Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:35 PM
Imagine, if you will, a world without Wikipedia, a world without Google, a world without sites like YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Reddit, even YoYoGames....got that image in your head? Good, read on..
You might think ďHah, youíre talking about the time before the internet,
or China, or Iran or something like that, yeah?Ē Sadly, we arenít. This is a potential reality today, world wide.
By now, you have no doubt already heard of SOPA and itís sister bill PIPA. Itís proponents wish to use it to stem the flow of copyrighted material, but unfortunately, itís flawed, very, very flawed.
At YoYoGames, we respect copyright. We have a duty to protect our own material and certainly donít want to infringe that of others. We know how hard it is to create and maintain; brands, intellectual property, goods and services.
Today the main news is that the popular crowd-sourced online encyclopedia is participating in an "Internet blackout" in protest of two controversial US anti-piracy bills: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
The bills are intended to strengthen protections against copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, but as Internet advocates, we say they would stifle expression in the World Wide Web.
What does the legislation do?
There are already laws that protect copyrighted material, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). But while the DMCA focuses on removing specific, unauthorized content from the Internet, SOPA and PIPA instead target the platform -- that is, the site hosting the unauthorized content.
The bills would give the Justice Department the power to go after foreign websites willfully committing or facilitating intellectual property theft -- "rogue" sites like The Pirate Bay. The government would be able to force U.S.-based companies, like Internet service providers, credit card companies and online advertisers, to cut off ties with those sites.
Why Internet companies oppose SOPA and PIPA
Internet companies and their investors say that they're holding the "blackout" to protect their corporate interests and the entire burgeoning Internet-based economy.
Under the rules SOPA or PIPA would impose, it can be argued that start ups wouldn't be able to handle the costs that come with defending their sites against possible violations. Such sites would not be able to pay the large teams of lawyers that established sites like Google or Facebook can afford.
The legislation in question targets foreign companies whose primary purpose is to sell stolen or counterfeit goods but opponents say domestic companies could still be held liable for linking to their content. While sites like Reddit wouldn't have a legal duty to monitor their sites all the time, "you might have your pants sued off of you" if you don't, said Jayme White, staff director for the Senate Finance Subcommittee on international trade.
Where does the legislation stand?
The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote on PIPA on January 24.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., meanwhile, is opposed to the legislation and will today officially introduce an alternative -- the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. Issa said Tuesday he expects his bill to have more co-sponsors than SOPA has in the House.
The OPEN Act would make the International Trade Commission, rather than the Justice Department, responsible and in the hands of one entity, rather than the whole court system.
How does this affect YoYo Games?
Even as a UK based company, under SOPA if a single user where to upload a copyrighted content (a picture, idea, trademark name) on our site we could be taken 'offline' without due process.
This presents a problem for us, a large part of what we do relies on user generated content and users might not understand the ins and outs of copyright law - or be governed by different laws from us. We also receive a vast amount of user generated material - to the level where it is impossible to manually check every single thing that gets put on our site.
We currently have an excellent team of moderators who scan our site regularly looking for anything amiss and they manage to catch it. This is not 100% foolproof though.
Proponents of bills like SOPA and PIPA will tell you that we are actively profiting from this, we are making money from other peoples copyright.
This couldnít be further from the truth, the staff time required to deal with these take down requests absolutely obliterates any money in advertising revenue that potentially may have been made by the piece in question.
Itís important to note here, that we arenít an American company, our servers are not hosted in America, yet our business could be completely taken offline for goodness knows how long, over a simple misunderstanding - something that could be rectified with just an e-mail.
So what, how does this affect me?
Worst case scenerio - no more GameMaker! With laws like SOPA and PIPA we would not be able to empower independent developers or get schools to be creative making games. We would have to fundamentally change the way GameMaker works and how it is applied and there is a very real danger we (and other similar companies) would no longer be able to exist.
The bills also propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail.US-based internet service providers, payment processors and advertisers would be outlawed from doing business with alleged copyright infringers.
Why would anyone support this?
Two words: rogue sites.
That's Hollywood's term for Web sites that happen to be located in a nation more hospitable to copyright infringement
Supporters of the bills include television networks, music publishers, movie industry bodies, book publishers and manufacturers. (big established industry hitters)
Who is opposing this?
Much of the Internet industry and a large percentage of Internet users. Here's the most current list (PDF) of opponents.
Critics include Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, AOL and Zynga. (the good guys)
Laws like SOPA and PIPA are written by people with seriously vested interests, who do not understand how the Internet works - on even the most basic level (you know that Aunty of yours that canít even turn on a computer?).
This isnít about morality of piracy or copyright infringement, this is about fundamentally changing the way the Internet operates, at the cost of the many, for the profit of the few. We already comply with DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices on yoyogames.com when we receive them, it works well for everybody. We don't need a new copyright law.
We hope you join us in opposing this Act.
The YoYo Team
Posted 18 January 2012 - 01:53 PM
Perhaps YoYoGames should do the same?
Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:32 PM
Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:05 PM
It must be said, though, that it's no wonder that more draconian measures are suggested. As co-author of a certain book I can tell you that the DMCA is worthless and ineffective when it comes to IP protection, especially if you're a small player. It takes time and dedication to get content removed during which it just stays there, available for further distribution. And when it's finally down in one place, it's back up in 10 others. Sometimes even on the very website where you sent your complaint.
The bill doesn't do more than thumbscrewing content providers to find ways to protect copyrighted material. I suppose they hope it will result in a combination of more vigilant patrolling, previewing submitted content and by software innovations that can verify copyrights. What we really need is a brilliant idea that holds the uploader directly responsible, instead.
Edited by Smarty, 18 January 2012 - 03:06 PM.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:31 PM
Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:44 PM
Congress Shelves SOPA.
and the official White House blog post :
Now, where that leaves the PIPA bill, I don't know, and I'm also sure that this bill will be brought back up again sooner or later (sooner probably!) under some other name, or that it's most polemic parts will be hidden within some other less "high profile" bill... anyway, for the moment it seems that things are on hold.
EDIT: looks like PIPA is still on the go, so lets just hope it gets the same treatment!
Edited by Nocturne, 18 January 2012 - 06:52 PM.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:42 PM
Also SOPA = Stop Online Piracy Act
Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:53 PM
Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:03 PM
I never said it was. As I stated I find it draconian and inconceivable, to say the least. And I'm well aware of the possible implications if such a bill passes.
@Smarty: I agree, we have to deal with, and issue lots of "take down" notices, and your right - they're back up almost instantly. But SOPA isn't the way to go...
The problem, of course, is that nobody can come up with an alternative solution. You'd need a global policy to get a useful anti-piracy act, and good luck getting the rest of the world behind that. With unwilling foreign parties, the strongest options the U.S. legislators have to enforce this act are the ones suggested by the bill, which is cutting the data streams and money lifelines. And yes, those reach far beyond their borders. What it really means is that they're out of clues, and simply telling the websites "you sort this out, or else".
I just don't think this is going to happen. Trying to police the Internet across borders will just make the Internet reroute itself around the U.S., and business pull out of it.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:58 PM
EVERYBODY who visits this page should sign the petition if they have an morals at all.
EDIT: http://sopastrike.com/strike Sign the petition here. It takes (no joke) 20 seconds and all you need to do is enter your email address into the textbox. Couldn't be easier!
Edited by Zesterer, 18 January 2012 - 10:01 PM.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:01 PM
This kind of bill is something that you would expect to find in a dictatorship. It is a ridiculous notion by the US government, the idea will be globally rejected, and the American government will not retain its reputation as an honest, free, and helpful government that will serve the needs of its people. It is a discrase to logic, freedom, and may even overlap into the boundaries of neglecting human rights. The Internet is a global tool to allow everyone to benefit, it is owned by nobody, and each of its parts are an amazing way of communicating data, knowledge, and connecting people across the planet. To do this to such an amazing infra-structure is, in my opinion, an act of criminal vandalism.
EVERYBODY who visits this page should sign the petition if they have an morals at all.
Only the American people themselves think their government have that reputation... most other people think otherwise! SOPA is just one in a looooong list of things that their government has done/tried to do/is doing to censor and control it's population, the press and other countries.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:14 PM
EDIT: In my opinion the internet is to big to die. You could destroy every mainframe server on the planet and there would be enough of it left to regenerate. Even if you ban a website, in the 2-3 mins it takes to ban it that data is plastered all over the Internet in at least another 10 different locations. What the US have in mind is completely pie-in-the-sky thinking. If the Internet goes down, I'm making my own user-hosted version with 39dll!
Edited by Zesterer, 18 January 2012 - 10:31 PM.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:30 PM
Yes, Nocturne I understand your point. As a non-American, I am not tied to the USA patriotically (I'm British and proud to be! ).
A government should respect the wishes of all it's citizen equally - not act as personal ammunition for big global corporations wishing to avoid small amounts of copyright infringement on their various quests to achieve world business domination.
And even more shockingly :
And this is really the most scary of all and left me wondering just where the hell all this will end :
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:34 PM
-SOPA RESISTANCE DAY-
-ARTICLE ON SOPA AND PIPA-
-LIBRARY OF CONGRESS'S RECORDING OF SOPA'S PRESENTATION BEFORE CONGRESS-
-BILL INFO OF PIPA (PROTECT IP ACT)-
-OPEN LETTER TO WASHINGTON-
-OPENSECRETS.ORG INVERGATING MONEY IN POLITICS-
-ARTICLE ON OPEN-
-BILL INFO OF OPEN-
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:38 PM
Anyway, PIPA is still going and is scheduled to start taking votes January 24, I believe.
It won't pass, just today 3 of of some of the main supporters of the bill have abandoned PIPA.
I'm highly against this bill, but I do believe there needs to be tighter control on protecting against intellectual properties and the infringement of copyrighted material.
Edited by Mr. RPG, 18 January 2012 - 10:49 PM.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:41 PM
Wasn't SOPA shelved? (at least for the time being) Several sites have confirmed this, I don't know why people are still talking about it.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:50 PM
The US had no right to accuse that teenage of a criminal offense - what he was doing - although not entirely legitimate - did not merit his extradition.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:31 PM
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