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The Privatization of Copyright Lawmaking

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the outsourcing-a-job-nobody-wants dept.

The Internet 213

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "The biggest misperception about [the Stop Online Piracy Act] is that it is somehow unprecedented or extraordinary. It is not. SOPA represents just the latest example of copyright law defined and controlled not by the government but by private entities. Copyright owners will deploy SOPA in the same way they have behaved in the past: to extend out their rights. They will disrupt sites that do not infringe a copyright, interfere with fair uses of copyrighted works, and take other steps that evade the limits that the Copyright Act sets on a copyright owner's actual rights."

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The flaw in democracy. (5, Funny)

Avarist (2453728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040102)

And why does the American people still tolerate this again? Surely, in a democracy, every law should be in its people's best interest, no?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040124)

To some extent it was - up until the courts decided that corporations have the same rights (at least one specifically, and others implied by induction) that people do. Now laws are in the best interests of the biggest bank accounts.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040152)

Now laws are in the best interests of the biggest bank accounts.

plus ça change...

Re:The flaw in democracy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040538)

Now laws are in the best interests of the biggest bank accounts.

plus ça change...

That made no sense. Are you a nigger?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040782)

Are you a Troll? Can't find anywhere else to try to stir up trouble this morning?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040366)

Now laws are in the best interests of the biggest bank accounts.

Not familiar with The Golden Rule? "He who has the gold makes the rules."

Not disagreeing with you, by the way, just wanted to point out that what you said is similar to a Mitch Hedburg joke.
"I used to do a lot of drugs. I still do, but I used to, too."

I'm still waiting for corporate entities to be executed for capital crimes - until then, I won't actually believe they're people. A possible alternative would be to make the CEO of the company directly and personally responsible for everything the company does, as if the CEO had done it him/her self - make 'em earn those golden parachutes by risking life in prison.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040504)

...A possible alternative would be to make the CEO of the company directly and personally responsible for everything the company does, as if the CEO had done it him/her self - make 'em earn those golden parachutes by risking life in prison.

And I would accept that alternative if the definition of "life" in prison was a bit more than a few days(or hours) for the Hollywood/Executive 1% elite...(gotta love those Lohan sentencing guildelines...apparently her freckles count as "time served".)

Besides, unless we started getting smarter about arrests, what do you think an exec with a few billion at his/her disposal is going to do the instant they post bail facing that kind of punishment? I'm certain they would find a comfortable life with their stolen money in a non-extradition country...

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040744)

or they *could* put the person on the no-fly list and also take the travel documents due to flight risk.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (3, Funny)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040750)

... or we could just shoot them.

take there passport away (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041106)

And put a GPS on them.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040574)

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Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040604)

That ruling was only a "problem" because washington is full of corrupt assholes that allow themselves to be legally bribed.

Trust me, the biggest wallets have ALWAYS outvoted the little folks. The court ruling just made obvious what was already going on behind the scenes.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040178)

This isn't due to any flaw in democracy; it has nothing at all to do with democracy. These kinds of abuses come from autocratic structures that do not answer to any outsiders. A better way to describe these kinds of systems is 'totalitarian.' Of course, democracy is a nice word that we have all been taught applies to our systems of centralized planning and property, but just 5 minutes of thinking about it should induce uncontrollable laughter. The fact that most Americans don't laugh is a sign of how deeply indoctrinated much of the population, especially the political and technical class, has become. The Soviet system was similar. The intelligentsia (including the technical intelligentsia) needed to be well-indoctrinated. The remaining 80% would follow, as guided by the 20% of `proper' thinkers and the truly mass media. In the US, the situation is nearly indistinguishable. The mass media depends on things like publicly subsidized sports (franchises run by universities with the profits primarily going to private owners) and `popular' music and movies. It is crucial that these means of mass control remain firmly in the grip of private power; mass media is the primary means by which popular consent is shaped in the US and projected abroad.

The reality is that no modern corporation -- be it a financial institution, a mass media distributor (RIAA/MPAA/etc), or whatever -- can tolerate democracy. We can see how the machinery respond to even modest democratic initiatives, such as the occupy movement: hysteria. They can't tolerate 'free markets' either, but that's a different (though related) story. What we see now are interrelated systems of global mercantilism backed by state power and by a hugely profitable propaganda system, which we now call the media and public relations, and those propaganda systems depend on favorable 'IP laws.'

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Interesting)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040340)

The politico-media complex at its finest. Sometimes also called the political-legal-media complex. I propose to call it: the Berlusconi complex.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040466)

They do let the vox populi have it's say on issues on no great importance - thus why one of the biggest political issues of our time is gay marriage. What does gay marriage or the lack thereof actually do? Nothing at all. Which is why politicians love it so. They can pose, they can pander, they can play all their political games and chase votes, but in the end there is no chance they'll actually do anything that might upset the big money.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040652)

What does gay marriage or the lack thereof actually do? Nothing at all. Which is why politicians love it so.

No great importance? Sure, if you've no appreciation for the civil liberties and legal issues caused by this anachronistic and inequitable prohibition.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040672)

Sure, but his point is that noble causes are frequently used as fig leaves. Larger issues remain outside of the scope of public discussion and are typically counter to the interests of the population. This tactic serves to give the population the illusion of participation in political issues. Of course, go on all day talking about gays or abortion (again, important issues in their own rights). Just don't get too worked up over the issues that affect your owners. In a democracy, *all* of those issues would be discussed, not just the ones that are inconsequential to real power.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040692)

"What we see now are interrelated systems of global mercantilism "

No what we're seeing is the true face of the free market, the free market has ALWAYS had the nanny state to protect it, only morons use linguistic obscurantism like yourself to protect your favored ideal from any kind of rational criticism.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040704)

Um... looks like you actually agree with that post. Maybe you're confused by the "linguistic obscurantism"?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040730)

the free market has ALWAYS had the nanny state to protect it.

That's a strange definition of a free market.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040802)

The reality is that no modern corporation -- be it a financial institution, a mass media distributor (RIAA/MPAA/etc), or whatever -- can tolerate democracy. [...] They can't tolerate 'free markets' either, but that's a different (though related) story.

I believe you're making the rather common mistake of conflating free and competitive.
A market can be free without being competitive.
And a market can be competitive without being free.

I'd rather have the latter, but we frequently end up with the former.
Of course, competitive and free is best.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040858)

I believe you're making the rather common mistake of conflating free and competitive.
A market can be free without being competitive.
And a market can be competitive without being free.

I'd rather have the latter, but we frequently end up with the former.
Of course, competitive and free is best.

This is one of the points of the popular right-wing propaganda: to confuse the discussion by evacuating all meaning from such terms. In the mind of normal people, there is no difference between "free" and "competitive" when it comes to markets. This is not an accident. Of course there is a technical definition of "free," which you correctly point out: rigged in the interest of power. The public is to remain ignorant of this technical definition. So while I would argue that a free market does not exist and cannot be permitted to exist by global corporations, I am using an antiquated definition: the one that Adam Smith used. The fact that we are discussion this issue of definitions bears testament to the success of the PR machinery in the US. This sort of confusion does wonders to marginalize, confuse, and paralize discussion.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041036)

Competitive and free are mutually exclusive. A free market always ends up as a collection of monopolies or oligopolies due to the simple fact that free means no constraints on the advantages of scale and accumulated wealth to stamp out competition. The US prior to the Sherman act is an illustrative example.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040844)

This isn't due to any flaw in democracy; it has nothing at all to do with democracy.

Au contraire, it has everything to do with the most fundamental premised of Democracy. The greatest enemy of Democracy is, apathy. Not communisim. Not terrorism of Wahhabis and Quereshis[*]. Not even the reasoned argument, "there is nothing to stop people from voting themselves benefits they call ill afford and refuse to pay for it. The debt will accumulate and destroy the system from within". No sir. Once people lose interest in the functioning of the government, stop paying attention, stop trying to separate the misinformation from the correct information, once people are deluded enough to believe in policy statements that fit into a bumper sticker or a 30 second sound bit, that would be the time Democracy stops working for the people.

It is far easier to steal a penny from million people than to steal $10000 from one person. Every dollar wasted by the government is an ill-gotten undeserved revenue for someone. That someone will fight tooth and nail to continue the waste. Those will engage in all sorts of misinformation campaigns. If people are not vigilant they will lose. If people don't see that they lose something when fair use is constrained, when ??AA engage in legal extortion etc, the people will lose it.

----- [*] We should avoid using overly broad terms like Islamic Terrorism, or Jihadism. Such terms unify Muslims against external threats, and using the same terms plays into the hands of the terrorists. Use the minimal group label to tie terrorism to a smaller group. There is no point in antagonizing a larger group than necessary.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040850)

"The reality is that no modern corporation -- be it a financial institution, a mass media distributor (RIAA/MPAA/etc), or whatever -- can tolerate democracy. We can see how the machinery respond to even modest democratic initiatives, such as the occupy movement: hysteria."

You could not be worse. The reality is that modern corporations are hijacking the democratic legislative process, using their influence, clearly by the help of financial campaign and other support. The purpose of this hujacking in clearly to provide financial benefit for the specific interest group at the expense of the rest of the society.
It is major part why "1%" controls the rest.

Occupy movement is rightly against this, calling it hysteria, is like calling you an ignorant idiot.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040882)

Protip: try actually reading the post.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040180)

my tank is full of gas and there is a chicken in my pot, what is the problem?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040238)

The problem is that you're the chicken.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040276)

my tank is full of gas and there is a chicken in my pot, what is the problem?

I hate it when that happens. Get him out quick, he'll go crazy and eat hundreds of dollars worth of weed.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040656)

>my tank is full of gas and there is a chicken in my pot, what is the problem?

For you? Apparently nothing. For people who value freedom and democracy? You are the problem! You're not the whole problem or even a significant part of it, but still.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040228)

It's like the old Communist joke:

"Communism is for the best of man. And at the last parade, I've even gotten to see that man."

It's kinda sad if the old dictatorship jokes start to apply to nominally democratic systems.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040230)

The problem is fundamental to our system: corporations can continue to lobby, year after year, until the goverment finally caves in -- even if that requires corporate employees to temporarily join the government in positions of power.

Until this changes, we're going to be slowly become more and more fucked.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (5, Insightful)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040428)

Freedom is not something you achieve and then enjoy for the rest of your life. It's something that you have to fight for every day of your life. So what you are talking about — is nothing new. Corporations have their interests, you have yours. They will keep trying to get what they want, so should you. The whole idea of democracy is based on balance: everybody is trying as hard as they can to get what they want and everything ends up in a compromise. If the balance is shifting somewhere — you should push harder, it's just that.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040682)

Problem: Fighting for rights takes time and effort.

We have lives, they have enough money to pay people to sit on the phone all day doing it for them.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040984)

Glad to see you admit that you don't care.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040930)

What has changed is the relative power of the average voter and the rich. Until relatively recently, you could fight for your interests, and have some sway over politicians. Now, you can do that, and they will ignore you.

Bread and circuses (5, Insightful)

Kristian T. (3958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040264)

The answer is, that the system delivers what most of people consider to be most essential, namely: Bread and circuses. Of course this reasoning preceded the Roman Republic's transformation into the Roman Empire before it's ultimate collapse

Re:Bread and circuses (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041062)

That's the funny part, they're not even delivering the bread and circuses anymore.

Hulu was a classic "Circus" but now it's purposely being degraded. You've seen the economy, there's the Bread half at work.

Now they're going straight out for the fastest track to Big Brother possible, with each new piece coming on the heels of the other, daring us to fight it. Yeah, we do, a little, so maybe we succeed in getting a particular clause removed *this year* but overall the corruption is accelerating.

Does anyone know what Al Gore is up to? Is this the REAL cost of that fateful 2000 election? Does anyone think we'd be here if he had been President?

Re:The flaw in democracy. (3, Insightful)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040282)

And why does the American people still tolerate this again? Surely, in a democracy, every law should be in its people's best interest, no?

How sad is it that this got modded 'funny'. I am not laughing

Re:The flaw in democracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040474)

The US isn't a democracy, it's a democratic republic. That means a US citizen chooses their masters/representatives and relies on them to defend their best-interests.

In theory that may be enough to get a decent government to work, but in practice that doesn't happen. The only reason that leads the potential representatives to cater to the populace is to get their vote on key timeframes, by pandering irrelevant and largely inconsequent issues, such as the race of a presidential candidate, where he was born or how to finance a specific branch of government. Between elections, they pander to those who made their election possible, which are special interests groups who pay the biggest percentage of their campaign fund and even some kickbacks here and there. And this brings us to this discussion, where politicians cater to those special interests groups.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040544)

> Surely, in a democracy, every law should be in its people's best interest, no?

Yes. But in this case the 'people' is the corporations.

Re:The flaw in democracy. (-1, Redundant)

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America is NOT a democracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040114)

America is totally corrupt. How many of the current US politicians are not taking corporate handouts, accepting meetings with lobbyists, or preaching 'free market' ideology. It has to be accepted that America is a banana republic, run by a mafia of corporate interests, and a collection of crazed religious zealots. I am just so glad I don't live there.
In a democracy, there is a choice of government. Choice is impossible in the United States, because the Republican/Democrat Party, is the only party that can attract enough campaign contributions. The Republican/Democrat Party, is consequently the only party that can buy power. This is not democracy.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0, Troll)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040132)

America is totally corrupt. How many of the current US politicians are not taking corporate handouts, accepting meetings with lobbyists, or preaching 'free market' ideology. It has to be accepted that America is a banana republic, run by a mafia of corporate interests, and a collection of crazed religious zealots.

And yet, millions from around the world are desperately trying to get here. Must not be that bad...

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040194)

Millions are also trying to get into Russian....

Re:America is NOT a democracy (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040254)

And let's not forget how many people try to flee to China...

There's always someone who is worse off than you. Does that mean that he should be the standard? Why take someone who's worse than you as a role model?

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040242)

Yeah. US is a little better than MEXICO.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040260)

Countless also drown annually on the way to europe, your point?

The fact the reality if situations hasen't reached the backyard of the third world doesn't imply that what the GP said is incorrect.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040370)

When you're in actual Hell, even North Korea looks good to you.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (4, Funny)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040478)

I dunno. Aside from the cold of living in the northern part of the country, Norway isn't that bad.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (4, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040446)

It makes sense for anyone living in an abused colony, to try to move to the heart of the Empire that conquered it.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040694)

And yet, millions from around the world are desperately trying to get here. Must not be that bad...

As you say, they're desperate. If they aren't desperate or wealthy, they are probably deluded. Desperate people will aim for the first border behind which they think they can find sanctuary from persecution or a better chance at not living in misery.

If people still believe the American dream of anyone being able to make it big, they should wake up. Any other western democracy than the US would be a better place for a poor person to get to.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040250)

Don't act surprised, the system forces them to.

There is no way in hell a "honest", i.e. really and completely independent politician could get elected. The reason: Campaigning. And the cost of it. How should any politician afford it if he can't get a fund raiser going? And fund raisers by definition means that some corporations will chip in. And of course they'd expect something in return for their investment.

Over here there was an outcry when in the 70s our back-then socialist government demanded that political parties and people should get their campaigning expenses reimbursed from tax money if they get at least (IIRC) 2% of the votes. Right now, I'm fuckin' glad they did that.

I consider it heaps better if I buy my politicians with tax money rather than corporations do it with lobbying money.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040414)

There is no way in hell a "honest", i.e. really and completely independent politician could get elected. The reason: Campaigning. And the cost of it.

This is a good point, but I hope the answer could be the internet. Yes, it will probably still be decades before a candidate can campaign solely via the internet and stand a chance. But imagine the day; essentially zero barrier of entry, so you get a wider selection of candidates, and no real possibility of outspending someone.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040458)

Outspending? No. Out-shouting through astroturf campaigns? Hell yes!

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040530)

And internet celebrity endorsements.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040552)

It's probably not a good idea to put your hope in a medium that can be shutdown by the government at any time they choose.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040648)

Israel has a similar reimbursment law (based on how many parliament members a part gets in the elections, and some contributions are still allowed), and the system is still broken.

Specifically, the parties take loans from the banks, expecting to return the money after the elections. As parties tend to be optimistic, the money paid by the state is not as large as the loans, which results in debts to the banks. Currently, the total debt is tens of millions of US$

The result is, as expected, that banks have a certain level of immunity from both inspection and legislation.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040664)

And you should also realize the same corporations also own the media and are going to do everything they can to keep things the way they are by smearing anyone they don't like.

Which means that almost by definition an honest politician isn't going to even make it to the primaries before he fails the corporate kiss-ass test and squashed out of the running.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38041030)

Don't act surprised, the system forces them to.

No, choice and ethics are what determines a person's capacity to be bribed. You want honesty in government, these days, I'd say you have to look beyond the -ahem- "two" major parties running the show.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

Kopiok (898028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040302)

It always strikes me as odd that some can't realize the reality of the situation where many people are participatory in the government (ie, the House and Senate) and how many corporations can use their capital to influence these politicians. The benefit of the republic system we have is that, in theory, we can elect people who seem to represent out interests and replace them when they fall out of representing the peoples interests. It's not a perfect system, but none are, and it tends to work out at least reasonably well with the tension created by the two parties. Yes, the Republicans and Democrats both pander to their donors, but at least the tend to have different, conflicting. donors, and the odd politician that actually cares about the people.. I'm not sure where the religious zealot view comes from. As an American (and you, going by your post, are not) I can say the the idea of "crazed religous zealots" is highly overblown by the media and anyone who acts in that manner in the Senate or House are generally fringe candidates and make up the vast minority of the governmental population.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (5, Insightful)

Loki_666 (824073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040326)

Yes, the Republicans and Democrats both pander to their donors, but at least the tend to have different, conflicting. donors,

Really? That would be incredibly stupid of the donors. If i was in that position i would be sponsoring both sides to make sure i won. Hedge my bets kind of thing. I'm pretty sure big corporations are doing this.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040678)

Yes, the Republicans and Democrats both pander to their donors, but at least the tend to have different, conflicting. donors

That's not how it works. A company will donate $200K (for example) to both candidates. If the winning candidate doesn't vote the way the company wants, then the threat is to only give $200K to the other candidate in the next election. The elected representative doesn't have to do what they want to get an advantage, they have to do what they want to get a level playing field.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040976)

A large component of the function used to allocate donations is holding public office. That is if the Republicans hold power, most donations go to Republicans.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (3, Informative)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040314)

America is totally corrupt...

I'm not sure you know what that means. [wikipedia.org] In fact look at any african country....

Re:America is NOT a democracy (2, Insightful)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040432)

Is "but we're still better off than a tribe in civil-war torn African country" really passes for an argument this days?

Re:America is NOT a democracy (5, Interesting)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040518)

I have lived in a "Civil war torn African country." I have never lived in America, I must admit, but I have a hard time believing the level of corruption is anywhere near comparable to say, Zimbabwe. In fact I seriously doubt you understand what "total corruption" really means, until you actually experience it. I know exactly what it means. And after a long chat with my brother in America, you don't have it. Not even close.

And btw, this is not an argument, this is abuse. You want room 12b. :)

Re:America is NOT a democracy (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040788)

The corruption in Zimbabwe fucks all the world? There is a term of scale if you count how many countries are being hit by that corruption.

Re:America is NOT a democracy (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041064)

Look at how they tried to counter Mugabe in Zimbabwe - with peaceful protest. How far did that get them?

The point is that it's the way the US is *heading*, and peaceful protest doesn't always work. Where it does, great, but if it always works, why do you have the 2nd Amendment?

Re:America is NOT a democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040992)

America is monetocracy. Monetocracy is just like democracy except each dollar gets one vote.

This isn't news (5, Informative)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040130)

The private elite have influenced western politics for at LEAST a century or three

Re:This isn't news (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040384)

That's history. In my country, we moved on to the next stage: the "private elite" dumps proposals of law into the parliament verbatim. We have come to know this in one case some time ago, when someone looked at the file properties of the PDF document containing a proposed law, as posted on the official web site of the politician who was supposedly its author. They revealed that the actual author of the document was the chairman of a RIAA-like association.

But it's all for your own good! (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040388)

no text

Insightful translation (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 301 (1462839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040142)

In swedish, SOPA means garbage.

Re:Insightful translation (5, Funny)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040392)

Oh, I thought, that was what "IKEA" means.

Re:Insightful translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040576)

No - IKEA means "Do-it-yourself garbage"

Re:Insightful translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040834)

And ACTA means "avoid".

Put in simpler terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040148)

Of my understanding SOPA would make copyright private -aka- legal, unless pursued by the big bad wolf corporations?

Re:Put in simpler terms? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040256)

That's like saying it makes (insert crime here) legal unless pursued by some entity who has the money to do so. Is the implication clear or do I have to write it down?

Re:Put in simpler terms? (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040334)

... so it's only illegal if you get caught?

Re:Put in simpler terms? (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040670)

It's only illegal if you get caught AND if the powers that be see fit to not let you get away with it.

Stealth and selective enforcement often go together.

Rule by corporation (5, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040174)

Over recent years there has been an accelerating plunge into rule by corporation in its interests rather than rule by government in the interests of all. This has resulted in the loosening of regulation or oversight, laws allow corporations to do things that are effectively disallowed to individuals. The results of this include: the financial woes of recent times; copyright abuse; globalisation for corporation but not individuals (think: they buy where it is cheap in the world, but stop you doing so, eg by region encoding).

This has happened by a variety of means: bribing of law makers (whoops silly me, I mean - donations to campaigns and pet causes, promises of jobs on leaving office, ...); threats to move to another country; ...

Don't get me wrong: not everything about corporations is bad, not all corporations are problematic. A restoration of balance is needed.

Re:Rule by corporation (1)

tramp (68773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040284)

Rich people always have influenced law making. The only difference now is that rich corporations are interfering with the democratic system by buying a way into the law making more then one individual ever could in the past. I'm afraid the American dream is dead and the American democracy is rotten to the bones by now.

Re:Rule by corporation (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040496)

American dream is dead

I would be delighted to see that happening. "American dream" is essentially an aspiration to obtain massive amount of wealth by whatever means, and use it to elevate yourself into position of control over other people (supposedly ones who implemented that dream at your expense before, or would implement it if you didn't stop them first), abusing them for your own pleasure. It is imposed on all population by propaganda, to make sociopaths in position of power seem normal.

The problem is, this thing is still alive.

Re:Rule by corporation (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040956)

News Flash: 99.99% of Americans don't have that dream, and never have.

James Truslow Adams popularized the phrase "American Dream" in 1931:

        But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

Re:Rule by corporation (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040958)

American dream is dead

I would be delighted to see that happening. "American dream" is essentially an aspiration to obtain massive amount of wealth by whatever means, and use it to elevate yourself into position of control over other people (supposedly ones who implemented that dream at your expense before, or would implement it if you didn't stop them first), abusing them for your own pleasure. It is imposed on all population by propaganda, to make sociopaths in position of power seem normal.

The problem is, this thing is still alive.

The dream is very much alive. The realisation of the dream is just this side of impossible these days. Back in the day, when we were hunting dinosaurs from the backs of our '57 Chevies, we used to hear all the time that 'any boy can become President'. These days, they modified that to 'any boy with the proper connections and shitpiles of money can become President'. Kinda leaves us who are struggling just to make enough for groceries in the 'also-ran' category.

The American Dream has been myth for generations, but it doesn't stop the powers that be from continually pushing it. And when you get beaten down by the system, the mythmakers just say that you were insufficiently motivated or productive in order to 'make it'. Getting fucked by the system is your own damned fault.

Problem is, of course, it's the only game in town and the penalties for not playing it are pretty draconian.

Re:Rule by corporation (4, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040346)

...[L]aws allow corporations to do things that are effectively disallowed to individuals. The results of this include: the financial woes of recent times; copyright abuse; globalisation for corporation but not individuals (think: they buy where it is cheap in the world, but stop you doing so, eg by region encoding).

Bingo.

To say that treating corporations as persons is to state only half of the problem.

The other half of the problem stems from treating corporations as a privileged class of persons.

Re:Rule by corporation (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040410)

Oops, I was bit too quick to click...

...[L]aws allow corporations to do things that are effectively disallowed to individuals. The results of this include: the financial woes of recent times; copyright abuse; globalisation for corporation but not individuals (think: they buy where it is cheap in the world, but stop you doing so, eg by region encoding).

Bingo.

To say that treating corporations as persons is a problem, is to state only half of the problem.

The other half of the problem stems from treating corporations as a privileged class of persons.

Re:Rule by corporation (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040412)

Actually, the other half of the problem is the idea that all consumers are greedy, conniving bastards who will cheerfully steal anything from "big corporations", given half a chance, so the "big corporations" assume all of them are criminals before they've even had the opportunity to purchase a product.

Or maybe it's a system of laws that practically guarantees that every person is a lawbreaker in some form or fashion, allowing the enforcement agencies to pick up, detain, and criminalize any person at any time, giving a supposedly valid reason for doing so.

Oh, wait, no. The biggest problem is a governmental system based on the idea that not enough people will care enough to stop those with money from doing anything they damn well please.

Wait, it might be that money makes the world go 'round, and 90%+ don't have enough to do anything not directly related to personal survival (if even that much).

Hmm. These all seem to be huge problems. Where to start?

Re:Rule by corporation (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040754)

There's another reason for this: The primary goal of parties is winning elections. They nowadays are so busy with self-marketing, PR and market analysis, they are more than grateful to private entities taking away the burden of lawmaking from them.

This isn't a matter of corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040342)

It's a matter where the people who have an interest in expanding the power of their copyrights have a lot to gain and therefore are very interested in doing so, while the benefit to the rest of us of keeping those copyright powers restricted is more limited and diffuse.

I mean, what's it worth to you that copyrighted material enter the public domain?

Re:This isn't a matter of corruption (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040502)

I mean, what's it worth to you that copyrighted material enter the public domain?

Nonprofits running completely automated factories that produce everything I really need. It would happen.

There's a reason pirates exist. (5, Informative)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040594)

The Constitution of the United States of America [wikipedia.org] had a nod to a limited copyright, with the idea that it would promote the arts and sciences for there to be a period of time in which the original creator of an idea would be able to profit from it. (Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution [usconstitution.net] , wherein it states as a goal "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;")

Here's an article entitled The Founding Fathers Had Copyright Right [indyweek.com] , explaining how and why copyright was first introduced (back when the U.S.A. was just a twinkle in the founding fathers' eyes). It bears little resemblance to the convoluted and draconian system we now have in place.

As of 1790 [wikipedia.org] , that "limited time" was a period of 14 years, with a possible 14 year extension (assuming the author was still alive), for a possible maximum of 28 years from date of creation. Those periods were more than double those originally specified in earlier documents, which ranged from 5 to 7 years.

More recently, the Copyright Term Extension Act [wikipedia.org] has shoved everything in quite the wrong direction for anything to ever reach the public domain.

For example:

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928. Mickey Mouse's likeness will not be legal to reproduce without a license until 2036, or maybe even 2047 (there is some legalistic ambiguity). And that's assuming that the copyright laws are not changed yet again to suit corporate greed... Because, you know, Disney hasn't had enough time to properly profit from Mickey Mouse yet, since he's only 83 years old!

If that example isn't broken enough for you, have a look at this list of when things enter the public domain [cornell.edu] , and note that the current copyright law ensures that a book published on 15 March 1923 will enter the public domain on 1 January 2019, despite nearly everyone who was alive when it was published being dead now - nevermind 7 more years. It also shows that a sound recording published in 1978 will enter the public domain no earlier than 2049. If it was recorded prior to 1972, then it won't become public domain until at least 2067. This literally means that music recorded before I was born will not be in the public domain before I die. I expect this holds true for most of us, actually, and not just me. As an aside, this is also why restaurants do not sing "Happy Birthday [wikipedia.org] " with the lyrics and melody you learned growing up.

The State Sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040418)

I've got no problem with an individual or an organization that survives by providing a good or service that I value and voluntarily pay for. That's how business is supposed to work.

I've got a huge problem with an individual or an organization that survives by using violence or the threat of violence to take money from me, whether they're providing me some sort of good or service "in return" or not. That's how the state *always* works: a gang of thieves writ large.

Consequently, I have no problems with private sector businesses when they act like businesses. The problem with "big business" isn't that it's big, or that's it's business. The problem is when it gets in bed with the state and uses the state's methods, rather than the market's, to further its ends. The state corrupts everything it touches; the last thing you want to do is get in bed with it.

Magna Carta 1297 Section 61 (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040424)

...Applies to every satellite State of Britain, former and current. The specific section implies the obligation upon Law-abiding citizenry to Lawfully disobey bad Law. This is the only way in which it will get changed. If we sit there and take it up the arse every time our basic civil rights are infringed those who make black-letter Law will carry on until we are deprived of the freedom to make our own choices. That said, it is up to you: will you argue for your rights in a public forum, even if that forum consists of thirteen men and women, even if it means the total loss of liberty for an unspecified period? Will you take that argument to a wider audience, for example by way of media, considering that this action is not without personal risk? Will you risk your life for your freedom as your grandparents did and your great grandparents did (I ask as a Gen. X-er)? Or will you bend over and take it up the arse like a good little sheep?

Lawful Rebellion doesn't mean asking permission to protest. If you have a grievance, make a peaceful and nonviolent show of obstructing a public space and broadcasting your grievance. Let the Corporate Enforcement Officers (AKA Police) make the first violent or unlawful move, and make sure you have the video camera running when they do. And when they do, the Court of Public Opinion shall judge them.

Re:Magna Carta 1297 Section 61 (2)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041122)

Will you risk your life for your freedom as your grandparents did and your great grandparents did (I ask as a Gen. X-er)?

The grandparents had the government and the army ON their side. To try and dislodge the oligarchy in charge of the USA, you'd have to take up arms AGAINST a military that receives half a trillion dollars per year. This makes things slightly tougher.

Privatization of COPYRIGHT lawmaking ? (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040570)

All lawmaking was privatized long ago.

Cheap quality sports products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38040598)

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It's a Ruse (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38040766)

Copyright law is not about protecting copyright. It's about creating monopolies. Current copyright holders want the ability to take down sites of their competition. All this talk about protecting copyright is just a ruse to get lawmakers to pass their laws.

we'll be following italy (2)

aenigmainc (739876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38041028)

Italy put a media mogul in charge of the country and look what happened to them. We are basically doing the same thing here in the US. by allowing corporations to write our laws we are going down the path of italy. i fully expect the US to implode within my lifetime.
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