Monster Cable Claims EBay, Craigslist, Costco & Sears Are 'Rogue Sites'
from the total-failure dept
When we talk about how dangerous PROTECT IP is as a censorship bill, we’re often told that we shouldn’t worry so much, because it’s only targeted at “rogue sites” and thus wouldn’t impact any legitimate sites. We’re told there’s nothing about rogue sites that is worth defending. And yet, as we’ve seen with the list of “pirate” sites that GroupM put together with help from the music and movie industries, their definition of a “pirate” site is expansive in the extreme. It included the Internet Archive, Vimeo, Soundcloud and a ton of blogs and news sites, including the famed Vibe magazine.
And don’t think it gets any different when you hop over to the trademark/counterfeit side of the debate. In Tim’s post about Monster Cable lobbying in favor of PROTECT IP, as an aside at the end, he notes that on Monster Cable’s own list of “rogue sites,” eBay and Craigslist top the list. And it doesn’t stop there. Retailing giant Costco is on the list. As is Sears. Also some Backpages sites are listed as well (Backpages is a Craigslist-like classifieds system). There’s also FatWallet, which is one of the most popular “deal” listings sites out there. There’s also PriceGrabber and ComputerShopper — popular legitimate sites for comparison shopping and computer purchases. These are not “rogue sites.” These are legitimate companies that Monster Cable appears to have a vendetta against, because they allow for or promote the resale of perfectly legitimate secondhand goods.
In other words, for all the misleading whining from Monster about how it needs PROTECT IP to stop “rogue sites,” you can see from Monster’s own definition of what it considers a rogue site, that it would like to use such things to stomp out legitimate secondhand sales. Now, you can argue over whether or not these sites would pass following a judge’s scrutiny under PROTECT IP, but we’ve seen judges rubber stamp similarly questionable claims against blogs in the past as being “rogue sites.”
If you look at both the GroupM and the Monster lists, one thing becomes clear: these companies are defining any site they can’t control as being a “rogue site.” This isn’t about stopping “piracy.” It’s about using the law to stomp out channels that they can’t control. This is a key point that becomes obvious if you spend any time looking at the details of this law. It’s not about protecting “IP.” It’s about protecting old business models that were based on absolute control of the channel. The complaints of the Universal Musics and Monster Cables of the world isn’t really about counterfeits and piracy, but about the fact that they no longer have absolute control.
And they’re just using “piracy” as the wool to pull over Congress’ eyes to pass a law that tries to give them back control over the channel… by declaring tons of perfectly legitimate sites “rogue sites.”