How could I blackout a site that hasn’t been updated in years? Instead, to protest the pending Internet regulation legislation in the US Congress right now, commonly known as SOPA (House bill) and PIPA (Senate bill), I will spare my social network followers the incessant snippets, and finally, blog definitively about it.
There is plenty of explanatory commentary on this bill widely circulating right now. I offer a unique treatment of this situation, public reaction and possible resolution.
Citation of bills
H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act
S.968 – PROTECT IP Act of 2011
AKA Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011
Simply put, this legislation is an embarrassing blunder of epic proportions by both the Copyright Cartel (MPAA, RIAA, Chamber of Commerce, The 5 Major Media Corps) and their proxy lawmakers, which as of this writing, include my own (Chuck Schumer [D,NY], Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY], co-sponsors; Nydia Velasquez [D, NY-12], a cagey SOPA Supporter).
It criminalizes the design, structure and usage of the Internet and Social Web.
Imagine the PIPA law is signed by the President. As early as March…
Uploading a Michael Jackson song could land you 5 years in jail. This could happen by accident, as it plays in the background of a home video you make and upload to YouTube to share with friends and family. Not only will YouTube be forced to close down its business because of you, but you will also likely serve jail-time, as the Attorney General has new tools to prosecute you. A copyright owner would only need to accuse you of infringement to shut down the site. There’s only a 5 day window to remove the content before shutdown.
As written, these acts would cut off the digital media technology startup industry. The uncertainty of the regulatory conditions and expense of retaining counsel for constant consultation would eliminate entrepreneurialism. All risk-taking would essentially cease when it comes to Internet-based business development.
As written, these acts would criminalize most forms of media remixing, which scholars believe is a critical literacy for the twenty-first century. Public libraries are currently being outfitted as afterschool media labs so that teens can learn the skills that will … lead to their arrest … as they get caught uploading and linking to copyright material? Yes, that is the bizarre reality if SOPA and/or PIPA are enacted into law.
As written, these laws demonstrate Congress’s appalling inability to show us that they are not bought out by special interests. Their rubber stamping of dangerous language in these laws, probably written by Lobbyists, reveals to us that they do not understand the concept of the Internet or the verdant, world-changing cultures that inhabit it, building value the world has never seen.
As written, these bills reveal that the American Entertainment Complex, acting through its industry associations, MPAA and RIAA, with support from the Chamber of Commerce (CoC) brazenly “purchases” democracy and attempts to regulate the Internet-as-we-know-it out of existence. They cite evidence of their profit losses in amounts that even the FBI cannot corroborate. Most empirical studies point to a link between media sales as a result of bootleg media distribution channels. Consumers demand total media access. Producers refuse to sell it to them, at any price.
Congress and the White House should consider how they could redirect this effort towards a transparent collaboration between the Content Cartel and the immense design and technology capital offered by the free market, (See Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley) to solve copyright infringements through innovation, not totalitarian legislation. The Internet, the Social Web and the Technology Industry is rightly furious that it was not consulted by Congress to craft this legislation. It offends to ponder Congress’s corrupt contempt for the burgeoning bright spot of the American economy.
Congress must acknowledge that the Entertainment Industry fosters piracy by means of their own business model of keeping complete content libraries fragmented across platforms, restricted by arcane rights limitations, and throttled by restrictive rights management. This is a deliberate attempt on the part of IP Lawyers, working for Big Media, to create scarcity where there is none. They only know how to profit from economies based on scarcity. If the combination of the digital Internet, the Social Web, and mobile computing obliterates the scarcity maintained by physical media, then the Cartel must create scarcity by limiting rights, so you cannot download any movie or tv show, anywhere, anytime.
Why can’t consumers download any movie or any song on any device for any price? There is no technological limitation for this not to be standard. The protocols, tools and systems are in place, right now. It is due to an artificial constraint imposed by Copyright implementations, by choice.
If the Content Cartel would license its complete library, open access, all platforms, for any price it would like to charge, piracy would essentially end.
This will be an issue in the November elections. I anticipate a significant number of voters will struggle to cast votes re-electing any member of Congress who fails to take this momentous opportunity to step away from this folly. Let’s dump these evil twin sisters, SOPA and PIPA, for good.
— Dave Carroll (@aquarious) January 18, 2012