Defending SOPA and PIPA

Friday, January 20, 2012


In the face of strong criticism, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP act have been shelved for the time being.  But the movie, music, television and video game industries continue to argue that they offer much needed protection against pirates outside the reach of American law enforcement. Steve Tepp of the business lobbying group the US Chamber of Commerce tells Bob that despite criticism, these bills are narrowly targeted and would protect copyright holders against pirates. 

Ramblin' Man - New Country Rehab

Comments [12]

Justin -- this segment did appear on the episode, right alongside our interview with Masnick. Here's the episode:

Jun. 29 2012 03:01 PM
Justin C from Brooklyn, NY

It seems to me that the goal of this interview was to give some semblance of equal time to an equally valid position that had far less visibility and publicity during the time of this debate.

I think Bob did a great job here and, in the interest of giving a nuanced view of the subject, I wish this interview had been included in a full version of OTM instead of just being relegated to the backwaters of the blog.

The criticisms leveled here against the show for doing its job responsibly and well are appalling. Would the commenters prefer that OTM just shill for the anti-IP side of the debate, and leave out all the nuance and opposing viewpoints?

We can't demand balanced journalism only when we feel it supports our side. And for the record, anyone who thinks Bob was too easy on Tepp was probably listening with their own biases rather than with their ears.

Jun. 29 2012 11:04 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I remember getting worried in the '70s when Disney invested in Yale medical research in genetically modified mice with human genes. Turned out they said it was to make money on producing insulin but seeing photos of mice with human ears growing on their backs was eerie.

Now we've finally seen what Occupy the Internet looks like. People realize that we do not need to save the day or even continue to protect the mightiest mouse of all, Mickey!

Jan. 25 2012 05:37 PM

Come on, do we really not understand how this works? Bob was asking Steve Tepps to account for the position of Google, etc. He wasn't asking for Google's opinion; he was asking for Steve Tepps' opinion of Google's opinion. The anti-SOPA postion had already been expressed.

After the death of SOPA, it was amusing to see the representatives of the industry who own so much of the media complain about their inability to get their message out.

Jan. 25 2012 12:08 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.

I believe serious copyright reform is the only way forward. People should get 10-20 years to make money from an idea, after that it should become public domain.

Jan. 22 2012 10:56 AM


I didn't realize supernatural abilities were necessary to contact Google, I thought they had telephones.

Of course you missed the point. Asking one disputant to summarize an opponent's point of view is lazy journalism. You seem to be one of those media personalities who believe determining the facts of the matter at hand is not his bailiwick. When a dispute arises, rather than look into the facts you hope that the man who happens to be standing in front of you can magically resolve it without any further effort on your part.

Jan. 21 2012 04:35 PM
Bob Garfield

@ Andrew
Deepest apologies. As you know, OTM is a fairly heavily edited show, and we cut out the part where I snapped my fingers three times and wished for a Google executive to spontaneously appear in the studio when the company's name came up in the conversation with Steve Tepp about the USCOC's support of SOPA. In future, we will try to both conjure better and edit less ruthlessly. Frankly, we're just lazy.

Jan. 21 2012 03:37 PM
Robert Potter from Manlius, NY

Defending your side with faulty arguments is pretty good evidence that you are on the wrong side.

#1: "we fixed X about the bill but opponents moved the goalposts and still don't like it"

Amazingly enough it is possible for a bill to have MORE THAN ONE THING wrong with it.

#2: "foreign piracy hurts Americans"

It costs Hollywood money, but it saves the consumer money. That looks like a wash to me.

Jan. 21 2012 03:23 PM
Francisco from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Your guest said that there was nothing to object to. From my understanding the following are true. If my understanding is correct then it is a fundamental attack on rights and liberties:

1) The person complaining does not need to prove that the work is copyrighted,

2) The person complaining does not need to prove that they are the copyright holder,

3) It doesn't matter if the alleged offence was made by the site itself or by a user of the site,

4) The owners of the site are not contacted before a decision is made,

5) The whole site is blocked for one alleged offence, and

6) The only defence is if the maintainers of the accused site are able to prove that the complaint was vexatious (and that has to be done within 5 days at the cost of the owners of site).

If the above is true the the following rights are directly breached:

Right to be considered innocent until proven guitly
Right to a fair trial


Right to Free Speech is breached because it allows somebody to shutdown a site if that site says something that offends them. After all it is up to the site owners to prove that it the allegation was vexatious.

It further breaches the 5th amendment in that is unreasonable in its application (see comment about Roe v. Wade on ).

I fail to see how that is limited and targeted as your guest seems to think.

Jan. 21 2012 03:03 PM
Andrew Dabrowski from Bloomington IN

I'm puzzled as to why Bob asked Steve Tepp for the source of Google's opposition to the Bills. Why didn't Bob just ask Google? And Bob never did try to nail down the disagreement between the two.

OTM, despite its slickly gentrified surface, is just as bad an exemplar of lazy he-said-she-said journalism as the media they claim to critique.

Jan. 21 2012 12:00 PM
Roy Henderson from Whitleyville, TN

One need question the precision and targeting accuracy of such laws. In face of The Patriot Act, would it make citizens cycnical that a greater transparency, public review, be supported and maintained by all media. The fact that public view of this legislation was all but suppressed by broadcast media/journalism is a benchmark.

Jan. 21 2012 07:35 AM

"The Googles of the world, the Wikipedias of the world, the Facebooks"

This is a wonderful example of one of my pet peeves. I'm going to have to remember this one.

Is there a name for this?

Jan. 20 2012 07:57 PM

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