiracy funneling profits into their pockets, but really it's the case that all their neighbors are sharing their files instead of buying a $20 DVD.

              Sure, it's a problem, but the IP defenders are really misdirecting the argument.

              Besides, for however much the RIAA claims they're "defending artists", they themselves make their money by squeezing the lion's share of the profits from sales to themselves. Most artists get treated like sharecroppers for their own material and have to sign over many of their rights to their own creations.

              I wonder how much of the funds derived by RIAA lawsuits have ended up back in the pockets of the artists? Really, would you be surprised?

               

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So how many Ninja videos are out there?

            The Napster case, I believe the money came from investors not from Napster itself since it was never profitable.

             

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Truly criminal enterprises would not be slowed or deterred by these provisions;"

          Small note. There is no money to be made in piracy. Therefore there are no actual criminal enterprises in this pursuit of people wanting content in their area.

          Seems like you are suffering from Downes Syndrome Jay. I wonder what Phara's cut was if this douche made 50 grand?


          From the National IPR CEnter: "WASHINGTON — A co-founder of NinjaVideo.net, a website that provided millions of users with the ability to illegally download infringing copies of copyright-protected movies and television programs in high-quality formats, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. This investigation is being conducted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).

          Justin A. Dedemko, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia. Dedemko's fellow co-founders Matthew David Howard Smith and Hana Amal Beshara pleaded guilty on Sept. 23, 2011, and Sept. 29, 2011, respectively, to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.

          The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, Eastern District of Virginia.

          According to the statement of facts, during the early part of the conspiracy, Dedemko was responsible for locating infringing content on the Internet and uploading the infringing content to servers used by the NinjaVideo.net website, some of which were located in the Eastern District of Virginia. Later in the conspiracy, Dedemko focused on marketing, which included conversations with companies interested in placing advertisements on the NinjaVideo.net website.

          According to the statement of facts, NinjaVideo generated a total of $505,000 in income from Internet advertising and visitor donations during the course of the conspiracy. Dedemko admitted that he personally received $58,004 of these funds, and agreed to pay restitution in that amount.

           

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:56pm

        Re: Re:

        All the bill would do would be to incentivize the creation of rogue payment processors, ad networks, and a splintered DNS system.

        I don't think you have any idea what it would take to establish an alternative payment processor that would be dedicated to processing unlawful transactions and also be able to win the trust of a skeptical public worldwide. I can easy see its assets being frozen by banks as they're sued in countries around the world for processing illegal transactions. And what advertisers other than gambling porn and other lowlife spammer types would want to associate with networks dedicated to propping up illegal sites? That's not the sort of advertiser the rogue websites themselves would really want. Sorry, I just don't see it.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What's illegal in one country isn't necessarily illegal in another country so it can be quite easy to find a country that would process payments.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What's illegal in one country isn't necessarily illegal in another country so it can be quite easy to find a country that would process payments.

            That's true. But once a rogue payment processor does that, it opens itself up to claims of money laundering, fraud, accessory to infringing and counterfeiting and a whole bunch of things that are illegal under the laws of other countries and international law. The usual suspects like China or Russia wouldn't see the value in protecting a company like this. Small potatoes in the global scheme. And a small belligerent state would almost be begging for US and/or UN economic sanctions. Again, I don't see a country out there who'd find it in its geopolitical self-interest to harbor such a company. I could be wrong, and would love to hear your suggestion of how a company like this launches, is protected by a government while winning the trust of consumers worldwide.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              jason, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, we need SOPA because it is a "non-starter" to expect foreign countries to enforce their own laws. But we shouldn't expect rogue payment processors to start up in foreign countries because other countries will enforce their own laws. How is that not a contradiction?

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Lets see just do what the entertainment industry does and keep creating LLC's to handle the payments, you can open one LLC's a month.

              Is that how people in the US evade taxes and responsibilities isn't it?

              I doubt you can find who pays who inside the industry and if they can do it, anybody can, just look at the Pirate Bay didn't they did the same thing to you people and made you fools?

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I seem to recall a small country that's pretty pissed with the US's over zealous prosecution of supposed IP rights, and has been granted the ability to 'utilize' a certain amount of US IP (without any licensing) to recover some of the damage.

              Seems like they might be happy to setup a payment processing system that would allow 'grey market' transactions....

              Think it started with an A ;)

               

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Because Wikileaks isn't a rogue site engaged in the wholesale abuse of copyrighted films and songs, the actual target of this legislation

        Wikileaks is hardly renown for playing by the rules. I'm pretty confident that if there was a viable way around the payment processor strangulation, they'd happily have jumped on it. There just is no viable player with the market penetration and worldwide reputation and dominance of US-based payment processors.

         

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        •  
          icon
          techflaws.org (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm still wondering why they didn't just upload their stuff to filesharing networks named "Lady.Gaga.Sex.Tape.wmv" or something. I'm quite confident this technique would be used as last resort rather than no new leaks popping up.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There are, they are called "Non-US-based-payment-systems" have you ever heard of them?

          Russians, Chinese, Brazilians, Europeans all want a piece of that money, if the US don't they should start stopping the money laundry for the drug cartels.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      hobs, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      Your premise is that wikileaks acts as a rogue site.
      That is an incorrect premise.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:23pm

    It's funny how IP maximists contradict themselves. First they try to defend creative America and their implication that many people signed the petition by claiming that perhaps different signatures were sent from different websites. Then when that's shown to be false, and it turns out that this creative astroturfing campaign was a misleading one, IP maximists try to claim that there was nothing misleading about what the MPAA et al did and that they were being completely transparent. Yet even IP maximists themselves were misled. These people can't go two seconds without contradicting themselves. They can never actually admit to a mistake no matter how obviously wrong they are.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:26pm

      Re:

      and clearly the above AC being linked to in the first link was referring to the number of unique signatures by unique individuals, being that's what the linked OP was referring to.

       

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  •  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:04pm

    I'd love for the small group of E-PARASITE defenders in our comments, such as the guy who claims to have worked on the bill and who still (incorrectly) thinks that it only applies to "foreign" sites, to see if they can actually defend against what Downes wrote (without resorting to insults), and actually respond to our concerns directly.

    You give these shills too much credit, Mike. Noone is taking them serious, not even people who don't read this site on a regular basis. They just wonder what kinda dumb trolls are attacking you with ad hominems.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:00am

      Re:

      I'm convinced that they're bots, seeing how they repeat the same points and insults.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Rich, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 5:29am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, the truth is the typical man on the street doesn't know or care. I work in the software industry (engineer). I've tried talking to my colleagues about these issues, they just roll their eyes. How could IP possible be bad? It is drilled into their heads that copyright, et. al., are a god-given right. A few years ago my company held a series of mandatory meetings. The lawyers got up and spout the typical FUD that open source is a virus, and they are trying hard to worm themselves into our code. "They are doing it on purpose!", one said. Then they brought up various engineers boasting how they got $$$ for getting patents on the most trivial pieces of code. One was getting a patent on a sorting algorithm that has been used for years. Hell, it is used in most libraries that have a sorting API. "You may think what you did is trivial, and non-patentable, but it's not!", he said gleefully. I tried explaining to my colleagues how wrong this was. They thought I was an ass and an idiot. "How could you be right and the corporate lawyer be wrong?", they asked.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 6:04am

        Re: Re:

        People think lawyers are smart.

        But people are stupid, therefore they are incapable of determining who is smart.

        Lawyers are people who think they're smart, therefore they are not smart and are incapable of determining they are not smart.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:53am

    At some point I can see this law being stretched to include normal people using social networks to share things.

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Video-Music-Photo/omemo-com-open-source-social-file-storage

    http://omemo.rad.io/

    So if you have a blog and you have one infringing link in there somewhere and it is accused people can go after your credit cards, bank accounts and so forth I believe this will not bold well with the normal people who will have to endure all the abuses of the system.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:55am

    Omemo doesn't have an administrator and the copies are in the cloud(aka other computers distributed around the network), how is this law going to stop that kind of thing exactly?

    Answer it won't but who cares really the law is not about stopping the websites is about giving more control to people who really don't deserve any.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 1:32am

    "to see if they can actually defend against what Downes wrote (without resorting to insults)"

    Argumentum ad hominem are the last resort for the addled and takers of indefensible positions, outside of violence.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Rich, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 5:34am

      Re:

      Except that most of the insults used here aren't even ad hominems. They are simply ignorant and childish. Calling someone a jerk is not an ad hominem (although it is desperation). Saying, "what do you know? You don't even have a college degree" is an ad hominem because it calls into question the persons ability or qualification to make a valid argument.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 2:21am

    What I want to see is Lindsay Lohan lose her bank accounts, have her assets seized and have any one who does business with her now and in the future punished.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/02/showbiz/lohan-probation-hearing/index.html

    After all she is a thief isn't she, so where is the idiotic laws that a crazy industry proposes when it can be used against them?

    What would happen if studios and labels could be forced to be responsible for their own?

    They are against criminals right, so they would have no problem assuming responsibility for all their associates then?

    For dumb lawyers I would like to see if they like to be hold responsible for acts their clients did, after all they are defending criminals and if they know that their client is a criminal why are they defending them, why are they doing business with know criminals?

    The more the brainless from the industry tries the more they just show how dumb they really are.

    This law may pass or may not, but the scars it will leave on the government and society will be there for a long, long time.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Kirion, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 2:54am

    If ad revenues on torrent trackers bring so much money that several of you claim, than why the fuck MPAA don't create similar site themselves? That would surely destroy and "rogue foreign site" much more efficiently than this ill legislation.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 3:17am

    Do the government should be responsible for judges that beat their mentally disabled children?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/lwurz/family_law_judge_beats_own_daughter_for_usin g_the/

    According to that tread the "Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the internet

    According to some accounts she was pirating music and videos LoL

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 3:19am

    The fight against piracy causes children to be beaten by parents.

    "Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the internet

    If they want to protect the children they should stop giving Judges...I mean parents a reason to beat senseless their own daughters.

     

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  •  
    icon
    paperbag (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:08am

    The problem with Silicon Valley. It's like lunch at High School. All the cool kids (Gov't) pick on the nerds (S.V.) and they all end up sitting at their own tables.

    Now the nerds are filthy rich and some of the cool kids are filthy rich and neither still wants to be seen with each other in public. The nerds are afraid to speak up because the cool kids will make fun of them again and really they can't handle rejection anymore.

    Truth in sarcasm.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      "The nerds are afraid to speak up because the cool kids will make fun of them again"

      ROFLOL. The nerds are smart and the 'cool kids' are retarded. Why would the nerds be afraid to speak up against a cool kid who will say something stupid and make himself look retarded. The 'cool kids' humiliate themselves. Everyone laughs at government and makes fun of how inefficient they are. The nerds and even the ignorant general public.

      No one is afraid of being made fun of by a retard. People won't legitimately get made fun of if they are competent. They get made fun of for stupidity. For saying dumb things. Take this blog for instance. IP maximists are the comic relief that brings more people here. They are the 'cool kids' the lawyers that make money despite being relatively retarded.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 4:41am

    Here's the profit numbers

    This is a link to a rather revealing article about the way piracy is killing the entertainment. Thank you Ars.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/11/piracy-problems-us-copyright-industries-show -terrific-health.ars

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Onymous Howard, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 5:56am

    e-parasites

    Isn't it weird that Hollywood is coming out and admitting that they're e-parasites? At least, I assume that was their reasoning in the naming of this bill: "What should we call this bill that allows us to continue sucking cash out of the digital art market?" "E-PARASITE!" I must admit it's a perfect name.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Clouser, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:43am

    Flawed Underlying Assumption

    The problem with Silicon Valley is the same as that with the rest of the United States of America: People have assumed freedom. They've assumed it will always be there, and that it is a given.

    But history teaches us that it is not the case at all -- actually there are constant forces against it at all times -- and that is must be fought for continously.

    Clearly this next election is the turning point for the USA -- Ron Paul, keep freedom and free markets, or someone else and have what little freedoms we have taken away (never mind financial catostrophe). The Good Doctor is the only one that cares and that can cure this disease.

     

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  •  
    icon
    crade (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:33am

    "is that this bill shows the downside to Silicon Valley's general position of ignoring what's going on in DC"

    I think this downside is well known. The upside is that you can sleep at night without worrying about turning into some parasite trying to circumvent democracy to get people's instead of using honest work to do it.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Kyle Z, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Saying that there is money to be made in piracy is an interesting double edged argument that hurts the entertainment industry's argument no matter which way you look at it.

    If there was so much money available in that sector, then wouldn't that be proof that giving away media for free and merely supporting it on add revenue and donations is a viable business model for their product?

    On the other hand, if there isn't money to be made in Piracy then that hurts the argument that this is necessary to prevent criminal enterprises from profiting on others' works, as discussed above.

    So which is it?

     

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  •  
    icon
    johnatmeddot (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:59am

    "Piracy" does NOT cause anyone to lose money!

    We have become so used to being exposed to US copyright laws that we begin to take certain ideas as “givens” (i.e., that they are truths), even though they may be inaccurate. Does a movie studio, for example, “lose money” if someone pirates a DVD? By the strictest definition of “losing money,” studios only lose money if their accountants misplace bags full of it. What the studios mean is that they do not make AS MUCH in sales as they used to, expected to, or wanted to. Movie (or music) production works on a fairly simple model: if cost of production exceeds sales, studios show a negative net. Every movie is a gamble; the studio anticipates a future return in comparison to production costs. Some are huge winners and some are huge losers.

    If piracy were rampant (e.g., if 50% of movie watchers only watch pirated films—a proportion that I am sure far exceeds the current situation), studios would stand to lose half of their projected return. That, in turn, would make movie and music production less profitable. Cutting production costs, including actor salaries, would minimize the impact on profitability. Regardless, the final result would be that, overall, entertainment produced by the major movie and music studios would be less profitable. Simultaneously, “cottage industry” entertainment (garage bands, independent film makers, etc.) would be able to compete more favorably, as they often produce content at very low cost (either because they just love what they do or because they hope to “make it big” some day). In fact, the total expenditures on entertainment may well exceed historical levels, but those expenditures would be distributed to a much wider group than a select few.

    While copyright law may define copying as stealing, as digital copying takes nothing that currently exists (whether tangible or intangible) from anyone, it is not “stealing” in the “historical” sense of the word (and with the historical very negative connotation). The creator still has the original. At most, copying may take something that might exist in the future, i.e., the potential to make a profit from the sale of an item, or, legally, the “licensing” of an item. (The “may,” “might,” “future,” and “potential” are all important--there is nothing definite about them!)

    Thus, copying is all about potential profit—specifically, big studio profit. It is not about “loss.” It is not about what is right or wrong. (Does it really seem “right” that the Hollywood moguls and big name stars have obscenely high salaries, especially in light of their well-publicized grossly immoral behavior?) In today’s “digital age,” the technology has overtaken the law. We have all seen that the primary attempt to hinder copying is to make laws more and more intrusive and draconian. Proposed (and even existent) laws addressing copyright, downloading, and even accessing the Internet threaten even the most fundamental rights clearly identified in the US Constitution (the writers of which originally considered those rights to be self-evident and God-given, rather than “granted”).

    The solution to the “copyright problem”? Allow technology to advance, allow the media industry to reconfigure (even to go through a “shake out,” if necessary), reject laws that favor a select group, and refuse to yield on fundamental rights (freedom of speech and press, the right to due process and to be considered innocent until proven guilty, and no cruel or unusual punishment—such as categorizing copying as a felony).

     

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  •  
    identicon
    GenghisKebab, Nov 13th, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    How about this?

    Instead of trying to over-extend the authority of law enforcement by ignoring Fair Use, and (honestly) subjecting far-from-criminal people to cruel and unusual punishment (jail time just for posting a gameplay/music video? Ugh...), how about this:

    We find new ways to market copyrighted goods to people outside the use of piracy, that make the pirates and their operations less profitable, while still being inexpensive and favorable in the public eye.

    Bit of a long shot, I know, since most pirated goods are given out for free, but it should at least be considered as a possibility. The popular Steam service for gaming does pretty well, with its almost daily discounts on certain games, as well as having massive price-drops and sales on holidays and other special occasions. With some tweaking, good use of resources and creativity, and a little luck, it could actually put a number of gaming piracy groups out of the picture, and serve as an example of sorts on how to tackle the task.

    May not be the most surefire way to do non-governmental anti-piracy, but it's at least an option, and I say we shouldn't disregard the "fight piracy with good business" notion so swiftly. It's certainly a better idea than the borderline-totalitarian antics in the E-Parasite Act.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    yea thanks for destroying online poker usa doj just because they want to control it

     

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


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