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There’s a movement in Congress to pass something called the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA. It’s a bill that would ostensibly protect America’s intellectual property, stopping the sale of counterfeit goods and shutting down illegal file sharing. We here at TTAG understand how hard it is to generate original content and the need to protect that property. But like much legislation that has been passed against firearms owners in the last 40 years SOPA is a bill that reaches too far. If it passes websites could be blocked without any due process and no real way to appeal the decision, the first step on the slippery slope to the kind of censorship that is seen in China these days. Today a number of websites have been blacked out in protest of this bill, and while we would love to join them there’s just too much news that we need to report on. So in exchange for us staying open today please take five minutes to go to this website and urge your representative to do the right thing by stopping this bill.

The first amendment is the most important piece of language ever authored by Man, and we need to preserve, protect and defend it at all costs. Even if it means inconveniencing yourself for a few minutes today.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled SHOT show madness.

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  1. Bachmann, Klobuchar and Franken got a message from me. +1 for posting the link, Nick. Hope everyone who reads this will follow it and tell their congresscritters “NO!”

  2. My congressional rep has been contacted.

    For those who don’t have time to read the bill, what the Assault Weapons Ban did for firearms in the 90’s is what SOPA will do to the internet. The Attorney General under this bill would have the authority to shut down any website they see fit without appeal or oversight.

    With this legislation it is completely possible to see firearm related websites like TTAG served a shutdown order from Eric Holder because of some arcane “copyright” regulation.

  3. Thanks should go to the dirty hippies TTAG for participating in the protest. You should sticky it to the top of the homepage for today.

  4. Where’s MikeB arguing that this is a needed ‘common sense’ internet control? After all, if even one life is saved by destroying the 1st Amendment.

    • I kinda figured he would chime in on this, given how many big dems are pushing it.

      The list of PIPA supporters in the senate reads like a rogue’s gallery of retards; Feinstein, Schumer, Reid, Lieberman, etc…

      • …sponsored by a TX republican…

        Current list of cosponsors is pretty evenly split between ignorant pols on both sides.

        • It is fairly split – look at for the list of Republicans who sponsored this. Even the second coming Marco Rubio co-sponsored it in the Senate until this morning that is. So complaining does work but many Republicans pushed this – after all the House is under GOP control.

  5. It really is the dumbest idea ever. I mean, really– internet censorship worked *so well* for Egypt and Tunisia.

    I tried to contact my congresscritters, but it seems that is experiencing technical difficulties. I wonder why that might be? I’ll try again tomorrow.

  6. Ed Markey got a note from me but both Kerry and Scott Brown’s websites are down. Probably a good thing, too much traffic for them to handle.

    I urge you all to write your reps too!

    Also interested to see if anonymous gets involved in this at all….

    • “Also interested to see if anonymous gets involved in this at all….”
      It would not surprise me in the least.

  7. Unfortunately, it seems that the truth always ends up being the first casualty of any political debate. SOPA and PIPA may not be perfect, but they are intended to address a very real problem: copyright infringement, particularly from foreign websites that are, as a practical matter, immune from U.S. law. The chicken-little crew will always argue that the sky is falling, but in this case, it isn’t.

    • SOPA goes further than DMCA and potentially puts site operators — even those based in the U.S. — on the hook for content that their users upload. The proposed bill’s text says that a site could be deemed a SOPA scofflaw if it “facilitates” copyright infringement.

      That’s too broad. Sites like TTAG just don’t have the manpower to sift through millions of pages, just to make sure that someone somewhere isn’t infringing on a copyright.

      • Moonshine: have you even read the Bill? Or is your post just a line you grapped off the internet after a 5 minute read?

        Section 102 (a): Definition- For purposes of this section, a foreign Internet site or portion thereof is a `foreign infringing site’ if–
        (1) the Internet site or portion thereof is a U.S.-directed site and is used by users in the United States;
        (2) the owner or operator of such Internet site is committing or facilitating the commission of criminal violations punishable under section 2318, 2319, 2319A, 2319B, or 2320, or chapter 90, of title 18, United States Code; and
        (3) the Internet site would, by reason of acts described in paragraph (1), be subject to seizure in the United States in an action brought by the Attorney General if such site were a domestic Internet site.

        And you really think that definition will end the world as we know it? It essentially puts forign sites on the same footing as U.S. based sites. Big deal.

        • “facilitating the commission”
          I am in the process of reading the bill; I’d encourage everyone to do so:

          Every post would have to be checked to ensure that the poster, his/her website, and any websites promoted by said user did not engage in the illegal transfer of copyrighted material. Failure on the part of TTAG to do so could expose them to criminal liability under the “facilitating” clause. And that’s not just a problem for TTAG. Any site with any amount of user-generated content would be in the same pickle. Is this how the web is supposed to operate? I do not think so; you obviously disagree.

    • What exactly is the real problem and who exactly is being so badly injured by this that dramatic, drastic actions need to be taken against an entire communications medium?

      Copyright law is NOT intended to protect the profit stream of an outdated business model managed by politically connected corporations.

      • I don’t think property rights are an “outdated business model,” but if you disagree, post your home address so I can come over one day while you are at work and steal all your stuff.

        • Pretty sure Vincit is referring to intellectual property, as opposed to real property. Pretty sure you knew that, though.

        • Yes, I did. My point, however, is that there is really not any practical difference between the two types of property rights.

        • You must be joking.

          Real property is tangible and concrete. There is a finite amount of it.

          Intellectual property, or ideas, are infinite. No matter how much you think about an idea, speak about it or write it down, that idea isn’t used up.

          I can run out of corn flakes, milk or bullets. I can never run out of a story or an image. Big difference.

        • Well, no shit, Sherlock Sam. I’m talking about LEGAL differences. We are talking “law” here, right?

        • Well, there’s another fundamental difference:

          Physical properties are purchased and sold, and the owner holds them until such time as he decides to divest himself of them (either by his own volition, or government compulsion).

          Intellectual property rights, as they are called, essentially means copyrights, which are NOT property per-se. Copyrights are a TIME LIMITED MONOPOLY granted to the creator of a protected work. After that period of time has expired, the work becomes a part of the public domain. No matter what happens, every single copyright will expire at some point in time. This DOES NOT happen with tangible property.

        • What I’m saying is that property right claims to real property are legitimate. Claims to ideas are simply claims to other peoples real property. I.e. you telling me what I can or can’t do with my property.

        • All of this legislation has been pushed by the RIAA and the MPAA as a response to dwindling revenues. The internet should have been a new distribution model for them, but they did not adapt because it was more profitable to sell a cd for $20. The industry has passed them by and their existence is no longer necessary whatsoever (MPAA less so than RIAA; movies are still much harder to make and distribute than music). Now, since it’s 20 years too late to do anything about it, they are just unleashing their lawyers and lobbyists to change the rules of the game.

          If I download or share a song or a movie, you can’t demonstrate harm to original artist that produced that. In fact, having listened to their music I am much more likely to go to a concert or buy merchandise.

          Do you think the business model of the recording or music industry has changed to take advantage of the internet? All of the innovation in the space (Itunes, spotify, youtube, hulu), ALL of it has progressed in spite of intense opposition from these groups, but consumers overwhelmingly support it.

          Furthermore, the real problems with the bill, even if you agree with it philosophically, is the complete mess of an implementation. There is no oversight, no appeal, no judiciary process, and no compensation for mistakes. This places an intense burden on all site owners that will prevent sites like this from ever starting up.

      • Copyright law may not be INTENDED to protect the profit stream of an outdated business model managed by politically connected corporations but that is what happens. Disney leads the charge by protecting it’s Cr on the mouse, currently locked until 2013. Thanks Sonny Bono for that one.

        This is all about locking up content and charging as much for as many things as possible. If you think the “content owners” will be reasonable you should read Lawrence Lessig’s book on the subject. Or notice how much is blurred out on television, even if placement would be a benefit or advertise a product.
        It’s all about the Benjamins.

    • “SOPA and PIPA may not be perfect, but they are intended to address a very real problem: copyright infringement, particularly from foreign websites that are, as a practical matter, immune from U.S. law. “

      What they intend and what they will do are two different things. I do not give a flying fig about intentions, the law is too broad and it allows site owners to be deprived of their private property rights without due process.

      RICO laws, intended to take on organized crime were used to attack and bankrupt pro-life protest organizations and organizers. Think what you want of pro-life protesters, but they are not mob bosses and they did not deserve to be hauled into court like Scarface.

      It will be abused. It must be stopped.

    • Oh noes, they’re immune from US law because what they’re doing is legal in their country! Those damned other countries cant have their own laws or sovereignty!

  8. Expect these to pass and be signed, despite what anyone says. The moneyed interests want this, and they get what they want 99% of the time. If by some miracle, this isn’t one of those times, it’ll be back in some other form in a little while, and it’ll pass then.

  9. The only good thing about SOPA would be that TTAG would finally be held accountable for their unauthorized use of other people’s intellectual property.

      • It’s a remark aimed at the owner of TTAG reminding him that he promised to remove a photo from his website within 48 hours after the owner of the photo complained that it was posted without his permission.

        It’s been over a month since those 48 hours expired and the photo is still on the website.

    • the very concept of IP is absurd. if you think IP should be around, would you want to pay for a license to use the English language? I am a certified asset manager, and at my last job, one of my many responsibilities was ensuring a major US insurance company complied with their software licensing agreements, I can absolutely guarantee that you and virtually everyone else are violating your licensing agreements unless your using solely FOSS. Give me 5 – 10 minutes to go thru your computer, and i’m sure I can prove that you have committed multiple federal felonies.

      And just wondering but what specific photo are you talking about?

      • We did. We just paid it in the form of musket balls.

        And the photo in question was the one previously found on their article about the Obama administration banning shooting on public land. The photo has been removed from the article, but is still on TTAG servers.

        • Can you provide a URL?

          Is it ok for RF to infringe on whoevers IP rights, so long as he shoots them afterwards? Quick, call your congress critter and tell them so!

          And to amend by previous statement, most people violate FOSS agreements when they distribute software to a coworker/friend, because they do so without the source unless your in a highly heterogeneous environment.

  10. So these bills were defeated. Huzzah.

    So what does the government go out and do the very next day? Shut down a website and seize all their assets without due process, just like PIPA and SOPA would were designed to authorize. So the government believes they have the right to do this already, and these bills are beside the point.

    If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s time to admit due process is a thing of the past. As long as the magic words are spoken, “terrorist” in some cases, “piracy” in others, then no justifications need be provided and the government cal unilaterally act and deprive citizens of life, liberty, and property on their say so alone.


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