US Chamber Of Commerce So Clueless It Thinks You Have To Be 'Anti-IP' To Be Against E-PARASITE Bill

from the not-the-case,-steve-o dept

Steve Tepp is the US Chamber of Commerce's (the world's largest lobbying group) point man on PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE/SOPA. His latest move is to try attacking anyone who points out the problems of E-PARASITE/SOPA. First up? Demand Progress, who dared to call it a "blacklist bill." According to Tepp, it's not a blacklist bill, because the lobbyists who wrote the bill (potentially including Tepp himself) were smart enough not to write "list" in the text of the bill.

Of course the bill doesn't actually say that there's a list. Just as the Chinese Great Firewall doesn't actually involve the government "listing" sites, but merely threatens ISPs with liability if they let bad sites through, E-PARASITE massively broadens the definitions of what's "dedicated to the theft of U.S. property" such that it now includes, more or less, the entire internet, and threatens sites with the equivalent of internet death: blocking from search engines, blocking from DNS (and more!), cutting off any funding sources. No, there's no "blacklist," there's just the threat of cutting off just about any internet site. On top of that, there's an awkwardly worded attempt to force every site to proactively monitor any infringement. Is that why the US Chamber of Commerce doesn't allow comments on its site? Or is it because it knows that no one actually believes the crap it shovels?

But Tepp's intellectual dishonesty is worse than just pretending that without the word "list" there's no actual blacklist. No, the really cheap move is to imply that only the "anti-IP crowd" is against this bill. This is the latest strategy of those who wish to massively regulate the internet so that it looks more like TV -- a broadcast medium, rather than a communications medium. They refer to anyone who points out the massive negative consequences of their legislative nastiness as being "anti-IP." You've seen it in Techdirt's comments for the past few weeks, with certain anonymous commenters throwing hissy fits about how I'm actually "pro-piracy," when I'm anything but. If you don't think this is part of the coordinated marketing campaign by the largest lobbying organization in the world, you're not paying attention.

So, Steve, let's be clear: being against this bill is not about being "anti-IP." It's about being pro-innovation, pro-internet. It's about recognizing the massive benefits of an open internet. It's about recognizing the massive benefits to the American (and world) economy that were created from an open internet that didn't involve misplaced third party liability.

The concerns of those about this bill have nothing to do with intellectual property and whether it's good or bad. It's about the collateral damage that such a vast change to the legal and technical framework that the internet has been based on for years will cause.

To brush those concerns away as being "the anti-IP crowd," is to show ignorance of what's at stake.

What we don't understand, Steve, is why you would seek to shut down the open internet, killing off more jobs than ever existed in the entertainment industry. We thought the US Chamber of Commerce was supposed to support small businesses. Instead, you're seeking to make any internet business nearly impossible, unless they've already hired a dozen lawyers. I guess if your goal is for full employment for trial lawyers, you're making headway. But, seriously, if you can't debate this subject honestly, don't be surprised when the next generation of businesses dumps the US CoC. Pro tip: pissing off every company of the next generation that might support your bloated organization is no way to build for the future. And don't think jobs "in the industry" will be waiting for you. Without the next generation of great startups that you're trying to kill off, the big content companies who pay your salary these days, won't have the new platforms they need to succeed.

Filed Under: anti-ip, attacks, blacklist, e-parasite, sopa, steve tepp
Companies: demand progress, us chamber of commerce


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2011 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "irst off, this point is quite easy to refute. Copyright law already provides for notice and take down which Google/YouTube and most any other site honors as the risk is to great not to. Copyright holders are the only ones who know what content infringes, websites do not."

    Incorrect. If you don't have a license for it, and the material is copyright, you are infringing. A 6 year old can figure that out. The "notice and take down" was never intended to free site operators from the regular obligations of copyright law, it was only intended as a method to get quick redress without having to engage the entire legal system to do it. Instead, it has been taken as a free pass, an open license to use anything, any time, in any method, and then just respond to the take down notice if and when it comes.

    "Third party liability is a dangerous path to go down. Forcing website operators to be the private police force for content creators is going to fail badly."

    Sadly, because so many websites try to hide out as "third party providers" rather than 1st party publishing firms, they have put themselves in this situation. The perfect tried of non-responsiblity has created the need to regulate. Websites don't host the content, they let "file hosts" do it for them, meaning the website has no apparently liablity for the content because it isn't "on their site" even if it is integrated into editorial material, blogs, etc. The file host is "third party" so not liable for what is stored on their site, and the source of the material (the uploader) isn't tracked or identified, so they have no liablity - and third party sites are often very aggressive about blocking access to their logs.

    The result? Everyone claiming third party standing, while running the content for profit, selling access to it for profit, and so on. For rights holders, well, they are told to pound sand and write up DMCA notices for the exact URL of the offending material, which is replaced within seconds ont he same service under a new URL turning it into a game of whack a mole. Meanwhile, the infringing sites hide behind their third party status and act like nothing is wrong, or at least it isn't anything they can control.

    They can control it, but it requires them to get better business models. That is what really hurts for them, their very business models are based on skirting liability and using DMCA as an escape hatch when the pressure builds up. Remove that, and most of these business models explode.

    It is always simple: If you don't have a license, if you don't have a reasonable fair use claim, or the person providing you the content can show one or the other, then you shouldn't run it on your site.

    Yup, it takes longer, and yup, it "breaks the internet", but since the internet has broken everything else, it's about time things went the other way for a while.

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