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Rights of Passage

What the Deal Was With Tumblr Today (And A Few Other Sites): The Protect IP Act


To the left is a screencap of Tumblr from earlier today, and you’re probably curious to know what it’s about. Well, we’re here to tell you, and you’re not going to like it. And not like “Kristen Stewart might be in Akira” “not like it.” Like “the United States government is taking cues from Iran and China and wants to put people in prison for five years for linking to a copyrighted site” “not like it.” In the name of protecting “prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” there is a bill currently being debated in Congress, the PROTECT-IP Act and its House version, the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), concerning censorship of the internet that intends to leave legal windows open to prosecute regular users like you, me, and your Aunt Ethel, who just wanted to show you what her cat was doing on YouTube and happened to be playing the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera in the background. This is a matter of taking freedom of expression out of the hands of the people and giving it to corporations, who can then turn to all their consumers and say, “We have PR firms and advertising agencies to tell people about our TV show/album/movie — stop linking to it or we’ll have you pay for it.” And the worst part is that anyone who tries to read this thing in order to better understand it will find themselves even more confused — and possibly in serious trouble.

This bill actually caught me off guard when I first read about it, thinking “They can’t do that. Surely, someone is blowing this out of proportion.” And then I read about more, and then I started reading the actual House Resolution. (The Senate bill is oddly all crossed out, as if it was censoring itself, because maybe there is a PROTECT-IP movie in the works by a major studio? If someone understands why all the strikethrough, I will amend this post with the explanation.) Like most Congressional bills, this is a hard one to get through, intentionally difficult to understand by laypersons, and one of those things that rank-and-file Congressional representatives might just pass off as something like outlawing Napster and put their signature on, not realizing that this bill really amounts to restrictions on free speech for regular people — like their own constituents, for example, and also: them — and is not unlike the efforts to control what people can see on the internet that are going on in countries like China and Iran. China and Iran.

The intentions are not bad — the bill is meant to protect the properties of producers of entertainment — music, television, movies, etc. However, to say it plans to overreach would be putting it politely. What it seeks to do, however, is to give corporations the power to take down sites the coporations think infringe on their copyrighted properties. Yes, just sites. Sites with domain names they don’t like, sites with content they don’t like — and people who distribute or link to sites or content they don’t like. That includes the simple act of sharing something on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. For example, if the BBC wanted to, they could go after the person who made this:

And they could claim it contains copyrighted material and the creator of this gif is infringing upon the BBC’s rights. And then, they could also shut down the site on which it appears and go after every person who shared it. You know, all the people listed here, all of them unlawful disseminators of copyrighted material. This would reach as far as someone posting a video of themselves singing a popular song at karaoke night on Facebook (often by way of YouTube) to, as I said before, someone who takes a video while copyrighted music plays in the background. From Fight For the Future:

It’ll give the government new powers to block Americans’ access websites that corporations don’t like. The bill would criminalize posting all sorts of standard web content — music playing in the background of videos, footage of people dancing, kids playing video games, and posting video of people playing cover songs.

As for the whole “prison” thing, I’d like to tell you that’s just hyperbole, but, insanely enough, it is not. From American Censorship, under SOPA:

It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.

This is garnering a reaction from across the political spectrum, proving that this is beyond partisan politics — this affects everyone who uses the internet, happens to be a fan of anything, and likes to tell people about it on the internet. It will start with site shutdowns, and maybe no one will go to prison or even pay a fine. But with the passage of this bill, there would be nothing stopping corporations from finding someone with a high-quality, DIY tribute video on YouTube and bringing them to court, where the government will tell that person: “Under PROTECT-IP and SOPA, you are a criminal for using this content without permission. And now, you will be sentenced for your crime, which you can’t really deny, because it was on the internet and seen by all these other users.”

Here is a video to better explain everything:

There is already an uproar on the internet about this, which brings us back to Tumblr’s temporary demonstration of self-censorship, and that will surely be a part of the Congressional debates. What you can do — as a person who is directly at risk — is contact your Congressional Representative. Tell them this bill is way too much. Tell them that no, “corporations are not people, too.” Tell them that this bill stifles free speech, despite what it says in the bill, because while it protects the intellectual property of gigantic corporations (and yes, small, independent businesses), it will have an undeniable chilling effect on the vast majority of regular internet users, and, as said in the video above, will actually make the internet less safe on a structural level. And if you have a web site, you can spread awareness by using some simple codes to put this dire graphic at the entrance to your site:

American Censorship also contains the codes used by Tumblr to make their site appear that it’s been censored by the government.

This is exactly why the First Amendment was created. Could anyone have predicted the internet in Revolutionary Era, thinking that it would become so easy to share things that people had created without those people ever seeing a profit (despite their already huge profits)? No — but they probably might have agreed that something with a lot of power cannot abuse it and cry “free speech.”

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  • Terence Ng

    Wow, it’s the premise of Greg Pak’s free comic “Vision Machine” come to life. Horrifying. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Priya-Rao/100001747577490 Priya Rao

    Hollywood and Bollywood Latest HD Wallpapers.

    http://picshits.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    This looks like a terrible intersection of three traditional problems with Congress: 1) They get lots of funding from corporations, which expect a sort of tit-for-tat response. 2) They are out of touch with the reality of America. 3) They are old (mostly) and tend to not understand the Internet and social media. I can’t believe a bill like this even exists.

  • The Lewd Ood

    Couldn’t put it any better myself.

    And looks like I’d be slapped down by the BBC, as well.  Come and get me, internet police!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208921 Nikki Lincoln

    … Everyone I know would be in jail. 

    This definitely falls under “Don’t you have more important things to take care of?” Last I checked our country is in a recession, fighting two wars, dealing with protests in just about every major city, and having trouble funding basic things like education. Even if this is a problem – I really think their priorities are terribly wrong.

  • Anonymous

    As if we didn’t *already* have a problem with overcrowded prisons…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=813165390 Annika Raaen

    If they do this, how can they possibly fund an organization large enough to actually enforce the laws? Or would it be a randomization of everyone who ever used an image on their blog or whatever?

    Agreed with MisterEHolmes above…the Congressmen and women are woefully out of touch with American society.

    I’m just a little bit frightened for the future…

  • Tim Lukowiak

    This is obviously a red herring for the government to finally get control over the internet. They’ve been wanting to do this since the 90s, and this is their ticket in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.monsalvo Daniel Monsalvo

    I really wanna know the repercusions of this protect-ip act on the foreign users. I’m from Argentina, and share content in facebook via youtube on a daily basis. Am I gonna be facing time for it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jocelynplease Jocelyn Dugan

    So, should I just show up for my sentencing now or wait for the cops to knock on my door?

  • http://twitter.com/A_Stabelli Adam Stabelli

    You better pray that if this bill is put through, Obama vetoes it.

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with that. He’s a corporate puppet just like most of the congress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=4700081 Dean Razavi

    Oh goodie, I love playing devil’s advocate. I took a look at the House Bill myself, and I’m wondering where a lot of the claims from above came from. Let’s explore:

    1) At the outset, the Bill has a savings clause because Congress knows it treads on First Amendment thin ice. So it tells us that nothing should be interpreted here to interfere with the First Amendment, lest the court strike it down. Things like Fair Use – the noncommercial video of kids dancing to Lady Gaga that this article’s author seems to be concerned about – are creatures of the 1A. They were designed to, long ago, save the Copyright Law from the same criticisms. Minus all the youtube. So those big scary questions about grandma’s cat listening to musicals aren’t really at issue here, and Congress has basically said as much in the first 10 pages.

    2) There are two distinct mechanisms at play that, understandably, might get conflated if you aren’t reading carefully. The first is Section 104, which provides immunity to “a service provider, payment network provider, Internet advertising service, advertiser, Internet search engine, domain name registry, or domain name registrar” for voluntarily taking down your site because it ::reasonably believes:: that your site infringes someone’s copyright. It’s a narrow but important little tool here – if your ISP or web hosting company says “you know what, this might be an infringement of copyright,” and that belief is reasonable, they can take down your site and you can’t sue them. That’s it, nothing more. Note that if it’s crystal clear that your site isn’t an infringing one, then you can sue them to your heart’s content, just as you would right now (to my mind, it’s your only legal remedy if your domain host decided “hell, let’s just turn this whole thing off.”).

    The second is this whole “corporations deciding what’s infringing,” and besides those specifically noted above (ISPs, ad services, registries, etc.), that’s just totally false. That’s not what the law does. Section 103 sets up that the owner of the copyright (these corporations that we’re talking about) is a Qualifying Plaintiff that can bring an action in court against the ISP or the registrant claiming that your website is “dedicated to the theft of US property.” Now, this is certainly broader than “definitely infringing copyright,” and there should be some red flags raised here. But one of them is not that a corporation can just show up and take your site down. Only the people mentioned above can do that. Corporations can file a lawsuit, and have a court decide whether your website should come down. Just like it always has, and always will – and the court will decide whether you are “dedicated to the theft of US property.”

    3) Pro-tip. The reason the Senate bill has all the strike through at the top is that that part has already been changed / amended. Start on page 31.

    TL;DR: There’s definitely an expansion of defining the bounds of copyright here, but it doesn’t even come close to some US kill switch on individual websites. I wish I were joking, but that’s a different bill: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/kill-switch-legislation/

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree with a huge number of these comments, but before you crucify me there are things that people don’t mention when they are fighting this bill. 

    I am not a huge corporation I am feature film crew member.  I don’t shmooze with celebs at $1000 dinners I work 16-20 hour days and still barely make ends meet most months and the theft of films is making that harder and harder.  My very livelihood and medical insurance is based on people not STEALING movies from illegal websites.  When a movie is illegally downloaded the studio doesn’t have to pay residuals to the crew members who’s retirement depends on it.  The studio isn’t getting hurt as much as the regular Joe.  And this bill is the result of those 99% going after that 1%.  
    Yes I believe the bill is taking it to an extreme.  I don’t think Aunt Ida should be fined because Phantom is playing in the background of her cat video. But in that same vein should I be allowed to walk into Aunt Ida’s house and take her tv because I don’t feel like paying for one of my own.  
    Because that is exactly what stealing films and music is doing to the “other” people who work on them.  Not the studios, not the million dollar paycheck directors, actors, musicians, THE CREW. 
    I find it fascinating that the people who are complaining about their rights being violated are the same people who are completely comfortable violating the rights of others.  The same people who feel it’s their right to STEAL from hardworking people.  

    Does this bill sound scary?  it doesn’t even just sound scary it is fucking scary.  Just about as scary as working 20 hour days for a CRIMINAL to steal money from my pocket.  

    Can this bill be used by the government to censor certain sites?  Yes it absolutely can, and I’m appalled that stopping people from stealing has had to come to this extreme.  

  • Anonymous

    Just means you can never travel to the US and you will be safe until the US forces our countries to pass similar legislation all in the name of “freetrade”……

  • Anonymous

    I understand your point of view – but as a person who enjoys independent films and independent music, I often find things I enjoy through their use on certain sites – I haven’t decreased the amount of music and films I am buying – but have increased it – if I can see part of an indie film (often from other parts of the world); if I enjoy it – I will buy it.  But if I am never given the opportunity to SEE it before I have to fork out the cash – I wont.   I know several bands – that I enjoy who I would never have heard of if I had not had the opportunity to hear it through the fringe sites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001026080682 Francess Dunbar

    Very much agreeing with the content of this article and that first comment, but isn’t BBC (and Doctor Who, for that matter) British, and therefore not protected by the law?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001026080682 Francess Dunbar

    He has stated on multiple occasions that he will uphold Net Neutrality. Indeed, it was one of his campaign promises.

  • Anonymous

    And, of course, he hasn’t broken any of his campaign promises!

  • Anonymous

    >> Jaded28: “I am feature film crew member…I work 16-20 hour days and still barely make ends meet most
    months and the theft of films is making that harder and harder. My very
    livelihood and medical insurance is based on people not STEALING movies
    from illegal websites. When a movie is illegally downloaded, the studio
    doesn’t have to pay residuals to the crew members who’s retirement
    depends on it. The studio isn’t getting hurt as much as the regular
    Joe. And this bill is the result of those 99% going after that 1%.”

    Sorry, but speaking as a member of the Hollywood community as well —
    like yourself — I see it just the opposite way. This bill is BAD news
    all around and deserves to be squashed, for no other reason than to
    protect an open Internet and Free Speech. And just those reasons ALONE
    make defeating this bill an imperative. Because once we give up a free
    Internet, and let profit driven corporations determine — mind you,
    without judge or jury — what should or shouldn’t constitute
    “violations” online, the game is over. At that point we’d all be slaves
    to the machine.

    Also, in terms of your economic argument and how you feel the Internet
    is harming you (through illegal downloads and such), the best rebuttal
    was presented by Oz McBunny where he/she noted (quote)…

    “I often find things I enjoy through their use on certain sites. I
    haven’t decreased the amount of music and films I am buying, but have
    INCREASED it. If I can see part of an indie film (often from other
    parts of the world) and enjoy it, I will buy it. But if I am never
    given the opportunity to see it before I have to fork out the cash, I
    wont.”

    There was a great online article pertaining to this bill and topic that I
    read the other day. I wish I could remember where it was, so that I
    could link to it, but basically it noted an interesting historical FACT.
    Namely that once upon a time, back when he was the king of marching
    band music and what not, John Philip Sousa actually testified before
    Congress that phonograph records would — wait for it — KILL music.
    Why? Because back in his day — and remember this was a time when there
    were things like barbershop quartets performing on stage — Sousa
    thought that records, and the ability for people to hear music at home,
    would cause them to stop singing on stages or on their front porches at
    night (as was the tradition of the day). And thus Sousa argued that the
    ability to listen to records would only lead to the death of music.

    Well, I think we all know how history closed THAT book. Records sales
    exploded and music only grew bigger, now that it could more broadly (and
    commercially) be in people’s hands. Which brings us to the whole CROCK
    of this matter, and the fact that entertainment companies are STILL
    falling back on the same tired and cliched argument that any and all new
    technologies will hurt their profits. And so they should be curtailed
    or shut down completely — which is why they LOVE a bill like this,
    where the power to throw that “off switch” is completely put into their
    hands.

    The only problem with their argument is that every new technology has
    proven them wrong AND it’s only helped to make them even RICHER —
    which, in turn, makes the movie and recording industries total
    hypocrites as well.

    Look, the Hollywood studios thought that VCRs and the ability of people
    to tape things off the TV would hurt them financially…which is WHY the
    studios initially priced tapes at astronomical prices like $100.
    Because deep down inside, they were hoping to kill VCRs. However, when
    someone finally wised up and started pricing tapes at sell-through
    prices of $25 or less, sales literally EXPLODED like no tomorrow. And it
    continued to expand, which is how we ended up with things like
    Blockbuster and renting movies, which millions of people flocked to —
    resulting in money flowing back to Hollywood so damn fast they didn’t
    know what to do with it.

    But it’s funny — along came video discs (the 12 inch platters) and
    Hollywood bitched…all the way to the bank again. Then came DVDs…and
    it was the same tired story. Hollywood bitched about discs getting
    smaller or the picture getting sharper…once again new technology was
    “bad” for business…at which point they bitched all the way to the
    bank, as they made more money than ever. Now with broadband reaching
    millions of home, we’ve entered the age of streaming films…and sure
    enough they’re bitching all the way to the bank AGAIN.

    Look, if someone is downloading ALL of a 2 hour movie to own a copy, to
    get out of paying for it, I would agree — that person needs to get
    caught for stealing, and the web site (or file sharing service) that
    allowed the movie to be passed along should also pay a heavy price.

    But there’s a BIG difference between stealing a 2 hour movie and a FAN
    wanting to toss a 2 minute clip of something on YouTube, to share his
    love of a film. A clip, mind you, that other people can then see and
    possibly find themselves saying “Hey, I forgot how good this  was. I
    think I’ll go rent or buy it” — at which point the fan (and his posted
    clip) IS creating new revenue for a studio. Or it’s like the DR WHO gif
    site that the article mentions. How is that not  promoting DR WHO and
    keeping it fun and fresh for the fans…keeping their excitement
    up…which in turn means they WILL watch the show, which only BENEFITS
    the BBC and the show’s makers in the long run?

    I mean, come on — I know we’re in the midst of an economic recession,
    so people want to whine about every possible penny that could go their
    way. And it’s a given that companies will always chase the almighty
    buck, hoping to financially milk things as much as they can. But this is
    different because NOW we’re approaching the point — and this bill only
    proves it — of making things SO draconian, where we’d be putting TOO
    MUCH power in the hands of the corporations, that it’s gotten
    ridiculous, if not downright scary.

  • Anonymous

    I work in post-production (that’s all the stuff between shooting the movie and watching it on screen) and my income and benefits come directly from the entertainment industry. I still don’t support these bills. There are plenty of anti-piracy laws already in existence. *Nobody’s* profit justifies government censorship. It’s like trying to stop shoplifters by allowing them to be shot on sight. The “solution” is worse than the problem.

  • yumiko kasahara

    What you have just written is a logical fallacy; and a gigantic one. It’s called a “strawman argument,” which is where you intentionally stretch an issue to its weakest comparison, and use that blatantly crafted comparison to claim “correctness” in your argument.

    Sorry,  but internet piracy isn’t the same as taking money directly out of your pocket. It never was. It never will be. And comparing it to stealing a television set shows extreme ignorance of the situation; and a total lack of understanding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I support piracy. What I am saying, however, is that the existence of piracy alone doesn’t justify just extreme responses. Neither the bill, nor your strawman argument are at all justified here.

    An irrefutable fact is that sharing, in some cases, actually encourages item sales. People are more likely to buy something if they already know they enjoy it. Similarly, not everyone who shares an item is likely to buy it if they couldn’t give it a “test run”. The point here being there’s a grey area. The gray area consists of those cases where piracy cannot be directly linked to loss of profit — either because the pirate completely lacked the means to buy it legally (so he/she would never have been a costumer anyway), or because the sharing of the content managed to encourage the user to buy it (he/she tried it, and liked it). And those are just the two most basic examples. The grey area actually has a lot of such special cases in it.

    The thing more people need to understand is that this grey area is actually rather large. Extremely large. Large enough that there is no correlation between content sharing and loss of profit. No correlation at all. None. If 500 people pirate a movie you worked on today, it will not make you any more poor than you were before it happened. It might SOUND like it would, but sorry to say the claim has no ground. The grey area is too large.

    What then will these bills accomplish in the fight against piracy… Probably nothing. It won’t actually stop piracy. At all. However, it will take freedom away from American citizens and place it in the hands of corporations, and the government. Isn’t this the exact kind of thing the founding fathers wanted to prevent?

    For those who actually understand (or want to understand) how the Constitution is structured, recall that the Constitution neither gives rights to the people, nor does it take them away. The constitution is designed so that the government itself has a limit as to what it can and cannot do to the people it governs. People are assumed to be born with their rights already; thus it falls upon the government to simply NOT take those rights away. The constitution does not give rights and it does not remove rights; it PROTECTS rights. Nothing more.

    With that being said, it is never acceptable to give the government the right to remove the people’s rights. That’s all these bills are. They are just the ability to limit and/or remove the common person’s ability to pursue freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. If these bills pass, why don’t we just revoke the entire Bill of Rights while we’re at it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-William-Medina/1112146525 James William Medina

    You know something is terrible if the entirety of 4chan is behind hating it. They usually reserve that to pedophiles and  people who hurt cats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.monsalvo Daniel Monsalvo

    I just read some articles about that bill, and noted (correct me if I’m wrong) that it gives the us goverment the power to take actions against foreign sites/citizens. 
    HUGE mistake. 
    Half the world already hate your goverment. Now, the other half it’s gonna hate it too. Besides, if your goverment take actions against foreign sites/citizens, what stops the rest of the world from doing the same against us-based sites? 
    Picture this: Argentina passes a bill that says that no foreign press can speak against the Argentina’s goverment, or the decisions it makes or whatever. It really kicks you first ammendment in the butt. But, it’s still a law here, and it doesn’t hurt our freedom of speech (in my particular case, after watching Coppola’s South of the Border, I think some of the us journalists have to shut TF up) so in that case (extreme, I know, unlikely to happen) you people would have to suck it up. 
    You’re right, that example has nothing to do with piracy and the internet, but this bill passing, would enable such wack-a-doodle scenarios.
    That’s the feeling I got from this bill. I rarely take interest in us politics, but I think this particular case touches everyone in the world. Copyright owners, good luck trying to get money from me, I live in South America, it’s the 3rd world jungle, baby. We have mosquitoes the size of dogs, and throw down the presidents we don’t like and call elections right after. I’ve seen 5 presidents in a week 10 years ago. That’s real democracy ;)That last part it’s not entirely true. Mosquitoes are regular-sized.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.monsalvo Daniel Monsalvo

    And corporations do not push the goverment/justice around to get what they want. They do not have senates and representatives in their payroles. They do not lobby in the congress, nor funded any campaign.

  • http://twitter.com/_Eversuede_ Dial Henriquez

    Talk about new corporation policy at my front door because they are trying control my spending than my budget and no free market and no free speech by circumvent the gov’t police state as free cheese felony for all.  Each day in U.S.A. for Capitalism sound like more and more like Communist to me!  It’s funny when they try to adapt this from China, where it’s Communist!!!!

  • http://taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com/ Taste_is_Sweet

    Thank you for the explanation. Everything you wrote seems reasonable, BUT, just because a corporation can’t directly shut down a website, it doesn’t appear like there would be anything stopping a corporation from pressuring a web site host to shut down a website. It seems that the bill also leaves room for site providers to panic and shut down sites all over the place, and–as you said–they can’t be sued because they’ll insist they have reasonable grounds. As for suing them in the first place, that’s great, except how many of the people who have Facebook profiles, Blogspot pages, Tumblr accounts or Live Journals will be able to afford to sue anyone?

    Furthermore, while it may be clear that someone’s niece and her dance class using Lady Gaga as a soundtrack are perfectly innocent, what about fanfiction? What about people sharing GIFs as the article author mentioned above? What about the countless digital manipulations that are traded around the net that use stills or publicity photos from television shows or movies? What about fanvids using clips from shows or movies with a soundtrack?

    Obviously you can argue that at least some of these things are illegal anyway, but if site providers suddenly have not just the right but what will be in essence the *obligation* to shut sites down that do *any* of these things, it could potentially reduce incredibly vast portions of the internet to a digital wasteland. And that’s leaving aside the art and creative expression that would become illegal.

    Another overlooked casualty of this bill would be women, because–at least as far as I know–the majority of fanfiction writers, vidders and digital artists who base their work on existing media are women. And while I realize it’s also easy to say that all we have to do is create original stuff, that ignores how many, many women use media for inspiration and the forums that exist around the media for companionship. There are incredibly talented artists who have never done any art but digital manipulations, and exceptional writers who would never write anything but fanfiction. And even from your explanation it still seems like this would be taken from them and everyone.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lowsee Heidi Mason

    Not to mention all the artists who do things like cross Disney Princesses with Sith Lords, or perhaps even people sharing a picture of themselves in a good (or even bad!) cosplay outfit. All of these could be fair game to cause an entire site to be shut down for copyright infringement, including TheMarySue.com

  • Anonymous

    nirl.eu/5

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208921 Nikki Lincoln

    Seriously – if we can’t keep drunk drivers in jail for more than 45 minutes then why on Earth do they find it necessary to put in people who re-shared a funny clip from Conan. 

  • http://twitter.com/TrinityBDragon J Swenson

    Holy mother!

    I’ll be sure to contact my congressperson ASAP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=4700081 Dean Razavi

    While corporations certainly will be able to put pressure on hosts to shut down an infringing site, it’s no more a stretch than what happens currently. Google receives tends of thousands of cease and desist letters a day from (who else) corporations claiming that Youtube is hosting copyrighted material.

    When it comes to a lawsuit, that’s always the practical response. Nobody is actually going to sue. But think about it now. What if TheMarySue got turned off tomorrow, this law notwithstanding? What if tumblr itself took a look at my blog and said “this seems dangerous, let’s shut it down,” what’s my recourse?

    You’re right, though, to worry about the ISPs and hosts etc. The immunity afforded to them seems to be a bit expansive. But remember that this isn’t Disney we’re talking about – nothing in this law, as far as I can see, gives Disney some magic trigger over someone’s website.

    The point about creative works is extremely well taken. It’s something I struggle with constantly – I think Girltalk is the best example of how blatant copying of copyrighted works can still become a definitive and desirable creative work and expression. But these questions aren’t children born of the internet – fanfic is up in the air whether it’s online or printed in a book. If you printed a “World’s Most Interesting Man” meme and added it to the bottom of a flyer for selling a bike, and nailed that flyer to a tree, it’s not any less a question of whether you violated his right to publicity.
    Instead, it’s a creature of a societal impulse where artists always need to stay one step ahead of the law. It’s the role of an artist to constantly push the bounds of what is creative expression, and what that work expresses. Copyright law will never actually be able to keep up – so in 10 years when a fanvid is recognized as some protected exception from the copyright laws, it’ll be way late, and not address what creators need.

    All that being said, this law isn’t an attempt to further define what the boundaries are in this world. It specifically ties itself to the existing Act, and whatever definitions we’ve been working under for years will continue to confuse us, regardless of whether the bill passes.

  • Anonymous

    phlpn.es/7x9vmd

  • Anonymous

    phlpn.es/7x9vmd

  • http://twitter.com/jsmithba Jamie Smith

    I imagine the enforcement of it would fall to response to complaints. Which is to say, the big companies with the staff and resources to control their message would be the primary beneficiaries.

  • Ms. Sunlight

    No – the BBC also does business in the USA and would be able to sue to protect that business.

  • Anonymous

    I better start my Movie/Music downloads now!!!  Later

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxleblond81 Maxime Leblond

    Damn look like i will be put in jail for Gameplay of Call of Duty Black ops O_O !!!! OMG