Heard about the SOPA/PIPA flack?


Tom Garrett 5 years ago

Perhaps you already know that in protest of a pair of bills working their way through congress, WIKI blacked itself out for 24 hours to demonstrate what might happen if draconian legislation were passed that made drastic changes to the operation of the internet.

162 million people contacted their congressmen. At the moment the legislation is dead.

Don't expect it to be the end of all this, however.

The entertainment industry is upset because it is losing money to people who illegally copy films and music and sell them. The trouble is that most of them are outside the United States.

Should something be done about it? Sure. But we already have laws to make it illegal in this country, and one country is all we can run.

The entertainment industry wants laws passed that will screw up the internet in an attempt to do the impossible. What they tried to do in SOPA/PIPA was to make a site responsible if it sent you to a pirate site when you did a search.

So Fred, Pat, Kim, Dan, Ruby, John, Rex, and I all go out to find a copy of a DVD. We go to Google. Google gives us choices. We go to one of them and buy something at what seems a fair price. It is a pirate site, but we don't know it--and neither does anyone else.

Who gets the blame? Google.

Look, Google is not the national police. Google simply takes your search term and finds what you are looking for. It does do some screening to keep things like porn off your screen, but it cannot possibly know that some innocent looking site is selling pirated music. And the main point is that it is not Google's responsibility to do the job of the FBI.

If the site is in the U.S. the feds will soon find it and put it out of business. But if it's in Mexico or China?

Who's responsible for that?

Mexico and China.

If we want to do something about such sites it is up to the government to talk to Mexico and China and put pressure on each of them to clean up its act.

For one thing, the border patrol should get back to checking for contraband when people cross the border into the U.S. from Mexico.

We do NOT need laws that will screw up the internet by passing the responsibility for law enforcement onto private companies, some of which--by the way--are non-profit like WIKI. All that will happen is that you and I will be hurt. The pirates will keep right on going around any type of electronic filter, no matter how sophisticated it may be.

A lot of those sites are on small Caribbean islands. All that the feds would have to do to shut them down is to ban travel to and from them until the local police shut them down. And a threat to shut down American jobs in India would take care of a lot more of them.

This is a problem for the State Department, not an issue calling for a new, and stupid, law that will harm everyone in the country except Hollywood.


frederick franz 5 years ago


You've said a mouthful!! I was against the downloading restrictions put on us by Microsoft, when they went along with the music industry and included an algorithm in Windows, which makes it impossible to copy anything musical. The DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions are making it a headache to buy music online, since many DVD's are crippled so that they cannot be played back on a computer. We do not need laws that will screw up the internet with more absurd restrictions.


Tom Garrett 5 years ago

Amen, Fred!

What we are seeing is a typical example of what happens when special interests get laws pushed through which are against the best interests of both the people and the nation.

For example, why is a DVD set up in such a way that it can only be played in one part of the world? There is no logical reason other than profit. I am not opposed to profit, but I am firmly opposed to greed.

If you buy something you have ended your obligation to the company. What you do with what you buy is your business as long as you don't copy it and sell it. That's what the laws should reflect.

And if China is pirating and selling music or films, then that is a matter for the State Department to deal with, not Congress. The only proper way to control pirating is to put the pirates in jail, not screw up the lives of honest people.

The greatest danger in the current legislation is the fact that it would quite literally put most small business sites on the net out of business. They could not bear the extra cost of checking everything that flowed through or across their wires. Just can't be done. Too expensive. So millions of small sites would go out of business so that Hollywood could make more money.

That's not the American way!


Michael Alexander 5 years ago

Hey Fred, Tom... don't mean to minimize Microsoft's attempt to quash audio piracy, but there's a really slick work-around that's 100% effective. All you need to do is buy (one-time) any cheap on-board recording software and you can then record and save anything that your computer can play - from CD, DVD, mpg player or direct streaming. The caveat is that it's only legal as long as you are doing this for your personal library... in other words, don't sell or even share the copies you make. An example of a really good recording / editing utility is PolderBits. I think it runs about $35.


frederick franz 5 years ago

Thanks for the tip Michael. Nice to see you on the forum! I download only .mid and .kar files. So far they have not come up with a way to cripple them! As far as I know, they are all public domain. 73!


Pat Randall 5 years ago

I don't know if this has anything to do with what you are talking about but. Every business that has music on a radio, juke box, or TVs are supposed to pay ASCAP for playing the music. There are some other companies that also want to be paid. They say the money goes to the artists that write or play the music. I didn't know anything about it for about two years when we had the restaurant and bar but one day a man came in from ASCAP and said I owed $680. for a license from ASCAP. We had a juke box and 4 TVs. I told him he didn't know what kind of music I had on my juke box so how could they determine who to pay? His answer was they keep track of the top forty songs on radio and that is how the money is paid. I had music they don't even play anymore as I don't like the new so called country western music. They charge by how many machines you have how many sq. ft of bldg and all kinds of garbage. I finally talked him down to $400.00. When the town started having the music in the park I asked the lady running it if she had a license from ASCAP. She had no clue so I took her the paperwork. The town only has to pay $20.00 a year or did back then.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 12 months ago

The current laws are crap. They were put in place by special interests. If you applied the same logic to books you would have to pay the publisher every time you or someone else read it. If the same logic were applied to art you would have to pay for looking at a statue.

Did you pay to allow someone to look at the pictures on the walls of your bar? Did you pay to have someone sit on the toilet? No? Why not?

The law should be simple and straightforward. You record something. You sell whatever it was you recorded it on. You make a profit. End. Once you sell something you sell all rights to it; you retain nothing.

As for music or anything else coming over the air, the station or network paid for it. Trying to license someone to use that material by turning on a radio is plainly wrong. The person listening to the music is paying for it by listening to commercials. There is no right to charge him twice. And don't tell me that the charge is made to the business owner because all charges are passed on to the end-user.

Does the Roundup require a license for someone to read the newspaper in a restaurant? No? There's at least as much, and often even more, creativity going into its production as there is there in the writing or singing of a song. Are you charged for reading a poem? A great epic?

It's just another case of a special interest group getting Congress to pay laws which are plainly wrong. It is as wrong as letting software manufacturers claim that they are only licensing you to use their software. If that were really true then they would also have to maintain that software in order to claim that they have any rights to control its use.

Until we get a government free of the influence special interests the people will be treated like cash cows, only there to work hard and turn their wages over to the wealthy.


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