SOPA & PIPA UPDATE - Jan 20th
January 11, 2012 11:38 am
We support artists. We doubt that
the SOPA legislation will be enacted into law in it's current form
The legislative bills are the:
Protect IP Act (PIPA) Currently in the Senate
...... & .....
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Currently in the House of Representatives
UPDATE: The SOPA & PIPA
have officially been put on HOLD. Because of the huge out cry of
the American people and business, the US Senate decided to postpone
the voting on PIPA that was going to take place Tuesday, Jan 24th.
Shorthly thereafter, the US House announced that it would also
postpone their considerations on SOPA.
The goals of both of these proposed bills are to try to prevent the theft of intellectual property (IP). Either bill could ultimately cause some websites deemed to intentionally and continually violate copyrights to shut down or be removed from search engines or payment processors. Both bills also make copyright holders notify websites first and prove it before allowing them to seek additional legal action. The bills also provide immunity for websites that take voluntary action to remove questionable content or for those that try to prevent IP theft.
There are a lot of large companies, musicians, movie makers, animators, game developers, software developers and other artists like you who are supporting the legislation that attempts to stop piracy. There are also some large companies opposing these bills including Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others.
Proponents believe that it will help protect revenues for all types of content creators, businesses and the jobs in content dependent industries, help stop foreign US sites that knowingly and willfully do not comply with copyright laws, and to help protect people from counterfeits of physical products that are being imported.
Opponents have concerns that the bills could impact First Amendment rights, due process rights, or threaten sites or users that upload content on the Internet. Some opponents believe the legislation is to about creating a blacklist of Internet sites. However, the testimony of the Director of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, to the House Judiciary Committee addresses many of these concerns. Want to learn more? The Wikipedia page has a lot of good information (http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat111611.html).
So, why is this important and how does it affect the Renderosity Community?
Piracy is a growing concern and the artists here see their works being violated way too often. With so much of the content at Renderosity being member generated, this bill could cause Renderosity to be more pro-active about the items that are uploaded in our different areas. It could also have a negative impact on Renderosity. Gallery, FreeStuff or Marketplace items could be removed on false claims. But, it could benefit Renderosity when items are found being illegally distributed at other sites. Though stopping online piracy could be very good for artists, these proposed bills raise lots of concerns.
These are bills written with good intentions, but poor execution. For example, SOPA in section 103 allows a site to be shut down, blocked from advertising, and blocked from payments, because someone believes that its content is infringing. Search engines, advertising companies, internet service providers, and financial institutions have no obligation to look into the accuracy of those claims, they are legally protected if they just go along. There is no judicial review, it depends entirely on the claim of the person who says that their intellectual property is being infringed. And that person is only liable for the damage they cause if it can be shown that they deliberately lied. Not if they were mistaken, if they misunderstood the law, if the material wasn't actually infringing but they thought it was (e.g. if it was be protected satire, or it was similar but a court would rule it was not similar enough to be infringing). These are very harsh measures to take on the basis of the opinion of one person who has no legal training and no accountability! That's not to say a better bill couldn't be written to address these concerns, but let's not lock up the baby with the bathwater (to mix metaphors).
Yes, piracy is evil but these bills will do nothing to stop it. It will only censor the internet in a draconian way. Renderosity itself could be shut down via these bills for their free stuff based on others' intellectual property, fan art, and some products in the store for "infringement". You people need to do a lot more research before supporting this. You sound naive beyond belief. If you think this won't be abused, you are sadly mistaken. Remember the trouble with the Tomb Raider products a couple years ago? With these bills, Renderosity could have been SHUT DOWN or DNS BLOCKED if the property owner requested it. These bills will destroy the internet and I am very disappointed in Renderosity for supporting something that will actually hurt them in the long run.
You do not cure a headache by decapitating the patient. In other words, a bad situation (infringement/"piracy"/etc.) is not solved -- or even made better -- by enacting even worse laws. The DMCA is bad enough, especially when deliberately misused. More of its ilk we do not need.
I totally agree with what has been said piracy is evil but what is being done to protect the artist who uploads to your gallerys and gets there work stollen ? and i think members should be checked more often to see who is stealing here and who is not just my thoughts.
While I fully support copyright holders trying to protect their property (I am one of them who has seen the effect of piracy to their products, these bills are not the way to do it. Many vendors here who use movies, games, etc. as inspiration for their creations could be targeted for takedown, or the Renderosity site as a whole with the passing of these bills.
Piracy is bad. Yes, I totally agree. I can happily say that the hundreds (if not thousands) of objects I have in my library I have paid for, obtained via Free download. If artists work on a 3D object or texture and sell it on Renderosity, or any other site...they should absolutely paid for their time and great work. However, SOPA does so very little, if anything, to protect artists or anyone with copyrighted material. The legislation is so vague and easily manipulated that literally any site on the internet can be taken down because of one interpretation or another. This site, official sites such as Google, FaceBook, YouTube, etc can be shut down, without "their day in court" because of some loose interpretation or some imagined likeness between something posted on the site and some copyrighted material. Yes, piracy must be stopped. However, poorly worded legislation with gaping holes large enough to fly an imperial cruiser through are not the means of stopping piracy. I certainly hope that Renderosity stands up AGAINST SOPA for these reasons.
I'm no fan of piracy and support efforts to bring thieves to justice. But this bill is far more sinister than the limited information above leads you to believe. This IS the Internet kill switch. For those of you who think this will benefit you - it might. This time. Sure, this administration might use it to help artists recover losses from stolen works. But what about the next administration. The one who disagrees with your points of view. The one you protest and speak out against. What will stop them from using this against you and those of like mind? You need to look beyond the first order effects and the "good intentions" of any law to understand its true impact. This one will have secondary and tertiary effects that will destroy the net as we know it and further shred our Constitution. Be very careful what you wish for from our "benevolent" representatives.
I actually worked on capitol hill as a reporter for years. SOPA is badly crafted legislation that can really, really be abused. A more effective way to protect artists is via technology that prevents duplication or by private legal pursuit of offending websites. We should always pursue private enterprise solutions before giving government more power that once done, cannot be undone.
How many images, products, and freebies on Renderosity are inspired by other sources -- subtly or blatantly -- but without crediting those sources or seeking their permission? If you think SOPA won't come back to bite you, think again. There are other better ways of stopping piracy and ensuring that vendors copyrights are respected, and I urge you to withdraw your support of SOPA immediately.
I also think Bossie_Boots has a good idea. How hard would it be for Renderosity to ban an artist who cites a product used in production of an artwork that has not been purchased? Probably not hard at all. While there might be some hiccups with people who have BOGO sales, overall you could find some people who are making art with pirated products.
These knee-jerk bills are bad for the free use of the Internet, EVEN IF ending piracy is a good thing, and EVEN IF they could do it. Several people have pointed out how even Renderosity could have been shut down if SOPA and PIPA had been passed earlier. How vague a resemblance to some copyrighted work is enough to get a site shut down, if the copyright holder has deep corporate pockets for legal funding? Let's try to find some other way of stopping illegal distribution than just taking a shotgun to anything claimed to be infringing. Besides, if the pirates are criminals already, what is going to stop them from breaking one more law? Yeah, they will have to go through the hassle of setting up another site, but that's just the cost of doing business. There will be a few high-profile busts in the news to show that it was all "worth it", but most pirates will just keep right on. Remember how shutting down ThePirateBay was going to end illegal movie distribution?
The amount of content piracy is simply insane. The unfortunate thing is that many of the larger sites are run overseas, and the US passing a bill to stop online piracy will not affect those sites unless something else comes into effect that blocks those sites. What a lot of people are concerned about with these laws isn't just that the US site providers will be fined/shutdown/whathaveyou, but that this is the first step in the process of blocking the US off from accessing foreign websites or of them tracking US internet usage to see who is visiting foreign sites that do share content. That is a clear violation of our privacy! So in the end, this isn't about how horrible piracy is, this is about what would actually need to be done to end it in the US, and that means blocking us off from the rest of the world in order to control what we can and cannot access. It isn't just people in the US who steal music, 3D content, art, animation, etc. It happens everywhere. And these laws will do nothing to keep it from happening - it will only make it harder for people to prosecute because the people who get their content from pirating sites won't be getting it from the US, they'll just get it from someone else.
I suggest that people do some more research on this bill before lending it their support. Rep. Paul Ryan (R) came out against it yesterday, stating "it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse." Obviously, Rep. Paul is not some wild-eyed anarchist downloading illegal music and videos (or 3d models). Members of both parties as well as leaders of the business and corporate community are also increasingly against it, not only for the legal issues it raises but for the economic harm it would create as well.
SOPA is horrible, period. It will not stop piracy, only hinder our freedom of speech. I fully support the rights of any copyright holder taking legal action against any person/business for infringing on their legal rights. That being said SOPA is vague in terms of who/what can be punishable,what can be shut down etc... They say social networking websites such as Facebook are free and clear, yet the 'safe harbor' provision that was created years ago will pretty much be gone if SOPA is passed. You can't stop piracy by created laws like this. Piracy is not a new concept, and was not created after the internet became popular. How many of us oldies used to record songs off the radio? That's piracy. Or copy a VHS for a friend? Piracy again. Or heck, even burnt a CD with some tunes on it for a friend. It's all pirating. I'm not condoning this, but it's not a new behavior. You can't just jump right in and want to control the problem now when you could have done something when this medium became more openly public. I'd like to also point out that this can, and will affect the entire world. US law, yes. International websites may be governed by their prospective countries. However, they under the whims of ICANN, which is a US stationed company. ICANN may be targeted by this, and they would have to abide by US laws regarding copyright infringement and completely remove a website off the grid. It's scary to think so many people support this only because of the infringement aspect, and don't see the bad behind it.
I think the core problem is one of attitude, a culture appears to have grown online where some think it's their right to have everything for free, so that makes it OK to steal if its not offered for free. I work in the UK and its much the same, I am not convinced that legislation will change the situation, we prosecute ordinary thieves and send them to prison, but their numbers never seem to go down.
The only ones affected will be the legitimate people. The pirates will still go on as if nothing happened. Besides, the principle of this bill is something I am against. It was said it is a tactical nuclear strike against the freedom of the internet, and that's a description that I agree with. There are other means than to shut down the net entirely to counter piracy, as GAbe Newell at VAlave said, you need to make coming to your site and get stuff easier and better than to the warez-sites. And making other countries support digital rights of artists; like Russia and China, would be a huge way to counter this cyber-crime. Once there are no place for them to legitimately upload stolen content, the problem(s) will be solved, not before. Petition for support of Digital rights in all countries before you shut down the 'net!!
Piracy is evil, but SOPA as written is even worse. With SOPA, if you as a vendor create something that someone feels is too look-alike to what they have designed in real life (the pocket pattern seams on a pair of jeans), they can file a SOPA complain, which will take down Renderosity as a site (make it impossible to access) for anyone in the US as long as they investigate, which can be any length of time. Pointblank touched the subject, SOPA is a threat to digital creations as we know it.
Piracy is bad and file-sharing is bad, but the Protect-IP and SOPA bills are terrible, badly worded, and will do a lot more damage than good. Please read all the articles on TechDirt to inform yourself about why SOPA is such a bad idea: http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?cx=partner-pub-4050006937094082%3Acx0qff-dnm1&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=sopa If SOPA's Main Target Is The Pirate Bay, It's Worth Pointing Out That ThePirateBay.org Is Immune From SOPA http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120109/04205617341/if-sopas-main-target-is-pirate-bay-its-worth-pointing-out-that-thepiratebayorg-is-immune-sopa.shtml Reddit Plans To Black Out Site For A Day To Protest SOPA/PIPA http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120110/17302817369/reddit-plans-to-black-out-site-day-to-protest-sopapipa.shtml WordPress The Latest Tech Company To Come Out Strongly Against SOPA/PIPA http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120110/17470317370/wordpress-latest-tech-company-to-come-out-strongly-against-sopapipa.shtml
I am against piracy and financially support the vendors here on Renderosity, but I strongly believe the SOPA legislation is a terrifying proposition designed to give the government overreaching censorship of the internet. I personally stand with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org) against SOPA, and am rather surprised and appalled that Renderosity supports these draconian bills.
As a long time vendor I've seen my work being illegally distributed many, many times so I do know the pain. Nevertheless, we have to always be constantly wary of the way that government seeks to piggyback its own agendas on issues just like this. So the wording of the proposed laws have to be checked to the most stringent specifications and all consequences (both intended and unintended) must be fully weighed before we give our consent. Loss of revenues from illegally downloaded content is bad but loss of freedoms by a government that seems bent on establishing a all encompassing big-brother apperatus is much worse. This is not an aluminum-foil hat conspiracy theory rant but a valid concern about what lengths government seems willing to go to 'protect' us from one threat or another. The price of Democracy is eternal vigilance.
Bills come up again and again in congress because more moderate ones have been shot down. They've been shot down by the likes of those who do not care at all for intellectual property rights. Many, many comments I have read about SOPA are extreme exaggerations about what might happen, much as other bills that have come up. That's worked to stop other bills that have been less draconian. Almost all corporations involved arguing for or against have a significant financial interest on their side, and the public interest is second to that. If you are reading the links to techdirt.com above, make sure you read another 20 or so more articles on the site, so you can see how balanced their opinion is, definitions of theft, etc. News sites, like newspapers, do not needs to provide you with balanced opinions. We've got SOPA and PIPA as a result of thwarting less draconian measures. Yes, IP blocking is concerning. My understanding of SOPA is that the Department of Justice can move against a site AFTER it receives a court order to do so. A judge can move relatively quickly to issue such a court order when DoJ asks for it. That said, holding a full trial before moving against such sites is not practical and that's not going to change. There must be a swift way to halt or stop activity, because "damage" on the internet to intellectual property works at lightning speed. DMCA is an utter failure. Talk with anyone who regularly has to use them. There are alternatives in congress to SOPA and PIPA, however (at least the one sponsored by Senator Wyden) relies on DMCA style notification. If your argument is that this is threat to free speech - yes, that's possible. Free speech though is remarkably open to opinion as to what that is. In the state of Oregon, full nude dancing is protected as free speech, for example. If your argument is that you cannot trust the government - well, you lose. Like it or not, if you are a US citizen, you don't get to deny the authority of your government without consequences. That argument is one way to be tossed into company of other "off the grid" types. Many forms of piracy can be cut off if the financial incentive is removed. SOPA is one means to do that. Piracy is no longer "sneakernet" sharing with friends. It is a business. I long for the days of sneakernet. If SOPA passes, its going to bring a lot of change. As a content vendor, there are some profound benefits. Id prefer a less draconian measure, but alternatives have been shot down. Sadly this has become a "my self interest" vs "your self interest" argument.
While I too have been hit by piracy, having the government try and legislate ANYTHING is always a bad idea. I don't have any answers to the problem---we've had to rely on the majority of people out there that are honest to even stay in this business. I do know that both bills are completely insane and just another indication of the government not having a clue what they're doing--- just pandering to a certain rich, loud and militant segment of those that will be affected by these bills. I've read through SOPA and the Protect IP act. BOTH of them have the potential to change the entire internet, and not in a good way. I would suggest that everyone read, understand and then take steps to help make sure these badly written pieces of legislation never see the light of day.