On SOPA and PIPA

By | January 19, 2012

A few weeks ago I had a great meeting with Congressman Jim Cooper and a group of smart people about SOPA. Kudos to Mr. Cooper and his team for meeting with us and proposing the round table. I truly appreciate having been included in the discussion.

The round table consisted of myself and friends who are like-minded when it comes to being troubled by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but it also included a few people who support SOPA. The conversation was naturally heated, but good things came from it.

I had follow-up conversations with members of the round table, both people I consider friends. I did some serious thinking about the proposed bill and how it would and wouldn’t affect Americans and the Internet as we know it. We didn’t even discuss PIPA, which we really should have, since it affects Americans even more than SOPA.

I even had a fantastic discussion on Google Plus, so that I could be better informed exactly how SOPA would affect the Internet specifically.

What I have concluded

What I concluded is that the entertainment business has changed, the models are different now and it’s up to the artists, songwriters and content producers to change with the times too. While piracy is serious, it is also something that will never go away, so we need to adapt and change for this reason.

The two bills leave way too many questions unanswered, they are incredibly vague, which troubles me deeply. Without clear legislation proposed, no one should support SOPA or PIPA.

Please take 15 minutes to watch (or listen) to Clay Shirky discuss these topics in a recent TED talk entitled, Why SOPA is a bad idea. I think he does an incredible job at breaking it all down clearly. Decide for yourself and then act accordingly. If you can’t spare 14 minutes, then maybe you should go ahead and disconnect from the Internet right now. Seriously.

UPDATE

Bonus Points for listening to the episode: The Day The Internet Went Dark episode of This Week in Google. Take the time to educate yourself on this, it’s worth it. Listen to it now. 

Enjoy it? Please share it.

  • Jacques

    Short but sweet wrap up Dave.

    To continue the discussion, I wrote this blog post on Why America thinks it needs SOPA/PIPA.

    http://thekit.us/ya62sga00

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks for sharing it Jacques.

  • Tara

    I’ve seen a lot of sharing of the Shirky video.  There are problems with it.  Of course, domain name blocking is, at least for now, off the table.  Also, I bristle at the automatic labeling of the blocking system as “censorship.”  The intent is to stop crime.  We can certainly talk about ways in which the bills might or might not make censorship easier, but they are not censorship bills.  The terms “sharing” and “Censoring” are co-opted and used as Shirky wants.  All the content industry has to do is replace “sharing” with “infringement” and “censorship” with “stopping infringement.”  If there is a debate about whether we as users have a fundamental right to do whatever we want with copyrighted material, then the conversation needs to start there.

    And I’m confused about the description of the DMCA as “making it legal to sell you uncopyable bits.”  The content industry could sell you whatever it wanted, if you were willing to pay for it.  Even dry water.    Also, Shirky and everybody else keeps predicting the imminent fall of Google and Twitter upon the passage of SOPA.  Unless and until Google and Twitter register with registrars outside the United States, they are and will continue to be subject to the DMCA, and will be on the hook for stopping copyright infringement on their sites exactly to the same extent they have been since 1998. They may or may not have additional blocking requirements – it’s not at all clear at this point whether any of that will stay in the bill.I’m not supporting SOPA and PIPA in their current forms.  I promise I’m not.  But I can’t support Shirky either.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I support Shirky, as I do many others who are raising awareness of the proposed bills. The trouble, as you point out, is that the bills are unclear and too vague. They never should have been proposed in the first place. Were it not for the opposition, they probably would have passed into law. That scares the hell out of me.

    The problem is that the industry needs to be fundamentally changed. SOPA and PIPA will not stop copyright infringement. The industries need to learn to adapt to these challenges, disrupting the way the Internet works will do more harm than good.

    I would love to see some of the money used for lobbyists to be used in the technology space instead, so that new measures can be developed to help support the industries affected by online piracy.

  • Colleen

    “Stop Online Privacy Act”? Type or Freudian slip?

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Oopsy. My typo has been fixed.
    Thanks for pointing that out.