Jon Stewart Now Knows About SOPA/PIPA… And He's Not Impressed

from the hello-fair-use dept

Remember how, based on an audience question, Jon Stewart promised to study up on SOPA/PIPA for a future show. Looks like that happened. And, apparently, he did his homework before Wednesday, so he could actually use Wikipedia. In last night’s show, Stewart used yesterday’s blackouts and protests as a jumping off point to discuss the bill. There were two main points: (1) Congress is trying to pass laws about an internet they don’t understand at all, and (2) fair use is incredibly important, and anything that potentially damages fair use is dangerous to culture. For the first point, he played some clips of Rep. Mel Watt proudly displaying his ignorance of technology — and then points out that Watt is the ranking member on the IP sub-committee. He also mocks the calls during the markup from various Congressional Reps. to have a hearing with “the nerds” by reminding them that it’s not “nerds” they’re looking for… it’s experts. Something in short supply in Congress. For the second point, he ably uses a ton of short clips, fair use style, to demonstrate how important fair use is to a show like his… while mocking Viacom and its own lawyers for trying to limit fair use. Good stuff all around. And yes, for those people who live in foreign countries that don’t have a deal with Viacom, I apologize that you can’t see the video below. It’s just one more example of how Viacom encourages infringement by not giving people what they want.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , ,
Companies: viacom

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 “Jon Stewart Now Knows About SOPA/PIPA… And He's Not Impressed”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: A matter of priorities

That would be because a comedian can look at the situation and make his observations… Congress has spent this time tying to analize it and find further interpretations of the situation to justify thier working on the behalf of big business instead of the people they’re supposed to work for… you know, us

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: A matter of priorities


I find it ironic (and also quite sad) that a comedian can figure out the core issue within two days and that congress has been working on this for two years and still hasn’t gotten the point.

Ironic, maybe, but hardly surprising. Jon and all the rest of the Daily Show team?s writers, researchers and presenters are content creators, not content publishers. Copyright was never about favouring the content creators, but about monopolies to prop up the content publishers. Artists readily see why ?strengthening? copyright can only hurt them and put barriers between them and their audience. The publishers, collection agencies, and other such middlemen, on the other hand, figure the more such barriers, the better, because it makes their own gatekeeper roles more important, and to hell with the actual interests of the content creators.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Your got your facts wrong re: copyright.

Just because copyright has been gradually becoming more and more maximalist doesn’t mean it was always that way. At the start of our republic, copyright had a maximum term of 28 years for two terms, 14 years a term. And since it was opt-in, 95% of authors chose not to copyright their material. And all copyright meant was no other publisher could publish anything copyrighted (which was limited to books, sheet music and maps). That’s it. You were allowed to copy it by hand and make derivative plays based on a copyrighted book. It was still a monopoly, but a much more limited monopoly than we have now.

And if you want to know WHY we (as in the US) have copyright, just read the US constitution, Article 1, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

[Ed: Bold Mine]

Notice what it does not say. It does not say “publishers and merchants”. It says “authors and inventors”, as in the actual people who have done the work as opposed to the people who make their work public or fund their work. Also, it says “limited times”, something this court has chosen to forget too many times.

Martijn says:

Re: Re:

“And yes, for those people who live in foreign countries that don’t have a deal with Viacom, I apologize that you can’t see the video below. It’s just one more example of how Viacom encourages infringement by not giving people what they want.”

I live in the Netherlands.

I can actually see the video posted here, but indeed, when american, canadian or even british networks put videos on their own sites, I’m often not able to watch them because the content is blocked based on my location. Because they don’t have the necessary rights to broadcast it in my country.

What.. The.. Fuck..?!
YOU made the content, YOU published the content. Who else has the rights to broadcast it over the internet to other countries but YOU?

The same goes for sites like HULU. They claim they’re not allowed to show ANY clips in the country I live in, and they’re working on getting the rights to do so. Why don’t the companies who host their material with HULU tell HULU they are allowed to broadcast it wherever the hell they want? It’s not like they get any less revenues on advertising when I watch it, compared to a US citizen watching it? Google managed to make this work by showing me Dutch advertising based on my global position/IP?

And I doubt very much that Dutch TV networks or the Dutch government would have any basis for sueing them for broadcasting their own material on Dutch soil over the internet, rather than selling it to the Dutch networks to show on Dutch TV. After all, the US networks can do whatever the hell they want with their own shows?

When foreign networks will no longer sell their shows but instead show them on the internet for ad money, I’d say that would be an incentive for Dutch networks to start making good shows of their own for once, rather than relying on foreign material. That would be great for a change, actual quality TV. Imagine that!

Anyways, all of the above is exactly why I have to resort to piracy. Yes, I download TV shows, because I have no way of watching them legally in this country, unless I wait for the DVD’s to get released in stores, which often takes years over here. Please make it inconvenient to consume your product, and thanks for making me a criminal!

Paul Hobbs (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Alas, it does. I am in Australia, and when I tried to watch the video on the CC site (, I got the message:

Sorry, this video is unavailable from your location.

That’s such bullshit. They’re not sorry at all. I bet they don’t give a rats arse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Then you kinda missed the point. The ones calling for the nerds were the ones OPPOSED to SOPA, calling to get the nerds that actually actually understand all this stuff. Considering many in the tech and online communities are not at all opposed to labeling themselves geeks, that’s obviously the tone they were trying to use… Get in the people that are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the internet and actually know what this would do.

Major Patent says:

Re: Viacom

eeek, Don’t speak ill of the job creators! The can have you whisked away to club gitmo… for indefinite days and ? nights you’ll enjoy the tranquility of solitary confinement while you indulge your taste buds with expired MRE rations and all the water you can breathe. It’s all inclusive, and it can be yours IF you do what’s right.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I know what you mean. I find it quite disturbing too. Then again, if it looks like the copyright symbol, it saves Comedy Central on trying to remind people that you’re a horrible thief equivalent to someone who mugs old ladies with those unskippable DVD/Blu-Ray FBI Warnings by just having their logo look like a copyright symbol. So all the work is done for them.

EF says:

Thanks Mike

Thanks for this clip and others from the Daily Show. You know, I haven’t given much attention to The Daily Show before: to me, it wasn’t real news but news satire. Now, I like it for that very reason! you’ve created a fan in me of Stewart and the Daily Show. I’ve been to his site several times now and I’ve set up the DVR so I can watch his shows and I share Daily Show clips with my own online community. Sharing and linking promotes and drives traffic. SOPA/PIPA, DMCA, ProIP, ACTA,…would end this today if they could. YOU get it. Btw, I share a lot of your material with friends and credit you and techdirt at every opportunity. Thanks for what you do!

robin says:


Couldn’t agree more with what Martijn stated above. Hoi kerel ๐Ÿ˜‰ Me myself also living in the Netherlands think the media companies, whom provide excellent content (from time to time) can’t be bothered with trying to find some obscure copy of something i’d like to see. The problems, in my opinion, with the movie companies, for why this many people resort to piracy, are two things. The main being availability. The key for any business, whether film, tv, newspaper, etc., is reaching customers. Something the film industry does in an excellent way when it comes to advertising what it has to offer, but not for it’s potential customers to acquire said advertised content.For myself, If only they some sort of platform from which I could cheaply download their content. Which brings me to my second point: cost! I was discussing just yesterday with a flatmate about how much we would pay fora movie. We agreed that the promotion the MediaMarkt had last week or the week before, ?14 for a blu-ray, was a marginally acceptable price.

One goes to the movies for approximattely ?9 here. But you go watch a movie for the cinematic experience of it. When you buy, or download, a movie it might be because you hadn’t seen it or because it is for a collection.

I download because I like to collect. Mind you I don’t upload, I’m trying to abide the law if possible. Then again, when I’m after something which should be available, but “isn’t in my country”, I think a big “f*ck you mediab*tches, I’ll find it elsewhere”.

Gotta leave the story here I’m afraid, I’m about at work, but you get the gist.

My message to the media companies: “Create a download platform for consumers which:
– offers all content, regardless of country!
– offers it cheap! I’d say around ?10 for UNLIMITED monthly subscription, download however much you can for it (look at newsgroups, it works!)
– cancel your pathetic lawsuits and join the future with your own, better developt, content platform

The Luke Witnesser says:

Here lies the truth about SOPA/PIPA that even TechDirt has yet to report: what MPAA, RIAA, and Hollywood execs do not want you to see.

The truth behind why these big companies responsible for SOPA and PIPA are also responsible for piracy itself is far more insidious than even their outmoded business model.

Can you say, do as I say so I can crush you under heel?

Dave P says:

Good points

It’s OK, folks. I’m in the UK and the simple application of a proxy allowed me to watch! (Not a word of this to Lamar, otherwise I could be deported and end up doing five years in jail!) I have to say that the loud American humour with the bad language and screaming audience is probably an acquired taste but he has managed to ridicule all the supporters in no uncertain fashion. The “country boy” politician who seems singularly proud of the fact that he hasn’t got a clue about what he is trying to legislate against is priceless. Perhaps the entertainment industry has bribed him by promising him a new tractor and hen-house.

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 ยป

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

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