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American Censorship Day

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As many of our members know, Mu-43.com is a politics free-zone. I am making an exception today to participate in American Censorship Day and bring attention to new legislation which will threaten the existence of websites such as ours:

    SOPA - H.R.3261: Stop Online Piracy Act - U.S. Congress - OpenCongress
    S.968: PROTECT IP Act of 2011 - U.S. Congress - OpenCongress

    Some will find it ironic or hypocritical that this site, which doesn't allow political discussion in its forums, would oppose the above bills. However, there is a fundamental difference between creating a private community where certain topics are excluded and creating laws which threaten the existence of free discourse on the Internet.

    Watch this video to learn more:

    <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/31100268?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

    My apologies to friends in countries other than the United States who find this topic irrelevant to their situation. However, this kind of legislation could easily set a bad precedent for nations around the globe.

    Learn more about what you can do to help: American Censorship Day November 16 - Join the fight to stop SOPA

    ADDENDUM: This page will help you write directly to your state representatives in the House and Senate: https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8173

    __________________
    Amin
    Mu-43.com Webmaster (Site FAQ | Help Forum | My Flickriver | My G+ Profile)
     
    • Like Like x 14
  2. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Signed and shared. Thanks Amin.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Same here. I've tried to tell my customers and others I know that most of the IP law that is passing is NOT to protect artists, but to protect the large corporate middleman. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is all about protecting Sony, Disney, Fox and a few others. HDMI workflow is the same (and blue ray, to do the same thing, is a "big bag of hurt" as Steve Jobs famously said). Most people don't know what's going on, so spread the word!
     
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  4. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
  5. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Signed, sealed, delivered. :biggrin:
     
  6. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    wow, I didn't know about that. Sounds horrible. I hope this won't pass.
     
  7. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    also did not know about this, but am not too surprised, given the state of politics, especially in corporate-controlled US... elsewhere on Earth, most people are already perplexed at the amount of litigation allowed/encouraged in the US on questionable grounds

    In Europe now, there is, instead, more talk about Universal Right of Internet Access, realising how important a force the internet has become not just in simple news, but in freedom of information and freedom of thought-- of course, also here there are corporate forces trying to get restrictive rules; but they don't quite own the government to the level they do in the US
     
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  8. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    OK this particular legislation may not be particularly good and open to abuse, but how do you protect copyright and peoples livings?

    I make all my income from taking photographs and selling them and also writing and recording music and selling that, both via the internet. I've had lots of instances of people illegally sharing both and even though I sell through some large libraries owned by media corporations, they have real problems firstly in tracking it down and secondly getting these thieves to pay for it.

    So should I just say OK, most people pay but some don't, so I'll write that off?

    While I have no problem with people using my material in a discussion and for non-profit making causes, I know that for every time my material is used in that way, there are many more cases of people "ripping me off" to make money themselves. There was a case last year where somebody in a country that has limited copyright legislation, a so-called "photographer", bought lots of best selling images from a microstock website, then re-uploaded them to another site under his name and proceeded to make a substantial amount of money.

    It took ages to track it down and finally do something about it, but not before many of us were defrauded of income.

    You may also think that some of these record and film companies deserve all they get. But due to illegal downloading the recording industry is not what it was. There are much reduced sales of cd's and even downloads don't generate that much. Considering that record companies make a loss on 19 out of 20 acts they sign, then their obvious way of dealing with it is to cut back on how many people they sign, and they obviously spend less money developing those they do as a consequence.

    My only protection in this field is provided by the companies I sell through. Just to give you an idea of the scale of this, Getty reckon that they loose 25% of sales through illegal use of their images.

    Say you work for a company that makes a certain kind of product. A company in another part of the world copies it, without paying any royalty on somebody elses invention and expertise, and sells it cheaply. Consequently your company looses money and you loose you job.

    Is that any different to the theft of music, images and movies?

    There does seem to be a certain attitude that if its out there, and we can get it free, then we will. If you follow that through then why should any of us pay for anything? OK so these big media corporations are the devil right? They are just protecting their incomes. But how many people actually work for them? The less money they make, the less people they employ.

    I have no access to expensive lawyers or the resources to pursue and do something about the people who steal what I create, but I sell through some companies who do, and I'm perfectly happy to let them close these people down. I'm sure others who create music, write books, and take part in making movies would also be sympathetic to that view.

    To make out that somehow this is going to bring democracy and free speech to its knees is somewhat naive.

    If you want some music to back up something you are publishing on the internet, then why not access some from a music library, or get a musician you know to write some, why assume you can just steal it from somebody? Its not just the million selling artists who get ripped off, often its people who are barely making any money at all. Plus media organisations represent the people who create that media in the first place, and don't they have a right to be protected?

    Its a difficult issue I know, but those of us who aren't big media corporations are getting ripped off on a daily basis, and would like to see something done. Without reading the bill, I have no idea whether its a good idea or not, but something needs to be done. Its a free for all at the moment, and those of us who are basically powerless would like to see something done on our behalf. If that involves applying existing legislation then all well and good, however it doesn't seem to working that well at the moment.

    Just imagine that an image you post somewhere is taken and used somewhere less scrupulous and unable to enforce copyright. That image is used to publicise a product that makes an awful lot of money. You see nothing from that. Do you just shug your shoulders and write it off to the nature of the internet?

    Finally I just wonder how much of this anti campaign is supported by companies who make money letting these copyright abuses go unchecked. Try ripping off Google and see what their reaction is!!
     
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  9. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    649
    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    It was only a matter of time before something like this came around. With the immense power that these companies have in Washington to lobby for this bill it probably only a matter of time before it's enacted. No matter how many people sign petitions.

    Within our lifetimes (most likely sooner) the internet will become an extention of broadcast media. With all the controls over content and commercials. We'll all look back and talk about "the good old days" of the internet.
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    It's a fair question David, and one worth solving. Problem in the US lately has been that all the IP and internet legislation is mainly around protecting the interests of the media houses, and not the artists or little guys. But your question is a fair one. This legislation is new to me, so I don't know any of the details, but I'll bet if you peel back the onion there's little protection for individual artists.
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree with you that there is a need to protect copyright and that the current system isn't working well enough. Also agree that Google et al don't have pure motives here. However, I don't think these two bills are a reasonable answer to the problem. That's the issue right now. If they are passed, the damage will be enormous.

    Right now, if someone posts a copyrighted work on Mu-43.com and none of the moderators see it (and no one reports it), I have no way of knowing about it. The mods can't read every post. If these bills become law, I will be made responsible for the content of every post on this site, and a single violation could have the site taken down without court supervision or recourse. If I start to see other forums getting sued, I pack it up and shut this place down. I simply can't afford that.

    Also, from what I understand, these measures won't protect someone like you. They allow massive corporations with legal armies.
     
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  12. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    As I said, whether this legislation is the right way to do it, I cannot say, and there may be better ways to do it. However it doesn't seem to be working that well at present.

    On the second point, no legislation won't protect me if I'm on my own, but since most of the companies I sell through are ultimately owned by massive corporations, then to a large extent I'm under that umbrella and can take advantage of those legal armies.

    As I indicated before, record companies, publishers, movie companies etc. don't just represent themselves as some kind of anonymous entities, the content they are protecting is created by writers, film makers, photographers and musicians, some of whom may be very successful, but for the most part aren't.

    My feeling is that unless something that appears draconian starts happening then things will just carry on in the same way it does now. And yes it will be different. I can imagine YouTube being decimated.

    It also depends on which massive corporations you want to win this battle. Media corporations who actually create and market creative content or the technology corporations who facilitate its distribution. If this bill succeeds then certain companies get more power certainly, but if it fails Google win hands down don't they?
     
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  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Under this legislation, your Blogger blog could be taken down become a media corporation decides that Google didn't do "enough" to prevent someone else from posting copyrighted works on their Blogger blog. Ditto for your Facebook page, Tumblr blog, Twitter account, or anywhere else on the web you express yourself without self-hosting.

    Traditional media would be happy to do away with the entire internet as we know it. They want you to go back to buying the same Beatles album in 8-track, then cassette, then LP, and again on CD.

    ----

    I've opened the spigot here, so everyone is welcome to express their politics relevant to this topic in this thread. This entire thread is an exception to our site TOS which excludes politics from discussion here at Mu-43.com.
     
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  14. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
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  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Interestingly this is not a left/right political issue - you will likely find Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party on the same side of this. My friends who are aging hippies are also Tea Party members because they distrust large government AND big business. And they are against this as well.

    Note: I am not Tea party member myself but I do wear sandals and on occasion a kilt to work ...
     
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  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    This actually sounds a lot like the censorship which is already in place in China. I don't do much business with China myself, but a lot of my clients do (as pretty much any manufacturer needs to). They have all kinds of issues which I have to help them sort out with websites getting blocked and censored in China for whatever reason, like if their website ends up with the same IP as one that was previously used by one of the millions of websites China has blocked.

    It's a crazy system to say the least, and I would never have imagined it to become adopted by a Western nation. :eek:
     
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  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Without reading either entire bill, and just reading the summations, I'm not sure I understand how its a bad thing, as long as the scope of the law is written and enforced in a reasonable manner.

    One of the problems is that government(s) in general don't know how to deal with certain aspects of the internet. While Amin owns this site, this site is nothing more than a public forum with a set of rules to abide by. What I am saying is, if Embassy Suites rents out a conference room to some group and that group is using copyrighted material, should Embassy Suites be held liable? Should any owner of a building letting a forum of people us a location be responsible for copyrighted material? What about a forum in a public place? Do local municipalities become responsible for content on public grounds that is copyrighted? I believe the person responsible for stealing the copyrighted material is at fault, not the place the forum is held or where the content is displayed.

    Getting back to my first post, I don't really see a huge problem with the bills as long as the laws are written and enforced responsibly. If the DoJ comes to Amin and askes him to remove an image that is copyrighted, and thats the end of it, I see no problem with that. If law allows for legal action toward Amin, then I believe the law isn't written well enough and that the writers of the laws are clueless to the real usage of such forums. I seriously doubt that they would take legal action towards municipalities or businesses who hold public forums. Amin doesn't make money of the content of this site, unlike how companies made money of of illegal music downloads.

    In the last 5 years or so I've been seriously disgusted with how IP and copyrights have been handled, moreso with IP. I'm an engineer and scientist, and I value IP. Maybe someday I'll have my own patent.

    Onto my own rant,

    It seems to me that many of the controversial laws of the last 50 years are knee jerk reactions to specific events. At the end of the day, the laws that are written based on either public outcry or corporate outcry, end up being over zealous and end up being counter productive and very exclusionary.
     
  19. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    The real problem is that if something more "draconian" starts to happen, everyone loses.

    Here in the U.S. I feel as a nation we have lost valuing the arts. And I mean traditional arts. Sure, everyone spends money to go watch a movie or go to a rock concert. But parents today aren't getting their kids to go into those arenas for full time careers. It's like playing sports. Only 1 percent of 1 percent actually make it, and it is pretty cut throat just to get there. Locally, art museums are closing or getting smaller. Fewere and Fewer people are becoming artists.

    When it comes to movies and music, the reason why so much is illegally obtained is because as a society, we do value entertainment so highly that actors and producers rake in the millions, there are others who feel like stealing from the rich is OK. Then the lines get blurred and then they start stealing from people who are really working hard to make a buck.

    The demand for the work drives the price, not the quality of the work.
     
  20. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    241
    Nov 30, 2010
    Wisconsin
    thanks for posting this.