Home > Uncategorized > Piracy is NOT a Civil Right

Piracy is NOT a Civil Right

Today is Internet Blackout Day. What is that?

Surprisingly many people and Internet sites, such as Google, Wikipedia and WordPress, are protesting two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. These bills are designed to combat the illegal distribution of counterfeit goods via rogue websites, particularly foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products.

According to IP Subcommittee Chairman Goodlatte, “Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws.”[1] Representative Goodlatte is quite correct. How do I know? I know because I have been a victim of Internet piracy. Intellectual property pirates have stolen my work and taken money out of my pocket.

Unfortunately, a segment of the population has developed which proclaims piracy as a civil right. They claim “information should be free” as if information were an animal in cruel captivity. Of course, people who proclaim this rarely produce anything of value themselves. If they did, they might think otherwise.

Perhaps it started with Napster. People like getting something for nothing. It is an extension of the entitlement culture we live in. Unfortunately, “free” has a cost too. And it is the creative innovators, the most productive members of society, who pay the price of this parasitic attitude.

Information piracy is not a swashbuckling romantic quest. It is stealing!

Maybe there are aspects of these bills that need to be tweaked. Fair enough. So, write your senators and representatives to either support the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, or something similar to protect intellectual property.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Andrew
    January 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    The issue with PIPA and SOPA is not that they seek to prevent piracy. Most of the internet community acknowledges that copyright infringement is an extremely important thing and that piracy should be prevented.

    The real issue is that these two bills will NOT stop the actual piracy. In fact, they will have many other consequences which will harm the way the internet works.

    Take another look at what companies like google have to say about SOPA/PIPA. The issue they have is NOT with preventing piracy. It’s with censoring the internet.

    https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/sopa-pipa/

  2. njcentrist
    January 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Andrew,

    Thank you for responding. I respect that you don’t want the Internet censored. Neither do I. And perhaps, these bills will not prevent piracy. However, I would be happy if they just slap it back a bit.

    There needs to be some limits on everything, even free speech, such as “yelling fire in a movie house.” You might disagree with me. And I defend your right to do so. I would fight against anyone who infringed on your right to express your opinion.

    However, stealing intellectual property is not free speech. Quoting or referencing, as in the fair use doctrine, is fine. Blocking those website that steal and try to sell the work of others consistently should be blocked. Destroy the market for piracy, I say. However, if someone has an important idea they want to express, the Internet is too vast to stop them.

    People underestimate the value of intellectual property to our society. Eliminate patents and copyrights, and society will suffer.

    • Leo
      January 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      It doesn’t just block infringing websites, It blocks websites that link to infringing websites. This includes user’s comments as well; I could post a link to the pirate bay just like this: http://piratebay.com/, and suddenly, you are able to be DNS blocked. This can easily be abused. The bill also chooses to censor the internet in the most damaging way to it’s structural build, and chooses the easiest process to bypass. instead of writing the domain name, I can write the IP address, and PRESTO, I’m able to pirate. The bill, in this form, could cripple the Internet and it’s functions.

      also, you say that “People underestimate the value of intellectual property to our society. Eliminate patents and copyrights, and society will suffer.”

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the bill. This isn’t a law against piracy, it’s a law that is intending to give trigger happy companies a tactical nuke to take out an anthill.

      Read the bill
      only then will I consider your argument valid.

  3. Bill
    January 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    The issue is not about protecting IP infringement as copyright, it’s about the dangers present in creating a Great Firewall here at home. The Patriot Act was allegedly to fight terrorism but has largely been used for a phony drug war. Just like “the smell of marijuana” was used to violate the 4th amendment, “copyright infringement” will be used to justify violating the 1st. Even the sponsor Lamar Smith’s home page was in violation of copyright and under SOPA the site could have been shut down. Sites have a right to due process and we can’t trust federal prosecutors to act in good faith with our bill of rights because they continually choose not to in other arenas.

    Furthermore your comments about patents are amusing considering the tech industry is overwhelmingly against them while the main proponents of them are IP lawyers. I’m curious as to your own profession and to whether or not you actually create things, because if you did your viewpoints might be different.

  4. January 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    These bills as currently written would require websites (including yours) to make sure no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site, including in your comments. So in order to link to a URL our websites would have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site, plus policing your own site for no wayward comment links. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren’t in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.

    If we failed to take this precaution, our finances could be frozen, our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site, and depending on which version of the bill goes to the vote, our domains confiscated, and our IP address would be added to a US-wide blacklist that every ISP in the country would be required to censor. All without due process or protest. Disney or Fox or Universal could just name your site and the government could shut it down. It’s insane. It was written by the major media companies, which as you know are huge corporations trying to maximize profits by destroying competitors like, you know, the Internet. This is not about piracy, it’s about censorship. A bill to stop piracy would not look like this at all.

  5. Erik
    January 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    You seem to just brush aside the problem of the censorship. With SOPA and PIPA the government will be able to censor anything that has ANY connection to copyright infringement what so ever, and the sites pay for it, by getting shit down. It would be as if I took a knife, stabbed a person and the company who made the knife would be responsible for it. Makes sense right..?

    And, I do not believe these bills will stop piracy. Why? Because there are ways around it. They have already done it so far. Despite what many people think, the people who steer the pirating sites are talented and intelligent as hell, I do not see how this would stop them.

    Many attempts to stop piracy have just resulted in hurting non pirates, and not affecting pirates at all. Prime example: Ubisoft and their system. To control that your copy of a game is legal, you have to be connected to the internet constantly, even in offline games. Pirates removed this for them in a couple of hours of release or so. Since many, myself included, may not have a reliable connection, this ends up with the game exiting without warning. This made me illegally pirate the game, even though I had bought it, since it was broken as a legal copy. I agree, piracy needs to be stopped, it hurts industries to no end. But this is not the way.

    A better way is the way spotify, Itunes and such has done it. Provide a better service than the pirates do, and people will use those services instead. It’s sad that this is what needs to be done, yes, but nothing good will be achieved from these bills, it will most likely not stop piracy, and instead hurt regular internet viewers. Not to mention granting the government the ability to censor huge parts of media, like for example the fine land of North Korea does. Digressing a bit here, but would it not be wondrous to live there?

  6. January 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Information itself wants to be free. It’s propagated by people naturally, the way information has been propagated since humans began to communicate.

    I support the free exchange of information, and I support creating a unique and compelling experience at the movies theaters and concerts in order to support the creators.

    • njcentrist
      January 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      “Information itself wants to be free”? Information does not have free will.

      No one wants to impede the open and frank exchange of ideas, particularly political and social commentary. However, that is quite different than taking information I create, also known as “content”, and stealing it. Remember plagiarism? Fighting plagiarism is not censorship.

      You are free to comment on, criticize, and even outright disagree with my content. But no one has the right to take it without my permission, much less sell it.

      You don’t like SOPA and PIPA? That’s fine. But intellectual property must be protected. You say you want to “support the creators”? Thank you. Just remember, protection is a type of support.

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