Feds Still Clueless About Filesharing

19 Jan

by Mike Hansen

SOPA imageFirst, a special “Words ‘n’ Pictures” link: an easy-to-understand chart that explains why SOPA/PIPA suck balls.

I emailed my Senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer) and Representative (Mike Thompson) urging their opposition to these bills.

Here’s an email response I received from Feinstein (or, more likely, her staffers):

Dear Mr. Hansen:

I received your letter expressing opposition to the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” commonly known as the “PROTECT IP Act.”  I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

The “PROTECT IP Act” (S. 968) gives both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities.”  These are websites that have “no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating” copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying.

The bill does not violate First Amendment rights to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech.

America’s copyright industry is an important economic engine, and I believe copyright owners should be able to prevent their works from being illegally duplicated and stolen.  The protection of intellectual property is particularly vital to California’s thriving film, music, and high-technology industries.

I understand you have concerns about the “PROTECT IP Act.”  While I voted in favor of this bill when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have also been working with California high-technology businesses to improve the bill and to address the concerns of high-tech businesses, public interest groups and others.  I recognize the bill needs further changes to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) or through amendments on the Senate floor.

On May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the “PROTECT IP Act” for consideration by the full Senate.  Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the Senate proceed to a vote on this legislation.  As you may be aware, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced similar legislation, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261), in the House of Representatives.

Once again, thank you for sharing your views.  I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

…So it’s clear that, as an Old Person, Senator Feinstein doesn’t understand the structure of the internet or how overreaching laws can be implemented, regardless of their intentions. You’d think she’d have learned by now: SOPA/PIPA are a wish-list written by the entertainment companies, just like the PATRIOT Act was a wish-list from U.S. intelligence agencies (and we all know how effective that’s been at stopping terrorism). Either that, or Hollywood likes their politicians to be bought, and Feinstein wants more of their sweet cash. (All the more reason to ban private campaign financing entirely…)

Now, the Feds have taken down file-storage-locker site Megaupload and arresting its owners for piracy. Sure, these sites have been used to distribute copyrighted material by unscrupulous folks – but how is that the sites’ fault? Just like BitTorrent, these sites can be used for perfectly legitimate and legal purposes. (In fact, just this week I used Megaupload to send large files to a comics publisher of material that it owns, for its use. Exactly how is that piracy? Oh, wait, it’s not.)

BoingBoing (one of the best websites, period) has two more related Words ‘n’ Pictures graphics that are worth a look (here and here).

It ain’t over yet…

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