by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
sopa, troops

SOPA Sponsors: Pass SOPA To Protect The Troops; Everyone Else: WTF?

from the seriously? dept

The main sponsors of SOPA, Reps. Lamar Smith and John Conyers, are taking political cynicism to new and extreme levels. We've certainly joked about how politicians love to put things like "for the children" or "to save jobs!" on every piece of legislation, because no one wants to be called out for being "against" those things. But now they're simply attaching things that have absolutely nothing to do with SOPA to SOPA... such as claiming that it "protects the troops." That link is to a PDF of a letter sent by Smith and Conyers to their colleagues in Congress, with the headline:
Promote Jobs and Economic Growth: Protect Consumers and Our Troops - Support H.R. 3261
(Amusingly, the URL of that letter also says "Rouge Websites" rather than "Rogue Websites" -- a mistake that lots of folks make, but you'd really expect a bit better of Congress.)

So what does SOPA have to do with the troops? Well, they try to stretch the bill by noting the following:
Trafficking in counterfeit military goods -- H.R. 3261 creates a strong deterrent to those who knowingly risk the lives of members of our armed forces and law enforcement by significantly increasing criminal penalties on those who knowingly traffic in counterfeit military goods or goods sold to law enforcement.
Um. Sorry, but it's already very much against the law to sell counterfeit military goods. SOPA changes nothing there, and certainly won't deter anyone. This is just the ultimate cynical ploy by some Congressional Representatives who appear to have no shame at all, trampling on the good name of our military to pass a bailout bill for Hollywood.

Hell, even the "jobs" claim is bogus. The entertainment industry isn't losing jobs because of "piracy." It's losing jobs because its out-of-touch management hasn't figured out how to adapt to a changing marketplace. Instead, we're seeing tons of innovation and new jobs -- including jobs and innovative tools for content creators come out of the tech industry -- the same industry this bill seeks to regulate, which will significantly slow innovation and job creation.

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  1. icon
    Grae (profile), 17 Nov 2011 @ 2:02pm


    As I stated above: the first sign of a weak or faulty argument is name calling. It provides a literally negative value to the discussion as anyone who might have been on the fence and listened to what you had to say will now be deafened to your arguments. Knock it off, and leave your "FUDboy"s at home.

    So, here's the sentencing guidelines that would be enhanced by SOPA. The penalties range from up to $2,000,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment to $15,000,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment just for being involved in counterfeiting goods. If you bring causing death into the equation, the penalties jump to a fine as stated above and life imprisonment.

    I suppose that because there are no minimum penalties outlined a counterfeiter could in theory cause someone's death, get caught, and get away with a slap on the wrist. If you can provide some cases where this actually happened, I'd love to see them.

    As it is, increasing the penalties for a crime is the weakest method of reducing crime. If there's already enough incentive to commit the crime of counterfeiting when you could be fined $15,000,000 and go to jail for 20 years then increasing these penalties is won't stop criminals from counterfeiting. The risk of getting caught is simply comes with the territory.

    Anyone who is really genuinely interested in reducing harmful counterfeiting will be looking at ways that reduce the incentive to counterfeit in the first place, rather than dealing with the problem after it has already occurred as that's all a penalty increase will do.

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