Posting in Design
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing today for the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill aimed at fighting online piracy. Tech companies expressed their opposition to the bill. I interviewed an entrepreneur about his experience in dealing with Chinese copycats.
There's a battle brewing over old business models and new business models based on the Internet economy. A House Judiciary Committee hearing over the controversial Hollywood copyright bill called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was held today. If the bill passes, it would make it harder for Internet entrepreneurs to grow into the next Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Internet entrepreneurs have expressed that the bill will cripple innovation. Companies such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL, and organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Boarders oppose the legislation.
The bill was introduced on October 26 to the US House of Representatives by Lamar Smith (R-TX) to help the government and copyright holders control online piracy of intellectual property, focusing on foreign rogue sites that sell pirated movies or counterfeit goods - and to increase penalties for engaging in IP theft. (The Senate's counter bill is called the Protect IP Act).
The Wall Street Journal reports that the "Justice Department could ask for a court order to compel U.S. search engines and other sites to block domain names or search results." That would mean immediate death for some companies that don't have the resources to fight a possible legal case.
The bill could weaken protection from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which helped companies like YouTube and Twitter grow into major tech companies. According to The New York Times the "House bill would destroy that immunity, putting the onus on YouTube to vet videos in advance or risk legal action." For example, a Chinese-version of Twitter called Weibo, hires about a thousand people to censor user content. If the bill goes through, then companies like Twitter would need to make sure user generated content is not infringing on any copyright.
It's hard to regulate the Internet. It's complicated.
While businesses do lose money to pirated and counterfeit goods, making the case for the bill isn't as clear cut.
Eran Weinberg is a victim of what this bill is trying to protect. Weinberg is an entrepreneur who designed a product called headphonies, a portable designer for micro speakers.
The product he made became a popular product for copies in China. Weinberg received an email from one of the counterfeit suppliers, showing that a Chinese company copied his product and his company's name.
"It's hard to make a complete argument for or against it since its hard to predict the consequences. I don’t really think they need to pass a bill for it though," Weinberg told me.
"Most of the countries that do pirate will probably still not care about our law and I am sure pirators will still figure out a way to close and open another business in minutes. So most likely more tax dollars will be spent trying to fight the unfightable. Personally, I don’t think the bill will help but cost more money and issues for the US in the end," he added.
While tech entrepreneurs feel the bill won't do much good - they worry that it has the potential to do harm. If the bill passes, this could be the beginning of censorship of the Internet in America.
Nov 16, 2011
The bill that has passed for insuring the piracy of intellectual property is a very nice step and no doubt it will have positive circumstance thereafter. http://www.retailblog.com
I donât know why the internet entrepreneurs are against the bill passed by the legislation, as it will reduce the innovation. http://www.danibabb.com/
Me thinks this is about information i general . The net has brought the world together from video to petitions and the way we are globally working together scares the powers that be . This is just another corporate/government attempt at keeping us apart as a global citizenry and away from knowledge and information .
I designed and sold commercially, in 1987, a rotating Kite. Two Americans, one of them Chinese, got a Patent granted, in 2001 (I did not have a Patent) The kite sold in quite large quantities. I was advised by the American Patent Office, that I could fight the case, but it would probably not be worth the cost. I was of the understanding that if something was on public display, it could not be retrospectively patented. Am I wrong in thinking this?
Future trend: If the legislation turns into law, use it to show how Congress is violating copyright -- shut down their website. Use the law to show how RIAA violates copyright, shut down their website. Now there must be something we'd find in violation of the Republican's websites who pushed for this. Another trend will see internet innovation moving out of America, just like the politically vile interests push out genetic research. There are better countries to work in now. Think about it.
Another wonderful restriction brought to you by the most regulations in the history of the country thanks Oboma. So all someone has to do is be in Russia/India/China ect and the law is useless. Another Brainiac idea...
China has something like this. You know, the "blocking websites" part? Yeah. Yet we still do a truckload of software/music/movie pirating. In fact you could say it's almost a lifestyle. Just ask the next guy, "Hey, how much is that game?" and he'd reply, "Oh, this one? I got it off some torrent," or "Oh, about 15. I got it from that guy from that so-and-so place." Not gonna' work very well, this bill. It's gonna' stifle a lot of things, for sure; But piracy? Piracy is just gonna' expand and advance even more. The only way to combat it is to provide inimitable and satisfactory services/extra contents for your product. Like what Valve is doing, for example.
I'm not advocating, I'm just asking if someone could set up a single internet IP address that then lists all the banned domain names and a direct IP address link to them? I mean, if you want an asbestos attorney, you can go to http://220.127.116.11/ directly, right? I thought DNS is just an interpreter for a bunch of characters being redirected to a string of numbers IP network address. Can't you bypass the characters and go direct to the numbers? If true, this whole banning thing is like banning someone from a party by confiscating their name tag.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has nothing to do with foreign companies. A foreign company (Chinese or any other) are not subject to American laws. The product example above (Headphonies) would already be protected by US patent and trademark laws which also have no teeth outside of our borders. SOPA is simply a way for MPAA and RIAA to offload the costs of protecting content and costs of prosecuting those who infringe their copyright to the government and by extension everyone in the USA. In effect you will be paying to prosecute yourselves and in combination with other laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, will almost eliminate you right to fair use of the content you purchase. Just do a search for MPAA Lawsuits and the plan becomes a little clearer. You can start here if you like: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20025357-261.html
As stated above, there is always to by pass a restriction. Should this bill go through, i foresee a resurgence in the uses of modes and the bulletin boards that were in uses prior to the internet. Just imagine the effort it would take to control person to person data exchanges that are not transported on a network.
Actually that bill will give copyright holders, and not just the justice dept. the power to shut down web sites that they THINK may bBTW, e infringing. No proof required. Also, that bill was proposed by the GOP and not the Democrats. I'm quite sure though that some of them support it as well. BTW, that includes websites situated in other contries as long as they have a .com, or other tag that is controlled by the US suppliers.
Even though the bill does not have to do with foreign countries, it does have to do with protecting pirated content, which is mostly pirated by foreign countries such as China and Russia and available in the US. These days we live in a global economy and not individual countries, its all connected. With information being accessible so easily, it makes it easy for foreign countries to penetrate the US and make fakes and pirated content easily available. Putting restrictions on US companies/sites will just add fear and will limit peoples freedom for content sharing, however I dont expect it to slow down pirated content or China fakes. People who want things for free or cheap, will figure out how to get it.