Colbert Takes On SOPA

from the can-we-get-some-internet-policement dept

By the way, I wanted to embed the clips of Colbert's show in this post -- as is clearly allowed by the site. But because Viacom is crazy, they appear to set the embeds to autoplay as soon as you load up the page. And that's freaking annoying. I tried to find hidden variables to stop the autoplay... and nothing worked. So, sorry, no embeds. Meanwhile, Colbert: please, please, turn off autoplay, or at least make it an option. Thankfully, a few folks sent over the secret code to make it work...

Want to see just how mainstream the issues of SOPA and PROTECT IP are becoming? Last night they made it on to The Colbert Report, where he had a bit of a debate about SOPA, between record label owner Danny Goldberg and Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain. It kicked off with a short segment, where Colbert explained the issue.
As a content provider, I am wholeheartedly against the infringement of copyright... so much so that I had that phrase trademarked and then I had it emblazoned on a Mickey Mouse doll
Which, of course, he then shows to the audience.

But the awesomest part? He quotes the famous $200 to $250 billion in losses claim that always gets thrown around... but then immediately says:
That is a shocking number. Especially when you realize the FBI admits it has "no record of source data or methodology for generating the estimates and that it cannot be corroborated." Now folks, that's what happens when the FBI buys bootleg reports off a card table in Chinatown.
Honestly, this might be the first time I've seen mainstream media -- and a Viacom-owned property, no less -- call out the bogus numbers for being bogus. He finishes by pointing out that YouTube, Twitter and Facebook could be in trouble under the law, and that people uploading infringing videos may face problems as well.

From there, he went into the debate. In his typical satirical way, he introduces Zittrain by claiming he was here to "defend thieves & pirates," and asks him "why do you want artists to starve?" Zittrain did a great job:
"I want artists to thrive. The internet allows artists to find their audiences. When Justin Bieber started singing his favorite songs on YouTube, he got discovered because of the internet. And the odd thing is, under this law, SOPA, the behavior of Justin Bieber, singing his favorite songs, without authorization, over the internet, could make him a felon, in jail for three years."
It's actually five, but close enough. Goldberg, of course, says this is all an exaggeration, and then claims (incorrectly) that the bill only targets foreign sites. Zittrain did note that there were different parts of the bill (but leaves out that many of them target US companies), but then makes the second key point, about how this law uses the same mechanism that China & Iran use to censor the internet there. To which Colbert replies: "I don't know about Iran, but China is kicking our ass in business right now. Wouldn't it be good for American business? Because if we shut down parts of the internet, won't people at work actually do the work they were hired for?"

Goldberg continues to play the "but something must be done" line, leading Colbert to make his alternative proposal: "What if the artist gets something from the company stealing from them? An eye for an iPod?" to which Goldberg says "it's a good line, but..." and Colbert points out, "it's an excellent line, not a good line" and then threatens to sue anyone who "steals" it.

Wasn't expecting much for an under 5 minute interview, but overall Zittrain did a great job, and got in a few key points. The Bieber point is a little exaggerated, because Bieber would have to do a few more things (such as embedding the videos on his own site), but the overall point he's getting at is clear: the bill is overreaching and will harm legitimate activities which artists rely on today.

Filed Under: copyright, danny goldberg, jonathan zittrain, justin bieber, pipa, protect ip, sopa, stephen colbert
Companies: viacom

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  1. identicon
    darryl, 2 Dec 2011 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    TPB is legal, if it does not break any laws.

    It was not "legal" in that country, but it did not break any local (country laws).

    A site is not 'legal' or 'illega' based on what it does, it is illegal IF it does something that is in breach of a law.

    TPB was not acting illegally when they make ISO's of linux available, or non-copyrighted files or to allow users to share or distribute "LEGAL" files.

    If you live in America, you have to live under the laws of that country. If you access TPB from America, it does not matter what country TPB is in, YOU are the one committing the crime, and YOU are in America !!!

    Sure, the server you may be logged into might be in another country, but YOU ARE NOT, and it is YOU who is breaking the law.

    TPB makes it possible for you to break the law, and because you are in America you are required to live by the laws of the country YOU LIVE IN, not the country to talk too !!.

    IF you run an international company, each branch of that company lives and works within the laws of THAT country.

    If you do not like the laws of your country, you have a right to leave your country, but not a right to decide to live by the laws of another country.

    IF TPB is legal in Sweden, go to Sweden, but if TPB breaks US laws, and operates in the US, and you as a US citizen living in the US use that service you are bound by the laws of the country you live in.

    You expect that when people from other countries come to your country they will live by the laws of the country they are IN, not the laws of where they are FROM !

    Techdirt might be hosted in the US and it "might" be legal now, and therefore allowed to operate, but if TD decided to host illegal data, then that act is illegal, then the site is therefore illegal.

    Just because you "start out" legal, the first time you break the law you are no longer acting in a legal manner.

    SO if TPB decided to stick to legal content, ISO's and legal files, there would have never been a problem.

    TPB USED to be a great source of public domain files, and information, but by conducting illegal acts and abusing their own system they have destroyed that value for the HONEST users of that service.

    IF TPB is closed down you will not only NOT be able to access the illegal content, but also the LEGAL content.

    Therefore a reduction of services and value. The a large user and internet loss.

    Also, TPB if they use Google add revinue, they are PAID with US Dollars and US money....

    Money that is not going to the citizens of the US, or to the creators of the illegal content that generates that revinue.

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