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Piracy Government United States Your Rights Online

White House Responds To SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN 517

Posted by Soulskill
from the clogging-a-series-of-tubes dept.
eefsee writes "The White House today responded to two petitions with a statement titled 'Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet.' They note that 'We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.' In particular, they cite manipulation of DNS as problematic. But overall the statement is clearly supportive of anti-piracy efforts and lays down this challenge: 'So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don't limit your opinion to what's the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what's right.' So, what's right?"
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White House Responds To SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN

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  • Protecting rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:46PM (#38699770)

    But overall the statement is clearly supportive of anti-piracy efforts...

    There's nothing wrong with being supportive of anti-piracy efforts. People deserve to get paid for their work. Those efforts, however, shouldn't undermine technological infrastructure. The White House's statement is overall a condemnation of the legislation, but it does allow leeway for Obama to sign an amended bill that addresses the most pressing concerns.

    Given past positions, it will be interesting to see how Slashdotters respond to the question in the submission. Allow me to quote from a recent comment in a GPL discussion:

    It annoys the minority of businesses who feel entitled to the free labor of strangers and don't want to give anything back. You see, some people are childish and the most visible mark of childishness is a sense of entitlement. This causes them to feel somehow cheated if you place a few conditions on code that is otherwise free, that no one is forcing them to use if the conditions don't suit them.

    The comment was modded up. When it's a case of a GPL violation, the violators who feel entitled to the free labor of strangers are childish and entitled. But in an article on the Pirate Bay, suddenly it's all about demonizing the evil RIAA and MPAA, and piracy is just a cultural revolution that sticks it to the evil corporations--the artists who aren't getting paid don't even enter into the discussion, probably because of the guilty feelings it would inspire to be reminded of the reality of the situation.

    The point being that there probably should be an attempt made to hinder online piracy in some way. We can't just let it spiral completely out of control, to the point where it's no longer lucrative to produce anything. Part of the reason the console platform became so appealing to game developers is the reduced amount of piracy compared to the PC platform. In other words, they can actually make money from their work, money that is used to make more games. You can't have a functioning long-term economy in which people never get compensated for anything; people are trying to make a living, and they use the income to produce more contributions to society. If your boss withheld your paycheck and told you that the code you wrote is now theirs free of charge because "information wants to be free," you'd sue for the wages and win. But if the code you wrote is included in a game, and the game appears on Pirate Bay, downloaders will happily pirate it and never even dream of spending a time, and they'll justify it until they're red in the face.

    The most common one they use is that it's "free advertising"--that pirating games leads them to purchase games. Correlation doesn't equal causation, however, and the fact they buy games as well as pirate them simply suggests that they like games so much that they acquire them by any means possible, and when they can't pirate, they buy. Either that, or they buy to resolve their feelings of guilt. When Louis CK offered his video for download [slashdot.org], he made an interesting comment in an NPR interview [npr.org]:

    "And a friend of mine who does torrent stuff a lot says that when torrent users do buy something, they act like they're doing the greatest thing ever. ... They're saying, 'I bought something today. I paid for it. And I didn't steal it. I'm the greatest person alive.' "

    I've noticed this attitude as well. It's very, very annoying.

    I'm probably risking a lot of downmods here--if there's anything Slashdot seems to dislike more than comments about Slashdot, it's comments that are anti-piracy. But I have karma to burn, and I felt like starting the conversation anyway.

    • by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:53PM (#38699840) Homepage Journal

      If the economy depends on the imposition of artificial scarcity on an abundant good, then the terms have to be reasonable.

      20 year copyright term limits are very reasonable. The current term limits + options to extend are absolutely unreasonable, and they drive people to rebellion.

      Also, while it is true that a punishment should be a deterrent to crime, the punishment must also be within the order-of-magnitude of actual damages in order to be just. The current punishments are outright ridiculous, and they also drive people to rebellion.

      Make fair laws and enforce them fairly, and watch the people happily fall in line.

      • by shentino (1139071) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:20PM (#38700058)

        I think expecting collateral damage to be minimized is reasonable.

        I hate DRM because of the inconvenience it causes people who aren't actually pirates.

        If you want to nuke a castle you don't lob a stink bomb at it.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:25PM (#38700116) Journal

        20 year copyright term limits won't stop a bit of piracy. Copyright itself is simply untenable in the digital era.

        • by MrHanky (141717)

          Without copyright, the only way to get paid in the digital age is through draconian DRM and black box playback devices.

          • by gweihir (88907)

            Without copyright, the only way to get paid in the digital age is through draconian DRM and black box playback devices.

            Wrong. Look for example at Baen books. Quite a few people are wiling to pay for non-protected content, provided the quality is good. Your problem is that you think any creator of a work deserves to be paid under all circumstances. Not so. Unless the work is of good quality, the creator does not deserve anything. Even if it is good, the creator does only deserve what people think he deserves. This model does work as soon as anybody can get global exposure, i.e. today. Trapping people by forcing them to pay b

            • by MrHanky (141717)

              Baen books are copyrighted.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:36PM (#38701704) Journal

              I'll give an even better example...Steam. Steam DRM is trivial to bypass for anyone but the simplest Billy Joe Bob (which is what the original DRM like CD checks was for, to get rid of casual piracy) and hacked Steam games are all over P2P yet Gabe from Valve is singing "Merry Xmas to me" while swimming in a giant pool full of money like Scrooge McDuck, why? Because he learned the way to turn pirates into customers isn't pile on the DRM and hoop jumps but to make it easy, simple, and cheap. We humans are lazy creatures by nature and if you make something simple enough and cheap enough it becomes more of a PITA to pirate than it does to simply buy it and Valve seems to get that.

              Take my own case for example, I probably spent a good $200 this Steam Xmas sale between me and my two boys. Now was there a SINGLE game, even one, that I couldn't have pirated trivially? Nope in fact I could have simply used the listings on Steam and went and downloaded every single one if i desired, so why didn't I? Because Valve has made it as simple as "whip out CC, push button, get game" and their download speeds are insanely fast compared to most P2P, most of the games i bought were bundle packs where I got a pile of games in a series for one low price (such as FEAR 1 & 2 & the DLC extras for $5)or a game with ALL the DLC (which the pirated version never has, such as Just Cause II with all the DLC included for $7) and unlike the pirated version I can enjoy full MP support, I get the game automatically updated to current, I get Valve's excellent long tail game support (Such as their throwing in HL:DM when I bought the complete HL2 series which is STILL highly populated after all these years) and it even keeps my graphics drivers updated without me having to bother.

              The way you kill piracy isn't with a stick but with a cookie, and by finding the sweet spot on price that gives you maximum sales. look at how just as an experiment the sold L4D for $2 and ended up making over 1700% PROFIT on the title simply by having everyone buy the thing while not having to pay for advertising or making copies. Even at that ultra low price because of the massive economies of scale they got they not only made such huge profits but now everyone of those people will see the DLC for sale as well as the news of the latest L4D games thus making it easier to sell even more content.

              So if companies would just accept the mantra of keep it simple, easy, and cheap, put in the most simple of DRM, just to keep Billy Joe Bob from passing around copies to all his buddies, they could be making mad piles o' cash instead or trying to assrape the entire Internet with SOPA and the like. For an example of a company that didn't "get it" look at MSFT, for about 7 months I saw NOTHING but legit versions of Windows and in a small shop that's unheard of, so why did it happen? At $50 a copy the win 7 HP upgrade made it cheaper and less hassle to buy Windows than it was to pirate and $50 appears to be the sweet spot for Windows Home. Sure enough Ballmer kills the program and not 30 days later I start seeing Win 7 Ultimate everywhere because folks simply weren't willing to pay $100 for home and if they are gonna pirate why not get the biggest SKU? Make it simple, easy, and cheap, find the sweet spot on price and people WILL buy simply because its the easiest route. Throw in a couple of bonuses that pirates don't get like DLC and MP and it becomes a no brainer. I mean when I get both Max Paynes for $2.75, Butcher Bay remade in HD AND Dark Athena for $5, and JC II with over a pages worth of DLC for $7 why would I bother to pirate?

          • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:32PM (#38700690)

            Without copyright, the only way to get paid in the digital age is through draconian DRM and black box playback devices.

            No, that doesn't stop piracy either. Perhaps the only way to get paid is by actually doing something worth getting paid for, like giving me a physical copy of a book, or a concert I can go to, etc. But throwing me in jail for downloading the movie that I missed last night when it was on my cable channel - well go to hell, you don't deserve to get paid, YOU are the one who deserves to get locked up.

            • by MrHanky (141717)

              I didn't say it would stop piracy. Without copyright, there would be no piracy, of course.

            • by Solandri (704621) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:36PM (#38702132)

              Perhaps the only way to get paid is by actually doing something worth getting paid for, like giving me a physical copy of a book, or a concert I can go to, etc.

              Some industries have already made this transition. Wedding photographers used to shoot weddings for a minimal fee, the charged a large amount for prints and reprints. If you wanted extra copies of your wedding photos for your extended family, you had to pay for the extra prints.

              With the advent of scanners and dirt-cheap photo printers, they've transitioned to a model where they charge a lot for shooting the wedding, but charge little for the prints or even give them away for free. Technically they can charge for the prints as they did before, but realistically they know it's so easy to make copies there's no possible way they'd be able to enforce their copyright for every photo the take. So they've just restructured their payment system to reflect reality, rather than copyright laws.

              Forget for a moment everything about copyright, publishing, movie/music production, etc. Think of this purely in terms of work vs. compensation. I shoot photos of a wedding and process the photos. That's a lot of work. I print pictures of said wedding. That's very little work. Under the old model, the payment system did not reflect my costs - I charged very little for the part which required a lot of work on my part, but charged a lot for the part which required almost no effort. The new system fixes this. I now charge a lot for the part which requires a lot of work, and charge little for the part which requires little work.

              The same thing has got to happen to books, music, and movies. In the old days, musicians and actors were paid for live performances. That is the norm.

              In the 20th century there was a bit less than 100 years where technology was good enough to allow mass duplication, but not good enough to lower cost of duplication to the point where individuals could duplicate. This allowed a business model to flourish in which payment did not reflect costs. Musicians and actors were able to work once, then sit back and make money over and over based on that single performance. This is not normal. No other business is like that - you have to constantly work if you want to keep making money.

              Now in the 21st century, the cost of mass duplication has fallen far enough that it's now easily within grasp of the individual. No longer does it make sense for people to be charged large amounts of money for what is a nearly free service (duplication). People may be stuck on the morality of it because the 20th century way is all they've ever known. But strictly in terms of work invested vs. compensation, the 20th century way was clearly wrong since the most money was being made for the step which cost the least money.

              The transition to a model where content creators are not paid for duplication services is not some new journey into unexplored territory. It is a return to what was the norm for millenia. For most of history, duplication was impossible (performances) or nearly impossible (books), so the only way to get paid was for the actual content creation. During the 20th century, duplication became possible, and content creators leveraged it to get paid multiple times over for the same work. Now in the 21st century duplication has become so cheap that people are starting to question if it's really fair for content creators to be paid multiple times for the same job. That is the true crux of the matter, not who owns the work or whether copying is stealing.

              I do believe in copyright - the temporary monopoly does encourage creation. But the terms have to be reasonable. With duplication costs having dropped to almost zero, preventing society from making copies simply because of archaic laws does more harm than good. Something like 10-20 years for copyright seems about right to me. Copyright is fundamentally about encouraging creativity and creation of new content. A copyright term of life + 70 years discourages creativity, and instead encourages trying to figure out how to create something new once and live off it for the rest of your life.

          • What you meant to say is,

            Without copyright, the only ways that I can think of for artists to get paid in the digital age is through draconian DRM and black box playback devices.

            There are other payment models that are possible and that have been used with varying degrees of success so far. Just because you cannot think of other payment models does not mean they do not exist.

        • by bieber (998013) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:18PM (#38701064)
          Copyright as an imposition on private communications is untenable in the digital era. There's no reason we can't have a limited copyright that applies only to commercial entities, as copyright effectively did when it was originally instated.
      • Solutions (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:27PM (#38700132)

        This.

        A part of the solution is to be less draconian in punishment and more successful at catching people. Violating copyright is something that should basically be a traffic offense, and instead the law literally makes every American a felon.

        A part of the solution is to establish reasonable protections. Copyright terms have been extended periodically since the first copyright act was passed in 1790 or so. It is insane--nobody, and I mean nobody, is making a decision about whether to invest based on potential profits fifty years from now. While perhaps extended protection is fair for works that have never turned a profit or where the profit is not significant compared to the labor involved, it certainly is not justified once fifteen years have passed and a work has earned a 1000% return. We need something more just than the current blanket number of years.

        A part of the solution is international relations. If a foreign nation doesn't enforce a reasonable copyright law, we dredge up some sanctions or incentives if they are cost-justified. This makes it so that it will be in the other nation's interest to enforce copyright law. If we can't pay them enough from profits to make it a net gain for them to enforce copyright law, then economically speaking it shouldn't be enforced. (Obviously unless transaction costs of the incentive structure are too high, but that's a relatively narrow range of profits).

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        The current term limits + options to extend are absolutely unreasonable, and they drive people to rebellion.

        Yeah, the kids are running their BT peers ragged downloading 20 year old movies and TV shows. Or maybe the fact that the terms are so long somehow breeds this sort of amorphous, diffuse resentment that causes them to copy movies for free when they know they'd rather pay for them. Yeah that's what it is, it's really an elaborate social protest movement.

        Either that, or they just do it because they can. One of those.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Reality check. Downloading a 20 year old movie or game that is almost impossible to buy is just as illegal as downloading this years blockbuster. And for doing so i should be forced to pay 3 years worth of gross wages. Seems fair.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:31PM (#38700188) Journal

        Also, while it is true that a punishment should be a deterrent to crime, the punishment must also be within the order-of-magnitude of actual damages in order to be just. The current punishments are outright ridiculous, and they also drive people to rebellion.

        Are the punishments that rediculous?
        When copyright is 120 years or life + 70 years, maybe $XY,000 per infringement is proportional.

        /That said, life+70 & 120 years roughly translates to "fuck you and your kids"

      • by Elbows (208758) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:33PM (#38700208)

        20 year copyright term limits are very reasonable. The current term limits + options to extend are absolutely unreasonable, and they drive people to rebellion.

        I mostly agree with you, and I definitely favor shorter copyright terms. But I doubt that 20+ year-old works make up a significant chunk of online piracy. People are largely downloading recent movies, games, and music, and limiting copyright to 20 years probably won't put much of a dent in it.

        • by Lando (9348) <lando2+slash@gmail. c o m> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:09PM (#38701004) Homepage Journal

          As it stands, to me the copyright terms are so far out of proportion that I just chose to ignore the law altogether. If I get caught, I'll tell them to shove it up their ass and deal with it. Since the law offers me nothing in return, I chose to ignore it. If copyright law was sane, then I might actually accept the law as valid and proceed from there, but currently all the law does is take from the public domain and offers nothing in return.

        • by Tom (822) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:37PM (#38701214) Homepage Journal

          Correct.

          Copyright laws originated when the only copyrighted material that mattered was books. The lifetime of a good book is easily 20 years, but the lifetime of even a good computer game is maybe 5 years. And most blockbuster movies are forgotten before their first anniversary.

          Understanding your subject matter is the first step towards finding a good solution. I fear very few people really understand both copyright law and the subjects of it, i.e. copyrighted works in all their various forms and shapes.

          What I know is that the solution won't be simple. We need differentiation.

        • by Alsee (515537) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:37PM (#38702154) Homepage

          I doubt that 20+ year-old works make up a significant chunk of online piracy.

          I'd lay you 10-to-1 odds that the the percentage of 20+ year old works would go up sharply, and the percentage of under 20 year old works would go down sharply, if we were to drop the copyright term to 20 years.

          That would include countless albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind and countless movies such as Batman Returns. Click to view a small fraction of other music [wikipedia.org] and movies [wikipedia.org] that people would fileshare massively, legally, and safely.

          And not only could all of that be fileshared legally and safely, but all of it would be open for massive commercial revitalization of re-releases and compilations and derivative works. Virtually every Disney movie ever made was based upon an some public domain story. Just imagine all of the new music and movies and books and TV shows and more would flourish based upon unlocking the treasure chest of 20 year old culture.

          -

      • by shentino (1139071) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:34PM (#38700214)

        This isn't just law and order.

        It's a war against piracy.

        Let's call a spade a spade here and see it for what it really is.

        And after doing that, we can see DRM for what it is, as an ugly weapon that causes craploads of collateral damage.

    • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:55PM (#38699856)

      When it's a case of a GPL violation, the violators who feel entitled to the free labor of strangers are childish and entitled.

      The reason for the existence of copyright owners is to increase the pool of work available to the public (see; e.g. the US constitution [wikipedia.org]). Copyright exists because it is believed that without it people would create fewer works and that would limit the benefit to the public. GPL authors are directly, though their license, putting out works which the public can use for free and with no usage restriction and copying and distribution restrictions limited only to a lack of restriction. You cannot make a direct comparison.

    • by darpified (698235) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:59PM (#38699884)

      Part of the reason the console platform became so appealing to game developers is the reduced amount of piracy compared to the PC platform. In other words, they can actually make money from their work, money that is used to make more games

      So EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc... Never made any money off of PC games so far? Not that I condone or give a shit either way as far as piracy is concerned, I do give a shit when half-cocked laws created by corporations and their pet politicians are enacted that are to the detriment of the nation. Sure online piracy is bad and could possibly hurt the profit margins of these companies, but this law is so far on the other side of sanity that it's obscene. The middle ground is where it needs to be, but that point was crossed long ago, back before Mickey Mouse (and the associated copyrights,trademarks, yada-yada) became effectively permanent.

      • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:23PM (#38701104)

        Never made any money is sort of the wrong way to look at it. Sure, 10 years ago the market.. oh wait who gives a shit about 10 years ago? What matters isn't what happened 5 years ago, it's what is happening this year. That's a much murkier question. There's a shift back into PC games as the technology to make sure you get paid for the game has changed. Even a pirated copy you can still sell DLC packs these days.

        Sure, 3 or 4 years ago a few big studios surmised that there wasn't enough money in PC versions, and so didn't make any (think fable 2). But for a lot of reasons that market has shifted - and what matters is what the market will look like in 2012, which is that shift continuing. Steam, which is a giant DRM platform, makes the PC appealing, if you're a small indie outfit there's no 30k developer kit (see the Wii....), and no competition from first party or big studios (seriously, who wants to compete with Uncharted 3, or Skyrim?), and now with the way Steam works your game can get front page attention in between major releases at least. That's actually the new 'big thing' in our business is that piracy matters a lot less than when all these really good games are coming out, and trying to find when to squeeze yourself into their release cycles. We're competing on time, not money. Money is not completely solved, but mostly. We've cut retailers out of the process, and sure, digital takes 30%, but before it was more like 60, so you make more money per copy, your game has a longer tail, you're locking them to steam. Sure, steam *can* be cracked, but most people don't want to risk their steam account for one game they could buy for 5 dollars. They'll take that risk for portal2 for 60 bucks, but not for a game you're selling for 5 or 10.

        Because piracy wasn't ever really dealt with, the market changed. We now have 'free' games, where you basically buy anything worth having in the game online. We have online games, or DLC or a little bit of both, which means now the thing that can be pirated is not the real value, the real value is in 12 dollars in DLC you're going to sell someone, or the 15 dollars a month and that's all going into your coffers, not to Gamestop or Walmart. It's meant there's a lot less room for innovation in the market. Basically the innovation happens at the top (kinect), you get crazy lucky with a product like minecraft or magicka, or you live on government handouts and hope that works for you. Most small developers are fleeing consoles and PC, because the risk is too high, for all of the help steam provides. You make 20 facebook/android/ios games in the time it takes to make one decent game, and odds are, collecting a 50% government subsidy that you can crawl along breaking even, and you hope for your farmville.

        As a practical matter legislation isn't going to stop piracy. It's too easy. The market had to change. But the market is now split between people who make experiences like Skyrim, Mass effect etc... and basically gambling, and hoping enough suckers will spend 300 bucks on your game to keep you afloat (Star Trek Online). I'm not sure that's made it better for consumers. Steam made things better (as did their competitors, the Xbox market, PSN etc.) but the only way to survive making traditional games is if you can be big enough to absorb the losses due to piracy. That's not really a great model, and my nagging (but uninformed) suspicion is that the Xbox 3 and PS4 will be looking a lot more like a software as a service model, where everything important is done over the internet, and any disks you do get will only serve to limit the amount of downloading you need to do, but for it to work, you'll need to constantly authenticate with them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:04PM (#38699918)

      -the artists who aren't getting paid don't even enter into the discussion

      You're right, they should be a part of the discussion, but not in the way you imply. Artists get paid next to nothing by those greedy bastards and piracy does next to nothing to hurt their non-existent paycheck.

      The real question here is not how to stop piracy, but how to make the payed-for product more desirable. The game has changed and so must the strategies involved.

    • Re:Protecting rights (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:11PM (#38699980)

      But in an article on the Pirate Bay, suddenly it's all about demonizing the evil RIAA and MPAA, and piracy is just a cultural revolution that sticks it to the evil corporations--the artists who aren't getting paid don't even enter into the discussion, probably because of the guilty feelings it would inspire to be reminded of the reality of the situation.

      I think you will find that if the artists were getting paid properly for their efforts and so much of the money wasn't going to line the pockets of middlemen, there wouldn't be nearly as much "demonizing".

      It also doesn't help that those middlemen are stretching the law to its limits in an attempt to extort even more money from people (private copying levy, law suits, threats, paying off governments for new laws, etc).

      The media world is changing and a lot of new artists are now finding that having their work copied is actually helping them in the long run. The artists get better and cheaper publicity (word of mouth) and more money (by bypassing the media companies that try and dictate what the customers should buy) and we all get a richer experience and greater variety in entertainment.

    • Re:Protecting rights (Score:5, Interesting)

      by trout007 (975317) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:16PM (#38700022)

      The problem is that "intellectual property" is not property and should not be afforded any property rights protections. It seems this government is much more interesting in protecting IP rights than real property rights. They don't have a problem going all over the world punishing people for violating drug patent rights but at the same time violating the real property rights of the people in New London to steal their real property and transfer it to Pfizer.

      The basic reason there are property rights is because property is scarce. If you take my car I don't have a car. Simple. The concept of IP is so confusing for so many people is because IP is not scarce. I can have an idea and share it and yet I don't lose the idea. Also the enforcement of IP rights always violates people's real property rights. The laws punishes me for using my computer (real property) for copying someones IP. So to enforce this it means the person with the IP owns some part of me and my computer to prevent me from using it.

      The IP laws have to go the way of slavery. Companies and people have to compete in the marketplace with real products not imaginary ones.

      • This is a hairy issue, at least if you believe that the arts have merit for entertainment and deeper purposes as I do.

        Music, movies, software and books are all things that fall under IP. They take significant amounts of time and money and effort to create, but once created they are trivially reproduced. Without something in place to encourage a (potential) return on that investment there will be a lot less of them created. Some people say, "Well you should be creating it out of a love of creating it, not

      • The basic reason there are property rights is because property is scarce.

        The basic reason why there are property rights is because the people making up our society have decided that property rights are worth having. You can own a parcel of land that you've never even set foot onto in your life, and charge people for living on it and using it. That kind of arrangement is no more "natural" and no less virtual than the monopoly that is copyright.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Part of the reason the console platform became so appealing to game developers is the reduced amount of piracy compared to the PC platform.

      And the other part is that consoles are generally plugged into much bigger monitors than PCs. The general public, composed of people who aren't geeks, is thought to be unwilling to plug a PC into a television even if it means they'll get Hulu for free and a bigger selection of games from indie developers.

    • by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:18PM (#38700038) Homepage
      "The comment was modded up. When it's a case of a GPL violation, the violators who feel entitled to the free labor of strangers are childish and entitled."

      What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If Apple (used as an example only) rips off some piece of Linux and then slaps DRM on it and sells it as part of their mono-culture protected by lawsuits and patent trolling, then they ARE "childish and entitled," even if you oppose copyright. They are childish and entitled by their own standards, if not by some higher concept of consistency. What you'll never see on slashdot is a story about GPL-using developers suing BSD developers for copying parts of code over in a way that is maybe not 100% kosher, which is a much more comparable situation to what the copyright industry engages in daily.
    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:23PM (#38700092) Homepage

      The point being that there probably should be an attempt made to hinder online piracy in some way. We can't just let it spiral completely out of control, to the point where it's no longer lucrative to produce anything.

      You see, the problem with copyright supporters is that they believe this to be true. I don't think it will. I know plenty of people buying their music from Amazon or iTunes. And they are tecchies. It's just more convenient. It took them 10 years, but they made something easier that pirating.

      And this is the key point. Because nobody is going to stop piracy. It is crazy to think so. Because stopping piracy means stopping privacy. Because pirating is just communicating.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        It's important to distinguish between the two claims:

        1. 1. Sustaining creative work by getting people to pay for electronic copies of things, without coercion, is a solvable engineering problem.
        2. 2. People have a right to copy any and everything they please, to transmit those to whomever they please, without any kind of sanction, and this right has either no effect or a positive effect on the availability of new creative work.

        Most people tend to agree with the first one at this point. People who make positive a

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          In my view, you're missing the point entirely.

          1 is not an engineering problem. But 1 is irrelevant, because of 2.

          2 can be summarized into "Do people have the right to communicate freely and with an expectation of privacy in said communication". So, if you want to stop the piracy over the internet, the only way is to forbid people to communicate over the internet, or to track whatever they do, in other words, to shut down the internet or monitor it. Shut down is not going to happen, as the internet is now a

    • by Trails (629752) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:36PM (#38700228)

      The problem with the RIAA and MPAA is that their terms aren't reasonable. These two organizations and their member orgs have been dragged kicking and screaming into the new millennium. Their failure to offer reasonably priced compelling legitimate options is what makes the piracy faction so large and so gleeful.

      You know what kills piracy? Netflix and Spotify, not SOPA.

    • There's nothing wrong with being supportive of anti-piracy efforts

      I'll bite. I see the following issues:

      1. "Piracy" is not limited to any single activity. An industrial operation that pumps out trademark or copyright infringing goods is very much different from a peer to peer network. Trademark, patent, and copyright laws were only ever meant to be regulations on industry, and we should continue to treat them as regulations on industry.
      2. The Internet makes it hard to define an international border. In some countries, software patents are not recognized; what if I happen
    • Re:Protecting rights (Score:5, Informative)

      by wonkavader (605434) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:39PM (#38700262)

      Given past positions, it will be interesting to see how Slashdotters respond to the question in the submission.

      How about "stop making excuses and lead you do-nothing poser?" He could trivially bring in tech leaders and ask them. He could guide some legislation. He could take a stronger hand in the FCC. He could denounce this for what it is, as a massive example of corruption in politics. He could take the advice of any number of well-regarded pundits on the topic and do something, and instead his staff says, "Golly, what should we do? You tell us! Send us 100,000 emails, and we'll read EACH ONE!"

      Instead of bread and circuses, we just get circuses.

    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:40PM (#38700268)

      Trying to fix this via piracy prevention seems just hopeless as well as ethically dubious. We now have the technology for everyone in the world with an internet connection to access basically the entire wealth of human culture. I don't think there is ethical case to be made that this should be artificially restricted. The question we need to solve is not how we can maintain outdated business models under these circumstances, but how we can make that happen and still enable content creators to make a living.

      One way might be to simply collect tips - people put money in the jar if they enjoyed the work. If that on it's own doesn't bring in sufficient funds, then the tip jar could be augmented with a culture flat rate. E.g. you pay a fixed amount every month for media consumption and the content producer additionally receives the tip jar multiplied by a certain factor. That would help to ensure that they get payed for stuff people actually want to see, not just for the pure amount of stuff produced. Also a nice side effect would be that it's not enough to trick people to see your content, they'd have to appreciate it, too. (Maybe that would put a stop to George Lucas? We can only hope.)

      I'd also be fine with replacing the flat rate with an internet traffic tax - a kind of sales tax on the downstream data and funding content creation this way.

      Anyway just some random thoughts on the topic, but certainly better thought out than SOPA.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:43PM (#38700296) Journal

      People deserve to get paid for their work

      No they don't. At least, not automatically. I've written a big chunk of open source software. Some of it I got paid for, because people found it valuable and paid me to write it. Some of it I did with no expectation of payment, and was not paid for. The work I was not paid for was often harder than the work that I did get paid for, but I don't intrinsically deserve to be paid for it just because it was work. If I dig a hole and then fill it in again, I don't deserve to be compensated, even though I've just done a big chunk of work, but if someone wants to burry something at the bottom of the hole then they would have an incentive to pay me to ensure that the hole is dug.

      People who create things that other people consider valuable should be fairly compensated. That is not quite the same thing.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      There's nothing wrong with being supportive of anti-piracy efforts. People deserve to get paid for their work.

      This is a non-sequitur. People deserve to get paid for their work, but anti-piracy efforts do nothing to help people get paid. People who pirate spend more on media than people who don't. Cracking down on pirates isn't going to give them any more expendable income to spend on media. Piracy and entertainment industry profits are both at all time highs. Your entire post is based on fiction.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:58PM (#38700410)

      What's astonishing to me is that you are equating the rights of original GPL authors to the rights of middlemen corporate organizations who not only didn't create the material that is most being pirated, but who work their tails off to be sure that they get the profits rather than the original authors.

      Let's be very clear about one thing with regards to all legislation in the past 15 years regarding copyrights stuff: It's all about protecting corporate profits and not at all about protecting individuals, so don't go talking about them as if they're the same thing.

    • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:12PM (#38700532) Homepage

      People deserve to get paid for their work.

      An anti-copyright activist will agree with this, while disagreeing with copyright itself, on the basis that, yes, people deserve do get paid for their work while they're working. Being paid for work they did, but aren't doing anymore, on the other hand, is by no means deserved, no. Hence, a programmer deserves to be paid while programming, not for previous programming; a singer while singing, not for previous singing; a painter while painting, not for previous paintings; a writer while writing, not for previous writings; and so on and so forth.

      The counter argument to this is that under such a social arrangement much creative work that depends on consumers paying for it after it's been done wouldn't be done at all. To which an anti-copyright activist would answer thus: "So what?" After all, where's the ethics in getting paid for non-work? Unless one's disabled or otherwise unfit for work, nowhere.

      Note that this reasoning can be extended to all kinds of payments for non-work: financial speculation; earning interest on loans; investing, unless you're there, actually doing something useful at the company you invested in; and so on and so forth. Which looks kinda socialistic, but isn't, as actual property, of the physical kind, remains fully private, and operating as expected.

    • ...People deserve to get paid for their work.

      I just did 50 pushups. Do you use paypal? Would you prefer to setup a regular payment plan for when I do work?

      Perhaps people only deserve to get what's agreed upon voluntarily.

  • Not enough. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pclinger (114364) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:49PM (#38699804) Homepage Journal

    This simply is not enough. From what it sounds like, they'll sign the bill as long as the DNS portion is removed. This will still kill many user-generated content websites on the Internet.

  • Whatever their lobbyists tell them to do. Nothing more.
  • Next step (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:52PM (#38699830)

    Let's ban 192.168.*.* and 10.*.*.*

  • What's Right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:58PM (#38699878)

    What's right is to stop passing legislation to bandage up the entertainment industry's ancient, bloated, rotting business model. Make it easy for people to buy music/movies/tv shows inexpensively-- and without DRM-- and the problem will solve itself. As long as pirating a movie is 100x easier than buying a Bluray and sitting through hours of previews and FBI warnings, piracy will continue despite legislation. Give us real digital copies of movies for sale, not DRM-infested WMV files that we can only play on one Windows machine with Internet access. Give the people what they want and they will empty their wallets in your direction.

  • Looking grim. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkfail (228161) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:03PM (#38699908)

    So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here?

    I really don't understand why further regulation is needed here to protect the rights of the content owners. Are there not copyright laws in effect? Don't they already have the ability to take down sites (with a certain amount of due process), sue for damages, etc?

    I often see the use and positive impact of regulation (not dumping raw sewage in the river, etc) - but I still don't follow what exactly the need really is to provide more control to the corporations over the net (I absolutely understand their desire for it, but not any valid reason why there should be any further corporate control allowed).

    The timbre of this administration remains the same. It gave away health care by inches to the corporations until they were able to declare "we win! [politico.com]" while trying to look like they were actually fighting. And now they're doing the same with the 'net, as far as I can tell: putting on a dog and pony show, but preparing to hand the show over to those paying the lobbyists.

    • Don't they already have the ability to take down sites (with a certain amount of due process), sue for damages, etc?

      Not if a site is hosted and operated offshore. For example, AllOfMP3 operated with a license valid only in Russia, and from the perspective of U.S. law, it was selling infringing copies.

  • Abolish IP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:05PM (#38699924) Homepage Journal

    Abolishing IP is what's right. Simple as that.

    • by gatkinso (15975)

      And in one fell swoop you abolish the entertainment industry.

      • Re:Abolish IP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fusselwurm (1033286) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:23PM (#38700100) Homepage

        And in one fell swoop you abolish the entertainment industry.

        So what. Industries that weren't profitable anymore have been lost in the past, yet somehow the world continued without them. And actually, it wouldnt even been lost; only the part of it that does the content copying (ie distribution) would be lost. Artists would still make music, give concerts, paint pictures and do movies. Budgets will be reduced, but heck... the whole point of the entertainment industry is, well, entertainment, and I for one probably would feel quite entertained on lolcats and self-produced music alone ^^

        • the whole point of the entertainment industry is, well, entertainment, and I for one probably would feel quite entertained on lolcats and self-produced music alone ^^

          And I, for one, would feel entertained in seeing the entertainment industry going down :)

      • Re:Abolish IP (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:24PM (#38700110) Homepage
        There is an old saying. If there is a will, there is a way. Maybe the current entertainment industry needs to die before the next can be born. Certainly, we've already seen what can happen in software with open source, a model which has slowly made some progress into other areas.

        In any case, I do not value entrainment more than free speech and the right to communicate and share ideas. Maybe you should reconsider your stance if you do.
    • Re:Abolish IP (Score:4, Insightful)

      by forkfail (228161) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:22PM (#38700088)

      I can't tell if you're trying to be ironic or not, what with your sig....

    • by cpghost (719344) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:24PM (#38701110) Homepage
      How would we communicate without IP then? Piggy-backing on ICMP?
  • What is right: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:13PM (#38699990) Homepage
    Abolish copyright. We gave it a 200 year trial, and it has not served its purpose of making artists self-sufficient. Instead, it has only further entrenched the patron model by giving the patrons legal teeth, handing our culture over to corporations and the insanely rich. Further, we're seeing more and more that free speech and copyright are completely incompatible. It's time we decide which we care more about: a fictitious emotion-backed economic system, or basic human rights.
  • >ask yourself, what's right.

    ... what is right is to think about how technology has given people NEW rights that could be considered inalienable under many definitions, and that existing methods of revenue generation for media companies might have to change to accommodate these new paradigms.

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:19PM (#38700042)

    It would be a lot easier to address piracy if the entertainment industry wasn't making money hand over fist.

    Nobody has a problem with them making a profit... even a big profit.... but when they pay an A-list star $25 million to act in a movie and still make enough money to fund private jets and private islands... well let's just say maybe the price should come down.

    Clearly technology has put a whole new aspect into capitalism with respect to entertainment... after all even with piracy Hollywood is raking in huge bucks.... but it is also cutting off a revenue stream by forcing some into piracy. But not all: some folks pirate just because they can.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:19PM (#38700052)

    This is a warning. We have to come up with competing systems to address the problem. Simply saying "do nothing" isn't going to work. They're going to pass something. And if we offer them nothing to pass they'll just take what the RIAA gives them and run with it.

    It's very important that the EFF amongst others come up with some alternative... Or we're boned.

    • by russotto (537200) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:53PM (#38700364) Journal

      This is a warning. We have to come up with competing systems to address the problem.

      So we're going to put the chains on ourselves, or they'll put them on us? Sorry, I refuse to fashion my own bonds, even if they'd be laxer than the ones they'll come up with.

      It's very important that the EFF amongst others come up with some alternative... Or we're boned.

      Here's an alternative: "Title 17 of the United States Code is hereby repealed in its entirety." No more copyright, no more piracy.

      What's actually going to happen, though, is either SOPA/PIPA will be tabled or they'll pass a slightly watered-down version. Then in the lame duck session they'll pass what remains.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:29PM (#38700168) Homepage

    'So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don't limit your opinion to what's the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what's right.'

    Easy -- repeal the DMCA and ACTA, don't pass SOPA, PIPA, or OPEN, roll copyright back to, say, 50 years, and give that a ten year test run while we do some serious data gathering and analysis.

    Most of our copyright law over the past 15 years has been "The sky is falling" stuff. Wild overstepping of the balance between copyright holders and the interests of the public. We are spending an enormous amount of money doing a lousy job of protecting something that might not need protecting, and might not work any longer. We have very little data on the cost/benefit of all this enforcement, no research on alternatives, what data we do have shows extremely poor correlation between enforcement and increased revenue, does not consider the cost of new business models foregone, and the data that we have that claims to show the cost of infringement is based on the wildly inaccurate theory that every infringement is a foregone sale.

    The right answer, if you are a copyright supporter like me, is to ease back to something that the public will be less likely to revolt against while we do some serious objective research on the problem. The right answer is to find out how we can fund the progress of science and the useful arts under this new reality. Copying does not cost any money any more. That is a fundamental change that we need to adapt to. Copyright was invented based on a premise that is no longer true. Failing to consider the new reality and research how to adapt to it is as stupid as Krushchev insisting on Communism. Nice theory, except it does not work.

    We need to think about that and come up with a solution, not just fire wildly into the dark. None of the legislation over the past 15 years has made a hint of a dent in infringement. Same thing we've been saying ever since the DMCA was just a twinkle in the RIAA's eye. These laws cannot work, mathematically speaking, because reality has changed. We need to stop the wishful madness and think of how to turn free copying into a win. Seeing as how it is a massive boon to society to be able to reproduce things for free, that shouldn't be too hard. We are making this harder than it needs to be.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:31PM (#38700184) Homepage

    wasted on paying off politicians instead of setting up a distribution channels/websites that makes all music, movies, written works available to customers world wide at digital media price.

    Gimme movies at 4$ with out DRM and I'll buy 20 per month instead of downloading them for free where at the end you don't get a penny from me

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:34PM (#38700210)

    First, do no harm.

  • Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:38PM (#38700246) Homepage Journal

    So, what's right?

    Laws that serve the people. Really, you need that spelled out?

    Put strict limits on lobbyism, campaign contributions and the rights of large corporations. Don't fix the symptoms of a bad system, fix the system.

    Oh, and fix the tax laws. The USA once revolted with the slogan "no taxation without representation". It's high time to reverse it: No representation without taxation. If a corporation wants to dodge taxes, fine. But make it very, very illegal for tax-evaders to influence politics.

    And finally, (and yes, you need all three) re-introduce the death penalty for corporations. Come up with a good way to take down a corporation so taking it down does minimal damage to society. Then do it on the appropriate crimes. Like endangering the economy - if Al Qaida had done 10% of the damage that greedy speculators have, you guys would have bombed Afghanistan and everything within a 1000 mile radius into near-earth-orbit.
     

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @04:51PM (#38700350)

    I'm all for anti-piracy measures, but any new law should also have a means for the little guy (or business) to address infringement from a large corporation. Creating something the further empowers the large corporations is not the answer. It seems as of these corporations want to screw everyone in the world when it comes to copyright violations, but they want immunity or just flat out ignore it when they get caught "lifting" someone else's work.

    And I've said this before, if these media companies want to use tax dollars to fight "piracy" (or to keep their dying business model alive), then before anything gets passed into law based on their "facts", then someone should do a complete and comprehensive audit of their bookkeeping to ensure that this is the case. Of course, that'll never happen.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:43PM (#38700786)
    The internet is an intangible end-to-end network with no storage, no brains and no memory. No matter what kind of internet connected service you use you are connecting across the internet from your equipment to some physical equipment somewhere else on planet earth. There is no such thing as cyberspace, although politicians seem to think so. Any illicit activity "on the internet" is still actually taking place in the real world with some meat bag person running it. So if the crimes still real world, why fight it with censorship? This seems to be the problem in understanding the politicians and their lobbyist masters have.

    To use the car analogy, censoring the internet makes as much sense to setting up roadblocks to search public vehicles as they go about their business, and the purpose of this would be to prevent the movement of stolen goods. Burglaries and theft are a huge problem in society, that have always been there as a background noise to day-to-day life, but we aren't destroying civil liberties to try and stop it once and for all. Nor are we doing it by an absurd method such as censorship - so much industry depends on the movement of vehicle traffic, which is why we don't censor traffic, mail, phone calls.

    Crime is a symptom not a disease.

    Piracy is a symptom not a disease.

    Right now we're being force-fed some particularly nasty painkillers to treat a headache.
  • by multimediavt (965608) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:55PM (#38700876)

    Seriously, that's what they came back with? How about starting with copyrights being to protect the identity of a work of art's originator, not as a financial weapon and then go from there!

    Hopefully, NewYorkCountryLawyer hasn't posted yet because he's actually writing a brief to send to the WH starting with just that.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:08PM (#38700982) Homepage

    When it comes to Wikileaks, the freedom of the internet and the cancerous copyright law we now have, there is no such thing as a voice of sanity in the government. The only reason I'm voting for Obama again is because I know that whatever loonie the Republicans rally behind will put up the exact same platform (with the added bonus of fucking social services and civil rights).

    This is depressing.

  • by The Immutable (2459842) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:10PM (#38701006)
    Yeah, wrap your head around that one.

    If you want to do what's RIGHT, take the example of red light cameras. Everyone hates them. They get massive opposition (at least in my area) whenever they're introduced. Now, why, exactly do you think this is? It's not because it's a waste of money, it's actually quite profitable. It's because they WORK. People run red lights all the time and they don't want to get caught.

    To continue the driving metaphor, you speed on the highway. I know you do, everyone does. It's an open secret that at some point in your life you've probably gone above 80 and NOT gotten caught. This would be so trivial to stop it's laughable. A couple lines of code in the onboard computer to limit your speed to 70 mph. Depending on your region you could just take it to a mechanic and have them adjust the limit in accordance with local laws. Now how would you feel if they did that? Pretty pissed I'm sure. I know why I would be, because they're taking away my freedom to break the law.

    Now I'm sure by now you think I'm going to say piracy serves some important moral purpose. It doesn't, it's wrong. But the RIGHT thing to do is to let it happen, because like the occasional speeder or the kid with a dime bag of pot, it is not something life threatening that MUST be stopped in its entirety. You have a choice to make between harming the tech sector or harming the entertainment sector. The right thing to do is to take the choice of lesser harm. SOPA and PIPA will hurt EVERYONE in a fantastic myriad of ways I'm sure you're all familiar with. Piracy only hurts those who are pirated against, and only in one way - by eroding their profit margin.

    This isn't to say we should give up the fight against piracy. That would be like abolishing all traffic laws, there would be chaos on the streets. Nobody wants that. But we have to take MEASURED steps against it. We can never eradicate piracy, so in taking steps to fight piracy, the government should first make sure nobody is going to get hit in the crossfire.

    Or you could just subsidize the entertainment industry and institute a piracy tax on high speed internet connections, that could work too. Didn't Switzerland already do that?
  • What's right? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cas2000 (148703) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:06PM (#38701462)

    The following are both right and fair:

    1. Restore original copyright length of 20 years. Failing that, abolish copyright altogether. Tighten the language to make clear that *only* the specific work of art (writing, music, painting, sculpture, etc) is copyrighted - NOT any ideas, characters, setting/background etc, and that the public's fair-use right to re-use & remix existing works is unabridged.

    2. Revoke all Software, Design, Business Methods, Gene, and Pharmaceutical Usage patents and all other patents that aren't actually inventions.

    3. Restrict Trade Marks to just company names and brand names. No slogans, no words, no phrases. The only valid purpose of trademarks is to protect purchasers from fakes.

    4. For all three, explicitly acknowledge and acknowledge that they are not rights or property, they are artificial monopolies granted for specific civic purposes - and that where they conflict with those civic purposes, the monopoly power is revoked (e.g. if it can be proved that a patent stifles innovation rather than fostering it, it is to be revoked).

    5. Penalties for abusing the monopoly powers granted by copyrights, patents, and trademarks must be sufficient to discourage such abuse even by corporations with deep pockets.

    6. Penalties for infringing the monopoly powers should be restricted to commercial and large-scale infringements by businesses, companies, corporations, and other organisations.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:31PM (#38701680) Journal
    What I want to know is when are they going to start pursuing libraries for their egregious practice of making available copyrighted works for any Tom, Dick or Harry that happens to walk through the door. Each time a book is checked out it could have been copied so that's another violation right there. It's time to start cracking down on these serial offenders. Persecution shouldn't be too difficult either. I hear that they keep detailed records of each time a copyrighted work is lent out and potentially duplicated. My understanding is that they even collect money for this sometimes. This sort of thing has to stop before our entire civilization descends into anarchy and chaos. Won't someone think of the children?

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