Saturday, January 19, 2013

A "filmstrip" showing how "The Internet defeated SOPA"

Remember those film strips in grade school (as a substitute for movies)?  We had them back in the 1950s?
There’s a film strip or slide show “How the Internet Killed the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’” on Ars Technica, in the “Law and Disorder” column, posted by Timothy B. Lee on Ars Technica, with photos by Ralph Alsawng. 

It starts with Senator Patrick Leah’s introduction of COICA, which would have required DNS servers, credit card processors and ad networks to block federally banned websites.  It moves to a picture of Aaron Swartz, who founds Demand Progess. It moves on to PIPA and SOPA (Lamar Smith), which would have allowed private copyright holders demand blocking of access to banned sites, endrounding DMCA and even re-imposing downstream liability risks. 

A later panel depicts Godaddy’s dropping of SOPA support. The next-to-last panel has the Internet going on strike on Jan. 18, 2012. Here is the filmstrip by “Timo II”:

The overriding issue, in retrospect, was that establishment interests didn’t want to have to worry about low-cost competition. (Even BlogMaverick has confirmed this to me in an email one time.)   It wasn't just about "piracy".That’s corporate establishment and union and guild establishment.  Bringing back downstream liability, increasing gate-keeping and barrier-to-entry is a sure way.  Does the tiny independent filmmaker who posts innovative videos on YouTube compete with Hollywood for my time?  Afraid so. Are the economics for newbies different?  Yes. Likes and page views become like currency.  
The other place where the downstream liability issue is due to come back is Section 230.  The issues are going to have to do with online reputation (particularly reputation extortion) and cyberbullying, and sometimes even privacy, especially for minors.  

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