“It has been a generally accepted theory, but a false one, that infringement of copyright only takes place when copies are made for public sale or performance, and not when they are intended merely for personal use.” Musical News, vol. 8, pg. 314 (April 6, 1895).

SOPA  and Censorship Spillovers — Law professor Randal C. Picker takes on two of the arguments against rogue sites legislation: that the Internet should remain free from the rule of law and the claim that “the United States will  forfeit its moral authority to oppose the censorship of free speech around the world if the United States uses a similar capability in the name of preventing IP infringement.” Picker finds both claims unfounded. “Consider prisons. The United States puts people in prison who commit serious crimes such as armed robbery, burglary, and murder. China may put political dissidents in prison. No one would contend, I assume, that the United States should stop putting serious criminals in prison even though the Chinese are jailing political dissidents.”

How Much Does File Sharing Resemble Stealing—and Does it Matter? — Great article from the Atlantic’s Megan McArdle. Critics of intellectual property often throw around words like “scarcity” and “non-rivalrous” to argue against protecting these forms of property, but as McArdle points out, “I’m not sure how we settled on ‘it’s non-rivalrous’ as the reason that file sharing is a) not stealing and b) okay.”

Should Wikipedia protest SOPA on January 18th? — The online encyclopedia ditches its core policy of presenting a neutral point of view to enlist its users in supporting its lobbying efforts.

The Haves and the Want to Haves – For Free — “To achieve a rateless, perpetual, and irrevocable license for content owned by others Google must attack the very laws that stand in their way through lobbyist in Washington D.C. So now we are debating the historical “contract” between the U.S. government and intellectual rights holders that have been around since the founding of our Constitution. What will be the outcome? Who will win? In the future will innovators have to bow to the mere whims of website owners and corporate titans who feel they have the right to monetize copyrighted, trademarked and patented materials? Will innovators be forced to allow website owners and Silicon Valley corporations to monetize their innovation with no recourse?”

Piracy and Malware: Two Parts of a Single Problem — The ITIF’s Richard Bennett shows that malware and piracy often coincide online and wonders why there’s such strong opposition to using the same techniques used to combat malware against piracy. Bennett notes that this compartmentalization “is a policy judgment, not a technical one.”

Real cultural damage, and the phantom kind — Another excellent post from John Degen: “the folks most concerned about copyright terms and getting as many works outside of copyright as soon as possible are not the everyday consumers and culturally-minded Canadians Geist purports to speak for. No, those most looking forward to E.J. Pratt et al losing their copyright protection are the giant, multinational content aggregators like Google who want to suck up as much digitized content as possible without the hassle and bother of dealing with copyright licensing or permissions, so that they can continue to make gazillions of dollars selling advertising on top of other people’s ‘free’ content.”

What Will Anti-SOPA Blackout And Hearing Accomplish? — TPM doesn’t have a good answer to that question. And that was before provisions relating to DNS were stripped from both the House and Senate bills.

Whither Freedom of the Press? — Though not related to copyright, this recent law review article from Randall Bezanson should interest readers who have enjoyed my recent posts on the freedom of the press. It is also one of the most entertainingly snarky academic works I’ve read in recent history.

Amazon’s Plagiarism Problem — “Self-publishing has become the latest vehicle for spammers and content farms, with the sheer volume of self-published books making it difficult, if not impossible, for e-stores like Amazon to vet works before they go on sale … Writing a book is hard. All those torturous hours an author has to spend creating, crafting, culling until nonsensical words are transformed into engaging prose. It’s a whole lot easier to copy and paste someone else’s work, slap your name on top, and wait for the money to roll in. This creates a strong economic incentive, with fake authors–Sharazade thinks it’s possible they are organized gangs based in Asia–earning 70% royalty rates on every sale, earning far more than a spammer could with click fraud.”

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar: We Now Have 1.5M Paid Subscribers — The streaming service showed impressive growth in 2011, tripling its number of paid subscribers and increasing revenues by 60%. Kilar says the company is looking to continue growing in 2012, with plans to invest “half a billion” in licensing new TV shows and films.

Cyberlockers, social media sites and copyright liability — While 2011 was a big year for legal developments involving cyberlockers and social media sites, 2012 is likely to be even bigger. Barry Sookman takes a look at several cases dealing with these issues already in the new year.

How Google profits from illegal advertising — and keeps the money even after getting caught — Ben Sheffner highlights recent reports that Google making money from illegal activities is fairly common. “This is all just a reminder that many of the opponents of SOPA and PROTECT IP, while they like to portray themselves as brave Internet freedom-fighters, are in reality doing little more than protecting their own business interests. They profit from illegal activities, and they will vigorously resist legislation that seeks to put this practice to an end.”

Google caught pilfering Kenyan business directory in sting operation — It hasn’t been a good week for the tech giant, as Ars reports on news of allegedly fraudulent activity by Google employees in Africa.

Heritage Foundation Misses the Market on Rogue Sites — Chris Castle provides a point-by-point rebuttal to the conservative think tank’s opposition to SOPA. “No one in the creative community expects a market with zero piracy.  We have always had piracy and we always will have piracy.  What is new about piracy on the Internet is the scale and the participation of publicly held companies that use their vast resources raised in the public financial markets to fight compliance with the law in order to free ride on the work of others that they seek to commoditize.”

60 Comments

  1. Megan McArdle brings up some new and interesting points in her article… and then the comments ignore all that and hash out the same tired and stale justifications for pirating music.

  2. The argument that we shouldn’t have copyright laws because works are non-rivalrous gets it backwards: We have copyright laws BECAUSE works are non-rivalrous.

    • We have copyright laws because they made sense before the Internet and computers were around. No longer. No sane government would pass a law that enforces such strong levels of scarcity in a world where every human being on the planet could have access to the sum of human knowledge otherwise.

      • We have copyright laws because they made sense before the Internet and computers were around. No longer.

        But why would that be the case? Whether you subscribe to the utilitarian/economic incentive theory or the Lockean property theory of copyright, the fact that it’s easier than ever to copy doesn’t negate the rationale for copyright. It’s quite the opposite. It’s always been the case that distribution costs are low. Even if they’re now basically $0, that doesn’t change the fact that authors are given a marketable right (an artificial scarcity, a limited monopoly, whatever you want to call it) as an incentive to create and as recognition for their labor. The rise of mass communication and the digital revolution doesn’t change the underlying rationales.

        No sane government would pass a law that enforces such strong levels of scarcity in a world where every human being on the planet could have access to the sum of human knowledge otherwise.

        You do have a point. If copyright law were only about maximizing distribution of works, then you could argue that copyright law is preventing sites like The Pirate Bay from doing just that. But copyright is about more than that. If we allow sites like The Pirate Bay to undermine the copyright system, then the incentives to create the very types of quality works that are being pirated there will disappear. People aren’t pirating videos of “Charlie Bit My Finger,” they’re pirating things like “Harry Potter” that cost real money to make. No sane government would expect quality works that cost real money to be created if the creators weren’t given any sort of marketable right for their effort.

        • I don’t dispute that “creative works” require time and investment (eg. money) to make. Especially stuff like blockbuster video games and movies.

          However, the notion that enforcing an artificial scarcity is the only way to compensate people is wrong.

          • I don’t dispute that “creative works” require time and investment (eg. money) to make. Especially stuff like blockbuster video games and movies.

            However, the notion that enforcing an artificial scarcity is the only way to compensate people is wrong.

            It’s obviously not the only way someone can make money via their works, but it seems to me to be the best way. If someone spends time and money creating something, then they should have the exclusive rights in the their creation. I’m not sure how else you would really do it, unless you want a patronage system (which is moving backwards) or a system where authors/artists beg for donations and sell t-shirts (which is silly). I’m all for reforming copyright scope and duration, but the basic, underlying rationale of copyright is still sound.

          • It’s obviously not the only way someone can make money via their works, but it seems to me to be the best way.

            Really? How is that working for you guys? Have you figured out how to “takedown” magnet links yet?

            It’s really not the best way because there is technology that made a post-scarcity of information. You can easily give every single person on the planet a “Library of Congress” with the technology we have today.

          • Really? How is that working for you guys? Have you figured out how to “takedown” magnet links yet?

            I don’t follow your point. How does the existence of magnet links negate copyright?

            It’s really not the best way because there is technology that made a post-scarcity of information. You can easily give every single person on the planet a “Library of Congress” with the technology we have today.

            And my counterargument was that you wouldn’t have the sorts of works worth sharing without the incentives that copyright provides. Do you actually have an alternative system in mind that will incentivize the creation of worthwhile works (that cost time and money, as you already conceded) but that doesn’t rely on giving the creators of those works a marketable right? I’d love to hear it, but I doubt it exists. If there really were a simple alternative that was more beneficial for those involved, it wouldn’t be a hard sell and people would want that. The fact is, though, that there isn’t a better system.

          • I don’t follow your point. How does the existence of magnet links negate copyright?

            Magnet links negate copyright in the same way that the current zeitgeist negates monarchy power. You can say “it’s the law”, but the facts on the field seem to imply copyright is a hollow law – especially for attacking personal-use filesharing over the Internet.

            If there really were a simple alternative that was more beneficial for those involved, it wouldn’t be a hard sell and people would want that. The fact is, though, that there isn’t a better system.

            Well if there isn’t, you guys are screwed. Personally I’m quite fond of the “blanket license” idea.

          • Magnet links negate copyright in the same way that the current zeitgeist negates monarchy power. You can say “it’s the law”, but the facts on the field seem to imply copyright is a hollow law – especially for attacking personal-use filesharing over the Internet.

            Yes, piracy exists, always has existed, and always will exist. So what? You can say the same about hunger and homelessness. That doesn’t make it OK.

            Well if there isn’t, you guys are screwed. Personally I’m quite fond of the “blanket license” idea.

            Screwed? Not at all. Copyright law will do what it always does–adapt.

          • Yes, piracy exists, always has existed, and always will exist. So what? You can say the same about hunger and homelessness. That doesn’t make it OK.

            It’s never existed at the level it does today. And the reason is simple: copy technology has advancement leap and bounds in the past 20 years, to the point where the sum of human knowledge can be shared with all of humanity.

            Screwed? Not at all. Copyright law will do what it always does–adapt.

            Technological countermeasures to the law are moving faster than the bureaucratic law-making process can keep up. The nature of the Internet at a fundamental level makes copyright enforcement difficult, especially with stuff like Web 2.0 around.

            And copyright itself is under attack at a level never seen before (even pro-copyright people admit this), further frustrating efforts at legal countermeasures.

            Personally, I’m fairly confident it’s the end of the road for this legal regime of copyright.

          • Personally, I’m fairly confident it’s the end of the road for this legal regime of copyright.

            Pretty much every nation on earth has a robust copyright system and you think the end is near. I just don’t see it.

          • There was in time in history where pretty much every nation had a robust monarch as well. Time and technology tend to change things in radical ways.

          • There was in time in history where pretty much every nation had a robust monarch as well. Time and technology tend to change things in radical ways.

            Let me guess: Because you perceive that the laws will change in the future to make “file-sharing” legal, you think that means you’re justified in “file-sharing” right now. You’re not a sociopath and a criminal, you’re just a revolutionary, right? Sorry, but your need for movies and music isn’t some sort of fundamental right that the crown is wrongfully withholding. If you’re a pirate you’re no better than a petty thief or a pickpocket.

          • I’m all for reforming copyright scope and duration, but the basic, underlying rationale of copyright is still sound.

            Therein lies the first problem. Copyright is not sound because you can’t control a copy being made nowadays. Copyright’s entire nature of being is to “promote progress and learning”. It’s not to be used as a form of wealth redistribution.

            . Do you actually have an alternative system in mind that will incentivize the creation of worthwhile works (that cost time and money, as you already conceded) but that doesn’t rely on giving the creators of those works a marketable right?

            They already exist and are being utilized. You seem to dismiss the success of Kickstarter, Megaupload, Topspin or Spotify because it’s not about having an entitlement complex similar to what the RIAA is doing.

            Personally I’m quite fond of the “blanket license” idea.

            No, it’s a “you must be a criminal tax” that doesn’t work once the media is seen as getting older and outdated.

            Pretty much every nation on earth has a robust copyright system and you think the end is near. I just don’t see it.

            The look at the UK Hargreaves Report, the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, and the WTO report on manga and anime and why people ignore copyright and pirate when the industry doesn’t serve their demand for content.

            Let me guess: Because you perceive that the laws will change in the future to make “file-sharing” legal, you think that means you’re justified in “file-sharing” right now. You’re not a sociopath and a criminal, you’re just a revolutionary, right? Sorry, but your need for movies and music isn’t some sort of fundamental right that the crown is wrongfully withholding. If you’re a pirate you’re no better than a petty thief or a pickpocket.

            Let me guess: When the world has exposed copyright for the bad rule making favored heavily to rights holders that aren’t human, anything done to usurp this bad monopolistic scheme for just that is vilified instead of studied. The fact remains that piracy doesn’t cause as much damage as people say and can be argued to be an alternative when an industry doesn’t serve its customer’s needs.

            If you can’t see the difference you must be being obtuse or can’t discern the facts of the digital economy versus the fictions of reported “theft” from “rogue websites”.

          • Let me guess: Because you perceive that the laws will change in the future to make “file-sharing” legal, you think that means you’re justified in “file-sharing” right now. You’re not a sociopath and a criminal, you’re just a revolutionary, right? Sorry, but your need for movies and music isn’t some sort of fundamental right that the crown is wrongfully withholding. If you’re a pirate you’re no better than a petty thief or a pickpocket.

            Here comes the accusations. Of course copyright maximalists think an accusation is enough for penalities, they support[ed] the DMCA and SOPA after all. Screw the court system and due process!

            I don’t pirate. Not because I have anything against it of course, but because I feel the better way to damage the ideas of copyright crusaders is to use copyleft content, such as Creative Commons and FOSS. In such a way I have no possibility of giving you a dime (even by mistake).

            I strive to avoid non-free (free as in freedom) content as much as possible. Feel free to call me names (I’ve been called worse than “criminal”), but it will just make you like petty. Everything I do is legal under the current regime (although I wouldn’t but it past you guys to try to “criminalize” Creative Commons).

          • Therein lies the first problem. Copyright is not sound because you can’t control a copy being made nowadays. Copyright’s entire nature of being is to “promote progress and learning”. It’s not to be used as a form of wealth redistribution.

            It still promotes the progress by incentivizing the creation of new works. The fact that copying is easy and cheap doesn’t change things. The non-rivalrous nature of works is what necessitated the creation of copyright in the first place. So to say that its non-rivalrous nature renders it moot is silly.

            They already exist and are being utilized. You seem to dismiss the success of Kickstarter, Megaupload, Topspin or Spotify because it’s not about having an entitlement complex similar to what the RIAA is doing.

            Kickstarter is people holding out a hat and asking for money, with no guarantee that the money donated will be used for what it’s intended for. How you can seriously think that Kickstarter replaces copyright boggles the mind. Megaupload is a bunch of pirates “sharing” other people’s works. I’m not familiar with Topspin. Spotify is great, and I’m a happy user of that service. But I don’t begin to understand how you think Spotify negates the need for copyright, especially considering that Spotify works within copyright. I don’t see your point at all.

            No, it’s a “you must be a criminal tax” that doesn’t work once the media is seen as getting older and outdated.

            I wasn’t the one who said I supported blanket licenses.

            The look at the UK Hargreaves Report, the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, and the WTO report on manga and anime and why people ignore copyright and pirate when the industry doesn’t serve their demand for content.

            I’m aware that there’s a certain mindset out there where people think it’s OK to decide for themselves which rights are valuable and which rights should be violated without a care. It’s hard to imagine an attitude that’s more antisocial, deluded, and scary.

            Let me guess: When the world has exposed copyright for the bad rule making favored heavily to rights holders that aren’t human, anything done to usurp this bad monopolistic scheme for just that is vilified instead of studied. The fact remains that piracy doesn’t cause as much damage as people say and can be argued to be an alternative when an industry doesn’t serve its customer’s needs.

            I’m sure like most things there are pros and cons. I’m more than open to changing the law in a way that benefits authors and society alike. Unless and until the law changes, though, it is to be respected. Taking the law into your own hands is neither respectable nor tolerable.

            If you can’t see the difference you must be being obtuse or can’t discern the facts of the digital economy versus the fictions of reported “theft” from “rogue websites”.

            Rogue websites are very real. Considering the fact that you think Megaupload renders the whole copyright system useless, it’s no surprise you don’t perceive any problems.

          • Here comes the accusations. Of course copyright maximalists think an accusation is enough for penalities, they support[ed] the DMCA and SOPA after all. Screw the court system and due process!

            You’re all over the place here. The DMCA and SOPA provide for adequate due process. I suspect you don’t really understand what “due process” means.

            I don’t pirate. Not because I have anything against it of course, but because I feel the better way to damage the ideas of copyright crusaders is to use copyleft content, such as Creative Commons and FOSS. In such a way I have no possibility of giving you a dime (even by mistake).

            I strive to avoid non-free (free as in freedom) content as much as possible. Feel free to call me names (I’ve been called worse than “criminal”), but it will just make you like petty. Everything I do is legal under the current regime (although I wouldn’t but it past you guys to try to “criminalize” Creative Commons).

            Great! I’m glad you’re not a pirate. I incorrectly suspected that you were. My apologies.

          • “You’re all over the place here. The DMCA and SOPA provide for adequate due process. I suspect you don’t really understand what “due process” means.”

            If your idea is due process means being able to force websites and ISPs with to do your bidding with nothing more than a C&D letter, then sure, the DMCA has due process. Sorry if I believe you should have to get a COURT ORDER first, like any other law. But I guess copyright is special.

          • If your idea is due process means being able to force websites and ISPs with to do your bidding with nothing more than a C&D letter, then sure, the DMCA has due process. Sorry if I believe you should have to get a COURT ORDER first, like any other law. But I guess copyright is special.

            I’m referring to actual due process, not my own personal version of it. In 14 years of the DMCA being the law no court has ever held that the DMCA violates due process. If it so obviously did, as you propose, then why hasn’t any court ever said so? Wouldn’t attorneys be all over that argument if it was valid? It’s not that “copyright is special.” The Due Process Clause applies with equal force in copyright cases. A notice doesn’t force anyone to do anything. The counternotification procedure, as well as the availability of the courts should the notice be contested, provide the notice and hearing that are the hallmarks of due process.

      • “We have copyright laws because they made sense before the Internet and computers were around.”

        This is like saying that we have property laws because they made sense before bulldozers were around.

  3. “Consider prisons. The United States puts people in prison who commit serious crimes such as armed robbery, burglary, and murder. China may put political dissidents in prison. No one would contend, I assume, that the United States should stop putting serious criminals in prison even though the Chinese are jailing political dissidents.

    Right… Who is he kidding? The US has more people incarcerated for nonviolent crimes than the rest of the world combined. All of this to promote the private prison industry and keep up the war on drugs that everyone but the US government has acknowledged as a failed effort.

    Writing a book is hard. All those torturous hours an author has to spend creating, crafting, culling until nonsensical words are transformed into engaging prose. It’s a whole lot easier to copy and paste someone else’s work, slap your name on top, and wait for the money to roll in. This creates a strong economic incentive, with fake authors–Sharazade thinks it’s possible they are organized gangs based in Asia–earning 70% royalty rates on every sale, earning far more than a spammer could with click fraud.

    Last I checked on China’s writing process, there were a lot of writers making money by being the only source of a particular story. Doesn’t mean that they can’t make money, but people can buy the story at its source, chapter by chapter as the author writes it.

    Think about if we had something like that here in the US. Other than Amazon, I haven’t paid particular attention to self publishing but it’s a good idea to look at more than one article trying to say that profiting off of work is somehow sacrilege.

    Oh, and Chris Castle’s “analysis” is based on FUD. He sits here and discusses the jobs that are destroyed when they’re being created by the tech sector:

    Like so many things in the bizarre world of Internet devotees, the Heroes of the Internet would rather stand by and watch thousands of jobs be destroyed and private property rights be eroded or effectively be made voluntary because they don’t like the people whose rights are to be protected.

    Tell him to name ONE job that was destroyed because of piracy. Just one. When you can sit down and explain why Paul Vixie, who helped to create the DNSSEC system is wrong about his careful detailed analysis about why the system can work with stronger copyright law that interferes with the system, then I’ll believe him. Until then, he might want to leave the analysis of the system to the experts.

    If the link is to a rogue site—a site dedicated to theft—how is it that omitting the link undercuts the public trust in search engines? Wouldn’t eliminating links to sites peddling illegal drugs and counterfeit goods strengthen the public trust in search engines?

    Here, he ignores the fact that people want cheaper medicines from different countries because they’re expensive in the US under patent law.

    What’s funny is when you have to bring up Floyd Abrams, the only First Amendment lawyer to come out in support of SOPA (at the behest of the MPAA) against the 100 other lawyers that have taken the time to look at this thing and see how bad it is.

    And Castle is supposed to be taken seriously? Wow…

    • The content industry really starts to lose credibility when they act like blocking access to the sites millions of people voluntary and intentionally WANT to go to will improve the public trust.

      I don’t know if it’s just delusional thinking or intellectual dishonesty (probably a bit of both?).

    • LOL What an idiot. “One job”? LOL How about TENS OF THOUSANDS of record label employees? Who worked for labels whose music is STILL being stolen. IOW, the product is still being consumed, but not paid for, so the manufacturer must lay off employees.

      You’re a buffoon.

      • Boo hoo at record label employees that caused their own downfall. It must escape your incredibly short sighted notice that Mitch Glazier and those that support copyright are paid over $2 million dollars but can’t actually make better businesses for the people in the music industry.

        Do me a favor, Ken. Go read about the music industry before trying to comment about it. You make yourself look incredibly ignorant.

        • That girl that got raped was asking for it, right “Jay”?

          Your attempt at misdirection via blaming the victim has all the hallmarks of a classic sociopath.

          • Wow… You can’t even acknowledge that Mitch Bainwol, Mitch Glazier and those in the RIAA are the ones that fired people after their disastrous “sue em all” campaign.

            Seek help.

        • Kent,

          That’s one hell of a strawman you are building there. Why don’t you call him a terrorist as well?

  4. The latest news is that SOPA/PIPA is falling apart.

  5. A trivial comment for sure, but I have a wry smile by Ms. McArdle’s use of the word “steal” vs. “theft”.

    You use the latter and all of a sudden non-lawyers who haven’t a clue about the development of common law and statutory law come to fancy themselves as legal experts. I wonder how many of these new experts are able to differentiate between “theft” and “trespass” when it comes to the removal of a “fixture” from real property?

    Yup, “steal” sounds to me as being a pretty good substitute, at which time I can watch with bemusement as these new experts try everything within their powerto shift the discussion to inject “theft” in lieu of “stealing”,

    • They’re taking something for free that they otherwise would have to pay for. That’s “stealing” in my book. It is amusing how adamant they get about how it’s labeled, though. They have a strange notion that if it’s infringement, then it’s OK. But then if they perceive that their rights are being infringed, like say their First Amendment rights, then infringement is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Too funny.

      • What’s funny is the typical insult for file sharer before the “thief” moniker came along was the arguably much worse “pirate”. Which is all but been embraced within the filesharing community and thus lost most of its sting.

        • What’s funny is the typical insult for file sharer before the “thief” moniker came along was the arguably much worse “pirate”. Which is all but been embraced within the filesharing community and thus lost most of its sting.

          No doubt there are those who think it’s OK to decide for themselves that other people’s rights are unimportant and rightly violated–they’re called sociopaths. I’m sure hardcore “pirates” aren’t moved by what moniker they’re given, but obviously some people get upset when their “sharing” is referred to as “theft” or “stealing.”

          • No doubt there are those who think it’s OK to decide for themselves that other people’s rights are unimportant and rightly violated–they’re called sociopaths.

            I hope you are talking about people who want to eliminate or reduce free expression rights, decrease the security and stability of the Internet, invade the privacy of people in their own homes and roll back the progress of technology. All so they can continue making a profit using outdated business models.

            I’m glad we agree on something!

          • I hope you are talking about people who want to eliminate or reduce free expression rights, decrease the security and stability of the Internet, invade the privacy of people in their own homes and roll back the progress of technology. All so they can continue making a profit using outdated business models.

            I’m glad we agree on something!

            I’m pro-SOPA and pro-PROTECT IP, but obviously I disagree with your parade of horribles. Funny how you’re so concerned about the hypothetical violation of rights of pirates, but you’re not at all concerned about the fact that pirates are violating other people’s rights. That speaks poorly of your character, IMO.

          • Can you explain to me how SOPA/PIPA even in it’s previous form would do anything to stop piracy that uses magnet links? There is no centralized place to point fingers at. There is nothing tangible to take down.

            You do release I could very easily paste a magnet link here, thus this blog would become in essence, no different than an other site that has a list of magnet links? Or I get put millions of magnet links on a USB stick and basically have the key to all the world’s content in my pocket? How do you stop that?

            No, the only effect SOPA/PIPA will have is the things I listed and more. And yes, simply “saying it isn’t so” doesn’t change anything. Virtually all the leading Internet engineers are against SOPA, cypersecurity experts, free speech activists, basically everyone is making the same exact argument I just made (oh noes, it’s not original!).

            Feel free to view this video complements of Vimeo:
            http://vimeo.com/31100268?utm_source=thedjlist.com&utm_medium=thedjlist.com_link&utm_content=dj_profile_link&utm_campaign=APPLICATIONS

          • I’m not a tech guy and I’m not going to debate magnet links and DNS blocks with you. I’ve read what Vixie has written and I don’t see where he says it’ll “break the internet.” It’s a policy preference dressed up as a technological issue. As I said before, there will always be piracy. Just note that it’s you pirates who are destroying internet freedom by using the internet to violate other people’s rights. Whatever fallout there is it’s because the pirates and other criminals brought this on themselves. Personally I don’t see how the internet could ever really be free when sociopaths will abuse the system. And unlike you, I don’t think the criminals should win.

          • I’m not a tech guy and I’m not going to debate magnet links and DNS blocks with you.

            And herein lies the problem. Stay far, far away from trying to “regulate” the Internet if you have no idea what you are doing.

          • And herein lies the problem. Stay far, far away from trying to “regulate” the Internet if you have no idea what you are doing.

            That’s silly rhetoric. If the whole “breaks the internet” argument is really just a policy preference masquerading as a technological problem, then obviously that fact cuts against your side’s position. Vixie himself explains that DNS blocking simply makes the internet less secure and less convenient for people committing piracy. It creates browser delays and increases server loads for pirates. If that’s the case, then how’s that a problem?

            If DNS blocking would really “break the internet” in a meaningful way, then I would think it’s a bad idea. But the inventor of DNS blocking himself admits that it won’t. In fact, he supports DNS blocking when it’s for child porn or spam–and he doesn’t think that “breaks the internet.” It seems clear to me that the whole “breaks the internet” thing is just bunk.

          • Let me get this right. You don’t think it will be harmful to the Internet when the Internet Society says it will be, and your supporting argument is to take some random thing Paul Vixie said out of context?

          • Let me get this right. You don’t think it will be harmful to the Internet when the Internet Society says it will be, and your supporting argument is to take some random thing Paul Vixie said out of context?

            Out of context? Hardly. See it for yourself: http://www.circleid.com/posts/20120111_refusing_refused_for_sopa_pipa/

            The paragraph starting with “The second to latest idea” is the one I’m looking at. He says that simply not answering a DNS request “would lead to long and mysterious delays in web browser behavior as well as an increased traffic load on ISP name servers” for pirates. That’s not “breaking the internet.” He also says that a “DNSSEC client would treat this kind of ‘time out’ as evidence of damage by the local hotel or coffee shop wireless gateway and could reasonably respond by trying alternative servers or proxies or even VPN paths in order to get a secure answer.” Again, that’s not “breaking the internet.”

            I don’t pretend to know much about the DNS system, but Vixie does. And he says that simply not answering the DNS request will only lead to browser delays and server loads–and only for pirates. People like me won’t have these problems. And honestly, considering all the viruses and stuff that pirates routinely give each other, the possibility of a man-in-the-middle attack or browser delay doesn’t sound like it’d be any worse. The internet is already significantly less safe for pirates.

          • Oh that is one epic maneuver you got going there. You are using a blog post which entirely is about how SOPA won’t work and will damage the Internet into in argument about how it won’t. All while saying you don’t understand anything about DNS. Unbelievable. It’s almost like how the MPAA takes the Obama’s administration’s statement that there is fundamental things wrong with SOPA into an argument on how he supports it (I guess they are hoping for another NDAA-type action). I really don’t get this. Do you guys get special training on spin doctoring in art school?

            Yeah, it’s only about “pirate” sites. But of course, you don’t define what I pirate site is. I’ve never got a straight answer on what constitutes a rogue or pirate ite. Ask some SOPA supporters, and pirate sites are eBay, Craigslist, Costco and Sears. And you wonder why the tech industry fell down hard on this.

          • Oh that is one epic maneuver you got going there. You are using a blog post which entirely is about how SOPA won’t work and will damage the Internet into in argument about how it won’t.

            Yes, the blog post is primarily about how the “refused” command won’t work. But if you read that paragraph I pointed to, he explicitly explains the problems that will arise if simply no response is given–and the problems are only browser delays, server loads, and that pirates won’t get the benefit of DNSSEC security. You can read his words for yourself. I can point you to other articles where Vixie repeats the same thing. He couldn’t be any clearer.

            Look at Vixie’s actual words and explain to me how I’m reading it incorrectly. You cannot. Explain to me exactly how it “breaks the internet.” You cannot.

          • You can see whatever you want in his article. Maybe he is talking about unicorns and ponies too. I don’t know how this article reads to someone who has no idea how DNS works. But I can’t see it.

            I’ll tell you what I see in the article though. I see is a lot of good, technically backed reasons that SOPA is a bad idea.

            You are so desperate to prove your point, you point to someone who writes an eloquent anti-SOPA article as proof that there isn’t anything wrong with SOPA and you misunderstand (intentionally or not) the article, by taking a sentence out of context and putting your own spin to it.

            Again, no different than MPAA and Obama’s administration opposition to SOPA. He could write SOPA is a piece of s**t and they’ll take that an endorsement, because he said something about piracy being bad and stuff.

          • You can see whatever you want in his article. Maybe he is talking about unicorns and ponies too. I don’t know how this article reads to someone who has no idea how DNS works. But I can’t see it.

            I have a working knowledge of DNS. I’m just not an expert. But you don’t have to be an expert to understand what Vixie is saying because he’s not talking hyper-technically. The fact is that you cannot point to anything in his statement that shows me wrong, because I’m not wrong and he said exactly what I reported. I did not take anything out of context, and I’ve proved my point.

            You have not, and obviously cannot, explain how DNS blocking “breaks the internet.” The one who doesn’t understand this is you, Joe.

          • You win.

            Obviously hidden in the five paragraphs of How SOPA Breaks The Internet, there is a proof that SOPA Only Hurts The “Pirates” (hell, I thought the terminology was “rogue site”).

            Everyone is wrong, except Paul Vixie, who cleverly hid Secret Evidence on how SOPA is actually great stuff in one of his anti-SOPA blog posts. The super-sleuth D.H. cleverly, applied the art of Gematria to The Anti-SOPA Works of Engineers. He has shown, without a doubt, that SOPA doesn’t break the Internet, using their very own anti-SOPA arguments! Bravo!

            Quickly, to Congress with your findings. Before it is too late.

          • You’re being childish, and clearly we’re past the point of diminishing returns. I pointed to his exact text that proves my point, and you rebutted with nonsense. Obviously Vixie thinks it’s a bad policy decision, but he does not say it will “break the internet” in a technical way.

          • The entire ARTICLE is about how it will “break the Internet” in a purely technical way. Paul Vixie is not a lobbyist or an artist, he is an engineer and he blogs about engineering concerns.

            Of course, random delays and other crap is not the same as “the Internet not working”, but it is breakage. That’s the Internet not working as well as it used to.

            Your argument is “only pirates” will be affected by the breakage, which depends on what your definition of pirate (or more accurately, rogue site) is. Something that even after four attempts to get clarification, nobody here has been able to answer.

            Most of the article is about how SOPA/PIPA’s DNS filtering provisions will be ineffective. Your glorious sentence I can not for the life of me figure out how you conclude PIPA will not harm the Internet, even when taken by itself. You are probably fooling yourself into thinking there is any legal standard for “rouge site”.

            But regardless, it is followed by:


            “However when we also observed that a DNSSEC client would treat this kind of “time out” as evidence of damage by the local hotel or coffee shop wireless gateway and could reasonably respond by trying alternative servers or proxies or even VPN paths in order to get a secure answer, the supporters of SOPA and PIPA agreed with this and moved right along. ”

            Apparently you missed that important fact. So yes, you are taking it out of context. Not only will PIPA break the Internet – it will do nothing to effect people’s ability to go to sites they want to go to, DNSSEC will assure that. And of course, even if it magically did, it will do nothing to stop magnet links. Which is something you are conveniently ignoring because you don’t understand.

            Which is the summary of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING the content industry has done in relation to the Internet. They (and you) simply do not get it how it works and how to make business on it.

            The fact that it took a computer company to figure out you can sell music on the Internet is telling.

  6. I’ve heard anti-copyright activists call copyright proponents “thieves of the public domain” so it seems to go both ways regardless.

  7. Joe, that’s the problem. When tech people sit down and try to explain the argument, we’re admonished as “piracy supporters”, “rogue lovers” and “not loving property rights”. Then you sit down and have to explain how copyright infringement is not theft, was made into theft after the Net ACT and Pro-IP Act made the statutory limits higher, how the public doesn’t benefit from copyright law as is, and how third parties are supposed to police the internet for two industries that are already doing quite well financially.

    Then you have to sigh as you sit here and explain, time and time again, why the industry could be making more money if it stopped focusing on taking away civil rights and learned how to make businesses that people would like to support.

    But no, they go the litigation route, that hasn’t helped in the last 30 years nor the last 100 years in assisting in making more artists or creators. Instead it’s about how one artist is losing out because someone else is getting a benefit from their work monetarily. Ironically, the competition from the “freetards” that they think they understand actually helps an artist to constantly create something new and not rest on their laurels. If copyright were so helpful, then why doesn’t every industry have these government regulations to make them so special? Oh, that’s right… Copyright law is ineffective and SOPA/PIPA help to prove that the government doesn’t know what it’s trying to control or regulate.

    So sit back, sigh, and know that some people just won’t get it. They’re too busy not understanding the implications from bad laws to really notice that there’s a world that’s still going on that doesn’t need their protectionism.

    • “Instead it’s about how one artist is losing out because someone else is getting a benefit from their work monetarily.”

      And you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?

    • Let’s give them credit. I’ve noticed that some of the Copyright Crusaders recently discovered this non-protectionist “world” (of Creative Commons, etc.).

      And it’s obviously a conspiracy: a simple case of sniveling technologists brainwashing artists. Google IS Behind It All Somehow. Using their internetwaves to force artists to CC their music. Or something.

      At least they aren’t saying “Creative Commons funds terrorism”, that’s WhatPiracyFunds(tm). At least I haven’t seen it yet.

  8. Kickstarter is people holding out a hat and asking for money, with no guarantee that the money donated will be used for what it’s intended for. How you can seriously think that Kickstarter replaces copyright boggles the mind. Megaupload is a bunch of pirates “sharing” other people’s works. I’m not familiar with Topspin. Spotify is great, and I’m a happy user of that service. But I don’t begin to understand how you think Spotify negates the need for copyright, especially considering that Spotify works within copyright. I don’t see your point at all.

    How you can dismiss $100 million dollars raised in donations is beyond me. In music alone, $19,800,000 was raised. In movies – $32,500,000. This is money going directly to artists for works. This is a lot of money going to new business models and trying new concepts such as crowdsourcing which is incentivized donations. That’s a lot of projects to act as if they don’t exist.

    Oh, and Megaupload is going to compete against the labels very soon. They’re looking into giving the artists a 90% revenue share for putting their stuff on the site. Add to this the fact that a lot of artists use MU for their own songs and you’ve got yet another misplaced rage at a site that others don’t want to understand.

    Spotify – legal streaming, same as Youtube. A lot better than what the RIAA is offering for their products where people are limited to 90 seconds of a song or whatever other arbitrary limits they try to enforce on using songs.

    • So the ability to beg for money on Kickstarter negatives the copyright system? You can’t be serious. And I understand Megaupload clearly enough. Pointing to a few legitimate uses doesn’t erase all of the hardcore infringement that site facilitates by design. Spotify is a great product, and it licenses its content. That’s an example of copyright law working as it should, so I don’t get why you’re using it evidence of the failure and doom of the copyright system.

      • So the ability to beg for money on Kickstarter negatives the copyright system?

        The ability to crowdsource effectively negates the copyright system. You incentivize people to support your work by having a detailed business plan, figure out how much money you can raise and effectively raise the money without giving away your copyright for extra cash. Kickstarter is just one example of the move away from the gatekeeper society. Call it whatever you will, but it’s doing pretty well in helping artists make money without having to go to the major labels.

        Pointing to a few legitimate uses doesn’t erase all of the hardcore infringement that site facilitates by design.

        Right. This is the part where Google is implicated as a rogue website because you can look at torrents on it. Look, if you need the government to help you keep your monopoly in place, don’t cry to me when I find ways to route around it.

        “It’s not fair that someone is making money off my work!”

        Okay… Don’t release anything or make it easily accessible. Put it behind the most byzantine DRM and never release to the public at all. You’ll make millions.

        That’s an example of copyright law working as it should, so I don’t get why you’re using it evidence of the failure and doom of the copyright system.

        Spotify would be working a lot better if they didn’t have the large label demands that came with bringing it to the US. The labels have a habit of destroying the very innovations that would help smaller artists. To suddenly say that this is copyright law working as it should, missed the fact that this is a technology made not through copyright law, but business innovation. In essence, it took the labels 15+ years to get on board with P2P filesharing (what Spotify is). And now, they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the current digital era.

        Copyright caused none of this. If anything, it made the consumers worse off since the labels had the right to not allow Spotify in the US. Now think about this… They made the company cut back on their free offers in Europe and pulled artists from the platform (where now, the artists are missing out from the new APIs and tools that can be made.). How you can say that is “copyright working as it should be”, I’ve no idea. If copyright were actually working, the public would be benefitting from a better service, not having a label unusable in a country because the major labels aren’t making enough money.

        • Kickstarter is just another way to raise money, and by begging no less. Donors don’t even get an ownership interest in the work they help fund, and there’s no requirement that the work not be copyrighted by the creator. While that might work for a few people as a way to raise money, that doesn’t make it a replacement for the copyright system in general. You’re just not making sense to me on this point. Copyright is about more than raising seed money for new projects.

          I categorically reject the argument that Megaupload is no different than Google since you can find torrents on Google. It’s boils down to primary purpose and intent. Google indexes the entire internet, and Megaupload, by design and as its intended purpose, exists to facilitate copyright infringement on a grand scale. The fact that Google may be used to infringe doesn’t mean there aren’t obvious and material differences between the two services.

          You guys have this strange view that if you can conceive of some way that you could be receiving content and that way does not presently exist, then that means that copyright is broken and we should throw the whole thing out. That’s an incredibly simplistic view of things, let’s just say that.

        • “The ability to crowdsource effectively negates the copyright system. You incentivize people to support your work by having a detailed business plan, figure out how much money you can raise and effectively raise the money without giving away your copyright for extra cash.”

          So…you’re saying that Kickstarter is an argument against the copyright system because it allows creators to keep their copyright.

          uh…

          …weren’t you arguing against copyright?

          • They obviously aren’t generating revenue from copyright, but from crowd-sourcing. You can generate revenue from artificial scarcity at your own risk, but don’t expect the world to bend to your will.