The Potential Danger Of SOPA And PIPA

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The SOPA bill by the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PIPA draft of the U.S. Senate, both targeting foreign sites that violate copyrights. The bill is generally associated with media piracy, but also can be applied to the medicine and consumer goods.

Initially, the law draft provides two methods to fight copyright infringement on foreign sites. In one method, the U.S. Justice Department may file a court order to make internet service providers to block sites that violate. For example, Comcast can prevent customers to access the infringing site, although essentially an IP address can still be achieved. Terms of ISPs blocking is a major concern of internet security experts.

Such provision makes the copyright holder may request a court ordered payment services, advertisers and search engines to stop business with sites that infringe copyright. In other words, the copyright holder can request the withholding of funds obtained from the offenders site, as well as remove links to such sites from search engine (Yahoo!, Google, Bing, etc).

We’ve quoted small part of the bill from Mashable (<– we urge you to read it), where the post author explain it in common languages why these bills (PIPA and SOPA) will have the possibility to turn back time into 1994 before internet era.

Section 201(b)(1) expands criminal copyright infringement to include:

…At least 10 copies or phonorecords, or of at least 10 public performances by means of digital transmission, of 1 or more copyrighted works, during any 180-day period, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500.

Now, the way that the value of a work can be computed in court is the very crude (value of the work times number of views).

…Total retail value may be shown by evidence of the total retail price that persons receiving the reproductions, distributions, or public performances constituting the offense would have paid to receive such reproductions, distributions, or public performances lawfully.

This means, for example, if you upload a video to YouTube of you singing a popular song, and that song might sell for $1, and your video gets 2,500 views, you are guilty of felony copyright infringement. Furthermore, you can tack on “willful infringement for commercial gain or valued at more than $1,000.”

From the analogy above we can also set an example if Justin Bieber, Madonna, or any of your favorite artist singing one of Taylor Swift’s song and upload it somewhere (like YouTube) and they/he/she didn’t owned the copyrights, now your favorite artists officially a criminal and the Gov. have the rights to shutdown the whole YouTube instantly.

Another example from music copyright

While the copyright owner of the song and of the sound recording can be the same person, it usually doesn’t work out that way. The songwriter is typically the initial copyright owner of the song. When working with music publishers to generate song revenue, songwriters frequently transfer the copyrights in their songs to another person or organization.

From the quote above, if Taylor Swift (for example) has transferred the copyrights to a recording label, then she could potentially be a criminal for singing her own song on YouTube. We’re not a law firm nor a law people, but you may ask lawyer near you or near your area for precise explanation about copyrights owner, legal, etc.

What about Wikipedia, WordPress.com, your favorite forums on the internet? If someone upload copyrighted image/video/song into just one of wordpress post and click the publish button then the whole site can be closed by the authority. Same thing could happened to Wikipedia or your favorite forums  even facebook, twitter, and almost all website on the world wide web.

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