RB 188: SOPA on the Ropes(?)

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The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) — a U.S. House bill that would give the Department of Justice the authority to demand that ISPs block sites accused of hosting pirated content — seemed to be doing well. Nearly half of the Senate sponsored similar legislation that survived a committee vote. And people weren’t generally making a big deal about it.

But on the week before Thanksgiving SOPA suddenly hit the front page after a particularly fraught House committee hearing on the bill. Battle lines became clear. Representatives of big content owners like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) partnered with big brands and the US Chamber of Commerce in support of the legislation, saying it would protect millions of jobs. On the other side web entrepreneurs like Google, Twitter, and Facebook sided with Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation against the bill, saying it would basically give corporations a legal path to censor any site that poses a competitive threat. And now it looks like the bill might have a harder time than legislators originally thought.

But talk to the creators of intellectual property one on one and you’ll see that many don’t have a clear opinion on the bill. The open web has benefitted the work of artists, coders, and researchers alike, allowing them to share their work with new audiences and experiment with new business models for next to nothing. But many creators see that same technology as stealing food from their mouths when their work appears on torrent sites and uncredited on blogs.

We spoke with two people this week to help get our heads straight on SOPA. The graphic artist Jim “Zub” Zubkavich worries about what piracy is doing to his career, but sees SOPA as a little draconian. And Julian Sanchez of the CATO Institute gives some idea of what SOPA will do if implemented, and the chance it might have of passing.

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Reference Section:
Jim “Zub” Zubkavich’s new graphic novel Skullkickers and some more links to his work here and here
A summary of the November 16, 2011 House hearing here
americancensorship.org

Creative Commons licensed photo courtesy Flickr user TTC Press

Creative Commons music from DJ Drinks and Neurowaxx

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13 Comments »

  1. Comics A.M. | Occupy Wall Street diary, Bill Mantlo followup | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

    November 25, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    1

    [...] Creators | Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society Podcast interviews Skullkickers writer Jim Zubkavich about piracy and the Stop Online Piracy Act. [Berkman Center for Internet & Society Podcast] [...]

  2. Comics AM | Occupy Miami diary, Bill Mantlo followup | Occupy News

    November 25, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    2

    [...] Creators | Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet Society Podcast interviews Skullkickers writer Jim Zubkavich about piracy and the Stop Online Piracy Act. [Berkman Center for Internet Society Podcast] [...]

  3. John

    November 28, 2011 @ 12:24 am

    3

    Great discussion of both sides of the issue. For those that are interested, there is an interesting discussion of why comic book companies have not filed lawsuits against online comic book pirates called Catwoman or the Kingpin: Potential Reasons Comic Book Publishers Do Not Enforce Their Copyrights Against Comic Book Infringers available on SSRN.

  4. Don’t let war on piracy break the internet | Matias Vangsnes

    January 8, 2012 @ 5:15 am

    4

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  5. Sopa and Pipa: don’t let big business break the internet | Matias Vangsnes

    January 9, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    5

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  6. Don't let big business break the internet |

    January 11, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    6

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  7. Don’t let war on piracy break the internet | ccnew

    January 14, 2012 @ 2:31 am

    7

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  8. Sopa and Pipa: don’t let big business break the internet

    January 16, 2012 @ 12:48 am

    8

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  9. ZUF.ro

    February 20, 2012 @ 5:08 am

    9

    While in USA is SOPA, in Europe is ACTA. I think is the same stupid law with different name.

  10. Sopa和Pipa:别让巨头们破坏互联网 | 音乐8

    March 11, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    10

    [...] 现在你可能会说:这有什么错吗?难道专门批发盗版的网站不该“消失”吗?在某些情况下,答案可能是肯定的——只要它在正当程序和司法监督下进行。但DNS封锁的问题是,不分青红皂白。绝大多数的世界(合法)网站和服务托管于在单一域名的保护下服务器,一个主机(托管)服务(比如Blogger.com)会包含成千上万的个人博客网站,其中一些可能会促使或在进行盗版,但一个DNS封锁将使整个Blogger.com领域消失。 [...]

  11. @PSFK

    March 22, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    11

    [...] [...]

  12. Sopa and Pipa: don’t let big business break the internet | wrongmog

    May 2, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    12

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

  13. Don't let war on piracy break the internet - Government Tenders, Government News and Information - Government Online

    December 12, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    13

    [...] to wholesale piracy be “disappeared”? The answer, in some cases, might be yes – provided it’s done with due process and under judicial supervision. But the problem with DNS-blocking is that it’s indiscriminate. The vast majority of the [...]

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