Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

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Blue Lemma
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Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#1 Post by Blue Lemma » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:10 am

We are against getting political on this forum, but I am making an exception here as a forum admin because this is an issue that may directly affect Internet forums.

Right now an Internet bill is making its way through the United States Congress. This proposed bill, called the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA), is something I strongly oppose, and I want to alert your attention to the dangers it brings should it become law.

SOPA gives the government greater control to censor the Internet.

SOPA reduces Internet security.

SOPA erodes the "safe harbor" protections that many websites like YouTube and Facebook rely upon to conduct business without being mired in legal issues from what customers post. As Melanie Jones of the International Business Times writes,
Currently, the Digital Millennium Copyrigth Act (DMCA) grants immunity to Web sites for content posted on their site by users (which is why all of Youtube isn't taken down every time someone posts the entirety of "The Princess Bride" online). SOPA blurs the distinction between the site's host and those who post there, eliminating many Internet "safe harbors" for shared content. Sites could be punished simply for not doing enough (and the bill does not yet specify just what "enough" would be) to police their site, even if the owner didn't post anything illegal themselves.
Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/250888/ ... ersial.htm

This bill is particularly relevant because SOPA threatens sites that rely on user-posted content, like forums. We have to worry enough about what people post on here, and this proposed legislation only makes it worse. We have jobs that rely on IP and are against piracy, but this bill goes too far.

Please stand with me in opposing this ill-conceived bill, and contact your congressional representatives to voice your opposition. The bill has had a hearing, and is currently expected to pass, but it is not too late! Please visit the Mozilla action page for an easy link.

For more information:
* SOPA Should Be Stopped: 5 Things To Know About the Controversial Bill
* Analysis: Internet Blacklist Bill Is Roadmap to ‘The End’ of the Internet

You can read the full text of the bill here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/text

Thank you for your time, everyone! :D
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#2 Post by Wright1000 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:19 am

I am not a resident of the US.
But I am curious about this. If it is passed, will it affect the VN makers?
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#3 Post by Blue Lemma » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:24 am

@Wright: My understanding: As far as what content you can put in your VN, it will have a minimal effect. Where it could possibly affect your VN is if you're making something using other people's intellectual property without express permission (like say you make a fangame.) Then if you post it somewhere, the site owner may be extra critical because he/she's more on the hook for policing copyright infringement in what users post.
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#4 Post by sake-bento » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:38 am

The short version is that anyone who owns a site will be made responsible for any copyright infringement posted on it by any of the members of the site. If it passes, it will now be Google's responsibility to make sure that no one ever posts Naruto AMVs on YouTube EVER. If Naruto AMVs happen, the rights holder can go after Google instead of the person who posted it. Also, streaming illegal content would be a felony, which holds a much more severe punishment.

As for the definition of "copyright infringement," that all depends on the rights holder. For all we know, someone's animated .GIF avatar could be construed as copyright infringement, since you technically don't have the right to use those images. If the admins don't delete said avatar, the entire site can be shut down. Would a rights holder really go after us for letting you use an animated .GIF from their show? Probably not. But let's say you post it on twitter instead. Well, twitter has money, and people with money get sued. So maybe twitter now feels that instead of checking every .GIF that comes through, they're just not going to allow images anymore.

What that means is that if we want the site to continue running, we will have to scan and approve every avatar you want, every link you post, and every post you make just to make sure it's okay. And just to cover our tails, we'll err on the side of caution. Someone wants to post a video of themselves lip syncing to the Backstreet Boys? No can do. You don't have the rights to play that song. Even if the rights holder will probably turn a blind eye, why take the risk? Denied. We also won't be allowed to let you guys post fan games, links to fan translation patches, or original works that use ANY copyrighted materials (images, music, etc.). So basically, if you were using that picture of Sailor Moon as a placeholder in your game, no one gets to play your demo until you change it, because we won't ever let it get posted. Think you can get away with it by hosting the site somewhere outside of the states? No problem! The bill says they can block your site so US citizens can't access it anymore. Fun times.

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#5 Post by Junker-Kun » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:39 am

Too bad I'm in Russia... this bill indeed goes too far. Like what, now they're watching for what I'm uploading? Pff, yeah and next they'll probably stand by me to watch what I'm downloading.

But I actually interested in how they're going to check sites... just randomly click a link and check for any copyrighted materials?
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#6 Post by jack_norton » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:06 am

Haha it seems like they let internet go wild for years and now they're hurrying up to find a solution because honestly is getting out of control (we don't want to be forced to play all Farmville, right? :lol), except that this is clearly the wrong direction.
As someone who lives with IP, I'd like to see Google ban instantly all those "blogs" that are made only to post pirate links of games. But the best solution would be just to employ a few people to report the sites and not force the copyright holder to do that (like it's now). Even a lazy employer could easily report/shutdown 50 sites a day just browsing them for 5 minutes.
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#7 Post by Taleweaver » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:41 am

Whatever happened to Fair Use?
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#8 Post by Applegate » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:47 am

Well, to be fair, it does achieve the goal of making the internet easier to moderate by virtue of forcing websites and companies to manage the content posted on their sites. I do think it's a bit excessive. Were this bill to be enacted, how would Lemmasoft respond?

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#9 Post by PyTom » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:07 am

Applegate wrote:Were this bill to be enacted, how would Lemmasoft respond?
We'd try to keep going. We'd likely be able to keep going.

But unlike right now, where good-actor web sites are clearly protected from the behavior of rogue users, SOPA makes it possible for a copyright holder to take a website down because of the behavior of its users. Depending on how SOPA is enforced, we may have to limit what we allow - banning fangames, for example.
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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#10 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:20 am

In Australia an ISP is currently in court facing allegations that it should be held responsible for illegally downloaded material. They want to gain the identity of those who have downloaded the material, which is information currently protected.

I feel like this is the wrong way to go about things. I don't know what the right way is, but I just see this as being the death of a lot of mostly perfectly honest sites and a rise in underground illegal sites. There isn't a government on this planet that is completely safe from hackers. If there is a way round, people will find it.

I obviously can't do anything about an American Bill, but I feel like the whole thing is at least 10 years behind where technology is right now and they are trying to play catch up the wrong way.

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#11 Post by Voight-Kampff » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:41 am

Arstechnica has some good coverage on the "debate" over this bill as it's being discussed in Congress. Unfortunately, I have to put qutation marks around the word debate, since this process seems more and more susspect.

I typically don't like political debates either. But it seems as of late (about as long as the internet has been mainstream), the obviousness of government collusion with various monied industries, and the lack of consideration for "the people" has become quite galling. I'd suggest reading up on Inverted Totalitarianism if one wants to get a better feel for how the U.S. government operates in reality.

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#12 Post by kingjing » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:04 am

This is interesting. It really shows how shortsighted the Hollywood big-wigs are.
Why are films like Harry Potter, Twilight and Transformers so popular? It's because of the fanbase.
How does the fanbase work? By producing and appreciating fan-created material, be they in the form of images, songs, stories or comics.
What will SOPA do? It will make it easy for the creators of these films (or rather, those responsible for the money-making aspect) to sue anyone infringing on their copyright, including fans. And yes, they will do this. Some have tried in the past.
The fandom will die, and nobody will go to see their movies any more. Then they'll be stuck scratching their heads and wondering where all the money went.

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#13 Post by Chorvaqueen » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:04 pm

Please don't shoot me for this, if this thing passes those illegal streaming sites and scanlation sites will go down as well? (provided they get licensed by a us-based company?)

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#14 Post by sake-bento » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:14 pm

Chorvaqueen wrote:Please don't shoot me for this, if this thing passes those illegal streaming sites and scanlation sites will go down as well? (provided they get licensed by a us-based company?)
Yes. If they're hosted in the US, they will go down, and if they're hosted elsewhere, they will be blocked.

The scary bit is that any site that links to them is also subject to the same treatment. So if someone on the forums posts a link to an episode of [anime name here], the admins are required to remove the link, or all of LemmaSoft could be shut down. In fact, off the top of my head, I can think of five threads here on LS that would have to be deleted. They're currently protected under Fair Use, but should this bill go through, rights holders have a much larger definition of copyright infringement that they can play off of. Some of these threads are finished games, which means we'd even be slapping creators for this.

Edit: I'd just like to note here that I am absolutely against piracy. The only reason I have food to eat is thanks to people who don't pirate my games or anime. However, this bill puts the responsibility on the owner instead of the person actually uploading the illegal content. It's like saying, "Hey if someone steals my products from your store, I'm going to sue you because you let them get away with it."

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Re: Stop SOPA - USA members, please read

#15 Post by jack_norton » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:32 pm

They could just apply that rule to the HOSTING sites no? much easier to shut down the various rapidshare,megaupload,filesonic,megavideo whose only purpose is to host illegal stuff. Ban megavideo and you cut out 99% of illegal streaming movie/tv series in one shot. You don't need to be a genius to understand that, I wonder what they're thinking to achieve with that law instead ?
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