by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 26th 2011 3:42pm
It's been rumored for a while, but there's growing evidence that the long-delayed House version of the PROTECT IP Act will include provisions for attacking cyberlockers. For whatever reason, the MPAA (in particular) has had an infatuation with cyberlockers as the next big "evil," so this is hardly a surprise. Of course, there's a big problem here: cyberlockers are nothing but online storage, and they have tons of legitimate uses as well. It's difficult to see how any legislation can be crafted that won't have massive unintended consequences and liabilities for all sorts of perfectly legitimate online storage providers. How do you distinguish things like Dropbox or Box.net from one of the cyberlockers that the MPAA loves to hate, such as Hotfile? And as cloud storage continues to grow, the issue only gets worse. How about Amazon.com's S3 offerings? In some ways that's a cyberlocker as well. The fact is that the MPAA is playing a silly and pointless game of whac-a-mole. All this new effort will serve to do is piss people off. It won't lead to any more purchases, but will make it clear that the MPAA has no problem trampling innovation when it can't figure out how to use it properly. Cyberlockers have perfectly legitimate purposes -- as did VCRs before them... but the MPAA tried to kill that, and is now seeking to do the same for lots of other services, just because the MPAA can't comprehend how they're useful.
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