MPAA Pretends To Capitulate On SOPA, Will Offer Changes For 'Legitimate Concerns'

from the yeah,-ok dept

This is barely even worth mentioning, but it’s making some news, so we’ll point it out. The MPAA’s point man on SOPA/PIPA, Michael O’Leary, told the press today that they’re willing to “tone down” the legislation in response to the “legitimate concerns” raised:

?We will come forward with language that will address some of the legitimate concerns? of technology companies that have opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, and a similar Protect I.P. Act in the Senate, Mr. O?Leary said.

First of all, this is nothing new. Rep. Lamar Smith, the official sponsor of the bill had already been on record using that exact same phrase: “legitimate concerns.” The thing is, what they consider to be “legitimate concerns” are basically none of the concerns that many people have raised.

The more telling point in all of this is the outright admission that the MPAA is the one writing the bill. We’ve seen some reports making the rounds where defenders of the bill keep insisting “this bill isn’t being written by Hollywood,” but in the quote above, you can see that O’Leary is confirming that the MPAA is providing the language. The NYTimes report makes this point even clearer:

He said those who were pushing the far-reaching antipiracy legislation have been huddling with Congressional staff members from both parties and both the House and Senate in the last few days, in an effort to answer some objections raised by Google, Yahoo and others who say the bills reach too far.

Notice who’s not included in those discussions? That’s right. Everyone who raised objections. How the hell do you address concerns if you don’t actually include the people who are concerned? The answer is you don’t, and the whole thing is a sham. O’Leary also points out that most of the tech folks still won’t be satisfied, which basically is an admission that he doesn’t actually care about the concerns. From there he starts making stuff up:

?It?s all rhetoric and there are no proposals,? he said of the position staked out by the opponents to the bills. ?From where I sit, it?s hard to see that as anything but a pretext for running out the clock and preserving the status quo.?

The thing is, O’Leary knows that’s untrue. He knows damn well that plenty of folks have presented or are working on alternative proposals. It’s just that when they’re not allowed in the discussion at all, it’s kinda difficult to have those proposals heard. Meanwhile, as we noted earlier, Senator Wyden has already said he’s working on an alternative bill. Pretending otherwise is simply false.

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Comments on “MPAA Pretends To Capitulate On SOPA, Will Offer Changes For 'Legitimate Concerns'”

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88 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

We do need an alternative bill. One that shortens copy protection lengths, one that makes copy’right’ opt in and not opt out while providing for a centralized database that protected works must be listed in for others to look up and better know what’s infringing vs what’s not (or at least have a starting point for further investigation), one that lowers infringement penalties, and one that puts greater liability on bogus takedown requests.

There, now did I leave anything out?

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We do need an alternative bill. One that shortens copy protection lengths, one that makes copy’right’ opt in and not opt out while providing for a centralized database that protected works must be listed in for others to look up and better know what’s infringing vs what’s not (or at least have a starting point for further investigation), one that lowers infringement penalties, and one that puts greater liability on bogus takedown requests.

There, now did I leave anything out?

Those are good proposals in general. I’d add a need for broader personal use rights and bright line rules for fair use.

But none of this addresses the rogue sites problem. How do you suggest we deal with that?

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Again, the “rogue websites” idea is a bogeyman. People can and will copy and share knowledge and entertainment. And while you can sit and say that the industry is suffering based on piracy, all evidence proves otherwise. The idea that you have so many “pirates” who are costing billions through debunked statistics is laughable. The idea that the Pirate Bay, Jamendo, Youtube, Soundcloud, Grooveshark, Megaupload, and all other legal sites need to bow down to the RIAA and MPAA because they think the sites are illegal is beyond dumb.

So please, explain why so much time and effort should be going to prevent piracy instead of focusing on making content that people want to watch or interact with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think the current problems with IP law are much greater than the alleged infringement problems. Before dealing with the alleged problems of infringement I think we should deal with the real problems with the law itself. Doing anything to expand IP law (or its enforcement) will only make the negative consequences of IP law even worse if we don’t first address the more important issue of making our IP laws in the public interest first. Dealing with infringement should be the least of our concerns now, at least until the law gets fixed first. At this point any attempts to expand IP law (or its enforcement) should rightfully be put aside until the law first gets fixed. Our priorities should be to fix the laws and we should not support any attempt to expand those laws (or its enforcement) at least until they get fixed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“But none of this addresses the rogue sites problem.”

I think this also depends on what one defines to be a ‘problem’ and for whom. and why should the government be responsible for everyone’s problems.

I have a problem. I want a billion dollars. The government should fix that problem by providing me with a billion dollars.

IP extremists have a problem. They want IP privileges. That’s no excuse for the government to ‘solve’ their problem by giving them what they want.

The problem is … there is no problem. No one is entitled to an IP privilege and if the public doesn’t want these laws then they shouldn’t exist and that shouldn’t be a problem. Anymore than the fact that I want a million dollars shouldn’t be the governments problem.

The point is that before we can discuss a problem we need to discuss why we are defining it as such. and since no one is rightfully entitled to a monopoly privilege then perhaps it shouldn’t even be a problem to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Says the founding fathers. Says the fact that these privileges don’t exist outside of government and no one is entitled to have taxpayers subsidize them through government. No one is entitled to have government give them money nor special privileges, no one is entitled to anything that government provides.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Rogue sites are not a problem, I have thousands of DVDs ripped and none of those came from the web.

Now if I could do it, and I am not really into that kind of stuff I can only imagine what determined people would do.

I don’t have cable, I don’t listen to music, I don’t buy books, I go to Jamendo for music, I go to Project Gutenberg for books and I rip off the movies I like to perfect copies and give them away for free to anybody who asks me.

How do you suggest to deal with piracy if it is not done on the internet?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A lot (if not most or at least almost most) people I know who pirate movies (or even songs) don’t really do it off the Internet. They borrow DVD’s from people they know and copy the content. I know people with large collections of content, most of which wasn’t acquired over the Internet whatsoever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well I used to say to others to go learn how to make your own copies, because I’m lazy and didn’t want to bother with it.

Now I have no problem doing it all for them, I do it and I show them how to do it, I teach them how to stream that crap to anywhere using encryption so they can have access to it anywhere and better yet without having to give a goddamn dime to the entertainment industry.

I also show them how easy it is to use anonymous encrypted filesharing options that are not bittorrent, so they can trade any disc copy verbatim with others at long distances and this has nothing to do with “rogue” sites which for me is an euphemism for “what we don’t like”.

Creepy bastards will destroy a great nation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let me bite.

Cutting off the money flow to foreign sites engaging in commercial infringement might well be reasonable, provided that any remedies are carefully limited to US based payment processors and ad services.

If the government can prove in court that bigpiracy.com engages in commercial piracy and ingores valid takedown notices, I have no problem with banning Paypal and VISA from serving the site after due process has been observed.

However, I would like any remedies being limited to foreign commercial sites directly benefitting from piracy.

If a foreign site obeys the notice and takedown scheme of the DMCA, and does not engage in inducement or other conduct that would itself constitute copyright infringement, it should be the end of the matter and no further remedies should be granted.

However, cutting off the enduser’s access to the site is quite different, and should never be instituted.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“However, I would like any remedies being limited to foreign commercial sites directly benefitting from piracy.”

I’d like idiot American corporations to service their markets adequately so that worldwide demand for such sites is removed, but we can’t have everything now, can we?

“If a foreign site obeys the notice and takedown scheme of the DMCA”

Why do you morons think that your laws are applicable to the rest of the world? Do you also think that your companies should be subjected to Chinese rule?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

American law binds American corporations when engaging in commerce with foreign entities.

The Pirate Bay might be legal in its country of residence, but its owners have no right to access to Paypal or Visa.

Surely US law can tell an American corporation that it’s forbidden to transfer money on the behalf of a foreign website.

I in no way like SOPA, but if the remedies are limited to payment processors and ad networks, and the definition of roague site is further narrowed to direct commercial exploitation, the collatteral damage is minimal.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the government can prove in court that bigpiracy.com engages in commercial piracy and ingores valid takedown notices, I have no problem with banning Paypal and VISA from serving the site after due process has been observed.

What if, like in the PirateBay’s case, their service is completely legal in the country that site is based?

The internet is GLOBAL, and not solely there to serve US interests.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Heh, I thought I’d have a look and it turns out that URL is not currently registered. When I look at it on my domain provider, I’m also being offered hugepiracy.com, bigpiracystore.com, bigpiracysite.com, superpiracy.com and even biginfringement.com.

But, they also have bigcopying.com for the more accuracy-minded. Maybe I can get all of them and hope that karma helps me last a while before ICE steal the domains from me?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But none of this addresses the rogue sites problem. How do you suggest we deal with that?

Actually it does – because the major problem copyright has right now is the “hearts and minds” problem. The measures suggested here – by making copyright more reasonable, will make it more acceptable to the public. That in itself will make the public less likely to use the rogue sites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, add taxes you missed the taxes on copyrighted items. Take a look at some of the plans and you’ll see that it just makes sense in killing off the items sitting in that limbo of “not viable to actually produce a product from” but not yet out from under copyright.

Unless you plan on making copyright so short that this doesn’t matter…

Either way I’m in.

average_joe says:

The thing is, what they consider to be “legitimate concerns” are basically none of the concerns that many people have raised.

What “legitimate concerns” are they going to address in the next draft? Any ideas?

The thing is, O’Leary knows that’s untrue. He knows damn well that plenty of folks have presented or are working on alternative proposals.

Got any links for these alternative proposals? I’d love to see a better plan for dealing with rogue sites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

ls | grep iso
1408.iso
300.iso
30_DAYS_OF_NIGHT.iso
3_10_TO_YUMA.iso
ADJUSTMENT_BUREAU.iso
AEON_FLUX.iso

Or you know just continue to ignore the law and continue to do what they always did.

See above none of those came from the interwebz.
Explain how is that going to stop any piracy at all.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Another alternative for lawbreakers is to find a business model that isn’t based on lawbreaking.

Look at nature – there is an animal occupying every viable “niche” in the ecosystem. Economics works the same. Whilst it is true that every individual has a choice whether to adopt an extra-legal business model – so long as the model is viable you can be certain that someone will occupy it.

Your remarks would indicate that you are a fantasist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Another alternative is to move on to a different business model if you think mashups, karaoke videos, Let’s Plays, and Youtube Poops are legitimate threats that should be dealt with more harshly than bootlegs and shoplifting.

If natural selection made a comeback and all money suddenly became worthless, these fat old morons would be the very first to go extinct.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The thing is, O’Leary knows that’s untrue. He knows damn well that plenty of folks have presented or are working on alternative proposals.”

Got any links for these alternative proposals? I’d love to see a better plan for dealing with rogue sites.

Sure. CwF + RtB = do nothing. It’s simple math.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well I also would love to see an actual effective plan that would stop piracy do you have any links showing such a plan?

Before you start squeaking I want you to see this:

$ ls | grep iso
1408.iso
300.iso
30_DAYS_OF_NIGHT.iso
3_10_TO_YUMA.iso
ADJUSTMENT_BUREAU.iso
AEON_FLUX.iso
AGORA.iso (WTF did I rip this?)
ALICE_WONDERLAND_2010.iso
ARTHUR_AND_THE_MINIMOYS.iso
AVATAR.iso
BULLETPROOF_MONK.iso
CASPER.iso
CIRQUE_DU_FREAK.iso
CLASH_OF_THE_TITANS.iso
DAYBREAKERS.iso
DEVIL.iso

None of those came from the interwebz 🙂
I have thousands of them after decades of ripping them.

Now that I call real piracy, I’m making perfect copies not the blocky 700MB versions in the Pirate Bay, that looklike they were recorded from the TV.

Can you stop that?

rubberpants says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why? Hollywood seems to be doing just fine.

Maybe if they want to capture those underserved markets they should set up sites that offer the same thing for the right price. Or they can just stop worrying about it as they are currently making record profits. Those are two good options.

Hollywood isn’t “in trouble.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I submit that the content industry does not give a darn whether or not any consumer rips lawfully purchased content so that the consumer can view it on his/her equipment.

Their concern is and always has been those who then take these rips and start sending them out to others in copious numbers, and especially now that the internet enables instant distribution to the world.

vegetaman (profile) says:

Well, that's great...

There are some specific phrases (or rather, ‘loaded terms’) to always watch out for when dealing with elected officials, such as “we are listening to legitimate concerns” or “this is some common sense legislation” and my personal favorite, “this legislation will not be abused or used for any nefarious purposes.”

Because, you know… Sunshine, Rainbows and Chocolate Unicorns!

jakerome (profile) says:

My comment to NY Times, 3+ hours in moderation queue

’tis a whole ‘nother rant. Here’s what I (tried) to post.

———————–

That’s simply stunning, for a New York Times reporter to regurgitate as fact the propaganda espoused by the MPAA and RIAA. Specifically this, “The proposed bills are intended to combat foreign-based Web sites that traffic in stolen copyrighted content by forcing sites that assist them through searches, payments or other means to sever those connections.” I would expect a writer for this publication would be familiar with the proposed law and know that the law is not restricted to foreign websites.

And how does it propose to restrict access? Why, by having the government mandate censorship, and by making all sites that allow user generated content subject to massive secondary liability claims.

It’s a bit disturbing that it’s claimed and reported so matter of factly that the MPAA is re-writing this bill. That’s not government by, for and of the people. Rather, it’s by, for and of the corporate interests. The credulity of this report is even more shocking since the New York Times and many other mainstream news sites have recognized the danger the bill poses to open expression and freedom of creativity.

But the biggest laugher is the claim that Google is trying to “gin up” opposition to the bill with spurious claims. That’s a lot of chutzpah from an organization that routinely claims movie piracy harms corn farmers, soldiers serving overseas and the US economy itself! It’s like living in some sort of fantasy world.

It’s no wonder that the MPAA propaganda tries to use true problems like counterfeit drugs with in order to enable massive government censorship intended solely to save them from adapting their Buggy Whip business model. They put forward blue collar workers decrying lost jobs while executives collect $75 million bonuses and lobbyists earn millions a year for successfully buying off Congress for a full generation to date.

It ends now. SOPA and its cousins are disastrous and should simply not be passed in any form.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

… *sigh* And here I would think you paid attention to who actually wrote this bill. It sure wasn’t Google, when the mpaa admits they wrote this legislation to fit their agenda.

So now suggesting compromise language somehow means the MPAA wrote the entire bill. Perhaps you should spend some time getting that GED so you don’t have such problems with reading comprehension.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Hmmm… The MPAA admits to writing the language of the bill and talking to lawmakers about changes needed to appease the public that has vilified the bill. Dunno where you believe this bill represents Google or CDT but maybe the one needing a lesson in reading comprehension is the one you view in the mirror every morning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just a simple question. Where in the linked article does it state that the MPAA has admitted it is the one writing the bill? By my reading the MPAA admits no such thing.

Just because it says it will come forward with some new language certainly does not translate into “Yes. We admit it. The members of the MPAA are the ones who wrote the current bill, gave what we wrote to the judiciary committee, our personal work product is now pending before committee, and we will make some amendments to it.”

I know it may be difficult for some to accept, but it is not at all unusual for businesses and individuals to propose changes to a bill that a committee may decide (or not) to incorporate into a bill under consideration.

If the “tech industries”, whatever that may mean and include, did the same their input would likewise be considered. Thus far it appears as if their input has been little more than “No, no, no” to everything, and no proposed amendments have been offered. Small wonder what underlies the comment made that the tech industries are trying to run out the clock and retain the status quo.

Trying to paint the MPAA and its associated groups as being those wearing black hats and the tech groups being those wearing white hats is so biased that it is hard to take many of the articles and comments here seriously.

Legislation always involve compromise, with each side on an issue giving something to the other in return for reciprocal concessions. This matter is no different than what transpired when the DMCA was enacted.

Sorry, but on a scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (great), this article, in my view, resides at the lower end of the scale.

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You may not be working for them, but the lawmakers surely are.

You are what in business terms is referred to as a “revenue stream”, or possibly a “resource”.

If you think of yourself in higher terms, like “the public”, “human” or “citizen”, we will have to send a SWAT team to reeducate you.

Coming soon to a reality near you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I do not agree that the bills are meant to “control” the internet, and posit that businesses have every right to pursue legislation (whether good or bad is immaterial) regarding matters that effect them directly.

Just as they have a right to pursue legislation, you have the right to advocate your position regarding the legislation.

Chaos (profile) says:

But the MPAA is winning against piracy.

If we define the rules of the war on piracy as “provide a better product at a fair price” then the MPAA is actually WINNING the war on piracy. Just look at the “movies” that you might download from PTB, the few I’ve checked out are an excessively huge download with a crappy “taped by a two year old” movie in it. An actual DVD has a far superior viewing experience, a mess of extras and can be watched for as low as a dollar due to rentals. Unless you reaaaaly hate paying for things or you live in uzbekistan or china or some such place where a US dollar is enough to kill someone for, pirating movies isn’t likely to be something you do often.

Nigel Lew (profile) says:

#24 Where do you think the inordinate of amount of cash from MPAA related lobbyists is going? I don’t know if they physically penned it or not but they damn sure bought off someone to write it for them otherwise.

MPAA Reveals $400000 Spend on Q1
MPAA spent $470K in 2Q
MPAA spent $420000 lobbying government in 3Q

They are not having a taco party bro. They are greasing palms to pass shit legislation that serves only a handful of rubes in suits(thats my term for the day FYI)

Nigel

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As distasteful as it is (and I find it particularly distatasteful, which is why I have worked at the local level concerning reform of such practices), money is the lubricant that greases the skids in DC, and that money comes from groups on all sides of an issue.

Re your reference to “suits”, you make it sound as if only senior executives are the beneficiaries of legislation such as this. Their oftentimes ridiculous compensation aside, it does bear mentioning that these companies employ many, many people, both directly and indirectly (suppliers, for example).

BTW, if one wants to rag on executive compensation, he/she should be directing their disgust towards company shareholders who approve such compensation. Disgust should also be directed at a corporate system where the directors are generally a select “club” beholden to senior executives. Frankly, I am almost to the point that I would like to start lobbying the SEC to consider its rules concerning directors and insisting upon a greater number of independent directors who are not part of the “club” and who are beholden to no one.

othcmdr (profile) says:

Alternatives?

Did I miss something? Does there need to be an alternative to the SOPA/ProtectIP? If the bills in the senate and congress get voted down, does the internet still have to suffer from more regulation?

Having an alternative is always a good way to seek compromise, but ‘everyone else’ just say that its fine how it is?

Different perspective. A bill says that the EPA should be stripped of all enforcement powers. Does the opposition need to table something that says “we’ll meet you half way, but you asked for too much.” Or can they all wisen up and say “hmmm, the way it is seems to be fine”?

Beech (profile) says:

Re: Re: Alternatives?

Yes, very much this. Why should any alternatives be offered? This law is objectively terrible, meet them “halfway” and it will still be half-shit. Actually, i think this is part of the bargaining process…ask for everything in the world AND a pony. Then when people push back offer to make “concessions.” That way when they say, “ok, ok, we only want all the money in the world, but NOT a pony” it will actually seem more reasonable.

In the pure spirit of haggling over this bill we should offer the counter plan of abolishing copyright, mandating full internet encryption for all, making it illegal for anyone to track users, and having the MPAA donate $10 billion dollars to the Pirate Bay. That way when we meet in the “middle” with the MAFIAA, it will be a lot closer to the actual middle middle, as opposed to closer to where they want to be

JackHerer (profile) says:

My Proposal (very rough outline)

The below is only for digital mass consumer media, i.e. video, audio, books, magazines and such. It is also a very rough proposal to convey the general idea and be built upon. It is not some kind of comprehensive plan that can be implemented directly.

1. Reduce the copyright term to something more inline with its original intensions e.g. 30 years. Tell whining musicians that copyright does not exist to provide them with a retirement income, they need to invest like the rest of the population.

2. Give consumers the right to copy digital media (as defined above) that they have legally obtained for their own personal use. Essentially outlaw DRM.

3. Change copyright law to remove the ability of the copyright holder to control reproduction and distribution. Retain only the right to be compensated for distribution (i.e. where a copy changes hands). Anyone can copy and distribute anything but they are legally obliged to tell the copyright holder and compensate them for it. If the copyright holder does not want something to be distributed do not release it, once it is “in the wild” then they only retain the right to be compensated for it.

4. Create a central database of ALL copyrighted digital mass consumer media as defined above (i.e. every audio recording, movies, tv program, book magazine etc every produced that is currently under copyright). Each “media item” would have a unique identifier and if possible a high quality reference copy of the media.

5. Offer a series of subscription based licences for consumers at different prices for the media in the database. For this to compete with piracy it is imperative that at least some of these licenses be “all you can eat”.

6. Create a standards based publicly documented API for the media database. This allows anyone who wants to distribute the media to comply with point three by recording that a copy has been distributed and to record that the person in receipt of the copy has the appropriate licence for that media.

7. An independent organisation should be set up manage and maintain the database, process payments for licenses and administer the distribution of funds to copyright holders. Their role should be very well defined so as to avoid the “scope creep” common to collection societies. Their role should be entirely technical and administrative and should not involve any kind of enforcement.

8. Licenses should be voluntary and not some kind of legal imposed “media tax” forced on ISPs or similar nonsense proposed in the past.

9. There should be a basic free of charge license, this would give all consumers access to any content that creators wish whilst giving those creators an idea of how popular their content is.

The way this would work is as follows. A user (john) signs up for a subscription (Music only, all you can eat) and decides to pay monthly ($10 a month). He signs up through a website distributing audio media, the payment goes directly to the central db administrator and not to the website distributor. He receives a username and password. This password can be used by any distributor website and is authenticated with the central database via a secure protocol such as oAuth. The distribute may provide the content in any format and by any means they wish (stream, download, CD, wax cylinder, stone tablet etching whatever) all they are obliged to do is log with the central database that the logged in user has accessed the media.

This separates out responsibilities nicely, e.g. record companies, film and tv studio can concentrate on what they are good at, producing and promoting content and they base their business model around that and not on the increasingly quixotic desikre to control distribution. Technology companies can concentrate on what they are good at, coming up with innovative ways to provide content to consumers in a format they find convenient and valuable. The distribution companies do not receive any money for the content, it is up to them to work out how to monetise their distribution mechanism, and we all know they will. It also creates true competition between distributors because users will use the service that they find the most compelling.

The pot of money should be distributed on a pro rata basis, weighted by the number of UNIQUE users that access that media e.g, a user using a music streaming service who listens to the same track 50 times counts once, just as a user who downloads the track once and listens to it 50 times.

There are many flaws in the above description that would need to be ironed out to turn it from an outline, back of envelope idea to a real implementable plan. But i strongly believe that it is a sensible foundation for a maintainable system. All it would take is for the media companies to realise that they can no longer base their business model on controlling distribution and as such they should stop trying to control it.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: My Proposal (very rough outline)

We’ll have to wait for the current crop of executives (and maybe the next generation as well) to retire before anything like that has any hope of seeing the light of day. Besides that, though, I see some issues with a massive centralized database containing everyone’s name, password, media tastes, and credit card information. There are also some possible issues with the government meddling in an issue that would better be taken care of by a free market. Interesting idea though.

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