SOPA and PIPA Backlash Delightfully Continues as Six Legislators Take Back Their Support of The Bills

Maybe you're sick to death of all the to-do over SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate buddy the Protect Intellectual Property Act or PIPA) or you just really needed your Wikipedia fix today (don't worry, you can still read their SOPA page!). But really, isn't it awesome that people won't shut up about something actually important for once? 

Reason didn't participate, but don't take that as any sort of endorsement of nosy government activities. Nick Gillespie reported earlier today on the protest and how it has drawn support from all sides of the political spectrum.

What's interesting is that powerful people might be listening to this outcry as it's coming not just from the teeming masses, or from civil liberties standbys like Salon's Glenn Greenwald, but from powerful tech people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckeberg, Wikipedia owner Jimmy Wales, and of course the folks at Google.

According to Bloomberg:

Co-sponsors who say they can no longer support their own legislation include Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. Republican Representatives Ben Quayle of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Dennis Ross of Florida also said they would withdraw their backing of the House bill.

Wired, who participated in the blackout protest, cautions on too much celebration, however:

But by no sense of the imagination are these bills scuttled, despite Senate websites reportedly buckling under the weight of constituents weighing in against the measure.

Sure, the worst part of the proposals — mandated DNS redirecting of websites deemed dedicated to infringing activity — appear to be history. But there’s still plenty to protest, as we spelled out in an earlier story Wednesday, including possible mandatory orders for the nation’s ISPs to build a version of the Chinese Great Firewall to prevent users from visiting sites such as The Pirate Bay.

Most important, amended proposals are likely to rear their ugly heads soon in response to White House criticism of the Domain Name System features of the bills.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) says he will bring an amended version of SOPA to the House Judiciary Committee sometime in “February.” And Senate action on an amended PIPA, either on the floor or before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is tentatively scheduled next week....

Among other things, the revolt prompted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who voted in May tomove the Protect IP Act to the Senate floor from the Judiciary Committee, to declare Wednesday that the measure “is not ready for prime time.” A handful of other lawmakers echoed the senior senator’s sentiment.

And Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) introduced a competing measure, with the support of more than a dozen lawmakers, that would open the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate intellectual-property infringement claims.

All the while, at least 4.5 million internet surfers signed a Google-sponsored petition against both measures Wednesday.

Also, in case you forgot, the MPAA and the RIAA are awful:

The Motion Picture Association of America sent out a factsheet saying “Nothing in the Protect IP Act can reasonably be construed as promoting censorship.”

And the Recording Industry Association of America tweeted “Perish the thought” that students must do “original research” Wednesday because of Wikipedia’s self-inflicted 24-hour outage.

They're also big backers of these bills, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Time Warner, and News Corp, among others with big money and big influence. New Corp overlord Rupert Murdoch has been tweeting freely about this very subject, and if you didn't loathe him before, some of his more recent tweets offer fresh justification to do so.

Former Reasonoid Julian Sanchez, over at Cato, is not ready to declare victory either. Because even if the more controversial elements of the bills, the ones which demand a Domain Name Service (DNS) blocking of "rogue" websites:

The Justice Department and private copyright owners can still seek to have entire foreign sites branded as infringers, triggering an array of remedies that would still deter technological investment and innovation, and still impose serious burdens on American companies and ordinary Internet users. Contrary to the claims of SOPA and PIPA supporters, copyright holders have often been perfectly able to sue the foreign “rogue sites” they cite as evidence new legislation is needed… the problem is that sometimes, they lose. Instead of all that messy litigation, SOPA and PIPA would establish one-sided hearing mechanism that mocks true due process. Any site a single friendly judge deems “rogue” would still be starved of advertising and subscription revenue. American search engines and other “information location tools” would still have to filter their content to redact any links to the shunned site. As Wikileaks has learned, repressive regimes have long known, and the Supreme Court acknowledged inCitizens Unitedeconomic regulation can silence speech (and run afoul of the First Amendment) as effectively as overt censorship.

Whatever meaningful effect this backlash has towards the bills in their more controversial forms, the subject is not going away. The anarchy of the internet is a threat to all lawmakers who don't have a clue what kids of the internet generation are doing with this freedom. Piracy is (debatably) a problem, but never doubt governmental urges to treat hangnail problems with chainsaw solutions.

Reason on copyright

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  • old fart||

    Jesus Christ, if I clicked all those links, it'd take me three hours to read this blog entry.
    Short version- SOPA sucks, fascists suck but never go away.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Fair enough! And that was mostly Wired -- I didn't want to remove em if someone did want to spend three hours.

  • Scruffy the Janitor||

    I am so putting a link to Pirate Bay in this message and hope they include some retroactive language in the bill.

  • Amakudari||

    The dumbest part about this bill had to be the DNS bullshit. Seriously, all you would have needed is someone outside China/Syria/Iran/the US to ping The Pirate Bay and then have folks use a tool to add that to their hosts file. That provision would have completely fucked up DNSSEC and the first two Ws in WWW but only dented piracy. It's telling how far the RIAA and MPAA will go.

  • ||

    Reason didn't participate

    Thank goodness for that. Not being able to chat in the chat room? Too horrible to contemplate.

  • ||

    This thread has some good stuff in it

    #TonyPwned

    and

    #ThePartTonyLeftOut

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hey, show some consideration. Lucy's been writing this post since 8:00 this morning.

  • ||

    Isn't it funny how every idiot becomes a libertarian when his personal freedom is threatened?

  • ||

    New Corp overlord Rupert Murdoch has been tweeting freely about this very subject, and if you didn't loath him before, some of his more recent tweets offer fresh justification to do so.

    Well, not *every* idiot.

  • ||

    I bet Murdoch does not go to any sites potentially threatened by these bills, so his freedom isn't in harms way.

  • Tman||

    It's hilarious actually. My Facebook is littered with people from both the left and right who have suddenly discovered that government overreach is "like totally messed up man, fuckin Wikipedia is down!!!".

    It's so rare when the government gores such a universally sacred cow, but as Uncle Milty says "make it politically profitable for politicians to do the right thing". Cash in them chips Rubio!!

  • Amakudari||

    Depends on your worldview. For some it could be sad, but that's just no way to live. This is why I adhere closely to the tenets of Amused Cynicism.

  • US Senator||

    don't "the people" know we don't give a shit what they want, or what they think they want. We're elected to think for them (you). Here's a cookie; now go Facebook someone.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    now go Facebook someone.

    Until some future-POTUS slaps the panic button? Gee, thanks. Next you'll tell me to gambol, right?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Not my senator. In fact, there is a certain comfort even a libertarian can have with his senator when 1 of them is Rand Paul.

    I virtually never have to worry that he'll be on the wrong side of a bill, and, as an added plus, that he'll go the extra mile to do everything in his power to keep certain bills from passing, SOPA and PIPA included. In fact, while sitting at lunch today I received a tweet from him stating "I oppose #SOPA & #PIPA have pledged to filibuster and do everything I can to stop gov't censorship of the Internet."

    Rand Paul: A Nice Warm Blanket.

  • Underpants Gnome||

    I have an urge to caution against feeling complacent even with a Rand Paul but...yeah. He would give me a pretty warm and fuzzy feeling too, considering one of my senators is Claire McCaskill.

  • yonemoto||

    he did qualify his statement with "virtually never"

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I hear ya.

    But he hasn't been anything but FANFUCKINGTASTIC on everything he's addressed. His record so far after a year is superb. He's the only member of the Senate who consistently speaks up for liberty.

    I'll take it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Co-sponsors who say they can no longer support their own legislation include Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. Republican Representatives Ben Quayle of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Dennis Ross of Florida also said they would withdraw their backing of the House bill.

    Like roaches fleeing from light.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    At least they had the decency to flee from the light, unlike the rest of the co-sponsors.

  • juris imprudent||

    What is the difference between Rep. Lamar Smith and a rabid possum?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The possum doesn't violate the same law he's trying to pass.

    Not exactly a preacher caught in bed with a prostitute, but...

  • rather ||

    Like rats an Italian cruise ship Captain jumping from a sinking ship

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Why would you insult roaches like that?

  • cynical||

    If only there were some big companies whose profits derived from people not being indefinitely detained as terrorists or assassinated.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And the Recording Industry Association of America tweeted “Perish the thought” that students must do “original research” Wednesday because of Wikipedia’s self-inflicted 24-hour outage.

    This actually increases my opinion of the RIAA.

  • ||

    Yeah! And bring back slide rules!

    Wikipedia is awesome. This idea that spending tons poring over obscure journals verifying facts that could be found on wikipedia in seconds is backwards. The fact that older people had to do it and now feel bitter that kids can look shit up instantly doesn't make the old ways not a waste of time.

    Oh, and fuck the RIAA in the ass with a two-clawed hammer.

  • Amakudari||

    This. For many articles, Wikipedia is about as reliable as those encyclopedias anyway.

    What's that, my link is to a scientific journal with a paywall? Imagine that.

  • ||

    That only applies to science & math articles, and only dealt with the number of errors in articles. It doesn't take into account the disorganized organization and shallower depth of coverage of many Wikipedia articles even in those areas.

    Wikipedia is a good thing but let's not overstate things.

  • Amakudari||

    Disorganization is true but largely stylistic (larger organization issues have been partly remedied by templates), but Wikipedia enables quicker access to information, so I'm not terribly concerned about depth. And we're talking about depth vs Encyclopædia (fancy!) Britannica. I had a full set -- several dozen volumes -- growing up. Many of its articles were short. The quality of articles on contemporary subjects was very poor, of course. And what you get in depth you lose in breadth (plus, for depth, I'd rather have links to resources). There are trade-offs, but I can say that I never touched the encyclopedias -- which were in the next room -- once Wikipedia became a well-known resource. It's a very useful starting point.

    (My point about scientific journals is not about depth, merely difficulty of access.)

  • ||

    We were a Funk & Wagnall's family. They did issue "updates" once a year that you could stick on the end of the shelf.

  • Amakudari||

    I'm pretty sure my folks got ripped off by some door-to-door salesman, so no annual updates for me. It didn't hurt too much, though, as very little of what I needed to research through high school required contemporary knowledge.

  • R||

    Wikipedia is nice in that unlike regular encyclopedias, their easily accessible bibliography gives you a jump off point to not only verify the information in the article, but to find additional, authoritative sources about the subject.

    I do agree it should not be used as an actual source in a research paper for various reasons (one being that it IS possible to edit it to one's liking, the other being that few good professors, at least in college, allow encyclopedia sources anyway as they're usually too shallow to adequately explore the topic), it is a very convenient starting place.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    . This idea that spending tons poring over obscure journals verifying facts that could be found on wikipedia in seconds is backwards.

    You miss the point. Sure Wikipedia is great for the average person to quickly find a fact. However, a student is assigned a research paper to learn how to do research, that is, doing the leg work to find information from various sources and synthesize them into a coherent argument.

    Don't you agree that a student should learn how to do long division by hand, so they know the mathematical concept before using a calculator?

  • ||

    But, what I'm arguing is that using wikipedia is how research is now done.

    Personally, I've tried using the article searches that the library uses and they're crap. What gives a better array of info is using google, google docs, and the wikipedia article's cites.

    And the long division analogy is bad. Dividing numbers is the same throughout time and space. But, a 1000 years from now, the old 'leg work' research method may not even be possible. There is no fundamental and unchanging way to do research.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But, what I'm arguing is that using wikipedia is how research is now done.

    By whom? If I cited Wikipedia in one of my papers, I'd be laughed out of my job. (No tenure.) It's not just intellectual snobbery, but the real concerns of using a source that hasn't undergone formal peer review.

    And the long division analogy is bad. Dividing numbers is the same throughout time and space. But, a 1000 years from now, the old 'leg work' research method may not even be possible. There is no fundamental and unchanging way to do research.

    I disagree. Primary sources are still going to be primary sources. A student should learn how to consult primary sources and formulate his or her opinion concerning the material. Reading the Cliff-notes-like summary posted on Wikipedia, which already contains the bias of whomever wrote the article, (I've found that Wikipedia's "NPOV" rarely works) doesn't provide the student practice in developing critical thinking.

    And while you are correct in that there is no fundamental and unchanging way to do research, there exists a longstanding intellectual tradition in Western culture. From Socrates, to Scholasticism, to the Analytic school, our research methodology has revolved around engaging primary sources and synthesizing them to further our discourse on the subject.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But, what I'm arguing is that using wikipedia is how research is now done.

    By whom? If I cited Wikipedia in one of my papers, I'd be laughed out of my job. (No tenure.) It's not just intellectual snobbery, but the real concerns of using a source that hasn't undergone formal peer review.

    And the long division analogy is bad. Dividing numbers is the same throughout time and space. But, a 1000 years from now, the old 'leg work' research method may not even be possible. There is no fundamental and unchanging way to do research.

    I disagree. Primary sources are still going to be primary sources. A student should learn how to consult primary sources and formulate his or her opinion concerning the material. Reading the Cliff-notes-like summary posted on Wikipedia, which already contains the bias of whomever wrote the article, (I've found that Wikipedia's "NPOV" rarely works) doesn't provide the student practice in developing critical thinking.

    And while you are correct in that there is no fundamental and unchanging way to do research, there exists a longstanding intellectual tradition in Western culture. From Socrates, to Scholasticism, to the Analytic school, our research methodology has revolved around engaging primary sources and synthesizing them to further our discourse on the subject.

  • Mensan||

    What I find effective when using library databases is to search for review articles on my subject. Then I search by title for the articles cited by the review article. That always works out much better for me than doing searches by keywords or subjects.

  • ||

    It also evinces the RIAA's misunderstanding of Wikipedia, since original research is not allowed to appear in their articles. In theory everything is supposed to be drawn from another source.

    If they said that kids had to look up their own sources for 24 hours, that at least would be almost true (though Google and several Wikipedia reflectors like About.com are still operational)

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Whether your resource is Wikipedia or or a fucking musty academic archive, you are not doing original research. Someone else already compiled the information you are accessing. Students generally are not expected to be doing real original research.

  • ||

    this.

  • Mensan||

    "Students generally are not expected to be doing real original research."

    That depends on what level of education they are pursuing. Most Masters and Doctoral programs I'm aware of do require original research. I even did original research as part of my undergrad work, but that wasn't a required class.

  • Peyton Manning||

    Did I retire?

    Oh, and FUCK BRADY!

  • Joe Montana ||

    Seriously, fuck your generation of QBs. The AFC South is like a season-long bye.

  • db||

    "Points will also be awarded for 'That gimp Brady'"

  • Sevo||

    If you looked at Wiki today (yep, I did), there was a blurb there that decried the loss of "free information".
    What horseshit! Information isn't free, as Wiki should know from their NPR-style whines for contributions they've been running.
    They could have been honest and admitted that knowledge isn't free, but it should not be subject to government control, but they chose not to do that. Dishonest bastards, and they won't get a penny from me.
    Craig Newmark is no better; caving to government control every time the government hints, while claiming to be 'free'.

  • Tony||

    Freedom is not just what exists in the absence of government. You are allowed to favor freedom even when it conflicts with corporate interests. Being blindly antigovernment should not be the extent of libertarianism.

  • BigT||

    True, there are private citizen statists to loathe as well. For example, Tony. And a host of other pettyfoggers.

  • ||

    Big government and big business go together like bugs in a rug.

  • Tony||

    Big government is a meaningless concept. Unless you mean that government's share of GDP has something to do with corporate favoritism. Corporate favoritism and weak government go together, perhaps. Is you assume a set amount of force available in the world, if you take authority to use it away from the democratic entity it only goes to the nondemocratic ones, it doesn't go away.

    Government in theory could defend the freedom of the Internet against corporate interests who want to destroy it. When you get down to it, government is what's standing in the way of the MPAA just coming over and clubbing you over the head.

    I'm trying to help you here. "Government is evil" is not the answer to every question in the world. Sometimes it seems as if libertarianism is that sentiment and nothing else.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:53PM|#
    "Big government is a meaningless concept."
    Tell that to the North Koreans, shithead.
    Oh, and fuck you.

  • Tony||

    Do you talk to your mother with that mouth, assuming you were not disowned long ago?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:57PM|#
    "Do you talk to your mother with that mouth, assuming you were not disowned long ago?"
    No, shithead. Moms's much brighter than you.

  • juris imprudent||

    Government in theory

    Holy shit, I laughed so hard I nearly puked. Yes, in theory you got that much right.

  • R||

    In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're not.

  • ||

    When you get down to it, government is what's standing in the way of the MPAA just coming over and clubbing you over the head.

    That would explain the presence of DHS and ICE agents at some of these IP enforcement raids.

    As you alluded to earlier, without govt assistance the RIAA and MPAA wouldn't have any control over their products. If worst comes to worse, I can defend my lawnmower with my firearm(s). But what can RIAA do to defend "Hit Me Baby One More Time"? Nothing!

  • juris imprudent||

    Government in theory

    Yep, in theory you got that much right.

  • Tony||

    You don't get to favor breaking down every barrier between government and corporate influence and then be a smartass about how bad government is at controlling corporate abuse.

  • ||

    You don't get to favor breaking down every barrier between government and corporate influence (and the ability of the government to interfere in the economy, thus eliminating any incentive for businesses to influence government in the first place) and then be a smartass about how bad government is at controlling corporate abuse.

  • Tony||

    I don't want to remove the ability of government to interfere in the economy because I think anarchy is bad (bad for business too).

  • ||

    So you get to ignore one part of libertarian policy you don't like, and then you criticize the other policy you don't like based on something that would only exist in the absence of the first policy you ignored?

    The Part Tony Left Out: (I am arguing dishonestly)

  • ||

    Don't forget to #ThePartTonyLeftOut

  • Tony||

    It's not influencing government per se that is the harm, it's what they want to do with that influence, i.e., assert more control over you. How does weakening government make that desire go away?

  • ||

    It's not influencing government per se that is the harm, it's what they want to do with that influence, i.e., assert more control over you.

    What else besides coercive control would a business influence the government for Tony?

    Time's up, that was a trick question.

    How does weakening government make that desire go away?

    Because there is no reason for a company to influence a government that does not have the power to change the economy to give that company an unfair advantage. For fucks sake, how can this be explained in simpler terms?

  • Tony||

    You can't take away government's power to change the economy because the entire reason government exists is to "change the economy."

    Even a nightwatchman state would have this issue: So you have a state with no regulations or control over the economy except to mobilize the resources necessary to patrol the border. There would be defense contractors. How do you prevent them from corrupting the process and gaining favoritism? Money equals speech, remember!

  • ||

    You can't take away government's power to change the economy because the entire reason government exists is to "change the economy."

    False. The reason government exists is to protect our freedoms (see The Constitution).

    Even a nightwatchman state would have this issue: So you have a state with no regulations or control over the economy except to mobilize the resources necessary to patrol the border. There would be defense contractors. How do you prevent them from corrupting the process and gaining favoritism? Money equals speech, remember!

    Corrupting the process how? Remember that such a country would not be a republic. There would be no one to wine and dine. You and I would hire the companies we wish to hire to protect us, or not hire any at all.

  • Mensan||

    "It's not influencing government per se that is the harm, it's what they want to do with that influence, i.e., assert more control over you. How does weakening government make that desire go away?"

    Let’s try an analogy here:

    Powerful government: Your neighbor gets pissed off at you and tells the police that you’ve been dealing drugs out of your house. A swat team knocks down your door at 3 am, shoots your dog, beats you, and throws you in jail.

    Weak government: Your neighbor gets pissed off at you and tells the security guard at the mall that you’ve been dealing drugs out of your house. Nothing else happens.

    In both cases, the desire of your neighbor to control you through the government is the same. The outcome is determined by the government's ability or inability to act in accordance with that influence.

  • Tony||

    This argument is beneath you. Yes private interests try to wield government's power for themselves. But government's monopoly on legitimate coercion is by virtue of the definition of government. Take away that power and it just goes to the private interests anyway, you just take out the middle man.

    What also should be beneath you is the old Republican tactic: be as horrible at managing government as they possibly can, then say "See how bad government is at things? Vote for us!" As long as there is still some version of government around, every abuse as a result of weakening government can be blamed on it, leading to support for weakening it further, and bizarrely it works like a charm.

  • ||

    But government's monopoly on legitimate coercion is by virtue of the definition of government. Take away that power and it just goes to the private interests anyway, you just take out the middle man.

    We're talking about illegitimate power that the government has. There is no reason the government should have power to influence the economy in the first place. The government is not using it's power legitimately (to stop coercion) when it influences the economy.

    What also should be beneath you is the old Republican tactic: be as horrible at managing government as they possibly can, then say "See how bad government is at things? Vote for us!"

    LOL.

    Cling to that conspiracy theory for dear life, it's the only thing you've got.

  • ||

    Oh, and what about the Democrats being just as horrible at managing government? Was that by grand design too, or was that just the government truly not working?

  • Tony||

    Democrats aren't "just as" horrible by a long shot. Case in point: Bush took 8 years to not find bin Laden and get 4500 soldiers killed in the process. Obama found him and shot him. Maybe from the perspective of someone who thinks not being horrible consists only of enacting your silly utopian scheme.

  • ||

    Wow, a SEAL team killed Osama while Obama was president. You're right, not only could that never have happened under Bush (because he prevented the Pentagon from pursuing Osama that way, right?) but that automatically makes Obama better. None of Obama's legislative or executive legacy that actually affects you and me matters when comparing him to Bush.

    #ThePartTonyLeftOut

  • Tony||

    The government is not using it's power legitimately (to stop coercion) when it influences the economy.

    How does it exercise its power to stop coercion without influencing the economy? Would the market look the same if defense and policing weren't subsidized as they are? How come those things don't destroy the pristine nature of the market but other mobilizations of resources that you don't like do?

    To get back to the issue at hand, what do you think the corporations favoring these laws would be prevented from doing with a smaller government?

  • ||

    How does it exercise its power to stop coercion without influencing the economy? Would the market look the same if defense and policing weren't subsidized as they are?

    Yes, I completely agree. Subsidization through taxation is government influence on the economy and should not be allowed.

    Thanks for finally coming around Tony.

  • Tony||

    I'll come around when you explain why anarchy would be good for me.

  • ||

    I honestly don't give a shit if it's "good" for you, whatever that means. I care infinitely more about getting people out of crypto-slavery. So sit down and shut up.

  • ||

    To get back to the issue at hand, what do you think the corporations favoring these laws would be prevented from doing with a smaller government?

    I don't understand Tony, what are you afraid businesses might do? Because if government can't help them out, then the only bad thing I could see them doing is becoming murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. And you aren't suggesting libertarians are OK with that are you?

  • Tony||

    You seem to be OK with it since you don't want a government that subsidizes any activity, like say the prevention of murder, theft and rape.

    Granted, the companies wouldn't have a leg to stand on without government intervention in the first place in the form of copyright protection. But then the only reason I can't plunder your stuff is because of government subsidized property rights.

  • ||

    Yes, I want a true democracy, where you aren't forced to "subsidize" things. Government can't serve you if it controls you. Your claim that taxation is necessary to do that has been debunked many many times on these comment boards.

  • ||

  • R||

    When you get down to it, government is what's standing in the way of the MPAA just coming over and clubbing you over the head.

    Actually, you have that backwards; the MPAA is probably one of those reviled organizations there is. They'd last maybe two seconds after trying to off someone; after that, they'd be torn to shreds.

  • 2nd amendment||

    Im still around

  • NotSure||

    Tony the buffoon does it again, so I suppose all that internet censorship in China is the fault of corporations ?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:27PM|#
    "Freedom is not just what exists in the absence of government."
    Shithead, given enough time, you might somehow argue that into a valid point, but it ignores the *fact* that government interfering in the distribution of information is certainly an infringement on freedom. IOWs, it's nothing more than one of your strawmen, shithead.

    "You are allowed to favor freedom even when it conflicts with corporate interests."
    Shithead, I'll bet you thought that actually meant something.

    "Being blindly antigovernment should not be the extent of libertarianism."
    Shithead, I'll bet you thought that actually meant something.

  • ||

    Wait, so Tony is saying libertarians are in favor of/ignore non-government coercion?

    Last I checked, libertarians are not pro-murder, pro-theft, pro-rape, etc.

  • Mensan||

    The problem is that in Tony's mind any act that is not altruistic is an act of coercion.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What about being blindly pro-government?

  • ||

    All the information on Wikipedia is free.

    It's the server space and bandwidth that cost money.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa|1.18.12 @ 10:37PM|#
    "All the information on Wikipedia is free.
    It's the server space and bandwidth that cost money."

    That's GREAT!
    Wanna try that without the internal contradiction?

  • ||

    Since Six Flags charges me to go on their roller coasters, does that mean that gravitational potential energy costs money?

    Of course not. Gravity is free. Only the mechanism for safely experiencing it costs money.

  • Sevo||

    "Gravity is free. Only the mechanism for safely experiencing it costs money."
    Joke, right?

  • Mensan||

    But the potential energy isn't the fun part. I think they are charging for the kinetic energy.

  • ||

    I mean, can you cite an example where Wikipedia paid someone for information?

  • Amakudari||

    Although they haven't, it would make no difference whether Wikipedia paid someone to contribute.

    The questions are whether you are free to view Wikipedia (you are, well, except today), free to contribute (you are) and free to discuss any topic without government interference (you are). That you in particular do not have to pay for the information is a side bonus, but all "free" information and software on the internet does require someone to expend money for bandwidth/electricity and others to expend time to create it.

    Its larger point is that it provides free access to information, and that claim is pretty much true.

  • ||

    Anyone could have visited anywhere on Wikipedia today if they simply blocked Javascript through their browser. You could also have viewed any page unmolested if you hit ESC before the Javascript had a chance to load.

    Wikipedia is not only slightly hypocritical as Sevo has alluded to, but they're also kind of lazy. Basically, they threw a full-page version of their begging banners (which NoScript users don't see unless they allow Java) over every page.

    While their protest is admirable in principle, in practice they were either lazy or cowardly.

    Google's "protest" was even weaker.

  • ||

    The protest was designed to raise awareness, and that it did. Most of Wikipedia's users aren't sophisticated enough to figure that out, and having to find out how by Googling or following the links at Wikipedia itself did enough to make them aware of the issue.

  • ||

    I suppose, but my sophistication in this matter stopped at me running NoScript like I always do, by default. I very much just stumbled upon this pretty easy workaround. Considering the ever-increasing number of people who have some modicum of awareness of online security and/or hatred of ads, I wouldn't be shocked if a bunch of relative ignoramuses also stumbled on this because they use those tools by default, whether they know it or not.

    Wikipedia could have done the job pretty easily without leaving gaping holes in their protest. Were they really into it? Who knows. Seems pretty half-assed to me.

    Google, though, was infinitely worse.

  • ||

    exactly. like most protests, there was a large element of theater to it.

    their GOAL was not to make absolutely sure nobody could use their product

    their goal was to raise awareness, and they accomplished their goal admirably

    the fact that people found the workarounds , that they left in because they didn't detract from the impact, doesn't change that

  • Amakudari||

    The point, as Tulpa said, was to raise awareness. Even if you're among the 10% who knows an easy way around it, you still saw the protest. I've been using Wikipedia all day through Google's cache. I like JavaScript because of the thrill of living dangerously.

    A better example of stupid is the New York Times. They throw up a lightbox demanding that you pay to read more articles per month, but you can get around it by just using NoScript or privacy mode on a browser that supports it. But again, most people have no idea how to get around this.

    The likely reason Wikipedia used JavaScript is because if they had all pages redirect, it could have really messed up search engine functioning. This way, web crawlers still see all the original text and process links correctly.

  • ||

    I did consider that they didn't want to deal with the mess that mass redirects would possibly cause, but I still think they were lazy and could have made more of an impact. They characterized on their front page of the English version that "Wikipedia is locked..."

    Bullshit. That's just flat-out lying.

    Their REAL awareness-raising coup was getting the tech-unsavvy media to cover the crap out of the story (at least online, and to some degree on TV - conversations with Reddit's founder, and the like) even if no Wikipedia honcho was involved directly in the PR push (did they do appearances yesterday?).

  • ||

    Let's sue them for fraud. Or slander, or something.

  • ||

    Sorry, I just think they don't deserve a pat on the back and they may have, in fact, been a bit spineless.

  • Sevo||

    "Its larger point is that it provides free access to information, and that claim is pretty much true."

    Not even with those limitations is it true.
    First, the viewer must have access to the web; it may be 'free' to you in a local library, but that isn't (economically) free.
    Further, as in the base skill of simply reading, that ain't 'free'; you, to learn to read, had to invest time and effort to do so.
    Information is an economic good; it is not "free" at all. You, as an educated westerner, may consider the costs trivial, but that's a judgment call.

  • Amakudari||

    Under those parameters, nothing is free. Even free speech requires learning how to express oneself. Plus you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning.

    The point is that there is trivial restriction, and I'm pretty sure that's how most people understand it.

  • Fake (but kind of not) Sevo||

    Breathing isn't free. You must expend calories to move the muscles in your torso to expand and contract your lungs.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa|1.18.12 @ 10:38PM|#
    "I mean, can you cite an example where Wikipedia paid someone for information?"

    Uh, what?

  • ||

    Information isn't free, as Wiki should know from their NPR-style whines for contributions they've been running.

    Look familiar, Arrogus Maximus?

  • Sevo||

    Non-sequitur, oh, bozo.

  • Amakudari||

    Free as in free speech, not free beer.

  • Tony||

    Besides, the ability to charge money for ones and zeroes (or to manipulate a work of art) exists only because government asserts authority in the matter. The companies behind these laws want favoritism from government--more than they already get by being allowed to charge people for abstractions--to the point of dispensing with due process.

  • ||

    I wonder if that has something to do with the zeitgeist in Washington that the federal government can do whatever the hell it wants outside of uteruses and anuses, which you and your ilk have been stuffing down our throats for decades.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:44PM|#
    "Besides, the ability to charge money for ones and zeroes (or to manipulate a work of art) exists only because government asserts authority in the matter."
    Right, shithead. Why, when anyone sells anything, they have to ask for government authority to do so, rightk shithead?

    "...being allowed to charge people for abstractions"
    "Being allowed" shithead?
    Fuck you.

  • Tony||

    If they want copyright protection, they need government guns.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:57PM|#
    "If they want copyright protection, they need government guns."
    No, their own guns would do fine.
    Did you have a point, shithead?

  • Tony||

    I'd think that was clear: you are so stupid you can't even tell when you're arguing for government force and against individual freedom.

    But as you're now endorsing strongman totalitarianism, perhaps that's not surprising to you.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 11:05PM|#
    "I'd think that was clear:
    Your stupidity knows no bounds, shithead.

  • ||

    Sevo, are you claiming that the MPAA should be able to bust down the door of anyone who converts a Britney Spears CD to MP3s and pistol whip them into submission?

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa|1.18.12 @ 11:16PM|#
    "Sevo, are you claiming that the MPAA should be able to bust down the door of anyone who converts a Britney Spears CD to MP3s and pistol whip them into submission?"
    No.

  • ||

    Then how are we to interpret

    "If they want copyright protection, they need government guns." No, their own guns would do fine.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, sorta like 'if you want to steal from me, and there's no government agency to protect my property, I'll do so on my own'.
    Are you trying to supplant MNG as sophomoric twit?

  • db||

    Just curious, and maybe it's been addressed already, but why did Reason not participate in the Stop Sopa blackout?
    "the answer to bad speech is more speech?"
    or:
    "Our readers already know about this and would like to track other people's burgeoning awareness of the issue."

  • ||

    The blackout is an attempt to make people aware of the seriousness of this issue. Anyone visiting Reason is already aware of this issue, so there's no point doing it here.

  • ||

    There are far more serious and egregious threats to freedom than SOPA, yet these are not considered deserving of mass protest.

  • Barack Obama||

    There are far more serious and egregious threats to freedom than SOPA

    "PRESENT!"

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Just curious, and maybe it's been addressed already, but why did Reason not participate in the Stop Sopa blackout?

    Because, Yokeltarian objections notwithstanding, reason's caretakers have more than two brain cells to rub together.

  • Shithead||

    Yokeltarian

    My you are clever. You must have more than two brain cells to rub together.

    Are you an asshole in real life, or do you just play one on comment boards?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:58PM|#
    "Not that corporate profits are necessarily the same thing as national interest or individual freedom..."
    Shithead, would you be kind enough to put that mash-up in English, shithead?

  • ||

    And piracy does not appear to have become the big financial problem everyone thought it would be.

    I can't really think of any problem that turned out to be as big a deal as all the Chicken Littles claimed it would be. Hmm, I wonder what their actual motive was...

  • ||

    And the Recording Industry Association of America tweeted “Perish the thought” that students must do “original research” Wednesday because of Wikipedia’s self-inflicted 24-hour outage.

    RIAA vs. Wikipedia? I wonder who's going to win if it comes down to that PR battle.

    Of course, it's long been clear that MPAA and RIAA don't care what the public thinks of them; they speak (and spend) in terms that the people who matter will understand.

    Big government and big business: very ordinary bedfellows indeed.

  • ||

    And piracy does not appear to have become the big financial problem everyone thought it would be.

    I can't really think of any problem that turned out to be as big a deal as all the Chicken Littles claimed it would be. Hmm, I wonder what their actual motive was...

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I believe in intellectual property, but copyright has been inflated and extended well beyond all possible justification. And piracy does not appear to have become the big financial problem everyone thought it would be.

  • Tony||

    Not that corporate profits are necessarily the same thing as national interest or individual freedom...

  • Lord Obama||

    The "national interest" is whatever I say it is. Now get back to your groveling, serf

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 10:58PM|#
    "Not that corporate profits are necessarily the same thing as national interest or individual freedom..."
    Shithead, please put that mash-up in English.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Shithead, please put that mash-up in English.

    This "shithead" thing you're on with Tony is really fucking annoying.

  • ¢||

    People not buying any more copies of a small-market "cult" CD once fifty or so people have bought copies and one or two of them have put copies of their copies up on the tubes has cost me...a probably not small amount of money that I don't really know how to estimate. And I don't really care, because I don't need money.

    The problem I think that kind of "piracy" will cause, longer-term, because "incentives matter," is that people who need money from sales—not from patronage (of whatever sort)—to fund or justify their making of things will stop making so many things. And those people tend to make the best things, so the world will be more shitty.

    But not many people will notice.

  • Tony||

    Copyright entitlement is not without merit... dispensing with due process in determining and acting upon alleged infringement is.

  • Gojira||

    So what you're saying is, they'll be forced to come up with reasons to convince people to purchase their product instead of using force to try and wring profits out of a non-scarce resource.

    Like quite a few bands that purposefully put their music out for free and then ask people to buy the albums, which I have done several times.

  • ||

    there's this little company called Id software that actually GAVE away some really cool game, an idea that was laffed at, at the time as an autofail bizness strategy

    they turned out pretty well

    as a guy who used to spend hours with nibbles away and locksmith pirating old Apple II programs, i understand the fear of hackers and pirates that the corporate ignorati have, but the reality is people WILL pay for good product. but they don't want to plunk down big money without being able to at least kick the tires a bit, generally speaking

  • Gojira||

    Your example is right on, and is more common than the MPAA and RIAA want to acknowledge. I'm more than happy to pay for a product if I like it and want to support that artist.

  • ||

    yes. and as companies like steam etc. take advantage of, there's a big-ass market for good games. and as much as i loathe apple with every fiber of my soul, itunes with their cheap-ass app model has also done very well

    angry birds has a demo version. didn't stop it from becoming the tetris of the handheld.

    heck, i STILL play doom (updated with the quake engine) sometimes. THAT's a fucking classic.

    open architecture was their other major innovation. who could forget ARMY OF DARKNESS DOOM... ? "I'LL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL???"

  • Amakudari||

    Here's the thing, the MPAA and RIAA don't even need to be honest to themselves, because it's not about honesty. It's about rent-seeking. They probably understand as well as anyone that not everyone downloading a CD would have bought it. But they see a profit opportunity from lobbying the older and computer-illiterate Congress (and still most voters, at this point), who can only conceive of piracy as a physical act akin to stealing apples off a cart.

    These older folks can't use email, don't write their own tweets, and can't understand how the internet works. They're amazed about their eight year-old grandchild who knows how to work a cell phone better than them, rather than distressed by their own ignorance. They don't have a clue how, say, having ISPs break the DNS could be a bad thing, or how easy it is for infringing material to be posted on any site with a submit button, or how ridiculously muddled concepts like property are on a system with the capacity to propagate and replicate all information worldwide in an instant.

  • ||

    And it ain't just that. If MPAA/RIAA make PPP and other alternative distribution means untenable due to rolling SOPA blackouts, that forces more content creators to go through their dinosaur clubs if they want their work distributed.

  • Sevo||

    "And those people tend to make the best things, so the world will be more shitty."
    "best things"? Cite missing.

  • ||

    Piracy is not a good thing, but to a great extent this isn't about piracy. Ultimately RIAA (and to a lesser extent MPAA) are trying to shut down alternative distribution methods that they have no control over.

    The past decade has seen many musical artists choose not to bother with the record companies, who habitually chew up and spit out unwary artists, and distribute their own work via PPP or similarly nontraditional means. This hasn't been as widespread in the movie and video artist community due to the greater bandwidth associated with such activities, but the community eschewing the MPAA's traditional studios and distributors there is growing as well.

    "Half the world is middlemen and they don't take kindly to being cut out." That's a large part of what's going on here.

  • Sevo||

    "Half the world is middlemen and they don't take kindly to being cut out." That's a large part of what's going on here."

    Careful with that claim; reducing friction in transactions is what "middle-men" do.
    It's obvious that you both hope your new "middle-man" reduces friction more than the last, and that you presume the new "middle-man" isn't a "middle-man".
    Have you ever been involved in that thing called "business"?

  • ||

    There are many different purposes of middlemen, the chief ones being the absorption of risk and (from the seller's POV) help with distribution and marketing. All these concerns are minimal in the world of digital music being distributed via the net.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa|1.18.12 @ 11:55PM|#
    There are many different purposes of middlemen, the chief ones being the absorption of risk and (from the seller's POV) help with distribution and marketing. All these concerns are minimal in the world of digital music being distributed via the net."

    I have no problem with either your description, nor your claims about the specific case.
    My statement was limited to "Half the world is middlemen and they don't take kindly to being cut out."
    Again, I question your involvement in business.

  • ||

    "Well, maybe I'm not a fancy gentleman like you, with your...very fine hat. But I do business."

  • Tony||

    The environment changes and the market adapts. It's supposed to be the engine of innovation, not a collusion to preserve the status quo.

  • ||

    And piracy does not appear to have become the big financial problem everyone thought it would be.

    I can't really think of any problem that turned out to be as big a deal as all the Chicken Littles claimed it would be. Hmm, I wonder what their actual motive was...

  • ||

    The income tax?
    Direct election of Senators?
    Letting women vote?

  • ||

    because that's an impossible argument

    iow, by definition it's the ones that DON'T pan out that are defined by chicken littles

    the ones that DO pan out aren't predicted by chicken littles, but by sages, etc. like peter shiff.

    the fact that you refer to CHICKEN LITTLES means you aren't referencing the correct ones

  • sasob||

    Maybe you're sick to death of all the to-do over SOPA (the Stop Online Privacy Act and its Senate buddy the Protect Intellectual Property Act or PIPA)

    I could have sworn it was the Stop Online Piracy Act.

  • The Ghost of Sigmund Freud||

    Booyah!

  • ||

    Fucking squirrels.

  • Squirrels||

    Perhaps you can think of one now.

  • first||

    After Reason blocked all spambots I'm looking for a new job, can you show me how I can become on of these "squirrels".

  • Sevo||

    Check with the poster in the other thread about 'instant relationships'. You guys are made for each other.

  • Apatheist||

    Best Ron Paul campaign ad yet:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/18/.....index.html

  • Proofreader Pete||

    Stop online privacy act? Is this something new?

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Oh Proofreader Pete, what would I do without you?

    I'm never going back to Copyedit Carl, I'll tell you that. That guy's an asshole.

  • sasob||

    Oh Proofreader Pete, what would I do without you?

    You'd still have me. :-)

  • ||

    Maybe you're sick to death of all the to-do over SOPA

    Actually, no. I am glad to see people stand up against the government for a change. My porno and Sugarfree's erudite comments are very important to me.

  • .||

    Damned straight! Porno created the internet.

  • TPTB||

    Maybe you're sick to death of all the to-do over SOPA

    I assure you, the to-do is just beginning.

  • Nephilium||

    The amount of people talking about this today, and the volume of posts running by my Google+ account was unusual. It gave me hope that people might be coming around towards pro-liberty ideas.

  • ||

    Sorry, but issues such as the fact that the government can detain indefinitely and/or kill anyone it wants is not serious enough to merit attention. Only the possibility of government censorship of your favorite website merits outrage and defense of freedom.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I originally had a cranky sentence about that very thing, don't know why I killed that.

  • ||

    i mentioned this in the other thread. as fucked up as it is, there is no way the govt. is cracking down on the intertoobs. it's too much a part of people's everyday lives. they won't do it any more than they could ban coffee at this point.

    the detention/execution thing, as fucked up as it is, americans correctly realize that THEIR chance of being affected by that shit is in a statistical tie with zero

    of course, i hope the libs heads explode when they realize it's EVIL CAPITALIST CORPORASHUNZ that are the tipping point in this fight for freedom from SOPA

  • ||

    What do you want to bet the MPAA and RIAA wish they could have strangled the net in its crib now.

  • ||

    yea, all they got out of it was a cheezy sandra bullock movie.

  • ||

    Personally I prefer Con Air.

  • Tony||

    It's the non-evil type of capitalist corporations. The ones doing what you promise all of capitalism offers: innovating and making people's lives better.

    That's not what all corporations (or investment outfits) do anymore.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 11:52PM|#
    "...That's not what all corporations (or investment outfits) do anymore...."
    Cite, shithead.

  • ||

    right. like GOOGLE. 100% non evil, except for that pesky china shit

  • .||

    ...there is no way the govt. is cracking down on the intertoobs. it's too much a part of people's everyday lives. they won't do it any more than they could ban coffee at this point.

    Yeah, and there's no way they'd ever ban smoking in public places either. I mean, that's just crazy talk!

  • ||

    totally disanalogous.

    smoking was on the way out amongst the elite for many many many years before they tried that ban bullshit

    the intertoobs =/= smoking

    counterexample fail.

  • .||

    totally disanalogous.

    No, it's not. Thirty or more years ago, if you were to have suggested that smoking would be banned in public places, you would have been laughed out of the room. The same is true with a whole bunch of other things: mandatory seatbelt laws, bans on trans-fatty acids in restaurant food, bans on toys in Happy Meals for Chrissake, mandatory health insurance...and on and on. Dude, if I had a fucking nickel for everytime somebody said "oh, the government would never do something like that," I'd be as rich as Bill Gates.

  • ||

    look, i grok it, i just don't agree it's analogous.

    the internet is near universal. LONG BEFORE the govt. pulled off their cig bans, the mass media (movie, teevee), pop culture, etc. had already largely given up on cigarettes. they were UNCOOL.

    it's simply disanalogous.

    a better analogy to the internet would be rock and roll. still going strong.

  • ||

    or tv in the mid 60's. THAT's an analogy to the internet.

    not frigging SEATBELTs

  • Canman||

    Mit might have coffee in his sights.

  • Tony||

    What can people do about that that has any teeth or exposure? It just so happens that the Internet is ubiquitous so people can't ignore the action like they did the antiwar protests.

    Maybe what it takes to build enough support to overturn antiterror policies is people feeling personally threatened. Maybe we need a tyrannical dick in office willing to use the authority against white people before we can get rid of it.

  • ||

    It just so happens that the Internet is ubiquitous so people can't ignore the action like they did the antiwar protests.

    Antiwar protests? Where?

  • Tony||

    Some of the biggest protests in history happened over the Iraq war.

    I know you think they don't count for anything since they're not equally outraged at Obama. For... presiding over the end of the war.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 11:53PM|#
    "Some of the biggest protests in history happened over the Iraq war."
    Only while Bush was in office, shithead.

    "I know you think they don't count for anything since they're not equally outraged at Obama. For... presiding over the end of the war."
    Yep, right about the time Bush claimed to 'end the war', shithead.

  • ||

    For... presiding over the end of the war (scheduled by Bush)

    #ThePartTonyLeftOut

  • Tony||

    Good for Bush. So what are anti-Iraq war protesters supposed to be protesting again?

  • ||

    That the war was ever started in the first place. I though that was obvious...

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I know you think they don't count for anything since they're not equally outraged at Obama. For... presiding over the end of the war.

    Tony, here in about five minutes, go to Wikipedia and look up what the Administration tried to do with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Iraq. Free hint: Obama didn't want to end the war.

  • ||

    How many US troops and Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, Yemeni, and Libyan civilians have been snuff'd out during his presiding?

  • Tony||

    Are you wondering if it's enough to satisfy your desperate need to excuse Republicans?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are you wondering if it's enough to satisfy your desperate need to excuse Republicans?

    Tony, stop being an fatuous ass.

  • Tony||

    Because I don't see your ass at any protests.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Because I don't see your ass at any protests.

    You know absolutely nothing about me. You don't know my name, my age, what I look like (except for being Brown), etc. How the hell would you recognize "my ass" to claim it has never been to any protest?

  • Tony||

    Was talking to Tulpa, whose concerns seem to be other than outrage over war.

  • ||

    Was talking to Tulpa, whose concerns seem to be other than outrage over war.

    I've been against the wars nonstop since 2002. Thanks for asking, shithead. Sevo's term for you may not be the most presentable, but it is accurate.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's a legitimate need to NOT exclude blaming Democrats, Tony.

  • Sevo||

    And how many US troops are still there after 'ending the war'?
    Shithead, there are terms which define you and I can think of non better than 'pathetic'.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    the end of the war

    The end of what war? We're still in Afghanistan, and the Shadow War against Pakistan and Iran is accelerating by the day. Libya opened up a whole another theater...

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.18.12 @ 11:50PM|#
    "...Maybe we need a tyrannical dick in office willing to use the authority against white people before we can get rid of it."
    Got one, shithead.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If you didn't see it upthread, this "shithead" malarkey is really fucking annoying.

  • .||

    Um, not as annoying as Tony's "malarkey".

  • smartass||

    Um, not as annoying as Tony's "malarkey".

    Normally, yes.

    Not today.

  • smartass||

    Aw, can't you tell he's just showing us what he feels like today.

  • Shithead||

    If you didn't see it upthread, this "shithead" malarkey is really fucking annoying.

    The door is over there

    ------->--------------->----------------->------------------>----------------->--------------->----------------->---------------->------------------------->------------>------------->----------->--------->--------->---------->----------->---------------->--------->--------->---------->

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I could say the same to you. If you don't like being called annoying, stop doing annoying things.

  • Shithead||

    I'm not the one complaining like a little bitch.

  • Gojira||

    And BTW, the MPAA and RIAA predicted artistic poverty and armageddon when the VCR and cassette tapes came out because ZOMG they allowed people to copy things and give them to other people.

    The industry didn't collapse then, and it won't now. It's just a desperate, bullshit attempt to use force to roll back the clock, instead of having to actually be nimble and adapt themselves to the new market climate.

  • ||

    And BTW, the MPAA and RIAA predicted artistic poverty and armageddon when the VCR and cassette tapes came out because ZOMG they allowed people to copy things and give them to other people.

    Well, no, they didn't predict that, actually. They predicted that it would hurt their potential revenues and for all any of us know -- since it's impossible to prove a negative -- it very well did just that.

    Just because you glanced over at the music and movie industries, took a quick assessment, and deemed them to be doing OK by whatever benchmark your brain happened to deploy at that moment, doesn't mean they didn't actually take a hit from VCRs and cassettes.

    But that's all irrelevant anyway.

    What's actually relevant are arguments about the nature of rights and intellectual property.

    In other words, who cares what "the MPAA and RIAA" "predicted" about some other thing some other time? Saying "this one group of people feared X this one time, and in my estimation, X didn't actually come to pass, thus this latest fear is also bullshit" isn't an actual argument.

    Rights, and the proper defining of rights, and the government's role in protecting rights -- these are legitimate debates. Crap about "industries" needing to be "nimble" and "adapting" to new "market climates" is totally irrelevant to that argument, which is the only one that actually matters here.

    Either creative works are actually "property," or they're not. Either government should have a role in protecting property, or it shouldn't. We can then argue about how government should do that protecting. But it's not any more complicated than that. Who cares about "the MPAA and RIAA"? They're immaterial to the debate.

  • smartass||

    They're immaterial to the debate.

    Given their role in pushing this BS bill through the mill, along with their clear and unabashed support of it, that statement is simply indefensible.

    The MFers think somebody might have taken some of their stuff. And for all we know, somebody maybe actually did.

    So now they think they should be given arbitrary power to shut down whoever they want, whenever they want, solely on their own assertion? And the only recourse for whoever they assert against, is to take it to court?

    Get a grip boy. The IP issue is no longer relevant. These people are asking to be given monstrous powers that they will almost certainly abuse.

    The music industry has already been caught telling youtube to take down videos of content that it had no direct rights or ownership of.

    You can trust them if you like. Don't expect the rest of us to.

  • Amakudari||

    They're immaterial to the libertarian debate, or any discussion of rights. But the extent of those damages is, if you listen to any popular debate on the subject, often given as the primary reason for why we need to Do Something. They cite $250 billion in losses to the US economy due to piracy. RIAA cites $12.5 billion in losses to the US music industry, which is pretty close to albums downloaded multiplied by MSRP. The US music industry is something like $30 billion in size.

    And since Congress doesn't give a damn about rights, it is important to raise issues about credibility, even if their position is bogus for other reasons.

    The fact is, if all opponents to this bill only approach it from the libertarian IP angle, well, that issue has already been "solved." We lose. I'd rather see opponents use all means at their disposal. That means using libertarian and non-libertarian reasons.

  • ||

    It's worth noting that those numbers are meaningless, since it assumes the content would have been bought if it could not be pirated. And there is no reason to make that assumption.

  • ||

    Front page story on Yahoo: Mitt dared to give shares of stock to his church and claim tax deductions for them.

    The tactic used by Romney to help meet his Mormon obligation of "tithing" - in which members donate 10 percent of their income to the church - is a common way for wealthy Americans to make large donations to charities, tax specialists say.

    They had to consult "tax specialists" for that information? Really? I had no idea that the fact that donations were tax-deductible was that obscure.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa|1.18.12 @ 10:51PM|#
    "Since Six Flags charges me to go on their roller coasters, does that mean that gravitational potential energy costs money?
    Of course not. Gravity is free. Only the mechanism for safely experiencing it costs money."

    Right.
    Information is just a physical phenomenon similar to gravity, right? And describing it for use for the use of other humans is, well, cost-less? 'Cause, of course, as Plato pointed out, we all know everything from internal examination and knew it 'way back when!
    Why, the Neanderthals had nukes; they just chose not to use them, right Tulpa?

  • ||

    Neanderthals???

    SPECIST!!!!!!

  • El Commentariosa||

    I'll ask again, as it's still relevant.
    Why is Roddick playing in the middle of the night?
    His matches should be prime time.

  • ||

    All prime time is reserved for Nadal

  • El Commentariosa||

    Nadal didn't even play today.
    "Primetime" tonight was Djokovic destroying some poor Colombian.

  • Ted S.||

    He played prime time Aussie time against the nearly Mr. Clijsters.

    And thankfully, Roddick lost.

  • ||

    if SOPA passes, will i be free to gambol through the intertoobs?

  • A Serious Man||

    My assessment of 'Alcatraz': J.J Abrams seems to want to go back to the 'Lost' formula by creating a show with Jorge Garcia, a mysterious island, a character that doesn't age, a shifty man of authority that speaks cryptically about everything, and a female lead that is essentially a clone of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace from Battlestar.

    The result is a pretty average show with really bad dialogue, boring characters that seem rather uninterested in the supernatural events that are ouccuring around them, and way too fast pacing that doesn't let the audience absorb any of the material.

  • ||

    You lost me at "JJ Abrams".

  • A Serious Man||

    Yeah, this reminds me of why I dread the fact that his next project is to remake Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

    Like I said above, the pacing in this show is ridiculous, there is zero time set aside to develop characters or allow the audience to breath and absorb all the information that's being dumped on them. It's just a bunch of action shoot-outs followed by expository dialogue and intrigue followed by more shoot-outs.

  • Tony||

    to remake Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

    Are you fucking serious?

  • A Serious Man||

    Here's the IMDB page crediting one Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1408101/

  • ||

    He was pretty good in Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy

  • ||

    And to add to his epicness, he is doing the voice of Smaug for the upcoming Hobbit film.

  • ||

    And the voice for Sauron in The Hobbit. Shit.

  • A Serious Man||

    I agree he's a good actor, but do you think it's possible for ANYONE to come close to Ricardo Montalban?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    There can be only one..... Ricardo

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Yeah, but he's not very Khan-ish.

  • ||

    And he can't sell fine Corinthian Leather for shit.

  • PantsFan||

    Not as aggravating as Cameron re-releasing Titanic in 3D.

  • ||

    If I had just excreted something like the 2009 Star Trek movie and critics and many fans praised me for it, I'd be arrogant enough to redo Khan too.

    How that tripe got > 90% fresh on RT is beyond me.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If I had just excreted something like the 2009 Star Trek movie and critics and many fans praised me for it, I'd be arrogant enough to redo Khan too.

    How that tripe got > 90% fresh on RT is beyond me.

    People who don't know Star Trek liked New Star Trek, that's how.

    Anyway, Midnight in Paris received rave reviews, so I suppose anything's possible.

  • ||

    I thought Midnight in Paris had some charm.

  • A Serious Man||

    Midnight in Paris, like pretty much anything by Woody Allen, is either your thing or not. As a literary buff I enjoyed it a lot and found it quite charming and amusing.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Yeah, this reminds me of why I dread the fact that his next project is to remake Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

    What?! Can Hollywood start remaking movies that sucked the first time, please? Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Plinkett's objections, aside) would be a good start.

    I can't comprehend the size of the brass ones that you'd need, to think that you can improve the best movie in the entire series.

  • El Commentariosa||

    Does it have a lot of lense-flares?

  • A Serious Man||

    I think he only does that on the big screen where he can really blind people.

  • PantsFan||

    DID I miss PM Links?
    Anyway, here's a funny slideshow from the Golden Globes.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....le2305719/

  • ||

    I could have done a better job.

    For instance, this caption should have read "David Bowie arrives at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills on Sunday."

  • ||

    Photo #26, that is.

  • PantsFan||

    I think they made that joke last year.

  • Fashonista||

    Lessons from fashion's free culture

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoyJmxh97Bk

  • PantsFan||

    Argentina is exerting pressure on the Falklands again. I wonder if someone in their administration just saw the Iron Lady and got ideas?

  • affenkopf||

    One of Murdoch's tweets:


    Nonsense argument about danger to Internet. How about Google, others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?

    Yes, Internet hurt. What an idiot.

  • Amakudari||

    It's really cute when a newspaper mogul starts demanding censorship.

  • Bee Tagger||

    No, Rupert, a grocery store chain that stops carrying Four Loko is not analogous to the federal government making it illegal to sell.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Do you think he is the one actually composing these tweets? I have my doubts.

  • ||

    The interesting thing here for me is that rabid capitalist entrepreneurs are, again, doing a better job of representing we the people and what we want--a much better job of representing us than our politicians do.

    It's a point that doesn't get made often enough. ...that Google, Home Depot, your local convenience store, and a dozen restaurants within 3 miles of where you live--all do a better job of reflecting what you want and solving your problems than anyone in Washington D.C. ever will.

    It's so bad, that when our politicians in Washington get it so wrong that they're actually working against our interests, like they were doing with SOPA and PIPA, that it takes rabid capitalist entrepreneurs like Google, et. al. to solve that problem, too!

    Google and a bevy or other entrepreneurs, more responsive to my problems and what I want than my democratically elected representative in Washington--always have been, always will be.

  • ||

    Couldn't Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. just buy every record company and shut down the ridiculous RIAA? I mean, how much is freaking Atlantic records really worth? Can't be more than a pot of piss compared to these guys. Really, the music industry has been fucked for years - just let these guys take it over and move its business model to the current century. Please, do us all a favor here.

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