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Are SOPA Sponsors Violating SOPA Rules? Not So Fast, Says Ars Technica 115

Posted by timothy
from the wash-your-mouth-out-with-sopa dept.
TheNextCorner writes "Remember how the Stop Online Piracy Act would make streaming of copyrighted material a felony? Many of these lawmakers actually stream copyrighted videos on their websites." However, that's not the whole story. according to a followup at Ars Technica to the tweeted claims about streaming and SOPA. From which: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation tweeted the post, and it was re-tweeted more than 100 times. So are the sponsors of SOPA hypocrites? We're not fans of SOPA, so we'd love to have this story check out. But we're also a news site, so we contacted James Grimmelmann, a copyright scholar at New York Law School, (and judging from his tweets, not a SOPA supporter) to get his expert opinion."
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Are SOPA Sponsors Violating SOPA Rules? Not So Fast, Says Ars Technica

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  • Not really the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weezul (52464) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:42AM (#38108316)

    The core issue is how SOPA changes the liability structure to permit endless copyright troll lawsuits. It doesn't matter if your users are or aren't infringing if copyright holders can sue you endlessly regardless.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:56AM (#38108378)

      The same people who sued to stop the Camp Fire Girls from singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in the woods around a fire as a "public performance" will be making accusations and shutting down web sites en mass. Because all it takes is for a site to be a suspected offender.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only solution ( since law makers apparently don't care ), is for everyone to break the law ( I am not encouraging outright piracy here). Laws that make all of your citizens criminals are laws that will be in the worst case scenario ignored if not abolished. Then and only then, people of interest will push forward to laws and regulations that at least will be up-to-date with the current technology, and in accord to what the population wants.

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:50PM (#38109054)
        I, however, *am* encouraging outright piracy. Mostly out of spite. Unfortunatly I don't believe it'll actually harm labels or studios in any significant way. Remember that the highest grossing film of all time is still Avatar, a science-fiction film aimed at the teen-to-twentyfive mostly-male demographic that also happens to be the most inclined towards piracy. If piracy couldn't sink Fern Gully in Space, well... recruit more pirates.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          ...aside from this, bring it up whenever you can when there's a politician in the immediate vicinity. Nobody in the past might have cared abount songs being copyrighted (c)1938 by a rotting corpse that has been in the ground for 40 years, but nowadays the Great Wall of Copyright is withholding so much of our popular culture behind a paywall (if you're lucky) or out-of-print-wall (if you're not).

          33 1/2 rpm Vinyl Recordings: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
          45 rpm Vinyl Singles: Rightsholders: A

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        If you won't encourage outright piracy after this, when will you? You fucking pussy. I'll fly the fucking Jolly Roger on the hood of my car if this passes, and steal and hand out every god-damned piece of copyright crap I can find. Will I go to jail? Probably the morgue.

      • No, the only solution is for everyone to say "You're not worth it" to the media companies and ignore all their products. Don't buy them, don't download them, don't acknowledge them in any way whatsoever. Pirating just acknowledges the public's desire for that product, and gives it word-of-mouth advertising on which others will buy it.

        Let them rot.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:11PM (#38108794) Journal

      Bimbo Newton Crosby, what this does is gives the big boys a really nice weapon to shut down the indies. If you'll remember one of the big corps (I think it was Sony, not sure as its early here) finally admitted all the stinks they've been throwing wasn't over IP but over control and as more and more people spend more and more time on the net they are feeling their grip on what the masses see and hear slipping away.

      For the first time in history we are seeing artists bypass the gatekeepers completely, going from 'viral sensation' to nationally known artist and this scares the living fuck out of them. They know in the age of YouTube and Twitter and a bazillion other non controlled communication circuits their ability to force artists into assraping contracts where they are basically nothing but cogs and "all your IP belong to us" is becoming a thing of the past.

      So all this will do is exactly what you have surmised and allow them to bury anyone who doesn't "play ball" to be crushed by endless trolling. While the big boys have their own law firms the little guys simply won't be able to survive endless lawsuits and will either cave in or go under.

      Sadly the only way we have to fight back anymore is massive piracy, there simply is nothing else. Any drops in their revenue they will blame on piracy anyway so boycotts do nothing, as the petitions which have gotten to the point there is actually a petition that says "Please quit ignoring us" prove if you don't have the money to bribe your congressman he sure as fuck isn't going to listen to you, so all that is left is the geeks.

      So please geeks, please keep working on anonymous distributed P2P and continue to work to make it so damned simple that Limewire looks like compiling your own kernel. The ONLY way we are gonna get rid of these bastards is to bleed them to death, there is simply no other choices left now. If all your IP laws are unjust and the people no longer have a say at the table the only just thing to do is completely ignore those unjust laws. Does anyone truly believe that if We, The People had any say anymore we would have crap like SOPA or "forever minus a single day" copyright laws?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are a lot of musicians at OWS camps, and it's a large gathering so somebody will be having a birthday every day. They should pull them up on stage (or in front of the mic) and lead the entire camp in a "public performance" of Happy Birthday to You.

      • by thomst (1640045) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @03:23PM (#38110090) Homepage

        hairyfeet opined:

        Bimbo Newton Crosby, what this does is gives the big boys a really nice weapon to shut down the indies.

        For the first time in history we are seeing artists bypass the gatekeepers completely, going from 'viral sensation' to nationally known artist and this scares the living fuck out of them. They know in the age of YouTube and Twitter and a bazillion other non controlled communication circuits their ability to force artists into assraping contracts where they are basically nothing but cogs and "all your IP belong to us" is becoming a thing of the past.

        Sadly the only way we have to fight back anymore is massive piracy, there simply is nothing else.

        The ONLY way we are gonna get rid of these bastards is to bleed them to death, there is simply no other choices left now.

        Here's the problem I have with your exhortation: indiscriminate "massive piracy" will not only harm the IP plutocrats of the RIAA, it will also adversely impact the very independent artists you claim to support - and it is them, and not the Sonys of the industry, who will be harmed the most. That's because the warez kiddies who do the vast majority of unauthorized downloading are unlikely to make any distinction whatsoever between music the rights to which the RIAA members control, and those recordings which are directly owned and controlled by independent artists themselves. Instead, in their enthusiasm to embrace "stick it to The Man" as a valid excuse to download every popular tune they see, they will gleefully end up harming the innocent along with the guilty.

        It's very difficult to make a living in the music industry as an independent artist. And I mean VERY difficult. Every dollar in income you have to sacrifice puts you a dollar closer to being forced to hang up your guitar for good. And, while that's especially true for independents early in their careers, it is, to some extent, true of all independent musical artists. Downloading their music without their permission, and refusing to pay them for it is NOT "sticking it to The Man". It's sticking it to the artist him/herself ... and that's Not A Good Thing, especially if that artist is one whose music you like and would like to hear more of.

        I know it's popular here on /. to maintain that artists "should" regard recorded tracks as pure loss leaders, and be content to make their money strictly from live performances. And that's fine, if you're Lady Gaga, or some other top-tier artist. But independent musicians - and, again, especially those who are just starting their careers, or who have, after struggling for years, finally released a hit record - don't pull in the big bucks for performances. Touring is expensive: transportation for you, and your band and crew, lodging for all of you, food for all of you, concert promotional costs (You didn't think those posters advertising that concert you think will be so profitable printed themselves, did you? Or posted themselves on all those walls, windows, and telephone poles?), liability and property insurance (On Pink Floyd's first U.S. tour, their van was stolen in Texas, and they lost all of their instruments, including Rick Wright's heavily-customized Hammond organ, their giant - and very expensive - gong, and all their guitars and amplifiers - and, as a result, they had to return to England, because they couldn't afford both to replace their gear and continue to pay for a tour that had been only marginally profitable for a band that, at that point, wasn't at all well-known here in the States.), merchandise (tee shirts aren't free - and neither is having your band's name and touring information printed on them), and so on. By the time you finish paying for all that - and much of it has to be paid for in advance - even a show in a decent-sized venue, at a relatively high per-ticket price (which you have to split with the concert promoter/venue owner, btw), to a sold-out audience is likely to make you exactly enou

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:11AM (#38114018) Journal

          Actually I've toured the south a few times myself and known several indie bands and most of us put our stuff on P2P, thanks anyway. you know why? Because fans will STILL happily buy your CDs at the shows, along with the T-Shirts, caps, mugs, keyrings, mousepads (those were my idea BTW) and anything else to help out the band because guess what? they are FANS and want to see you get ahead.

          BTW I probably shouldn't share this trick, as we were raking in the cash with it, but what the fuck, sharing is caring right? Indie guys, want to make a fuckton of money and sell out your swag? The magic word is "raffle". We would go to a local pawnshop in whatever town we were at, but a cool cheap guitar or bass, me or the guitarist would play it for 3 or 4 songs and at the end of the show we would all sign it and anybody who bought a piece of swag had their name in the drawing for the instrument.

          Not only did audiences eat it up but we ended up with several hardcore fans that showed up at nearly every gig simply because they won something that made them feel closer to the band. We'd always let them sit with the wives and GFs and they were happy to hang up posters or post on FB or anything else that got out the word, simply because it made them feel like a winner.

          It works, its cheap, makes you a hell of a lot more than the guitar costs, and creates really loyal long lasting fans. Last gig I played even though i wasn't with that band anymore and hadn't been in 5 years i had a guy show up and bring nearly 30 friends, all of whom bought swag, simply because 'hey man I still have that bass i won in Memphis, remember me?" so he and his buds got to hang out with the wives and GFs while we played and we had a beer afterward. Its a great way to get long term fans

          . I hereby release this to the world as GPL, if you use the idea just give the old hairyfeet a little credit now and then, kay? Who knows one day i might be your opening act, or you may be mine. peace fellow bass players and never forget to show the ladies we bass players are ALWAYS good with our fingers!

          • by thomst (1640045)

            Actually I've toured the south a few times myself and known several indie bands and most of us put our stuff on P2P, thanks anyway. you know why? Because fans will STILL happily buy your CDs at the shows, along with the T-Shirts, caps, mugs, keyrings, mousepads (those were my idea BTW) and anything else to help out the band because guess what? they are FANS and want to see you get ahead.

            If bands and/or solo artists CHOOSE to put their music on P2P, that's one thing. Taking that choice away from them is quite another.

            I'm surprised I even have to explain this to you.

            BTW I probably shouldn't share this trick, as we were raking in the cash with it, but what the fuck, sharing is caring right? Indie guys, want to make a fuckton of money and sell out your swag? The magic word is "raffle". We would go to a local pawnshop in whatever town we were at, but a cool cheap guitar or bass, me or the guitarist would play it for 3 or 4 songs and at the end of the show we would all sign it and anybody who bought a piece of swag had their name in the drawing for the instrument.

            Not only did audiences eat it up but we ended up with several hardcore fans that showed up at nearly every gig simply because they won something that made them feel closer to the band. We'd always let them sit with the wives and GFs and they were happy to hang up posters or post on FB or anything else that got out the word, simply because it made them feel like a winner.

            It works, its cheap, makes you a hell of a lot more than the guitar costs, and creates really loyal long lasting fans. Last gig I played even though i wasn't with that band anymore and hadn't been in 5 years i had a guy show up and bring nearly 30 friends, all of whom bought swag, simply because 'hey man I still have that bass i won in Memphis, remember me?" so he and his buds got to hang out with the wives and GFs while we played and we had a beer afterward. Its a great way to get long term fans

            Great idea. If I were wearing it, I'd take my hat off to you.

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              And who said we were taking it away? it is ultimately the USER that chooses what to download, and working in a PC shop i can tell you they are NOT downloading the stuff the local guys put out, but the latest Titney Spears and other corporate crap. Which was my WHOLE POINT. The indie guys were doing alright when the *.A.A only the record producers, they are doing even better now, they frankly don't need 200 year copyrights to make a living. its the leeches that haven't made anything but assraping contracts t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:55AM (#38108368)

    Go on america; keep on going, keep listening to the 1 % to try to get the rest of the world to do your bidding..

    This is one of many steps that have been taken to make the USA look silly & this will only be one more step towards the downfall of the usa..

    I used to be a big fan of the country; but i'm getting more & more convinced that the usa is nuts... & getting more & more so :)

    in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. The new media companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) will leave the country completely and move the USA operations bases to other countries.

      • That's most of the point of SOPA/PROTECT-IP. The US government and the lobbyists of various copyright industries are really annoyed that companies that would be illegal in the US are doing business merely by operating in another country - they want to be able to enforce US law globally, at least where copyright is concerned. This is an effort to do that, by using a combination of internet filtering and payment embargos.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

      The problem is that the majority of the Internet infrastructure is inside the US.

      • by CrackedButter (646746) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:38AM (#38108600) Homepage Journal

        If it's designed to survive a holocaust, the Internet can survive without America.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        While true, it wouldn't take long to rectify that if the will power were there. It isn't at the moment, and there won't be while the US law stays basically similar to global law. But if US law goes too far off the beaten path, that'd be all the incentive that companies would need...

      • What do you mean? Internet backbones? Not much is routed through America that doesn't either originate or terminate there. I think Canada is connected to Europe via Iceland. South America and Mexico might depend on the USA for access? DNS? Nope, the root servers are geographically distributed, and would keep functioning if the USA dropped off the net.
      • by HiThere (15173)

        in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

        The problem is that the majority of the Internet infrastructure is inside the US.

        That was once true. I don't believe that it's been true for over a decade

    • It's like President Clark is in power, he might as well be.

  • by skr95062 (2046934) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:27AM (#38108530)

    I have been so opposed to SOPA due to the shift in who has to scan and check.
    The content companies got what they wanted with the DMCA.
    They then found out it was to much of a problem for them to check.
    Bad enough they did not know what others inside the same content holder were doing. (VIACOM v GOOGLE)
    Now they want to shift the responsibility over to the internet operators, eliminate safe harbor.
    In addition this gives the government even broader powers to shut down "infringing" internet sites, remove or change DNS.
    Some of these are legal in the country that the sites operate in.
    The US/Content companies are yet again trying impose there will on the rest of the world.
    Now several prominent members of congress have come out against it.
    This includes the former speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi.
    Hopefully enough of them will realize this is bullshit and come to there senses.

    I doubt it, but there is always hope.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:41PM (#38109004) Journal

      It has nothing to do with sense I'm afraid and everything to do with big fat checks. Anybody who thought it would be different when Obama chose Biden as VP was sadly deluded. The reps suck the military defense contractor cock, the dems suck off big media, and all because of big fat checks.

      Hell it has gotten so damned bad it is used as the punchline for jokes, like Colbert did the other day when he told OWS that they needed to "put down the wacky tobacky and give that money to a super packy" so they could just buy politicians like the corps do!

      Anybody that thinks that voting or protesting or anything other than outright bribery of our corrupt to the bone officials works anymore is sadly mistaken. just look at the petition the White house which has devolved to the point one of the fastest growing petitions basically says 'Please quit ignoring us and lying to us'. Have NO doubt they will get SOPA, hell they will probably have Nancy Grace and the other talking heads talk about how them other countries "are full of perverts!" and we'll get our own great firewall.

      To those in other countries that may be affected by America...please don't blame the American people, we no longer have any say in our own country anymore and nothing short of armed revolt will change that. When the megacorps are done bleeding this country and we get stuck with every bit of bad debt from every failed "investment" they've ever done and are looking at $20 a loaf bread and 45%+ unemployment I'm sure that day will come, but until then we really can't do anything about what is going on here, as OWS found out. sorry.

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        Unfortunately, that petition [whitehouse.gov] only has 17,535 signatures, and needs 7,465 more before November 27 (8 days) or it will, like all the other feedback they've received, be ignored.

        When I first heard of that petition, about a month ago, I tried to sign up for an account so that I could sign it. Their sign-up process is broken. I clicked the contact link and wrote something up asking for help, and have yet to hear back from them. Agreed, I do not think they're really listening, nor do they really care to put an

        • Site is broken with firefox (blank window) but works in IE9.

          • by Thing 1 (178996)
            That's great; however, I use Ubuntu 11.10 and Chrome, and I am having issues. Note, I'm not having issues accessing the site; I'm having issues creating an account and getting an admin to listen.
            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @03:29PM (#38110142) Journal

              Its not just Ubuntu friend, I've had the same problems with Windows XP and 7 with Dragon, Firefox, and Opera. I don't allow IE on my systems (you look at every patch Tuesday and more than half of it is IE) and I'm certainly not gonna compromise the security of systems i use to make money to sign a petition. As another pointed out the EFF and several other have made it as easy as fill in your info, one even has a FB login so you don't have to fill out anything if you already have a FB account.

              To me this extra hoop jumping is just a way for them to laugh before they tear up your petition and throw it away, just look at the responses from the other petitions which was the most flowery "Fuck off you peasant you have no monies LOL!" troll I've ever seen. frankly I would have had more respect for the man if he simply would have wadded them up on camera and threw them away, because the thick bullshit he spewed was clearly designed to tell you "I don't give a FUCK what you think!" while not giving the other team a nice soundbyte, that's all.

              So as my late grandma put it, who voted in every election from the roaring 20s only to quit in the late 80s and refused up to her death last year to participate anymore, "Why bother, they are only gonna ignore you anyway" and sadly grandma was right. Nothing will change until Goldman Sachs and their friends have dumped all their toxic debt on the fed, we are looking at triple what our current debt is and the fed cranks the presses so hard that bread is $30 a loaf and unemployment is at 45%+. Then we shall have what the rest of the world is having, our very own Arab spring. but until then you are just shouting in a closet while the rich rob and scam.

          • by Bent Mind (853241)

            Their sign-up process is broken. I clicked the contact link and wrote something up asking for help, and have yet to hear back from them.

            Site is broken with firefox (blank window) but works in IE9.

            Seems to be working now. I just signed up using Firefox 7.0.1 on Windows XP.

          • by wwphx (225607)
            I was able to register just now with Firefox 3.x on a Mac.
        • Indeed, the signup process is not only broken but monumentally stupid. The other day I wrote to my congressmen through an EFF-hosted web form. I did NOT have to sign up or register for anything, the system merely took my name, address, and email address. Registration-walling something like a petition is a sure way of getting all but fairly fervent individuals from changing their mind or forgetting about it.
          • by shentino (1139071)

            That's the whole point.

            Your congress critters are too busy listening to lobbyist coins jingling in their pockets to want to be distracted by the pleas of their constituents.

            Put simply, they make it hard on purpose because...THEY DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO YOU ANYWAY!

            Making it technically possible but difficult in practice is just a workaround to avoid pissing everyone off.

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            The other day I wrote to my congressmen through an EFF-hosted web form. I did NOT have to sign up or register for anything, the system merely took my name, address, and email address.

            Yea, it took no effort at all to do ... and thats exactly how much anyone cares about your web form submission.

            Emailing and using online forms that take no effort make your submission valueless. You get mixed in with all the other lazy people who do the least amount of effort required to say 'I did it'.

            If you actually want to make someone notice you have to do something that stands out.

            Your odds of being heard is about 10,000 times higher if you write an actual letter and mail it, as opposed to the nearly

            • For what it's worth (according to you - nothing), I replaced the form letter with a personal message. I do have a strong opinion about the Internet Blacklist bill and I made that clear.
            • by Kalriath (849904)

              Indeed. My local council (in New Zealand) literally said in a report on a strategic plan that they disregarded thousands of submissions because they were "unsolicited nearly identical submissions sent in via a web form".

      • by Intrinsic (74189)

        On the day the SOPA passes is the day I stop, renting/buying dvd's, going out to see movie's, and purchasing music. This is the only thing that is going to stop the madness. I ask all of you to join me on this day.

        Secondley I hate to say it but if you want your country back you have to withdraw your support from this system. That means stop supporting anything but community driven companies

        An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
        Mohandas Gandhi

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@yahoEEEo.com minus threevowels> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:32AM (#38108558)

    Does anyone have a list of the tards that have come out in favor of the bill so far?

  • by Heddahenrik (902008) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:56AM (#38108706) Homepage
    The entire idea behind the law is to protect media, corporations and the corrupt government from their subjects. Media companies simply mostly ignore each others infringements, and focus their censorship on the ones trying to take their monopolies down. No media organization can sue another one because then they will be sued back. But taking the basic rights from new voices that aren't in the ruling class is very easy, which is the entire point.

    And while this is happening, media will be blowing up a big "fight" between Mitt and Obama, as if either of them would stop the rape on your (and the rest of the world's) basic human rights.

  • by BigSlowTarget (325940) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:56AM (#38108710) Journal

    Expect Congress to exempt themselves from SOPA, just as they did with insider trading laws. In fact if they realize they could be charged for streaming those videos they may just exempt themselves from having to pay to use copy-written material for political uses at all. Certainly enough of them have been caught using material without the author's permission to make them think about it and this would solve that little issue.

    • by bidule (173941)

      they may just exempt themselves from having to pay to use copy-written material for political uses at all.

      Well, if it's their copywriters, it's their copyright. Unless you meant Dems stealing PR material from Reps.

  • Users should be responsible for their own actions, not the enabling institution or service. Installing a gatekeeper on sites like Youtube totally ruins the exchange that happens on there every single day, connecting countless people together without restraint. And what about all of the videos that are already uploaded? Do they have to sift through every single video to make sure it's 'kosher'?
    • Enforcement will be subject to the standard Bigness Test:
      1. Is this site big enough that it can make trouble with lawyers?
      2. Is this site big enough that it's offended user base may alter the outcome of upcoming elections?


      If the answer to either one is yes, the law will not be enforced. Youtube fits
      • by staryc (852301)
        The biggest thing is, if that law was in place before Youtube had been created, then Youtube would probably not be around today. What you're saying is too Utopian. Of course Youtube will be affected. Have you ever tried to watch a Youtube video, only to find the link was dead and replaced with "This video was taken down due to copyright infringement'? Besides torrenting sites, Youtube users are one of the biggest abusers of copyright infringement. After this law gets in place, companies wont expect to have
        • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @01:33PM (#38109302)
          I know of youtube's copyright enforcement. I recently had one of my own videos pulled at the request of Shopro. It was clear fair use - 48 seconds of a 20-minute episode, for parody purposes, noncommercially, with no possibility of confusing it for something they endorsed. But that doesn't matter - the only way that video can go back up is if I expose myself to legal action, which would mean a company in Japan suing someone in the UK using a law in the US... the lawyers would have my savings emptied three times over before they even decided where the case should be heard, and the amount of time I'd have to take off work to attend court would likely result in unemployment.

          If SOPA had been in place when youtube was a small startup company, they'd have been blocked and killed. That would still happen to many startups. Today, though, youtube passes the bigness test - it won't be blocked. That would produce too much of an outrage.
          • by staryc (852301)
            I am only saying that it will change dramatically and become a different place. Not simply be blocked. It is foolish, imo, to think it will be completely unaffected.
          • This. I, too, post a fair amount of videos, mainly game walk-throughs and reviews, and I can't even tell you how often I get hit with a takedown notice even though I am clearly immune under Fair Use. I'm one of those people that actually pursues the matter because I know that my use of the material is protected under Fair Use, by that certainly doesn't stop them from yanking it down first and putting the burden on me to get it reinstated.

            Of course, if any of the rights holders were to actually decide that

        • by 517714 (762276)

          Have you ever tried to watch a Youtube video, only to find the link was dead and replaced with "This video was taken down due to copyright infringement'?

          No, never. Does that materially alter the validity of your argument in such a way that Nietzche would notice?

          • by staryc (852301)
            Whether or not they experience it doesn't affect my argument. Just reminding the reader that circumstances like that have and will arise whether they know it or not. You taking it too literally is a lack of proper judgement on interpretation, and is your own fault.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:20PM (#38108850) Homepage Journal
    According to the Fifth Amendment [wikipedia.org], no person (which includes corporations) can be deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without being convicted ina court of law.

    Oh, wait, I forgot that the Constitution, which used to be the supreme law of the land and could only be superceded by a 2/3 majority vote by the states, is just a goddamn piece of paper.

    As you were.
    • by HiThere (15173)

      At the time that was written person damn well did NOT mean corporation. Many of the signers didn't even believe that corporations should be legal. Seeing what's been happening recently, I'd say they had a good point.

      And *I* sure don't consider corporations to be people. When was the last time one went to jail for killing someone? I trust you aren't going to claim that they never do, because that's blatantly false. They have been documented doing it with prior intent. (Usually it's of the form "when we

      • I completely agree; I was merely pointing out that this is one time that the consideration of corporations as people might actually work out to our advantage.

        A phrase I have been trying to coin of late: everything is a two way street, if you can figure out where the lines are painted.
  • by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:26PM (#38108880)

    The lawyer says it's not a problem because the representatives are "unlikely to be willful infringers". They're public officials and everyone knows them. Therefore, no one is really going to take an infringement case against them seriously.

    But what about the rest of us? What about some random kid posting the same sorts of videos to YouTube? Will there be anyone to say he's unlikely to be a willful infringer as well? Or will he just get sued straight away? Maybe he could hire an attorney, go to court, and spend months or years trying to prove he had a good-faith belief his actions weren't infringing. Or maybe he'll be scared into settling by some troll looking to extort money.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      The use of undefined words in legalspeak is a neat trick so they can tweak the law every time to suit their needs.

    • by Dripdry (1062282)

      David Byrne won a wonderful settlement against a prominent politician recently for using a Talking Heads song for his campaign.
      Sure, Byrne has more money than God, but I think we can get people to take notice.

  • The authors of SOPA are not hypocrites. Hypocrisy connotes understanding of the issue and the representatives who allowed this piece of legislation to be crafted for them lack even the terminology to enter into meaningful conversation about issues such as DNS Security, Website Poisoning, and other salient factors affected by the law. To use Wolfgang Pauli's aphorism as a metaphor, this piece of legislation is so bad it's not only not right, it's "not even wrong".
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is anyone asking a copyright professor about a criminal statute? His analysis is fundamentally flawed: By way of analogy, in order to be guilty of a criminal trespass you need only willfully (i.e. intentionally, volitionally) take a step that lands you on anothers property after being told not to or on property marked "no trespass." Thus, If you intentionally step on what you believe to be your land, but mistakenly cross onto anothers land after being told not to, you are guilty. The willfulness elemen

  • Doesn't check out. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nilbog (732352) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:01PM (#38110700) Homepage Journal

    Claiming that they are infringing unknowingly is a nice idea, except for the fact that these guys ARE SPONSORING THE VERY LAW WHICH THEY ARE BREAKING. To claim that they are breaking the law unknowingly is claiming that they don't understand the law they are passing. This is a far more frightening prospect.

    Also, what sort of law includes ignorance as an excuse for breaking it?

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Well, if ignorance is indeed an excuse in this case, than it's true that politicians should not be liable.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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