Blackouts & SOPA – What do you think?

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This topic contains 37 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Stephen Peteritas 7 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #149870

    Steve Ressler

    Today a lot of websites are going dark to protest SOPA.

    What’s your take? What other sites have you seen go dark?

    Here’s some screenshots of sites currently dark

  • #149944

    Stephen Peteritas

    Completely support it. The law in effect would probably leave these sites to die so people need to see the recourse of what would happen if SOPA passes.

  • #149942

    Jeff Ribeira

    Interestingly enough, the White House issued a response to many of the recent petitions that were going around in protest of SOPA. You can read the whole thing here:

    Kind of wish some of the bigger companies out there, particularly social media sites, that have spoken out against SOPA had also joined in. I did just notice though that google has joined the fight by blackening out their logo:

  • #149940

    Ed Albetski

    I agree with the blackout too. I don’t think I agree with ANY government attempting to “regulate” the Internet.

  • #149938

    Peter Sperry

    So if we do not believe government should regulate the internet; would it be acceptable for a movie studio to send an email message to content distribution sites asking them to please desist from spreading pirated movies. And send the email 10,000 times per second from mulitple servers until the content distribution site collapsed under the load?

    I tend to believe SOPA goes too far and needs to be amended before moving forward. But unless we as a society are willing to allow vigilante justice in cyberspace, we must set and enforce some standards. We cannot turn a blind eye to one form of internet abuse and then enforce restricitions on another type of abuse. That equal protection under the law aspect of civilized societies kind of has to work for all.

  • #149936

    Robert Bacal

    I guess people have the right to black out their sites. I have no problem with it. I’m in the middle of writing an explanation of the current laws on copyright (DMCA), for just plain folks, explaining why the safe harbor provisions, and onus of the victim of the crime to enforce, are problematic and actually hitting small businesses, authors and individual content creators. And how the lack of ability to enforce copyright laws is starting to impact the quality of material available free on the Internet

    Not finished the rest of the parts but if interested:

    SOPA, Copyright, Safe Harbor and What It Means For “Regular” People – Part I – Overview

    SOPA, Copyright, Safe Harbor and What It Means For “Regular” People – Part II – Examples

  • #149934

    Jerry Rhoads

    I was reading a little about SOPA and it doesn’t use due process i.e. using the court system to decide on how and when (and why) to shut down suspected (Intellectual Property violator) sites. I think the spirit of the law has merit, but its resolve is unconstitutional as it doesn’t show how how or if it uses due process.

    I agree with the blackout as this type of thing would happen under SOPA.

  • #149932

    Doris Tirone

    Excellent exercise of public response using Social Media! Perhaps this is the direction in which we should move (or at least have the option of using) to cast our votes at the polls too!!

  • #149930

    Henry Brown

    couple of interesting events related; listening to NPR yesterday afternoon and the reporter indicated that over 100 email systems were overloaded in congress yesterday due to the massive number of people who were exercising their “right” to communicate with congress….

    Apparently, on CNBC the founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian was quoted “Why is it that when Republicans and Democrats need to solve the budget and the deficit, there’s deadlock, but when Hollywood lobbyists pay them $94 million dollars to write legislation, people from both sides of the aisle line up to co-sponsor it?”

    IMO, as with a significant percentage of bills, SOPA was written by a lobbyist and since the lobbyist had one purpose only, to provide federal protection for his clients …

    Would offer that a bill could be written to provide appropriate punishment for people who, with intent, violate the copyrite laws and impact someone elses income.

  • #149928

    Ed Albetski


    The US Government does not “OWN” the Internet. SOPA would set us up to look like China or Cuba. Is that how we want the world to view us?

    The movie studio you use as an example would be out of business if it did such a thing. If you offend the online community, you offend a great number of people who can organize faster than you can. Witness the congressional withdrawal from SOPA after the blackout demonstration. If you think congress is spineless, businessmen are boneless wonders.

  • #149926

    Ed Albetski

    Anyone work at PTO?

    I worked on a web policy committee with a fellow from PTO. He informed us that the responsibility to protect a patent or copywrite lies with the owner NOT THE GOVERNMENT. SOPA is like running to mommy. These firms have lawyers. Use the laws we all ready have. Corporate whining. I’m tired of hearing it.

  • #149924

    Peter Sperry

    Ed — I am not sure what difference it makes who “owns” the internet. The government, federal or local does not own my house but if I set up a fencing operation to recieve and distribute stolen goods, they will most likely raid it anyway. I have stated that SOPA goes to far and needs to be amended, so no I really do not want us to look like China or Cuba, the analogy is stretched to say the least. Yes, the online community has a great deal of ability to organize, so did the mongol hoards. Doesn’t provide a moral, ethical or legal argument for either.

    Society has determined for very good reasons that writers and content producers have property rights in the product of their labor in the same way a craftsman has property rights to the products they produce. If someone breaks into a store and steals the inventory, The store owner has a right to expect law enforcement to aide in the recovery of the stolen property. If it is found in a pawn shop, questions are asked about how it got there. The govermnet does not shut down the pawn shop without due process which demonstrates proof of culpability and knowledge on the part of the pawn broker the goods were stolen. SOPA appears to lack these due process protections and gives the Justice Department way too much authority to impose punishments with out going before a judge and jury. This needs to be amended.

    Nevertheless, pawn brokers who make a habit of turning a blind eye when sellers come in with little or no proof of ownership, do not stay in business for long. I kind of expect a corporation with pockets as deep as Google’s to adhere to the same level of business responsibility as a pawn broker. Is that too much to ask?

  • #149922

    Robert Bacal

    On the nose. The entities that are profiting from some forms of piracy (Google, YouTube, Amazon, etc) are untouchable, and cannot be held liable for the content on their sites, unlike print publications which can be sued for copyright infringement. Let’s be clear that so long as there are economic incentives to allow people to upload illegal content, and there are NO economic penalities, the companies that are aiding and abetting breaking the law will continue to do so.

  • #149920

    Allison Primack

    When I posted this question on GovLoop’s Facebook page, Jack Moore said “I think the tech lobbyists are winning by disseminating bad information.” Do you all agree with this statement?

  • #149918

    Robert Bacal

    Due process is clearly an issue. But what about MY due process as a content provider, and the due process of millions of bloggers, article writers, and experts who have almost NO recourse under current laws. This just isn’t about lobby groups for huge companies pushing for change, but about the millions of content providers some of which you probably read every day, who cannot control where their content is shown, and cannot fight against losing the economic value of their content.

    I urge people to read

    SOPA, Copyright, Safe Harbor and What It Means For “Regular” People – Part II – Examples

    so people can understand the problem. Of particular note is that organized crime is moving into book and word piracy, using amazon as a means to make money by stealing and reprinting/plagarizing book content.

  • #149916

    Peter Sperry

    We are one of the very few nations in the world where patent and copywrite owners are required to protect their own patents. It makes as much sense as saying a property owner has no recourse to law enforcement when a burgler breaks into their store. We will need to change this at some point to come into compliance with international IP standards.

    I agree corporate whining form Google and Silicon valley has been over the top. I too am tired of hearing it.

  • #149914

    Robert Bacal

    I don’t have lawyers. Neither do the hundreds of thousands of authors trying to squeeze out a living writing and publishing. Or, the millions of people writing on the Internet. In my examples, that I set out in one of my articles (I won’t repeat the link, since I’ve posted it above, I cite the case of one of my books published by McGraw-Hill uploaded in its entirety to ScribD. While McGraw-Hill has lawyers, I can also tell you that to find and take action to address the rampant piracy of McGraw-Hill books would take so many staffers you wouldn’t have any new books published.

    I happen to occasionally look for pirated copies of my books, and I can tell you that virtually ALL of McGraw-Hill’s titles have been pirated. THOUSANDS of them. Even a large firm such as their’s, under current law, can do almost nothing but REQUEST that the copyright material be removed. Safe Harbor provisions (which I explained in one of my articles) PROTECTS the publishers of the material, and of course, pirates don’t distribute this material using their real names.

    As for using the existing laws, the laws on copyright exist. It’s that under the current situation, the application and enforcement of those laws is impossible.

    When you, and other readers who benefit from both free and paid content, in print and on the web will pay five dollars more per book bought, to fund the removal of content (you can’t get compensation under present laws), then we’ll talk. If you want more experts and books by experts, for example to be published, then allow “us” the ability to protect our ability to produce those for you to read.

    Unless of course, you don’t care who and what you read, and will be satisfied by the free, poor content that nobody would buy, that’s available on the net.

  • #149912

    Robert Bacal

    One more comment. I didn’t put this in any of my SOPA articles, so I’m adding it here. Under the current laws, someone can take my articles, my books, copy them, and put them on p*rn sites, or piracy sites to try to profit from them.

    I’ve written and published over 300 articles on management, customer service, and a host of other topics, and made them available at no cost, because I love to write.

    How would you feel if you found the contents of a book or article you wrote plastered with ads for p*rn?

    Under current law, again as an example, I can’t do anything substantial to stop companies like google (who owns blogger, one of the worst piracy offenders, from allowing this kind of thing. In fact, blogger makes money from ads on just those kinds of situations. Sure, if I’m patient, and file a DMCA request, I “might” get them to take down the offending content. Maybe. But there’s no incentive for them to hire people to enforce the laws.

  • #149910

    This is a great post – don’t just stop SOPA, let’s fix it.

    I wish Congress would just throw SOPA up on a wiki and let folks tweak it.

    Or maybe Wikipedia, instead of blacking it out, could set it up and let it flow.

  • #149908

    Robert Bacal

    Agreed. Here’s one possible solution, no doubt flawed. Remove the safe harbor provision that allows companies to profit from pirated software they publish, even inadvertently, pirated content. Provide an avenue to financially penalize companies that run for-profit websites so that copyright owners have some recourse. 5k to 10k per instance, and allow some practical due process (as is now the case for DMCA take downs.

    The solution is simple on one level. As with other criminal endeavors where you can’t always get at the origin, REMOVE THE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES for piracy AND send the message that major companies Google (owning YouTube), ScribD, and so on who plaster and profit from ads on stolen content, MUST self-police or compensate owners.

    The idea is not so much to actually fine companies but to say: We will no longer allow you to profit from theft that you enable. The principle has precedent that if you aid and abet breaking the law, you may be held just as liable as the people actually breaking the law.

    If I know I can recoup my time and energy trying to enforce my copyrights, then I can do so. I guarantee you that within one week of having such a law in place, google (addressing its ownership of YouTube and Blogger, two of the worst stolen works dissemination spots) and other companies would hire hundreds of people to protect their interests, putting them on the right side of the law and on the same side as intellectual property creators.

    Hundreds of thousands of pirated sites and content would disappear in a matter of weeks. In addition, address google’s adsense program, which is used to profit from posting pirated content. Hold them responsible for transfering money to pirates via the ads displayed and supplied by google. The same for other ad companies, some of whom are even more lenient.

    One doesn’t have to “cut off” foreign sites from the entire Internet, but REMOVE their ability to make money through crime, and since most of the avenues to do so operate within the USA, make the accomplices accountable.

  • #149906

    Elliot Volkman

    Don’t the publishers you work with have lawyers though? If you are self-publishing that is a different monster, but usually there are concepts and norms that go with it that make people more willing to buy after they try.

  • #149904

    Elliot Volkman

    Great point on this – If there was more information, better wording, and less money being invested from all sides to keep it clean more people would be willing to see another bill become law. In it’s current form it is no where close to ready for the Internets general support.

  • #149902

    Lauren Modeen
  • #149900

    UPDATE: Turns out someone has

  • #149898

    Elliot Volkman

    It’s pretty clever to have a hackathon around that. Would be neat to see what GovLoop folks would do with an open document like that.

  • #149896

    Robert Bacal

    Publishers have their lawyers, indeed, but the real point is that under the current laws, there is no legal recourse with respect to the “publishers/platforms/adagencies that make piracy possible on a broad scale. With my ScribD example, where my book was posted in its entirety, even if I could prevail of McGraw-Hill to do something (BTW, I don’t have standing to even request that it be taken down), the best they can do is eventually have ScribD remove it. Any profits from ads on the page where my book appears, of course, remain in the pockets of ScribD.

    They are not liable for anything, and they won’t even know who posted the illegal file, but there it is.

  • #149894

    Here are my initial formal thoughts on all the SOPA hullabaloo that’s been brewing and erupted yesterday. Since so many people are posting anti-SOPA sentiments, I wanted to offer a different point of view.

    I’m not necessarily pro-SOPA or pro-PIPA, but I was very frustrated by all the armchair protesters yesterday who were circulating petitions and declaring their objections to the proposed legislation without really being informed about their purposes, contents and related issues. I was also bothered by the grandstanding and negative political behavior of many tech companies who in my view were manipulating individuals to serve their own selfish purposes.

    Piracy is an important social and economic issue that needs to be addressed thoughtfully, rationally, and ethically. Yesterday’s hullabaloo reflected none of those characteristics.

  • #149892

    Generally yes. See my comment below (above?) with additional details and a link to a related post I wrote yesterday.

  • #149890

    David Dejewski

    Great screen shots.

    Check out too. They have a great opening splash. At least they did.

    They could be potentially fatally wounded by SOPA too.

  • #149888

    David Dejewski

    Best I’ve seen, Lauren. An excellent find. Thanks for sharing!

  • #149886

    Henry Brown

    IMO excellent article/blog which takes this discussion to a new level…

    Title: Lets Define Priacy

    From Ron Miller’s blog on Internet Evolution

    The fight over SOPA/PIPA legislation seems to be coming to a denouement, but an obvious question has been surprisingly absent from the debate: What constitutes actual content stealing or piracy?

    Up until now, the debate has emphasized how this particular legislation could stifle Internet innovation and give the government and big media companies entirely too much power to shut down Websites. That much is clear, but it doesn’t really address the heart of the problem.

  • #149884

    Corey McCarren

    I find it really difficult to believe that anything could have such an effect on the Internet. It’s hard to imagine, having grown up with the equivalent of Dave Chappelles skit on the Internet, the Internet not being an almost anarchic place. That doesn’t mean it can’t have such a strong effect I suppose, but it’s just a concept I couldn’t picture.

    One of my problems with these bills though is an argument that I really don’t like to hear 99% of the time. That’s the slippery slope argument (it’s generally used to make absurd points). I’m not sure of the effects that these particular bills would have on the Internet, but I know I’m very unlikely to support the next one.

  • #149882

    Robert Bacal

    You have proof that the Chinese GOVERNMENT is “intentionally stealing”? I’m just curious. I know there’s a problem, but I haven’t heard that it’s the actual government.

  • #149880

    Robert Bacal

    Agreed. But I think people don’t always grasp the effects of infringement on their own lives, because they aren’t immediately obvious. So, I’m trying to explain that in clear terms what all this means…the third part of the series is up, entitled How DMCA (Safe Harbor) Is Strangling internet Content (Part 3 SOPA and Copyright)

    Always interested in comments and feedback. I’m neither pro or con SOPA, and like everyone, I’m sure have have biases, but trying to lay this out factually.

  • #149878

    Robert Bacal

    What a vacuous piece, that Ron Miller blog. It’s not even completely accurate, and it’s even misleading. First the issue isn’t to define piracy, or even “priacy”. The issue is what, under the law, is copyright infringement and what is not. If someone doesn’t understand what infringement is, it’s not hard to find out. If someone wants to bother.

    And yes, there’s gray areas under the law. But they ain’t that gray.

    I’m getting a little tired of people who don’t know what they are talking about trying to convince other people who don’t know what they are talking about to conclude one way or another. (referring to Miller, here).

    “Excellent” indeed!

  • #149876

    Henry Brown

    MORE follow up

    article” from Ars Technical

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) have released a draft of OPEN: Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, intended as an alternative to SOPA/PROTECT-IP. (See my prior posts opposing SOPA and linkwrapping the discussion.) Unlike SOPA’s disgustingly blatant rent-seeking, which was such an over-the-top abuse of the legislative process that it did not (and could not) support a principled or even intelligent conversations about it, OPEN provides a useful starting point for a sensible conversation that could actually lead to acceptable compromises.

  • #149874

    David Dejewski

    ‎”When the entire Internet gets angry, Congress takes notice. Both the House and the Senate on Friday backed away from a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills, tossing them into limbo and throwing doubt on their future viability.

    The Senate had been scheduled to vote next week on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — a bill that once had widespread, bipartisan support. But on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was postponing the vote “in light of recent events.”

    Meanwhile, the House of Representatives said it is putting on hold its version of the bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The House will “postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said in a written statement.” (Source: CNN/Money)

  • #149872

    Keena Cauthen

    With so many knowledgable folks out here weighing in… my non-techie self has one question… If my son is dancing to a song on one of his favorite tv shows, and he’s so cute that I record it… then I post it on my Facebook page for my mom and family/friends who are all over the world to get to see, in my understanding this is infringement and I would be liable for “stealing” and “reproducing” that song on the internet. Is there any thought or look at the intent of the person posting? Are we no longer going to be able to share cute snippets of our lives with family and friends using the most modern communication avenues available? I mean, in the 80’s and 90’s, we would have grabbed our camcorder, recorded it, and shown it at every family or friendly gathering and no one was up in arms over it. Am I out on a limb, and these type of issues are not included in this whole “policing” idea? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for protecting movies, articles, books, songs, etc that folks have worked hard on and they should not be allowed to be copied and shared all for the purpose of getting something for free instead of paying for it… but the intent is really the difference here, I would think. Just trying to be as informed as possible… thanks all.

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