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Are SOPA Sponsors Violating SOPA Rules? Not So Fast, Says Ars Technica

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the wash-your-mouth-out-with-sopa dept.

Crime 115

TheNextCorner writes "Remember how the Stop Online Piracy Act would make streaming of copyrighted material a felony? Many of these lawmakers actually stream copyrighted videos on their websites." However, that's not the whole story. according to a followup at Ars Technica to the tweeted claims about streaming and SOPA. From which: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation tweeted the post, and it was re-tweeted more than 100 times. So are the sponsors of SOPA hypocrites? We're not fans of SOPA, so we'd love to have this story check out. But we're also a news site, so we contacted James Grimmelmann, a copyright scholar at New York Law School, (and judging from his tweets, not a SOPA supporter) to get his expert opinion."

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115 comments

Not really the point (5, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108316)

The core issue is how SOPA changes the liability structure to permit endless copyright troll lawsuits. It doesn't matter if your users are or aren't infringing if copyright holders can sue you endlessly regardless.

Re:Not really the point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108378)

The same people who sued to stop the Camp Fire Girls from singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in the woods around a fire as a "public performance" will be making accusations and shutting down web sites en mass. Because all it takes is for a site to be a suspected offender.

Re:Not really the point (1)

joe545 (871599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108466)

Citation please. That song was written in it's modern form in 1881.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108528)

This is what they mistakenly must be talking about. But they aren't completely off base, even if they did back off after people complained.

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html

Re:Not really the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108554)

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html

http://www.ascap.com/ace/search.cfm?requesttimeout=300&mode=results&searchstr=ROW%20ROW%20ROW%20YOUR%20BOAT&search_in=t&search_type=exact&search_det=t,s,w,p,b,v&pagenum=1&start=1

While the lyrics are public domain, performances of the song including musical arrangements can be copyrighted. So if someone who has a copyrighted performance of the song decides that the Girl Scouts version (say a group of girls singing in chorus) is too similar to their own (an arrangement with a group of girls singing in chorus), they'd have grounds to file a copyright infringement suit.

Re:Not really the point (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108564)

The same people who sued to stop the Camp Fire Girls from singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in the woods around a fire as a "public performance" will be making accusations and shutting down web sites en mass. Because all it takes is for a site to be a suspected offender.

Citation please. That song was written in it's modern form in 1881.

In reference to the Girl Scouts, a source is here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html [umkc.edu]

They cite ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) as the perpetrators. A different source describes the particulars of how they decide who and what infringes: http://woodpecker.com/writing/essays/royalty-politics.html [woodpecker.com], which specifically says ASCAP has more than 80 arrangements of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" under copyright. So the song is public domain, but if you infringe upon their arrangement, they are going to get you.

Note on sources: more reliable sources may be available, this is all I had time to find.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108698)

So we are safe if we sing it like Shatner?

Re:Not really the point (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108812)

So we are safe if we sing it like Shatner?

Not until he's been dead for 70 years...

Re:Not really the point (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108938)

So we are safe if we sing it like Shatner?

Not until he's been dead for 70 years...

Not until i've been dead for 70 years.

Re:Not really the point (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108750)

Did you never wonder why restaurant staff sing their own made up birthday songs?

Re:Not really the point (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109832)

You don't need a citation.

This law isn't just bad, it's redundant.

The legal system already caters to itchy trigger fingers anyhow.

Re:Not really the point (5, Informative)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108680)

Ever notice that major restaurant chains don't sing the traditional "Happy Birthday to You!" [snopes.com]?

AOL Time Warner currently collects about $2M per year in royalties on "Happy Birthday to You", originally popularized more than 80 years ago.

and, won't the world be such a better place when these rights are more vigorously protected? cough, gag

Re:Not really the point (4, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110810)

The really awful thing about that is that the actual music to "Happy Birthday to You" isn't copyrighted, or at least shouldn't be under copyright. The melody is from "Good Morning to All", which was written in 1893. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], the combination of the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics and the "Good Morning to All" melody first appeared in print in 1912 and was copyrighted by people who clearly weren't the true originators in 1935 and, due to the various copyright extensions, won't fall out of copyright until 2030.

Now, the lyrics consist of 4 lines, only one of which is unique, and only barely, since it differs from the other three only by replacing "to you" with "dear ____". And there are only 5 actual words (aside from the person's name, which is clearly not a copyrightable part of the song). So, "Happy Birthday to You" is a clear example of a song that doesn't deserve to fall under copyright. If it ever went to court, the defendant would probably win, but very few people would ever fight it because the expense and effort involved wouldn't be worth it versus caving and handing over the protection money.

Re:Not really the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108468)

The only solution ( since law makers apparently don't care ), is for everyone to break the law ( I am not encouraging outright piracy here). Laws that make all of your citizens criminals are laws that will be in the worst case scenario ignored if not abolished. Then and only then, people of interest will push forward to laws and regulations that at least will be up-to-date with the current technology, and in accord to what the population wants.

Re:Not really the point (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109054)

I, however, *am* encouraging outright piracy. Mostly out of spite. Unfortunatly I don't believe it'll actually harm labels or studios in any significant way. Remember that the highest grossing film of all time is still Avatar, a science-fiction film aimed at the teen-to-twentyfive mostly-male demographic that also happens to be the most inclined towards piracy. If piracy couldn't sink Fern Gully in Space, well... recruit more pirates.

Re:Not really the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110678)

...aside from this, bring it up whenever you can when there's a politician in the immediate vicinity. Nobody in the past might have cared abount songs being copyrighted (c)1938 by a rotting corpse that has been in the ground for 40 years, but nowadays the Great Wall of Copyright is withholding so much of our popular culture behind a paywall (if you're lucky) or out-of-print-wall (if you're not).

33 1/2 rpm Vinyl Recordings: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
45 rpm Vinyl Singles: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
CD Albums: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
CD Maxi/Singles: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
DVD-A: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE
SA-CD: Rightsholders: ALL Public Domain: NONE

How is that "balanced copyright laws" working out for you?

The rightsholders will now say this is skewed, as I didn't include the wax rolls, and those strange metal wires that were used for sound recordings. For 78 rpm shellac recordings, I really have no clue which of them might have entered the public domain, but I guess it's NONE as well.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38113692)

"I really have no clue which of them might have entered the public domain, but I guess it's NONE as well."

Actually, ALL Edison wax cylinders are in the public domain. Edison was as bad as the RIAA about copyright, and each of his cylinders had a statement that basically said that anything recorded on his cylinders was copyrighted to him.

The only really good thing that Edison did, is that he released that copyright into the public domain upon his death. I do thank him for that.

I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but if you google Edison cylinders you'll get a link to a preservation project at UCSB that gives the particulars.

Re:Not really the point (0, Flamebait)

hot soldering iron (800102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109192)

If you won't encourage outright piracy after this, when will you? You fucking pussy. I'll fly the fucking Jolly Roger on the hood of my car if this passes, and steal and hand out every god-damned piece of copyright crap I can find. Will I go to jail? Probably the morgue.

Re:Not really the point (3, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110300)

I'll encourage outright piracy when you show that it actually hurts the RIAA, the MPAA, or their member companies.

As it is I think of it as free advertizing for despicable entities. Not actually immoral, but dangerous and stupid.

Re:Not really the point (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108794)

Bimbo Newton Crosby, what this does is gives the big boys a really nice weapon to shut down the indies. If you'll remember one of the big corps (I think it was Sony, not sure as its early here) finally admitted all the stinks they've been throwing wasn't over IP but over control and as more and more people spend more and more time on the net they are feeling their grip on what the masses see and hear slipping away.

For the first time in history we are seeing artists bypass the gatekeepers completely, going from 'viral sensation' to nationally known artist and this scares the living fuck out of them. They know in the age of YouTube and Twitter and a bazillion other non controlled communication circuits their ability to force artists into assraping contracts where they are basically nothing but cogs and "all your IP belong to us" is becoming a thing of the past.

So all this will do is exactly what you have surmised and allow them to bury anyone who doesn't "play ball" to be crushed by endless trolling. While the big boys have their own law firms the little guys simply won't be able to survive endless lawsuits and will either cave in or go under.

Sadly the only way we have to fight back anymore is massive piracy, there simply is nothing else. Any drops in their revenue they will blame on piracy anyway so boycotts do nothing, as the petitions which have gotten to the point there is actually a petition that says "Please quit ignoring us" prove if you don't have the money to bribe your congressman he sure as fuck isn't going to listen to you, so all that is left is the geeks.

So please geeks, please keep working on anonymous distributed P2P and continue to work to make it so damned simple that Limewire looks like compiling your own kernel. The ONLY way we are gonna get rid of these bastards is to bleed them to death, there is simply no other choices left now. If all your IP laws are unjust and the people no longer have a say at the table the only just thing to do is completely ignore those unjust laws. Does anyone truly believe that if We, The People had any say anymore we would have crap like SOPA or "forever minus a single day" copyright laws?

Occupy action sugggestion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109534)

There are a lot of musicians at OWS camps, and it's a large gathering so somebody will be having a birthday every day. They should pull them up on stage (or in front of the mic) and lead the entire camp in a "public performance" of Happy Birthday to You.

Re:Not really the point (4, Insightful)

thomst (1640045) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110090)

hairyfeet opined:

Bimbo Newton Crosby, what this does is gives the big boys a really nice weapon to shut down the indies.

For the first time in history we are seeing artists bypass the gatekeepers completely, going from 'viral sensation' to nationally known artist and this scares the living fuck out of them. They know in the age of YouTube and Twitter and a bazillion other non controlled communication circuits their ability to force artists into assraping contracts where they are basically nothing but cogs and "all your IP belong to us" is becoming a thing of the past.

Sadly the only way we have to fight back anymore is massive piracy, there simply is nothing else.

The ONLY way we are gonna get rid of these bastards is to bleed them to death, there is simply no other choices left now.

Here's the problem I have with your exhortation: indiscriminate "massive piracy" will not only harm the IP plutocrats of the RIAA, it will also adversely impact the very independent artists you claim to support - and it is them, and not the Sonys of the industry, who will be harmed the most. That's because the warez kiddies who do the vast majority of unauthorized downloading are unlikely to make any distinction whatsoever between music the rights to which the RIAA members control, and those recordings which are directly owned and controlled by independent artists themselves. Instead, in their enthusiasm to embrace "stick it to The Man" as a valid excuse to download every popular tune they see, they will gleefully end up harming the innocent along with the guilty.

It's very difficult to make a living in the music industry as an independent artist. And I mean VERY difficult. Every dollar in income you have to sacrifice puts you a dollar closer to being forced to hang up your guitar for good. And, while that's especially true for independents early in their careers, it is, to some extent, true of all independent musical artists. Downloading their music without their permission, and refusing to pay them for it is NOT "sticking it to The Man". It's sticking it to the artist him/herself ... and that's Not A Good Thing, especially if that artist is one whose music you like and would like to hear more of.

I know it's popular here on /. to maintain that artists "should" regard recorded tracks as pure loss leaders, and be content to make their money strictly from live performances. And that's fine, if you're Lady Gaga, or some other top-tier artist. But independent musicians - and, again, especially those who are just starting their careers, or who have, after struggling for years, finally released a hit record - don't pull in the big bucks for performances. Touring is expensive: transportation for you, and your band and crew, lodging for all of you, food for all of you, concert promotional costs (You didn't think those posters advertising that concert you think will be so profitable printed themselves, did you? Or posted themselves on all those walls, windows, and telephone poles?), liability and property insurance (On Pink Floyd's first U.S. tour, their van was stolen in Texas, and they lost all of their instruments, including Rick Wright's heavily-customized Hammond organ, their giant - and very expensive - gong, and all their guitars and amplifiers - and, as a result, they had to return to England, because they couldn't afford both to replace their gear and continue to pay for a tour that had been only marginally profitable for a band that, at that point, wasn't at all well-known here in the States.), merchandise (tee shirts aren't free - and neither is having your band's name and touring information printed on them), and so on. By the time you finish paying for all that - and much of it has to be paid for in advance - even a show in a decent-sized venue, at a relatively high per-ticket price (which you have to split with the concert promoter/venue owner, btw), to a sold-out audience is likely to make you exactly enough money to break even. So every CD or authorized download sale you lose eats into the margin that allows you to pay rent on the house or apartment that sits empty while you tour, and pays for your health care, and clothing, and guitar strings, and ... well ... everything else in your life that costs money.

So massive, indiscriminate piracy doesn't just stick it to The Man. It also sticks it to the very independent artists on whose behalf you claim to be fighting.

As H. L. Menchen so pithily observed: "There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong."

By all means, let us oppose SOPA. If you're an American, write to your Congressperson and your Senators and let them know in no uncertain terms that, if they want your vote in their next election bid, they'd better damned well not vote in favor of SOPA. Hell, CALL your Congressperson and your Senators, AND write to 'em. Write letters to the editor of your hometown paper - and of the NYT and Washington Post, and every other big-city newspaper. Urge your friends and family to do likewise. And post link-rich, reasoned, and grammatical comments on influential blogs. If you're not an American, urge your American friends to do all those things, and write letters to the NYT, etc., yourself (believe it or not, the very fact that you're not an American makes it more likely that they'll publish your letter).

But, for pity's sake, in your enthusiasm to storm the battlements of The Man, don't trample the little guy underfoot in the process.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111864)

I did my part, and wrote my rep. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to find some solution to piracy that doesn't trample on either legitimate consumers or on indie content producers.

I think that, if we REALLY want to fight against not only SOPA, but any further attempts at such a massively overreaching law, we need to put our heads together and find a solution to this problem.

Re:Not really the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38112326)

Very eloquently stated. As a struggling musician and composer, thank you.

Re:Not really the point (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38114018)

Actually I've toured the south a few times myself and known several indie bands and most of us put our stuff on P2P, thanks anyway. you know why? Because fans will STILL happily buy your CDs at the shows, along with the T-Shirts, caps, mugs, keyrings, mousepads (those were my idea BTW) and anything else to help out the band because guess what? they are FANS and want to see you get ahead.

BTW I probably shouldn't share this trick, as we were raking in the cash with it, but what the fuck, sharing is caring right? Indie guys, want to make a fuckton of money and sell out your swag? The magic word is "raffle". We would go to a local pawnshop in whatever town we were at, but a cool cheap guitar or bass, me or the guitarist would play it for 3 or 4 songs and at the end of the show we would all sign it and anybody who bought a piece of swag had their name in the drawing for the instrument.

Not only did audiences eat it up but we ended up with several hardcore fans that showed up at nearly every gig simply because they won something that made them feel closer to the band. We'd always let them sit with the wives and GFs and they were happy to hang up posters or post on FB or anything else that got out the word, simply because it made them feel like a winner.

It works, its cheap, makes you a hell of a lot more than the guitar costs, and creates really loyal long lasting fans. Last gig I played even though i wasn't with that band anymore and hadn't been in 5 years i had a guy show up and bring nearly 30 friends, all of whom bought swag, simply because 'hey man I still have that bass i won in Memphis, remember me?" so he and his buds got to hang out with the wives and GFs while we played and we had a beer afterward. Its a great way to get long term fans

. I hereby release this to the world as GPL, if you use the idea just give the old hairyfeet a little credit now and then, kay? Who knows one day i might be your opening act, or you may be mine. peace fellow bass players and never forget to show the ladies we bass players are ALWAYS good with our fingers!

USA is going nuts for Hollywood (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108368)

Go on america; keep on going, keep listening to the 1 % to try to get the rest of the world to do your bidding..

This is one of many steps that have been taken to make the USA look silly & this will only be one more step towards the downfall of the usa..

I used to be a big fan of the country; but i'm getting more & more convinced that the usa is nuts... & getting more & more so :)

in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108462)

Indeed. The new media companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) will leave the country completely and move the USA operations bases to other countries.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108732)

lol. europe will probably be at war by then. maybe this time we'll be smart enough to sit back and watch you all kill yourselves off.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109070)

That's most of the point of SOPA/PROTECT-IP. The US government and the lobbyists of various copyright industries are really annoyed that companies that would be illegal in the US are doing business merely by operating in another country - they want to be able to enforce US law globally, at least where copyright is concerned. This is an effort to do that, by using a combination of internet filtering and payment embargos.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108516)

in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

The problem is that the majority of the Internet infrastructure is inside the US.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108566)

Not exactly no. The world is just a leeeeetle bit bigger than the USA...

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (3, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108600)

If it's designed to survive a holocaust, the Internet can survive without America.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (-1, Flamebait)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108630)

The Internet may well survive without America, but Europe won't.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (3, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108830)

Well it's true that the US owes us much more cash to europe than europe owes to the US, what the heck does europe needs the USA for ?
Natural resources ? no it comes from other countries and what the US has it keeps...
Agricultural produces ? well we do import coca cola, but we could buy clones from other countries, OGM's well no thanks, ...
Manufactured products ? you mean those who are made in china ?
Hollywood products, well we are kind of addicted to, but we can move over to bollywood :-) and watch UK series instead of US remakes... (We might make an exception for future seasons of Episodes just be drive the point home...

So good by and thanks for all the fish, but ... it's not quite too late, just please fix your country.
a) do not not vote for any incumbent (we should follow this advice also)
b) make and execute a plan to divide by 10 your natural resource per capita intake.
c) stop accepting a society that thinks it's "ok" to have about 3% of your population in prison, or under some sort of judiciary control.
d) put a cap on salaries of professionals involved in sports (let's say 50% of an university professor or GP doctor whichever is lower)
(this might actually make sport a game again)...
e) put cap copyright protection period to 5 years, and patent protections to 6 month
(and give artist some lessons on "saving for old age" so that the various mafiaa's cannot argue that poor old artists need "extended protections" because they are now so old .... and only have 75 year old records to feed them..

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (-1, Flamebait)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108952)

Europe needs the US for defense. Three times in the past 100 years Europe would have been overrun completely by despots if it weren't for the US. We still pay for Europe's defense.

Also Europe needs the US to help prop up it's useless currency you might know as the Euro which is collapsing big time. Already two governments (Greece Italy) have fallen because of it, others soon to come no doubt. My guess is the next one will be Spain.

So stop making stupid noises about the US and fix your own problems and learn to run a continent without blowing up every few years.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109212)

Well it's true that the US where on the right side during WWI and II although they came to help during WWI not when it was the decent thing to do, but when it threatened the credit line they extended to the allies.
And europe paid back most of it, although it did push it into WWII.
So it is certainly not a duty of anybody to be "extra nice", but asking to be thanked for self preservation is not very efficient.
And the Euro is much stronger than the US dollars, the issue is the lack of political integration, not the global european economy.
Moreover the Euro is not proped by the US, much more attacked by over production of "federal dollars".
BTW you conveniently forgot to name ireland as a "failed european state", probably because you find it convenient that we let it be used by US corporations to operate essentially tax free in europe.
So maybe european are not far from perfect in building a continent, but at least we are not confusing luck and talent..
The US got three breaks:
- most of the original "owners" of the country got sick and died when the current inhabitant arrived, this gave you access "for free" to a large set of real estate and natural resources
- it was just far en inconvenient enough from europe during the industrial revolution to get away with stealing intellectual property (which is probably why you want to make sure that the emerging economies do not get the same break)
- european did not learn fast enough that nationalism is always : being proud for something you have absolutely done nothing for. So it was easy for failed states to stir the people to war...
Do not count on a fourth one...

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109812)

Not saying the US was being nice or anything for paying for defense of Europe in WWI WWII and Cold War. It is just the way we wanted it. You don't have to say thank you, just realize you would not exist if it didn't happen, and if we stop doing it Russia might just decide to cut off all your gas and oil and let you starve (your fertilizer is made from Russian nat gas) in the cold and dark for a while before invading. Lots of Russians would love their old empire back, and for it to include western as well as eastern Europe. So there is plenty of nationalism still going on.

The idea that the Euro is much stronger than the US dollar is just dumb silly. The Euro is not backed by a sovereign entity the way the US Dollar or Yen are, which is causing the financial mess that Europe is in. It's very vulnerable because of this. In addition the dollar is the world's reserve currency. The European economy sucks too because the growth is low and the Euro problems are dragging it into recession.

Thanks for reminding me about Ireland being a failed state. Mostly though that's due to stupid attempts to bail out banks they couldn't afford rather than economic or debt problems. The tax free thing was giving them a lot of nice jobs so their economy was growing. If they had ignored the banks they would have been fine.

Also you made a dumb comment that we owe you more money than you owe us. The US owes Europe very little money. Most of the foreign debt is to Japan China and OPEC. Of course the US is in an unusual situation in that since the dollar is the world's reserve currency we can just print dollars off to pay the debt anytime we want so there is no particular problem with this debt.

Europe because of the fractured political structure has all sorts of problems like Denmark owing France owing Spain owing Germany etc. We had a thing in the US before the Constitution like that. Good thing we got rid of it 200 years ago because it was a mess.

The US has donated a lot of money to the IMF which is in fact being used to prop up the Euro.

The original owners of the Americas were killed off by European invaders looking to steal their wealth, much like the original owners of Europe were killed off much earlier by Europeans. Much of this wealth was sent back to Europe by Spaniard and English pirates. After a while these invaders realized where they were was better and decided to ignore Europe and go their own way in the process establishing a great nation ruled by laws rather than kings (accounting for it's rapid progress henceforth).

Stealing European intellectual property is a rumor not born out by fact. Up until 1812 the US was primarily an agricultural nation that imported it's manufactured goods, however due to the embargo by Britain the US started to manufacture it's own goods - that required development of manufacturing tech and massive infrastructure in the US - rail, electricity etc. Unfortunately that had to be built from scratch because the original owners didn't have such ideas. Because of the embargo stealing European manufacturing technology was a small factor.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109978)

EU currently has around-zero trade balance. USA is deep in the red. And Europe will lose little if USA stops exporting anything.

Russia... I am born in USSR and I live in Russia so far... You know, if the local population wants Russian army to dissolve, most of the soldiers can be bought off for a few loafs of bread. It is literally that bad. Georgia... Well, there a relatively small somewhat equipped (we lost an armoured vehicle because its engine simply failed and the vehicle got thrown from the bridge to clear the path..) part of army. In the land where the local population considers being annexed by Russia OK if they become part of North Ossetia afterwards. The same with a bigger army in a resisting land doesn't work. Also, killing off a few people from United Russia leadership will quickly make in-party quarrels for top spots more important than invading some faraway EU.

So Europe will not lose much from USA failing.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110212)

Euro is backed by several sovereign entities, which together form a formidable economy. When euro gets weaker the exports go higher (yes, Europe still has a large manufacturing base, unlike USA), so the situation can correct itself. But, what will happen when the dollar weakens? Will USA be able to export stuff cheaper? The problem is what does USA really produce nowadays - Hollywood movies and Lady Gaga?

A weak dollar is VERY scary for the USA because it will just accelerate the tailspin the US economy is in, and printing more money will not fix it.

>>>Europe because of the fractured political structure has all sorts of problems like Denmark owing France owing Spain owing Germany etc. We had a thing in the US before the Constitution like that. Good thing we got rid of it 200 years ago because it was a mess.

Yep, well, the USA just owes nearly all the money to China + Japan. How is that better? Now essentially a single nation has a stranglehold on USAs fiscal future. And on top of it, the biggest debtor nation is China aka. "the enemy". They're also well armed. This means they can't be bullshitted into submission by rolling through the main street with a bunch of tanks and hanging the leader.

>>>The US has donated a lot of money to the IMF which is in fact being used to prop up the Euro.

I wonder what money is it that has been donated - the USA is already over 100% GDP in public debt, so there basically is no money to donate. Printing more papers works as long as the rest of the world believes the illusion. Anyone with half a brain should understand that an entity who is 100% GDP in public debt will have to do massive cuts to the spending to rectify the situation ASAP and is in no position to lend money to anyone.

The situation would be more believeable if the debt would be shrinking, but instead the debt keeps on growing. And sadly, the de facto 2-party system isn't helping to solve it either, but is more focused in arguing with each other over irrelevant details.

>>>...the process establishing a great nation ruled by laws rather than kings (accounting for it's rapid progress henceforth).

The Constitution was a great thing, but everything it represented in the form of governing and checks and balances is nowadays mostly gone. Sadly, you've now got the kings back in a kingdom which is falling apart.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110298)

just realize you would not exist if it didn't happen

Whaaa? The US supported Hitler's efforts, dude. The WWI was a big business opportunity for the US, as was the WWII (FFS! it ended the "great depression"!). They waited for the near-annihilation of European countries with their 'help' so that they could buy them out with "Marshall plan".

Since that time the F[ucking]US have been invading and destroying economies all over the world with impunity.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109326)

d) put a cap on salaries of professionals involved in sports (let's say 50% of an university professor or GP doctor whichever is lower)

A quick google shows that the top 50 European soccer players average about $7 million per year.

Oddly, I can find only 19 NFL players who make $6.5 million or more....

Perhaps the Europeans might consider their own overpaid athletes before they waste a lot of time suggesting that ours are overpaid....

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109616)

Oooooooooooooh. SMACKDOWN!! Gotta love it.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109688)

Although in europe Football + Tennis + Cricket replaces NLF + NBA + Baseball, so to compare your should evaluate total expenditure per capital, I fundamentally agree, yes we should do that too..
And the issue is not just the players, but also the coaches, agents, and TV executive in charge of sports, etc...

Although at least we do not mix universities with sport, so it hurt a little bit less.

But yes sports became an opium for the people, and if you do a parallel between the fall of the Bizantine empire and us, it'll probably scare you (although in their case it was horse cart races...)

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110348)

The Internet may well survive without America, but Europe won't.

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooosh

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108644)

While true, it wouldn't take long to rectify that if the will power were there. It isn't at the moment, and there won't be while the US law stays basically similar to global law. But if US law goes too far off the beaten path, that'd be all the incentive that companies would need...

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110042)

What do you mean? Internet backbones? Not much is routed through America that doesn't either originate or terminate there. I think Canada is connected to Europe via Iceland. South America and Mexico might depend on the USA for access? DNS? Nope, the root servers are geographically distributed, and would keep functioning if the USA dropped off the net.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110316)

in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

The problem is that the majority of the Internet infrastructure is inside the US.

That was once true. I don't believe that it's been true for over a decade

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111780)

The problem is that the majority of the Internet infrastructure is inside the US.

1994 called, it wants its US-centred Internet back. Along with the "year x called, it wants its y back" cliche ;-)

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108628)

in 10 years the usa will be disconnected from the internet.. at least; the free internet the rest of the world will enjoy.

lol... entitled europeans are so cute. stop watching all your US shows then talk about cutting the US off you spoiled cunt.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (1)

segin (883667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108764)

Hey AC, if you have a cell phone, and your carrier is AT&T, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, i-Wireless, or any other GSM carrier, please get the fuck off of EUROPEAN cellular technology. Thanks.

Re:USA is going nuts for Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108928)

oh please...'US shows' are 90% ****SHIT**** now anyways. They are barely worth the *bandwidth* to pirate them, never mind burning to dvdr. You guys just keep cranking them out according to a small handfull of pre-baked recipes in the hopes that some poor idiot will blindly purchase them. Sorry, creativity is dead in America. Greed is alive and well though...

"We're also a news site" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108392)

"We" in this case is Ars. TFS reads as if /. is a news site, which we all know is not the case.

Re:"We're also a news site" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108624)

quotes are beyond your comprehension apparently.

Ah, Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108404)

Hypocrisy is not an argument.

Fact of the matter is, Slashdot is a disaster more than an apocalypse.

Re:Ah, Slashdot. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108438)

No, it is a valid argument in this case. If they're arguing for more protection of their IP, then they have to explain why it is that they should get protection and other people shouldn't get protection. That sort of logical inconsistency is definitely fair game considering that the industry is trading on its "integrity" and harm being done to it to try to push SOPA through.

Re:Ah, Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108454)

No, it is a valid argument in this case.

It's never an argument (appeal to hypocrisy, that is).

If they're arguing for more protection of their IP, then they have to explain why it is that they should get protection and other people shouldn't get protection.

That's a completely different matter. The fact that they are getting away with it indicates that that is what must be changed, not the law itself (although I think the law in question is horrible).

Re:Ah, Slashdot. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109016)

Bullshit. The observation that the speaker is being hypocritical is completely germane to the argument as the speaker in this case is trading on his position in order to advance his line of reasoning. Not all Ad Hominem Tu Quoque attacks constitute a logical fallacy and this would be one of those times. It is very much relevant to the process of debunking his argument to point out that there's an apparent logical inconsistency being presented. The speaker has the burden of proof in this case and would have to demonstrate that the apparent inconsistency isn't inconsistent.

Now, had the hypocrisy not involved such an important facet of the argument I would tend to agree, but as is it deeply undermines the view that they should be allowed to enforce as they see fit as they can't even agree upon a definition

Re:Ah, Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109098)

Not all Ad Hominem Tu Quoque attacks constitute a logical fallacy

You wouldn't call it a fallacy if they didn't.

It is very much relevant to the process of debunking his argument to point out that there's an apparent logical inconsistency being presented.

I think debunking the law itself is more important. Calling him a hypocrite solves nothing.

If you wish to debunk the law, then do exactly that. The fact that the the ones proposing the law are idiots is worth pointing out, but it does not mean the law itself is bad.

Re:Ah, Slashdot. (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109696)

The fact that the the ones proposing the law are idiots is worth pointing out, but it does not mean the law itself is bad.

Good laws passed by idiots? That happens how often? Giving them the benefit of the doubt and calling them idiots is naive. We seldom get bad laws passed by idiots, mostly it it is bad laws passed by self-serving greedy lying bastards.

Those who oppose this in congress.. (5, Informative)

skr95062 (2046934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108530)

I have been so opposed to SOPA due to the shift in who has to scan and check.
The content companies got what they wanted with the DMCA.
They then found out it was to much of a problem for them to check.
Bad enough they did not know what others inside the same content holder were doing. (VIACOM v GOOGLE)
Now they want to shift the responsibility over to the internet operators, eliminate safe harbor.
In addition this gives the government even broader powers to shut down "infringing" internet sites, remove or change DNS.
Some of these are legal in the country that the sites operate in.
The US/Content companies are yet again trying impose there will on the rest of the world.
Now several prominent members of congress have come out against it.
This includes the former speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi.
Hopefully enough of them will realize this is bullshit and come to there senses.

I doubt it, but there is always hope.

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109004)

It has nothing to do with sense I'm afraid and everything to do with big fat checks. Anybody who thought it would be different when Obama chose Biden as VP was sadly deluded. The reps suck the military defense contractor cock, the dems suck off big media, and all because of big fat checks.

Hell it has gotten so damned bad it is used as the punchline for jokes, like Colbert did the other day when he told OWS that they needed to "put down the wacky tobacky and give that money to a super packy" so they could just buy politicians like the corps do!

Anybody that thinks that voting or protesting or anything other than outright bribery of our corrupt to the bone officials works anymore is sadly mistaken. just look at the petition the White house which has devolved to the point one of the fastest growing petitions basically says 'Please quit ignoring us and lying to us'. Have NO doubt they will get SOPA, hell they will probably have Nancy Grace and the other talking heads talk about how them other countries "are full of perverts!" and we'll get our own great firewall.

To those in other countries that may be affected by America...please don't blame the American people, we no longer have any say in our own country anymore and nothing short of armed revolt will change that. When the megacorps are done bleeding this country and we get stuck with every bit of bad debt from every failed "investment" they've ever done and are looking at $20 a loaf bread and 45%+ unemployment I'm sure that day will come, but until then we really can't do anything about what is going on here, as OWS found out. sorry.

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109194)

Unfortunately, that petition [whitehouse.gov] only has 17,535 signatures, and needs 7,465 more before November 27 (8 days) or it will, like all the other feedback they've received, be ignored.

When I first heard of that petition, about a month ago, I tried to sign up for an account so that I could sign it. Their sign-up process is broken. I clicked the contact link and wrote something up asking for help, and have yet to hear back from them. Agreed, I do not think they're really listening, nor do they really care to put any more than a token effort into this listening post.

Won't work on Firefox (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109310)

Site is broken with firefox (blank window) but works in IE9.

Re:Won't work on Firefox (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109998)

That's great; however, I use Ubuntu 11.10 and Chrome, and I am having issues. Note, I'm not having issues accessing the site; I'm having issues creating an account and getting an admin to listen.

Re:Won't work on Firefox (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110142)

Its not just Ubuntu friend, I've had the same problems with Windows XP and 7 with Dragon, Firefox, and Opera. I don't allow IE on my systems (you look at every patch Tuesday and more than half of it is IE) and I'm certainly not gonna compromise the security of systems i use to make money to sign a petition. As another pointed out the EFF and several other have made it as easy as fill in your info, one even has a FB login so you don't have to fill out anything if you already have a FB account.

To me this extra hoop jumping is just a way for them to laugh before they tear up your petition and throw it away, just look at the responses from the other petitions which was the most flowery "Fuck off you peasant you have no monies LOL!" troll I've ever seen. frankly I would have had more respect for the man if he simply would have wadded them up on camera and threw them away, because the thick bullshit he spewed was clearly designed to tell you "I don't give a FUCK what you think!" while not giving the other team a nice soundbyte, that's all.

So as my late grandma put it, who voted in every election from the roaring 20s only to quit in the late 80s and refused up to her death last year to participate anymore, "Why bother, they are only gonna ignore you anyway" and sadly grandma was right. Nothing will change until Goldman Sachs and their friends have dumped all their toxic debt on the fed, we are looking at triple what our current debt is and the fed cranks the presses so hard that bread is $30 a loaf and unemployment is at 45%+. Then we shall have what the rest of the world is having, our very own Arab spring. but until then you are just shouting in a closet while the rich rob and scam.

Re:Won't work on Firefox (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110902)

Their sign-up process is broken. I clicked the contact link and wrote something up asking for help, and have yet to hear back from them.

Site is broken with firefox (blank window) but works in IE9.

Seems to be working now. I just signed up using Firefox 7.0.1 on Windows XP.

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109674)

Indeed, the signup process is not only broken but monumentally stupid. The other day I wrote to my congressmen through an EFF-hosted web form. I did NOT have to sign up or register for anything, the system merely took my name, address, and email address. Registration-walling something like a petition is a sure way of getting all but fairly fervent individuals from changing their mind or forgetting about it.

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109878)

That's the whole point.

Your congress critters are too busy listening to lobbyist coins jingling in their pockets to want to be distracted by the pleas of their constituents.

Put simply, they make it hard on purpose because...THEY DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO YOU ANYWAY!

Making it technically possible but difficult in practice is just a workaround to avoid pissing everyone off.

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (2)

Intrinsic (74189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110506)

On the day the SOPA passes is the day I stop, renting/buying dvd's, going out to see movie's, and purchasing music. This is the only thing that is going to stop the madness. I ask all of you to join me on this day.

Secondley I hate to say it but if you want your country back you have to withdraw your support from this system. That means stop supporting anything but community driven companies

An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
Mohandas Gandhi

Re:Those who oppose this in congress.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110260)

It is like this:

In election year, first introduce a horrible bill.

People get very angry and raise a stink.

Then show as though all will be lost.

Then come running in as a saviour and save the day with a veto.

Get popular support just in time for 2012 election and win.

The Obama Deception is not cranky conspiracy theory anymore is it?

I don't has list (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108558)

Does anyone have a list of the tards that have come out in favor of the bill so far?

Re:I don't has list (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109122)

Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) are the big ones - the sponsors of the two bills. There are lots of co-sponsors though, 61 in total between house and senate.

The laws are there to protect the media! (3, Insightful)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108706)

The entire idea behind the law is to protect media, corporations and the corrupt government from their subjects. Media companies simply mostly ignore each others infringements, and focus their censorship on the ones trying to take their monopolies down. No media organization can sue another one because then they will be sued back. But taking the basic rights from new voices that aren't in the ruling class is very easy, which is the entire point.

And while this is happening, media will be blowing up a big "fight" between Mitt and Obama, as if either of them would stop the rape on your (and the rest of the world's) basic human rights.

Re:The laws are there to protect the media! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109346)

"And while this is happening, media will be blowing up a big "fight" between Mitt and Obama ..."

Not if nobody can stream the debate.

Not a problem for Congress (3, Informative)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108710)

Expect Congress to exempt themselves from SOPA, just as they did with insider trading laws. In fact if they realize they could be charged for streaming those videos they may just exempt themselves from having to pay to use copy-written material for political uses at all. Certainly enough of them have been caught using material without the author's permission to make them think about it and this would solve that little issue.

Re:Not a problem for Congress (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109572)

they may just exempt themselves from having to pay to use copy-written material for political uses at all.

Well, if it's their copywriters, it's their copyright. Unless you meant Dems stealing PR material from Reps.

They're getting it wrong! (1)

staryc (852301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108848)

Users should be responsible for their own actions, not the enabling institution or service. Installing a gatekeeper on sites like Youtube totally ruins the exchange that happens on there every single day, connecting countless people together without restraint. And what about all of the videos that are already uploaded? Do they have to sift through every single video to make sure it's 'kosher'?

Re:They're getting it wrong! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109136)

Enforcement will be subject to the standard Bigness Test:
1. Is this site big enough that it can make trouble with lawyers?
2. Is this site big enough that it's offended user base may alter the outcome of upcoming elections?


If the answer to either one is yes, the law will not be enforced. Youtube fits

Re:They're getting it wrong! (1)

staryc (852301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109230)

The biggest thing is, if that law was in place before Youtube had been created, then Youtube would probably not be around today. What you're saying is too Utopian. Of course Youtube will be affected. Have you ever tried to watch a Youtube video, only to find the link was dead and replaced with "This video was taken down due to copyright infringement'? Besides torrenting sites, Youtube users are one of the biggest abusers of copyright infringement. After this law gets in place, companies wont expect to have to look through the piles of videos to make sure that they're videos or songs aren't being used without permission. AND there will be some sort of delay in place anytime someone posts a video, being as Youtube will have to sift through hundreds of videos that are uploaded every minute.

What you're saying just seems downright naive. (Not trolling.) If the user base was large enough to be downright appalled, then that should scare lawmakers NOW. Not after the fact.

Re:They're getting it wrong! (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109302)

I know of youtube's copyright enforcement. I recently had one of my own videos pulled at the request of Shopro. It was clear fair use - 48 seconds of a 20-minute episode, for parody purposes, noncommercially, with no possibility of confusing it for something they endorsed. But that doesn't matter - the only way that video can go back up is if I expose myself to legal action, which would mean a company in Japan suing someone in the UK using a law in the US... the lawyers would have my savings emptied three times over before they even decided where the case should be heard, and the amount of time I'd have to take off work to attend court would likely result in unemployment.

If SOPA had been in place when youtube was a small startup company, they'd have been blocked and killed. That would still happen to many startups. Today, though, youtube passes the bigness test - it won't be blocked. That would produce too much of an outrage.

Re:They're getting it wrong! (1)

staryc (852301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111354)

I am only saying that it will change dramatically and become a different place. Not simply be blocked. It is foolish, imo, to think it will be completely unaffected.

Re:They're getting it wrong! (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109756)

Have you ever tried to watch a Youtube video, only to find the link was dead and replaced with "This video was taken down due to copyright infringement'?

No, never. Does that materially alter the validity of your argument in such a way that Nietzche would notice?

Re:They're getting it wrong! (1)

staryc (852301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111250)

Whether or not they experience it doesn't affect my argument. Just reminding the reader that circumstances like that have and will arise whether they know it or not. You taking it too literally is a lack of proper judgement on interpretation, and is your own fault.

Unconstitutional. Period. (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108850)

According to the Fifth Amendment [wikipedia.org], no person (which includes corporations) can be deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without being convicted ina court of law.

Oh, wait, I forgot that the Constitution, which used to be the supreme law of the land and could only be superceded by a 2/3 majority vote by the states, is just a goddamn piece of paper.

As you were.

Re:Unconstitutional. Period. (0)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110558)

At the time that was written person damn well did NOT mean corporation. Many of the signers didn't even believe that corporations should be legal. Seeing what's been happening recently, I'd say they had a good point.

And *I* sure don't consider corporations to be people. When was the last time one went to jail for killing someone? I trust you aren't going to claim that they never do, because that's blatantly false. They have been documented doing it with prior intent. (Usually it's of the form "when we do this we can expect so many people to die" rather than "I want that person dead", but it's still killing people by intent. And the other form has also been documented occasionally. No corporation has ever been sent to jail for the crime of either murder or homicide. They often aren't even fined.)

Congressmen get the benefit of the doubt; we don't (4, Insightful)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108880)

The lawyer says it's not a problem because the representatives are "unlikely to be willful infringers". They're public officials and everyone knows them. Therefore, no one is really going to take an infringement case against them seriously.

But what about the rest of us? What about some random kid posting the same sorts of videos to YouTube? Will there be anyone to say he's unlikely to be a willful infringer as well? Or will he just get sued straight away? Maybe he could hire an attorney, go to court, and spend months or years trying to prove he had a good-faith belief his actions weren't infringing. Or maybe he'll be scared into settling by some troll looking to extort money.

Re:Congressmen get the benefit of the doubt; we do (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111618)

The use of undefined words in legalspeak is a neat trick so they can tweak the law every time to suit their needs.

So clueless even hypocrisy is impossible (2)

tbg58 (942837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110676)

The authors of SOPA are not hypocrites. Hypocrisy connotes understanding of the issue and the representatives who allowed this piece of legislation to be crafted for them lack even the terminology to enter into meaningful conversation about issues such as DNS Security, Website Poisoning, and other salient factors affected by the law. To use Wolfgang Pauli's aphorism as a metaphor, this piece of legislation is so bad it's not only not right, it's "not even wrong".

Wrong Interpretation of SOPA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38110686)

Why is anyone asking a copyright professor about a criminal statute? His analysis is fundamentally flawed: By way of analogy, in order to be guilty of a criminal trespass you need only willfully (i.e. intentionally, volitionally) take a step that lands you on anothers property after being told not to or on property marked "no trespass." Thus, If you intentionally step on what you believe to be your land, but mistakenly cross onto anothers land after being told not to, you are guilty. The willfulness element goes to whether you willfully took the step not to whether you willfully intended without permission to trespass on another's land. Thus, since SOPA is a proposed criminal statute, the canons of construction that are brought to bear upon criminal statutes are what will likely be controlling in interpreting SOPA. It is highly likely that you will have comitted the crime by willfully streaming video that happens to be infringing rather than the prosecutor having to prove you willfully intended to stream infgringing content.

Doesn't check out. (4, Insightful)

nilbog (732352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110700)

Claiming that they are infringing unknowingly is a nice idea, except for the fact that these guys ARE SPONSORING THE VERY LAW WHICH THEY ARE BREAKING. To claim that they are breaking the law unknowingly is claiming that they don't understand the law they are passing. This is a far more frightening prospect.

Also, what sort of law includes ignorance as an excuse for breaking it?

Re:Doesn't check out. (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38111632)

Well, if ignorance is indeed an excuse in this case, than it's true that politicians should not be liable.

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