First Amendment Expert Floyd Abrams Admits SOPA Would Censor Protected Speech, But Thinks It's Okay Collateral Damage

from the not-really dept

Supporters of SOPA/PROTECT IP have been going absolutely nuts in pushing the claim that famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams has said SOPA does not violate the First Amendment. This wasn't a surprise. First of all, the MPAA is a client of Abrams, as are various other Hollywood trade groups. He didn't write the letter on his own behalf, but was paid by these groups to write the letter. As such, he's speaking as a paid advocate for them, not as an objective independent observer. Given that, it's really quite incredible how timid the letter actually is. The fact that it takes fourteen pages to hem, haw and equivocate away the clear problems of SOPA is quite telling.

While the argument goes on for a while, the really telling part is late in the letter, where Abrams actually admits that SOPA would result in the censorship of protected speech, something that can't be denied, but which many supporters of the bill have refused to admit:
Regardless of the particular standard or definition of foreign infringing sites, court-approved remedies under the Stop Online Piracy Act may result in the blockage or disruption of some protected speech. As discussed above, the bill provides a range of injunctive relief is available, with a court making the final determination as to whether and how to craft relief against a website operator or owner or third party intermediaries. When injunctive relief includes blocking domain names, the blockage of non-infringing or protected content may result.
Setting aside the odd sentence construction ("the bill provides a range of injunctive relief is available"), this really is the key point. Abrams then spends another couple pages trying to explain why it's okay to block protected speech, properly noting that caselaw has said it's okay when that speech is "incidental." What he fails to do is explain how the speech blocked here would be "incidental." And that's really the whole crux of the matter. The exceptionally broad definitions in the bill mean that it won't block just incidental free speech, but wide open forums of free speech. Again, remember that under this bill, it's likely that YouTube would not exist because Viacom sees it as "dedicated to theft of US property" under the definitions in the bill. And under the law Universal Music would make the case that the Internet Archive and a variety of blogs and forums are "dedicated to theft of U.S. property." This would be about shutting down huge forums of free speech, not just incidental free speech.

Abrams ignores all of that.

The letter also presents a long argument about how laws apply on the internet. Well, duh. That's just sleight of hand. It's a favorite bogus talking point of the industry: that those who are worried about overreaching laws really believe that there should be no rule of law online. Everyone agrees that our laws apply online. What we question is how they're applied in an overly broad manner that conflicts with free speech rights. Narrowly targeted laws that seek to stop actually illegal content -- libel or infringement -- are reasonable. Broad legislation that will take down significant non-infringing speech is where we have a problem. Unfortunately, Abrams sullies his distinguished legacy in the space, by more or less brushing aside such concerns in favor of his big clients.

Abrams is also somewhat selective and misleading in his choice of citations. For example, as "evidence" of the right to completely shut down websites over copyright claims, he "cites" the first of ICE's domain seizure "cases," a couple times. While he eventually notes that the legality of these seizures is currently being litigated, he doesn't mention that until after he's brought it up a couple times, and leaves out the fact that the citations he notes in support of such a right refer to a one-sided (and error-filled) affidavit presented by ICE and rubber-stamped by a magistrate judge -- rather than a ruling in any sort of adversarial hearing. Again, this is not a balanced letter on his viewpoints, but a lawyer advocating for some of his biggest clients.

In discussing the specifics of SOPA, Abrams is careful to point to the letter of the law, refusing to acknowledge the actual impact of the law. For example, he notes that "the bill neither compels nor prohibits speech or communication by the four entities regarding any measures they take." This is technically true, but misleading in the extreme. While it does not specifically prohibit speech directly, it is set up in a way that the only way to avoid liability is to massively prohibit non-infringing speech. That's the issue, one totally ignored by Abrams. The vague standards for liability -- the equivalent of how the Great Firewall of China works -- makes it such that in order to avoid liability sites will certainly overblock. While Abrams can brush this off because the law does not directly compel a site to block speech, he's not being intellectually honest in pretending that the actual impact will not block speech.

It's no surprise that the MPAA and its supporters are waving this flag around -- it's about the only serious legal support they've got on this issue. And Abrams is a big and respected name -- but his own letter seems to indicate the failings of his own argument, and the complete avoidance of even digging into the massive expansion of what is dubbed "dedicated to theft," shows why this bill is problematic. When even your biggest "supporter" has to skirt around the issue, admit that the bill would suppress protected speech, and then try to hand-wave it away... you know the bill is bad, bad news. Either way this seems like a sad move by Abrams, who has been taking a number of missteps after a long and distinguished career. Between supporting this and his oddly ill-informed attack on Wikileaks (in which he insisted Wikileaks had done things it had not done), Abrams seems to be putting his legacy at risk.


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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

    "rather than a ruling in any sort of adversarial hearing"

    So far, all the hearings has pretty much told the plaintiffs to pound sand (Roja case).

    The courts have long held that some protected speech may be lost or blocked when "illegal speech" is stopped. In part, I think it stops websites in this case from using protected speech as a form of human shield for their illegal activities.

    As for the internet archive, it's just like a library - if they have books that are illegal, they need to remove them or face the consequences of their actions. The internet archive is something that relies on everyone turning a blind eye to their copying of everything on the internet without permission, and as such, they have what is a pretty bad business model. It's not their fault that all of these illegal sites have sucked all the goodwill out of content owners hearts. They may way to try blaming the people who have screwed it up for them.

    I suspect that they may end up getting a "delete" list, and just remove those sites who are no longer available in the US, thus resolving the issue.

    Further, I wouldn't take anything from Torrentfreak at face value, they are worse than you when it comes to telling only one side of a story.

     

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

      Re:

      if they have books that are illegal, they need to remove them or face the consequences of their actions
      The DMCA takedown process already allows this, so pretending like we need SOPA to do it is just more misdirection.
      The internet archive is something that relies on everyone turning a blind eye to their copying of everything on the internet without permission
      Well, at least you admit it rather than argue that such a scenario is "FUD". I guess that's progress.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

        Re: Re:

        "The DMCA takedown process already allows this, so pretending like we need SOPA to do it is just more misdirection."

        No, DMCA works only if the copyright holder actively searches and complains - and even then, they get no other satisfaction than seeing the content removed that might have been up for years.

        The internet archive, like other sites, will have to deal with what is and what is not legal in the US - it's the nature of the game.

         

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          Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, DMCA works only if the copyright holder actively searches and complains - and even then, they get no other satisfaction than seeing the content removed that might have been up for years.

          You mean botnet and bully? The process for a DMCA takedown usually doesn't have human intervention.

          The internet archive, like other sites, will have to deal with what is and what is not legal in the US - it's the nature of the game.

          I have a hard time figuring out why the Internet Archive has been such a target...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I have a hard time figuring out why the Internet Archive has been such a target..."

            Because...fuck you, thats why.

             

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          Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, DMCA works only if the copyright holder actively searches and complains - and even then, they get no other satisfaction than seeing the content removed that might have been up for years.
          Because the library, in this hypothetical, has no way of knowing which books are authorized and which are illegal copies, and the new rule, rather than attempt to solve this conundrum in any reasonable manner, will allow private companies to bully said library into bankruptcy if they even have an inkling that one of the books might be an illegitimate copy.

          And if it turns out that the book was placed there by the rights-holder itself? Well, if you're going to prop up the profits of Big Content, gotta break a few eggs, I guess.

           

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            PaulT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 1:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "will allow private companies to bully said library into bankruptcy if they even have an inkling that one of the books might be an illegitimate copy."

            Thanks to the pathetic way in which laws have been enforced thus far (e.g. when was the last time someone received the perjury penalty under the DMCA for falsely claiming ownership), they probably don't even have to have that. They just have to decide they don't like an outlet, even if (like archive.org) they put a lot of effort into ensuring compliance. They can simply be destroyed without any kind of due process.

             

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          techflaws.org (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          and even then, they get no other satisfaction than seeing the content removed that might have been up for years.

          And why should they be entitled to anything beyond that?

           

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          Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, DMCA works only if the copyright holder actively searches and complains - and even then, they get no other satisfaction than seeing the content removed that might have been up for years.

          Ah, so you admit this is all about making the copyright holders happy, and nothing to do with fairness, justice, or the public weal.

          The internet archive, like other sites, will have to deal with what is and what is not legal in the US - it's the nature of the game.

          Ah, so it's not about making laws that are fair and just. It's about using the US legal system to beat up people for their lunch money.

          So all you have to do is pass a bunch of egregious laws and then frame all arguments in the context of what's legal, and you figure you've won all the arguments.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:41pm

      Re:

      Jory2 is that you?
      FUDster mister on archive.org.

      I hope all pirates go hardcore on your butts, if you tell me what you sell I will make sure to infringe upon it until the end of times.

      LoL

       

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      techflaws.org (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

      Re:

      As for the internet archive, it's just like a library - if they have books that are illegal,

      So the next time you find an "illegal" book in a public library you shut them down till this is remedied?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    The DMCA showed everyone that laws like that will be abused there are no safeguards in place and no tracking system and so content owners which could mean anyone really can just start doing whatever they want, there is not even punishment for bad behaviour which compounds the problem and any court oversight is just for window dressing since I doubt any Judge will take a look in depth on a list with hundreds or thousands of entries which is another door for abuse since you just keep putting the names of the places you don't like in there and claim ignorance or incompetence and try to get a away free.

    Thousands of small business will be threatened only really big players that can afford costly litigation will be the ones trying to counter sue others, for most people it will be time to pack up and go find another place, which may not be that bad, it could become another Gopher fiasco, with people going to internet 2.0 sooner rather than later.

    It will however harm business everywhere since those deeply depend on government to exist, they can't just pack up and leave, only those who can afford to create endless LLC's will be able to cope with such an environment.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Well Mike, and everyone else against this bill, maybe it is time to quit buying new movies, which adds money for them to buy these bills with.

    Buy a used movie. Re-sell it again to keep the shelves stocked.

    Who needs to be the first to say, "Jeez, that movie really sucked!"

    Wait a month and buy used.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:52pm

      Re:

      After you bought it second hand, please rip it to a 2 TB HDD and distribute that to everyone you know.

      200 DVD's for free, without having to wait days to download from the internet.

      Particularly I prefer to rent it for $1 and rip it, it is cheaper meaning they get less money, every cent counts, every cent hurts.

       

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        btrussell (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 1:52am

        Re: Re:

        Buying a "license" gives them less money than a "license to rent" does.

        Buy used, resell for someone else to buy used. Keep the cycle going.

        Where I go, this is cheaper than renting.

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    "equivalent of how the Great Firewall of China works"

    That's inherent in the DNS system, nothing to do with SOPA.

    "As such, he's speaking as a paid advocate for them, not as an objective independent observer." -- Justifying questions about WHO funded your DC trip, Mike. It's beyond belief that you're so exercised about SOPA as to spend thousands of your own on a futile trip.

    "Setting aside the odd sentence construction ("the bill provides a range of injunctive relief is available")," -- is easily understood by inserting "that" after "provides". You've justified all my carping on your howlingly bad grammar.

    As for the rest: to avoid "collateral damage" to your free speech, avoid sites / domains that promote infringement. You can't reasonably NO consequence.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

      Re: "equivalent of how the Great Firewall of China works"

      Yes we can, just like you try to rationalize censorship.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    if they have books that are illegal, they need to remove them or face the consequences of their actions
    The DMCA takedown process already allows this, so pretending like we need SOPA to do it is just more misdirection.
    The internet archive is something that relies on everyone turning a blind eye to their copying of everything on the internet without permission
    Well, at least you admit it rather than argue that such a scenario is "FUD". I guess that's progress.


    So explain the step the rights holder takes after tvshack.bz laughs away the takedown notice.

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

      Re:

      At that point, the site has lost its safe harbor status and an injunction can be sought in court.

      For someone who claims to know the ends and outs of copyright law, you sure don't know much when it counts.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Yup, and that injuction is totally powerless under the DMCA against sites that operate outside of the US and have beneficial owners outside the US.

        SOPA on the other hand would at least make it impossible for that site to be seen directly in the US. A small victory, perhaps, but a step in the right direction.

         

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          Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          SOPA on the other hand would at least make it impossible for that site to be seen directly in the US. A small victory, perhaps, but a step in the right direction.

          Which continues to make no sense. Why should we export US copyright law to another sovereign nation?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "another sovereign nation?"

            There is no such thing! Only U.S laws apply worldwide.
            You better report to the Ministry of Truth, your implants appear to need an adjustment.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Umm, it doesn't export US copyright law - it makes it so that US copyright law applies starting at the US border. How hard is that to understand? What is legal in one country may not be legal in another, and it's that country's right to control what is made available in their country.

             

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              LyleD, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              As a foreigner, all I can say is good job! Now your fellow US citizens can have a taste of what it's like to be a foreigner and denied access to content just because it's overseas..

              As a Netizen though, I hope you succeed with your censorship plans.. The sooner you break it the sooner we'll have workarounds that remove more of you influence on this world :)

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:54pm

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

                As a foreigner, all I can say is good job! Now your fellow US citizens can have a taste of what it's like to be a foreigner and denied access to content just because it's overseas..

                As a foreigner, why don't you mind your own fucking business.

                 

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                Sarah, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:27pm

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

                Excuse me, LyleD but do you really think that Americans don't get denied access? Well, we do; if you're on a short-from blogging site (like Tumblr) you'll know that those that do live in the US are always scrambling to find their favorite overseas programs livesteams whenever they're on. Don't assume that you're the only one who can't see what you want, it works on both sides of the coin.

                 

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                  LyleD, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 12:12am

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

                  I'm sure you do, what with the over-emphasis on regional monopolies nowadays..

                  The point I was making however is that if SOPA goes through, you'll be missing a lot more overseas content than you are now.

                  The USA will become a toxic workspace for internet content companies. Not only will established players be put out of business but new players wont even bother setting up there. A boon for us foreigners, but not so great for you behind the Great US Firewall...

                   

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              Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Umm, it doesn't export US copyright law - it makes it so that US copyright law applies starting at the US border

              MPAA in Australia

              Lobbied for Hadopi

              MPAA and Cablegate

              Still saying US copyright law isn't being exported?

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "SOPA on the other hand would at least make it impossible for that site to be seen directly in the US. A small victory, perhaps, but a step in the right direction."

            Which continues to make no sense. Why should we export US copyright law to another sovereign nation?

            Jay, any orders are enforced on US-based payment processors, ad networks, ISP's and search engines. Note the term "US-based". That means not foreign. The offender is free to infringe away. Just without using US assets to do it. Tough shit.

             

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              Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Note: You're going to make Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and any other US based payment processors very weak and irrelevant.

              I won't be too surprised that a lot of websites will pull their money from these services and find a number of route arounds to it. I can see that a TON of people would be more than willing to give up Paypal if given half a chance. This is going to make that choice 10x easier.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:59pm

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

                Note: You're going to make Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and any other US based payment processors very weak and irrelevant.

                I won't be too surprised that a lot of websites will pull their money from these services and find a number of route arounds to it. I can see that a TON of people would be more than willing to give up Paypal if given half a chance. This is going to make that choice 10x easier.


                You should read up on international banking law Jay. No entity who seeks to also handle legitimate money will touch it because they'll be frozen out. Any entity that exists for the sole purpose of processing unlawful transactions will largely be viewed as inherently sleazy and untrustworthy as their business model is funding criminal activity. It will only be a matter of time that their money gets frozen by one country or another. MAybe Bitcoin will be your savior.

                 

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                  Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:16pm

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

                  You should read up on international banking law Jay.

                  Funny, alternatives are appearing and you seem to think that all of them will be centered around a singular distribution model (ie bank-bank). That's not the case. Odds are, people are going to make workarounds, which won't be affected by this bill. You can't really take away the Flatr option, and this will only spur the creation of more anonymized ways to make money.

                  MAybe Bitcoin will be your savior

                  You seem to love that idea, and yet you continue to ignore other options. Fascinating...

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:32pm

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

                    "You should read up on international banking law Jay."

                    Funny, alternatives are appearing and you seem to think that all of them will be centered around a singular distribution model (ie bank-bank). That's not the case. Odds are, people are going to make workarounds, which won't be affected by this bill. You can't really take away the Flatr option, and this will only spur the creation of more anonymized ways to make money.

                    Jay consider the impact of pirate site losing access to Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal, etc in one fell swoop.

                    How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material will migrate to alternates? How long will any of the pirate sites be able to survive during the migration? At some point these processors will have to deal with bank clearinghouses. Those clearinghouses (if themselves legit) won't get mixed up with them. And finally, how long do you think it will take to pressure foreign governments to seize payment processors that exist for the purpose of promoting unlawful activity?

                     

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                      LyleD, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:54pm

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

                      "how long do you think it will take to pressure foreign governments

                      QFT

                      As a foreigner, why don't you mind your own fucking business.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

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

                        "how long do you think it will take to pressure foreign governments

                        QFT

                        As a foreigner, why don't you mind your own fucking business.


                        Seeing that you have a name I can pronounce, I'd guess your country wouldn't require any pressure at all. In fact they probably already have adequate laws on the books. Thanks for playing, though.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:31am

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

                          god, you're such a perverted twisted psychopathic troll. Go fucking kill yourself now, you fucking worm.

                           

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:25pm

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

                      Why, in every post you respond to, you include the original posters name without providing your own? Smacks of psychological power tripping.

                       

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                      Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:27pm

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

                      Jay consider the impact of pirate site losing access to Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal, etc in one fell swoop.

                      Congratulations, you've given every incentive for every other country to make an alternative service that does not cater to the US based service requirement of US law. That's the very definition of short sighted. Do you really believe that after a year of the takedowns, this law is going to make a dent in piracy?

                      You must be pretty adept at selling sand to a man in the desert.

                      How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material will migrate to alternates?

                      You don't get it... The system will route around the damage caused by this. Why do you think Adobe is discontinuing flash support? Why do you think people stopped using Netscape back in the day? Why do you think people won't find legal alternatives to what SOPA will do? This is anathema to what you're even hoping to accomplish. It's not going to stop piracy, it's going to make those services weaker and it just enforces the idea of newer alternatives into the market. Sure, you get a few people. But are you going to arrest them all, bring them to the US at great expense, and jail them for being dirty pirates? You're going to make it so that those people will look at SOPA, find newer ways to make money, and say "to hell with US law" in the interim.

                      And finally, how long do you think it will take to pressure foreign governments to seize payment processors that exist for the purpose of promoting unlawful activity?

                      And how many more will pop up that are less legitimate? You seem to have this idea in your head that every person this legislation is some criminal mastermind automatically. I find that an amazingly limited viewpoint. Litigation won't help your cause. It won't make the RIAA or the MPAA more money, and they'll be bleeding. While they're having the US government fight for them domestically, they'll be trying to make piracy more difficult abroad but all they're doing is entrenching themselves in a weaker position. How long until people find and make the workarounds to the DNS hacks that this instills on the system? How long until new payment processors spring to the fore? How long until people in Europe and Asia refuse these American processors and use the ones made in their country? It's like you're instituting a virus into the system, but the antibodies that are produced will make it stronger and more resistant to the litigious route.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:48am

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

                        Jay,

                        This is no silver bullet, What percentage of the population that currently infringes will adopt these workaround solutions that you cite? I doubt more than 20%. Thats a pretty good dent. And its a pretty small market space for a rogue payment processor to operate given what it would need to do to capture the market and fend off regulatory attacks. Keep dreaming the dream though.

                         

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                          PaulT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 4:06am

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

                          "What percentage of the population that currently infringes will adopt these workaround solutions that you cite?"

                          What percentage of people would pay for more legal content if the content providers stopped enforcing unworkable DRM, regional and other restrictions to try and sell their products as though it was still 1998?

                           

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                            btrussell (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 4:23am

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

                            90%

                            The other 10% will never stop regardless.

                            This is based on % of US people currently in jail for breaking the "Law."

                             

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                          Jay (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 5:39am

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

                          Yet another tactic you seem to love using...

                          What percentage of the population that currently infringes will adopt these workaround solutions that you cite? I doubt more than 20%.

                          How much piracy actually goes on right now? How much will it increase from this bad legislation?

                          And its a pretty small market space for a rogue payment processor to operate given what it would need to do to capture the market and fend off regulatory attacks.

                          And let's play "dodge all the inquiries given to make up a random number and minimize the points said". You get an A+ for not understanding what's going to happen and ignoring basic economic principles. Good job. Keep dreaming that this will put any kind of dent in piracy though.

                           

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 9:02pm

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

                      Assuming Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Paypal etc can identify whom is being really paid, pirate sites can just create LLC's like the studios do one for each month of the year.

                       

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                        Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 9:42pm

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

                        Actually, that's what happens in Russia to minimize raid damage. You'll have groups band together in LLCs. When one part of it is raided by cops, there's nothing the cops can do to get the other businesses attached. All of this relates to piracy raids that our AC friend believes litigation will stop. I've yet to see him really advocate a good plan from SOPA.

                        Here's the steps to SOPA enforcement:

                        1) Take away US processors
                        2) ???

                        4) Piracy eliminated (PROFIT!)

                        As you can see, there IS no step 3.

                         

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

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

                      True pirates will survive no matter what you think, they don't do it for money stupid.

                      Now a lot of colateral innocent business will suffer, SOPA is not a bill that allow anyone to say no, if the content owner wants to put you there in the middle of thousands of entries in a list you are just screwed and there is nothing you can do about it.

                      Well I guess when other countries start passing the same laws and using them as an excuse to block, Facebook, Google, Youtube and others that will just be all well and dandy, you see China will not have a problem with that, Brazil will not have a problem with that, Japan will not have a problem with that, France would love to screw American companies and they already convicted several executives from Warner Bros didn't they?

                      This will end up a mess I am sure, but who cares about business right?

                       

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                      btrussell (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 1:27am

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

                      "How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material will migrate to alternates?"

                      I thought we were trying to prevent pirating, you know, people who want everything for free?
                      You want to stop people from buying.

                       

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                      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:48am

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

                      How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material

                      Wait, pirates are paying for content? But I thought all this piracy was a problem because "you can't compete with free."

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:34am

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

                        "How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material "

                        Wait, pirates are paying for content? But I thought all this piracy was a problem because "you can't compete with free."

                        Go ahead and pretend that pirate sites don't monetize themselves with donations, subscription fees and enhancements. Talk about willfully stupid.

                         

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                          btrussell (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:48am

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

                          So it isn't free you are trying to compete with then, but a better service.

                           

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                          PaulT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 4:09am

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

                          Citation on the "millions of people" paying for these services via donations, etc., I believe.

                          Anyway, at least be consistent. Either the pirates are only successful because they're free, or you admit that people are willing to pay for the better service they get from the pirates - and thus the legal owners can compete by offering a similar service (no DRM, no regional controls, no windowing, etc.).

                          You can't have both arguments if and when they suit you. Pick one.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 11:00am

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

                            Free in the case of ad supported. Or for a fraction of the fair market value when using up charges for increased access or downloading speeds. If someone could PAY the license fees and pull it off then they'd be... Netflix or Hulu.

                             

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                              PaulT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:21pm

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

                              As I've said many times, I'm willing to pay for Netflix and/or Hulu. In fact, I'm willing to pay double the US prices for each service. Guess who's stopping that from happening? Not the pirates. Apparently, because I sit on the wrong patch of dirt, I'm not allowed to purchase a legal service... Hell, I'd frequent Hulu all the damn time if I was allowed to _ during recent week in NY, I watched numerous documentaries and TV shows free of charge, perfectly legally. I'm just not allowed to where I'm sitting now.

                              The pirates may fill a gap in the market, but it's not directly because of them that said gap exists.

                               

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                              Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

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

                              fair market value

                              I don't think this term means what you think it means. You seem to be under the idea that it means retail or asking price, in other words, what the seller wants to sell it at.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_market_value

                              "Fair market value (FMV) is an estimate of the market value of a property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market."

                              You see that part about what the buyer is willing to pay?

                              Please, take a basic economics class before you try to post on this stuff.

                               

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2011 @ 12:59am

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

                      "How many of the millions of people who use those processors to pay for infringing material will migrate to alternates? How long will any of the pirate sites be able to survive during the migration? At some point these processors will have to deal with bank clearinghouses. Those clearinghouses (if themselves legit) won't get mixed up with them. And finally, how long do you think it will take to pressure foreign governments to seize payment processors that exist for the purpose of promoting unlawful activity?"

                      Please - it happened with gopher, gif and it almost happened to mp3 if Fraunhofer Society had closed it down. It WILL happen to Visa, Mastercard, Paypal if it becomes hard to use their services.

                      "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." ---> this works while people aren't brainwashed (China, Japan, Korea, Denmark, USA, etc...) and while there are people like Mike, it will work in the future - we will make it work. I for one will use my experience to help coding projects that make all these laughable "Acts" irrelevant.

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:57pm

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

                    You can't really take away the Flatr option,

                    Why is that? How does serving an order on Visa prohibiting it from funding tvshack.bz differ from serving the same order on flattr?

                    The only difference I see is that if you hit the button on 10 sites and 4 websites declared dedicated to infringing, your monthly tithe would be whacked up 6 ways instead of 10. Did I miss something? It's a dot com, so why would it be exempt?

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

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

                  Why, in every post you respond to, you include the original posters name without providing your own? Smacks of psychological power tripping.

                   

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                  techflaws.org (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:39pm

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

                  Any entity that exists for the sole purpose of processing unlawful transactions will largely be viewed as inherently sleazy

                  Unless of course the US' definition of unlawful is not recognized worldwide. Does Rojadirecta ring a bell?

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey AC, why do you always call out people by their names when you don't provide one yourself. Little psychological power trippin I thinks.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Impossible to you fat ass pencil pusher to the rest of us, that would not be a problem since people just need to use a DNS server outside the US to regain access to it.

          But really it would be better to just go to a new internet overlay where you retarded don't have control and can't censor anything.

          I2P, TOR are but 2 examples of it, there are more.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:51pm

        Re: Re:

        That's why he posts here, he likes to pretend to be layer and that his posts are 'helping' Hollywood.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re:

        At that point, the site has lost its safe harbor status and an injunction can be sought in court.

        For someone who claims to know the ends and outs of copyright law, you sure don't know much when it counts.


        Looks like the constitutional law firm of Masnick, Knight & Douchenozzle has really brought out the bigs guns here. So tell me Professor Knight, how does that US injunction get served and enforced on a pirate site located in Myanmar?
        You're a fucking dunce. BTW, you really ought to should reconsider that goatee. It looks like an asshole with dentures.

         

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          Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're telling me that US laws do not apply to people in other countries?

          THE HORROR! SOMEONE INFORM THE PRESIDENT IMMEDIATELY!

          Why, I bet those foreigners don't pay taxes to the IRS either!

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

      Re:

      They go back to their coves, prefably they lie down and die.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Here you are pontificating on legal theory and suggesting the country's foremost First Amendment scholar sold out his worldwide reputation and the respect of the legal community for whatever he was paid to conduct this analysis. Masnick, you couldn't carry Abrams briefcase. Not that it matters, but your analysis here will probably be even less meaningful than everything else you've done in your futile attempts to stop the bill.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    The only thing Abrams is "admitting" is something the Supreme Court has said numerous times: that in remedies, incidental examples of protected speech can and will be affected.

    This has been pointed out to you hundreds of times, Masnick.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

      Re:

      Yes and Mike Masnick, Esq. has pointed out hundreds of times that those Supreme Court rulings are completely unconstitutional. Oh, what.... oops.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

      Re:

      Yup. Further, I don't think the courts would end up looking very highly at sites who try to use protected speech as a sort of human shield for illegal activities. It's one of the reasons why SOPA is likely to survive constitutional challenges, because it has allowance for the idea that sites may have some legal and some illegal material.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      The only thing Abrams is "admitting" is something the Supreme Court has said numerous times: that in remedies, incidental examples of protected speech can and will be affected.

      Which is not what we were discussing. We were talking about when a hell of a lot more than incidental content gets shut down. And the Supreme Court has been clear there: when that happens, it's prior restraint and against the law.

      Please, do keep up.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Which is not what we were discussing. We were talking about when a hell of a lot more than incidental content gets shut down. And the Supreme Court has been clear there: when that happens, it's prior restraint and against the law.

        Christ, Masnick you're practically hysterical now.

        No we are talking about incidental content here. Try to remember the standard FUDboy, "dedicated to infringing activity". A real live judge will be required to use that as a standard before your pirate friend disappears from search engines and ISP's.

        If you're hyperventilating now, I can't wait to see you after the hearing Wednesday. You'll be foaming at the mouth. And once this thing passes, I'd wager they'll be loading you up with Thorazine and fitting you for a strait jacket.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And once this thing passes, as you are so sure it will, you will you STFU and move on from this site?

          Or can we look forward to never being rid of you and your ilk?

          Because you're so positive of this and that. Which I find funny. When I'm sure that someone is wrong and will be proven wrong and what have you, I kind of just drop the subject and move on with my life. I don't bother going "la la la you're wrong blah blah blah you're thieves wre wre wre FUD" and so on and so forth.

          It's like my thing with Fox News. I don't like Fox News or believe any of the things they say there. You know what I do? I don't watch Fox News or pay any attention to anything that pops up elsewhere in regards to Fox News. I act like an adult. Not a child.

          Oh, and I'm not a piracy apologist, I don't download a thing, etc. Before you throw in an ad hom attack.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And once this thing passes, as you are so sure it will, you will you STFU and move on from this site?

            Sorry, I'm sure I'll be back to defend the VPN bill that's on the drawing board.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Sorry, I'm sure I'll be back to defend the VPN bill that's on the drawing board."

              Yeah, which is exactly what I'm talking about. Why are you coming here at all?

              If Mike just spreads FUD and is a whiner and everyone here is just wrong and thieves and whatnot, what does it matter what they say or do not say?

              You literally gain nothing by coming here. You don't have to defend anything here at all. If all of us are a minority, our voices don't matter, nor what we think, etc. So why come here to defend anything?

              (You obviously didn't read the part on what I wrote about me disliking and not agreeing with Fox News. How I avoid it. Because I'm not a child.)

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

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

                "Sorry, I'm sure I'll be back to defend the VPN bill that's on the drawing board."

                Yeah, which is exactly what I'm talking about. Why are you coming here at all?

                If Mike just spreads FUD and is a whiner and everyone here is just wrong and thieves and whatnot, what does it matter what they say or do not say?

                You literally gain nothing by coming here. You don't have to defend anything here at all. If all of us are a minority, our voices don't matter, nor what we think, etc. So why come here to defend anything?

                (You obviously didn't read the part on what I wrote about me disliking and not agreeing with Fox News. How I avoid it. Because I'm not a child.)



                From
                The Art of Warby Sun Tzu (Clavell translation)

                If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle....

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:30pm

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

                  Lol. Really? You bust out "The Art of War". I'll right, I'll give you that.

                  Either way, it brings me back to my point. You know the enemy already. We're all wrong. Mike's a whiner. Everyone is a freeloader. Wre wre wre.

                  So you gain nothing by being here. Your "arguments" fall on deaf ears. You don't actually defend anything. (At least not in a proper way. So far, I haven't seen you present any proper "defense" or "argument" in anything you've said. Just reiterate talking points (which have been disproved, but we'll ignore all that for now.)

                  So why not go hang with your own crowd? Unless you're just here to just troll. (Which by the comment you aimed at Mike, and your evasiveness in providing an actual response of any kind, your previous responses in this thread in general, seems to be the case.)

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:36pm

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

                    Ahhhhh, grasshopper. You really do not understand master Sun Tzu do you?

                     

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                      Jay (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:31pm

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

                      Funny... And yet, you forget about the part where you back an enemy into a corner...

                       

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

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

                      I do understand the art of war. Understanding your enemy is understanding yourself and that realization makes you one. There is no separation of one from the other.

                       

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              techflaws.org (profile), Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Sorry, I'm sure I'll be back to defend the VPN bill that's on the drawing board.

              Yeah, cause that's ever going to fly.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:38am

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

                "Sorry, I'm sure I'll be back to defend the VPN bill that's on the drawing board."

                Yeah, cause that's ever going to fly.

                Funny, I've heard that before.

                 

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                  Gwiz (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:38am

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

                  You really think a law against VPN will pass? The backlash from SOPA will be small potatoes compared to that one.

                  VPN is used by pretty much every company in existence today to ensure secure communications between parties across the internet. So you would really try and pass a law that places undue financial burden (since they will have to find another way to communicate securely and privately or do without) on basically every single company in the US who communicates across the internet? Just to prop a few legacy gatekeepers who refuse to adapt?

                  Wow, just wow. Your entitlement mentality amazes me.

                   

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                    PaulT (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

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

                    They're willing to destroy home businesses and/or businesses that allow public access based on an accusations without due process or legal defence. They also model their business as if physical borders are relevant online, and refuse to adequately service large parts of the globe in pursuit of higher profits.

                    The fact that they're willing to destroy international business communication as well is not a particularly big surprise.

                     

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 6:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, at this point he's just throwing as much FUD against the wall as he can in the hopes that something, anything will stick.

          I mean that bs above doesn't even make sense.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 8:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why, in every post you respond to, you include the original posters name without providing your own? Smacks of psychological power tripping.

           

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        •  
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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 2:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wow. That's funny, you telling the author of the article what he was writing about. It's like you're a mind reader! Or just a paid shill of the industry. Hey, Mike! How about telling us where their IP resolves to?

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

    Maybe Uncle Fester here would have some credibility if his buddies would stop issuing takedowns on Youtube Poops, remixes, and mashups. The keyword is "maybe."

     

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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    ...and do stand up now.

     

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    Sarah, Nov 14th, 2011 @ 11:30pm

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

    Excuse me, LyleD but do you really think that Americans don't get denied access? Well, we do; if you're on a short-from blogging site (like Tumblr) you'll know that those that do live in the US are always scrambling to find their favorite overseas programs livesteams whenever they're on. Don't assume that you're the only one who can't see what you want, it works on both sides of the coin.

     

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    A Guy (profile), Nov 15th, 2011 @ 3:39am

    He's old... it's not surprising he doesn't understand the internet.

    In his mind, internet sites should work like a publication such as a newspaper or magazine. Every detail reviewed by multiple editors and every line checked for factual accuracy and copyright concerns.

    With lower barriers to entry in the internet age comes pesky little annoyances like more democracy where before there were tyrannical filters (editors, publishers, lawyers ect) and a near instantaneous pace where before there was a slow methodical crafting of the publication.

    You cannot blame a doddering old man for not understanding how modern technology works or the monumental (and politically impossible task) that his clients propose.

    Or, maybe he does understand. Maybe he's old enough that he just wants to cash out and retire. Either way, the young will choose how we move forward and the old will fade away, as is only natural.

     

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    Degrin, Nov 16th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    The problem with IP is that protections last too long. In a world where you can create something and replicate it millions of times over in a matter of minutes, the need for long lasting IP protections is misguided. IP in the computer/internet world can be turned over for profit exponentially quicker than if someone patents a tool or design and has to mass produce and sell it in markets.

    Additionally, most piracy cost estimates are way overbloated because they overestimate the number of people that would have purchased the IP if they hadn't pirated it. If someone downloads a shitty movie or song that they weren't going to buy regardless of circumstances, that does NOT count as a loss to the author.

     

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    mike mike mike, Nov 16th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    no use

    your trying to convince a groups that one of which sued a dying luekimia victims mother into oblivion that there wrong.

     

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    Mr.MAD, Dec 9th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    SOPA sucks

    SOPA is horrible no one has those right!!! That is techno terrorism!!! No one will read this because it will be censored

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Mr.MAD, Dec 9th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    SOPA sucks

    SOPA is horrible no one has those right!!! That is techno terrorism!!! No one will read this because it will be censored

     

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