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Sopa: US backers end support for anti-piracy bill


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Sopa: US backers end support for anti-piracy bill

Eight US lawmakers have withdrawn their backing from anti-piracy laws, amid "blackout" protests on thousands of internet sites.

Two of the bill's co-sponsors, Marco Rubio from Florida and Roy Blunt from Missouri, are among those backing away.

Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia and blog service WordPress are among the highest profile sites to block their content.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has branded the protests as "irresponsible" and a "stunt".

The MPAA, Hollywood's primary advocate in Washington and a key supporter of the legislation, is led by former Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd.

Both bills focus on responding to online piracy, specifically illegal copies of films and other media.

The bills would also outlaw sites from containing information about how to access blocked sites.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond says that with Mr Rubio and Mr Blunt withdrawing their support, the Senate bill - Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) - that had looked likely to pass, now appears to be in trouble.

Mr Rubio is a rising star in the Republican party, and is often suggested as a viable vice-presidential choice for this year's Republican presidential nominee.


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SOPA is censorship by corporate copyright owners.

Throughout history new artists have built on the work of previous generations, but this is next to impossible under present copyright laws unless you are given permission by the corporate owner of the work. Individual private owners are much more approachable in this regard. SOPA can remove access to information as well as inhibit freedom of discussion on artists' work.

The real problem however is to discover new ways to fairly compensate our artists for the work they do. (By artists I include anyone who produces anything that is likely to attract a copyright.) Current copyright laws are woefully out of touch with the new distribution methods of the Internet, let alone the benefits that the Internet brings to the creative process itself.

Creative freedom is currently being restricted by out of date attitudes and laws. SOPA makes that even worse by locking access to the work of previous generations. Under such restrictions it is doubtful that some of the works that are now heralded as masterpieces of the last 80 years or so, could have been produced at all.

The objects then are;

1. Freedom of Creativity.

2. Fair and equitable compensation and protection for the artists and creators of their own works.

If a way to reward artists and creative people is not found outside the corporate owners of copyrighted material, then we can look forward to re-hashed works of yesteryear ad infinitum. Worse still, in some regards, we can expect to see a stalling of medical breakthroughs because the current treatment owners have a monopoly by virtue of copyright (patent) that keeps profits high beyond what is needed for ongoing research. As far as the Net is concerned, it is practically the only way we can discover alternative treatments that are just as effective as high priced medicines and treatments. This information could easily be become targeted as offending the copyright owners of the highly priced treatments, and blocked under SOPA type legislation.

This is not just an economic problem however, it is a 'freedom of creativity' issue which needs to be addressed, and quickly.

At the individual level, Creative Commons licences can be chosen to protect the artist and his work, but that does provide the artists with access to previous work, and this is the crux of development of human creativity. Imagine if you had to invent a whole new original language to write a story because some corporate identity held the rights to English. Some people see SOPA and its like as being the forerunner of such stupidity.

Freedom of information is the foundation of the Internet, and SOPA very much is seen as restricting it.

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Throughout history new artists have built on the work of previous generations...

The tutors at my college called it "The Great Conversation" and helped us to understand that culture as we know it is the result of creative interactions, where successive waves of artists and writers took inspiration from the works of those who had gone before, and thus drove ideas forward through their answers to previous work as well as initiating and discovering new paths to explore. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the arts, for we can attribute the development of philosophy and all of the humanities as well as the sciences to the ability of their practitioners to build on what has gone before.


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The tutors at my college called it "The Great Conversation" and helped us to understand that culture as we know it is the result of creative interactions, where successive waves of artists and writers took inspiration from the works of those who had gone before, and thus drove ideas forward through their answers to previous work as well as initiating and discovering new paths to explore. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the arts, for we can attribute the development of philosophy and all of the humanities as well as the sciences to the ability of their practitioners to build on what has gone before.


Well said James, and it is exactly that "Great Conversation" that is being put at risk by things like SOPA.

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I replied elsewhere, on my opinions about SOPA and PIPA. It has many people worried for freedom of information, speech, press, and assembly. But there are points raised beyond the discussion here.



I've also seen a YouTube vlogger who recommended an article by Adam Curry, which I haven't read:

Adam Curry's EXCELLENT Blog Post: http://wt1.me/ycqnpz

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I can only echo some other commentators on the issue of SOPA, PIPA, and other such measures,

It's about stopping piracy as an excuse to limit freedom of information; in other words, it's censorship!

The other issues are "red herrings". The Internet represents an extraordinary means for dissemination of all kinds of information, debate and views. In doing so it offers the global population the means to combat misinformation even if it is surrounded by lies and misrepresentation of reality. As Oscar Wilde said, "Ignorance is a delicate blossom, touch it, and it is gone forever."

What we are seeing is an attempt to limit and control the free exchange of information for public access. As such, the Internet needs to be defended from all those who would limit, humanity's right to knowledge. These limits are imposed for the sake of the social slavery our cultures seem intent on exerting over the masses. Remember our culture has a history of keeping the slaves, the so-called common men and women, ignorant of their human rights so they can be manipulated for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful. That they do this by creating the illusion of freedom is the real core of these legislative restrictions. That the poor, and the deprived are disenfranchised from knowledge, of nearly every kind, is the means by which they are controlled, politically, economically and kept in misery.

Of Course...the plutocracy wants to maintain a population of ignorance, even if that means encouraging superstitious nonsense and lies which deny reality, and human rights. The Internet is the biggest thing to happen to dispel ignorance since the advent of the printing press. But lack of educating people to read is the equivalent of censorship, failing which, the other option is to have them not understand what they read. Such is the reason we see such an effort to restrict education and the dissemination of scientific knowledge in our houses of education and now it would seem by attempts to control the Internet.

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I don't expect SOPA/PIPA to go away. Don't be surprised if a few months from now if congress doesn't try to bury it in a "Santa Claus" bill that has lots of goodies in it and people will yell at their senator or rep for voting against it. Big money intesrests are behind it and there are more devious way to get it done.

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Well, while I'd cheer with Des gladly, I'd also caution that the inturwebz is just as prone to misinformation and disinformation as it is to correct, true, or unslanted information. Why? Because people use the web and put up what they think or believe to be true, and sometimes it isn't quite so. (I am not immune to that myself, darn it.)

But that simply means we have to be smart about examining what we read, see, and hear online, just like we should be careful in person or in print or audio or video, when someone claims something. It doesn't mean it's bad, it just means we need to think about it before taking it to heart as truth. (Again, I am not immune there, demonstrably.)

But Des is very right that the web has given greater freedom of information and communications, freedom of the press, of debate, of assembly, and so on, to an unprecedented degree. Yes, it's as big an improvement as the invention of the printing press in Europe and China. (Yes, it was invented both places independently. Gutenberg might have heard of the Chinese doing it.)

And yet ironically, it's censorship (or attempted censorship) by both East and West that could limit us all, East and West. If we can't freely discuss things, if someone who wants information or arts and entertainment for the sake of such things, or to invent and create something new; if we can't debate things and try to come up with better solutions, then...no one advances. No one. Instead, we stay static and dull, or we retreat, fall down, defeat. How sad if we (or our elected officials or those with power) limit those possibilities, refuse to allow something better, new, or simply different, not thought of before, not invented here...or there.

In particular as a gay person, I think how much it would've helped me growing up, if I could've found information about being gay, about history, translations, interpretations, art, discussions, yes images too, because it would have helped me form my own opinions and discover what I thought was right and wrong about what I thought I knew and what I'd grown up thinking, believing. Yes, as a boy and young man, when puberty started and the need to learn and understand what was happening...all over and inside...made itself known, oh, how it would've helped to have something like the internet. But it wasn't there yet. I was not brash enough to look in some of the ways I could've looked back then. I was not yet socially (or otherwise) adept enough yet to find the right someone(s) to explore such matters in person, either. I was shy and bookish, a geek, handicapped. Oh, come on, I was not all that bad. I had friends, I was friendly. But this was a super important (and very touchy, in all senses of that word) subject for me, fraught with feelings, thoughts, assumptions, preconceptions...mysteries, curiosities, wishes.... And there I was, a kid a little behind the curve and shy about it all, yet very much needing to understand why some boys seemed so much more, in so many ways, and why that was or wasn't different than friendship...or love...in whatever ways I could (or wanted to) find that.

The internet offers the chance to discover things like that, to give someone the chance to educate themselves, to find out for themselves. That isn't "dirty" or "bad" or "sinful," to want to understand, to need to understand, and to seek that understanding, to seek people like oneself, or people who at least might accept you. -- That is part of that ideal of human potential, of being an educated person, of improving your life. -- Why is it that so many people are so terribly fearful of that? -- I ask that, as someone who had trouble when his body and brain found themselves feeling and thinking differently than he'd thought he was "supposed to be," and for too long, didn't accept that difference. I too was a little afraid, or maybe a lot afraid sometimes, because...I wasn't the way others said I was supposed to be, or the way I was growing up believing I was supposed to be. Yet I felt and thought differently: I was a boy who liked boys, a young man who liked young men. -- And it is important to accept and understand yourself and others, instead of to fear and refuse to learn or understand. It's vital to be able to learn and change and grow. If we don't, we stagnate or shrivel up and die a little, as a person, as a group, a culture, or a species. -- Let's please not let that happen. Because we have a choice. Like that young person (or later adult) trying to come to grips with something for which he wasn't prepared, we can either choose to learn to understand and change, or we can refuse to and remain limited and closed off, less than we could be, not reaching that full potential.

We need to be able to change how we do things in so many ways, if we're going to survive. Our ways of thinking and doing must change somehow. We must accept differences and try new things. We must be willing to test those things out. We must also be willing to accept that others will do things a little differently and that is OK. Or...our families, friends, cultures, or species may not make it into that future. Those who refuse to learn and change won't survive, or won't flourish, at least. Yet there are so many out there who deserve the chance to thrive, and so much that's good in all that diverse history and mix of cultures and beliefs and ways of doing things.

That, to me, is what it's about. Is that a little grandiose, making too much of it? Maybe, yes. Or is it?

Anyway, it seems a worthwhile thing to strive for, despite all the obstacles.

"You can be more" is a quote from Farscape which I use often, because it's fitting and it's a reminder, to me and to others.

"There are more things in heaven and upon the earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, oh Horatio." -- William Shakespeare.

Instead of censorship, let's be more.

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