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.