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. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 1 Nov 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Essentially, we have people going on about what the bill *MIGHT* do, but only what it might do for people who make their livings off of running content without knowing the source."

    See, this is where I begin to have a problem. If you want to go after people who are actually infringing, I'm with you. I think it's too hard to be feasible, but whatever. If content folks want to do it, more power to them. What this bill is talking about is third-party liability, which is a fundementally flawed proposition in contrast with how our legal system functions as a rule. That said, my problems philisophically aside, if it were something website operators could reasonably do (meaning somehow block the links to infringing material on their site), I might be able to think about a compromise, but I'm unaware of a system for how websites can do this, so I just don't see it.

    "I mean, how do you counter the "this will break the internet"? It is an argument that is far reaching, but as exact and precise as mush in a blender. It isn't an argument, it's just a scary phrase that seems to get trotted out every time someone even suggests that site operators might actually be responsible for the content they profit from."

    I disagree, and here's why. If the history of the internet has taught us anything, it's that most legislation enacted around it seeks to curtail behavior on the internet. True, most of that curtailing is aimed at illegal behavior. No argument. The problem is that we've seen many examples of non-illegal behavior that gets caught in the crossfire. So, we seem to have a fundemental question on our hands. Which do we value more, the ending of illegal or borderline illegal behavior, or the continuing of non-illegal behavior. My position is that I'd rather a thousand guilty go free than the imprisonment of one innocent person. Anyone sharing that sentiment would likely conclude that this legislation is what is overreaching, not the fear that it will be misapplied.

    "It's particular hard to argue when people consider all the misuse of IP going on as normal. There is no way in the past we would have tolerated magazines with nothing but stolen images in it, yet we are suppose to look at something like Youtube and consider it to be somehow immune to responsiblity for the very content it seeks to profit from."

    It's a question of function, not philosophy. Everything on the internet scales bigger, so how is YouTube supposed to accurately block the infringing content that it itself didn't put on their site? They have their ID system, so they're trying. But the flaw in your analogy is that, with magazine publishers, you have one entity to tackle for infringement, and that would be the magazine itself, which would have put those infringing (stolen? C'mon, let's not have this silly debate again) images in their publication. That simply isn't the case with YouTube. Again, they're TRYING, but you're still calling them out. That seems problematic.

    "It's hard to argue when people are willing to tolerate the "legal head of a pin" arguments, where sites that support, promote, talk about, link to, and even review pirated material get a pass because they don't happen to be hosting the content on their own domain, and rather upload it to a "file host" which itself ends up being legally immune for the content, all the while charging people to access it."

    Forgive me, but you'll have to give me an example of this, because I'm unaware of this type of thing. As for sites that discuss, review, or otherwise have speech about or revolving around infringing content...I mean, are you REALLY going to shut down sites that talk about drugs, their use or misuse, etc.? That's speech. It's never been illegal to discuss something illegal. That would be totally new. And dangerous, in my opinion.

    "Further, it's not hard to understand Mike's incredible hype and over reaching comments here. His business models, his ideal, the very things he pushes for (and for that matter that define his online persona) are under attack. Lose the infinite marketplace, make piracy a bit player instead of a primary around, make it so people actually (eek!) pay for the content they want, and his entire raison d'etre are lost."

    This is what I was discussing earlier. For all the well-spoken/written words here, the flowery language, this is just a nonsense attack. Everything at Techdirt focuses on getting customers to pay in some way. This is the hyperbolic bullshit that needs to go away, not to be confused with the rest of your comment, which appears to be a reasoned bit of thought. That part I appreciate. Pretending Mike is somehow reeling because piracy is how he makes a living is just disingenous. I suggest you stop doing it.

    "That Mike is apparently in Washington banging doors doesn't help, because it has clearly moved this blog from being one of opinion, to one of a barely disguised PAC or lobbyist firm. Just as it is hard to argue some of the crap that comes from the MPAA side of the discussion, it is equally hard to argue the crap that has come out here in the last 7 days or so."

    If you're saying Techdirt has a slant to its opinions, well...no kidding. I get that. Hell, I WRITE for this site occasionally and I don't agree with everything that's written here by others. So what? It's not even close to a lobby. And putting it on the same level as the MPAA is kind of weird. You want to say the site and its main operator is advocating in Washington? Fine. I agree. I'm wondering what your problem with that is? Certainly Techdirt is not contributing to politicians to get legislation passed. At least, I would HOPE that isn't the point you're making, because that would just be dumb....

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