Once Again, SOPA Supporters Caught 'Copying' Others' Works In An Effort To Shut Down Sites For Copying

from the telling... dept

It's really quite amazing how frequently those who support more draconian copyright laws seem to be caught up in ethically dubious copying. We just had the example of the Hollywood astroturf group, CreativeAmerica, pretty blatantly "remixing" an anti-SOPA email alert from Public Knowledge, and turning it into a pro-SOPA argument. But this next one seems even worse. SOPA supporters, such as the MPAA and the very same Creative America, seemed overjoyed to point folks to an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune by the state's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, claiming to support SOPA and PIPA.

Just one little tiny problem... there appears to be a fair bit of evidence that Shurtleff "copied" his work from elsewhere and simply "remixed" the work of others. TorrentFreak goes into great detail how many of the statements in the opinion piece supposedly written by Shurtleff, have appeared elsewhere from pro-SOPA folks.
To back up this claim we will highlight a few sentences from the Attorney General’s article, and compare them with those previously delivered by the MPAA and affiliated pro-copyright groups.

The first sentence that caught our attention is: “It will take a strong, sustained effort to stop Internet thieves and profiteers.”

Strong words, but also familiar ones. In fact, former MPAA President Bob Pisano uttered exactly the same words in 2010 when he congratulated the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimously approving the COICA bill, the predecessor to SOPA and PIPA.
They go on to find lots of other rather complex phrases that show up in both Shurtleff's "new" opinion piece... and lobbying efforts from times past. In fact, the whole thing seems like a classic "remix" -- cutting and pasting lots of works from elsewhere, and creating something "new" out of it. Who knows if this reaches the legal standard for copyright infringement... but it certainly calls into serious question either the legitimacy of the op-ed... or, the competence of Shurtleff. Once again, we think such remixing is good and should be allowed. But it's pretty crazy to argue for laws like SOPA... and do so with what certainly sounds like plagiarized phrases from elsewhere.


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    DandonTRJ (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    The copyright aspect of this is the least of my concerns. If he actually believes in the content of the op-ed, the least he could do is put it in his own words. The fact that he felt comfortable letting lobbyists almost literally speak through him leads me to question whether or not he even understands what he's writing about.

     

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      Jay (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      Mark Shurtleff is so bad and corrupt it's not even funny.

      Look at his Wikipage:

      The media has reported allegations that Shurtleff allows political donations or personal relationships to affect regulatory or prosecutorial decisions. [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29] He has also faced allegations of taking donations from companies he knows to be in the midst of legal proceedings for which he has responsibility.[30]

      Yes, that's 19 [citations] in ONE section. This is one of the stories:

      A second plea deal after a judge rejected the first as too lenient will cost an accused swindler $4.1 million more than first proposed.
      It comes in a case where both sides had accused Attorney General Mark Shurtleff of unfairly meddling amid political pressure, and Shurtleff in turn said a bribe was offered.

      Marc Sessions Jenson, 48, of Holladay, pleaded no contest Thursday to three felony counts of selling unregistered securities in a plea bargain accepted by 3rd District Judge Robin Reese.


      This piece is one that exposes the problem of the link of business and government in the worst possible light. If Mark survives this year of elections, the system has failed miserably. He should be indicted on a number of charges including perjury, corruption charges and obstruction of justice (plea bargaining) among the other charges to put him away for a LOOOONG time.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

        Re: Re:

        "allows political donations or personal relationships to affect regulatory or prosecutorial decisions"

        Isn't that boilerplate on every politician's Wikipedia page? If not, it should be...

         

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        Atkray (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

        Re: Re:

        Disclaimer: Please note my avatar, ie I live in Utah.

        Shurtleff is a very nice person but whenever I talk to him I make sure to keep my hand on my wallet.

         

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    Joe Publius (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    I think his op-ed is a great example of the public domain and fair use. If it weren't for the opinions and writings of others, he wouldn't have been able to clarify and explain his own position!

     

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    GamerLEN, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Do as we say, not as we do~

     

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

      Re: Do as we say, not as we do~

      The problem being that, with copying of literary expression, what we say is what we do.

       

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    anonymous, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    so what excuse is he going to use? that he is an attorney general and able to do what he wants because of his position?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    I am sure if the content providers, would have spent half the money they spent on lobbying for SOPA, on innovating their distribution services they would have already saw a profit. I am not sure what the price was they payed to get an attorney general to parrot your redirect is but I bet they could have started an online revenue stream.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Well his state has a vested interest in pursing these kinds of laws.
    As they are making money off of selling polygamy as reality television, it would be horrible if that income were to suddenly stop because people were sharing episodes online.
    But then you need to overlook the idea that polygamy is actually illegal, he has evidence of it happening in his state, and he continues to look the other way...

     

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      Machin Shin (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      Indeed, while speaking on how stupid laws can be. You point out how he is ignoring polygamy when it is blatant and on television. That is stupid due to ignoring laws that are on the books. I hate how government makes all these laws and selectively enforces them.

      I also find that law to be very stupid and before you jump all over me, listen to explanation. I do not support polygamy, personally I am just looking one great girl and that is all I need, BUT why is there a law against polygamy?

      Look at the world today. I can legally go out and sleep with multiple women each night. There are no laws against me knocking up girls left and right. On the other hand there is a law saying I cant take legal responsibility for more than one girl? How is marrying more than one girl so evil and sleeping with a bunch of them without marrying them is just fine?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re:

        I am Mrs. Spartacus!

        No, I AM Mrs. Spartacus!

        You raise an interesting point. Maybe it messes up government software used by the IRS or social security offices.

         

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          Machin Shin (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well the anti-polygamy laws date back to before computers. So I doubt the laws are there for that reason. More likely reason would be religious persecution without calling it that. Of course these laws are from a time where people were not so open about sleeping around.

          Point is still the same though, a lot of laws really do not make sense if you step back and look at them from an unbiased view. That is the problem of ramming things through "for the children". Most of the time you ram through something that was really illogical and missing the real point. Lawmakers love getting into a frenzy feeling they must do SOMETHING and they fail to slow down and think of what that something should be.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re:

        There are actually quite a few states that still have adultery laws on the books. They're just not enforced that often.

         

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          Machin Shin (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "They're just not enforced that often."

          So why are they even on the books? That is something that drive me insane. They add law after law and then ignore over half of them. If you are not going to enforce it then trash it.

          I also might be mistaken but I think a lot of those laws pertain to if you are already married. Kind of a there as a stone to throw during a divorce. I am curious how many actually pertain to single people sleeping around.

           

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            Atkray (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This goes to my idea for improving our legal system.

            In order for them (local, state or federal) to write a new law they have to repeal another one.

             

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

        Re: Re:

        Polygamy is often attached to bills to make sure the majority gets a vote in if I can marry the person I love. It is often also equated with bestiality, pedophilia, and many other not lovely things.
        To have this AG asshat grandstanding on an issue that does not effect him or a majority of his constituents, and supporting the idea that marriage is 1 man 1 woman only sorta makes me that much more angry. He has open polygamy in his state, he allows it to continue.
        I'm not debating if polygamy is good or bad, and will not be sidetracked into those waters.
        I'm pointing out an AG has come out in support of a potential law, while he is derelict in his duty to uphold current law.

         

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        PaulT (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 1:46am

        Re: Re:

        "why is there a law against polygamy"

        Generally speaking, I think it's for tax and regulatory purposes, as well as to avoid problems that come with divorce. I mean, look at the nightmare that often comes regarding property and children when a couple get divorced, then imagine 10 partners going through that! Then you have the possibility of people joining polygamous marriages to get citizenship or avoid tax liabilities - how would you enforce that without being seen as prejudiced against that type of marriage?

        I wouldn't have any moral objection to such arrangements as such (assuming all partners were informed and consenting, of course), but it would probably be a nightmare to legislate and regulate.

         

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      iamtheky (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

      Re:

      overlook the idea that polygamy is actually illegal

      only after you overlook that he is only legally married to one of them and that all the other feelings you have are various forms of jealousy :)

       

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    A Proper Introduction

    Low Court, meet the High Court.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    SOPA won't work - because, by and large, there's nothing really 100% 'new' out there. Pretty much all ideas have components of some other idea. If you get picky enough, you could shut down everything.

     

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 3:24pm

      Re: SOPA won't work ... If you get picky enough, you could shut down everything.

      That being the point of a police state. With enough sufficiently draconian laws, everybody is inevitably guilty of something. Which means the State can pick up anybody, at any time, on any excuse at all.

       

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