which are used almost exclusively in cameras to record content produced by end-users
Now see, that is where you're wrong. It's the copyrighted and patented collection of algorithms and hardware producing the picture. High time that this is recognized and the people responsible getting their rightful pay-per-pic.
What I have been missing in the discussions, is the possible or probable impact of SOPA/PIPA and other laws and regulations on the US economy.
The Patriot Act has already caused a lot persons and organizations to think about the risks of having their data under control of a US company (e.g. cloud computing).
This will be added on by risk analysis of using domains and IP addresses under US jurisdiction, but more importantly will have them look at the advertising networks and payment facilitators under US jurisdiction.
This makes me wonder what the impact might be when there are more and more reasons to distance oneself from entities under US control.
From the US standpoint it might look as if the advertising and payment markets are solely in control of US companies, there is however successful geographic or language specific competition around the world. Although people might now use a combination of US and non-US service providers, risk aversion might create a situation where they will choose not to use US service providers.
In this respect SOPA and PIPA will, in my opinion, have a negative impact on the US economy. How big of an impact I do not know, but if it happens it will have a long term impact: once people are accustomed to use non-US service providers, and these service providers grow bigger, why go back?
As with many or even most stories on techdirt (though the Winkelvii are a prime example) when reading this one I wish that greed would be a criminal offense. Preferred punishment? Losing everything you have (no need to enlarge the prison system).
Regardless of whether you think IP should be protected by the government or not, the fact remains that the measures proposed in this bill are ludicrous.
It is very much like trying to catch flying fish with sea-to-air missiles; the chances of being successful are close to or equal to zero. The chances of hitting something other than flying fish is a lot higher, and on top of that the social costs will (dare I say) sky-rocket.
Alas, stupidity creates it's own reasons for existence.
I can give you one that is actually hampering me virtually daily (virtually because I am less bothered by it in the weekend).
(Peer reviewed) scientific journals. I have a couple of personal subscriptions in which I now and again find papers or articles that are of interest to my colleagues (for the record I work in Law Enforcement, amongst other areas covering the fight against malware).
The copyright of the papers and articles in question is either held by the publisher (the authors and peer reviewers do not get paid and only have boasting rights .. it's an honor you know) or is in some cases held by the author.
If it is held by the publisher, there is an easy way to get permission: pay. Unfortunately this would mean that I would have to pay hundreds of dollars in order to share a particular paper with my colleagues (+/- 20 people). Monthly I will find about 10 papers that are of interest to our work, either directly or indirectly. I would be out more money than I make if I would use the pay-for-the-right-to-copy. I can hear you think: well, let the organization pay. Government budgets around the world are (rightfully) scrutinized and personally I would not be happy with my organization spending money for about 120 scientific papers per year instead of two feet on the ground.
If the copyright is held by the author I used to ask for permission. My experience has given me a somewhat mottled view. Sometimes I hear nothing back, leaving me in limbo. Sometimes I receive permission with the remark "But of course, please do". And on occasion I have received permission after many weeks or months with comments like "Sorry for responding so late, I am busy you know". In the latter case it would often no longer be relevant, and kept a busy person from important work.
Of course I could spent my time writing a blog or synopsis where I highlight the important aspects. But doing so I would not be able to put my time into catching criminals (okay, presumed criminals). Apart from that there is an inherit danger of filtered knowledge: people read and process the same text differently and discussing the different viewpoints actually increases the understanding of all. Just giving my take on the text diminishes the preferred outcome.
So when I fully adhere (and I am not saying I do not) to the existing copyright laws & regulations, I either have to convince my organization to let an officer go and have me spent time on getting permissions, or just shrug and keep us (and with that you) in a worse position to take down malware and the people who write, distribute and profit from it.
Which of the two do you prefer? Or do you have a third option? (And let me be clear: raising taxes to pay for an officer and copyright is theoretically an option, but not a valid one).