When Even The Strongest Copyright Defenders Recognize That SOPA Goes Too Far…

from the perhaps-it's-gone-too-far? dept

I’ve been a big fan of much of Adam Thierer’s work in the past on issues like the importance of Section 230 safe harbors, free speech rights, regulating video games and a number of other things. But one area that I’ve disagreed with him on is copyright. While he hasn’t been that vocal on copyright personally, the now-defunct Progress & Freedom Foundation, which Adam used to run, became somewhat infamous for its highly questionable attacks on those who argued for bringing copyright law more in line with its Constitutional moorings.

So, it’s interesting to see that Adam, even as he complains that many of the critics of SOPA appear to just be “apologists for the ugly free-riding and mass piracy that is all too real on the Internet today,” still does not feel at all comfortable with SOPA:

We are now witnessing copyright?s last stand with large content interests proposing something akin to the nuclear option of enforcement: mucking with the underlying architecture of the Internet. In an attempt to tackle offshore pirate sites and other ?rogue? services, SOPA would require online operators to block services at the domain name system level and search engines would need to take steps to prevent such services from even being found in organic search results. Payment processors and ad networkers would also be roped into this enforcement scheme in an attempt to block the flow of funds to sites that supposedly facilitate copyright infringement. SOPA critics fear this could chill a great deal of legitimate speech on social media sites where incidental or accidental infringement could take place.

Regardless, no amount of intermediary deputization or meddling with the DNS or extraterritorial enforcement efforts will likely get this problem under control. This cat-and-mouse game is being played on a scale, and at a speed, that is unprecedented and growing.

At the end of his column, he notes that even if the consequences of a failing copyright system are damaging for artists and consumers, “that doesn?t justify a ?by-any-means-necessary? approach to enforcement.”

There’s an important point that gets lost in a lot of this debate. Even those who love copyright and think it’s necessary and wonderful should be worried about the extremes of PIPA and SOPA. There are ways to deal with the challenges faced by those who rely on copyright today that don’t involve putting massive new regulations on the internet. Unfortunately the backers of SOPA and PIPA don’t want to consider any such options, instead using this “nuclear option,” with tremendous consequences to how the rest of the internet will work.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “When Even The Strongest Copyright Defenders Recognize That SOPA Goes Too Far…”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
62 Comments
gorehound (profile) says:

More than meets the eye

I think that we out here who have a brain realize that this is more than just Censorship.This is all about a group of rich pricks and politicians who want to utterly control the Internet.At least to utterly control it in the USA.And when they open the door of Censorship each and every year little by little they will grab more and more.Eventually we will have no freedom on the Net unless we use proxies,etc or these anonymous foreign businesses and that is if you can even do that.Because they will also make using the tools we would use to circumvent their censors illegal.
We are slowly but surely losing our freedom.

Protest SOPA & PROTECT-IP ACT. Call your reps and sign petitions unless you love Censorship and control of information just like they do in China.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Intended Consequences

Unintended consequences” are results that occur that were not anticipated before hand. The backers of SOPA and PIPA know full well what these bills will do so in reality they are INTENDED Consequences and most likely are where the bills true intentions lie.

The true UNINTENDED consequences are the backlash that might well spell the end of copyright as we know it!

John Doe says:

I will restate what I have said in the past

Even those who love copyright and think it’s necessary and wonderful should be worried about the extremes of PIPA and SOPA.

I honor copyright as much as humanly possible. I don’t pirate movies, music, software, ebooks, etc. Because of this, I am already greatly hindered in my access to content by the IP industry. Through draconian DRM, through limited rights for Netflix and others to stream content, by hindering of internet radio in the same way as Netflix is hindered and by the lack of availability of a lot of content in the format I want.

I warn them though, if they touch the internet I will pirate anything and everything with absolutely no remorse. If you want to keep your content away from me, then so be it, I won’t consume it. But if you break aspects of the internet that do affect me, then I will grab all the content I possibly can in retaliation. Consider it civil disobedience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

I warn them though, if they touch the internet I will pirate anything and everything with absolutely no remorse. If you want to keep your content away from me, then so be it, I won’t consume it. But if you break aspects of the internet that do affect me, then I will grab all the content I possibly can in retaliation. Consider it civil disobedience.

Sounds more like self-entitled excuse making. That you can’t get exactly what you want, when you want and the price you want isn’t justification for breaking the law. It’s entertainment for Christ’s sake. You act like it was as vital to your existence as food, water or air. It isn’t. Get over it.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

Wow, your reading comprehension, or lack thereof, is astounding. Let me restate it for you. I don’t pirate because I can’t get what I want, when I want, where I want and for the price I want to pay. But, if the IP industry breaks aspects of the internet that does affect me even though I am not a pirate, I will become the very thing they hate.

So no, there is no entitlement on my part. The content industry are the ones feeling entitled.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

@ “I will become the very thing they hate.”

I meant to answer that exact point: Big Media doesn’t actually care if they create more “pirates”. Big Media and gov’t will have gained more control over the Internet, which I think is a goal in common. YOU being made into a criminal (by your “retaliation” against wrong cause) is ALSO a goal. So it’s two wins for Big Media and gov’t, see?

The only way to resist tyranny is by sticking to principles (here, those that you wrote above), even when that doesn’t satisfy your emotions.

Big Media hasn’t caused the problem: it’s PIRATES who have.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I will restate what I have said in the past

“Big Media hasn’t caused the problem: it’s PIRATES who have.”

Scapegoat much?

Know anywhere where I can acquire a legal, DRM-Free, 1080p MKV file of Inception? I’d pay good money for such a thing if it existed. This is what OP means by limited options. See Mikes post from a day or so ago about the Batman Begins digital copy.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I will restate what I have said in the past

Big media has caused the problems through raping the public domain, and extending copyright far beyond what was originally intended. They started this war, and I’ll be damned if they take over the internet in this battle. A message to you and your ilk. We (computer nerds) are smarter than you, we are more agile and more adaptable. There is nothing you can do that we cannot route around. But please, throw more of your resources away, it just makes your ultimate defeat all the quicker.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I will restate what I have said in the past

The only way to resist tyranny is by sticking to principles (here, those that you wrote above), even when that doesn’t satisfy your emotions.

So the only way to solve the problems of tyranny is to sit on your thumbs, continue as is, and loudly proclaim there is no problem. Thanks for the advice, not.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

“if you break aspects of the internet that do affect me”

WRONG TARGET FOR YOUR IRE. Should be directed at the pirates, particularly the big file-sharing hosts and torrenters.

It’s easy to lash out at Big Media instead of your pals who keep their bandwidth saturated with infringing downloads. But don’t abandon your principles because of those Little Pirates.

Instead, tell any pirating pals that they should stop.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

Your logic applied elsewhere:

“The Roma and gay people should have blamed the Jews for inciting Hitler to kill millions of people in the Holocaust.”

The pirates don’t dictate the behavior of the big media companies. Nobody has forced them to sue Catholic school girls or or single mothers or college kids or old people who don’t have computers or dead people. Nobody has forced them to abuse DMCA takedown notices by being lazy and simply labeling anything with a particular word in the title as infringing. Nobody has forced them to propose (or fund) legislation that will severely cripple the functioning of the internet and threaten free speech.

It’s easy to lash out at the people who are actually abusing their customers, as well as threatening the Constitutional rights of people who aren’t even necessarily their customers.

Joe Dirt says:

Re: Re: I will restate what I have said in the past

So, using your logic… a group of car theives have been taking cars from dealerships. The dealers complain about it to the government. Instead of going after the theives, the government outlaws driving because that is how the theives escape. And I’m supposed to be mad at the theives and not the government for making it illegal for me to drive? Oh you can still own a car, just don’t drive it anywhere because that would mean you’re a car theif!

Really?

anonymous says:

if it was only the USA that was to be affected by these Bills, it wouldn’t be so bad and it would soon become apparent that the damage to the US economy would be considerable. that in itself should facilitate not only a backtrack, but should also trigger an investigation as to why the Bills were introduced in the first place and the gain made by the person that introduced the Bills. trouble is, it will be damaging worldwide because the US government wants every other country to do what it wants and what it says. the US government wants to be ‘the world police. wants complete control of the internet, even though it will be to the detriment of the rest of the world. cant see many countries putting up with that!

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hint

I’ve done a little traveling in my life. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered–many of those lines they put on maps; they aren’t actually there.

Seriously, you look at the map and there’s this huge (by scale) colored line between the US & Mexico & Canada. IRL, no line at all!! It’s as if the map-makers were conspiring to deceive everybody into believing there really is some sort of physical separator between one part of the planet and another part of the planet.

Weird, huh?

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Re: Hint

@:Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 9:55am

I’ve done a little traveling in my life. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered–many of those lines they put on maps; they aren’t actually there.

Seriously, you look at the map and there’s this huge (by scale) colored line between the US & Mexico & Canada. IRL, no line at all!! It’s as if the map-makers were conspiring to deceive everybody into believing there really is some sort of physical separator between one part of the planet and another part of the planet.

Weird, huh?
————

No, as always from you, it’s drivel that has nothing to do with topic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are very ignorant.

Crytek (makers of Farcry and Crysis) are German, for example. Activision (Makers of Call of Duty) are owned by Vivendi Universal, which is French. The Indian film industry was, and still is huge. Finally, the electronic music scene is very strong in Europe.

And we haven’t even gotten to the interesting bits of your economy. Remind me again how well your car industry is doing?

The USA isn’t as big as you think. Open your eyes, please. The quicker you do that, the quicker your country can get back on track.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are you kidding? I’m a United Statsian and I’ll take a British sitcom over and American one any day of the week. After laughing my ass off at The IT Crowd, Black Books, and countless others I can’t go back to the mindless crap we seem to always put out. That’s not even counting classics like Red Dwarf and Doctor Who.

The more frightening part of piracy for me, is that people seem to think all of this reality TV bull is worth wasting bandwidth on.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you kidding? I’m a United Statsian and I’ll take a British sitcom over and American one any day of the week. After laughing my ass off at The IT Crowd, Black Books, and countless others I can’t go back to the mindless crap we seem to always put out. That’s not even counting classics like Red Dwarf and Doctor Who.

+1. The sad thing is that there isn’t really any place that I can go to get most of this stuff. Can’t seem to get BBC America on my cable, and have to wait for the DVDs to come out several months to years after it airs. I am happy that last season of Dr. Who (2011) just came out, almost a year after it started broadcasting. With technology the way it is, it seems like the day the final episode airs, they should have the DVDs out and ready to buy in the stores. Yet, if I wanted to, I could get all the episodes the day after they air on television via P2P.

Anonymous Coward says:

There are ways to deal with the challenges faced by those who rely on copyright today that don’t involve putting massive new regulations on the internet. Unfortunately the backers of SOPA and PIPA don’t want to consider any such options, instead using this “nuclear option,” with tremendous consequences to how the rest of the internet will work.

Other than the futile CwF RtB bullshit, what measures are you talking about. Or is that all you can come up with?

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Other than the futile CwF RtB bullshit, what measures are you talking about. Or is that all you can come up with?”

Given that Mike isn’t a record label/movie studio, I think that’s pretty noble that he even gave you that.

Further if our two options are: massively reduced margins for big media distribution companies or a broken internet, buh-bye media distribution companies. From a purely best-for-humanity POV, the internet wins hands down.

out_of_the_blue says:

For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

But so what? As a measure to “stop piracy”, then so long as copyright is around, it’s /inevitable/ that more will be done. — I wish that you pirates weren’t so greedy, because you’ve ruined it for everyone who only filches a little. — Just as greed from Big Media is a large problem. GREED is bad.

Anyway, there’s no other means possible to enforce copyright than DNS blocking and what falls out from that is “anti-circumvention”, and we’re off on that spiral.

Your notions of new ways possible on the Internet just don’t cover the case of $100M movies. In your fantasies you cast Big Media execs as stupid dinosaurs, yet I think that IF you had a workable plan that didn’t have the obvious drawbacks of enforcing copyright, they’d shower you with money.

Mike, you can’t just blithely shirk responsibility after all the “marginal costs are all that matter”, “piracy doesn’t hurt profits”, “piracy is promotion, actually helps sales” crap that you’ve put out. You’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Yo, it’s out_of_the_blue, my favorite shut-in!

Hi! How are you? Starved for human contact, I know.

Here’s an interesting point: if there were no copyright, there would be no copyright infringement!

Neat, huh?

Also, which movie did you blow $100 million on producing? I’d love to see this flop and I’m certain that’s true of many other people here.

((hugs!))

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

@ :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 9:59am

Yo, it’s out_of_the_blue, my favorite shut-in!

Hi! How are you? Starved for human contact, I know.

Here’s an interesting point: if there were no copyright, there would be no copyright infringement!

Neat, huh?

Also, which movie did you blow $100 million on producing? I’d love to see this flop and I’m certain that’s true of many other people here.

((hugs!))

—————-

Always drivel from you, no answer to argument.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

“Always drivel from you, no answer to argument.”

Most of your arguments are drivel and the parts that almost make sense have been debunked a million times already. There’s no point in answering, you know the answers, you choose to ignore them.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Re:2 For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

@ Chronno S. Trigger:
—————–
I need only copy / paste yours as it’s apropo (changed one word because I work in absolutes):

ALL of your arguments are drivel and the parts that almost make sense have been debunked a million times already. There’s no point in answering, you know the answers, you choose to ignore them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Your excremental proclivity aside, copyright law places metes and bounds that are not foreclosed by contract law.

I take it that you do not practice law, because I believe you would more fully appreciate why I said what I did. Mine is a view that is shared by many who regularly deal with the interface between contract and copyright law.

Jason Still (profile) says:

Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

I wish that you pirates weren’t so greedy, because you’ve ruined it for everyone who only filches a little

So you’re saying it is ok to break the law, as long as you only do it a little? Sounds kind of like speeding, to me at least. We have a system of dealing with that, and it involves giving the offender a reasonable fine and generally requires proof that they actually broke the law (let’s skip the debate about accuracy of measuring devices, speed cameras, and such for now). We also don’t usually punish the car manufacturers and road builders/maintainers when someone uses their cars/roads to speed and we rarely place requirements on them to ensure that people can’t speed. I think, then, that it would be logical and reasonable to expect something similar to work on the “information superhighway” as what works for the real highway.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

@ason Still (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 10:28am

So you’re saying it is ok to break the law, as long as you only do it a little?

—————

No, FOOL, topic is copyright.

It’s incredible that anyone would think a complete re-phrasing on unrelated topic is worth posting.

Jason Still (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Copyright is law, and piracy is breaking copyright law, or do you disagree with that? You said the greedy pirates are ruining it for those who only pirate a little, which sounded similar to the view we tend to have of speeding – that is, you shouldn’t do it, but everyone does, so just don’t do it too much or too fast and understand that there will be reasonable repercussions if you are caught.

Also, I’m not sure what cause I gave you to jump straight to insults when I’m just trying to engage in reasoned discussion with you. I’m not surprised, mind you, because I’ve seen many of your other posts turn out the same way. I just hoped that maybe this time you could be civil with someone who was being civil towards you. Lesson learned, I suppose.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

“I’m not sure what cause I gave you to jump straight to insults when I’m just trying to engage in reasoned discussion with you.”

You’re trying to engage in reasoned discussion with someone who’s position is fundamentally untenable. There only real recourses are logical fallacies and argumentum ad hominem.

dwg says:

Re: Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Dude, he quoted exactly what you said. Just because it’s clear and clearly stupid, you want to misdirect now. What you said is that someone “who only filches a little” should have the ability to do that preserved, not “ruined.”

Maybe you wrote that sentence in an Ambien fugue? Otherwise, there’s just no getting away from it. You’re pro-a-little-piracy.

Trails (profile) says:

Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

“I think that IF you had a workable plan that didn’t have the obvious drawbacks of enforcing copyright, they’d shower you with money.”

Given how the incumbents have fought and declaimed as “content armagaeddon” *deep breath* netflix, redbox, spotify, youtube, internet, vcr, radio, tv, printing press, player piano, gramophone, itunes, mp3 players, blank cds, blank dvds, flash cards, etc… only to end up profiting, I’d have to disagree.

Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Bingo!

It’s dead horse here, it’s been beaten so often:

As a business you have a choice:
– Give people things they want in a way they want it, at a price that makes sense to them
– Limit all of the above in one way or another.

Either choice is up to the business and whether that succeeds or fails is a risk taken by the business. I used to think that IP law just needed some reforming, but with ASCA, PIPA, and SOPA I’m starting to think that these are just laws that subvert the market by giving content creators the real ill-earned entitlement. A belief that they deserve to own something and profit regardless of whether or not they operate as a sensible business, and regardless of the cultural forces that shaped and and inspired their products.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

Perhaps a way to think about this is are we starting with the wrong assumption? And that assumption is “we need copyright”.

If we truly do need copyright, do we need the legacy gatekeepers now?

I strongly contend that we don’t need copyright, or at least copyright in its current form, like we currently do. And if we do need copyright as is, then I don’t think that we need to have the legacy gatekeepers anymore though.

Finally, we’re talking about enforcing copyright law to the maximum degree. Keep in mind that they continue to extend and retroactively apply copyright law (longer than the person who produced the content lives! How is that in the interest of the authors in any way shape or form?). Shouldn’t we consider a scorched earth approach to protect the public domain? Such as, “if someone declares something to be copyright that is in the public domain, anyone can challenge them on it and cut off their funding.”

If that last point seems ludicrous (agreed that it does), how do the measures in SOPA seem like a reasonable response to piracy?

Butcherer79 (profile) says:

Re: For the record, /I'm/ not "comfortable" with SOPA, either.

“Your notions of new ways possible on the Internet just don’t cover the case of $100M movies.”

You appear to think that the ‘$100M’ spent on a movie isn’t immediately recouped at the various premiers/box offices in theatres around the world. Then the various cable/satellite TV companies around the world buying the limited rights to show the movie.
I’m not suggesting that purchased copies of the film afterwards don’t contribute to the overall takings on a film, but the movie is well in the black by the time it’s released publicly in any format.

out_of_the_blue says:

So, Mike, just doing nothing:

‘ At the end of his column, he notes that even if the consequences of a failing copyright system are damaging for artists and consumers, “that doesn?t justify a ?by-any-means-necessary? approach to enforcement.” ‘

SOPA however ends up, is what you get in the vacuum of allowing — or promoting — piracy.

dwg says:

Re: So, Mike, just doing nothing:

Based on your post up higher, you mean “allowing–or promoting–more piracy than I think is excusable,” right? Listen, man: you’ve tarred and feathered yourself with this one. Suggesting that it’s okay to do just a little bit of something that you find inherently wrong is the most chickenshit position imaginable. I guess if you can’t argue, just don’t fully commit, right?

tsavory (profile) says:

Just a bit of info

If we allow them to do DNS blocking not only will they stop that particular criminal but maybe a dozen other self respecting mom and pop stores just one instance of this was found out when ICE took down 84,000 site because of some bad apples on mooo.com and redirected them to a splash page saying their site was seized for child porn its outrageous it was allowed to happen in the first place but the fact they did not learn from it and still want to do dns blocking is utterly irresponsible and unconstitutional.
for the story http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/ars-interviews-rep-zoe-lofgren.ars

So flat out DNS blocking is a very bad Idea

Person says:

This is communism and will gov't will get too much power. Tyrant will be the president's new title.

SOPA is worse than PETA by far.
They are going out of their way to eliminate people’s rights.
Most of the things SOPA is trying to stop is flawed and unconstitutional. If SOPA ever passed (which I know it won’t it will only lead to massive strikes and riots) then this country will be stripped of its title as free.

They don’t realize that commentaries and what not on youtube aren’t even copyright. If you paid for an item it is yours to keep and use how you would like.

There would be no advertising products. Companies would lose tons of money if this ever passed because people wouldn’t be able to listen to a song or watch any gameplay. Giving them no desire to buy products.

TONS of websites will be taken which will lead to lack of advertisements. TV will be loaded with Ads(they are already). All available websites will be loaded with ads too!

This is communism at its finest. No freedom whatsoever. There’s a REASON this failed SOPA don’t even try to pass this unless you truly desire this country’s destruction.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...