What are Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act, and how they will affect you [dotTech Explains]

If you follow technology news  regularly you will have, without a doubt, read about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act — Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act).  With SOPA and PIPA being thrown around on every bloody website in the past few weeks, it may be hard to grasp exactly what they are and what they mean. So dotTech has broken it down for you. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are SOPA And PIPA?

SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act. PIPA is the PROTECT IP Act, also known as Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act. SOPA and PIPA are two parts of the same legislation passing through the U.S. Congress. SOPA is the version of the bill proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives while PIPA is the version of the bill proposed in the U.S. Senate. (PIPA was introduced in the Senate first; SOPA came to the House of Representatives as a bigger, badder version of PIPA.) Essentially both SOPA and PIPA are brothers from different mothers; both, generally speaking, propose online piracy countermeasures. If passed by Congress, both will most likely be merged into one single act before being made law.

SOPA/PIPA can broadly be termed as anti-piracy acts. The goal of these acts, on paper, is to stem online piracy of intellectual property and copyrighted content. The acts loosely define what “copyright infringement” is and gives copyright holders and the government far-reaching powers to sue websites/companies/individuals suspected of copyright infringement. Consequences of lawsuits brought under SOPA/PIPA include freezing of funds for accused entities by baring ad networks and payment processing companies from doing business with accused infringers; forcing search engines to de-link accused websites; and making ISPs block access to infringing websites. Additionally, unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content is made a crime punishable by jail time and companies that voluntarily act against copyright infringers will gain immunity from prosecution.

Any copyright holder that knowingly abuses SOPA/PIPA against an entity (i.e. claims a website/company/individual is infringing on copyrights when the website/company/individual actually is not) is liable for damages.

Isn’t this a good thing?

Any regular dotTechie knows I am against pirating. So, then, that would mean I am pro SOPA/PIPA, right? Wrong. In an ideal world these types of protection for intellectual property would be excellent. However, in the real world and in the acts’ current form, there is a high potential for abuse. In fact the risk for abuse is so high SOPA and PIPA are being dubbed censorship acts and are predicted to stem free speech, innovation, creativity, and the ability to overthrow dictators. The end is not justifying the means.

The following video provides a good explanation on SOPA/PIPA and why we should oppose them:

“I’m Not In the USA, So I don’t Care”

If you are under the impression that SOPA/PIPA will only affect USA citizens, you are a fool. The people who wrote SOPA/PIPA aren’t stupid; they may be serving the interest of a select few over the interest of the general population, but they aren’t stupid. Because the American government has no legislative power outside the US borders (jokes about carrying a big stick aside), SOPA/PIPA have been designed to leverage the power of American e-commerce against piracy. In laymen’s terms, SOPA/PIPA will do things such as: Force US-based domain registrars to hijack the domains of infringing websites, regardless of if the accused infringer is a USA-based website or not; make US entities, including web hosts, search engines, blogs, magazines, etc., not do business with infringing websites; etc. These actions will have ripple affects throughout the world. For example, a UK-based website’s domain is registered with GoDaddy. GoDaddy is an American company and thus under the jurisdiction of SOPA/PIPA. If the UK-based website is accused of copyright infringement under SOPA/PIPA, its domain can be hijacked and taken away from it. In short, SOPA/PIPA does not have the ability to cut off the head of accused copyright infringers that are outside the USA; but it will break their legs and thus cripple them in the process.

Furthermore, a website of a USA company, such as YouTube, will be no longer be accessible by people outside the USA if that USA company is hit by SOPA/PIPA. Plus, as the video above duly noted, once USA passes such a law do you really think other countries will sit still and do nothing? Other nations will draft similar legislation, some of which may be more abusive than what we have proposed here.

“But Aren’t We Doing This Already?”

Yes, much of the anti-piracy measures mentioned above are already in place and being enforced. The problem with SOPA/PIPA isn’t necessarily the punishment it dishes out, although some may argue that is also an issue. The biggest issue with SOPA/PIPA is how it defines who can be targeted by the legislation; it broadly widens the scope of anti-piracy measures. Not very many people will argue, at least not publicly, in favor of websites like The Pirate Bay. Rather, it is the innocent websites that get crushed in the process. For example, a website – such as a non-infringing social network or blog – that lists a link to an infringing website (posted by a reader, not the website itself) can potentially be shutdown under SOPA/PIPA.

Think about it this way. Let’s say cocaine is illegal in your country. Now let’s say your neighbors are cocaine dealers. One day the police raids your neighbors’ home and arrests them distribution of cocaine. In the process, you get arrested for breathing cocaine fumes. You aren’t using cocaine, don’t plan on ever using cocaine, nor did you even know your neighbors dealt drugs; but you are still held accountable for your neighbors’ actions. SOPA/PIPA is essentially doing the same thing to the Internet. However, in the case of SOPA/PIPA it isn’t just the government that has the power to bring infringers – or people who they suspect of infringing – to justice; intellectual property owners, too, can bring ‘suits under SOPA/PIPA. You know, the companies that are known to abuse the rights granted to them by law as IP owners.

See the problem?

Who Is For And Against SOPA/PIPA

Companies who’s intellectual property is regularly pirated are for SOPA/PIPA; companies such as Viacom, Disney, ABC, CBS, etc. — basically the entertainment industry plus a few others. Companies who can potentially be targeted by SOPA/PIPA are against it; companies such as Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, etc. — basically all Web 2.0 companies.

The official list of SOPA supporters is as follows:

  • 60 Plus Association
  • ABC
  • Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP)
  • American Bankers Association (ABA)
  • American Federation of Musicians (AFM)
  • American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States
  • Association of American Publishers (AAP)
  • Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
  • Association of Talent Agents (ATA)
  • Beachbody, LLC
  • BMI
  • BMG Chrysalis
  • Building and Construction Trades Department
  • Capitol Records Nashville
  • CBS
  • Cengage Learning
  • Christian Music Trade Association
  • Church Music Publishers’ Association
  • Coalition Against Online Video Piracy (CAOVP)
  • Comcast/NBCUniversal
  • Concerned Women for America (CWA)
  • Congressional Fire Services Institute
  • Copyhype
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Coty, Inc.
  • Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB)
  • Council of State Governments
  • Country Music Association
  • Country Music Television
  • Creative America
  • Deluxe
  • Directors Guild of America (DGA)
  • Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.
  • Elsevier
  • EMI Christian Music Group
  • EMI Music Publishing
  • Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
  • ESPN
  • Estée Lauder Companies
  • Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
  • Gospel Music Association
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Hachette Book Group
  • HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, Inc.
  • Hyperion
  • Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)
  • International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE)
  • International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
  • International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • International Union of Police Associations
  • L’Oreal
  • Lost Highway Records
  • Macmillan
  • Major County Sheriffs
  • Major League Baseball
  • Majority City Chiefs
  • Marvel Entertainment, LLC
  • MasterCard Worldwide
  • MCA Records
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Mercury Nashville
  • Minor League Baseball (MiLB)
  • Minority Media & Telecom Council (MMTC)
  • Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
  • Moving Picture Technicians
  • MPA – The Association of Magazine Media
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
  • National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators
  • National Association of State Chief Information Officers
  • National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
  • National Center for Victims of Crime
  • National Crime Justice Association
  • National District Attorneys Association
  • National Domestic Preparedness Coalition
  • National Football League
  • National Governors Association, Economic Development and Commerce Committee
  • National League of Cities
  • National Narcotics Offers’ Associations’ Coalition
  • National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
  • National Songwriters Association
  • National Troopers Coalition
  • News Corporation
  • Pearson Education
  • Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Provident Music Group
  • Random House
  • Raulet Property Partners
  • Republic Nashville
  • Revlon
  • Scholastic, Inc.
  • Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
  • Showdog Universal Music
  • Sony/ATV Music Publishing
  • Sony Music Entertainment
  • Sony Music Nashville
  • State International Development Organization (SIDO)
  • The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO)
  • The Perseus Books Groups
  • The United States Conference of Mayors
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Time Warner
  • True Religion Brand Jeans
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
  • UMG Publishing Group Nashville
  • United States Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Olympic Committee
  • United States Tennis Association
  • Universal Music
  • Universal Music Publishing Group
  • Viacom
  • Visa Inc.
  • W.W. Norton & Company
  • Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, L.P.
  • Warner Music Group
  • Warner Music Nashville
  • Wolters Kluewer Health
  • Word Entertainment

An unofficial list of SOPA/PIPA opposers is as follows:

  • AOL
  • Boing Boing
  • Creative Commons
  • Daily Kos
  • Disqus
  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Google
  • Grooveshark
  • Hype Machine
  • Kickstarter
  • Kaspersky
  • LinkedIn
  • Mozilla
  • MetaFilter
  • OpenDNS
  • O’Reilly Radar
  • Reddit
  • Techdirt
  • PayPal
  • Torrentfreak
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • TechCrunch
  • Yahoo!
  • Zynga
  • Scribd
  • YCombinator
  • Wikipedia
  • Reddit
  • Namecheap
  • Petzel
  • ICanHasCheezburger
  • Quora
  • Embedly
  • MediaTemple
  • CloudFlare
  • StackExchange (Stack Overflow)
  • Github
  • Linode
  • Hostgator
  • Square
  • The Huffington Post
  • Craigslist
  • ESET
  • 4chan

The following are a few notable companies who supported SOPA/PIPA but have since withdrawn their support, either becoming against SOPA/PIPA or becoming neutral:

  • Business Software Alliance (Includes Apple, Microsoft, Adobe Systems, Intel and more)
  • Electronic Arts
  • Sony Electronics
  • Nintendo
  • GoDaddy

Out of the above list the most notorious is GoDaddy. GoDaddy, a company who seemingly should be against it, came out in public support for SOPA/PIPA. There was (is) huge public outcry against GoDaddy for their support. Within 24-hours GoDaddy withdrew their support and become “neutral” on the issue. However, the damage was done: A campaign was organized by Reddit readers to get GoDaddy customers to transfer to other domain registrars; an estimated more than 37,000 domains jumped ship in two days. Because of its size (GoDaddy claims to register over 50 million domains) it is unclear how much of an affect the defections from GoDaddy had. Still, though, GoDaddy was crucified in the public domain (no pun intended) for its support for “Internet censorship”.

What You Can Do

If living outside the USA there isn’t much you can do aside from ensuring your own government doesn’t follow America’s example; and pressuring your favorite companies into not supporting SOPA/PIPA. If you live in the USA, however, you can contact your U.S. Congress Representative or Senator to urge them to fight against SOPA/PIPA. I’m sure a few campaign donations won’t hurt, either.

Conclusion

China – and some other nations – censor the Internet for political purposes. We, the “leaders” of the “free world”, want to censor the Internet to protect the people and companies who make billions of dollar a year. I am not pro-piracy in the least; but SOPA/PIPA is not the answer to stop online piracy. I’m not going to predict doomsday if SOPA/PIPA pass, but it surely won’t be good.

Feel free to discuss in the comments below.

[via Engadget, Wikipedia, TechCrunch, U.S. House of Representatives, BBC, FightForTheFuture, and more]

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21 comments

  1. NewDude2012

    newJason,

    I am 110% agree with you. They just want to increase their profits for free and made us pay for it (when it is passed on to us), and make us fall in the trap of the law so they can sue people for more money.

    So, petition works when we joint in. JOINT PEOPLE, STAND UP for your freedom. Don’t let the corporations and their GREEDs control MORE of our lives!!!!

  2. newJason

    I am astounded why content providers have never kept in step with technology and continue to sit on their hands when it comes to protecting their content. DRM was long ago recommended with every encoding technology, but content providers neglect to use it because of the difficulty of distributing it.

    I propose the content providers work with the tech industry to innovate new more secure ways to deliver their product. Why should the burden of content protection be placed on internet companies who have no involvement other than to provide portal and information conduits to the content suppliers?
    The entertainment industry wants people to view content, and they want to collect a fee for doing so.
    How they choose to distribute it is their responsibility. If they choose to do it in an insecure way, then why do they cry foul when it is re-distributed without thier consent?
    The answer is because it’s easier and cheaper than doing it securely.
    Security costs money, big money, therefore it cuts into profits, so from a financial standpoint, they would hurt their profits if the content was only distributed securely.

    The fact is that while content providers want money for their content, they choose insecure distribution. Then when it is stolen or pirated, they cry to the government to pass laws like SOPA to force someone else to pay for the security of their product.

    If SOPA passes, that cost would fall upon the internet conduits like Facebook , Google, and Craigslist, by forcing them to monitor all content on their portals for illegal content or links to illegal sites who host such content. Why should these Portals have to pay the massive amount of money it will take to view and censor everything that passes into their servers?
    This would make their services unprofitable, and they would simply no longer exist.

    With the modern computer, content is put into digital format so it can be used by everyone with a computer. Because the computer can effectively clone that content in a short time and distribute it very quickly anywhere to anyone, Does it not make sense to create a technology that delivers content so it can not be re distributed without a proper license?

    Media producers and outlets want everyone to buy their product, that is fair. Content owners want payment for producing content. that is fair. Both producers and providers know that they will sell far less content if it is secure.

    This is a problem of the providers and producers already distributing it in an insecure way for so long, that now the consumers are used to having content delivered insecurely. Consumers will be against any change in this system.

    For example, television broadcasts content for free, available to everyone. They make money by inserting paid advertising along with this content.
    This is a flawed system because the content is not producing the revenue, the advertising is.
    The industry knows full well that because this is the case, delivering content securely would mean abandoning the traditional way of content delivery. I.E. no longer free.

    How come advertisements are not pirated?
    From a consumers viewpoint the content is of value , the advertising is not.

    Therefore since it was delivered to everyone for no fee for so long, changing to a pay per episode type system for example, would be very unpopular to consumers and would not be implemented easily.
    Thus the companies loose consumers and profits.

    What it comes down to is that these companies want their cake and eat it too.
    They want the people ooops i mean the government to change the laws ( pay for) that content protection. While still enjoying the ability to be profitable by using the system that is currently in place.
    It’s silly.
    If you want everyone to buy your product, and not copy it, then sell it as such, and do not leave your content unprotected.

    I suggest all the companies doing battle with this copyright problem, start working together and creating a new and better way of delivering the product to the consumers.
    By doing so, both sides work together toward eliminating on-line piracy by stimulating new progressive ideas and services and thus creating a more robust and secure internet. This will stimulate the economy, produce more jobs, more money and more content for all to enjoy, privately, securely and most of all, free from government regulation.

    Does anyone else agree?

  3. Mary

    Just wanted to share with you guys a portion of the response letter I got from my Congressman after I wrote to him and asked him to vote against these 2 bills. I am only sharing the part of his reply that I thought was the actual reason for these bills. (Why is there always a hidden agenda? pfft.)

    ” …*snip*….H.R. 3261 also has national security and defense implications. It also would expand the criminal offenses of trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services to include counterfeit drugs and goods or services falsely identified as meeting military standards or intended for use in a national security, law enforcement, or critical infrastructure application. Finally, it would increase the penalties for disclosing specified trade secrets to a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent…*snip*…The House Judiciary Committee is currently considering H.R. 3261. While I am not a member of this committee, I will be sure to keep your comments in mind should this legislation come to the House floor for a vote….*snip*”

    Take the info for what you will.

    (maybe a mod can fix my coding. I’m not savvy to it! lol)

  4. Mary

    @Mike: I couldn’t agree more that the voter needs to do their homework too. [To repeat what you said] Sad to say that the majority of voters have no clue who they are voting for. In some cases, people just vote for a “party”, in other cases, people just vote based on the crappy negative ad campaigns, or who is the most “popular” person running without looking into each candidates history. (Which we can do easier now via internet!) For years I have been emailing my congressman and senators, giving them my voice, but I’m just one voice and we need more. It’s good to see that others are actively doing it too. (I hope.)
    [rant] I’m not into party politics…people keep saying we need the parties, and maybe we do, but I don’t have to like them! I like being NPA! Wish someone really good, intelligent, common sense…. would run that is NPA! ;) The blame game gets on my nerves.

    @jayesstee & Wyllo: That’s a pretty good letter! I’ll have to use it! I would happily boycott the above companies and let them know why.

    @Ashraf: yes, but still couldn’t prove anything. Had I been smarter back then, I would have taken photos of my work, but who thinks this sort of thing would happen, right? PS- for some reason he didn’t use my self portrait! Wonder why? O.o

    @five words: I might just send that “reminder” to mine, along with one of my rants!

    I try to do my part by educating those around me, giving them challenges to actually show me why or why not they support someone. ‘Show me’ type thing. Makes them have to do the research they should be doing. (OMG, my father and hubby make me want to bash my head on my desk!)
    I better stop here as I don’t want to start getting into an off topic political discussion / rantfest! lol

  5. Wyllo

    I am very surprised at the lack of people saying, ‘boycott the supporting companies’. Stop buying products from the physical good companies. Send THEM the letters saying you will no longer purchase their products if they continue to support SOPA/PIPA.

    When it effects their wallet they will take another look and hopefully back off. If enough corporations stand down this may have a greater over all effect on the outcome.

  6. mukhi

    i could be happy to purchase the contents all the way (this essentially tells you i am not in favor of piracy), however, look at the content providers!

    # with windows 7 upgrade media and anytime upgrade key for win7pro64 (both purchased), i am unable to clean install as MS wants me to go for normal upgrade only (the tricks available online do not work).
    want a pirated copy? you get win7ultimate and install with virtually zero headache if you can trust the source.
    # in another laptop, with a valid win7pro64, windows update screwed my OS, and now i can’t get my OS back without recovery that will essentially remove all free legal software that are available in a timely manner.
    # you bought a DVD for $10 thinking DVDs are cheaper? wait for another 6 months, the same movie will be available in BD for $10. you bought a BD for $20 thinking you got the best? wait for another 6 months, it will be available for the same price but in a “remastered” form.
    thinking about a pirated copy? well, let’s see…
    pirated copy does not have logo (because the pirate took time to remove it), does not have ads (junk stripped) and does take much less space in your HDD essentially giving the same or BETTER quality!

    you can easily see why i can not avoid pirated content.

    SOPA and PIPA must die unless the greedy corporations are forced to think twice before setting up a price and their stupid rules.

  7. five words

    @ Mike Nice comment
    @ Ashraf US Inc. owns as much as 83% of the shares in some of their franchisees/corporations
    Follow the money . . .
    Bablylonian Corporatism, Admirality-Maritime Jurisdiction, Administrative Agencies, Adhesive Contracts, 14th Amendment = US Inc.
    @ Mike, Have you ever seen your senators oath of office? Did they violate their oath?
    Feel free to look at one, http://minus.com/mZ3Ld1kyo and then you may want to ask your senator about his, or think a little more about whether or not that senator violated it.
    2011 is history and 2012 is here, hope you all prepared for what is headed your way.

    Welcome to the plantation.
    @ Ashraf, Great Blog post as always, Thanks

  8. Faizan

    A very well written article. Once again, the lawmakers are overreacting and if the list of supporters is any indication, these are companies that do not understand the dynamics of the internet world and more significantly, for none of them the internet is a core driver of business.

    HNY 2012 everybody. May common sense prevail.

  9. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Mary: Thanks :-)

    Sorry to hear about that theft. Did you find out who did it?

    @Charles S.: I wish you the best but to be honest don’t hope for much unless a) You are a big dog in your state or b) Lots of people do the same thing as you. Still, though, thanks for taking that step!

    @alzie: You are welcome!

    @Mike: I wouldn’t go so far as to say corporations wholly control the USA but there are definitely lawmakers out there who have their priorities messed up.

    @jayesstee: Thanks! I think your suggestion will only work is a) Lots of people do it and b) Everyone actually carries out in their boycott threat.

    @Mike: Thanks!

    I have no objection what-so-ever. I highly encourage everyone to share every article they like on dotTech. Sharing not only helps others but also helps dotTech grow.

  10. jayesstee

    @Ashraf:
    Splendid article! Concise, fair and URGENT!
    Didn’t State/Church Authorities burn books the disagreed with? Now “1984” (the book and film) approaches!
    I would like to make a suggestion. There is something else you can do, in fact we all can and MUST do it, whether we are US citizens or not. We can give them the ”GoDaddy“ treatment.
    If everybody wrote or emailed as many of the pro-SOPA companies and organisation as possible, with the following paragraphs:

    “Happy New Year. As I look forward to 2012, you will appreciate that in these times of severe financial restraint, I must carefully manage my personal and domestic spending. Specifically, I must make sure this is used in the best way to benefit me, my family and, wherever possible, the economy of my Country.
    I believe that the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect IP Act” will not help but will actually be of detriment to this Country’s economy. The published reasons for these Acts are already met by existing legislation.
    Therefore I have decided that every one of my very valuable dollars/pounds/euro’s/yen/or whatever will only be spent with organisations that do not support, actively or passively, these totally un-democratic Acts.
    Would you please confirm either in writing to me, or by an advertisement placed in a National Newspaper or on a major Television Channel, “that neither your Organisation nor any of your Subsidiaries or Member Organisations do now or will in the future support these Acts or if these Acts become law use their provisions.”
    If you are unable to make such confirmation, then your organisation, subsidiaries or members will be no longer benefit from my, and all like-minded citizen’s spending.
    Once again, Happy New Year.”

    What do you think Ashraf?

  11. Mike

    @Mary:

    While there are those senators and congressmen that don’t “do their homework,” I believe that that is a relatively small part of the problem. Many of the senators and congressmen that support these bills and others that are intended to protect corporations while infringing the rights of individual citizens do so simply because they are corporate puppets. (While members of both parties are guilty of this, it is quite obvious that one of the parties is now “wholly owned” by the corporations. I think we all know which one.)

    Unfortunately, the United States is no longer a democratic republic. We are now a corporate oligarchy. We are a country of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation. The well being of the people doesn’t seem to matter at all to our “elected” representatives. They simply do the bidding of their masters, thus violating their oaths of office and commiting treason. Unfortunately, we, the people, have waited much too long to do anything about this, and it is now going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to take our country back from these criminals, but we have to do everything we can to try.

    Be aware that, no matter how many of their constituents contact their “representatives” expressing their displeasure and opposition to these bills and the many others currently under consideration that violate our rights and the constitution, if they are under the control of the corporations, they will simply ignore what you say. They know that they will still be re-elected because the corporations will crush any opposition with heavily funded attack ads full of innuendo and outright lies.

    It is the American voters that haven’t been doing their homework. We all have to stop accepting what we see in campaign ads and what we hear from candidates and current senators and congressmen as the truth. It is our responsibility to do our due diligence and thoroughly research all political candidates and all campaign ads and statements to determine what is true and what is not. There are two things we all must do if we want to restore honest, democratic government in the US: make it a top priority to vote, and make absolutely sure that the people you vote for really represent you and your beliefs.

  12. Mary

    @Mary:

    I tried to edit my post. Guess I missed the time.

    I wanted to add: Piracy is not new since the internet. Ever tape an album for a friend and vise versa? I know there are more examples I can think of, but not right now. Am celebrating NYE by the bonfire! (And starting to show my age! :D )

    Happy New Year Ashraf and everyone. Hopefully it will be much better before the world ends on December 21st! ;)

    lol

  13. Dan

    I second what Mary said in her reply above..great article and well worth the read, Ashraf! I hope every member on your mailing list bothers to follow the link you sent out to this and read the words you so clearly thought out so well.

    Kudos, my friend..it’s posts like this that really makes Dottech stand out head and shoulders above the crowd. Long may it continue to do so..

    Oh..and a very happy New Year to you and yours..and everyone reading this. Here’s hoping the coming year will be a little better for everyone on all fronts.

  14. Mary

    You did it good justice Ashraf! I didn’t understand it either until a friend explained it to me.

    I was a victim of stolen art, back in the day before the internet. My entire art portfolio (actual drawings) was stolen, then published in a local newspaper 17 years later by some guy. It tore my guts apart to see it, but there was nothing I could do to prove that artwork was mine, so I am highly for copyright rights and protecting ones works, but these bills I cannot support. Congress doesn’t do their homework. And yes, these will be abused if passed.
    With internet theft, I have filed DMCA’s, so at least in this day and age, it is easier to protect ourselves ON OUR OWN, with the tools and laws we already have.
    These bills affect much more than what I have stated here, and you did an excellent job explaining. I just hope people read this . I will be sending the link to this page to people I know! Everyone needs to be educated on the entire issue. Not just bits of it. Definitely people in USA need to contact their representatives on this. Thanks again!

  15. Mary

    “I am against pirating. So, then, that would mean I am pro SOPA/PIPA, right? Wrong. ”
    I agree completely! Thank you for writing this up. It’s important people know what this is and understand it. Thank you VERY much for a well written article on it!