[Ed. Note: Cross-posted in part from my tumblr blog. See the additional note at the bottom of this post.]
I generally don’t blog politics. It can be bad for business. However, the SOPA/PIPA legislation, which pitted new tech against old media, requires a response.
Piracy is a serious problem that may or may not need additional attention (we already have the DMCA to protect copyright interests). However, the legislation as drafted is bad law. While hardly scientific, most if not all of the entertainment lawyers I discussed the bills with agree – even the ones who work at the studios.
If these bills became law then it would be legal for the government to shut down sites without due process. In effect, fair use can be ignored and sites are guilty until proven innocent. Litigation can be costly and few would opt to fight in the face of substantial legal fees and an unprofitable victory.
The clip above is a parody using someone else’s copyrighted work. It’s likely that such works – notwithstanding what you think of this particular parody – could survive on the net.
That’s not how our country is supposed to work and that’s certainly not how this law should work. This legislation can be redrafted to stem piracy without sacrificing our core values.
[Ed. Note: Prior to posting here and on Tumblr, a music executive friend of mine and I debated the merits of the bills on Facebook. Much of what I wrote above was part of that debate. After I blogged about it, my friend posted a link on Facebook to a blog post in favor of the legislation. You can find that here. In essence, the post in support argued that those in opposition - even those that took the time to read the bills - were misinterpreting the language and intent of the legislation. However, the fact that the language may be open to misinterpretation or, as many believe, exposes the true intent of the legislation, proves my point. If this legislation is broad enough to be misinterpreted by so many people, including intellectual property/entertainment lawyers, law professors, media executives and politicians, then they certainly can be and will be used for unintended or nefarious purposes if they become law. As I write this, I am sure my friend is formulating a response. I will keep you posted.]