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Government Crime Piracy The Internet United States Politics Your Rights Online

No SOPA Vote Until 2012 181

Posted by timothy
from the just-when-you-least-expect-it dept.
jfruhlinger writes "A victory, or a just a breather? The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has postponed further debate on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) until after Congress' holiday break. At the urging of some SOPA opponents, Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and committee chairman, said Friday he will consider a hearing or a classified briefing on the bill's impact on cybersecurity." Update: 12/17 04:28 GMT by T : "Or not," as an anonymous reader comments below. "Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday. This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further."
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No SOPA Vote Until 2012

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  • by Jibekn (1975348) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:12PM (#38405204)
    This lets us get our shit together and oppose them properly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:14PM (#38405222)

    Or alternatively, they're hoping that if they let it lie through the holidays, the furor will die down and they can pass it on a day during the Retardican primary votes when the media's too busy covering Rick Perry's latest stupid statement or Michele Bachmann's latest bigoted spew, moving the SOPA vote to page 8.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:18PM (#38405260)
    Translation:
    We're catching a lot of shit about this, and so we've told our campaign sponsors we have to table this until after the election. Once the election is over, we'll ram it down their throats, promise.

    xoxoxo,
    Your Elected Officials.
  • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:20PM (#38405282) Homepage
    The issue here is threefold. First, that money is allowed to influence politics. As long as that is true, those without money lose - and lose constantly. Second, the idea that ideas can be property. Creating artificial forms of property has repeatedly proven to widen wealth disparity and harm society at large. The very idea of property is a problem, but physical property is a necessary evil. "Intellectual property" is not. We need to not be creating and extending this "intellectual property," but rather we need to be rolling it back or abolishing it. Third, that censorship is seen as a reasonable way to deal with people in other countries doing things that are illegal here. We all criticized China and Iran for censoring communications which were illegal in their countries; why is it suddenly alright when it is for the sake of American profit? Because it is not, and if you believe so, it is only because you either stand to profit from said censorship, or are a fool being misled by those who do.
  • by tibman (623933) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:20PM (#38405284) Homepage

    page 8 might be moving up. Neither cnn, bbc, foxnews, google, abc, msnbc, reuters, usatoday, or npr mention sopa on their front page. The two that had sopa were yahoo and cnet.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:20PM (#38405286)

    I can't believe this got modded down already - the idea of trying to hold bad news for a day when the media won't be looking is a longstanding trend. West Wing even referred to the "friday trash day" theory, where the White House would let little stories they wanted buried in a rush on fridays, giving them a scant few column inches on a day when nobody pays attention to the news anyways, forgotten by Monday.

    I can completely believe that the SOPA pushers would try to schedule a vote for a day when "something else" has media attention.

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:22PM (#38405300) Homepage
    Most likely, they will re-propose it under a new name, with some of the more outlandish clauses removed, and pass it with a super-majority. Basically, follow the original plan: ask for the universe, settle for the earth.
  • We're screwed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkfail (228161) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:33PM (#38405402)

    Congress does this when they want time for two things to happen:

    1. People to forget about it, and opposition to thus lose momentum.

    2. Lobbyists to deliver more big bags of cash.

    Both things are almost guaranteed to happen. This is going to pass.

    Unless, people can give a rats arse for more than three months running about something, which, as desperately as I hope will happen, probably won't.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday December 16, 2011 @07:42PM (#38405462)

    I dislike SOPA with the burning fire of a thousand suns.

    But amending the Constitution to claim the "internet is an unalienable right" strikes me as a really bad idea, and very vague.

    Amusingly it would also seem to prevent Network Neutrality, which I would be in favor of - but again I think amending the constitution is a bad way to go about this, and pretty certainly requires way more votes than is possible to make happen.

    Far better than signing this petition, call or write your house members and let them know you DO NOT WANT SOPA in any form. Not a "fixed" up bill. Nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @08:04PM (#38405596)

    Money is considered free speech in the US.

  • by base3 (539820) on Friday December 16, 2011 @08:09PM (#38405640)
    Whoever uses "whomever" as a subject needs some serious English lessons.
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday December 16, 2011 @08:18PM (#38405670) Journal

    That's pretty much how Congress works, but not quite. In general, they propose something, then if people scream, they wait a while for the anger to die down, then pass almost exactly the same bad bill as soon as they think everyone who cares has stopped paying attention.... If we're lucky, the most outlandish clauses will have been removed, but there's certainly no guarantee....

  • by jamesh (87723) on Friday December 16, 2011 @09:04PM (#38405888)

    Second, the idea that ideas can be property.

    I take issue with this point and find it frustrating that people muddy the water with this idea. If you just spent 2 million dollars of your own and investors money making a movie, the idea that you'd then let people just take it for free would seem ridiculous to you too. A movie or a song isn't just 'an idea', it represents (potentially) a lot of hard work and a lot of money. I don't get why it's so hard to understand that downloading a movie you didn't pay for is pretty much the same as walking out of a video store with a movie you didn't pay for. The physical medium is unimportant, it's the content that matters here. If you want to enjoy it, at least have the decency to pay for it. If nobody paid for the hard work of others then the world would be a much worse place.

    Patents, which are these days literally just ideas, are a whole different matter so don't confuse them with copyright infringement.

    The very idea of property is a problem, but physical property is a necessary evil

    I don't see why. It's much better than the alternative. Denouncing property just seems like an excuse for lazy and greedy people to take whatever they want and not have to pay for it, while still appearing to be "cool" about it.

    Third, that censorship is seen as a reasonable way to deal with people in other countries doing things that are illegal here

    And this is the problem. Taking something that you haven't paid for when you should have paid for it is wrong, but so far nobody has come up with a reasonable way to enforce it that doesn't unnecessarily and harshly infringe on the rights of the general population. DRM just made it harder for the people who legitimately paid for the product. Any attempt at tracking down perpetrators and taking them through the court system just seems like a huge waste of resources that could be better used elsewhere. I guess the recording industry is just going to have to suck it up and rely on the honesty of the public, because just about everything else is doomed to failure.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday December 16, 2011 @09:34PM (#38405996) Homepage Journal

    West Wing even referred to the "friday trash day" theory, where the White House would let little stories they wanted buried in a rush on fridays, giving them a scant few column inches on a day when nobody pays attention to the news anyways, forgotten by Monday.

    While I agree with your point, you want to be careful about putting forward as proof something said on a network TV drama, especially one that portrayed a White House staff as being an earnest and basically good-hearted gang who for the most part have the best interest of the country at heart and an American president who is willing to stand up to religious bullies and corporate lobbyists.

    It would be like saying that just because Captain Jack Harkness comes from the far future it is proof that time travel is possible.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday December 16, 2011 @09:37PM (#38406012)

    call or write your house members and let them know you DO NOT WANT SOPA in any form.

    A thousand times this. For partisan bills, this won't work... Republicans will never agree to anything proposed by Obama no matter how much the people they supposedly represent beg. But for something like SOPA, it's not so much a partisan issue. If you call, they WILL listen. Sadly, most people don't bother, so they think we don't really care, and vote the way that gets them paid. But if enough people let them know that we DO care, most of them will listen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @09:48PM (#38406074)

    If you just spent 2 million dollars of your own and investors money making a movie, the idea that you'd then let people just take it for free would seem ridiculous to you too. A movie or a song isn't just 'an idea', it represents (potentially) a lot of hard work and a lot of money.

    Your desire for profits DOES NOT justify why those "ideas" should be arbitrarily declared "property" and have government-enforced, rights-infringing monopolies slapped on them. If you can't figure out a way to make money without resorting to censorship, then you shouldn't be spending investors' money and you shouldn't even be in business! It's simply not the government's job to provide you with a business model and censorship powers, period.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday December 16, 2011 @09:54PM (#38406102)

    Money is considered free speech in the US.

    True, and a serious problem with politics in the US today. But what's really baffling is that the Web industry (Google/Facebook/etc), which stands to lose the most from this law, has far more money than the MAFIAA. Google alone could literally buy the entire recording industry without even feeling the pinch. Are the tech companies just really bad at lobbying? Why is the MAFIAA so well connected and able to punch so far above their weight?

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever.nerdshack@com> on Friday December 16, 2011 @10:28PM (#38406322)
    Because it'd be a shame if all our channels stopped playing your campaign ads, and all our "news" anchors started shitting on your name, Mr. Congressperson. Yeah, that'd be a real shame wouldn't it?

    Now, we're not saying that anything like that will actually happen, perish the thought, but it would be very nice of you to pass this bill of ours...
  • by jamesh (87723) on Friday December 16, 2011 @10:47PM (#38406420)

    I don't get why it's so hard to understand that downloading a movie you didn't pay for is pretty much the same as walking out of a video store with a movie you didn't pay for.

    Because it isn't really, unless you're trying to make a false equivalency to create an argument to stand in for a real one in favor of controlling information for profit.

    How is that different to you creating an argument where you get to profit (by not paying for something someone else created)?

    Piracy duplicates the movie. It does not remove anything from anyone along the line, other than a potential to make money. That is not the same as stealing, just as refusing to allow BMW to tattoo their logo on your forehead is not stealing from BMW. If it is right or not to pirate needs to be determined on the value of the idea of owning ideas, NOT on some made up analogy to theft. Trying to phrase the argument as such is dishonest and deceptive.

    Someone else created it. What gives you the right to decide that you can just take a copy?

    You can throw together all the arguments you like, but stop making the mistake of trying to get old world ideas of theft to apply to the new world. Just because it only exists as 1's and 0's doesn't make it yours to do with what you will. People say "theft" and "stealing" only because there isn't a word for "duplicating without permission something someone else worked hard to make". At some people in the future it will be possible to take something that someone else spent billions of dollars creating and clone it. In order for people to be motivated to create those things in the first place they need to be able to profit from it.

    ...if you believe so, it is only because you either stand to profit from said censorship, or are a fool being misled by those who do.

    Well... I did state that censorship is not the solution, and is the worst possible outcome. My argument was that taking (or taking a copy of) something that someone else created without their permission is not a good thing to do. I also said there is no way to fix the problem that doesn't hurt more people that it helps. But that doesn't make it right to just take what you want.

  • by sjames (1099) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:28PM (#38406656) Homepage

    Someone else created it. What gives you the right to decide that you can just take a copy?

    But i don't TAKE a copy, I MAKE a copy. You subtly imply that I somehow deprive the copyright holder of something they once owned, but I do no such thing. They don't somehow end up with one less copy, they have exactly what they had before I made the copy.

    Infringing copyright may well be something, but that something is certainly a lesser crime than theft. It's outrageous that legally speaking, you're better off throwing a brick through the music store window and stealing a CD than you are just downloading a copy. That is especially true for a minor.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:16AM (#38406826)

    People say "theft" and "stealing" only because there isn't a word for "duplicating without permission something someone else worked hard to make".

    Sure there is, Copyright infringement.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:51AM (#38407350)
    I suspect part of the reason they constantly fight over gay marriage and abortion is that they don't actually affect many people. Unless you are gay or a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, it doesn't affect your life in the slightest if those things are legal - and yet they are still hugely divisive. That makes them great for some political showmanship. The two parties can be seen to be disagreeing and put on a great display of their opposition to each other, while colluding on much more important issues.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:21AM (#38408770) Homepage

    Unless you are gay or a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, it doesn't affect your life in the slightest if those things are legal ...

    Actually, it does, because odds are that you know somebody who's gay or had an unwanted pregnancy. You may not think you do, because there's still risks to announcing either of those, but it almost definitely affects you even if somewhat indirectly.

    What you're right about is that "(Christian) God, guns, and gays" is how many Republicans convince people to vote against their economic self-interest. And then once in office, they just help out their pals who are making large campaign donations.

Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. -- Ted Turner

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