SOPA and PIPA Still Alive – And a New Bill Joins Them

26th January 2012

Heather Callaghan – Activist Post

Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when an overwhelming amount of Americans banned together and voiced their opposition to Congress over both the Stop Online Piracy Act, and Protect Intellectual Property Act.

Sites that dimmed the screen for a day or two have gone back to normal — Facebook users have swapped their anti-SOPA images for their previous profile pictures.

We may have even believed that the postponement of the vote originally scheduled for January 24th was some sort of white flag of capitulation. But that is certainly not the MO of most lawmakers.

While the outcry did get the attention of Congress, they are simply returning unflinchingly back to the drawing board to wait out our attention spans. Articles whirled that SOPA was dead and the bill was pulled when the bill’s sponsor Lamar Smith said in a statement that there would be no further action “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Lamar isn’t really listening. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

Actually, SOPA is set to be reformulated in February. PIPA will be revisited with possible amendments in the coming weeks. Case in point, all is still open and possible — nothing is dead, pulled, or cancelled. If that wasn’t enough to keep us on our toes, a new, similar bill has surfaced.

Déjà Vu in the form of OPEN — The New Anti-Piracy Bill

As an alternative to SOPA-PIPA, Representative Darrell Issa (CA-R), and 24 co-sponsors introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) H.R. 3782 on Wednesday, during the Internet blackout.

From PCWorld:

OPEN would give oversight to the International Trade Commission (ITC) instead of the Justice Department, focuses on foreign-based websites, includes an appeals process, and would apply only to websites that “willfully” promote copyright violation.

The bill pretends to only target foreign websites, while keeping Americans free to surf and post, but the bill’s wording is wide open to pursue American sites. Just one example: when describing an infringing site, it starts with those “that are accessed through a non-domestic domain name,” but continues in section (8)(A)(ii) for any site that “conducts business directed to residents of the United States.”

It sounds like, “in general,” copyright holders will be the ones filing complaints to the Commission, but the writing leaves it open for any complainant to file. The ITC would still have the ability to coerce payment processors and ad networks to cease funding and linking the accused in question. Who could determine “willful” infringement?

Also, none of these bills had been decided before the U.S. Government took down New Zealand owned Megaupload.com during the commotion. To which, Anonymous responded by shutting down the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, Universal Music, Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. Copyright Office, Broadcast Music Inc. and the Motion Picture Association of America.

“The [DOJ’s] action ‘demonstrates why we don’t need SOPA in the first place,’ points out PCWorld’s Tony Bradley.” The government was enforcing a previous anti-piracy law called PRO-IP signed by Bush in 2008.

OPEN is gaining support from groups like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Consumer Electronics Association and more.

While it seems admirable that the bill is transparent and open for public comment, most laws of this nature are broad and allow for bigger, no-common sense crackdowns later. Plus, there might only be a couple concessions and the pacifying effects of “being heard.”

One commenter of the bill aptly noted:

‘Reasonable belief’ and ‘credible evidence’ are too vague and have the appearance of inviting highly subjective interpretation with the option for the commission and/or the provider to exercise sweeping powers with impunity.

Whenever any group is appeased after a battle, it cannot be emphasized enough — the lawmakers’ modus operandi will be: aim high, brace for the outcry, make a couple alterations and sneak the bill back in when no one’s looking. Keep it going and going. Call it by a different name. Haggle. It appears there is compromise and reasoning now, but once the bill passes into law, reason goes out the window, and we are the only ones compromised.

Theft is a reality — although not one that has seriously damaged the growing entertainment industry, or caused massive death and devastation. If Hollywood, pitching the biggest fit, were actually going down, why should we go down with it?

It is more unfortunate that Americans must be so tirelessly vigilant to protect their online activities from the same lawmakers who are tanking the country in so many other truly devastating ways.

The dismantling of Internet freedom will not stop here. Let’s borrow an MO and not let up.

To SOPA — Say NOPA!

To PIPA — Pipe down!

To OPEN — Shut it!

Additional Sources:

vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/sopa-and-pipa-postponed-but-not-cancelled
mashable.com/2012/01/20/pipa-postponed
eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/nternet-spoke-and-finally-congress-listened
webpronews.com/lamar-smith-to-delay-sopa-until-wider-agreement-on-solution-2012-01

 


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  • Amanda

    I think that the REAL reason the United States Government has put SOPA, PIPA and all these other bogus bills out there is because THEY KNOW THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE CATCHING ONTO THEIR LIES AND SECRECY! MANY EUROPEAN PEOPLES, WITH WEBSITES, INCLUDING MR. BILLY EDUARD ALBERT MEIER AND JULIAN ASSANGE, HAVE PUT IT OUT THERE IN THE OPEN ALL OF THE HORRIFIC DEEDS CAUSED BY THE UNITD STATES. BUT HEY…. WAIT ONE MINUTE, THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS DON’T “ONLY” FOCUS ON THE U.S.A., THEY TELL THE HORRIFIC DEEDS OF “ALL” NATIONS, COMPANIES, FRAUDS, ETC… INCLUDING EVERYDAY PEOPLE! SO… IN A PANIC ATTACK, THE UNITED STATES WANTS TO TAKE YOUR RIGHTS AWAY FROM BEING ABLE TO VIEW THE SITES OF INDIVIDUALS LIKE THE TWO THAT I MENTIONED. THEY (THE UNITED STATES) IS SCARED SHITLESS AND THEY FEEL THEY NEED TO DO SOMETHING “NOW” TO “CONTROL” THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA BY LYING THEIR GOD DAMN MOUTHS OFF AND PLACING BILLS LIKE THESE INTO AFFECT SO THAT YOU, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WILL LIVE IN IGNORANCE! THEN THE GOVERNMENT TRIUMPHS AND YOU LOOSE, AND BECOME JUST ANOTHER PAWN! DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! PROTEST, PEACEFULLY OF COURSE, DO WHAT YOU WILL TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! NEVER, EVER, EVER USE VIOLENCE IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM! VIOLENCE RESULTS IN NOTHING BUT HARDSHIPS FOR YOU! STATE YOUR OPINION TO OUR GOVERNMENT, YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES, THE PRESIDENT! VOICE THEM WITH LOGIC AND REASON, NOT ANGER AND FRUSTRATION! IT MUST BE DONE IF WE WANT TO KEEP THE FEW FREEDOMS WE HAVE!

  • Lachlan

    I really think Americans need to start opening their eyes to the fact that its not just Americans these bills affect. I constantly read these articles that are affecting the ENTIRE WORLD and all I ever read about is Americans talking about how they’re being oppressed by these legislations, and how you Americans all banded together to make a difference. WAKE UP. You foolish Americans put these greedy corporate types into power and voted them in, and bought their produce and now they think they can run the world and just arrest people in other countries at their will. They will not stop this until you bring them down or elect someone like Ron Paul, who despite his best intentions, may not even be able to change the country as much as he wants to due to the invisible string pullers hidden in the background of the US government. Until America crashes, the world has little hope of pulling itself out of this black-hole of commercialism and greed thats just pulling 99% of the world down to a single fate. Crush you’re own Government and save the world.

  • I speak how I feel

    This is absolute bull crap. I do no understand why in the world the government wants to push this bill through STILL. I feel as if they want to lose all there money making internet fees. I swear If it wasn’t for some people there would not be big events or big music industry songs. Or new artist being discovered everyday. I honestly feel they need to just let it be we are doing just fine having the things up. A lot of sites will be closed down and I have to say if youtube gets deleted THOUSANDS of people will become broke OR in debt because youtube is there job. Only increasing the debt or poverty rate rapidly. Also, some people look to see youtube for closure or help with everyday problems or coming out to there parents or to just to laugh when times get hard. I swear the government needs some new heads in the office, because the ones there think they are doing something but they are clearly just fucking themselves over even more and they are bringing us with them.