18 Jan 2012
Doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it for a moment, at least while I still can.
But instead of giving you a big spiel, let me give you a nutshell reason why you should object to these two bills: it’s draconian, there’s no process to appeal and it puts the power to shut down sites in the wrong hands, and in it end, it won’t stop piracy.
Let’s say James Lileks describes, oh, Disney animated shorts and includes the Disney logo and screen grabs, even brief clips.
He’s not violating Disney copyright, since he’s using these materials to illustrate a point in his discussion about them. But let’s assume there’s a Disney lawyer who doesn’t like this. We’ve seen this before: guy could come back from lunch, grumpy over a bad meal, gets blessed out by his boss for not meeting quarterly projections, decides he has to do something, Googles around a bit and finds James.
A couple of cease-and-desist letters, and Lileks’ site is shut down. That’s how easy it is.
Now, once a few sites like this get shut down, imagine what will begin to happen. Self-censorship. Can I talk about this? Can I link to a clip on YouTube? Can I post this picture?
Meanwhile, the sites pirating material will still operate, and those who want to visit them will find technical workarounds that will let them. They’re not affected.
The wrong people are.
There’s more, but that alone should be sufficient. If you want a closer look at the bills, Bill Reader examined the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect-IP over at PJ Media.