Speak up

Why not get on the phone and tell your elected Congressperson and Senators to come back with a piracy bill that isn’t written in crayon.

Find your Congresscritter here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.


XKCD has a useful roundup of SOPA-related information.

***update 2***

A Hollywood professional on why even people who think piracy is still a pressing issue should feel embarrassed to support SOPA.

111 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    Yes. Note that support for SOPA is/was ‘bipartisan’– my Senator, Cardin, is a good old Maryland Democrat, but was a co-sponsor of the original bill. He has since changed his position and is now anti.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    Did they let Rupert write the bill?

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    Done, but my guy is one of the good ones so he is right on this already.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    I’m pretty sure that my senator, Bob Casey, is against, but I shot off a fax anyway.

    It’s fucking Altmire who I don’t.trust.at.all. I don’t know where he stands on this but if there is a corporation around, Altmire is sucking up to them. Phone calls, angry phone calls will be made to his offices today.

  5. 5
    RRoss says:

    The real question is what have you done today to stop piracy?

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @RRoss: Well I didn’t download any old pictures from Life magazine today. In fact, I didn’t even sing Happy Birthday to anyone so there’s that.

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    I’m going to call Tim Tebow and ask him to stop this.

    By the way, if the Senate had just added one extra “P” to their bill, they’da been pimpin’ the “Pippa” bill, and every man I know would have supported that in a heartbeat.

  8. 8
    RRoss says:

    @JPL: Obvious sarcasm aside, that’s a start.

    All you have to do is not steal and not passively accept it when it is done by others. Is that really so hard? Just a slight change in internet culture and the so-called opposition loses their standing.

  9. 9
    Maxwel says:

    I’m glad that you haven’t fucked up the site with SOPA stuff like Dkos has.

  10. 10
    Dustin says:

    @RRoss: Either you’re a troll or a moron who doesn’t understand how culture evolves and what actual theft looks like and how the pervasive extension of copyright length is a travesty of culture and justice. 14 years was plenty, what’s on the books now is a crime.

    In each case, best to just ignore you.

  11. 11
    Argive says:

    Just contacted Rep. Bob Brady’s office and was informed by a polite staffer that he opposes SOPA.

  12. 12
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @RRoss: Because, as we all know, music playing in the background of a youtube video of a child dancing is copyright infringement.

    The rules that exist today were created solely to possibly provide the creater – or more often the distributor – the ability to extract every last cent from a creation. The original purpose of copyright was to give a limited monopoly to encourage people to create, but to eventually release the knowledge to the public, because sharing information was deemed useful. SOPA would have only screwed that up even more.

  13. 13
    RRoss says:

    Duston: So it’s up to “you” (i.e. the individual) to decide when it is ok to steal the work of others? That’s an innovative interpretation of the law.

  14. 14

    bob casey’s office told me “it’s only down for 24 hours, so it’s no big deal.”


  15. 15

    […] if you want to weight in, Tim F. suggests how. Spotlight No […]

  16. 16
    Tim F. says:

    I wonder how much one of these single-issue troll commenters costs.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The problem, of course, is that the people who are opposed to “stealing” here are the middlemen who steal from the creators in the first place.

  18. 18
    Dork says:

    Why should I give a shit if some foreign website in Copenhagen gets 86’d for showing grainy pirated versions of The Bourne Supremacy?

  19. 19
    RRoss says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): There is that word: “sharing”. That’s what got the net in trouble in the first place. Content creators and distributors have a right to be paid for their work, and to defend themselves from “sharing.”

    Also too, you should of italicized “every last cent” because that would have made your point better…ooooh scary record companies!

  20. 20
    gnomedad says:


    Why should I give a shit if some foreign website in Copenhagen gets 86’d for showing grainy pirated versions of The Bourne Supremacy?

    You should give a shit because you could be held responsible if someone posts a link to that site on your blog.

  21. 21
    evinfuilt says:

    While you’re contacting your reps, be sure to suggest they overhaul copyright law, and get rid of the perpetual copyrights. They can strengthen laws to shut down actual pirates, but if copyrights last forever, then the people will pirate.

  22. 22
    Tim F. says:

    @Dork: Links above. Read.

    In sum, even if you feel that current law allows too much piracy the bill is a disproportionate remedy whose writers did not take enough care to avoid unnecessary damage to innocent parties.

    The ‘problem’, insofar as there is one, deserves better than this lobbyist mash note written in crayon.

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:


    Very good point. Practical.

    Tim F: thank you for the SOPA information.

    Could only be enhanced by a picture of Max. Redacted!

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Could only be enhanced by a picture of Max. Redacted!

    Counsel for Max on line 2…Max isn’t getting his royalty payments for all those pictures.

    More importantly, Counsel for Max isn’t getting his cut.

  25. 25
    geg6 says:


    Because we wouldn’t want record companies or tv and movie studios to ever have to learn to deal with life in the 21st century, now would we?

    Evolve or die, as my father always used to tell me. They could choose to be nimble and adjust to new realities or they can ram through draconian solutions that will box information in so that they are the only arbiters as to what information we proles are allowed to access.

    I know which side of the equation I’m on. The question is which one are you on?

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    Craigslist has this message up on a black screen today:

    STOP PIPA (Senate 968) & SOPA (HR 3261)
    Imagine a world without craigslist, Wikipedia, Google, [your favorite sites here]…
    News Corp, RIAA, MPAA, Nike, Sony, Comcast, VISA & others want to make that world your reality.
    80 Members of Congress are in their sway, 30 against, the rest undecided or undeclared.
    ★ ★ ★ Please take a minute to tell your Members of Congress you OPPOSE PIPA & SOPA ★ ★ ★



  27. 27
    Elizabelle says:


    My technical skills, uh, speak for themselves.

    How do we link items into one big text box? I’ve figured out b-quote, bold and italics. Just the primary school stuff.

  28. 28
    RRoss says:


    Did you care about what that Copenhagen site, used as an example, was doing before it threatened to impede on your life?

  29. 29
    dmsilev says:

    @Elizabelle: Inside the blockquote, put a pair of underscore characters ‘_’ on each blank line between the paragraphs.

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    Thank you dmsilev. It worked!!

    Now: how does one paraphrase a link and have it appear within the paraphrase?

  31. 31
    Morbo says:

    XKCD wouldn’t exist with SOPA in effect? Hmm, that complicates things.

  32. 32
    jibeaux says:

    @Tim F.: Probably a good bit, if those “work at home!! make eleventy billion a year working p/t at home!” ads are what is behind this.

  33. 33
    Sentient Puddle says:


    I’m pretty sure that my senator, Bob Casey, is against, but I shot off a fax anyway.

    Unless you’ve heard anything plain as day, I wouldn’t make any assumptions. This legislation has been one of those where congressional support and opposition has transcended party lines, and we’re seeing some surprising names on both sides.

    (And yes, this goes for pretty much everyone else too)

  34. 34
    Tim F. says:

    @jibeaux: Do you think they do bar mitzvahs? My nephew would love to see this guy pestering all the major news outlet websites about why they don’t report on his big day.

  35. 35
    BBA says:

    Meh. This law will pass, probably as a rider to an appropriations bill, which Obama will sign rather than shut the government down. Or perhaps next year President Romney will sign it. One way or another, it’ll happen.

    A few prominent piracy sites will be destroyed, and a lot of legitimate websites will be briefly knocked offline by abusers of the shutdown process. Online piracy will find a way around this and continue unabated. In a few years we’ll get a far more draconian bill – requiring ISPs to record a name and SSN for every IP address, forbidding computers and mobile devices from playing non-DRM media after a certain date, etc. And that law will also pass, and piracy will somehow continue, and so ad infinitum.

    Please convince me I’m wrong about this.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OT, but that idiot BoBo is at it again:

    I was also struck, as in New Hampshire and Iowa, by the mood of this year’s rallies. Republican audiences this year want a restoration. America once had strong values, they believe, but we have gone astray. We’ve got to go back and rediscover what we had. Heads nod enthusiastically every time a candidate touches this theme.

    Remarkably, this was not translated from the original German from the 1930’s.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    I seem to recall that Sony once sued itself over copyright issues…the entertainment division going after the hardware guys.

  38. 38
    Nicole says:

    When I called Gillibrand’s office yesterday, her staffer said she didn’t know her position on it. Thanks to one of the b-j commenters here posting that link to a chart on where Congressmembers stand on SOPA, I found out Gillibrand is in favor of it. So, either the staff in charge of her phones are completely ignorant of her positions, or they’ve been instructed not to tell constituents the truth. Either way, I’m very disappointed, as I kind of liked her prior to this. Anyway, I registered my disapproval of SOPA, and also posted a comment about it on her FB wall. Which was promptly deleted. Of course.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:


    Define “piracy.” As far as the MPAA is concerned, I’m “pirating” their work by renting or streaming it from Netflix instead of buying it. As far as the RIAA is concerned, I was “pirating” albums when I would make cassette copies of them to listen to in the car instead of buying a second copy of the same album on cassette.

    I’m all for shutting down websites that actually have illegal material on them, but shutting down websites that might contain a link to those sites even if the link was put there by a third party and not by the website’s owner is like “solving” the problem of unwanted pregnancies by jailing doctors.

  40. 40
    rlrr says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    John Fogerty once effectively sued himself for plagiarism…

  41. 41
    Roger Moore says:


    Duston: So it’s up to “you” (i.e. the individual) to decide when it is ok to steal the work of others? That’s an innovative interpretation of the law.

    Less innovative than the guilty until proven innocent provisions of SOPA and PIPA.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The entire CCR legal situation is a pretty good example of how the middlemen fuck over the actual creative talent in the name of their unbridled greed.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    The sad part is, a lot of this could have been avoided if movie companies, record companies and publishers hadn’t been greedy bastards who insisted that works couldn’t possibly be licensed piecemeal. If you’re a teacher who wants to have his class read just one short story in a book full of them, you have to require the students to buy the whole damn book at $50 a pop rather than, say, letting them buy just the one short story for $3.

  44. 44
    rlrr says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    That’s what publisher’s, record companies, etc. are really afraid of. The internet provides a means for artists to cut out the middlemen. The whole piracy thing is a red herring.

  45. 45
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I need to call Feinstein and Boxer today. I’m pretty sure Anna Eshoo is against it, so I’m not going to bother there.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:


    That’s why I put “pirated” in quotes — studios still hate hate hate that I can rent something at a low price rather than having to buy it. They go along with it because they have no choice, but they would put a stop to it if they could.

    Heck, they’re still pissed that DVDs are around $20 instead of the $100 that VCR tapes used to cost (which started the whole rental market since people didn’t want to have to pay that much just to watch a stupid movie, but anyway …)

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    * Highlight and copy the desired hyperlink to your notepad buffer. (Ctrl-C will do this on Windows boxes.)

    * Write your post in the Balloon Juice message box, including the text that is going to be your “paraphrase.”

    * Highlight the paraphrase.

    * Click the “link” button above the message box.

    * In the pop-up box, paste in the hyperlink you copied above. Be sure that the “http” prefix is included (but only once!), else FYWP will screw it up.

  48. 48
    liberal says:


    Content creators and distributors have a right to be paid for their work, and to defend themselves from “sharing.”

    LOL. The current intellectual “property” regime creates incentives by handing out government-granted infringements on others’ liberty.

    The real theft here is the currently absurd US IP regime—a massive theft of liberty.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Right, “this year” Republicans think that the country is falling apart because of all the changes to the society they thought they knew. That’s so unlike what you’d expect from a party based on a coalition between scared old people and swaggering rich douchenozzles.

  50. 50
    Brandon says:

    OT: I know folks are busy, but can we talk about the idiotic tone deafness of Obama appointing a Bain alum as Acting head of OMB? Obama may be a decent President, but its sh*t like this that makes many people wonder.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: Your mention of “liberty” brings something to mind… How does everyone’s favorite libertarian-who-shapes-the-debate, Ron Paul, feel about SOPA and PIPA?

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    I recall when CDs first came out, their retail price was 2 to 3 times more than the vinyl or tape versions, because there were shortfalls in CD fabrication capacity. So the price reflected, in good Econ 101 terms, supply and demand. This would seem to imply that when the fabrication capacity increased (which it did) that the retail prices for CDs would drop.

    Amazingly, for the work of top tier artists, it did not. The profits of the distribution middlemen were quite healthy. The supply of the media increased, but retail prices did not fall.

    These assholes have created the economic conditions that encourage piracy, through their boundless greed. Now they’re seeking a regulatory solution to the problem they created, and they want to keep their vigorish, and make sure the actual creative talent can’t escape their vampiric embrace.

    Fuck them.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:


    Please convince me I’m wrong about this.

    Of course you’re wrong. A hypothetical is not reality, unless you’ve got a time machine hiding somewhere.

    The issues and concerns you raise are valid, but passage of SOPA is not a done deal by any means.

  54. 54
    Elizabelle says:


    Thank you!

    Here is ProPublica’s list of where Senate/Congress stands on SOPA/PIPA.

    Feinstein and Boxer support SOPA. Entertainment money trumps tech industry?

  55. 55
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tim F.:
    Considering MPAA has already spent $94 million dollars to buy Senators and Congressmen not very much I imagine

    Too logical! Of course nobody would complain if some site in East Armpittia posted a grainy copy of the latest POS from Hollywood. But when some mouth-breathing troll posts a link to it on BJ and then gets BJ shut down where is the troll going to go to earn his $0.07 per post?

  56. 56
    mcmillan says:

    @FlipYrWhig: According to this page Paul has come out against SOPA.

    @geg6: You might want to check things out, the Senate page says Casey’s a co-sponsor of the bill

  57. 57
    Served says:

    It’s so hard to not start this fax with “Dear Asshole,” and not end it with “P.S. Fuck Chris Dodd”

  58. 58
    RRoss says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Therefore piracy, not the withholding of your business, is the correct response to the perception that a price is too high. How low does a business have to cut their price to compete with ‘free?’ That’s economic blackmail, aka two wrongs make a right. You made it to Econ 101, but Ethics 101 must have been too early in the morning to wake up for, huh?

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Linkee has sad.

  60. 60
    Schlemizel says:

    BINGO! Even if this were the best guy available the optics suck & that 10% Obama needs to win will only notice the optics.

    People wonder why the caricature of him as overly corporate friendly, vaguely Republican and not a real progressive sticks. Its choices like this.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    You can’t fight the market. That’s why they’re looking for a regulatory solution to a problem they’ve created with their own greed.

    Fuck them. And fuck their lackey defenders.

  62. 62
    Chyron HR says:


    You wouldn’t download a RAPE, would you?

    Hah, take THAT, interwebs!

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:


    Your link is broken. Here’s the correct one.

    Your link is broken in the way that typically happens when you don’t include the “http:&#47&#47” prefix.

    If you just copied “projects.propublica.org/sopa/” from the destination site (which is what shows up on that page), you need to add (or let the “link” pop-up box add) the “http:&#47&#47” prefix.

    ETA: FYWP!

  64. 64
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:


    Content creators and distributors have a right to be paid for their work

    I totally agree that they should get paid for their work. What I don’t agree with is that distributors have a right to continue existing when a technology comes along that removes their need to exist. Just as the radio removed the need for telegraph operators, the internet is removing the need for distributors.

    I buy albums online from the creator. Don’t need the middleman.

  65. 65
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Gods’ are these people idiots. This bill is just good news for Ukraine or Russia or some country that doesn’t give a shit about copyright. No sane company will want to risk doing internet stuff in the US and just off shore it.

    Typical fine irony it’s the freemarket Republictards who will shoot the US high tech industry in the head. And all for the sake of their favorite cultural bogyman Hollywood. Just unbelievable.

  66. 66
    TooManyJens says:

    Let’s keep our eyes on the ball here. Don’t let RRoss derail us. Whatever the moral implications of 95-year copyright, piracy, etc. — the fact remains that these so-called anti-piracy bills WILL be used to silence legitimate free speech. We’ve seen how corporations use the DMCA to force legitimate fair use and criticism to be taken down. Does anyone think the only targets of SOPA would be actual pirates? And even if you do think that, do you want to set the precedent of letting the government decide what web sites you can visit?

  67. 67
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @RRoss: Ask software developers. We’ve been competing against free ever since the industry was created.

  68. 68
    Schlemizel says:

    FWIW – The Cato web site has a story up attacking the $775B figure being tossed around for the cost of piracy. They come up with $450M. http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....-congress/

    I’ve yet to encounter a technically clueful person who believes the Stop Online Piracy Act will actually do anything to meaningfully reduce—let alone “stop”—online piracy, and so I haven’t bothered writing much about the absurd numbers the bill’s supporters routinely bandy about in hopes of persuading lawmakers that SOPA will be an economic boon and create zillions of jobs. If the proposed solution just won’t work, after all, why bother quibbling about the magnitude of the problem?

    The $200–250 billion number had originated in a 1991 sidebar in Forbes, but it was not a measurement of the cost of “piracy” to the U.S. economy. It was an unsourced estimate of the total size of the global market in counterfeit goods. . . . The 750,000 jobs number had originated in a 1986 speech (yes, 1986) by the secretary of commerce estimating that counterfeiting could cost the United States “anywhere from 130,000 to 750,000″ jobs. Nobody in the Commerce Department was able to identify where those figures had come from.

    Its nice to see Mr. Kaelin has been able to make something of himself once he moved out of OJ’s garage.

  69. 69
    jibeaux says:

    @Tim F.: Oh, probably. But shop around for quality, you know? This one is not witty, but seems to think he is engaging in some very droll repartee. You have to get your money’s worth.

  70. 70
    Roger Moore says:


    Heck, they’re still pissed that DVDs are around $20 instead of the $100 that VCR tapes used to cost (which started the whole rental market since people didn’t want to have to pay that much just to watch a stupid movie, but anyway …)

    Then they’re idiots. I don’t know anybody who bought more than a handful of full price VHS movies, and very few who had really large collections of movies on tape they bought at any price, but I know many people who have hundreds of DVDs. I’m sure that most of those people wound up spending a lot more money on their DVD collections than they ever did on their VCR collections, and it’s all because DVDs were a much better value proposition. If the studios are upset about that, they deserve to go out of business for flunking economics 101.

  71. 71
    Schlemizel says:

    Just discovered Franken supports this POS giant algore SIGH

    thats another call I have to make, I expected this from Klobuchar but not Al.

  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:


    Well, Boxer and Feinstein represent all of CA, not just the 408/Silicon Valley. Pelosi, Honda, Eshoo and Lofgren all oppose it, and they are all in the Bay Area, where there’s a much greater concentration of tech, obviously. I wonder if most of the reps who support it are from SoCal.

  73. 73
    TooManyJens says:

    That link in Update 2 is excellent. I’m passing it around.

  74. 74
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Just got off the phone with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office. While one of the better Democrats, he is a supporter of PIPA. The staffer/intern was pleasant enough, but obviously had been briefed, because he tried to explain to me that SOPA and PIPA were different; I countered that trying to impose technical means to solve this “problem” was misguided and shortsighted, and that I hope the Senator reconsiders his support.

  75. 75
    Roger Moore says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I wonder if most of the reps who support it are from SoCal.

    It sure looks like it. The listed California supporters are from CA-24, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 43, and 45- nothing north of Santa Barbara County, and a strong concentration around the center of the film and recording industry. The California opponents are from CA-1, 5, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 48, and 49. That’s mostly Northern California, with a couple from Orange County. It sure looks like they’re aligning according to local interests, rather than along anything like party lines.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If the studios are upset about that, they deserve to go out of business for flunking economics 101.

    Exactly. :-) I know that some studios have at least been making an attempt to reduce piracy through making the material easier to access. For example, when G bought the DVD of Inglorious Basterds, it included a code so he could download a digital copy for free so he could easily watch it on his iPod or iPad if he chose.

    I think the success of iTunes proved that people actually do prefer to download things legally, because it’s a lot less trouble. If studios do things like make the digital copy available with purchase of the DVD, that’s a much more effective reducer of piracy than draconian laws shutting down ISPs because it basically eliminates casual piracy by people who bought the DVD but want to bring a digital copy along to watch on an airplane ride.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    My congressman is Adam Schiff (CA-29) and our district includes the headquarters for Disney, Warner Bros., NBC/Universal, and a bunch of other music and movie companies I can’t think of right now. So it really is about local interests, at least for him. I’ll still fax him to tell him to vote “no.”

  78. 78
    barath says:

    Don’t forget to tell your rep that you oppose the Research Works Act as well, another copyright nonsense bill being pushed by the publishing industry.

  79. 79
    Applejinx says:

    I have called ALL my reps and explained to them politely, emphatically and at length that (as the Hollywood guy explained) these bills open up an avenue for abuse that’s unthinkably destructive.

    I am a Vermont small business, selling software plugins. I’ve got a logo that’s a hand-drawn parody/alteration of the RCA/Victor ‘Nipper’ dog, and all of the pictures of my product in use by DEFINITION have to be pictures of the interface of another company’s software, because I use generic interface. Also, the pictures of how to use my products and where they go in the host product also must use screenshots of the other product.

    I have fierce competitors, and one in particular that worries me because I think the guy is shady as hell and lies and cheats- and I’m sure he would love to see me knocked out of the game for good. For obvious reasons I won’t mention who I am or who he is.

    All he would have to do is claim to be Apple, or perhaps RCA/Victor, or maybe not even have to claim to be either depending on how it plays out in practice, and successfully get one of these SOPA takedowns fired off, and I would be done. Just done.

    I cannot afford health care so if I get sick I’m done too- Bernie Sanders is working on fixing that for Vermonters. Under these laws, if I got knocked off the net by a scheming competitor, I would be just as done, because I cannot afford to fight a lawsuit to clear my name. My cash flow just will not support it, I am so barely in the black as it is.

    I seriously want this SOPA nonsense killed. It’s way too dangerous to people like me, not just mash-up culture warriors.

  80. 80
    Comrade Dread says:

    Contacted Boxer and Rohrabacher again.

    Feinstein’s page is down today. Guess a lot of folks are bugging her about this.

  81. 81
    Roger Moore says:

    I’m also in CA-29, and I have no hope whatsoever for Adam Schiff (D isney). He’s always seen defending copyright leeches as a major goal- he was a big supporter of the most recent round of term extensions- because he knows which side his bread is buttered on. I’m hoping Feinstein and Boxer are more open to being convinced.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:


    OT: I know folks are busy, but can we talk about the idiotic tone deafness of Obama appointing a Bain alum as Acting head of OMB?

    So the fact that a guy who’s worked at the White House for the past three years worked for Bain 20 years ago should be an automatic disqualifier to put him temporarily back into a position he already held once before, no matter what he did in the 20 years since he worked for Bain?

    But, hey, if you’re bound and determined to find something, anything wrong with the appointment, I guess you can pick at that decades-old scab.

    ETA: Linky for those curious about Zients. No, he wasn’t hired straight from Bain to take this position.

  83. 83
    The Moar You Know says:

    Somebody please explain to me WHY THE FUCK Franken is in support of this monstrosity.

  84. 84
    Cassidy says:

    Called Rep. Stearns office. After much pressing, I got the receptionist to admit that he “supports technology companies” and that I could draw my own conclusions from that. At first it was just that it’s in committee and probably won’t come to a vote. I politely asked her to pass it on that I am against it and if he voted for it, that I would remember that come vote time and would make sure everyone I know feels the same way.

  85. 85
    gaz says:

    For some reason, WA state seems to be able to avoid electing representatives I need to call about this kind of thing.

  86. 86
    gaz says:

    @The Moar You Know: Franken is a prolific creator of intellectual property

  87. 87
    Cassidy says:

    @The Moar You Know: Because Franken still has a lot of friends back west who are telling him that they are suffering because the peasants can access entertainment without paying them first.

  88. 88
    Xinark says:

    @Nicole: If it’s any consolation, this morning, the staffer I spoke to articulated Sen. Gillibrand’s position clearly, made the case that Sen. Gillibrand has “some reservations” about the bill “and is trying to work through the system to fix that,” and finally admitted to the office being flooded with so many calls that the Senator “may have to reconsider.”

    Granted, I’m not 100% confident — optimism being a luxury these days — but if it’s true that she’s gone from “uncritically supporting” to “supporting but with reservations” and now potentially to “changing her position,” then maybe there’s hope yet.

  89. 89
    TooManyJens says:

    @Cassidy: My own Rep’s office told me, with surprising candor, that he isn’t happy about the legislation but also isn’t sure if he wants to be on record voting against it, so they’re just really hoping it doesn’t get out of committee.

    Profiles in Courage!

  90. 90
    Yutsano says:

    @gaz: Doc Hastings. I would KILL to knock that asshole out of office.

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I countered that trying to impose technical means to solve this “problem” was misguided and shortsighted, and that I hope the Senator reconsiders his support.

    Technical solutions for social problems lead to arms races.

    Just as with spam, it’s a social problem that you can attempt to address in a technical way, but all that does is lead to an endless technical arms race as spammers and anti-spammers come up with new ways to propagate/thwart spam that are always overcome, perpetuating the cycle.

    So it is with online piracy. The root cause of all this is the desire to control content. The internet reacts to this sort of thing like it’s damage; it finds a way around the damage. That’s what it was designed to do.

    The actual pirates are not harmed by this. Figuring out a way around it is one of their costs of doing business. They have the technical smarts to get around it.

    You know, this reminds me of Major League Baseball’s long struggle with radio and television broadcasts of games that only benefited them by free advertising of their product. They were afraid that people would not come to the games if they could listen to the games on the radio, or watch them on TV.

    Those two means of following the game are poor substitutes for the real thing, and in fact generate more desire to see a game at the ballpark to experience it there. Radio and TV broadcasts put butts in seats in the long term.

    The Lords of Baseball, however, being short term fixated fucktards, fought more exposure of their game for decades.

  92. 92
    Brandon says:

    I cannot wait for dealerships (not automakers) to now start proposing new draconian laws that will allow the government to confiscate your car if you share it by letting your friend borrow it or giving someone a ride. Because you know, each ride you give is a car not bought. This activity is a loophole in the law that has cost car dealers billions and driven the industry to the brink of collapse because some people don’t believe that they have a ethical or moral obligation to compensate producers of consumer goods by buying their own. Why the government even facillitates this theft through creating carpool lanes. This piracy must stop immediately, because it has already cost the economy Billions of Jobs and Thousands of Dollars.

  93. 93
    gaz says:

    @Yutsano: Oh yeah – but he’s in the house right? Isn’t this a senate battle right now? (just checking)

    I probably should have said senators or something, in any case.

    Until we can manage to convince Eastern WA to merge with Idaho, I think we’ll always have a douchebag in the house.


  94. 94
    The Moar You Know says:

    Love the new troll. Let me share a tale.

    My company produced a very lucrative piece of software. Not just copyrighted – there were patents involved. Two years later, we found that another, much larger company was selling our software. They’d renamed it, but hadn’t even bothered to pull our developer’s comments out of the code. Slam dunk, right?

    That’s what we thought.

    The judge first refused to issue an injunction against these people. The thieves then appealed the patent award and got our patents declared null and void. We had to spend 18 months getting our patents back. In the meantime, this company was still selling our product as their own, and our market share went to shit.

    They finally offered to “settle”. Their terms: sign over the software rights to them and they’d give us 60k. Otherwise they’d just fight in court until we were bankrupt. We could not afford to continue litigation, so we took the deal.

    Lesson? All this talk of the “little guy” is bullshit. The big guys can steal with impunity. Copyright is only for people to whom legal costs mean nothing.

    That’s what the guy upthread is defending. Don’t fool yourselves that this is about anything else but the privileges of those with money to burn.

  95. 95
    TooManyJens says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Lords of Baseball, however, being short term fixated fucktards, fought more exposure of their game for decades.

    So did the Lords of Horse Racing, and the sport’s popularity never recovered.

  96. 96
    WereBear says:

    @Xinark: Yay!

    She’s generally reliable for progressives; I’m sure a lot of them don’t know the pitfalls, unless they got someone in the tech biz around the dinner table.

  97. 97
    Comrade Dread says:

    @RRoss: Contrary to popular belief, not all of us concerned about this are pirates defending our right to plunder.

    I’ve never illegally downloaded any content. If a movie looks good to me, I’ll go see it in the theater. If a movie is good, I’ll buy it on DVD or Blu-ray. If a game looks good, I’ll download a demo or a trial. If it is good, I’ll fork over the 60 dollars.

    Unfortunately (and maybe it’s a product of my growing up) fewer and fewer movies actually look good enough to me to go find a babysitter, then pay out 30 dollars (for my wife and I) for a single performance. We maybe get out to one or two movies a year these days.

    Lesson being, is that if these guys are concerned with losing money and market share, then they need to stop focusing on crap content with multi-million dollar CGI eye candy to capture the teen market and try expanding to recapture the adult market. OR they should go out of business and make way for someone else.

    This has been my yearly “GET OFF MY LAWN!” post.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Lesson being, is that if these guys are concerned with losing money and market share, then they need to stop focusing on crap content with multi-million dollar CGI eye candy to capture the teen market and try expanding to recapture the adult market.

    It’s actually a slightly different problem — Hollywood blockbusters are made for an international audience, not an American one. It used to be that most of the box office money was made in the good ol’ USA, but now at least half (if not more) is made overseas.

    As a case in point, Transformers: Dark of the Moon made $352M domestically, but $771M overseas. So, really, the studios see no point in making movies for the domestic market anymore since the vast majority of the returns will come from overseas markets.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:


    Another case in point: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 was the top-grossing movie in the US last year, making $381M at the domestic box office. But it made $947M overseas. The US market was less than 1/3rd of the take.

    The studios aren’t making movies for US teenagers. They’re making movies for the entire planet full of teenagers.

  100. 100
    Applejinx says:

    “Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing,” said The White House. “We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

    buh? Well, shit, if my congresscritters (all Dems) won’t listen to me saying exactly that, maybe they’ll listen to their boss?

    in b4 ‘he’s NOT the boss of them’, yes, I know…

  101. 101
    Comrade Dread says:

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon

    Yeah, this is exactly the type of thing I’m talking about.

    Make. Better. Movies. Movies with characters that I can like. A story that makes sense and shows progression. Exciting action that doesn’t always involve CGI things hitting other CGI things with quick cuts that obscure whatever it was the CGI thing was supposed to be doing, and sweet friggin’ Buddha, did someone actually get paid to make CGI robot balls?

    Make something that’s actually worth 2 hours of my life and the cost of a babysitter, two movie tickets, and a Blu-ray, and I WILL GIVE YOU MONEY.

    Shouldn’t be that hard.

    But I know, it’s far easier to make shit, then market it to exactly the kind of tech savvy folks with limited incomes who would be more likely to pirate it later.

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    CGI insanity: the entire dinosaur racing around thing in the Peter Jackson take of King Kong. Only there because the CGI guys wanted to put something “cool” in that does nothing at all to advance the plot.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    But it’s not that it’s easier — it’s that they make a shitload more money making CGI action movies that translate overseas than they could ever recoup making an inexpensive comedy that only plays well in the US.

    Bridesmaids made $169M in the US, but only $119M overseas, so they ain’t gonna be making a movie like that again anytime soon.

  104. 104
    Darkrose says:

    To quote the Made of Awesome John Rogers, “Any screenwriter who thinks he loses more money to piracy than to Hollywood studio accounting is a child.”

  105. 105
    trollhattan says:

    My H/T for bestest SOPA page of the day goes to The Oatmeal. Behold:


  106. 106
    Darkrose says:

    I wrote DiFi last week and got this in response:

    “I received your letter expressing opposition to the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” commonly known as the “PROTECT IP Act.” I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

    The “PROTECT IP Act” (S. 968) gives both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities.” These are websites that have “no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating” copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying.

    The bill does not violate First Amendment rights to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech.

    America’s copyright industry is an important economic engine, and I believe copyright owners should be able to prevent their works from being illegally duplicated and stolen. The protection of intellectual property is particularly vital to California’s thriving film, music, and high-technology industries.

    I understand you have concerns about the “PROTECT IP Act.” While I voted in favor of this bill when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have also been working with California high-technology businesses to improve the bill and to address the concerns of high-tech businesses, public interest groups and others. I recognize the bill needs further changes to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) or through amendments on the Senate floor.

    On May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the “PROTECT IP Act” for consideration by the full Senate. Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the Senate proceed to a vote on this legislation. As you may be aware, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced similar legislation, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261), in the House of Representatives.

    Once again, thank you for sharing your views. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. “

  107. 107
    Roger Moore says:


    The studios aren’t making movies for US teenagers. They’re making movies for the entire planet full of teenagers.

    They’re also dealing with a translation issue. Dramas depend a lot on the culture they’re set in, and they can be tough to translate even across small cultural differences. Action doesn’t need to be translated.

  108. 108
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    CGI insanity: the entire dinosaur racing around thing in the Peter Jackson take of King Kong.

    Have you ever watched the original King Kong? They used stop motion animation instead of CGI, but other than that it was exactly the kind of special effects popcorn movie people are still criticizing today. The action blockbuster is not a new phenomenon.

  109. 109
    Elizabelle says:


    The Oatmeal site is terrific.

    Do yourself a favor and check it out.

  110. 110
    Cassidy says:

    Action doesn’t need to be translated

    Something else to this is that action movies, especially in Asian Markets, are considered higher fare than in the US. 13 Assassins is going to win awards. Won Bin won numerous Best Acting awards for The Man From Nowhere, not to mention the awards for the movie itself. You rarely see an “action” movie getting nominated for awards in the states.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:


    Okay, Media Matters has the story on the Bain “controversy” and it is, of course, manufactured right-wing bullshit. Sorry, Brandon, you lose.

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