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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Ian, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

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    #17 Jersey

    I don't know if anyone here has accessed Wikipedia this morning, but there's a proposal I've been following for a while now that I think everyone in here needs to know about because it could potentially have a bearing here at our site, and thousands of others.

    The act is called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property. I have no issue with the concept of what they're trying to achieve, but the problem is that the language in the proposed law is too broad and it could have a direct impact on sites like this which contains a lot of "user generated material" (ie: posts, threads, etc.)

    As you know I've been active against having people copy/paste complete articles, etc. to make sure we stay within the necessary guidelines so that we're not infringing on any copyrights. I think for the most part we do a good job, but obviously it's not perfect and it's obviously hard to catch everything.

    The problem is several of the provisions in SOPA will force ISPs hosting websites (ie: the company that hosts our servers) to potentially disconnect us from the Internet if there’s a claim - unsubstantiated or not - that we're infringing against copyright, regardless of if it has not been fully proved in court. The argument is that this would make it easy for someone to make false or weak claims against the site to take a us offline until we went to court.

    That's a headache I'm not prepared to deal with. The number of threats, etc. I get each year via e-mail from angry members from other teams we remove are pretty unreal and obviously you guys don't see them, so giving any additional ammunition backed up by a law like this would be a potentially huge issue. I've been talking with other sites and it's a very real concern that we're all potentially going to be faced with if this goes through, unless it's rewritten to better target the sites that are really the ones they're looking to address.

    Needless to say this is something serious enough that everyone should be aware of. I noticed Wikipedia went black this morning over it, and I just felt that everyone here should know about what's going on. Again, I'm not condoning piracy, infringement, etc. - that's not the point. The point is the language in the proposal unfortunately is too broad and isn't specific enough in achieving the desired results.

    You can read more about it here:

    Stop Online Piracy Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Google also Blacked Out Their Name.............
  3. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

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    #17 Jersey

    I saw that. As I said I've been following this, but I really wanted to make others aware since this could be a big issue here. I don't have a problem with what they're trying to achieve, but it needs to be written better than it is. Otherwise it will become a big headache.
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  5. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Rookie

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    I'm sorry to say that the NFL appears on a list of companies that support SOPA/PIPA, as does MLB and the NBA.

    I wouldn't worry too much right now though. The White House has indirectly come out against it, the House Majority Leader has been more direct in his opposition and its also an election year which is almost never a time when controversial bills get passed. This time next year is another matter.
  6. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Rookie

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    Btw, if anyone absolutely has to know who had the most touchdown passes in like 1975 there is a workaround at Wiki. The "SOPA sucks" screen at Wikipedia was made with Javascript. If you disable Javascript in your browser's tools area you'll pass right over it and into the site. The only things that's really locked is editing.
  7. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Can you imagine the number of Jets fans alone reporting the site on a daily basis just out of spite?
  8. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    For what it's worth, I blocked both of my web sites for the day. There's a simple code which, when entered, blacks out the site and gives an explanation as to why.

    There's a grain of goodness in the bill - I've had people take my "stuff" and post it as their own, which is irritating beyond belief and it would be good to have some recourse when there's blatant plagiarism going on - but copyright infringement is a bit different. I never have a problem with someone reprinting something I've written so long as they give me a link and credit - but having it stolen and not acknowledged as mine is theft.

    I'm okey with the former - not so much with the latter.
  9. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

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    #17 Jersey

    I have no issue with the DCMA in its current form, but to have the site taken offline due to a complaint without an option to deal with it, or having someone link to an infringing site without our knowledge would be a big issue.

    I understand the reasoning behind why they're trying to solve the bigger problems, and that makes sense to me. However with the way the act is currently written, obviously a site like ours would get hurt. I'm like everyone else, I work full time and only have a limited amount of time to get on and police the day-to-day stuff. I think we do a pretty good job, but it would be pretty frustrating to have the site taken offline due to something being posted that we didn't see. The costs would become too much and I wouldn't be able to sustain it. It would be a nightmare, so I'm really hoping they come up with something less broad and more specific.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  10. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

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    #17 Jersey

    I'm not surprised about both backing it. They're more frustrated with people cutting/pasting content, illegally using photos, logs, etc. without a license. That's been an issue for years. Not to mention the fact that they're both huge entities and would have an easier time fending off baseless claims.
  11. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For what it's worth, through the Wikipedia links I wrote to my Congressperson and both Senators. (To his credit, Scott Brown is already on record opposed PIPA)I think this legislation is nuts. While I in general don't support libertarianism, on the internet it works very well and generates an enormous amount of traffic for the websites and articles that would otherwise be unknown. I think smaller websites depend on this word-of-mouth type environment. I am sure I've visited hundreds if not thousands of websites over the years thanks to so-called "copyright infringement."

    Sure, if someone posts a whole movie, a whole book, or a whole article, there should be some kind of sanction, but very few sites do that, and I suspect existing laws already provide protection in that regard. If this law had been in place, I would not have learned about sites like FootballOutsiders, BleacherReports, and that article that someone posted about and quoted from in the main forum earlier today:

    Charles P. Pierce on the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos divisional playoff game - Grantland
  12. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    so what are you ultimately saying?

    be aware?

    or stop linking altogether for a while?
  13. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very general question -- if this does pass, doesn't it become the smartest thing you can do, to disable the "img" tag? I mean, someone owns all these pics. Also, same goes for most of our avatars (mine's protected by fair use; i.e., it's recognizably altered to split the diff between Belichick and Emperor Palpatine. But I expect if this were to pass, we'd just have to eliminate avatars so the site doesn't bear the onus -- after all, someone could mis-apply the law & ignore the "fair use" doctrine.)
  14. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    To me, it's all pettiness if you're indignant about someone linking to your work. And an ever-greater expansion of our pathetic "sue everyone" culture. But I'm sure it makes lawyers happy.

    As a photographer, do you want exposure to your art, or don't you? It's free advertising, as I see it.

    If I post a non-generic photo, I always add a link. If I see a photo with a link, I'm far more prone to visit that site and see the story.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  15. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I have been wondering if the possibility of generating a lot of new business for lawyers is the reason why this atrocity had any legs in the first place.
  16. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    I'm opposed to the law, but I think there is quite a bit of paranoia from people about just how all-pervasive this will be. Case in point: the above post.
  17. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And that's the difference between a lay perspective on the subject, and the perspective of someone who has had to bear in mind copyright for professional purposes.

    I wonder whether an intellectual property lawyer believes that photos are subject to copyright (not a paralegal).

    I wonder why every time I'm discussing use of an image it's always been so important, whether on the Web or in print, to make damn sure we had the copyright (or a permission from the subject if we "own" the pic, which of course is less of an issue here.)

    What a waste of time it's all been!

    A photo is intellectual property. Show me any passage of the proposed law that says "except using photos without attribution, payment, notification, etc."

    I always thought it was paranoia to think they'd actually come after college kids for peer-to-peer music sharing.

    PFnV
  18. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Seems as though intelligence has reigned supreme on the hill, the first time in a long time, and the bill is being withdrawn..

    Congress withdraws anti-piracy measures - Technology & science - Security - msnbc.com

  19. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here. Are you an intellectual property lawyer, or is it simply something you "have to bear in mind" where you work? Do you have any sort of training or work experience in the legal profession? Please clarify.

    Some photos are subject to copyrights. Some photos are free use. It would take hours to teach you the difference.
    That's very big of you to admit how shortsighted and ignorant you were regarding P2P music sharing. The music industry has (obviously) opposed free music sharing since it's inception. They told everyone they were going to go after violators in any way possible. For you to not have seen it coming is indeed the height of putting your head in the sand hoping nobody notices you.

    I, on the other hand, knew they were going to do what they did and I saw it coming a mile away. So since I had a far better understanding of that situation than you did, it is clear that we can safely assume that I have a far better understanding than you regarding this particular situation.

    Meanwhile, to use your example of your chosen icon, never before has George Lucas or Bob Kraft indicated they want to go after people who use Star Wars or Patriots related imagery as silly little icons or avatars. Now if you took your avatar and turned it into a poster and started selling those posters for $10 each, yes you'd have a cease and desist order on your hands. But nobody is going to jail for having silly cartoon avatars.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  20. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    PFnVA - When I was at UMass, a student created a site called canofsleep.com. To easily explain it, it was a GUI that anyone on the UMass network could hit and any computer connected to the network that had been setup to share files, a given person could search for music, movies, pron etc etc etc etc. It was fantastic at the time.

    That being said the feds came in and nabbed the kid that started it. They were hoping for the max penalty; which at the time was 250K per song/movie etc on the "network". When I was there it was something in the order of 100K songs and 10K movies.

    They threw the book at him.

    Similar to the guys that run Megupload.com. They got shut down yesterday and the Feds are going after the guys - who's crime was creating a site where people can post material, songs, movies, photos, books, anything really, and sell subscriptions to the site, to allow people to download files from it. The guys who run the site dont share anything on it, they simply allow people to share copy write protected material through their site.

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