Even Ashton Kutcher dislikes SOPA

posted at 7:20 pm on December 22, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The House Judiciary Committee has tabled the Stop Online Piracy Act until “early next year,” but the fight to stop SOPA isn’t yet over. Fortunately, advocates for informed Internet policy have recently gained a couple crucial allies in that fight.

Yesterday, for example, Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher posted an indictment of SOPA on his blog. That’s actually highly significant because Hollywood (not surprisingly, given that movies are an oft-pirated product) has provided a lot of the firepower for SOPA. The Motion Picture Association of America, for example, has lobbied for the bill. But Kutcher recognizes what MPAA officials apparently don’t: SOPA creates more problems than it solves. Kutcher writes:

At its core SOPA unwillingly recruits Internet industry companies like social networks, ISP’s and search engines to become policing agents and legally liable for it’s users content. Forcing social media sites and ISP’s responsible for users content is amazingly burdensome and costly. SOPA will create economic problems for Internet start-ups which will be an additional negative side effect. This may cause a slow down in the Internet economic sector, which is providing real jobs and innovation for the US economy. …

Moreover, what is most shocking, is SOPA’s idea of giving judges determination of Internet DNS. The bill suggests DNS administrators remove bad actor domains on judges orders; thus breaking the fundamentals of the Internet. It is a disastrous precedent to have Congress legislate Internet DNS control.

Placing search engines and ISP’s in the middle of policing for piracy is plain and simply a bad and confused attempt by well meaning people that fundamentally don’t understand how the the Internet works.

That’s a point that has been raised again and again: SOPA seems to have been written and promoted by folks who don’t fully understand the Internet. (That’s not a cheap shot; plenty of people don’t, even folks who use it unthinkingly every day.) For example, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz — who was born in Silicon Valley — has pleaded with the House Judiciary Committee to “bring in the nerds” to speak to the pros and cons of SOPA. That, he says, is the only responsible alternative to continuing to listen blindly and one-sidedly to special-interest groups like Hollywood. “We haven’t done our due diligence,” Chaffetz said.

Meantime, in the think tank world, The Heritage Foundation also took a stand against SOPA. That, too, is no small matter, given the odd lines that divide the pro-and-anti-SOPA factions. The business community, for example, has been very divided about the issue. In a WebMemo yesterday, James Gattuso, a senior fellow in regulatory policy, cautioned legislators to consider “the unintended consequences” of SOPA. He explains:

A number of concerns have been raised. One is that, by blocking “resolution” of IP addresses by servers in the U.S., users (and their browsers) would instead use less secure servers elsewhere to continue accessing blocked sites. Some have also said such domain-name filtering could disrupt access to other, non-infringing domain names. There are also concerns that SOPA could interfere with deployment of a newly developed Internet security system known as “DNSSEC” (which is intended to ensure the successful “resolution” of IP addresses), further weakening security.

SOPA would undercut other policy goals as well. The requirement that search engines omit links to rogue sites undercuts the role of search firms as trusted intermediaries in conveying information to users. There are, of course, other circumstances where search engines already omit information and links—for instance, Google routinely screens out child pornography from its search results. But there has never been a government mandate that information be withheld from search results. Imposing such a mandate would represent the first step down a classic slippery slope of government interference that has no clear stopping point.

Arguably, the limits placed on search engines as well as other third parties under SOPA would also violate constitutional protections of freedom of speech. But even if not barred legally, any such restrictions should be imposed only after the most careful consideration, only when absolutely necessary, and even then, to the smallest degree possible.

Bottom line: Everybody agrees piracy is a problem — but SOPA is not the way to stop it. Rest easy over the holidays knowing Congress didn’t inadvertently create a major Internet firewall, but keep your eyes on this when the House Judiciary Committee resumes its discussion next year.


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Does Joe Sixpack really know what this is all about or even cares?

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

The last time I checked, even Demi Moore no longer gives a rat’s ass what Ashton Kucher thinks about anything. Why should we?

Sayan Neviot on December 22, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Placing search engines and ISP’s in the middle of policing for piracy is plain and simply a bad and confused attempt by well meaning people that fundamentally don’t understand how the the Internet works.

Hey, even a Hollywood airhead like Kutcher understands this point.

Although the term “well-meaning” is an obvious misnomer. There’s nothing “well-meaning” about SOPA anymore than there is about “comprehensive immigration reform”.

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Placing search engines and ISP’s in the middle of policing for piracy is plain and simply a bad and confused attempt by well meaning people that fundamentally don’t understand how the the Internet works.

I don’t think they’re well-meaning at all. I think they know exactly what it is they are trying to do.

squint on December 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM

At its core SOPA unwillingly recruits Internet industry companies like social networks,

“Unwillingly”? Did Ashton actually graduate junior high school? WTF?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Does Joe Sixpack really know what this is all about or even cares?

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

For all the “Joe Sixpacks” out there that may not understand, let me explain it in terms I’m sure anyone can understand:

“The internet” is the global interconnection of computers, a network of networks, that allows any information to be transmitted near-instantaneously from any point on the planet to any other point. When Ashton Kutcher says SOPA “breaks the fundamentals” of the internet, he actually does know what he’s talking about as far as that goes. The internet wasn’t designed with this kind of bottlenecking in mind.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:31 PM

You beat me to the point, smiley, and made it better than me. Durn!

squint on December 22, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Does Joe Sixpack really know what this is all about or even cares?

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

If he doesnt, his tweenage and older childer do.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Bottom line: Everybody agrees piracy is a problem

If by “everybody” you mean entertainment industry shills or people who don’t grasp the fact that the supposed “billions of dollars” lost to “piracy” each year cannot reasonably be considered lost revenue because most of those “pirates” would not have bought the stuff they’re downloading anyway. Not to mention the much harder to calculate benefits derived from piracy in allowing more obscure content producers to easily disseminate music, works of literature, or games to audiences which would otherwise have not discovered them.

theodore on December 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM

“SOPA seems to have been written and promoted by folks who don’t fully understand the Internet”
My! That might be different from the pantfull of laws and regulations written for farmers, by people who have never farmed?; for business’s by people who have never run a business?, etc. etc.
I’m so shocked!

KOOLAID2 on December 22, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Did anyone ask Al Gore? The inventor of the internet should be allowed to weigh in. /

hillsoftx on December 22, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Why do conservatives suddenly become socialists when they’re talking about online piracy? No, the movie doesn’t belong to everyone.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:41 PM

For all the “Joe Sixpacks” out there that may not understand, let me explain it in terms I’m sure anyone can understand:

“The internet” is the global interconnection of computers, a network of networks, that allows any information to be transmitted near-instantaneously from any point on the planet to any other point. When Ashton Kutcher says SOPA “breaks the fundamentals” of the internet, he actually does know what he’s talking about as far as that goes. The internet wasn’t designed with this kind of bottlenecking in mind.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Not saying it is not an issue and is to be opposed. I’m asking, does the average internet user understand the significance and the fact that it is being proposed? This has not been covered in the MSM. In fact, I don’t think it has gotten much coverage at all. Until Joe SixPack cares, it is likely not to get much opposistion.

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Ashton Kutcher is the biggest dork ever to inhabit Hollywood. Nobody cares what he thinks or does.

HotAir must be giving Tina Korbe so little to do that she has to resort to posting this kind of tripe.

Eichendorff on December 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Why do conservatives suddenly become socialists when they’re talking about online piracy? No, the movie doesn’t belong to everyone.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Why do you love big government, Ronnie? :|

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Not saying it is not an issue and is to be opposed. I’m asking, does the average internet user understand the significance and the fact that it is being proposed? This has not been covered in the MSM. In fact, I don’t think it has gotten much coverage at all. Until Joe SixPack cares, it is likely not to get much opposistion.

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

When Joe can no longer access BarelyLegalXXXRedPirateTube(dot org), he’ll understand the significance.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Not saying it is not an issue and is to be opposed. I’m asking, does the average internet user understand the significance and the fact that it is being proposed? This has not been covered in the MSM. In fact, I don’t think it has gotten much coverage at all. Until Joe SixPack cares, it is likely not to get much opposistion.

they lie on December 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

You’d be surprised how much lobbying the eggheads do on behalf of Joe Sixpack. I believe Tim Berners Lee and the W3C have come out against SOPA.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Why do you love big government, Ronnie? :|

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM

May 911 say the same to you the next time you call.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Just remember, when it comes to legislating and regulating the internet, these people (1) are making the decisions.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM

May 911 say the same to you the next time you call.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Excellent rebuttal. Truly a comparable analogy you’re making.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

SOPA then taxation.

Spread the wealth /

RAGIN CAJUN on December 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Excellent rebuttal. Truly a comparable analogy you’re making.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I thought so. You made a ridiculous extrapolation and I reciprocated. May we be done with this game now?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Why do conservatives suddenly become socialists when they’re talking about online piracy? No, the movie doesn’t belong to everyone.

Yes, piracy is such a hardcore problem. That’s why iTunes pulled in $1.1 billion this year, the music industry worldwide I believe $67B, the film industry in the US alone close to $10B, because people steal all the stuff from the internets. Reminds me of when Garth Brooks started crying in the 90′s that used CDs would put him out of business.

Enforce the laws, don’t punish commerce and expand government in the name of your cronies.

On the other hand, if you’re talking about pirate dens like China, where even the PCs at the Olympics ran on pirated Windows, then by all means try some diplomacy or even tariffs until they understand the need to enforce their laws.

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Just want to say, Lamar Smith is a jackass. I really don’t understand his fascination for all things digital, but I wish he’d get over it because he doesn’t have a clue.

He couldn’t strangle us via the DMCA, (though he gave it a good try) so he’s trying once again with this piece of garbage.

He must have a lot of stock in the entertainment industry.

ButterflyDragon on December 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Lamar Smith needs to hand in his chairmanship, he is a joke to the principles of conservatism. You know you are the wrong side of the issue when Rep. Issa disagrees with you greatly.

Of the candidates I believe only Dr. Paul has spoken out about this bill.

jayhawkboilermaker on December 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Even Ashton Kutcher dislikes SOPA

Holy balls.
Now I’ve got to rethink my position on
this . . .

listens2glenn on December 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Yes, piracy is such a hardcore problem. That’s why iTunes pulled in $1.1 billion this year, the music industry worldwide I believe $67B, the film industry in the US alone close to $10B, because people steal all the stuff from the internets. Reminds me of when Garth Brooks started crying in the 90′s that used CDs would put him out of business.

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

So YOU are to decide how much wealth companies are entitled to? When did we get to an occupy rally?

I’m with on enforcing the current laws, though. We don’t need a new law.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

No, no, and hell no. Let the entertainment companies handle and pay for their own anti-piracy policing. Their are quite a few services such as file hosting sites that serve legitimate functions, but are used for transfer of copyrighted materials as well. These sites abide by the rules and remove material when complaints are filed, and that should be sufficient on their part. I don’t want big brother to start having the ability to determine what sites are acceptable.

Southernblogger on December 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

“SOPA seems to have been written and promoted by folks who don’t fully understand the Internet”

That’s accurate. SOPA represents a negation of what the internet is about, an opposition to it. Access, connectivity, simple: what the internet when functioning is about.

SOPA is an attempt to impose customized controls on that functionality, to curtail the functionality, to impose handicaps where none by proper functionality of system exist. In those details lie the monster.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 7:58 PM

So YOU are to decide how much wealth companies are entitled to? When did we get to an occupy rally?

I’m with on enforcing the current laws, though. We don’t need a new law.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Talk about a ridiculous extrapolation!

SOPA won’t stop piracy. If there were even a reasonable chance that it would, there would STILl be all sorts of stifling unintended consequences. The point is that the major hollywood studios and record labels are not suffering to the degree they want you to believe they are. It’s been the same old shit ever since the betamax vs. vhs days.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

So YOU are to decide how much wealth companies are entitled to? When did we get to an occupy rally?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

As opposed to the government making that decision?

Those companies are claiming extensive lost profits that they would never have aquired under any circumstance.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Why do conservatives suddenly become socialists when they’re talking about online piracy? No, the movie doesn’t belong to everyone.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Those movies and the people who own them need to develope their own technology to protect their investments. Instead of imposing their dictatorial demands on the public.

The issue isn’t that the internet and the population who uses it needs to be “curtailed” but that proprietary rights need to be controlled BY THOSE WHO OWN THEM.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

I thought so. You made a ridiculous extrapolation and I reciprocated. May we be done with this game now?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

You’re the one calling Republicans socialists for the grevious act of being against massive government regulation of the internet.

It’s your “game”, boss, though I do notate that you seem to be on the losing side.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

True. Also, they will never stop the piracy. Ask Microsoft how well their super activation thing worked for XP. The only result would be to screw the system up for honest users.

Southernblogger on December 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

It’s been the same old shit ever since the betamax vs. vhs days.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Bingo!

And the decline in their sales surely couldn’t have anything to do with the massive amount of content (free and legally obtainable, or for a small fee) that is now available to people. When the revenue channels consisted of 3 networks and 2 theater chains, there was quite a bit of dough being made by a select few.

Now that revenue is split between thousands upon thousands of companies and individuals.

Tired of the entertainment industry pointing to declining revenue as proof that piracy is the problem.

ButterflyDragon on December 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Ronnie, would it not be fair to say that your understanding of SOPA is limited to “PIRACY = SOCIALISM = BAD. SOPA = NO PIRACY = GOOD.” ?

Because I think that’s an accurate summation of your grasp on the situation here.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Tired of the entertainment industry pointing to declining revenue as proof that piracy is the problem.

ButterflyDragon on December 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

To be fair, I think we should include Bill Gates/Microsoft in that, too.

I agree with you, otherwise.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I would like to advance the thesis that if Ashton Kutchner and Meagan McCain were to breed that it would inevitably lead to the extinction of the human race.

Someone, please, keep them apart.

turfmann on December 22, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Talk about a ridiculous extrapolation!

SOPA won’t stop piracy. If there were even a reasonable chance that it would, there would STILl be all sorts of stifling unintended consequences. The point is that the major hollywood studios and record labels are not suffering to the degree they want you to believe they are. It’s been the same old shit ever since the betamax vs. vhs days.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

I said we don’t need a new law. Why are you arguing against this?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:10 PM

it’s sad that you all can’t give kutcher credit when it is due- he’s against SOPA but because he’s a liberal hollywood type you just insult him anyway, even when he agrees with you!! that’s just dumb. i am glad he is speaking out against SOPA.

given the odd lines that divide the pro-and-anti-SOPA factions

yeah i don’t know why people here are so surprised by this but there are conservatives AND liberals against SOPA, being anti-SOPA is not a conservative thing.

“Unwillingly”? Did Ashton actually graduate junior high school? WTF?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM

what’s wrong with “unwillingly”??

Sachiko on December 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

First, it’d be SOPA. Then it’d be retina scans before “the computer will start”, then it’d be an alarm system when the computer connects IF you’re not connecting to the ‘reuqired’ homepage…

…and on and on.

Fences never stopped horse thefts. Vaults never stopped robbers. Big muscles never stopped a pickpocket…

We can each do what we need to do to be safe and secure, but government reducing options for individual decisions and actions is no way to stop “piracy” on the internet.

He/she/it who owns whatever property is valued needs to devise security for their property. But SOPA is not the way to go about that because it imposes the customizations of a few on the lives/options of the many.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

being anti-SOPA is not a conservative thing.

i meant, not JUST a conservative thing…

Sachiko on December 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

As opposed to the government making that decision?

Those companies are claiming extensive lost profits that they would never have aquired under any circumstance.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

OK, that’s ridiculous. Of course people take movies for free instead of buying them.
And even if they didn’t, why are they entitled to that entertainment?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Ronnie, would it not be fair to say that your understanding of SOPA is limited to “PIRACY = SOCIALISM = BAD. SOPA = NO PIRACY = GOOD.” ?

Because I think that’s an accurate summation of your grasp on the situation here.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

No, it would not be fair. I said we don’t need a new law. It’s already illegal.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:14 PM

OK, that’s ridiculous. Of course people take movies for free instead of buying them.
And even if they didn’t, why are they entitled to that entertainment?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM

It’s not a question of what data pirates are or aren’t entitled to. If you don’t believe that a new law is necessary, or would do anything to stop the “problem” such as it is, what do you propose be done?

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

You’re the one calling Republicans socialists for the grevious act of being against massive government regulation of the internet.

It’s your “game”, boss, though I do notate that you seem to be on the losing side.

Jeddite on December 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

No, I’m calling Republicans socialists for the grievous act of supporting free redistribution of wealth and for sounding like they’re at an occupy rally. It has nothing to do with SOPA, which is stupid. It’s this odd notion that property rights apparently mean squat to some so-called conservatives.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM

It’s not a question of what data pirates are or aren’t entitled to. If you don’t believe that a new law is necessary, or would do anything to stop the “problem” such as it is, what do you propose be done?

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Enforce the laws.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM

what’s wrong with “unwillingly”??

Sachiko on December 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Pretty much everything. The word doesn’t fit for a multitude of reasons. If English is your mother tongue then it should make you wince, too.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

No, I’m calling Republicans socialists for the grievous act of supporting free redistribution of wealth and for sounding like they’re at an occupy rally. It has nothing to do with SOPA, which is stupid. It’s this odd notion that property rights apparently mean squat to some so-called conservatives.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM

And you’re mischaracterizing the anti-SOPA position. No one is saying the pirates are entitled to anything. We are simply saying that the value of the data pirated does not reflect “lost revenue.”

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Enforce the laws.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM

The laws are being enforced. That’s not the problem. The problem is that the laws as they now stand are inadequate to deal with the problem in the age of instant information transmission. So again, I ask you: If you’re not in favor of new laws, and presuming that effort is being made to enforce laws on the books, how else would you propose that the problem of data piracy be dealt with?

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Sachiko on December 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

What he wanted to write was “force unwilling internet companies to …”

I won’t even talk about “Internet industry companies”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2011 at 8:20 PM

And you’re mischaracterizing the anti-SOPA position. No one is saying the pirates are entitled to anything. We are simply saying that the value of the data pirated does not reflect “lost revenue.”

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

I haven’t said a word about the anti-SOPA position. I’m talking about piracy in general. And I don’t see how lost revenue is relevant. The data belongs to someone else.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

OK, that’s ridiculous. Of course people take movies for free instead of buying them.

Some do, but most of those who download illegal copies were never going to pay for a legal copy, and yet that is claimed as a loss by the companies in question.

And even if they didn’t, why are they entitled to that entertainment?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. If someone borrows a movie from a friend are they now criminals? How is that different from downloading a pirated copy?

You cannot control all avenues of distribution. That has been true ever since the printing press was invented.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

The laws are being enforced. That’s not the problem. The problem is that the laws as they now stand are inadequate to deal with the problem in the age of instant information transmission. So again, I ask you: If you’re not in favor of new laws, and presuming that effort is being made to enforce laws on the books, how else would you propose that the problem of data piracy be dealt with?

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:19 PM

The laws are not being enforced. Intellectual property laws exist and are sufficient. I do not accept your presumption.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Pssht. Ashton should go back to being a nice, silent Supermodel–WAIT!–I’ve seen his camera commercials. He already has. :)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Some do, but most of those who download illegal copies were never going to pay for a legal copy, and yet that is claimed as a loss by the companies in question.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

It’s irrelevant to me since it’s the property owner’s right to distribute their data. Whether they lose a billion dollars or ten cents, it’s still theirs.

Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. If someone borrows a movie from a friend are they now criminals? How is that different from downloading a pirated copy?

You cannot control all avenues of distribution. That has been true ever since the printing press was invented.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Really? Copying is no different than transferring ownership? I can’t believe you made that argument.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:26 PM

If you don’t believe that a new law is necessary, or would do anything to stop the “problem” such as it is, what do you propose be done?

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Piracy will stop when the companies reach a reasonable price point for their internet products. Anyone with a brain is offended by the idea that an e-book sells for the same price as a hard copy. That’s just nuts. The publishers are allowed to price their shit like that, but they have to deal with the rampant piracy that that sort of gouging breeds.

On the other side, there are already VERY SERIOUS punishments for people who are caught illegally downloading copyrighted material. Very serious. But now the argument is to never have to enforce those laws by building some hermedically sealed internet with deep-packet inspection and all sorts of other insanity thrown in. No. Normal people don’t have to suffer because the publishing companies (and others) have priced their products in a way to drive piracy. They price them. They can defend them. That’s how it goes.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I haven’t said a word about the anti-SOPA position. I’m talking about piracy in general. And I don’t see how lost revenue is relevant. The data belongs to someone else.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Lost revenue is relevant because that’s how the MPAA and RIAA claim that piracy harms them. If they were not able to toss around a dollar amount, which itself is rather misleading, they wouldn’t have public support for their anti-piracy initiatives.

And since you seem to be unwilling or unable to answer my question, I will answer it for you: Information by its very nature wants to be free. The way to stop piracy is to give people data in a different form, in an alternative to pirated data that they are willing to pay a high enough fee for, so that the providers of those alternatives may profit.

As things now stand, it’s not an issue of immorality. It’s a issue of amorality. When one source of pirated data is stamped out, another will surface. I know that sounds like something out of a William Gibson novel, but that is the very world we live in today. Corporations will only die if they fail to adapt. And if that happens (it’s not a fait acompli by any stretch), I won’t feel too bad. Like I said before, it’s been the same old shit since at least the days of betamax vs. vhs.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:28 PM

No, I’m calling Republicans socialists for the grievous act of supporting free redistribution of wealth and for sounding like they’re at an occupy rally. It has nothing to do with SOPA, which is stupid. It’s this odd notion that property rights apparently mean squat to some so-called conservatives.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM

I’d like to think it’s simply preferring prudence and avoiding sentimentality.

People that pirate media constantly are deplorable, but there’s no need to rend our shirts over it, especially as they do not impede commerce in any great way. It’s the progressive way to gnash your teeth and “demand government do something”.

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 8:28 PM

The laws are not being enforced. Intellectual property laws exist and are sufficient. I do not accept your presumption.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Oh but they are. The problem is not that the laws aren’t being enforced. There is the will and then-some to enforce the laws. The problem is that the laws can not be enforced adequately to stop data piracy. It’s a practical impossibility. The only way to stop piracy is to stop the transfer of information altogether. Hence, SOPA.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

People that pirate media constantly are deplorable, but there’s no need to rend our shirts over it, especially as they do not impede commerce in any great way. It’s the progressive way to gnash your teeth and “demand government do something”.

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Sometimes doing nothing is big government doing something (see our southern border).

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:31 PM

If by “everybody” you mean entertainment industry shills or people who don’t grasp the fact that the supposed “billions of dollars” lost to “piracy” each year cannot reasonably be considered lost revenue because most of those “pirates” would not have bought the stuff they’re downloading anyway. Not to mention the much harder to calculate benefits derived from piracy in allowing more obscure content producers to easily disseminate music, works of literature, or games to audiences which would otherwise have not discovered them.

theodore on December 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM

I agree. We went through the same thing with blank cassette and VHS tape. The RIAA and MPAA seem to argue that every copy of a song is their intellectual property that they put up for sale. I agree. But I can argue that if that is the case, then that Doors album you bought on vinyl should have been exchanged for one on 8-track, then that one for one on cassette, then that one for a copy on CD and finally one for a copy encoded as an MP3 or WMA…that is, you should have paid for that copy only once back in 1969. The song is the song is the song.

And no it’s not the same thing as buying a car. Intellectual property and performance rights and laws are way different than buying other goods.

This argument that goes, “Well, we should have made X number of dollars last year, but didn’t” is a nebulous one. But they pay off the PTB through their lobbying efforts so that they always get heard.

If they are losing money, it has to do with the crap they’re producing that fewer people want to spend their shrinking dollars on. Something may be worth downloading to someone, but not really worth paying top dollar for.

They should focus on these big pirating operations that do indeed crank out and sell thousands of bootlegged copies. That is truly piracy. These threats of outrageous fines and jail time for nickle and dime downloaders really degrades much of their public support and sympathy for their business.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

“Dumbass!”

~Red Foreman

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Oh but they are. The problem is not that the laws aren’t being enforced. There is the will and then-some to enforce the laws. The problem is that the laws can not be enforced adequately to stop data piracy. It’s a practical impossibility. The only way to stop piracy is to stop the transfer of information altogether. Hence, SOPA.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

How often do you read about people being nabbed for this? Once a month maybe? Nothing is being enforced.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Meanwhile, there is a bill being debated that allows all employees and customers at any retail store to randomly pat down fellow shoppers for stolen merchandise.

Any store found to allow theft to occur will be closed down via a judge’s order.

ButterflyDragon on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback and say “just enforce the laws.” But there are laws. And foreign laws. And treaties. And jurisdictional issues.And after it’s all said and done, the data pirates will always be one step ahead of the federales. I am not saying this because I approve of data piracy. I don’t. It is just hard cold fact.

Not to mention, I find it ironic that the tools in the entertainment industry who have always worshiped the almighty dollar are now preaching to us about the immorality of data piracy.

And have any of you read about this? Pretty standard practice in Hollywood, from what I understand.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Even Ashton Kutcher dislikes SOPA

Why does this surprise people? Even Ashton knows that no one would actually PAY for a legit copy of “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

tpitman on December 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Really? Copying is no different than transferring ownership? I can’t believe you made that argument.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:26 PM

What has been transferred? The owner has not lost any revenue that he otherwise would have had and he has not been deprived of any property that was in his possession.

Copyright piracy will never end. It is as old as the hills and will continue regardless of what laws are passed. Copyright laws exist so that inventors will manage a reasonable profit from what they come up with which acts to encourage the continuance of their efforts. Those efforts are based on what others have done before which is its own form of legal intellectual theft. Every law has a cost and SOPA is too high of a cost for what is gained.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

How often do you read about people being nabbed for this? Once a month maybe? Nothing is being enforced.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

How many people are nabbed for this is not a function of the will to enforce the law. How many people are nabbed for it is a function of how much evidence they can gather against data pirates, which typically isn’t much given the nature of the internet.

I maintain and always will, that the entertainment industry will be profitable if and when it adapts to the new business models imposed on them by new data transmission methods. Until then, I won’t shed a tear for all that dubious “lost revenue.”

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:39 PM

What has been transferred? The owner has not lost any revenue that he otherwise would have had and he has not been deprived of any property that was in his possession.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Do you think it’s OK if someone takes your picture and puts it on a cereal box? Why? What have you lost? (I mean besides control over something that belongs to you)

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

How often do you read about people being nabbed for this? Once a month maybe? Nothing is being enforced.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

That’s because “nabbing” end users is not an effective deterrent to piracy. Even the RIAA was forced to come to terms with that fact.

theodore on December 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Do you think it’s OK if someone takes your picture and puts it on a cereal box? Why? What have you lost? (I mean besides control over something that belongs to you)

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I assume you mean if I publically release it?

Isn’t Allahpundit doing that with a picture of Ashton Kutcher for this thread?

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Do you think it’s OK if someone takes your picture and puts it on a cereal box? Why? What have you lost? (I mean besides control over something that belongs to you)

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Wow…talk about a loaded question. That would depend on the circumstances under which it was done, as far as I’m concerned. And I may decide not to spend the money to hire a lawyer to litigate for as long as it would take. I’m not a celebrity, and my likeness and name are not trademarked.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:57 PM

How often do you read about people being nabbed for this? Once a month maybe? Nothing is being enforced.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

That’s because “nabbing” end users is not an effective deterrent to piracy. Even the RIAA was forced to come to terms with that fact.

theodore on December 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

I tried explaining that to him, Theo. He just can’t seem to wrap his mind around it.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Moreover, what is most shocking, is SOPA’s idea of giving judges determination of Internet DNS. The bill suggests DNS administrators remove bad actor domains on judges orders; thus breaking the fundamentals of the Internet. It is a disastrous precedent to have Congress legislate Internet DNS control.

This already happens — it’s not a big deal.

Stopping DNS service on the orders of a judge is orders of magnitude better than giving the copyright holder the right to directly demand said behavior — which I think is the position in the previous version of SOPA legislation.

Now, the flip side — which raises arguments which really need to be listened to.

What happens if the DNS server is out of country? I don’t think our court system reaches that far. And if the root servers are also out of the country — as in the case of OpenDNS — the European competitor to the ICANN (US-based) DNS network, good luck trying to enforce this behemoth. In fact, I think this bill will serve the Europeans well as they have chafed at the fact that the main organs of the Internet are US-based. I can bet that both them and the Asian countries will be more than happy to build alternatives to IANA and ICANN, thus rendering any ability to enforce this law by the United States moot.

Those who are in support of this bill might well want to consider what happens should other countries implement similar legislation. In fact, one already has — China comes quickly to mind.

Just so we are all talking about this from a position of knowledge, here is the full text of the bill:

http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/112%20HR%203261.pdf

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Ashton got a clue? Wake up fully, Mr. Kutcher.

ndanielson on December 22, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Stopping DNS service on the orders of a judge is orders of magnitude better than giving the copyright holder the right to directly demand said behavior — which I think is the position in the previous version of SOPA legislation.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Someone correct me if I’m wrong…

I believe that to get an American judge to order a stoppage of DNS service, the DNS server must be located physically in America and the burden of evidence is at least as high as that required for a search warrant. It is also my understanding that SOPA would change that, to put the burden of proof on the DNS operators to show that they should not be shut down. Guilty until proven innocent.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Fences never stopped horse thefts. Vaults never stopped robbers. Big muscles never stopped a pickpocket…

We can each do what we need to do to be safe and secure, but government reducing options for individual decisions and actions is no way to stop “piracy” on the internet.

He/she/it who owns whatever property is valued needs to devise security for their property. But SOPA is not the way to go about that because it imposes the customizations of a few on the lives/options of the many.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Taking that thought to its logical conclusion, what’s all this balderdash I hear about a border fence?

I can understand the mindset of a proponent of SOPA. There’s a big support network involved in allowing people to access pirated material. It involves DNS service, advertising service, hosting service, and, last but not least, transit services. This bill tries to tie down all the elements of that service industry.

Part of the reason the bill is written the way it is stems from the fact that many of the support services exist outside US borders. They are trying to tie down “the last mile” to the US customers of pirated goods by making draconian measures to prevent data from being able to transit “the last mile”.

They’re doing this, as Kutcher points out, by deputizing without pay the various infrastructure components of the United States’ Internet. New capabilities (or, rather, capabilities which exist in only a few places which we would strongly hesitate to call democratic) must be added to our network infrastructure. Private data, including e-mail addresses, must be provided to the Copyright Office for public posting on the Internet.

All of that infrastructure will cost lots of money, and I don’t see a companion bill for expenditure.

Finally, Section 105 immunizes service providers for performing preemptive strikes. That means that if you publish media which makes fair use of copyrighted material, your site might be shut down because one or more providers of your connectivity fear a lawsuit. If that happens, you are denied any ability under this law to appeal. That constitutes prior restraint.

That is the most chilling aspect of this law — that a person harmed by its provisions cannot seek relief or reimbursement for damages incurred by its enforcement.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 9:18 PM

I assume you mean if I publically release it?

Isn’t Allahpundit doing that with a picture of Ashton Kutcher for this thread?

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Yes.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 9:21 PM

As Hollywood bimbos of either sex go, Ashton Kutcher is one of the (relatively) reasonable few. He’s a prepper, of all things!

Archivarix on December 22, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Yes.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Well then… I guess like Ashton Kutcher, I would take my $140 million dollars and cry myself to sleep over the lost revenues that dastardly Allahpundit is depriving me of. /

Of course if I didn’t have a $140 million dollars, then I would be jumping for joy at the free publicity.

sharrukin on December 22, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Well now, that’s just great. I can’t stand SOPA and I don’t respect Kuchar. Now what am I to do?

rogaineguy on December 22, 2011 at 9:33 PM

What the hell is an Ashton Kutcher? Some kind of rectal clearance problem?

RasThavas on December 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM

C’mon Tina…. knowing that imbecile is against SOPA almost makes it appealing. What was the point of that?

lexhamfox on December 22, 2011 at 9:46 PM

No, sounds more like a rectal (Ash) bleeding (Kut) problem. My mistake.

RasThavas on December 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM

The issue isn’t that the internet and the population who uses it needs to be “curtailed” but that proprietary rights need to be controlled BY THOSE WHO OWN THEM.

Lourdes on December 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

I work in the graphic design industry and virtually every stock photo/graphics house and virtually every photographer I know has a system of watermarking and copyrighting their photos or graphics. If someone downloads them without authorization, the watermark obscures the photo in such a way that it can’t be used, and it’s pretty obvious if someone tries to rubber stamp it out.

Yes, I realize movies and applications aren’t exactly the same things as photos, but I’m sure the technology already exists to protect those similarly.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 9:52 PM

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM

It’s worse. Some provisions of the law regulate caching name servers — such as the one your ISP might provide for you. In fact, most DNS servers are of the caching variety — there is an authoritative name server (the one with the most up to date information, and every nameserver which queries the authoritative one tends to cache the result until the time-to-live value associated with the result expires.

Now, if you’ve ever been spammed and tried to examine the DNS location specified in the spam e-mail, you may (and most probably will) find that the domain name’s IP address appears to be shifting madly — and, if you examine the DNS records, you will find that said DNS entries have TTLs measured in minutes. Furthermore, you will find that the list of authoritative name servers is itself mutating rapidly — three are normally provided, and those three rotate to completely new addresses every quarter hour or so. What the spammers have done is to distribute nameservice as well as webservice over a botnet — they have made their venture survivable. The court system cannot touch them — they are hidden behind a wall of unsuspecting normal people like you and me who’ve had their computers subverted. Now, with a system like that, whom can the copyright holders sue? You and me, for something we don’t even know we are doing?

Good luck with that meme, copyright holders!

In my research, most of the botnet addresses resided in the USA. So we have hundreds of thousands of computers owned by people like you and me doing rather sophisticated services

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Do you think it’s OK if someone takes your picture and puts it on a cereal box? Why? What have you lost? (I mean besides control over something that belongs to you)

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

This is why photographers routinely use something called model releases when they take a person’s photo. They are used whether the photo will be used commercially (as in advertising) or not.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I wonder if Ashton Kutcher would be against my Hollywood Can Eat My Shorts Act?

AllahsNippleHair on December 22, 2011 at 10:17 PM

This is why photographers routinely use something called model releases when they take a person’s photo. They are used whether the photo will be used commercially (as in advertising) or not.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM

I know what model releases are. Wasn’t really the question.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:18 PM

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118047080

If there’s any conservative that still doesn’t get the SOPA problem, the above link featuring Chris “The D-Rat Dingle” Dodd should do it.

Choice quotes:

“How do you justify a search engine providing for someone to go and steal something?” he asked rhetorically in a recent interview at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers conference. “A guy that drives the getaway car didn’t rob the bank necessarily, but they got you to the bank and they got you out of it, so they are accessories in my view.”

Citing a more controversial practice, Dodd notes “When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn’t do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites.”

smiley on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

And yes, model releases are considered legal documents.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:16 PM

But hey, they’re not losing any money. Why mess with that stuff?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

I know what model releases are. Wasn’t really the question.

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Right. I was responding to your earlier remark:

Do you think it’s OK if someone takes your picture and puts it on a cereal box? Why? What have you lost? (I mean besides control over something that belongs to you)

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

My point in all of this is that if photographers and others in the visual arts have to take steps to prevent their work from being used without their authorization through watermarking, etc., then the motion picture industry should be able to find a way to do the same. I’m sure the technology exists; I suspect the motion picture industry is too lazy and too greedy to go to the trouble, so they think they can strong arm the issue via bad legislation.

I remarked on an earlier thread about SOPA that the issue of movies being pirated has been around since VHS was invented. Look up Jack Valenti — in the early 80s, he whined as if the world would end when people were able to copy their favorite movies and TV shows onto blank VHS tapes.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:28 PM

But hey, they’re not losing any money. Why mess with that stuff?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

That’s the crux of the argument here, Ronnie. The value of the pirated data in any given time frame does not represent “lost revenue.” A certain percentage of it might, but we’ll never know unless we could poll every last data pirate and ask them if they would have paid willingly for the self-same data they pirated.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 10:31 PM

But hey, they’re not losing any money. Why mess with that stuff?

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

A photographer could lose a lot of money if he or she was sued by someone who did not give their permission to use their photo via a model release.

Consider it a photography CYA.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:32 PM

A photographer could lose a lot of money if he or she was sued by someone who did not give their permission to use their photo via a model release.

Consider it a photography CYA.

PatriotGal2257 on December 22, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Well, according to some people here, it’s the model’s fault for charging too much or something. It’s up to the model to make their likeness affordable to people who wouldn’t have bought it anyway. /

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:43 PM

What the average person calls piracy:
Ripping am illegal copy of a song or movie and making it available for profit on the internet.

What the industry calls piracy:
20 seconds of a 40-year-old song barely discernible in the background of your Aunt Tillie’s Facebook video of Uncle Ed’s birthday party at the Sonic.

Knott Buyinit on December 22, 2011 at 10:44 PM

Well, according to some people here, it’s the model’s fault for charging too much or something. It’s up to the model to make their likeness affordable to people who wouldn’t have bought it anyway. /

Ronnie on December 22, 2011 at 10:43 PM

False comparison. We’re talking about all manners of data here, not just image-and-likeness. Models who lose control of their respective likenesses have legal recourse that lets them regain such control. So does the entertainment industry writ-large. But if the degree of control that the entertainment industry is able to maintain with that redress is not sufficient, the problem is with the entertainment industry rather than the laws and institutions that give the industry redress.

gryphon202 on December 22, 2011 at 10:50 PM

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