Tag Archives: SOPA

Best of 2013: SOPA dopes

Originally published on January 8, 2013

Contra Forbes, and via Instapundit, an article in The Hill describing the post-traumatic stress being experienced in Washington with respect to SOPA:

Nearly a year after a wave of online protests killed two anti-piracy bills, lawmakers are skittish about moving forward with legislation aimed at cracking down on websites that illegally distribute copies of movies and music.

Just saying.

The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) grabbed national attention when Wikipedia, Reddit and scores of other websites went dark on Jan. 18 to protest the bills. The public outcry over the bills led lawmakers to pull their support, and spurred others who were previously quiet on the anti-piracy measures to speak out in opposition.The fracas over SOPA and PIPA a year ago is still fresh on the minds of lawmakers, making it doubtful that similar legislation will surface in the opening months of the 113th Congress.

“I think people are shell-shocked from that,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who was a vocal opponent of SOPA.

Probably true.  The thing is this, though:  Based on its past policies in this area, SOPA is something the Administration wants.  And when this Administration wants something and can’t get it from Congress, it usually just takes it anyway.

So based on its past approach, don’t be surprised if the White House decides to avoid incurring any more political difficulties in getting SOPA, with or (more likely) without a catchy name.  You got a problem with that?

UPDATE:  Others agree.

SOPA dopes

Contra Forbes, and via Instapundit, an article in The Hill describing the post-traumatic stress being experienced in Washington with respect to SOPA:

Nearly a year after a wave of online protests killed two anti-piracy bills, lawmakers are skittish about moving forward with legislation aimed at cracking down on websites that illegally distribute copies of movies and music.

Just saying.

The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) grabbed national attention when Wikipedia, Reddit and scores of other websites went dark on Jan. 18 to protest the bills. The public outcry over the bills led lawmakers to pull their support, and spurred others who were previously quiet on the anti-piracy measures to speak out in opposition.The fracas over SOPA and PIPA a year ago is still fresh on the minds of lawmakers, making it doubtful that similar legislation will surface in the opening months of the 113th Congress.

“I think people are shell-shocked from that,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who was a vocal opponent of SOPA.

Probably true.  The thing is this, though:  Based on its past policies in this area, SOPA is something the Administration wants.  And when this Administration wants something and can’t get it from Congress, it usually just takes it anyway.

So based on its past approach, don’t be surprised if the White House decides to avoid incurring any more political difficulties in getting SOPA, with or (more likely) without a catchy name.  You got a problem with that?

UPDATE:  Others agree.

Best of 2012: SOPA box

Lawyer's break, Herald SquareOriginally published on January 18, 2012.

You don’t need a link to find out what’s going with the SOPA “Blackout,” or all that other stuff.  It’s all over the place, beyond those with a special interest in intellectual property.  [UPDATE:  But here’s one anyway.]

Real news over an IP issue?  Not quite.

Rather, the news and the attention arise from the fact that the threatened power-grab that SOPA represents goes far beyond IP, or “enforcement,” or “brands,” or even “piracy.”

Oh, those are all real things, real concepts.  But their meaning has become so distorted in the public and political debate and spin that they get scare-quotes here today.  It is precisely by turning piracy into a mission-critical bogey-man that the strong-IP advocates have perhaps, for once, overplayed their hands.

A few years ago “civil libertarians” told us our liberties were at an end because of the Homeland Security Act and related policy changes arising from terrorist threats.  Those protests were mainly sincere, but they turned out to be overstated.  For most of us, life in America is pretty much like it was before, except mainly at the airport.

If, however, there had been a serious and widespread degradation in the quality and quantity of our civil rights because of the “new world” that the September 11th attacks, we would have something serious to discuss.  In fact it is still something serious to discuss.  How much are we, indeed, prepared to give of our privacy, our freedom of movement, our personal space, for what may or may not be enhanced physical safety?  Important, fundamental questions.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by while my rights, or those of my clients, are sold down the river to protect the franchises of Sony, Coach and Universal.  And that’s what makes this more than an “IP” issue, and why it’s news, and why it matters.

The IP Election (Infographic)

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would revisit the issue of which presidential candidate was a “better IP” candidate.

This is that visit.  It took a little time and a hurricane to get here, kind of, and of course SOPA and PIPA are not the only IP issues of concern.  But this is, as I promised, something to talk about.

2012: The IP Election - Infographic

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Goldman: The SOPA and the PIPA and the Santa Fe

No, not really the Santa Fe, but the rhythm of it seemed right, and after last week’s Benny Goodman post, well, I’m feeling nostalgic for my 1930’s childhood.  (Shh, go with me here.)

Anyway, Eric Goldman has collated and posted all in one place everything — really, just about everything — you’d want to know about the rise and decline of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its evil twin, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Science has not definitively determined the true minimum daily requirements, but trust LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®:  This is really all the IP blogging you will need for the week.  And after all, even the youthful Professor Goldman finds room for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in this post!  I will never forget those days.

(Don’t take it on an empty stomach.)

SOPA box

Lawyer's break, Herald SquareYou don’t need a link to find out what’s going with the SOPA “Blackout,” or all that other stuff.  It’s all over the place, beyond those with a special interest in intellectual property.

Real news over an IP issue?  Not quite.

Rather, the news and the attention arise from the fact that the threatened power-grab that SOPA represents goes far beyond IP, or “enforcement,” or “brands,” or even “piracy.”

Oh, those are all real things, real concepts.  But their meaning has become so distorted in the public and political debate and spin that they get scare-quotes here today.  It is precisely by turning piracy into a mission-critical bogey-man that the strong-IP advocates have perhaps, for once, overplayed their hands.

A few years ago “civil libertarians” told us our liberties were at an end because of the Homeland Security Act and related policy changes arising from terrorist threats.  Those protests were mainly sincere, but they turned out to be overstated.  For most of us, life in America is pretty much like it was before, except mainly at the airport.

If, however, there had been a serious and widespread degradation in the quality and quantity of our civil rights because of the “new world” that the September 11th attacks, we would have something serious to discuss.  In fact it is still something serious to discuss.  How much are we, indeed, prepared to give of our privacy, our freedom of movement, our personal space, for what may or may not be enhanced physical safety?  Important, fundamental questions.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by while my rights, or those of my clients, are sold down the river to protect the franchises of Sony, Coach and Universal.  And that’s what makes this more than an “IP” issue, and why it’s news, and why it matters.