Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, S. 968, which was introduced by Senator Leahy, would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to take legal action to combat online piracy and counterfeiting. This legislation was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 26, 2011, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Michael Pascazi, a lawyer and entrepreneur from New York, has slapped telecom giant Verizon with a class-action lawsuit, seeking to claim a total of $US20 billion in damages for the firm's alleged violations of federal wiretapping laws. The lawsuit claims that the company collaborated with the US government to violate these laws by handing over personal phone data without obtaining search warrants.
Laywer + Entrepreneur = Class Action Lawsuit
So who is this Michael Pascazi? He was once president of a firm called Fiber Optek, which in 1999 won a US$4 million contract to construct a fiber-optic infrastructure along from Hartford, Connecticut to Springfield, Massachusetts. Fiber Optek attempted to purchase the failed Global Crossing company in 2002 before going bankrupt itself, a victim of the dotcom implosion. Pascazi went on to study law. He also claims to be starting a biotechnology company, although details about this are scarce.
Don't make this a party issue. Here are the co-sponsors of the bill. The way I see it there are more [D]'s than [R]'s here.
Lamar Alexander [R-TN]
Kelly Ayotte [R-NH]
Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]
Roy Blunt [R-MO]
John Boozman [R-AR]
Thad Cochran [R-MS]
Chris Coons [D-DE]
Bob Corker [R-TN]
Richard Durbin [D-IL]
Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]
Al Franken [D-MN]
Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]
Lindsey Graham [R-SC]
Charles Grassley [R-IA]
Kay Hagan [D-NC]
Orrin Hatch [R-UT]
Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Herbert Kohl [D-WI]
Marco Rubio [R-FL]
Charles Schumer [D-NY]
Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What innovation resulted from Safe Harbors?
I do understand the rights of content producers. I honestly do. I also understand the uphill battle they face in terms of stopping piracy and monetizing their works.
My issue is not with the industry working to protect their rights, rather the industry trying to protect their rights by infringing on mine.
I didn't take home $47.5 million dollars last year in salary + bonus. I didn't even take home $4.7 million dollars. I get rather upset and start writing letters to my Senator when laws like Protect IP come about to try and make sure those individuals making $47.5 million take home $49 million next year.
If it really takes that much time to scan the Internet to determine where the "rights holders" content is being abused, maybe the abuse isn't such a big deal. Honestly; when DMCA takedowns get issued over a one minute home video that has music playing in the background, how do you justify that? It's like you're going out of your way to find cases of abuse to make the issue seem grander than it really is.
Please, don't take this as me saying that copyright infringement isn't an issue. But the industry is absolutely going to lose support of the population when they pull stuff as I described above.
When it comes to my own site, I do what I can and I'm happy to say that I keep infringing content away. But when I see some of the DMCA takedowns being issued for sites that operate and provide content provided by the CREATOR, I question how much thought someone would put into filing a takedown request against me, or get my site blacklisted, because someone posted a link to some remote site with infringing content.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What innovation resulted from Safe Harbors?
I just need to make sure that the MPAA and RIAA are not allowed to pay off our politicians, corrupt the political process, and introduce laws designed to prop up THEIR business at the sacrifice of everyone else.
You seem like the type of chap that would tell a woman that's just been raped that she needs to adapt her appearance in order to stop it from happening again.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What innovation resulted from Safe Harbors?
You hit the nail on the head.
How can someone operate a site on the Internet that allows for end-user contribution, something as simple as forums, without incurring MASSIVE legal risk if the responsibility for all end-user content is on the shoulders of the site operator.
That one Anonymous Coward statement you quoted is what I fear the most from our big-content overlords.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What innovation resulted from Safe Harbors?
I'm not falling for anything.
I am an IT professional with 20 years in the Internet industry. I have EXTENSIVE expertise in how the Internet functions on all layers.
The individuals with concerns about changing the structure and stability of the DNS system UNDERSTAND the issues with what is being proposed. They also understand technology far better than the lawyers and lobbyists hired by the MPAA.
My site is not created for the purposes of allowing unchecked uploads from users. Almost all of my content is text based and user generated. Although the site does allow users to upload content, it is mostly just .PDF based guides for various hardware tweaking, etc.
I go through extreme efforts to make sure that I'm not serving up any illegal content and hand down severe penalties for users who promote illegal content, sites, etc.
With the current proposal; I have increased risk of losing my livelihood if someone decides to LINK to infringing content. I have to put faith in the MPAA and other rights holders to NOT misuse the system. Unfortunately; that's not an organization or industry I have ANY faith in to do the right thing.
Right now, If my datacenter was served with a DMCA notice they would call me immediately before disconnecting my hardware. They would not; however, be able to do anything about my domain being seized and replaced with an ICE warning without any prior notification.
DMCA works, to an extent, even with all of the improper DMCA takedown requests. At least it provides site owners some sort of advanced notification to deal with an issue.
I don't think YouTube is a very good example at all! I spend a lot of time on YouTube and I rarely see content that should be considered a violation of the DMCA.
I think when you search YouTube LOOKING for such content, you'll find it. But IMHO I believe that the vast majority of user created content is perfectly fine and in no way a violation of ANYONE's rights.
How would YouTube know if the content is authorized or not anyway? That should be the job of the rights holders to identify and not the service provider.
I think most of the complaints about YouTube are from individuals LOOKING to find some form of IP theft. I think anyone that believes that there is any actual harm due to someone posting up a 30 second clip from the Daily Show is lying to themselves.
I have yet to be convinced that rights holders are not going after Google because they have deep pockets and they see settlement monies as a form of revenue even though there is little to no financial harm to said rights holders.
If YouTube was hosting full-featured HD content ripped from DVD or BR, I would feel a little more sympathetic for the rights holders.
Re: Re: Re: Re: What innovation resulted from Safe Harbors?
Understood. But I don't understand why you made the comment in the first place other than to imply that without MPAA content, the rest of the internet is just "trash".
Although I do question your conclusion that because the content is downloaded because the masses value it. I think there is a certain percentage of IP infringement that takes place because an end user DOES value the content and simply doesn't want to pay for it. I also think that there is a percentage of IP infringement that occurs because end users do NOT value the content and don't want to waste money on something that they really don't see any value in.
I have recommended to my friends and co-workers that they see "Watchmen". I recommend it because I want them to waste three hours of their lives watching a load of crap so we can poke fun at the movie afterwards. I don't expect them to place any value in the content and I would never recommend that they go out of their way to actually PAY to see it.
If I purchase a hard-goods product and that product fails to live up to expectations, is faulty, or of poor quality; I can bring it back. I wish I could do the same for movies I have purchased that simply sucked.
I'm getting off on a tangent here. Back on point;
I have no issues with content creators making money off their works, and I have no issue with content creators protecting their IP.
I do have an issue when said content creators seek to change the fundamental structure of the Internet and force these changes on EVERY industry as their method of protection.
I do have an issue with the underhanded methods that the MPAA and RIAA have engaged in to change law to benefit them personally with no consideration for the rest of us.
I do have an issue with the fact that under some of these proposed laws; if I am out of town for a week on vacation and someone posts some infringing content on MY site I could very well come back home and have my site missing from the Internet and replaced with an ICE banner because of a simple ACCUSATION from rights holders.
The smear campaign left out a few important points. You need to CHOOSE to have a Public Profile with Google and it provides information that you otherwise share with others! This stuff can't activate it all on its own.
It's like setting up your Facebook account to share your info with friends, then adding a new wall post and getting upset that it got shared with friends. If you set up a public profile in Google or INTENTIONALLY went out of your way to connect your Google account to social media networks (for the purpose of sharing, which is made quite clear) then this service does exactly what you'd expect it to.
Personally. I think it's pretty neat. I will most likely use it but create an alternative Google account to keep my personal and professional contacts separated.
In purely legal terms, there was only 1 domain, 1 site. How they decided to fill their domain is up to them.
How do you figure this?
.com is a domain; A top level domain
domain.com is a domain; A sub-domain of .com
site.domain.com is a domain; A sub-domain of .domain.com
I'm not sure what "purely legal terms" you're using to determine this is a single domain, but it certainly highlights the fact that those only versed in "legal terms" don't understand the technology. That being said; if someone doesn't understand how the domain name system works, they shouldn't be green-lighting the seizure of 84,000 legitimate domains.
I found an interesting snippet of text when you click on the "Support this site" link.
"We present the news and reports to you at no charge but we must ask for your help and financial support to allow us to continue to keep the website free, to pay the costs of maintaining the website and the expenses of gathering the news and reporting it to you."
So when you click the link to support them, they are then telling you the site is free and they provide access at no charge.