Friday, 20 January 2012

SOPA PIPA - Stop Online Piracy Act A Rookies Point Of View

It’s big news apparently, but me and news don’t get on.

It took me 8 months to learn that Gordon Brown was the PM (seriously)
I don’t watch the news and I don’t read news related newspapers or websites.

Anyway, I got an email from my other half this morning which took me to the wikipedia site for the Stop Online Piracy Act which can be read here 

Even now I haven’t read all of the two websites that I have stumbled upon, so my opinion is less than worthless I guess. But I’m gonna give it anyway. :P

From the bullet points I read,  I am behind it.
Of course I am!

 I “am” one of those people that make a living in digital goods and I have experienced countless cases of digital piracy, usually born out of total ignorance.
Further more,  in my newbie days I have even breached peoples copyright in lets call it “Convenient Ignorance”

By that I mean. I didn’t go out of my way to see if it was OK. I took the view that “Everyone is doing it, it must be OK

True story:

My very much moralistic and law abiding Father asked if he could make a copy of a DVD drama series I had purchased over Christmas.

I laughed a little and said:  “Technically, we would be breaching copyright Dad

He looked a little taken back and replied “No, because I would only be using it for myself to watch and not charging people to view it

This is not a rare, incorrect misunderstanding over copyright and neither does it come from an idiot.
My Father is very well read and very much up to date with the news and political topics.

But is does display how Copyright on a massive international and multi cultural level is completely misunderstood.
Furthermore,  that huge scale lack of understanding is costing those of us that make it our business to understand,  50, 60, 70% of our potential income as people share digital files like they are sharing a bag of chips.

My main direction of thought was and

We all know places like these are breeding grounds for file sharing and IP theft and the owners generate millions of dollars in "User To User”  transactions of digital content so potentially they are both targets for this new law, should it come to fruition.

I would NOT want to be them right now because the damage is done really.
In “their” ignorance, Linden Labs opened the floodgates to people uploading pirate textures and artwork, avatar animations, sounds and goodness knows what else in 2003.

Further more, SLers can also export content out of SL such as textures they did not make.
Why we need a “Save Texture As” option I don’t understand. Why should people be able to export other peoples content out of SL?

Why did Linden Lab think that option was important to offer whilst they continue to ignore the fact that texture and sculpt map artists are loosing sales and money on a massive scale due to the lack of protection Linden Labs offer us.

Unlike prim and mesh made content, texture artists do not get the same level of protection they get.
Our customers (And the people they may share our textures with) can export an artists texture file AND resell it AND share it with great ease.
Hell, there are even “Texture Sharing Groups” the act is so “normal”

All artists can do is throw a User License in with the product and hope some of their customers take the time to read it.

The stuff already doing its rounds in SL is so entrenched into the platform and peoples inventories even if they were to identify everything, to literally rip it out of the system would leave millions of honest peoples content not working or half textured and the customers who purchased in good faith pay the price because they won’t get any refund.

Its mind blowing what this may mean to SL and Linden Labs.

On a positive note, I think peoples awareness of IP and Copyright will dramatically increase.

With the very real threat of such acts being treat as a federal crime,  people will now go out of their way to learn the facts so they don’t break the law in ignorance.

Of course, the small time opportunists are not under threat here, at least not initially.
It's the torrent websites and those that make a living from file sharing which generates massive traffic which they can then turn into very high advertising fees from other “legit” companies.

It’s a clever if not bloody lazy ass way of making a ton of money because all they provide are the servers and a website:

The traffic is attracted by the Free and 90% illegal software and digital wares that other people upload.
(I am not sure what their incentive is? Feel good factor? Feeling generous with others content? Oh, how kind!)
Then millions of people visit the site to download all the free software and digital content (Along with the crack codes generated by those that upload the pirate content)

The owners then can sell advertising space on their website to other legit websites who will pay big bucks for the kind of traffic a torrent website attracts.
The torrent owners are cashing it in without having to invest time, money or even skill into their business.

They’re what I like to refer to as “bottom feeders” and yes these websites are owned mainly by certain countries which I won’t disclose here for fear of having my house burnt to the ground.

But as I say, Copyright has so many shades of grey, it's massively misunderstood and I would say at least 50% of the “damage” comes from ignorance.

Stop Online Piracy Act

And here is the other side of the coin. Those that are against the act.

SOPA - Why is the world against it?


  1. Everyone agrees that intellectual property rights need to be protected, and there are laws that are designed to do just that (with penalties attached). What these two bills do is go much farther than is needed to protect those copyrights.

    For example, Facebook. A facebook member uploads a copyrighted photo or links to a video. The entire site can be taken down because of that. If I were to link to a video on my blog that violates someone's copyright, my blog could be shut down and I may go to jail. These bills are like squashing ants with a mack truck. Too much collateral damage.

    Megaupload was shut down (without warning, notice or due process), making unavailable many gigabytes of legitimate content. That's even WITHOUT these bills.

    Yes, we need to protect IP rights, but these bills are NOT the way to do it, that's why there were so many protests (in case you didn't hear about it, a number of sites went dark - restricted access in protest).

    That's the problem, not the fact that they're trying to protect Intellectual Property, it's the potential for loss of legitimate content.

  2. Hi Mrs Spooky

    Yea my "other half" told me the full sordid facts that night after I wrote this... seems like their intentions were honorable but the intended execution hadn't been thought through.

    I agree, sounded like it could be a potential logistical nightmare where direct competitors could take your website down just by a simply accusing you of IP theft and the result would be an immediate closure of your website BEFORE any type of investigation which could take weeks months or even years meaning your business would fall flat soon.

    I understand its been axed for now as they look into the issues raised such as yours.

    Thanks for your comment