Monday, November 28, 2011

Observations from the Coffee Shop 11.28

After a rather mellow holiday weekend with the family I was ready to stay mellow and write something about the end of the Penn State football season. However I have a few things that are irritating me, surprisingly all are coming out of DC, and all of them just drive home the point that those running this country are either totally out of touch with today's world or they just don't give a damn about it.

The first is the Stop Online Piracy Act, HR 3261 or SOPA, which would start the United States down the same road as China when it comes to censoring the internet. Sponsored by the Republican dominated Congress it is just a hand out to entertainment corporations that can't seem to find a way a legal way to make a profit in the 21st century. Forget that the latest installment of The Twilight Saga just had a worldwide weekend box office of almost half a billion dollars, the corporations need our help.

SOPA would give the Department of Justice and copyright holders a fast track to court orders shutting down websites accused of copyright infringement. It would bar internet advertising and payment sites from doing business with the accused pirate sites. Search engines would be barred from linking to the sites and service providers would be forced to block them. Another section of the bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted media a felony.

A major force behind the bill is the Motion Picture Association of America which is using the tried and true fear tactic to push for passage. The MPAA claims that 2 million American jobs hang in the balance and need to be protected. MPAA congressional testimony is frequently quoted by the bills sponsors while testimony that for every job lost the internet creates 2.5 jobs is totally ignored.

Not at all surprising is the fact that a group that includes Google, Yahoo, and Amazon is leading the fight against SOPA. What is surprising is that Microsoft, long a proponent of stronger copyright laws, is also quietly fighting it. Opponents say the bill as written would overturn the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which allow warned websites to take down questionable material before further action is taken, the principals YouTube operates by.

A partial list of supporters of the bill includes the MPAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, NBCUniversal, Macmillan Publishers, Viacom, Comcast, the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and various other music, cable, and movie companies.

A partial list of opponents includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, AOL, eBay, the Brookings Institute, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the American Library Association, Reporters Without Borders, the Business Software Alliance, and TechAmerica which is a tech trade association with 1,200 member companies. Senator Ron Paul said SOPA would cause "an explosion of innovation killing lawsuits and litigation," thus costing not saving jobs. If passed as written the internet as we know it would cease to exist. Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo would would probably shut down. Twitter would become virtually useless.

We might as well all learn Mandarin and get it over with.

If you want to voice your opposition to the bill click this link to and fill out the simple form. A letter will than be generated and sent to your representatives. Also Senator Ron Wyden will read your name from the House of Representatives floor during his flilibuster when and if it comes up for a vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment