Thoughts On The House Judiciary Committee's Hearings On SOPA

from the some-good-some-bad dept

As some of you know, I spent three plus hours this morning watching the House’s SOPA hearings, with the deck stacked against anyone who pointed out concerns about the broad overreach of these bills. I “live tweeted” my thoughts, and apparently did so so much that, at one point, Twitter cut me off for having “exceeded my limit”! I had no idea such a thing was possible. The other technological issue of the day was that the video stream from the House was terrible for the first half of the hearings. It was choppy, at times it would stop, speed up, slow down or cut out entirely. The fact that they were using crappy streaming products really says something about the House’s knowledge of technology. Seriously. BitTorrent just released a new streaming video product designed to handle high volume events… but, of course, the House won’t bother with something like that. There’s definitely a joke in there somewhere about how those who set up these hearings, on a bill that would make unauthorized streaming a felony, were unable to handle the technology for streaming.

Below, I’ve embedded a bunch of my tweets, along with those of a few others who were covering the hearing, which you can also see over at Storify. I’ll list out a few thoughts, however:

  • I was slightly surprised at the number of Representatives who expressed clear concerns over different aspects of SOPA. Reps. Lofgren and Issa were expected to come out against it, but it wasn’t clear who else would do so. Among those who expressed significant concerns were Reps. Lungren, Jackson Lee, Waters, Cohen and Johnson. Their concerns may have been different, but all had significant concerns. Lungren worried about the problems with breaking DNSSEC. Jackson Lee, Waters and Johnson worried about the impact on entrepreneurs. Johnson worried about how China and Iran would view this law. Cohen, similarly, worried that the entertainment industry had expressed concerns about Russian and Chinese search engines, and if Google were forced to block them, that it might lead to diplomatic issues, and Russia and China deciding to retaliate against Google.
  • Both Lofgren and Issa were extremely well informed and able to drill down on issues that others ignored. Issa, in particular, pointed out a key point: that we already have the ITC to deal with foreign patent issues, so why not let the well-known proven ITC process deal with copyright issues as well? He’s apparently introducing legislation to that effect. While I have some concerns about how the ITC process works for patents (mainly in that it gives “two bites at the apple” in some patent cases), this actually is a much more compelling idea that should be explored further.
  • The lack of any technology expert on the panel was glaring and made the Judiciary Committee look bad. Rep. Lungren made that clear by asking every panelist to respond to former DHS official Stewart Baker’s concerns over DNS blocking… and got back blank stares and admissions that no one on the panel had any particular knowledge about that issue. This seems like a huge indictment of how the panel was constructed — without any interest in dealing with the significant problems of the bill.
  • The MPAA and some of its supporters on the Committee repeatedly claimed that you could just go to Google and put in the names of movies and find pirated versions. The two examples they used were “J. Edgar” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” If you actually Google either of those, you don’t actually get pirated versions, but official sites, reviews, news, etc.

    One of the Representatives (I forget who) countered by noting that he did the J. Edgar search on YouTube, including “free” after the name, and found full length versions for free. So I just did that search, and while there are a few videos that claim, “watch full length J. Edgar free,” those videos are all 2 or 3 minutes long. In other words, they’re not the full videos, contrary to the claims, and they’re just trying to trick people into watching them.
  • The MPAA’s Michael O’Leary showed support for regimes that censor the internet, by saying that “the internet isn’t broken” in places like China and Iran… He really should spend some time there speaking to those who have been censored.
  • There were numerous questionable statements from different Representatives about how musicians and filmmakers need this. Yet, as we’ve seen (on this very site), many such musicians and filmmakers think that having a working internet, with cool and useful services, is more useful and important than propping up the big studios and labels who haven’t adapted, and never had the artists’ best interests in mind anyway. Rep. Deutsch said that the next Drake might not make music because of piracy. That’s kind of funny since Drake has said he doesn’t mind piracy and actually scolded Universal Music for issuing takedowns on music he purposely leaked.
  • Along those lines, the really amazing thing is how few people pointed out that the real problem here is the industry’s failure to adapt. Rep. Quayle worried that the only business model available to people, if piracy were allowed, is an ad-based business model, and fretted that this would cut off business models based on paying for content. Yet… some of the most popular services online today are pay for content services, including Netflix, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.
  • Some other bizarre statements included Rep. Ross mocking Google for suggesting that it was okay when Google chose sites to block, but somehow if the government got involved, that was a First Amendment issue. Except, there’s nothing mock-worthy there. That’s actually the law. Google can choose what sites to block, but the government telling them what to block is censorship. Kind of strange that Rep. Ross found that to be a crazy suggestion. Rep. Poe had a “stealin’ is stealin'” comment. That’s nice, but “infringement” ain’t “stealin'”
  • Lots of complaints from Reps. about how the tech industry didn’t suggest anything better than SOPA. This is a lie. Tons of folks in the tech industry offered up ideas, drafts, suggestions, etc. Plenty of folks in the tech industry offered to sit down, meet, discuss. And all of that was rejected by the authors of the bill.
  • Google was clearly the pinata. As we expected, they were chosen to present because some felt they were easy to dismiss. Rep. Amodei, after admitting he doesn’t understand technology, called Google execs “pansies.” Rep. Smith used Google’s trouble over online pharmacy ads to suggest this issue was the same thing — where somehow the company is getting rich off of “piracy.” Lots of others attacked as well. None of it made much sense.
  • That said, I was disappointed by Google throwing Wikileaks under the bus, by using the example of how MasterCard, Visa and Paypal starved Wikileaks for cash, leading that site to shut down. Defining Wikileaks as a rogue site certainly raises some questions. I understand why it may have served as a useful example, but…
  • Once again, disappointed that Maria Pallante, Register of Copyrights, seems so out of touch on this issue. She kept insisting that there was no problem with the bill, no liability issue, no change to the DMCA, etc. That’s clearly not true. It’s a shame. She should be better on this.
  • And… that’s about it. Nothing too surprising came out of the hearing, but it was interesting… And it certainly has driven a lot of new interest in the bill and its consequences.

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Companies: google, mpaa

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Comments on “Thoughts On The House Judiciary Committee's Hearings On SOPA”

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97 Comments
RD says:

Scrap it right there

“One of the Representatives (I forget who) countered by noting that he did the J. Edgar search on YouTube, including “free” after the name, and found full length versions for free. So I just did that search, and while there are a few videos that claim, “watch full length J. Edgar free,” those videos are all 2 or 3 minutes long. In other words, they’re not the full videos, contrary to the claims, and they’re just trying to trick people into watching them.”

This law should be scrapped just because of this right there. The fact that they cant understand the difference (or cant be bothered to find out) should invalidate their efforts to pass such an overreaching law.

Jay (profile) says:

Some other remarks

I understand WHY Google threw Wikileaks under the bus, but IMO, that harms their position. Now, they’re being viewed as a gatekeeper that can help discourage piracy, when all they do is tell others “here’s the answer to your problem”.

They should have asked why Wikileaks’ publishing was worth the “experience” of trying to take down their website or take away the support of American businesses. Also, I do wish someone could have brought up how Bradley Manning is STILL locked up without charges filed and made the comparison accurate. There is not real sense of justice in these proceedings. All there is, a ton of punitive damages against actions that can be thought of as likely piracy. Further, very few people brought up the judicial side of this argument and why everyone needed to treat piracy as a criminal act.

Finally, when I could get around to watching this, I saw it when a Congressional staffer brought up an insane hypothetical:

If you have a site trafficking in child pornography but has a copy of the King James Bible on it, does that entail speech concerns when most of the site is infringing?

I had to seriously think… Could one of our Congresscritters be so out of touch as to not figure out that taking down the website does not lock up the people, nor help the child?

All in all, it seemed more and more that the main sponsors of the bill were the ones most out of touch. They had misleading questions and truly stacked the deck to try to pin this all on Google. And just to add to this, I’m seeing the results on other blogs where supporters are creating new accounts to try to support SOPA. One account that got me was Joel Bergvall who says the bill was misleading.

You have to wonder, do any naysayers read the bill or do they just come up with this as they take the money for supporting it? I can’t see much good coming out of both SOPA and the DMCA. The best we could do is get rid of both, leave the safe harbors and fair use and retract on PRO-IP, the NET Act, and reset copyright so it doesn’t impugn so much on innocent sites and people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Thug Diplomacy

Anybody else catch Maria Palante near the end of the hearing smerking while saying that Homeland Security already “disappears” web sites in the U.S.??? She must have learned that word from her MAFIAA buddies. The street definition means kidnapping someone and making sure they’re never heard from again. As screwed up as that is, she concluded by saying that since they do it here Congress should give them power to do the same to foreign sites by passing the bill.

First they disappeared web sites
But I didn’t speak out because I didn’t own one…
You know the rest

This bill is unconstitutional on it’s face. It gives other countries a reason to “disappear” and censor to their cold heart’s delight. Whoever supports this trash needs to be voted out or impeached.

Anonymous Coward says:

That said, I was disappointed by Google throwing Wikileaks under the bus, by using the example of how MasterCard, Visa and Paypal starved Wikileaks for cash, leading that site to shut down. Defining Wikileaks as a rogue site certainly raises some questions. I understand why it may have served as a useful example, but…

You missed the boat here Masnick. She didn’t say anything about Wikileaks being defined as a rogue site. Her only point was how effectively Wikileaks was brought to its knees by being starved by the payment processors and ad networks.

For some reason you have forgotten to report that the Google witness, who was also speaking for Net Coalition and others, threw all of you under the bus by saying they support legislation that uses financial starvation as a means to combat piracy. According to testimony, Google is already in negotiations. How long do you think it will take for Net Coalition, Google, Yahoo, Linkedin, Ebay, CEA to totally sell out their “principled stand for free speech” if they get some relief on DNS blocking? Don’t you get it Mike? These guys are using you to help improve their bottom line. They don’t give a shit about free speech. You’re nothing more than a dupe.

Anonymous Coward says:

The biggest thing I see here, besides that the bill is going to pass in a landslide, is something I’ve been saying forever on here:

You people fucked up by not presenting your own solution.

That’s right *you*, the supposed smart “innovators”.

If you can’t police yourself, the government will do it for you.

It’s been that way since the dawn of time.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

For some reason you have forgotten to report that the Google witness, who was also speaking for Net Coalition and others, threw all of you under the bus by saying they support legislation that uses financial starvation as a means to combat piracy. According to testimony, Google is already in negotiations. How long do you think it will take for Net Coalition, Google, Yahoo, Linkedin, Ebay, CEA to totally sell out their “principled stand for free speech” if they get some relief on DNS blocking? Don’t you get it Mike? These guys are using you to help improve their bottom line. They don’t give a shit about free speech. You’re nothing more than a dupe.

That wasn’t a surprise. Google and those others have been saying that for a while, and it was fully expected. And how does that throw me under a bus? I never suggested that those companies/organizations stood up for the free speech issue. It’s why I questioned why human rights/public interest groups weren’t allowed to testify.

In fact, I’ve suggested all along that no one should rely on Google to represent public interest. While they are often aligned, plenty of times they are not…

And, how is me expressing my opinions on a subject about these groups “using” me?

Anonymous Coward says:

My god Drake’s career is only a career right now because of free music and because he released his music for free in the form of a mixtape.

These people are so out of touch and wrong it’s not even a joking matter. It’s just sad, pathetic, and overall an example of how the people in charge of this country are completely clueless on the majority of issues.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

I don’t think anyone is expecting Google to talk for the entire tech community at the meeting. The fact is, the ones that represented the public were denied access to give that public notion.

The problem with attacking Wikileaks is that it undermines other sites. The Wikileaks example shows how the US uses dubious means to starve out access to legitimate information. What rules did WL break in showing cables about the MPAA being in bed with the government? What rules did the government break by forcing American processors to discontinue service?

While they can support legislation, the fact remains they don’t want to see the safe harbors destroyed the same as all of the other companies you mention. So how is anyone being duped when we know they don’t represent all of the very valid concerns of the tech industry?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Nevermind the people you put in harms way

Yet to see a credible report of harm from Wikileaks. In fact, even the state dept admitted that claim simply wasn’t true.

nevermind the money you steal from artists

I’ve never stolen from anyone. I’ve never downloaded or uploaded unauthorized music or movies. Why must you lie? Are you really so desperate?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Everyone stands on principle until they are in power, and then they fight to stand their ground. Mike will do the same thing. Once he establishes himself in an industry he will be fighting for legislation which will let him hold onto power, and rightfully so. He will have investors he must answer to, and he will be forced to fight for their interests. History is littered with people who did not fight to stand their ground and instead chose to take the moral high road. Unfortunately, they were all failed business ventures.

Why do you think the tech industry is so anti-IP? It isn’t because they have some concern for the good of society. To the contrary, it’s because they want the content in the public domain so that they can capitalize on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Aside from none us believing your above claims, would you please answer the stated question:

Why do you ignore that it is independent artists and workers that have been hurt the most by piracy?

People without the backing of a major corporation.

That happened, and it’s still happening, every day. People giving up, small businesses closing, art, creativity and innovation being suffocated by the inability to make a decent wage.

There isn’t a single person on this planet that you are fooling with your tech-biased, pro-piracy propaganda.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

A Confused Canadian

I am somewhat confused by Americans. In 1776 the American Colonies threw off the yoke of the British because of, amongst other things, lawmaking (a taxation law) without representation. In 2011 you have a case of lawmaking (SOPA) without representation.

In the 1700’s was it much like it is today with only a small (but growing) number of people actually concerned and the vast majority of people blissfully unaware of their surroundings? I keep hearing how America is the bastion of democracy and yet the elected officials seem to think that censorship, for whatever reason, is valid. That letting private individuals and corporations do the work of the police is a “good” thing. They believe that telling the rest of the world “free speech is necessary” and then behind closed doors eliminating all of their competitors free speech because “oh, they violated my copyright on my name”.

Are the MPAA and RIAA the British of the new world? Are the elected officials following their lead the turncoats of the 21st century?

What happened to the United States of America where first and foremost it was people that mattered. After all, didn’t an American pen “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

What happened to these people?

anonymous says:

basically, this ‘hearing’ was just a way of ‘looking’ as if both sides were taken into account, when in fact, only one side was being represented, those for the Bill. plus, it was a golden opportunity to have another go at Google. i wonder if any of those ‘for’ the Bill have contemplated the impact if Google just turned round and said ‘fuck you lot. we’ve had enough! you blame us for everything that has gone wrong and is going wrong in the US, from the financial crisis to on-line infringement. you bury your heads to the real culprits, mainly because you’ve been paid to. we’re now off!

some here, through jealousy, would say ‘good riddance’. others would see the real impact of losing such an internet giant to another, less restrictive and more appreciative country

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

They sucked you (and the public interest dupes) in to their “coalition” of opposition with the false flag of free speech, due process, blah, blah, blah when all along it was their financial interest that was driving the train. The first opening they got to make some cosmetic changes and add some money back in to their bottom line, you guys are left standing there with your dick in your hand. Now with Google & Co. likely to be neutral or even silent proponents of legislation, you guys have the satisfaction of knowing that all you accomplished was to help Google pad its balance sheet. My guess is that we’ll end up with DNS blocking as a last resort after financial starvation fails to stop a rogue site. That should be enough for Google.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t think anyone is expecting Google to talk for the entire tech community at the meeting. The fact is, the ones that represented the public were denied access to give that public notion.

the Google witness stated she was speaking for a broader tech community including Net Coalition and CEA (among others). Sounds right, she had been well rehearsed and acquitted herself pretty well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

You mean the Drake that had a successful acting career before entering music? If you think Drake got his start from a mixtape, you are reading too many of his press releases. Let me set the record straight on this, he was on a show in Canada that has a huge following in the preteen-teen market. A record exec would have been a fool not to offer him a recording contract.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Protip: Try something other than CwF+RtB. No one on the committee buys it. And stop lying about the lack of input. The definition of a rogue site in PROTECT IP was written by CDT. There are a number of other facets of the bill that are the direct result input of opponents. And, of course as you know perfectly well, Google has been in the midst of a rewrite (to benefit themselves) for the last several weeks that will factor into the markup.

Clouser says:

Failure in the 2 party system, Libertarians needed

Thanks Mike for the overview, I wanted to watch this today but tuned in too late.

When do you suppose this will come up for a vote?

What a shame, between the lack of good streaming technology, to lack of a knowledegeable internet engineer for the hearing. Clearly these “representatives” know little or nothing about what they are about which they are about to make a law. Certainly they could care less about internet entrepreneurship and innovation, and haven’t taken the time to learn more about such an important force.

My Congressman is Dennis Ross (R), I’ll certainly write to him after this and point out my disappointment between the rights of a private business to decide who to partner with and censorship, First Amendment violation, etc. And this is a Republican. He’ll not get my vote next time around if he doesn’t change his stance, that’s for certain. I’ll hope there is a Libertarian running against him 🙂

In some sense, I think this whole mess is just representative of the larger issue we in this Country, the two party system — and there is little difference between the two of them — both are for big government, bigger government, and even bigger government, and more and more censorship in one form or another comes along with that desire. We need more Libertarians in office for starters. They would certainly not support SOPA as they are against any sort of censorship. The Republicrats, on the other hand, could care less.

So the key in the shorter run would be to continue to get as many interest groups together to oppose this, including the Libertarians, who threaten both parties at the ballot box, on some albeit less frequent occassions. Members of the house will have to feel some pressure that they will not get re-elected if they vote for this bill, its that simple.

The longer run strategy is that we need to start bailing from the larger Demopublican party to 3rd parties, perhaps building the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, or another new 3rd Party.

DCX2 says:

Re:

Why do you ignore that it is independent artists and workers that have been hurt the most by piracy?

I disagree with this premise. I think piracy has helped indie artists.

I don’t buy most AAA games that come out any more. Why? One-time use codes, always-on Internet required, SecuROM, and other DRM. You almost have to pirate the game you buy so that you don’t get a copy that’s broken.

Instead, I spend my money on indie games now.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

Why do you ignore that it is independent artists and workers that have been hurt the most by piracy?

The people that are making the most money right now are the ones using the internet in new ways besides as a large TV.

No one’s ignored anything about indie artists and workers, but it seems you’ve ignored the other industries that have been built around more lax rules of copyright instead of strict enforcement. You have the proliferation of gamers who can make a living through Youtube and reviewing or playing games. You have a ton of artists on Youtube that would have no TV appeal, but make their music (and livings) based on alternative models. So who is ignoring the bigger picture here?

. People giving up, small businesses closing, art, creativity and innovation being suffocated by the inability to make a decent wage.

Last I checked, Viacom was doing quite well BEFORE they point a finger at Justin TV to accuse it of being pirated content. Further, where are the industry’s attempts at curbing piracy without government interference? Where are their answers to different streaming services, Bittorrent, and making new business models that don’t rely only on TV?

When the industry can create that, then we’ll talk. Until then, the ploy for sympathy needs to be checked at the door.

ah yes says:

heard it all before

vcrs mp3s all that crap that the industry keeps saying is destroying there biz. this is no different. and there using the same LIES and bribes they did to try to destroy them.

you know what? i actually hope they do go broke. i dont even support piracy. but the fact that these people have to #### over so many others time and time again has just led me to say screw them. they dont represent artist. they dont represent actors. they represent themselves.

and they also remind of why i think the american government is the devil.

Paul (profile) says:

Re:

Piracy doesn’t hurt independent artists and workers most, best I can tell. Do you have a source, or is just saying it enough?

Copyright is now 70 years after the death of the artist. Since most don’t live that much beyond 70, and do most of the work of their careers past their 20’s, it is pretty safe to say most of the time covered belongs to someone else, not the artist. Since corporations have traditionally owned the copyrights to works as part of their contracts, I just can’t seem to make an argument that this is about independent artists and workers as the ones hurt by piracy.

On the other hand, perfectly legal sites have been taken down and targeted without hearings or review by ICE, why would we believe they wouldn’t under SOPA?

So the harm I think is the other way around, SOPA will hurt independent artists, workers, and small businesses most. These groups are hardly harmed at all by piracy today, by all sorts of studies on the topic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“By defending pirates and telling them of the novel ways in which they can illegally obtain content, are you not in fact supporting piracy indirectly?”

By making a statement suggesting that there are novel ways of illegally obtaining content, are you not in fact supporting piracy indirectly?

By bringing you into this world to make that statement, did your parents not support piracy indirectly?

By making content which could be used infringingly did the creators not support piracy indirectly?

Exactly how far do you want to go with this?

Are you a theist?
By creating a universe in which infringement could occur did the great IAM not support piracy indirectly, even if as believers would have to admit, nobody can create anything that does not already exist within the mind of the great IAM, so the so called creators, never mind people who simply purchase rights, are themselves infringing.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Wrong again, Mike: "J. Edgar" site:thepiratebay.org

Yes, by adding an extra bit to limit your search to a site that’s known for giving links to illegal (at least illegal in the US) content, you do indeed see that many hits..
But that’s not what they said, they said to do a google search on “J. Edgar” and on “The Gringe Who Stole Christmas”

But you will try to spin this and say “well, that’s what they meant.” Sure, then they should’ve said it, and Google would’ve given them the same answer that I gave, “Well you just limited your search to a single site”.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

Piracy doesn’t enable anyone, the internet does.

Your statements make no sense. Piracy is competition. And if you haven’t been paying attention, it’s a service issue. One that Game developers have figured out pretty well to make money.

You’re not fooling one single person.

I don’t have to condone piracy to tell you that the benefits of sharing movies, music, and games far exceed the enforcement of a copyright that’s more or less trying to break a site on an accusation.

You might want to stop with the misleading statements. Try again, kiddo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Were you listening to the same hearing? Google supports financial starvation under current industry practices and criminal statutes.

Ad networks and payment processor put escape clauses in their contracts already. Escape clauses were utilized in the case of wikileaks and Google used it as an example where SOPA wasn’t necessary to cut funding to a web site.

Financial starvation in the civil cases and based on accusations alone under SOPA is overbroad according to Google. If someone wanted to get out of a contract with Google or Mastercard, they could just tell their friend to send a SOPA notice in. How about all of the copyfraud notices from competitors trying to shut other web sites down by making them go broke?

Financial starvation in the criminal cases can be carried out without SOPA now. Five days? The money can be cut off immediately with injunctions and seizure orders.

So what’s the point of Section 104 again? It’s an attempted power grab by the content industry at the expense of everyone else. “Protecting” the content industry doesn’t mean we need to arm them, and everyone else, with nukes.

Anonymous Coward says:

A Confused Canadian

“In 2011 you have a case of lawmaking (SOPA) without representation.”

U.S. citizens are represented in the current lawmaking process at least as well as non-colonial British subjects were in the 1770s.

There’s plenty to criticize about our lawmaking process, but claiming that citizens are not represented in the lawmaking process is just not true.

The Incoherent One (profile) says:

Well...

After my I sent my e-mail through the house.gov website to Amodei regarding this bill I saw that he became a co-sponser. Two weeks later I get back a generic letter that did not even talk about the bill. It was more like a statement of I’m to busy to talk to the people I am supposed to represent. I called his office here in Reno, NV. Got an actual person to hear me out, and then……”Well I will pass this along to Washington DC, and I am sure they will get some information to you within the next couple of weeks.

HORSE SHIT!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

basically, this ‘hearing’ was just a way of ‘looking’ as if both sides were taken into account, when in fact, only one side was being represented, those for the Bill. plus, it was a golden opportunity to have another go at Google. i wonder if any of those ‘for’ the Bill have contemplated the impact if Google just turned round and said ‘fuck you lot. we’ve had enough! you blame us for everything that has gone wrong and is going wrong in the US, from the financial crisis to on-line infringement. you bury your heads to the real culprits, mainly because you’ve been paid to. we’re now off!

some here, through jealousy, would say ‘good riddance’. others would see the real impact of losing such an internet giant to another, less restrictive and more appreciative country

Total joke. Google chumped the public interest groups, ACLU, consumer groups, tech entrepreneurs, clueless bloggers, malcontents, etc. into using specious free speech and due process claims to attack the bill. That opened the door for them to get some cosmetic changes to the bill that will add some value back in to their bottom line. Watch and see how long it is before Google’s money and rhetoric are missing from the fray. I’m guessing shortly after the House markup or maybe when PROTECT IP comes to the Senate floor. As predicted, you monkeys are left standing at the altar.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

I want to apologize to 99% of the reasonable Techdirt community in advance for this post. The anger is solely directed at one particular commenter who does nothing but troll, lie, and ignore everything he’s been told hundreds of times over.

You never posted solutions to piracy, Masnick.

Hey asshole, Mike has been posting solutions to piracy for over 10 years.

July 2000, about the shutdown of Napster:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/000728/0159252.shtml
“It would have been far easier to then develop a licensing system with those users, gathered in a central place.”

If you’re too stupid to listen to all the good advice for the last decade, it’s your own damn fault. If you choose to do the exact opposite and things keep getting worse, it’s your own damn fault. When those giving the good advice have been proven right hundreds of times over, then stop blaming them and start looking in a fucking mirror.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Were you listening to the same hearing? Google supports financial starvation under current industry practices and criminal statutes.

Total non-starter. There’s a bill on the floor (soon), not a reopener of the DMCA. Laughable that you’d even suggest this. Google will sell out everyone and go neutral on a bill with minor changes on DNS blocking that adds to its profitability. ISP’s will be jumping for joy and likely hop on the bandwagon of backers just to curry favor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well...

I hate to see it happen, but the time for a violent revolution is coming.

Why don’t you start out by joining the Occupy ___________ movement. Let’s see how long your candy ass lasts living in a tent with a bunch of homeless people, passing a blunt, eating dog food out of a can and getting maced. With the possible exception of Gorehound (who’s likely homeless already) I don’t think a single one of you Nancy-boys would make it for a long weekend. And as far as violence goes, a hissy fit really doesn’t count. Sorry.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Total joke. Google chumped the public interest groups, ACLU, consumer groups, tech entrepreneurs, clueless bloggers, malcontents, etc. into using specious free speech and due process claims to attack the bill. That opened the door for them to get some cosmetic changes to the bill that will add some value back in to their bottom line. Watch and see how long it is before Google’s money and rhetoric are missing from the fray. I’m guessing shortly after the House markup or maybe when PROTECT IP comes to the Senate floor. As predicted, you monkeys are left standing at the altar.

You keep making this claim as if the whole protest against the bill was totally orchestrated by Google.

Joke’s on you. First, Google has been saying for months that it was up for a “follow the money approach.” Second, by keeping others off the panel and putting forth a ridiculously bad bill with SOPA you woke up *everyone else* who wasn’t even paying attention before. The ACLU does’t just “drop” this stuff. The concerns of internet users don’t just go away.

You had this, game set match two months ago. You had all the support you needed, and the only one who cared was Google. You just had to craft a bill that was slightly better than Protect IP, and you stupidly went in the other direction, waking up a huge and wide constituency against the bill, making it impossible to pass.

You completely read the entire country wrong. Dead wrong. You thought the entire opposition was Google. Every move you played was based on that, and now you think the rest of the world cares if Google says what it’s said all along — that it’s fine with a Follow the Money approach? Thing is: lots of people are fine with a Follow the Money approach, but in making it easy to tell the whole world what a terrible bill this was, you’ve made it almost impossible to get anything through.

David Sanger (profile) says:

Movies and Music

Although SOPA refers to copyrighted material the motivation behind it is exclusively focused on Hollywood films and big label music.

Does anyone think for a minute that the Attorney General, or the ISPs or anyone else will be interested in, or capable of, identifying infringements of photographs, poems, fonts, children’s drawings, quotations, logos and distinguishing them from licensed usages or fair use? Not a chance.

This in effect provides for elevated copyright protection for a very small subset of content, films and music, supported and paid for by MPAA and RIAA.

Not a good idea at all.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

Why do you ignore that it is independent artists and workers that have been hurt the most by piracy?

There’s no evidence we’ve seen to support that. We’ve had independent artists writing on this very site about how they were against SOPA. Most of the case studies we see of success stories today come from independent artists.

Why? Because they’re able to embrace these new technologies and do amazing things: better promoting, distributing and monetizing their works. They don’t have to rely on a slow, lumbering, clueless major. They can instead branch out and do creative things.

So I don’t see how the claim that it’s the indies who are hurt the most.

People without the backing of a major corporation.

Those people seem to be the ones most likely to embrace new platforms and tools, as well as new distribution mechanisms.

That happened, and it’s still happening, every day. People giving up, small businesses closing, art, creativity and innovation being suffocated by the inability to make a decent wage.

Actually, the evidence we’ve seen says the opposite again: whereas in the past you had super successful musicians or you were a failure, today there’s a *growing* middle class of musicians, using new tools to make a living.

There isn’t a single person on this planet that you are fooling with your tech-biased, pro-piracy propaganda.

Almost nothing in that sentence is true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

You completely read the entire country wrong. Dead wrong. You thought the entire opposition was Google. Every move you played was based on that, and now you think the rest of the world cares if Google says what it’s said all along — that it’s fine with a Follow the Money approach? Thing is: lots of people are fine with a Follow the Money approach, but in making it easy to tell the whole world what a terrible bill this was, you’ve made it almost impossible to get anything through.

With Google & Co. (and the 100+ lobbyists that go with them) silent, the ISP’s on board; who do you think wins the day for the opposition? Almost impossible to get anything through? If you believe that then you simply can’t count. And where do you think the money and muscle was coming from that whipped up “everyone else”? That’s right, from the very ones that will soon fall silent. And along with that, the resources dry up and almost everyone goes back to their normal lives. Spending a day in DC doesn’t mean you understand how things work Masnick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

What is it that the media creators are competing against? The content that THEY created being distributed illegally? Why do you think they try to stop it with DRM? In an attempt to secure THEIR work. That is why it’s the pirates that created the need for DRM. It’s called due dilligence and it is an effort to appease the investors in a project that efforts are being made to slow piracy. Putting it out without DRM would just allow it to go pirate immediately. Stop the pirates and there wont be a need for DRM.

Anonymous Coward says:

A Confused Canadian

There’s plenty to criticize about our lawmaking process, but claiming that citizens are not represented in the lawmaking process is just not true.

Citizens aren’t represented. In the average election less than 50% of people vote. Congress has an 9% approval rating (so clearly a lot of people don’t agree). Somehow we have become stuck in a rut where we have a 1 party system – the plutocrats. Ironically, people believe this is one of the most divisive times in history but while Dems and Repubs seem to disagree on the surface both parties basically take the same actions – they do whatever their corporate overlords tell them to.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re:

Presuming artists are hurt by piracy, the question is will SOPA help? And even if SOPA helps artists, who will it hurt? Will it hurt only pirates, or will it also hurt innocent people and stifle legitimate technology?

All along Techdirt has been saying SOPA will do more harm than good, that it’s too broad and open to ridiculous amounts of abuse, that free speech and technology will be harmed. It’s never, ever been about defending piracy. The bill is simply arming one private industry to cause harm to another private industry. It’s protecting one class of people at the expense of another. It’s saying that the people who make music are more important than the people who make websites.

There are better ways to deal with piracy than this legislation, and if congress would listen anyone other than the media companies for advice, they might come up with better solutions.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re:

DRM has never stopped the pirates. It just hindered or complicated matters for legitimate (paying) customers.

It took years for the music industry to release DRM free mp3s because they thought it would foster piracy, even though anybody could rip mp3s from CDs. It was a joke. Even Apple called it a joke and forced the industry to change. Movies are the same way. Why protect them with DRM when anyone can just rip the DVD? Why not just make it cheap and easy to get the film anywhere in the world?

DRM is just the illusion of protection and the hope of control.

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