To protect copyright, the movie industry favors legislation that would strangle the Internet - could pass before end of year

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 9:21 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204452104577059894208244720.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

    Horror Show: Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley - To protect copyright, the movie industry favors legislation that would strangle the Internet.

    Washington regulating the Internet is akin to a gorilla playing a Stradivarius. Yet many legislators are being urged to play by lobbyists for Hollywood, perhaps the most technology-intolerant industry.

    The Motion Picture Association of America is the leading proponent for legislative proposals with ostensibly benign titles—the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate. These bills would go so far to protect copyright that they would strangle the Internet with regulation. The Web would be transformed from a permissive technology where innovation is welcome to one where websites are shut down first, questions asked later.

    The legislation has bipartisan support and could come up for a vote before the end of the year. If it passes, the government will take down an entire website when a copyright holder claims an infringement online. A violation could be a single link on a single page, such as user-generated content that includes a movie clip or song lyric.

    It would also be unlawful for a site to "avoid confirming a high probability" of infringement. This is legalese to make websites responsible for anything posted on them or potentially posted on them by third parties. Payment providers, ad networks and search engines would get infringement notices barring them from working with these sites, which would put the sites out of business before any violation is proven.

    Silicon Valley has belatedly realized it must fight the new proposals. Fred Wilson, a New York venture capitalist, recently hit the corridors in Washington and wrote on his blog: "Venture capitalists will think more than twice about putting $3 million of early-stage capital into startups if they know that the vast majority of the funds will go to pay lawyers to defend the companies instead of to hire engineers to create and build product."

    "Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were three-person startups not so long ago," Mr. Wilson wrote. Each "could have been litigated out of business before they had a chance to grow," because all have inadvertently permitted violations of copyright by users.

    The proposed changes to the law would effectively repeal the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This created a safe harbor in 1998 for online providers so long as they agreed to cut off users who violate copyright. Rights holders use a "notice and take down" process. Sites such as Facebook and YouTube comply with more than 10,000 such takedown notices a year, but they are not directly liable for infringements any more than phone companies are liable when people speak on the phone to plan a crime. This has allowed the Web to grow while providing copyright protection.

    Laws can suppress technology, but "as the information economy increasingly becomes the only economy, regulators around the world are looking for ways to assert their authority," warns technology consultant Larry Downes, writing on the CNET site. According to McKinsey, the Internet accounts for more than 3% of GDP in the largest countries, more than agriculture or energy; represents more than 20% of economic growth over the past five years; and is a net producer of new jobs, creating more than twice as many jobs as it displaces.

    It's not surprising that industries would seek more protection regardless of the unanticipated consequences on technology more broadly. But the most effective solutions to problems caused by technology don't involve government enforcement. The movie industry says 90% of pirated movies are from illegal recordings made in theaters using video cameras; the industry now enforces its rights using technology to trace pirated copies back to individual theaters. Hollywood is now happy to work with services such as Netflix, which increasingly sell or rent digital versions. Similarly, the music industry fought Napster but now relies on iTunes.

    Private action is often more effective than laws. There was an outcry when credit card companies cut off WikiLeaks, drying up its contributions. Internet freedom is better protected through contract—when WikiLeaks violates terms of use, it gets cut off—than by overbroad legislation. Likewise, the Techdirt website disclosed that Universal Music included in a list of "infringing sites" the personal website of one of its stars, the hip-hop musician 50 Cent. Instead of whining to Congress, Universal should revise its contracts with its recording artists.

    Hollywood is playing to stereotype, hoping to suppress technology as it did in 1982, when the late industry lobbyist Jack Valenti said the invention of the VCR was to the "American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler was to the woman home alone." Hollywood has since also fought DVD players, DVRs and MP3 players.

    Technology makes many things possible, good and bad. One thing that seems a mission impossible is having laws keep up with the pace of change on the Internet. Hollywood's effort to create a different story line for the future of the Web is a horror show. Lawmakers should walk out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:00 PM GMT
    Against the law is against the law. The movie and recording industries have to do what they need to do to stop piracy.

    To say it's going to strangle the internet though is a little paranoid, IMO.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:03 PM GMT
    RIGuy60 saidAgainst the law is against the law. The movie and recording industries have to do what they need to do to stop piracy.

    To say it's going to strangle the internet though is a little paranoid, IMO.


    Against what law though? In other countries they dont have the protection to enforce this regulation.

    If I download something off of piratebay, which is a swedish company (I think) can the US government go in and shut down that site?

    What are they going to do? Cencor me from visiting it?

    This raises too many questions, and overall I think will be found unconstitutional. What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty" mentality that this country was founded on?

    Also, all the internet did was give another way to distribute art, the movie companies and the record companies are now relics of the past. If they cant keep up they can get out!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:08 PM GMT
    If you're in the US downloading from some other country that it's legal, you're still breaking the law (and that's not debateable..that's fact).

    The only way this will stop is a complete shutdown of the internet, and that'll never happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:10 PM GMT
    RIGuy60 saidIf you're in the US downloading from some other country that it's legal, you're still breaking the law (and that's not debateable..that's fact).

    The only way this will stop is a complete shutdown if the internet, and that'll never happen.


    Nope, incorrect. Copyright laws make illegal the "distribution" of copyrighted materials. Their is nothing against the reception of copyrighted materials.

    Put it this way, some guy pirates movies and sells them on the street. You buy a movie, did you break a copyright law? No, because their is no way shape or form you know it is copyrighted.

    Also, if you are caught downloading copyrighted materials, you simply say in court "Yea it was copyrighted, but I wouldnt have paid to get it" then delete the crap and they have no case against you.

    So, download is good, upload is bad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:35 PM GMT
    jpBITCHva saidLegislation often has to balance one group's interest against another's, without clear guidelines about who's "right".

    Interest of the film studios: Protect content, despite the fact that the studios are more profitable now than ever.

    Interest of the public: Innovation, historically free use of the web, etc.

    In this comparison, it's easy to see whose interest is more compelling. And it isn't the greedy movie studios.

    Based on the article seems penalties against a site from only an accusation seems questionable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 10:48 PM GMT
    I notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:06 PM GMT
    My suspicion is that Hollywood is engaging in a strategy of "shoot for the moon, settle for something a little less".

    This would definitely have a chilling effect on media being made available (legally) on the Internet if passed as is.

    Concerning PirateBay and similar entities, even though they are foreign sites, one could reasonably expect that injunctions against ISPs that allow traffic from what would then be illegal servers would be punished.

    The net effect would be a walled garden not entirely unlike the "Great Wall of China" (although its purpose would be to restrict unlicensed media as opposed to unauthorized information).

    The OWS folks would do well to link up with the Tea Party to fight this criminal, freedom-killing proposed legislation.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:09 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saidMy suspicion is that Hollywood is engaging in a strategy of "shoot for the moon, settle for something a little less".

    This would definitely have a chilling effect on media being made available (legally) on the Internet if passed as is.

    Concerning PirateBay and similar entities, even though they are foreign sites, one could reasonably expect that injunctions against ISPs that allow traffic from what would then be illegal servers would be punished.

    The net effect would be a walled garden not entirely unlike the "Great Wall of China" (although its purpose would be to restrict unlicensed media as opposed to unauthorized information).

    The OWS folks would do well to link up with the Tea Party to fight this criminal, freedom-killing proposed legislation.


    Yea but now we are getting into censorship which is a wishy washy area. Even if this were to pass, I would be interested in seeing what the courts say.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:16 PM GMT
    Chainers saidNope, incorrect. Copyright laws make illegal the "distribution" of copyrighted materials. Their is nothing against the reception of copyrighted materials.

    No, you're incorrect. Downloading material that is protected by copyright is illegal.

    [quote] Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed[/quote]

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:20 PM GMT
    RIGuy60 said
    Chainers saidNope, incorrect. Copyright laws make illegal the "distribution" of copyrighted materials. Their is nothing against the reception of copyrighted materials.

    No, you're incorrect. Downloading material that is protected by copyright is illegal.

    [quote] Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed.


    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html[/quote]

    Nope, incorrect. No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court. No court can uphold the downloading laws.

    Imagine this, a guy pirates tons of movies, he goes to sell them illegally, he ends up dropping some. You pick up a movie, and watch it, have you infringed on copyright laws? of course not, even though you have received the pirated work.

    Besides, a lawsuit can only be filed if they can prove that an individual would have caused the company to lose money. Simply stating that you have no intentions of buying the material if you had to pay gets you off the hook.
  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    Nov 28, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    parche saidI notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif



    This was my thought as well. I am not for the legislation in question....but should copy written material...such as this article be republished without the consent of the author? You might shrug it off but ....when you think about it ...it is the crux of the whole debate.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:43 PM GMT
    Chainers said No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court. No court can uphold the downloading laws..

    OK, if you say so.

    I just think newsgroups are the safest and least traceable. And NZB's rock cause you don't have to dl millions of headers.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    RIGuy60 said
    Chainers said No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court. No court can uphold the downloading laws..

    OK, if you say so.

    I just think newsgroups are the safest and least traceable. And NZB's rock cause you don't have to dl millions of headers.


    I dont even understand what you mean...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:47 PM GMT
    silverfox said
    parche saidI notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif



    This was my thought as well. I am not for the legislation in question....but should copy written material...such as this article be republished without the consent of the author? You might shrug it off but ....when you think about it ...it is the crux of the whole debate.

    OK, let's discuss as the point has been raised and quoted. Many guys post articles on RJ from a variety of sources, and without having permission from the publisher, it does infringe on the copyright. In the scheme of things I considered it pretty minor like jaywalking. My rationale was: 1) I assumed the RJ audience was fairly small for a specific thread, 2) I felt the variety of articles are a good advertisement for the publication, so if any subscriptions were lost, maybe an equal number gained.

    Also realize the number of people reading a thread would not be relevant if we were to consider the enforcement of pirated songs as a example. But there has not been any issues to my knowledge with occasional copying of articles. So a question is whether the copying of an individual article should be left to the discretion of the member. There is a issue in the RJ Terms of Use that if anyone posts anything here, he is able to grant RJ the right to distribute. So I suspect this is problematic and that anything other than a link should not be posted. This will have a big impact in some of the areas of the forum.
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Nov 28, 2011 11:50 PM GMT
    parche saidI notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif


    RJ is the least of it.

    As the current law stands, sites that rely on user-generated content have a "safe harbor" in case a user uploads something infringing; the copyright holder can demand that the infringing material be removed, but non-infringing material remains accessible. PROTECT-IP and SOPA remove the safe harbor provision, so if a user uploads infringing content, the rightsholder can demand that the entire site become inaccessible, under penalty of law.

    So if, say, someone uploads an infringing video to YouTube, then ALL of YouTube goes black in the United States. (Ditto Vimeo, dailymotion.com, and the like. Ditto all those porn sites that behave like YouTube.)

    Or if someone uploads a copyrighted photo to Wikipedia, then poof! No more Wikipedia in the U.S.

    Or copyrighted text in Twitter. Or copyrighted anything on Facebook. Ad nauseam.

    We can debate whether the end of RJ would be a huge loss to the world, but it's impossible to deny the impact these other sites have had on modern society.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    I want it..

    I want my SAG residuals.It's MY money! Period.

    (do I sound like a republican now?)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2011 11:52 PM GMT
    silverfox said
    parche saidI notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif


    This was my thought as well. I am not for the legislation in question....but should copy written material...such as this article be republished without the consent of the author? You might shrug it off but ....when you think about it ...it is the crux of the whole debate.

    That's exactly right. No one is disputing a copyright holder's rights to enforce protection of their content. But what's clearly wrong is the viciousness of this law.

    For OP's heinous crime of a single posting of copyrighted content, see if you can tell which of the following overreactions are part of the new law. Charge him with a felony, post his name and photo to a national registry of copyright offenders accessible by all, bar him from collecting social security, throw him in jail for five years, and rape his puppies.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:21 AM GMT
    jpBITCHva said
    Chainers said
    Nope, incorrect. No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court.

    Well, actually, the RIAA has already won judgements against several people who downloaded music, many of whom did not distribute it but only kept it for their own use.
    I guess everyone forgot "naspster"....icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:24 AM GMT
    The proponents
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:27 AM GMT
    jpBITCHva said
    Chainers said
    Nope, incorrect. No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court.

    Well, actually, the RIAA has already won judgements against several people who downloaded music, many of whom did not distribute it but only kept it for their own use.


    But thats the kicker, really. With the way bittorrents are set up, many people are distributing music without even knowing it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:30 AM GMT
    what a stupid article. I love how technology trumps ownership of something. I am sure if these technologists had their patents violated they would be in court faster than you can say download. Every try to infringe on Apple?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:32 AM GMT
    TropicalMark saidI want it..

    I want my SAG residuals.It's MY money! Period.

    (do I sound like a republican now?)


    This is actually a big issue that NO one (outside of the industry) ever really considers.

    It is easy to rail against corporate greed and the tiny percentage of performers in the Entertainment Industry who are paid millions of dollars for every project they agree to. But few realize that most of the industry is made up of rank and file working actors, musicians and various performers (many of whom you actually may see on a rather regular basis and not even be aware of because they are not Stars) who rely on things like residuals to feed their families, pay their mortgages and send their kids to college.

    I do not believe in blanket legislation but there has GOT to be a way to protect all parties to a reasonable extent without resorting to any forms of censoship - which I abhor more than anything.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:32 AM GMT
    jpBITCHva said
    Chainers said
    Nope, incorrect. No one gets warning letters for downloading just uploading the materials in court.

    Well, actually, the RIAA has already won judgements against several people who downloaded music, many of whom did not distribute it but only kept it for their own use.


    That is illegal.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2011 12:37 AM GMT
    jim_stl said
    parche saidI notice the irony of OP posting a subscriber only article.

    Oh noes, shut down RJ icon_rolleyes.gif

    RJ is the least of it.
    ...
    So if, say, someone uploads an infringing video to YouTube, then ALL of YouTube goes black in the United States.

    Exactly. But I should add, YouTube can probably cope with the new laws; it's exactly sites like RJ that won't survive. The content holders want websites to police the holder's copyright. Not only is this overstepping decades old precedent where the holder enforces their own rights, but it's an incredible imposition on the websites. Can you imagine the cost of RJ vetting every single post before it goes live?


    And @socalfitness: WSJ should welcome posts like yours if they're smart. It's great free advertising.