MythBuster's Adam Savage: Why PROTECT IP & SOPA Could Destroy The Internet As We Know It

from the speak-up dept

One of the more interesting things that I've seen over the last few months as the SOPA/PIPA fight has become more involved, is that people I respect in the entertainment industry itself have been speaking out against the bill, and talking about how horrible it would be -- even though they work "in the industry." The latest is famed MythBuster's host Adam Savage, who recently admitted that he's a "serious copyright law geek" (in linking to Bill Patry's excellent new book, which I'll have a writeup on relatively soon). Savage is using his column space at Popular Mechanics to rip apart PIPA and SOPA, urging people to call their elected officials in protest of the bills, and noting that they "would be laughable if they weren't in fact real."
Think of all the stories you've read over the past 14 years of people slapping DMCA takedowns of content that they didn't own, just because they didn't like what it had to say. One that comes to mind is Uri Gellar, the popular psychic who performed spoon bending and other tricks on TV in the 1970s. Using a DMCA claim, he had YouTube pull videos of him being humiliated during a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, when he had no copyright claim to them at all.

This is exactly what will happen with Protect IP and SOPA. We've seen it again and again. Give people a club like this and you can kiss the Internet as you know it goodbye. It's really that bad. And it's a clear violation of our First Amendment right to free speech.

The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices can be heard. Like the printing press before it (which states also tried to regulate, for centuries), it democratizes information, and thus it democratizes power. If we allow Congress to pass these draconian laws, we'll be joining nations like China and Iran in filtering what we allow people to see, do, and say on the Web.
Again, Savage is the kind of person that the industry is claiming needs this law -- and yet he's clearly vehemently against it. When you see the US Chamber of Commerce dump out their bogus line about "19 million jobs in IP-intensive industries," that includes Savage and all of his colleagues at MythBusters. How much longer will we let Tepp, the US Chamber of Commerce and the MPAA pretend that they represent the will of people who are actually very much against these bills and everything they represent?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 9:37am

    ...and Savage definitely understands the importance of things being narrowly targeted :)

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:05am

    "The accused doesn't even have to be aware that the complaint has been made."

    This is a sure sign the republic is failing, when secret courts or proceedings are held.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:34am

    If these Bills pass it will be War on the Internet.Hopefully those who Vote in favor will not ever step foot in a Washington Office again.they will be nothing better than a traitor to our way of life.I will feel no sympathy towards these pathetic corrupt politicians.
    SOPA/PIPA gets me so angry inside I could punch my wall or something.
    Truly one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in my life.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re: Signs

    There other two signs are poorly maintained restrooms and the death of common courtesy, if I recall correctly.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:36am

    So...when are they going to bust the myth that piracy hurts sales?

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re: Angry!

    "Don't cry over spilled milk. Get angry and punch a cow."
    -Stephen Colbert

    /seemed relevant in a tangent kinda way...

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:39am

    What he fails to address is that under SOPA, those who fraudulently try to take things down will face civil and criminal liability under existing fraud laws. Instead of being able to go "oops" or to play back and forth as per DMCA, suddenly false accusers will find themselves open for full liablity under the law.

    It cuts both ways. Too bad he doesn't seem to catch it.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    That would be amazing, except it would be the lowest rated show since they don't blow anything up. But I would totally watch it.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    The only thing you are leaving out is it will be too late to save many web sites because they are too small to defend themselves. Especially after their revenue streams have been cut off in a preemptive strike. YouTube might survive, maybe, possibly, but only because of their size. But what about the next big thing?

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    The next meme: What happens to the next veoh?

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    So...when are they going to bust the myth that piracy hurts sales?


    An excellent point. Though, tragically, it doesn't involve blowing stuff up...

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    that's a pretty lopsided cut

    i think Big C is getting the bigger half, no matter how its sliced

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Angry!

    lol, aren't we insightful today? But this one did make me laugh hard ;)

    *thumbs up*

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    Explain how can they not go "oops" under SOPA/PIPA? As long as they pretend they were acting in good faith, I think they are in the clear.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    We can always make analogies. Actually they did a pretty good job in showing how broad SOPA can be broad and damage innocent parties with the cannon-like approach a while back. Unfortunately it involved a few holes in a few walls and a stray... "bullet".

    I still love them regardless ;)

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    Legislation written to crush competition, make lawyers rich, and take away the public's rights. A perfect bill for Congress to embrace.

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    And the importance of "safe harbors" being a thick enough of a wall...

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Candy for the ones that identify my brain ahead of my typing. Cheers ;)

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re:

    it could.....

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    Bullshit. The DMCA has provisions for false takedowns, and they're routinely ignored.

    And *even if* you were right (which you aren't) - why on earth is it OK to allow corporations to censor free speech, just because the censored party can go to court to get an injunction that says "oh, yes, you *were* censored for a year - you can put your stuff back again."

    Why is it so important to have that court action *after* the censorship has occurred, instead of before?

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    Too bad he doesn't seem to catch it.

    And he argues about parts of the bill that aren't even in the bill anymore, and he points to the Lemley/Levine/Post article (ahem, hit piece) that does the same thing. Apparently he's unaware that the bill's been changed? I dunno. He should bust the myth of what the actual text of the bill says.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Drak, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    Since it's still in the works I'm not 100% sure, but from what I've read the language is vague enough that there is still an "oops, I made a mistake again this week for the 1,000th time" possibility.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    You mean like the hoard of fraudsters that are liable right now under the DMCA?

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re:

    When you stop posting links to copyhype BS than you can talk about "hit pieces".

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:20am

    SOPA/PIPA wouldn't just destroy the Internet, it will also hurt mankind's ability to develop newer & better technology, by slowing down/attempting to stop the flow of information.

    China did something like this centuries ago. Zhang He, the previous emperor of China, had a great fleet of ships sailing all around the world, collecting treasures never seen before by Chinese. The people who made careers of sailing on ships were getting very rich. Once Zhang He died however, the next emperor was someone who really didn't like the sailors and how they were getting rich. There was a lot of resentment towards the sailors, as they were originally low class people who it was decided when they were kids would be sailors. So China's new emperor decided to put a end to the sailor's wealth by burning China's entire great fleet of ships and banning them from sailing to other countries.

    If China had continued doing what they were doing under Zhang He it seems likely that China would have discovered America over a hundred years before Columbus did.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re:

    Never underestimate the ability of the folks at Mythbusters to find a reason to blow something up.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re:

    I'm sure they'd toss an explosion in there somewhere. They always seem to find a way.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Signs

    I do not think common courtesy is one of them, politically correctness might be a sign of failing republic. Being politically correct leads people not speaking out because they might offed someone, and that is far worse.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    This assume:

    A site has the financial resources to counter such fraudulent claims (kind of hard to do for most people if their revenue streams are cut off, like Veoh, while ultimately being found legal still forced out of business due to litigation).

    Provisions from other laws aren't used in conjunction with SOPA to try to further claims (examples, ICE picking and choosing parts of several laws to try to make a case against Rojadirecta or the old "we can't tell you what law/interpretation of law we used, it's classified").

    That the potential criminal and civil liabilities are severe enough to make false claims worth the risk (which doesn't seem to be the case if you have deep enough pockets and a plethora of lawyers at your disposal).

    It's not just a matter of how SOPA by itself (which is bad enough) can be abused in numerous ways, one also has to look at how it can be used in conjunction with other legislation.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    el_segfaulto (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that your comment was damned funny.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Personally, I don't know what else you would call legal analysis that comes to the conclusion that parts of the bill are unconstitutional even though those parts are no longer in the bill. I understand that the print version might not be editable, but posting that analysis online AFTER the changes to the bill have been made is disingenuous. I can only assume the intent is to mislead.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A linking to equal flawed websites is not disingenuous?
    So one can only concluded that your only intent is to mislead people here.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    cjstg (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    this works both ways

    i have mentioned this before, but it worth saying again: all of the companies that support these measures have web sites and they all host media. you can bet the hoards will be active with real and bogus takedown and blocking requests. granted they are illegal under the letter of the law, but then again so are most protests.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    Like ICE did?

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your argument isn't making much sense to me. The Stanford article is misleading because some of the arguments are mooted by latest version of SOPA. The problem is that people like the MythBusters might read it, think it's accurate, and then use it as the basis for their arguments. Here's the article: http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/online/dont-break-internet

    Can you respond to the substance of what I'm saying?

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If there's some article on Copyhype that you disagree with, that's a different matter all together. I don't see the relevance. It seems more like you're just trying to start something with me. I'm not interested.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    mikey4001, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    the version of the story that I read (years ago, admittedly) also had something to do with pirates. There were too many pirate ships sailing around China, so the new law was written to the effect of "no sailing ships at all." It seems like one would not have to try very hard to find a commonality between the flawed logic of such a bad decision from old China and the currently proposed SOPA/PIPA. --- No ships = no pirate ships, problem solved... No internet = no "rogoue websites," problem solved.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 1:56pm

    He should destroy PROTECT IP & SOPA before they destroy the internet. A couple of cannonballs ought to do it.

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 2:18pm

    Re:

    It's good Adam realizes the legislation is full of holes. It could be a ball-and-chain on the internet, and really sink the tech sector. We should fire a cannon in its general direction and move on.

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re:

    How about they blow up the "MafIAA" offices?

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    To protest, everyone should change their website title to Rogue Website!

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 21st, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The next Veoh will be distributed, onion routed, proxied, and encrypted. It will just transfer encrypted file fragments and not do DMCA take downs. So much for for any chance to stop infringement.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:54am

    Re: Re:

    If they are foreign sites, as SOPA/PIPA supporters insist they will be they may not choose to defend themselves in an American court given that, in principle, that would mean they are willing to subject themselves to an attempt by the United States of to apply US laws extra-territorially even if what they're doing in their own country has been deemed legal. And extra-territorial application of one country's law in another country's jurisdiction is is illegal in international law.

    So countries will start to warn the State Department, Ambassador's and other American agents that they will not tolerate this just as the United States would if the shoe was on the other foot.

    Some may consider there's a violation of trade law and take the United States up in front of the GATT.
    Others may simply retaliate. For example the largest consumer market in the world is currently China and that will probably continue. India will probably move into second spot ahead of the USA fairly shortly even if a vibrant recovery begins the the States soon. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that one or both would advise PayPal, Visa and MasterCard that if they continue to stop processing payments for sites in their country doing business legally under their laws due to SOPA/PIPA that they will forbid them from doing any on line payment processing at all. And that until these sites are proven to be violating the Berne Agreement on Copyright which covers copyright's application internationally in a Chinese or Indian court that the accused sites are within the law. India gets to add that they signed onto Berne long before the United States did. Both already have alternatives in place, by the way. At some point they may even threaten MasterCard and Visa that until they stop trying to apply US law in their countries in one sphere of trade (online) that their products are no longer welcome to to do other credit card business within their boundaries. Both also have other credit cards and credit card companies in them founded when Visa and Master Card weren't all that interested in them. I can't see any of the three continuing to support SOPA/PIPA, if they do now, should that happen. None of the three would be all that interested in losing a combined market of 2+ billion people where disposable income in increasing merely to keep US business in a consumer market where disposable income across the board is DEcreasing. Nightmare scenario, I know, but it does get the point across.

    There is really no upside to this on the part of payment processors only downside. They lose out no matter what.

    So the question is does the United States and do the supporters of PIPA/SOPA consider this an acceptable risk that should a trade war erupt that the United States would almost certainly lose. At this moment the USA doesn't have supporters for this anywhere in the developed world, remember.

    Is it really worth this to lose one or more of the lynchpins of what it MEANS to be American just to provide protection to industries that provide barely 1% of American GDP and even less in employment. Then comes the fact that isn't about copyright at all, it's about Hollywood's continued rabid desire to regain control the consumer supply route and little else. Is this mess worth sacrificing all or part of the US Bill of Rights for either now or in the future? That increasingly is the view of opponents and supporters both in and out of Congress are left with he least trustworthy assurance of a politician there is: "trust us, we promise".

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 4:16am

    Re: Re:

    Au contraire!

    I am sure many heads will explode when that myth gets busted.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    6Channel (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 6:00am

    Constitutionality of SOPA

    I'm no lawyer, so I can't really speak to the legal aspects of SOPA. However, seizing domains and terminating DNS resolution for those domains sounds awfully lot like prior restraint.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re:

    The way the bill is written, it is classic Humpty Dumpty - it means what they choose it to mean, no more and no less.

    What kind of fools do you take the general population to be, you condescending idiot?

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: Constitutionality of SOPA

    Pre-crime arrests will follow. Mark my words.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2011 @ 9:42pm

    I think the U.S might need a good, old fashioned, bloody coup.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re:

    I guess we don't have comedy like we used to...

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This