As Congress Explore New Awful Copyright Plans, Maximalists Look To Rewrite The History Of SOPA/PIPA

from the say-what-now? dept

As we noted, there's an effort underway, lead by Senator Thom Tillis' office, to rewrite copyright laws in a manner that is even "friendlier" to Hollywood -- which is kind of insane, given just how far the laws have been bent to favor Hollywood over the years, and against the public. Of course, for the past decade or so, significant updates to copyright law have mostly been a kind of third rail issue in Congress (with a few notable exceptions), as the memory of the SOPA/PIPA protests still lingers. However, with this new approach brewing, it seems that some wish to rewrite that history.

Gene Quinn from IP Watchdog -- a site that tends to support an extreme maximalist viewpoint mostly on patents, but sometimes on copyright as well -- has an amazingly weird post, supporting a more maximalist copyright reform, playing off a new paper from ITIF. If you don't recall, ITIF wrote the original paper that became SOPA. It was that think tank's policy proposal that was molded into the awful bill that would have fundamentally changed how the internet worked. So, you should already be somewhat skeptical of ITIF's "policy recommendations" on copyright -- starting with the very idea that "digital piracy" is a "scourge" that requires laws to stop.

As we've shown in great detail using the industry's own "piracy" numbers, changes to the law to ratchet up copyright enforcement have failed to decrease piracy. What does decrease piracy is putting in place laws that enable more innovation and experimentation around new licensed services with a variety of business models.

But, not surprisingly, that's not the focus of any reform effort. Still, what's most amazing in Quinn's piece is his rather insane attempt to rewrite the history of SOPA/PIPA. If you weren't around when it happened nearly a decade ago, (Gene was, so he has no excuse), a wide coalition of people all got together to point out how dangerous the law would be for a functioning internet, and how it would stifle speech, harm innovation, and (worst of all) break certain technical elements being used to make the internet more secure -- all so Hollywood could continue to tilt at windmills and pretend that "piracy" was being attacked. As more and more people (with very diverse ideological backgrounds) all came to realize how dangerous SOPA/PIPA was, they organized a day of protest on the internet, which set phones ringing throughout Congress, urging elected officials to rethink that plan. One by one, Senators and Representatives dropped their support of the bill, and it never moved forward.

That's not how Gene Quinn describes it however. In his version "hacker groups" (?!?) threatened to shut down the internet (?!?!?!?!?) if SOPA passed:

About a decade ago, Congress was poised to do something about rampant copyright infringement on the Internet. They were ready to take a bold step that would protect content creators. These bills were met with threats from hacker groups to take down the Internet if they were enacted, and Congress caved.

Again, that's not even remotely accurate. It was pointed out that implementing SOPA/PIPA would have made the internet less secure by breaking the DNS system, and that could lead to more attacks, but that's... not what Quinn is saying. And of course, when he presents something so blatantly incorrect, and so devoid of historical accuracy, it should make you call into question basically everything else he's saying regarding this particular topic.

Filed Under: congress, gene quinn, pipa, rewriting history, safe harbors, sopa, thom tillis


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:02pm

    That's not how Gene Quinn describes it however. In his version> "hacker groups" (?!?) threatened to shut down the internet (?!?!?!?!?)...

    Eh. why not. I'll roll with it.

    WE WEREN'T BLUFFING! WE TOOK IT DOWN FOR A DAY LAST TIME! IT'LL BE EVEN LONGER THIS TIME!!!!!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:14pm

    Apart from being financially 'encouraged', i cant think of any other reason why those in government positions would want to back Hollywood and the like, giving them even more than they have already when you consider how much they dont pay in taxes, refuse to pay their own staff and refuse to make jobs available that were to be in 3xchsnge for backing in one way or another. Blaming the people for the industries lising money is so old hat now. Ehy dont those in Congress actually do something real, like have sn open, honedt truthful investigation into what the entertainment industries are really up to and how they are defrauding whichever government is in the Whitehouse and the whole of the USA!

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

    • icon
      Rico R. (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 7:46pm

      Re:

      My theory as to why Congress kisses up to Hollywood's demands is because of media and press coverage of their elections. Think about it: The same entity that owns NBC owns Universal Studios. The same goes for Warner Bros. and CNN. CBS recently acquired Viacom (again), which owns Paramount Pictures, and I don't need to remind you that ABC likes to always speak well of its parent company, Di$ney. At the end of the day, they need as much good press coverage as they possibly can to get re-elected, and if they dared stand up to them, that could quickly go away. No press/bad press does not bode well for re-election bids, so copyright maximalism is the future we have to look forward to. It might be another reason why the media seems to favor Biden over Sanders as the Democratic nominee. I'm not saying it's right at all. Heck, it's very corrupt if you think about it.

      And this is one reason why I find it almost baffling that most copyright abolitionists (as well as those pushing for common-sense copyright reform) are libertarians. I've found most libertarians side with conservatives on how to solve corruption (i.e., the problem lies with the special interests, not on the government, anti-corruption regulation won't help, etc.). Yet, as a liberal, I see it as a liberal issue. By giving the voice of democracy back to the people, Di$ney-style lobbyists won't be able to have the same effect they once had. People won't want to have the Internet broken just to help legacy media industries make more money because they failed to adapt to the Internet. Di$ney's the reason we have very long copyright (Thanks for nothing, Mickey Mouse!), and these corporations are the ones pushing and lobbying for more draconian copyright enforcement efforts.

      With Gen Z and the generation that comes after it (which I like to call the post-meme generation, for reasons I'll explain) being regular internet people, they will quickly learn that everyday internet fun (i.e., creating memes, sharing them, etc.) is branded by these media corporations as the same kind of activity of those who want to profit off of selling content wholesale without authorization. As such, they will not exactly see these corporations in the most favorable light, and fight back against their copyright wish-list. And eventually, people who will be born into a world with the Internet and meme culture already in existence will be the oldest ones in power.

      Copyright may very well look to the world as a bad idea to these people of the future, just as slavery of the 1800s pre-Civil War does to us today. And at the end of the day, when these people are the ones in power, copyright abolition could become a reality. Laws only can remain effective as long as people are willing to enforce them. No one in Virginia is charging people with the crime of having pre-marital sex (even though such a law is on the books), and the same thing can easily happen with copyright law, and eventually (as I believe is recently happening with the aforementioned Virginia law), it can be repealed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2020 @ 4:00am

      Re:

      Apart from being financially 'encouraged', i cant think of any other reason why those in government positions would want to back Hollywood and the like,

      I can, they want to control use of the Internet, but can only do that by handing that control to a proxy. Copyright started as a means of censorship, and where corporations control what can be published, it still gives the government some level of censorship, on a nod and wink basis.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:44pm

    A most telling tactic

    When you have have to lie in order to try to convince people that you are right that's ample evidence right there that even you know you aren't, in addition to showing just how dishonest you are.

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

  • identicon
    John Paldo, 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:49pm

    We should use the trade deals that say NOTICE AND TAKEDOWN

    The USMCA says notice and takedown. If they pass this bill and take it court and we lose then we should use the USMCA under WTO rules that says NOTICE AND TAKEDOWN. Make them change this bill whether they like it or not

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 3:00pm

    Silly Masnick, truth is for non-Republicans.

    Keep calling out the idiocy. Someone needs to do it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 9:12pm

    I still don't see how they can fix the actual piracy by licensing content they admit is pirated.

    Under actual piracy law once you admit it is pirated it is illegal to have further comercial dealings with them or you are also a pirate.

    I also don't see the difference between pirates and cyberterrorists on a boat, which are the real pirates under US piracy law, not copyright infringement.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2020 @ 1:39am

    "About a decade ago, Congress was poised to do something about rampant copyright infringement on the Internet. They were ready to take a bold step that would protect content creators. These bills were met with threats from hacker groups to take down the Internet if they were enacted, and Congress caved."

    Actually what happened is that the legislation got toxic and dragged ACTA with it.

    Them not hearing arguments from no one has more to do with it, plus all those biased hearings in the Senate and Congress where Google and others were made look as evil.

    Well, in that regard, they did the internet a favour: ACTA was pretty much a done deal by that time.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2020 @ 6:34am

    HACK THE WORLD!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2020 @ 6:55am

    Right but not in the way intended

    We all know Genr is a liar and a fool, but it is funny how accurate they were in senses he never intended. Hackers used to mean primarily those who are adept and engage in neat tricks with computers. Crackers were those who cracked security measures. In this case the hacker's tricks were the collaborative websites they owned.

    They threatened to shut down because the idiotic plan would imperil them and their works. Perfectly legal of course.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.