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Internet, Politics

Attack by the Pirates

How do you get access to new music, movies and media in general? In most cases, someone posted a video with “listen to this!” on your wall, sent you a link to a work of his favorite artist or drew your attention via another way. How do you proceed afterwards, when you like that recommendation? Watch the movie online or download the music?

Another chilled movie night

The other night a friend and I watched a 90’s movie online. Firstly because we didn’t have a TV, secondly the way to the DVD store was too far and too cold and most important this was just the easiest and quickest way (3 clicks away) to relax with chocolate and tea over a film, we have not seen in a long time.

While watching, I remembered the post about SOPA and PIPA and wondered what to do, when the online streaming site would have been blocked?

To give a short review of my previous post:

  • dealt with the discussion about two bills, aiming to secure copyright by preventing the offering of infringed content on the web
  • such policy actions would have an immense effect on the freedom of speech in the Internet, since everything one says or shares must be verified not to be copied or linked by a “pirate”
  • search engines such as Google or social media platforms as Facebook would be forced to haunt any illegal “piracy” acts appearing on their platforms and eliminate those domains

Hence background, current conditions, targets and countermeasures of these SOPA and PIPA are presented up to this point. Curious to learn about the consequences of various protesting actions by SOPA and PIPA opponents, I followed the debate in order to attain an overview of possible future actions for these bills.

Temporary victory of the Pirates

As a consequence of strong protest against the bills, many representatives who originally supported the bills withdrew their agreement. Thus, congress announced the indefinite postponement of both votes on SOPA and PIPA. Originally votes were planned for Tuesday January 24th.

Protesters acted online as well as offline, via the traditional method and contacting representatives as well as signing online petitions and various public sites blocking their service for several hours.


The ship didn’t sink yet

The issue of online piracy is to great to ignore  states Lamar Smith and in the same breath he announces the redrafting of the formulation of the laws. They shall protect American intellectual property while maintaining openness and innovation on the web. Thus the supporters of the bills still keep on fighting for their ship.

Bloggers agree that SOPA and PIPA in their current condition might be death. Nevertheless, we should get ready for more to come, as Clay Shirky describes in this TED Talk. (Thanks to Lili’s comment I was able to see this highly recommendable video). In his opinion Hollywood aims to control the consumers by prohibiting illegal copying and after all to gain up on lost revenues. That’s the point, following Shirky’s explanation; it’s all about money while protecting intellectual property plays only the second role.

“We made good progress through the discussions we’ve held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.”

Referring to this part of a press release by Senator Reid, Miranda Miller states that PIPA may be back within a few weeks. Donny Shaw sharing her opinion describes that especially the entertainment industry will put a lot of effort into the reintroduction of these bills. Driven by the despair of legislations allowing to legally censor online speech in order to defend their legacy business models. Shaw adds that the media industries invest too much money and effort into a change of rules, rather than rethinking their business models.

Briefly, we don’t know yet what will follow exactly in the next weeks or months. Sure is, that the supporters of the SOPA and PIPA bill are looking for a solution in order to meet everyone’s assumption. The question is now, how it is possible to meet …

Freshing up our minds

Summarizing both the last and this post, we see that the protest against the planned policy regulations on the web actually moved something. For now the votes on the bills are put on hold and certainly they will come up with new proposals.

On the one hand I think that actions against online piracy must be accomplished because at currently it is just way to eays to get access to illegal data without having to worry about the consequences. However working against the existing system of network and web won’t do anything – because there is always a way around. Thus the coperation of the music and movie industry with the “smart guys from the web” is necessary.

The alternative to the movie night

Coming back to the cozy movie night with a friend; in case the movie page wasn’t accessible we probably would have taken the journey to the DVD store if the money was worth it. So we see, it all comes back to money. “For some movies I watched online, I would have never spent any money”, states a young woman interviewed by “DIE ZEIT“.

Hence, I wondered: If there is such a policy act in the States how come we haven’t heard of a similar bill in Germany? In fact there is one the European version is called ACTA. (Anne also mentioned it in her comment). It basically aims for the same targets as the here described bills. So, we might prepare ourselves for the next wave to come, attacking us “since we would all be pirates” according to this law and boarding our ship.

 Additions to ACTA

While writing this post, I received a comment by my fellow juicepresser Anne asking for the implementation and the expected reactions on ACTA. Anne also covered this topic in a very interesting post.

Thus, here briefly summarized what I found, based on the article “European countries sign ACTA, but will widespread opposition come after the fact?” for anyone who’s interested:

  • Negotiations about the multinational treaty started in 2006
  • Aims: ensuring basic intellectual property right protected by local copyright and other IP systems
  • So far most of the European countries signed the treaty – Germany not yet, but is expected to do so shortly
  • supporters say: already existing IP protections will be ensured by all participating parties
  • critics argue about a lack of public debate due to missing transparency and thus the exclusion of the public opinion
  • so far, protest only vague protest, recently in Poland, where the treaty was signed despite of the counteractions
  • SOPA, PIPA and ACTA are only the beginning of a worldwide debate in 2012 about intellectual property

About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.


5 thoughts on “Attack by the Pirates

  1. hey fernanda!
    thanks for finding some interesting facts on ACTA. I really liked your post and your style of writing! its good that you summed up everything again, it´s just better to grasp the whole problem. it´s also good, that you did two posts, because this topic is way to huge to put in one!
    I really enjoyed reading it!

    Posted by anne | February 1, 2012, 8:55 am
  2. Hi Fernanda,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I especially liked how you combined the theoretical part with the effect on your every-day life. I was really shocked when I heard the news that megaupload was shut down because of the investigation of the FBI due to SOPA and PIPA. This also triggered a big wave and other huge file-sharing sites like filesonic.com and fileserve.com closed their affiliate programm and banned several member accounts. I was also a member of filesonic and paid my fee. At the day of shutdown they just blocked my account without any notifications. There is also an interesting article about file-sharing sites related to your topic: http://rt.com/usa/news/megaupload-shut-million-authorities-231/

    Posted by Marius | February 6, 2012, 4:58 pm
  3. Hi Anne and Marius,
    thank you for the comments. To Anne, that’s what I thought, too. Originally I planned writing everything in one post, but as you say that would have been way too much. This way the readers aren’t overloaded and I could polish it up with another story.
    I just found a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrdNKcUpJPg about the protests against ACTA in Poland, which is quite interesting because the protestors obviously demand the same as the oponents of SOPA and PIPA. However I wonder whether the protest will grow bigger in Europe, because so far it was very little. At least in Germany.

    To Marius, how much did you pay for the fee? And what kind of files were you able to share of filesonic. Do you know where the fees went in the end? Did the providers profit from it or did they also pay some kind of tuition to the music and media industry?

    Posted by Fernanda | February 7, 2012, 9:29 am
    • Hi Fernanda,

      it is about $ 10 per 30 days. File-sharing sites just provide the space to share media of all kind and other users upload whatever they want to offer, from apps to music over software and movies. The advantage about traditional sharing platforms like eMule or torrent is that you can download the files with your full broadband capacity available at home. Mostly these links from uploaded files you can find in various online communities. Of course these providers don’t tell you what you are allowed to upload or what not and don’t care about the content. The result is that a lot of illegal stuff is uploaded on these sites and nobody controls it because the providers distant themselves from the content offered.

      Posted by Marius | February 8, 2012, 7:10 am

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