President Obama’s decision to publicly oppose SOPA and PIPA may cost him dearly. While many, including yours truly, applaud him for affirming the importance of a free and open internet, it appears that Hollywood isn’t impressed at all.
“We just feel very let down by the administration and Obama for not supporting us,” Nikki Finke of Deadline.com quoted a Hollywood studio chief. Another movie mogul, who remains unnamed, but is a well-known Obama supporter, according to Finke, says: “At least let him remain neutral and not go against it until we can get the legislation right. But Obama went against it. I’m personally not going to support him anymore and not give a dime anymore.”
Finke has published some of the more strongly worded comments from insiders of the entertainment industry, but this line caught my eye: “But Google and those Internet guys have been swiftboating the entertainment industry by saying we’re trying to shut down the Internet just because we don’t want them to advertise pirated movies.”
Clearly, the person making this comment, who’s also a studio chief, still couldn’t grasp the extensive implications of the SOPA and PIPA bill. Both of these bills, in their current forms, will seriously impede the growth of the internet industry.
For one, copyright holders can essentially shut down any websites that they do not like, whether or not the said website is solely dedicated to pirating copyrighted contents. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a news website, blog, video-sharing website, social news website, or really, just any website that allows user-generated content (even here on Dice for that matter), copyright owners can shut it down.
All they need is a link to their copyrighted work. As long as these websites allow users to post contents, including user comments that are available on most blogs, anyone could simply post a link to a pirated movie and watch the website vanish from the internet. Cracked.com has a good story to illustrate the situation. Go ahead and have a good read if you can tolerate the NSFW languages.
Yes, the influence of SOPA and PIPA is broad enough to do this. The bills not only targeted websites dedicated to the “theft of U.S. property.” They also targeted any websites that merely enable or facilitate copyright infringements, whether or not it’s intentional by the website operators.
Coming back to this line: “just because we don’t want them to advertise pirated movies.” Assuming that he’s referring to Google, I believe the correct term to use is to “rank websites offering pirated movies.”
Also, as a matter of fact, SOPA and PIPA are not required if all the entertainment industry wants is for Google to remove links to websites that are infringing their copyrights. The existing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is sufficient to get the job done.
The entertainment industry should know better, since they’ve been using the act to make Google remove links that infringe their copyrights.
Photo credit: Christopher Dilts