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AFL-CIO and Big Content Advocate For SOPA 295

Weezul writes "Today's House Judiciary Committee meeting on the Stop Online Piracy Act excluded any witnesses who advocate for civil rights. Google's Katherine Oyama was the only witness to object to the bill in a meaningful way. In particular, the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks.'"
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AFL-CIO and Big Content Advocate For SOPA

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @06:58PM (#38079716) Homepage Journal

    Laying all that fibre, installing servers, manning phones at the offices of *AA attorneys, etc.

    • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:03PM (#38079788)

      It appears the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) is an AFL-CIO union []. Any members should apply some pressure against their support for this madness.

      I'd hope the AFL-CIO would shape up if enough members threatened to quit.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:05PM (#38079814) Homepage Journal

      The root of the recording industry came from distribution.

      That was trucking.

      It's why the same gangsters ran these concessions: recording, publishing, pressing and distribution. This is a "legitimate business" that grew out of racketeering - and has never dispensed with the original ethos - they just went "legit" and lawyered-up.

      • Oh, and the gangsters weren't Sicilian.

        You know, Meyer Lansky, that lot.

      • by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:54PM (#38080388) Journal

        But that's just it. He sees people getting content electronically online as taking (Stealing) things out of his members trucks.He doesn't care if you bought a legal electronic copy or not. Even if you buy a physical copy his members deliver it. He's speaking solely out of self interest. He doesn't like anything that lets you get delivery electronically.

        • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

          But that's just it. He sees people getting content electronically online as taking (Stealing) things out of his members trucks.He doesn't care if you bought a legal electronic copy or not. Even if you buy a physical copy his members deliver it. He's speaking solely out of self interest. He doesn't like anything that lets you get delivery electronically.

          Too bad for him, as that's the direction of entertainment delivery - no hard copy sitting in your bookshelf, bought at Sam Goody, down on the corner, delivered to that store by loaders and drivers.

    • AFL-CIO no longer represents the workers

      Ever since the mid 1980's, AFL-CIO has changed into AFL-CEO

      • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:26PM (#38080758)
        The AFL-CIO has never represented the workers. It has always represented the union bosses. When one of the AFL-CIO unions negotiate with a company there are two ways it can go. Management slips a "little something" to the union bosses and the workers get screwed. Or Management stands its ground and both the company and the workers get screwed.
    • From Almeida''s statement:

      Among the unions affiliated with the [AFL-CIO] Department for Professional Employees are nine representing creators, performing artists, and craft workers. Those unions include the Actors’ Equity Association, the American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Guild of Musical Artists; the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts; the International Brothe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:03PM (#38079794)
    The right to download a car.
    • Re:28th Ammendment.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:47PM (#38081498)

      The right to download a car.

      That is actually exactly what's at stake. Imagine a future where replicator technology [] is commonplace. We'll be freed from the shackles of cost being linked to the amount of labor and expertise needed to manufacture a physical object. The only limit is going to be materials cost and our imaginations.

      So we could have a world where anyone can own a car for the just cost of the metal and plastic needed to construct it. But it won't happen if it's illegal to download the design of said car without paying a $20,000 license fee to Ford, who still holds its 150 year copyright and whose patent portfolio prevents anyone who is not also a big auto company from legally selling you a design.

      To paraphrase the ST:TNG episode [], the decision we come to in the coming decade or two regarding software patents, copyright extensions and enforcement will extend far beyond music, movies, and software. It will redefine to what degree access to cheap manufactured products can improve the standard of living of the human race. Expanding them for some (IP creators), savagely curtailing them for others (consumers). Are we prepared to condemn the billions who come after us to servitude and slavery by making sure no idea with contemporary value ever makes it into the public domain?

      This is our chance to make law. Let's make it a good one.

  • >
    > the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'"

    Why should one be allowed to steal stuff ?
    • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:09PM (#38079860) Journal

      It all depends on whom gets to define "steal".

      • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

        It all depends on whom gets to define "steal".


      • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:43PM (#38081848) Homepage

        Even if you accepted the "copyright infringement is theft" analogy, SOPA is not about the Internet equivalent of "stealing goods off a truck." Copyright infringement is already illegal and there are already provisions to handle it. You notice your copyright is being infringed, you send a DMCA notice to the website, they take down the infringing material (or open themselves to a lawsuit), and then the uploader gets to respond (to get the stuff put back up). If you want to take down an entire site for copyright infringement, however, you need to first prove your case to a judge.

        SOPA takes that pesky judge out of the equation. Suppose that there are 10,000 sellers on Of these, 9,999 are legit. They sell items that nobody would have any problem with. One seller, however, is selling copyright infringing material. (For example, copies of DVDs.) Instead of the DMCA notices, the MPAA could contact the payment processors and ad sites that uses to get their operating money. With their access to money cut off, closes down. 9,999 legit sellers are taken down to get rid of 1 pirated DVD seller. It's using a bazooka to kill a fly, but the RIAA/MPAA doesn't care because they just want the fly dead and don't care about the collateral damage.

        In fact, it's even worse than that example. Suppose that the 1 seller on didn't sell pirated DVDs but instead sold photos he took. Now let's say someone looked at one and thought it looked like a photo they had taken. They start to believe that this seller is selling other people's copyrighted photos and send SOPA notices to the payment/ad companies uses. Nothing is proven in court, but still funding is cut off and closes. Even if that seller is innocent of any infringement. isn't even given any notice until their funds are cut off. By that point, their business will be bleeding money until they can clear things up. (Imagine if your business couldn't take any money in for some reason. How long would it last before it closed shop?)

        SOPA is a MPAA/RIAA wet dream and a Freddy Krueger for the rest of us.

    • Re:I Agree (Score:4, Informative)

      by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <.rodrigogirao. .at.> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:09PM (#38079866) Homepage

      SOPA has nothing to do with theft. This is a completely flawed analogy.

    • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OutSourcingIsTreason ( 734571 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:09PM (#38079870)
      Why should **AA be allowed to steal stuff from the public domain by means of so-called "copyright term extensions" ?
    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      Exactly. Why should the record companies be allowed to steal art from the public domain by eternally extending copyright?

    • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:18PM (#38079966)

      The problem is in the assignment of the word "theft" to this phenomenon.

      Say for a moment that I, personally, am responsible for domesticating wheat. I use this position to control the distribution of wheat and wheat based products, citing that my hard work in the domestication process is what justifies my monopolist behavior.

      Now, let's say that some other person finds out that they can grow their own wheat. So, they do. They do this from a single wheat seed that they legally purchased from me.

      They plant the wheat, and in a few years, have cultivated enough wheat seeds to start undercutting my monopoly. Let's say that they simply just give away the wheat seeds that they are now producing.

      Which does this constitute?

      A) stealing


      B) competition

      The person giving away the free wheat seeds is not stealing them from my grainary. I am not losing wheat by his actions. What I am losing is market power. I am losing the ability to solely dictate the unit price for wheat. Does this constitute theft? If so, how?

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        According to Monsanto, it's theft.

      • Well, if you're Monsanto, the answer is obviously (A).
        • Quite right, quite right.

          The rest of the question though:

          "Why is it theft?" ;)

          • Sorry, forgot that part...

            Again, if you're Monsanto, it's theft because they have more lawyers....

            • Ahh, but apart from legislation from the bench, lawyers do not create laws. Only interpret existing ones.

              From what legal interpretation is the claim that this is theft based?

              (I understand that you are making a funny. I do appreciate that. But the bullshit these morons are engaging in is no laughing matter.)

              If the argument, is that I, as the original domesticator of the wheat would not have domesticated the wheat without the implied power of being the sole distributor of that product, and that therefor permi

              • What you are missing is that it doesn't matter all that much that you're right and you didn't actually steal. With enough money and competent lawyers, you can tie someone up in court for so long that they just fold. At that point, theft is indeed defined by who has more lawyers. It is bullshit, it is no laughing matter, and there is nothing you can do about it, short of reforming the current legal system. Furthermore, quite a few people do equate competition with stealing.

      • So how is this scenario different from any other patent infringement?

        Suppose I develop a brand new widget that increases gas mileage by 50%. By dint of my genius I feel I am deserved an exclusive franchise on this invention and use US law to obtain a patent on it.

        Now some other person goes out and buys one of these widgets, and uses it as an example to produce many more of these. The manufacturing process includes sunshine, water and fertilizer as it's main inputs. This person decides to include these widge

        • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Interesting)

          by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:25PM (#38080738)

          This is the problem with intellectual properties in general.

          You cannot prevent people from using your ideas. If its a good idea, people will use it.

          Patent and copyright laws are intended to COMPROMISE between necessary competitive agents, and incentivisation of creators.

          It *ONLY* works, when the public at large defacto agrees on the compromise.

    • by hoggoth ( 414195 )

      Yeah! So what we need is a law that allows any corporation to confiscate any car or truck that they claim has any stolen goods in it, or has been used or is likely to be used to carry stolen goods without proof or judicial oversight on those claims.

      "We think that Volkswagen over there might have had stolen candy in it, Volkswagens are hippy cars. Confiscate it. And that van over there... you can see those people in the van are singing and I'll bet they haven't licensed the song they are singing for a public

      • Re:I Agree (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:50PM (#38080346)

        Yeah! So what we need is a law that allows any corporation to confiscate any car or truck that they claim has any stolen goods in it, or has been used or is likely to be used to carry stolen goods without proof or judicial oversight on those claims.

        You're aware that this is already legal, right?

        That's how the police can confiscate a drug-dealer's stuff and keep it without any inconvenience like warrants, trials, verdicts, that sort of thing.

        And if the police take your stuff under those laws, you have to bring suit against them to recover the stuff, after PROVING that you are not, in fact, a criminal....

    • by arose ( 644256 )
      For the same reason that the Boston strangler should be allowed access to women alone at home [] a.k.a. because you should stuff your stupid analogies right back where they came from.
  • by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:08PM (#38079846)
    I'm tired of trying to follow the law within reason. They don't want to play nice, neither will I. I'm off to the store to buy a couple of boxes of DVDs and blurays and I'm going to start giving them away to people I know and ask them to pass more forward. I'm going to pirate like there's no tomorrow because even when I try to play nice they want to screw up the internet. We gave them all the tools to do away with what they deemed inappropriate use of their works and now they want more. No more Mr nice guy. You asked for it. I hope you guys do the same. Pirate for people you know. Money is the only language these idiots understand(the *AAs, not your family).
  • by Spad ( 470073 )

    the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'

    He's quite right. It has fuck all to do with SOPA and its associated discussions, but he's right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'

      He's quite right. It has fuck all to do with SOPA and its associated discussions, but he's right.

      That's Chewbacca defense, right? (it's actually offence, but you get the gist).

  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [51ekudr]> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:10PM (#38079872)

    There was also an op-ed by Rebecca MacKinnon in the NY Times: "Stop the Great Firewall of America []". Unfortunately behind their paywall, but may be accessible through a Google search?

    • by Lanteran ( 1883836 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:32PM (#38080814) Homepage Journal

      I got through just fine, I think turning javascript off stops the NYT paywall from working. Text of TFA:

      China operates the world’s most elaborate and opaque system of Internet censorship. But Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.

      The legislation — the Protect IP Act, which has been introduced in the Senate, and a House version known as the Stop Online Piracy Act — have an impressive array of well-financed backers, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. The bills aim not to censor political or religious speech as China does, but to protect American intellectual property. Alarm at the infringement of creative works through the Internet is justifiable. The solutions offered by the legislation, however, threaten to inflict collateral damage on democratic discourse and dissent both at home and around the world.

      The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright — a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.

      Abuses under existing American law serve as troubling predictors for the kinds of abuse by private actors that the House bill would make possible. Take, for example, the cease-and-desist letters that Diebold, a maker of voting machines, sent in 2003, demanding that Internet service providers shut down Web sites that had published internal company e-mails about problems with the company’s voting machines. The letter cited copyright violations, and most of the service providers took down the content without question, despite the strong case to be made that the material was speech protected under the First Amendment.

      The House bill would also emulate China’s system of corporate “self-discipline,” making companies liable for users’ actions. The burden would be on the Web site operator to prove that the site was not being used for copyright infringement. The effect on user-generated sites like YouTube would be chilling.

      YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have played an important role in political movements from Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park. At present, social networking services are protected by a “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which grants Web sites immunity from prosecution as long as they act in good faith to take down infringing content as soon as rights-holders point it out to them. The House bill would destroy that immunity, putting the onus on YouTube to vet videos in advance or risk legal action. It would put Twitter in a similar position to that of its Chinese cousin, Weibo, which reportedly employs around 1,000 people to monitor and censor user content and keep the company in good standing with authorities.

      Compliance with the Stop Online Piracy Act would require huge overhead spending by Internet companies for staff and technologies dedicated to monitoring users and censoring any infringing material from being posted or transmitted. This in turn would create daunting financial burdens and legal risks for start-up companies, making it much harder for brilliant young entrepreneurs with limited resources to

  • by Clever7Devil ( 985356 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:10PM (#38079876)

    Here's a site to quickly push a complaint to those who need your votes:

    American []

    Think we can Slashdot it?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'" .... by AFL-CIO members !!!

    Yours In Ashgabat,
    K. Trout

  • In particular, the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'"

    That's ok, we're stealing off Tubes, not Trucks. []

    • "...the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks..."

      Unless of course you also happen to be affiliated with the Mob.

  • by behindthewall ( 231520 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:14PM (#38079924)

    The AFL CIO leadership has show itself in the last few years to be little more than a group of high-priced whores.

    I support the unions. But they suffer from the same leadership crisis our broader society labors under.

  • Fallacious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:15PM (#38079934) Journal

    the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks

    Yeah, true. But there are several points to consider that I feel make the quoted statement utterly fallacious. First, an accusation of theft isn't immediately punished; guilt has to be proven first. Second, theft of a physical object means that the original owner loses the object. In the case of a piece of digital property, the original holder hasn't lost possession of anything. The content-creation industry's obsession with immediate punishment before investigation doesn't make sense. It violates the due process rights of the accused for no legally-sound reason. It allows for corporate actions to replace proper review by the judicial system....and it's a short-sidedly, seemingly-logical extension of a content-holder's desire to maximize revenue.

    • by skine ( 1524819 )

      In addition, while the Constitution does not protect stealing good off trucks (and why the hell would it?), it does both protect trucks and taking things off of them.

  • the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks

    Does anyone else think this was a poor analogy? I thought everyone knew by know that the internet isn't a big truck. It's a series of tubes. Maybe she can come back with an analogy that includes those tubes at the bank drive through or something.

  • Make the buggers pick one and stick to it. The media should be having a field day with how often they flip backing and forth when it suits their need, but I suspect they are picking sides. Only once that has been defined can a real discussion about how media should be treated could possibly begin.
    • A license gives you bounded permission to use someone else's property. Someone has to have a proprietary interest before they can provide someone else a license, so the "property or license" dichotomy you suggest that someone needs to "pick one and stick to it" is nonsense. For their to be a license, there must be property.

  • The Media companies NEED the US gove to pass laws that help them stay alive at the same time the US gov NEEDS US made music and movies to keep the masses entertained while they sneak in censorship laws with each anti piracy bill that is passed.

  • either. yet paul, you are there, blabbering and whoring for your leash holders.
    • I'm sorry to go against the general flood of hate against this guy (not that I disagree with it either), but how specifically does the first amendment ban spineless bastards? Yes, I agree they aren't generally good, but nowhere I know of is being a spineless bastard banned (it's supported, in fact, by the current system, but that's neither here nor there).
  • Do something! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:34PM (#38080170)

    Remember the proposed legislation mandating DRM TCPA chips on all computers years ago? Someone on slashdot linked the senate's website and contact info. It died. :-)

    So instead of whinning let your senators know how you feel?

    Their website is here [] for the American Slashdot readers. Don't know who your senators are? There is a list here including an email link [].

    Calling your senator is effective as well [].

    When contacting your senator do not mention you want to dowload illegal material or that you are just angry and think it is unfair. Mention you work in the I.T. field and are worried about negative implications and liabilitiy risks for non copyrighted or infringement uses that this bill could be abused. Mention it would harm Google's youtube service costing American jobs as they would move overseas. This bill would be costly and could cost American innovation and jobs. Mention we already have existing copyright laws in force and sites like youtube already remove copyrighted or infrindged material in a timely manner and this is nothing but a power grab.

    If your senator is a democrats mention your worried about the power grab by the media companies will harm competition. If your senator is a republican mention this would increase government intervention and regulation as it would cost well into the billions of dollars of tax payer money to fund this etc. You all can be creative.

    Someone mod this up for the links. I just made it easier for everyone to spend 5 minutes telling your representative how you feel. Remember if you do not pick your voice the RIAA/MPAA will. If all they hear is the RIAA/MPAA then they will vote for the bill as it shows we don't care and like being fucked over. Do your duty.

    • Mod parent up!

      Let your representative know. Many senators are clueless and if they start getting calls and emails into the hundreds they will quickly notice and re-exam the bill. Trust me even if they are corrupt many are having a tough fight with a 9% approval rating and maybe willing to cater.

    • by paitre ( 32242 )

      This is pretty much =exactly= what I did.

      I pointed out that this law will have a negative impact on millions of IT workers in the US, at a time when we can least afford to be fucking the one major industry that seems to be doing well.

  • by Local ID10T ( 790134 ) <> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:34PM (#38080180) Homepage

    I'm just gonna throw this one out there... mostly because it's obnoxious. []

    Politicians robocall you. Now you can robocall them.

    Welcome to the Robocall Revolution. We believe that voters should have access to the same technology political groups use to get their message across; so we built a simple web-based robocall tool to literally give citizens back their voice in the political discourse. What better way to exercise your rights to to speech, than to actually speak truth to power? provides voters an easy way to communicate with one or hundreds of politicians or political groups using the same technology politicians use, the robocall or automated phone call.

  • if media piracy was stealing off trucks at red lights in traffic, the law and cops could stop it. like they could stop the Chinese copy shops if China got on board.

    the issue is the hearts and minds of the public in the face of a continuous history in recorded media of all kinds of the corporations ripping off the artists, and changing up formats all the time to rip off the customers.

    at base is this... a customer can buy a license to use a work for their own purposes... and under fair use provisions of the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:07PM (#38080526)

    As I understand it, I need only send a "take-down" notice indicating a site is infringing on my trademark. The DNS must then be blocked and the site owner must be notified of the blockage. The site owner may then send a counter-notice claiming it should remain unblocked. If the site owner sends a counter-notice the site is unblocked and the matter is referred to the courts. If the site owner does not respond with a counter-notice the site remains blocked.

    If I am correct, what is stopping me from drafting a "take-down" notice stating that I own the trademark for

    Would this not automatically force the specific site off-line until they produce a counter-notice?

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson