Small Entertainment Web Site Fears SOPA Will Cause It To Shut Down... But ICE Can Already Shut It Down

from the hearing-from-the-entrepreneurs dept

Paul Tassi has an article up at Forbes, where he explains how the blog he runs for a living, Unreality, which covers movies/tv/video games, would be at risk of being shut down under SOPA. Even though his site has nothing to do with infringement, he's still quite reasonably worried:
My site likes to find the best media-related content on the internet. We post photos, artwork and embed YouTube videos that involve things about our favorite movies, shows and games. I always give credit where it’s due, but on occasion, a photographer or artist cannot be located. Under SOPA, should they find their content on my site, they would legally have the right to petition my advertisers to stop paying me, or report me to the government. The same goes for YouTube videos I might feature. Though the content is not mine, as I haven’t uploaded it to the web myself, I am indeed linking to it, and with this new law, I would be subject to the same sort of harsh penalties should the content within be something copyrighted like footage from a game or movie. I am willingly linking to “infringing” content, and under SOPA, can be branded a “rogue site” because of that. Such a classification could cause me to lose everything.
It's not clear if Tassi is in the US. If he is, then he's actually (partially) exaggerating, because as of Monday, SOPA no longer applies to US sites. But that's not good news. Because if he's a US site, then he's already subject to bogus seizures by the government, by which his web site could totally disappear for over a year with no due process whatsoever. Actually, no matter where he is physically, his site -- as a dot com -- is already subject to that kind of censorship. Even without SOPA. All someone has to do is convince a somewhat clueless Immigrations & Customs Enforcement official that his site has lots of infringing content on it -- even if it does not.
I don’t understand the entertainment companies’ end game here. They’ve gone beyond obtuse to straight up maniacal. Do they think if they manage to shut down every bit of copyright infringement on the internet, that sales are going to suddenly skyrocket? Do they think people have some secret horde of cash that they’ve just been waiting to blow on DVDs and CDs, but haven’t because of The Pirate Bay’s existence? If my site can’t link to gameplay videos or movie clips, are my readers going to run out and buy them to see what they’re missing? If they land Unreality on a rogue evil pirate site list, who benefits? I’m suddenly homeless, without any cash to go the movies.
It's a good question. The "end game" is all about control. The legacy entertainment industry built their business models entirely on the basis of the idea that they, not consumers, controlled the market. Everything they're doing is seeking to regain that lost control. As Tassi notes, none of that will actually make people buy more. But that's never what this was about.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    "but on occasion, a photographer or artist cannot be located."

    I think this is one huge problem with copy'right' laws. Almost all of the burden is placed on everyone else to decipher infringing content from non-infringing content. Little to no burden is placed on the IP holder. Copy'right' is opt-out and there are few requirements for the IP holder to ensure that people know who controls the content and that it's protected. There is no requirement for discontinued or orphaned works to enter the public domain and there is little to ensure that these laws don't end up forcing them to die into history and become inaccessible to future generations.

    Copy'right' should never ever, under any circumstances, make a work effectively inaccessible to those who want it. It should always find some way to make the works accessible. More burden should be placed on IP holders to help inform others that the content is protected since the IP holder is in a better position to know if he has the IP over the content than everyone else. These laws should be opt in, perhaps requiring a centralized index where works can be registered and searched by others.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    "Do they think if they manage to shut down every bit of copyright infringement on the internet, that sales are going to suddenly skyrocket?"

    Planning of SOPA

    Step 1: Censor the internet.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: PROFIT

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    More burden should be placed on IP holders to help inform others that the content is protected since the IP holder is in a better position to know if he has the IP over the content than everyone else.


    You mean as a condition of copyright, the copyright holder must deposit two copies with Library of Congress? Further, he must clearly mark all published copies with the © mark, year-date of registration, and the registrant's name?

     

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  4.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 3:53pm

    Do they think people have some secret horde of cash that they've just been waiting to blow on DVDs and CDs, but haven't because of The Pirate Bay's existence?


    Finally someone in the media brings up the question I've been asking for a while, where is all this money content creators are losing? Most people I know who download stuff don't have a sack of cash just laying around, that money gets spent, either on other content or on more important things like food and gas.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Grey Ferret, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 4:02pm

    Re:

    "where is all this money content creators are losing?"

    Rogue sites. Duh!! They're raking in the trillions of dollars that the Entertainment industry is losing.

     

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  6.  
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    ervserver (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    re

    Now is the team to assemble good legal defense teams, do't wait until Uncle Sam breaks down your door.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re:

    You mean as a condition of copyright, the copyright holder must deposit two copies with Library of Congress? Further, he must clearly mark all published copies with the © mark, year-date of registration, and the registrant's name?

    Does the Library of Congress also archive films and TV shows?

    No to mention that actually traveling to the LoC, and reading a work there is prohibitively expensive for most people, unless they have a truly great need to do so.

     

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  8.  
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    MShere (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Hmm well, it certainly won't make me start buying any more DVDs, theater tickets, or rentals. If I want a movie bad enough, there's always used... unless they manage to completely destroy the second-hand market.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    This dope got caught up in the slipstream of FUD promoted here and elsewhere. The poor prick doesn't even realize the law he's shitting tacks over doesn't apply to him. A worse still the dolts at Forbes run the piece, generating even more FUD. Amazing.

     

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  10.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 6:38pm

    Re:

    The poor prick doesn't even realize the law he's shitting tacks over doesn't apply to him

    Explain that with actual data. No conjecture, no faith based economics. Explain how Section 102 or Section 103 does not apply to his particular website.

     

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  11.  
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    Violated (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 7:58pm

    Balance

    The end game of Copyright is absolute enforcement with zero exceptions. A very scary nightmare.

    Those in Congress working on SOPA need to remember that Copyright is NOT an absolute right when it is only a fair right when it comes to enforcement and the right to profit.

    These fair rights must always be balanced against business rights and social rights to conduct themselves in an unmolested way.

    This clearly highlights that SOPA is overstepping that line reflected in the fact that large parts of society and the industry are up in arms over this newly planned law.

    Push Copyright too hard and you only hurt society and business. This is even not touching on the corporate abuse that the Copyright monopoly does.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You mean as a condition of copyright, the copyright holder must deposit two copies with Library of Congress? Further, he must clearly mark all published copies with the © mark, year-date of registration, and the registrant's name?"

    Which was the way things operated until 1978!

    "Does the Library of Congress also archive films and TV shows?"

    While it does have some films, kinescopes, and videotapes (in various formats and conditions), the primary thing was to register the screenplay in script form with them.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 17th, 2011 @ 12:24am

    Re: Re:

    Explain that with actual data. No conjecture, no faith based economics. Explain how Section 102 or Section 103 does not apply to his particular website.

    Jay, in this case, the nutty anonymous pro-SOPA lobbyist is correct. 102 and 103 don't apply to .coms. His site is a .com. Those sections only apply to "foreign sites."

    Again this doesn't mean there aren't potential compliance costs for domestic companies, but his site won't get taken down by SOPA.

    ICE and its "Operation in our Sites" may be a different story.

     

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  14.  
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    RonKaminsky (profile), Dec 17th, 2011 @ 1:32am

    Not necessarily

    The RFC which discusses the organization of the top level domains notes that .com and the other national TLDs, even if administered by the US, were intended to be "international in nature" and not reserved for use by the US. The only such TLD which is currently reserved for US use is the .gov domain. The fact that the US decided not to set up a "normal" .us DNS hierarchy and exclusively use the non-national TLDs does not necessarily mean that those TLDs are somehow "domestic".

    So someone might anyway claim that a .com domain was "foreign", if there existed other evidence that it could be associated with parties outside the US (i.e., is its main userbase non-US? Is it run by an entity not located in the US? Are the servers it uses not located in the US?).

     

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  15.  
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    RonKaminsky (profile), Dec 17th, 2011 @ 2:57am

    Re: Not necessarily

    > .com and the other national TLDs

    Ooops. Meant: ".com and the other non-national TLDs"

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    demented, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 5:42am

    Here's another small business that fears being wrecked by SOPA:
    http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/team-nchick/specials/33613-mr-awesome-goes-to-was hington

    After all, they DARE to speak ill of the entertainment industry's precious movies, and they DARE to include video clips from them in their reviews! Never mind that they have actually HELPED the sale of those movies - obviously they are just pirates!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We good now Jay? Or are you now going to demand that Masnick provide you actual data, void of conjecture and faith based economics? Try reading the bill sometime.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We good now Jay? Or are you now going to demand that Masnick provide you actual data, void of conjecture and faith based economics? Try reading the bill sometime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    "I think this is one huge problem with copy'right' laws. Almost all of the burden is placed on everyone else to decipher infringing content from non-infringing content. Little to no burden is placed on the IP holder. "

    What burden do you want to put? The burden to answer all request for use?

    The creator has the right to do nothing. They have the right to be out of touch, unavailable, and they have the right to deny any and all uses of their work outside of permitted fair use.

    If you cannot reach the creator, and the work is clearly in copyright (created within the last 75 years, with no clear creative commons or other license available) then take it as "no you can't use it" and move along. HOW HARD IS THAT?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re:

    "The creator has the right to do nothing. They have the right to be out of touch, unavailable, and they have the right to deny any and all uses of their work outside of permitted fair use."

    That's not a right, it's a privilege. Copy'right' is a misnomer, it's really a privilege and those privileges need to be more limited. The point is that IP holder shouldn't have these privileges and the law needs to change to repeal these privileges.

    "then take it as "no you can't use it" and move along."

    That's not acceptable and the law needs to change.

    "HOW HARD IS THAT?"

    Or, better yet, I should be allowed to freely use the works without being wrongfully deprived of it for no good reason. If an IP holder doesn't like it no one is forcing him or her to release works. How hard is that?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re:

    "The burden to answer all request for use?"

    Some burden to make it known that this work is covered and who controls the works. Some burden should be placed on IP holders, not all of the burden and restrictions should be placed on everyone else.

    "and the work is clearly in copyright"

    and that's another problem, it may not always be clear that a work is covered, which raises undue liability and places burden on everyone else to make these determinations without placing any burden on the privilege holders to communicate to others the status of the works. That's unacceptable.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The IP holder is in a better position to know the status of a work than everyone else and so more burden should rightfully be placed on an IP holder if he or she wishes to exercise his privileges. It's more burdensome for everyone else to determine its status since everyone else isn't in as good a position to know.

    IP is about promoting the progress of the sciences and useful arts and expanding the public domain. It's about giving people more free access to more works. It's not about giving an IP holder a one sided privilege to do nothing and granting them their every wish. These laws shouldn't be one sided laws that favor the will and interests of IP holders over the public while placing all of the burden on everyone else to gain access to a works. That defeats the purpose of these laws that the founding fathers intended, to expand the number of works that people have free access to.

    It's true, the IP holder has the right to do nothing. They can be unavailable and out of touch, etc... But what they shouldn't have the privilege to do is to force everyone else to undergo the burden of being denied access to the works and determine the status of the works if the privilege holder wishes to undergo none of the burden required to make the status known. These laws should be in the public interest and what you want is not in the public interest, it's in the sole interests of IP holders.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Very hard, because it places a burden on the consumer. Copyright is a state-granted monopoly that exists for limited times with the limited purpose of advancing science and the useful arts, and only incidentally provides content makers with the right to make a living.

    It's also a violation of the fundamental principle that the law offers no protection to those who knowingly sleep on their rights.

    If you want copyright, you should be required to state your desire, stamp your work, register it with and remit it to the LoC so that when the copyright expires, the public can enjoy the fruit of your state-sanctioned monopoly.

    HOW HARD IS THAT?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

    " The "end game" is all about control."

    Actually, the end game is about being able to follow a legal business model without having all sorts of people sponge off of your products, services, and IP.

    Calling it about control is like calling heroin addiction being about a love of needles. It might appear that way to the untrained eye, but that is really not what it's all about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re:

    Well, some heroin addiction is done with needles SPECIFICALLY because some people like needles.

    Otherwise they could smoke or snort the heroin.

    So in a way, you're not entirely correct.

    Also, the untrained eye in regards to drug use, is pretty much everyone but an actual user. Most people don't know anything about drugs or drug use beyond what they're told through the media (which of course isn't always based on actual facts, most is, but they tend to dramatize things to scare people).

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go shoot up and listen to some streaming music on my computer. Freely available and legally shared streaming music. Because, you know, I'm a freetard who doesn't want to pay for anything (in your eyes at least). Did I mention "free and legal streaming"? From Pandora? I didn't? Okay, well now you know.

    (Hint: I don't buy any music now. I get it all free. Without illegally downloading a thing. Why? Because now there's an option/ability to do so. Perhaps some of these "current" business models could take a page from some of these new streaming companies playbook, and try and get into the 21st century. I.e. offer their products digitally to be streamed at my convenience through a service of some kind. Without any limitations or outrageous prices. What's that you say, you can't compete with free? Oh snap. Hold on, all this intravenous drug use has made me thirsty. [uncaps the bottle of Evian water he bought at the store, while looking outside as it rains])

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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