A Wild Week for Online Piracy

Friday, January 20, 2012


This week saw more then its share of internet drama. The US Government led a massive operation against the website MegaUpload. And dozens of major websites staged a blackout in protest of two proposed laws - the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. Bob talks to Techdirt's Mike Masnick about the implications of the proposed legislation and the foment online.

Comments [12]

Robert from Atlanta

How about talking to Leo Laporte , The Tech Guy, about SOPA. He has already experienced having his podcasts and utube uploads taken down by the industry while using legal content. They hav even taken down content using the Megaupload song when they have no copyright to it. These take downs have been done using existing law, give the entertainment industry more power? I do not think so.

Jan. 27 2012 05:14 PM
Steve Kay from Portland, Oregon

As another listener pointed out, the Wikipedia blackout was NOT an act of "civil disobedience" -- I think you two already know this, but please, stick to the real meaning of this term. It's bad enough that activists now consider virtually any voluntary arrest during any protest to be an act of civil disobedience -- whether or not the specific law that is violated is considered unjust by the protester(s), and whether or not the government as a whole is considered illegitimate by the protester(s). (Btw, it was the latter rationale, not the former, which Thoreau presented in his famous essay, "On Civil Disobedience.") Please do not further muddle the meaning -- and utility -- of this concept by flippantly applying the term to inapplicable situations.

Jan. 27 2012 02:41 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Wow! Steve from Richmond, VA wrote a mouthful!

Everything I create (plays, commercial/educational college radio, public access t.v., print journalism, cartoons) is a gift in the public domain. The money I made was from the work of my hands, arms & back; I'm disabled now but blue collar!

Jan. 25 2012 05:09 PM
Steve from Richmond, VA

As far as I know, no one from Craigslist went to jail for the child sex trafficking that occurred through use of the site. Instead, we had a long reasoned discussion about the rights of web site owners which culminated in some voluntary action. I guess there isn't as much money behind protecting children like there is intellectual property.

Jan. 24 2012 07:50 PM

I don't know why On The Media continues to talk to Mike Masnik when issues of copyright come up. Mike Masnik is a well-known opponent of copyright. He does not believe it should exist at all.

Whenever On The Media uses him as an expert, I just can't help to think that either OTM has very liberal opinions of copyright (i.e. that it shouldn't exist) or that they're being naive in talking to Masnik. It's like asking someone who's an ardent opponent of drunk driving laws what he thinks of the latest anti-drunk driving law. Of course he's going to disagree with it - he's going to disagree with it simply because it's another anti-drunk driving law.

Jan. 23 2012 10:20 PM

"As a rough analogy, since antipiracy crusaders are fond of equating filesharing with shoplifting: suppose the CEO of Wal-Mart came to Congress demanding a $50 million program to deploy FBI agents to frisk suspicious-looking teens in towns near Wal-Marts. A lawmaker might, without for one instant doubting that shoplifiting is a bad thing, question whether this is really the optimal use of federal law enforcement resources. The CEO indignantly points out that shoplifting kills one million adorable tow-headed orphans each year. The proof is right here in this study by the Wal-Mart Institute for Anti-Shoplifting Studies. The study sources this dramatic claim to a newspaper article, which quotes the CEO of Wal-Mart asserting (on the basis of private data you can't see) that shoplifting kills hundreds of orphans annually. And as a footnote explains, it seemed prudent to round up to a million. I wish this were just a joke, but as readers of my previous post will recognize, that's literally about the level of evidence we're dealing with here.

"In short, piracy is certainly one problem in a world filled with problems. But politicians and journalists seem to have been persuaded to take it largely on faith that it's a uniquely dire and pressing problem that demands dramatic remedies with little time for deliberation. On the data available so far, though, reports of the death of the industry seem much exaggerated."


Jan. 22 2012 11:48 PM
Mallory from Chicago, IL

The pro-SOPA guy really disgusted me. Saying SOPA is "protecting American jobs" is just another talking point. These are not the same people arguing for livable wages, these are the same people who would rather cut jobs than have their employees unionized. This same concept of personal property puts patents on life saving drugs so they cannot be open-sourced and improved upon.

Jan. 22 2012 08:14 PM
Hunter E from Kirkland, WA, USA

Brooke referred at the opening of this segment to Wikipedia's blackout as an act of "civil disobedience." While it was clearly an act of protest, in absence of a law or governmental order requiring the site to operate, this is quite simply inaccurate.

Jan. 22 2012 03:33 PM
Kyle from New Jersey

The entertainment industry would rather damage the Internet and eliminate our civil liberties than adapt to a changing world. We should not allow our government to continually pass laws which give outdated business models undue relevance at the expense of society.

Note that the companies who own our major television news channels are the same companies behind SOPA/PIPA.

Jan. 22 2012 11:39 AM
Frank from Philadelphia

Did an NPR reporter just say "ascared"?! I thought it was an intentionally jokey bit of childish substand English, until the same reporter pronounced "naif" with only one syllable. What is going on at NPR?

Jan. 22 2012 11:28 AM
Andrew Donovan from Irvington, NY

Google and Facebook are wrapping themselves in the "peoples' protector" mantle in this affair, but if the issue was the protection of the peoples' privacy rather than of their ability to freely download vast quantities of other peoples' work, I think we can be sure these corporations would be on the other side, and furthermore acting as stealthily as possible.

Jan. 22 2012 10:32 AM
Roy Henderson from Whitleyville, TN

Google, et al...an other internret corproates...should weell bear in mind that individual citizens came to the forefront and were fundamental in halting SOPA/PIPA....for the time being.

Corporate internet needs bear in mind that individual citizen rights...freedom from censroship, freedom of restraint in speech, restraint from disseminatio of information...are citizen rights citizens expect to be honored, upheld and defended...vigorously!

Jan. 21 2012 07:25 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.