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Stopping Online Piracy in the Age of Entitlement


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: February 3, 2012 @ 5:30 am
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According to the United States Chamber of Commerce “rogue web sites that steal America’s innovative and creative products attract more than 53 billion visits a year and threaten more than 19 million American jobs.” NY Times Letter, November 18, 2011. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to matter much to those who believe they ought to be entitled to take, use, copy and distribute things that they legally do not own. We live in the age of entitlement.

All you have to do is look around at the various “Occupy this” or “Occupy that” groups that pitch tents and live rent free for months right in the heart of a once thriving business district. For crying out loud these “Occupy” people don’t even pay for permits like government makes the rest of us law abiding citizens do. There is an alarming double standard growing in the United States and frankly it is rather disgusting if you ask me.  Whether you want to believe it or not, billions of dollars every year are lost as the result of theft of intellectual property.

The recent Internet protests basically stopped the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) from being passed in the United States House of Representatives.  But why?  Does anyone really believe that stopping illegal activity is a bad thing?  Apparently so.  The unfortunate thing is that many of the attacks on the bill were wholly unfounded, as if they were made up out of whole cloth in order to achieve the end goal and not at all related to factual reality.

Take Rebecca MacKinnon for example.  In the New York Times she wrote:

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial.

Now if that were actually true I would be infuriated myself, after all due process is a cornerstone of our legal system and what ensures fairness.  As you might expect, however, MacKinnon isn’t even close.  All you have to do is read Section 102 of SOPA and you see that MacKinnon is not telling the truth, or if you want to be generous that she is materially misrepresenting reality.

Section 102 of SOPA requires the Attorney General to institute an action in a court.  So there will be due process, and there will be a court hearing or trial.  Why would MacKinnon write what she wrote?  Why would the New York Times publish something so easily and provably false?  All good questions.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where protesters of all kinds are allowed to prevail based on who yells the loudest, or who moves in and disrupts enough commerce, or who threatens to shut down popular websites.  No facts needed and you can actually make up lies that are provably contrary to actual factual truth.  The media just plays along and are complicit in the perpetration of fraud after fraud.  You just can’t trust the media at all any more.

MacKinnon goes on to make another absurd justification for her position against SOPA.  She writes:

Compliance with the Stop Online Piracy Act would require huge overhead spending by Internet companies for staff and technologies dedicated to monitoring users and censoring any infringing material from being posted or transmitted.

Why is this relevant in the first place?  I guess we are just supposed to allow Internet companies to make money on the theft of intellectual property rights.  Seriously, the nonsense being spewed by opponents of SOPA basically goes like this.  Giant Internet company that makes billions and billions of dollars a year in profit by in part attracting people to sites where infringement occurs can’t be burdened with respecting the rights of others.  With benefit comes burden and responsibility.  Does anyone really think Internet companies can’t figure this out and still make a profit?

Talk about redistribution of the wealth! Creators create, and frequently do so at great expense and with substantial commitment of time and energy.  There is absolutely no time, energy or financial commitment invested by those who steal.  But not only do these ne’er do wells want to continue to get things for free in violation of intellectual property laws, but they are defending the platforms that enable the stealing!  The creator’s rights and financial rewards go to the Internet companies that can’t be bothered with coming up with a solution?  So the government just sits back and watches Internet companies make money at least in part by freeloading, or at the very least enabling freeloading.  That isn’t “the American way” that I am familiar with.

As a content creator myself I feel very strongly that something needs to be done to better protect creative works that can so easily be stolen online.  Is SOPA the end all be all?  Like most pieces of legislation it could be better, but Congress absolutely, positively cannot be at all pleased with the state of the industry as it currently exists.  Something needs to be done and soon.

Legally there is no requirement that a copyright owner do anything affirmatively in order to preserve or enjoy copyright protection.  Sure, you have to file a copyright application and obtain a federal registration if you want to sue someone in court for infringement, but aside from obtaining a copyright registration there is no requirement to police the industry and make sure that your are being observed.

Despite the fact that there is no affirmative duty to police and protect your copyrights, if you are a content creator and you are not searching for infringers on a daily basis then you might as well just give up.  The content thieves out there will rip you off and feign ignorance.  Really?  You cut and pasted my original 3,000 word article word for word and posted it to your website to attract traffic to  your website thereby diverting people from my website and you thought that was OK?  Do you live under a rock?  No, they don’t live under a rock.  They think it is OK because they don’t think they will get caught, it is that simple.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows notices to be sent to the web hosting company that has the infringing content posted.  If an inquiry is initiated and infringing content removed then the web hosting company enjoys immunity from a copyright infringement lawsuit, so there is incentive for web hosts to cooperate and they almost universally do cooperate.  There are also provisions in the DMCA, however, that allow a counter-notification to be made by someone who doesn’t believe they have done anything wrong.  If that happens then the fight needs to go to court.  Of course, it rarely comes to that because the infringement of text and creations of that sort are almost always cut and paste copied.  But there is a process, albeit a cumbersome process, that already exists to get content removed.

Frankly, those who are repeat offenders ought to lose their websites if you ask me.  Strip them of their domain names for flagrant and repeated copyright violations.  Why should I or any other content creator have to treat every new infringement by the same person as a separate event?  They are the ones thumbing their nose at the law and engaging in activities directly harmful to my business.  The fact of the matter is people simply don’t respect copyrights in a digital age.

Those who establish businesses with the sole intent of making money stealing the creative works of others frequently set up shop outside the United States in an attempt to be outside the reach of the companies that they are ripping off.  That is why something like SOPA is necessary.  There should never be a place in the world that someone who steals intellectual property should be able to safely operate.  If they are going to continue to infringe, cause great damage to creators and locate where they cannot be reached by ordinary judicial process then Congress absolutely must create a process to strip these people of their domain names and do whatever they can to make infringement impossible.

Infringement is never going to be impossible, but it could be made a whole lot harder if Internet companies are required to operate like web hosting companies.  Why would that be a problem?  Web hosting companies raised the same concerns about the money they would have to spend to institute processes to handle infringement notifications, yet web hosting continues as a business.  Imagine that.  They evolved and adapted.  So the real complaining about SOPA isn’t because of due process concerns or fears of great expenditures.  It is rooted in the belief that original creations ought to be freely available without paying a fee.  As if under those conditions there would be any substantial future creations.

As for the particulars of SOPA, perhaps there are some who are against the legislation for valid, thoughtful reasons and would like to see something better.  That, however, seems to be the substantial minority.  Those who are against SOPA seem to want to protect online piracy as if they are entitled to access the creative works of others for free.  In economic terms those who steal intellectual property are freeloaders. These freeloaders are just like the many non-productive members of society who only take and give nothing back, expecting those of us who are productive to pick up the tab for them.  There are certainly people in society who need and deserve help, and we should be there to help them, but by any fair estimate the entitlement mentality is running amok.  No one “needs and deserves” free access to the latest blockbuster movie the opened just yesterday in theaters.

So the next time you hear someone against stopping online piracy ask them why they hold that position.  Is it as the result of some informed preference to set up a better process for handling the nefarious operators who steal, or is it based on erroneous talking points put together for the purpose of influencing the political process, or is it just because they are anarchists.  My guess is that those in the first category will be the fewest, those being manipulated through lies will be a larger percentage, but the majority of people you encounter will be true intellectual property anarchists.

To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, the manufacturing jobs are gone and in all likelihood they are not coming back.  That is certainly true, at least unless we adopt very business friendly tax strategies that seem politically impossible when class warfare is the political strategy du jour in certain circles.  But with manufacturing jobs dwindling and unemployment unacceptably high and expected to be that way for many years to come, about all we have driving our economy is intellectual property.  If Congress allows the intellectual property anarchists to prevail the face of the Internet will change forever.   There won’t be many creators and what few creators who remain will need to charge ridiculously high prices.  Many more jobs will be lost, and certainly none created. That doesn’t sound like a strategy for the future if you ask me.

New technologies and the exploitation of those technologies is supposed to create jobs, not kill them.  What a sad state of affairs.  Protesters are allowed to ruin businesses and neighborhoods in the real world by physically squatting on public grounds and making a health nuisance out of their encampments.  At the same time Internet protesters who are equally anarchistic thwarted attempts to reign in digital thievery.  Honestly, sometimes I don’t recognize this America any more.

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Posted in: Copyright, Entertainment Industry, Gene Quinn, Internet, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

64 comments
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  1. I hope you don’t really believe that the Occupy protesters are acting out of a sense of “entitlement” to “live rent free” in tents in freezing weather, and that that bit was just another of your trademark hyperbolic diatribe-asides. Entitlement is indeed a problem with our society, but it is a much greater threat to the fabric of America when those who possess the majority of the wealth feel entitled to possess the whole of the political power by converting money into speech, or when they feel entitled to transfer taxpayer monies to themselves through bailouts or indeed fabricate money out of thin air via the Federal Reserve, than the problem of copyright piracy. Copyright piracy is a big issue, and one that deserves careful legislative attention and enforcement, but the fact that it has not engendered mass protests in the streets of cities all across the world should tell you something about its relative significance in comparison to the unaddressed crimes being protested by the Occupy Movement.

  2. When you repeat this U.S. Chamber of Commerce statement that copyright-infringing sites draw “53 billion visits a year and threaten more than 19 million American jobs,” is there not one little bit of a critical faculty stirred–one bit of skepticism? I’m sure you reckon yourself to be a perspicuous professional capable of handling data–so why would you swallow and then regurgitate this ridiculous 19 million jobs figure?

    And surely – since you’re a dedicated professional concerned deeply with the fortune of “creators” – the received “wisdom” you’ve dished here on the “entitlement mentality,” your sloppy and broad attempts at making an argument re socio-political conditions and their effect on the marketplace, has *nothing* to do with this year’s presidential campaign! It is coincidence, I’m sure, that your sloppy reactionary arguments and griping (and indeed those of the USCOC) map so closely to the GOP platform!

  3. Robert KS-

    Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I meant that the Occupy protesters are acting out of a sense of entitlement and with an intent to live rent free. The only people who could ever suggest otherwise are those who haven’t been by or near an Occupy settlement. Have you seen by the DC settlement? These folks are professional protesters. They live in tents in public areas where law abiding citizens are prevented from living in tents. They assemble in places where law abiding citizens must obtain a permit, but Occupy doesn’t and they don’t pay the fees, so their ridiculously selfish “protest” needs to be paid by productive citizens.

    I don’t get the sense that you live in the real world. You say: “a much greater threat to the fabric of America when those who possess the majority of the wealth feel entitled…” The majority of the wealthy feel entitled? I don’t know what America you live in but the majority of the so-called “wealth,” those who make $250,000 or more a year, work extremely hard for their money and are self made.

    As far as the mass protests in the streets telling me something, what it tells me is these people don’t have jobs and they aren’t looking for work either. The Tea Party was maligned for protesting, but they obtain permits, pay fees, show up, are respectful, clean up and then leave. What a strange world it is where those who break the law and are purely troublemakers get exalted by the media and liberals why law abiding, employed taxpayers who assemble peacefully for a few hours are mercilessly maligned.

    -Gene

  4. Greg-

    I notice that you present no facts, but rather cling to the erroneous belief that the Chamber of Commerce is wrong. So what are the facts if you know so much? I provide facts and sourcing and anyone with half a brain knows that stealing intellectual property does cost jobs, and millions of them. So wise up.

    You also say: “sloppy and broad attempts at making an argument re socio-political conditions and their effect on the marketplace, has *nothing* to do with this year’s presidential campaign…”

    Struck a nerve, did I? Of course what I said is relevant and the fact that you don’t comprehend the relevance means you are a part of the problem. Society is bending over backwards to tolerate the nonsense dished out by this or that protester group. At some point the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few; the rights of the troublemakers. We are about there and you will better comprehend that only after the November election I suspect.

    -Gene

  5. Are you saying that someone, presumably another IP professional or even IP attorney, cutsand pastes your articles about IP and put them on their own websites? Really?

  6. Jennifer-

    It usually isn’t another IP professional or attorney, but rather a blogger. Sometimes it has been a University and sometimes it has been business groups who maintain blogs. Renee’s social media articles are most often cut and paste copied, but believe it or not the next category that is most often cut and paste copied are articles about online copyright infringement. I can almost guarantee you that this very article will be cut and pasted onto multiple blogs, requiring me to send DMCA takedown notices.

    -Gene

  7. Whilst I support the need to protect IP and fully understand the need to improve current legislation to take account of the digital format and distribution channel, I do in the main find the way the traditional entertainment (film/music) industries and their supporters have gone about it, particularly with respect to digital materials and their distribution/consumption via the internet, distasteful.

    But then I was someone who’s view of the business-customer relationship was strongly influenced by Tom Peter’s 1980′s works on customer service, and hence have a disdain for any organisation and legislation that effectively allows all to be treated as if they were criminals.

    A big question over SOPA and similar acts, is whether they can have any real impact; as (from a UK viewpoint) it would seem that much of the piracy is effectively off-shore and hence largely beyond the reach of US law.

  8. “I notice that you present no facts, but rather cling to the erroneous belief that the Chamber of Commerce is wrong.”

    Gene, what makes you think that fewer than 3000 web hits per year is enough to sustain an American job? Even assuming they’d all still want the media they downloaded if they had to pay market rates, it’s a pretty big stretch. What does iTunes charge for a copyrighted song these days?

    What makes you think that downloading media from the copyright holder instead of other channels would require the copyright holder (usually a large corporation) to employ any more people at all? Maybe the CEO will be able to afford to hire a few extra servants, but that’s probably not the sort of job creation you had in mind.

    I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have any sort of agenda or vested interest, but still – would it kill you to apply some critical thought to facts that appear to support the opinion you already had?

  9. I’d argue that content creators supporting SOPA are acting out of a sense of entitlement premised on the belief that the value of their copyright justifies free rents. You don’t see B&M record stores complaining that loss prevention costs are high and demanding that taxpayer money go to having police on site. And trust me, shrink can crush a retail store.

    To frame this as a Manichean struggle between pirates and John Galt misses that this is largely an allocation of cost issue. The DMCA pushes most of the costs on the individual creators, and it’s fair to say that is too great a burden. But pushing the cost of enforcement entirely onto third party sites and the public is a massive subsidy. And what happens if big media or the government is the one who is ripping off the little artist? Under SOPA, there’s no recourse.

    We all want the Pirate Bays of the world shut down, but there are much more efficient ways to do it than to balloon the compliance costs of your competitors.

  10. “What a strange world it is where those who break the law and are purely troublemakers…”

    Like, the Founding Fathers?

    You portray the protesters as mere squatters. The Occupy protesters aren’t camping because they feel “entitled” to “live rent free”. There are safer and more comfortable places to squat than cold, noisy urban parks where one is liable to get beaten with truncheons and arrested. The protesters endure significant discomfort and risk to health and liberty not because they want to “live rent free”. No peaceful protest was ever successful without a disruption of business as usual. I suppose you’d portray Gandhi’s Dharasana satyagrahis as “entitled to get free salt” or the lunch counter sit-in-ers of the ’60s as “entitled to get a free lunch”?

  11. Steve-

    You say: “pushing the cost of enforcement entirely onto third party sites and the public is a massive subsidy.”

    How so? You do understand that what I said about the law is 100% correct, right? There is no obligation and never has been to police copyrights. If we decide to push that burden onto creators we can have that discussion, but that would tip the balance against creators and would require a quid pro quo. Perhaps greatly enhanced statutory damages for infringement, an easier process for creators to go after infringers, perhaps liens being placed on real property and intangible assets of infringers. We can have that discussion, but let’s not pretend that it is at all a burden, let alone a “massive subsidy” as you suggest, to require Internet companies to play by proper rules of business. Nowhere else are businesses allowed to free-ride. So the subsidy is really creators enabling the business of Internet companies and then those Internet companies crying foul when creators want better mechanisms to protect themselves.

    You say: “We all want the Pirate Bays of the world shut down, but there are much more efficient ways to do it than to balloon the compliance costs of your competitors.”

    What are those ways?

    It also seems that you have an erroneous understanding of the business. Content creators are NOT competitors of Internet companies. Internet companies by and large do not create any content. They link to content and sometimes allow for infringing content to be posted to their various web properties. So there is a fundamental difference in the business model that you seem not to appreciate. Do you also assume that creators will create despite the fact that they get ripped off?

  12. IANAE-

    Where are you coming up with 3000 web hits? Is that just being pulled out of the air?

    Why don’t you consider the economic reality that money in the hands of the creators enable more creation and that in turn leads to jobs. It is a pretty simple argument. For every dollar spent in the economy the government gets some money and someone else gets money that they can spend themselves and so on. So the buying power of a single dollar spent is at least double the dollar initially spent. So more money in the economy leads to a great many things. That is clear, obvious and accepted economics.

    Why would anyone except the largest conglomerates fund the creation of something like a movie if the day it is released people can access it for free? Rampant copying costs jobs plain and simple and it leads to less creation. The Constitutional purpose of an IP system is to foster more creation.

    I’m sure the Chamber can be accused of having an agenda, but I still see no one presenting facts that challenge the Chamber. Naked conclusions that they are wrong are not facts.

    -Gene

  13. Gene, maybe I am a little late with this observation, but I wonder if Copyright can cope with the digital world. Copyright was devised back when printing presses were few and far between and owned and used by businesses. So, if unauthorized copying took place that damaged the originator, the perpetrator could be identified and singled out to be named a defendant in a lawsuit. Now, with anonymous websites, spoofing of domains and instantaneous, cloaked copying, the traditional route simply is not practical. I don’t know what to replace it with -DMCA takedown notices are OK, but they are not much more practical than naming a defendant in a lawsuit. I don’t know the solution to the problem, but maybe some fundamental re-thinking of how the incentive to originate can be maintained needs to take place.

  14. “Where are you coming up with 3000 web hits? Is that just being pulled out of the air?”

    No, it’s math. Fewer than 57 billion hits for 19 million jobs is fewer than 3000 per. You get way more than 3000 hits a year, and you appear to still practice law for a living, which tells me that 3000 hits isn’t necessarily enough to produce an income someone can live on. And that’s not even considering how many of those 57 billion hits are from people who simply wouldn’t bother if it wasn’t free and easy, or who would copy from a friend rather than pay.

    “Why don’t you consider the economic reality that money in the hands of the creators enable more creation and that in turn leads to jobs.”

    Because the actual economic reality is that a lot of creators have already sold their copyrights to the large companies that are now collecting the royalties. When they make more money, they don’t go randomly hiring more people because look at all this money they need to get rid of.

    Why don’t you consider the economic reality that many millions of people create and post content on the internet for free? You’re doing it right now, and some of your arguments certainly are creative. None of that creativity goes away because consumers are unwilling to pay for it.

    “For every dollar spent in the economy the government gets some money and someone else gets money that they can spend themselves and so on.”

    Large corporations don’t spend more money just because they have more money. Neither do rich people. They keep it on top of a big pile of other money. On the other hand, the not-so-rich who pirate copyright materials will spend their money on something else anyway, because they don’t have the luxury of saving, so the economy at large probably won’t even notice the difference.

    “Why would anyone except the largest conglomerates fund the creation of something like a movie if the day it is released people can access it for free?”

    I don’t know, Gene. Why are these supposedly intelligent and rational businesspeople still doing that today? And where would the world be if we didn’t have digitally remastered remakes of movies from back when we were kids?

  15. SOPA apparently permitted blocking entire websites chock full of free speech stuff on the mere allegation that the website passed meager bits of copyrighted content. Rather than block the bits of copyrighted content, the entire site is blocked. This allows the government to shut down free speech channels on a whim, with the mere allegation. And government allegations are very often wrong, or false.
    While I have not been keeping track of citations, I have read many arguments opposing SOPA, and none include any inkling that we should protect infringers, as you say. The main objection is that it allows one man to impose crippling litigation and censorship on websites that include speech that offends him. Wikipedia expresses its concerns on its website, and it has nothing to do with protecting infringers. Your comments would have been better if you had addressed actual counter-arguments, rather than the strawman of people who think pirates should be entitled to steal. (Note that no pirates have entered the fray to argue against SOPA).
    Nobody defends pirates (except hired defense counsel), but the answer is not to hand over control over who can say what on the internet to the attorney general, which SOPA appears to do. That those of us who prefer to live in free society (what is left of it) cannot provide you with a more perfect solution does not legitimize any terrible solution that corporate content owners can cook up.
    I’ll argue some of your other points:
    “So the buying power of a single dollar spent is at least double the dollar initially spent. So more money in the economy leads to a great many things. That is clear, obvious and accepted economics.” Really? This is utterly Keynesian and utterly rejected by trickle down Republicans and stop-spending Tea Partiers. But I think your statement is correct even if it is contrary to your politics.
    Producers won’t make content because of piracy? Really? Who has made the calculus that they won’t make a movie and collect $100,000,000 in revenue in the US because they might not collect their rightful profits from pirates. The most pirated movie (The Passion of the Christ) is also one of the top grossing movies ever. Would Mel Gibson really forebear earning his SIX HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS because the film might be pirated? At least in that case, we are talking about profits with no connection to jobs. Your logic is wrong on this point.
    As an aside, your vociferous attack on OWS protestors undercuts the credibility of any arguments you present re SOPA. Do really think that downtown Manhattan was “once thriving” but is no longer thriving due to OWS protests? Oakland was once thriving? Yeah, during the war! Don’t you realize that this traditional form of protest is limited, in some instances, by permitting requirements that have arisen as a direct response to OWS (that is, they are aimed at suppressing a particular expression).
    Occupiers live rent free? I bet many of them are paying rent/mortgages/car payments, and yet spending time protesting. They have made a calculus that the problems they address are important enough to present a mass of people long term. It is a traditional American form of protest. But your implicit argument that political anger over entitlement programs provides logical support for SOPA is a bad argument.
    Occupiers are all unemployed? Scott Olsen, shot in the head in Oakland, was a fully employed engineer (not just a vet). The New York Times reports that 56% of Tea Partiers are employed (the rest live on their social security entitlements while railing against entitlements). On the other hand, 70% to 85% of occupiers are employed.
    If the mass protests are telling you something, you need a better hearing aid. They are not telling you that they “don’t have jobs and they aren’t looking for work either.” I would seriously like to understand how you heard that from the occupiers. Your assumption that they are dependent on entitlements, and thus inferior to Tea Partiers, is, thus, the product of anger, not facts or rational analysis. They might champion bad policies (some different from the bad policies championed by Tea Partiers), but they are not living rent free.
    You seem to favor tea partiers over occupiers. I think you might be missing the coincidence of their complaints. Sure they have some differences, but the gist of their complaints are similar.

  16. There are sources, and there is logic:
    US online retail sales are at roughly 5% of all retail.
    The quoted 19 million jobs is about 12% of the US workforce.
    So if illegal online sales from rogue websites are claimed to endanger 12% of the total jobs in the workforce, this would (among a lot of other things) imply a volume of illegal sales that is much larger than legal online retail sales.
    This is, to put it mildy, highly unlikely.
    Ergo: the Chamber of Commerce numbers are worthless for basing a policy discussion on.

  17. Do you understand what the purpose of copyright law is? — that is, the reason to have it? There is a single substantial purpose for copyright: the standard economic one, see: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/IPCoop/89land1.html. If anyone is going to talk about the economic effects of copyright, they really ought know what you are talking *about*.

    Copyright economics has one basic question: is the public getting plenty of good ‘content’? And this has two components: 1, is plenty of stuff being produced?; and 2, does the public have easy and cheap access to it?

    Now we can see that the common statements about the ‘problem’ of piracy are misconceived. The only proper problem that could exist here is if the public is being poorly served, by insufficient content or expensive/difficult access.

    Industry bodies complain that their companies are ‘losing’ money. That is a nonsensical use of the word ‘losing’. What they mean is they are not making as much as they think they should. But the purpose of copyright does not care about what they like to imagine, it cares about the two question above. If enough content is being produced, then by definition the companies producing it are being paid enough.

    And piracy is actually a direct positive for the economy, since it helps with the second question: it gives the public better, cheaper access to content. Indeed, it is starkly inept how upside-down the usual presentation is, because every pirated copy that is used actually *adds value into the economy*. All the figures of so many billions of losses are actually more like the opposite, they are *gains* to the public.

    So the only possible loss anywhere is in reduced production, and here is where the main problem lies: such reduced production has never been clearly demonstrated. Indeed, no-one has solid evidence that copyright is overall doing us any good or that weakening it would do us any harm.

    The law cannot be serving its purpose when it has such a distorted relation to the facts or evidence that are supposed to ground it. And when a law is not serving its purpose properly, can there be any better reason to object to it?

  18. Gene,

    Excellent post from the perspective of framing the issue(s) in a manner largely ignored by those who have protested SOPA and PIPA. It engaged some lively discussion and debate, which I certainly appreciate.

    As an IP attorney, I am all in favor of protecting the rights of those who create. Yes, you are right – the manufacturing jobs are gone and now we are losing services, too. But, this country continues to be tops when it comes to innovation and creation, and hence, our government must do what it must do to protect the rights of those who create and/or own innovation, works, IP. Perhaps I am in the minority on SOPA – while I whole-heartedly agree with the ojectives sought by that legislation, there are portions of the bill that do cause me pause and consider: is there a better way of achieving this bill’s objectives? I suppose there is and I think the benefit of the international “black out” day was that it did bring the issues to the forefront for further reflection, albeit, I also agree that most of those doing the protesting want their free movies. And that I cannot support in any fashion.

    No doubt this country is morphing from one of strong work ethic into one of entitlement. I agree with you on that point – and it permeates this present administration. I am not against some redistribution of wealth, or asking the “1%” to pay more (after all, their effective tax rates are substantially lower than what the average middle class individual pays – ask Mitt Romney – but that is only because of an overly absurd, complicated tax code, beyond the scope of this discussion), and I believe that most of that so-called 1% is willing to pay a little more, but what about those who pay absolutely nothing at all? Where *is* the incentive when entitlement is encouraged? Entitlements will kill this country – ask Europe. Enough said on this point, that is not what your post is about.

    In any event, great post and keep those DMCA take down notices flying!

    Best regards . . .

  19. As far as I understand your wonderful country’s laws Gene, people are allowed to protest.
    With respect to SOPA, no law can police morals. Copyright being as clear as mud, should now also retain the services of statisticians and psychologists – I am neither – but this situation sure reminds me of the Prisoners’ Dilemma.

  20. To IANAE:

    “What makes you think that downloading media from the copyright holder instead of other channels would require the copyright holder (usually a large corporation) to employ any more people at all? Maybe the CEO will be able to afford to hire a few extra servants, but that’s probably not the sort of job creation you had in mind.”

    Maybe I am missing the point, but the copyright holder owns the copyright to the content and any third party selling or giving it away is stealing from the copyright holder. Regardless of whether the copyright holder would hire any more employees or not, piracy of the content is still theivery, and if the copyright’s property is being stolen, the owner (even if a corporation) has a right to object and seek redress – including the passage of laws that will empower enforcement and prevent continued theft.

    I understand your moral objections, but allowing the theft just because the copyright owner is a corporation and is making money for its shareholders (as it shoud) doesn’t make theft of its property anymore right than stealing a handbag from a large, publically traded retail store by someone “who would otherwise not pay for it” – an argument often made by those who engage in the downloading side of the piracy. I don’t see the difference.

    Whether or not the copyright owner is a coporation or an individual, wealthy or not wealthy, are irrelevant to the issue. Those are separate matters from intellectual property and the theft of IP.

  21. America is a land of equal opportunity; not of equal results.

    As it should; and indeed must; be. If we are to remain one of the greatest countries of the world and in history.

    Over 40% of American’s legally pay zero income tax.

    The top 5% of wage earners pay over 50% of our nation’s income taxes.

    Though I too am a member of the 1% er’s, I refuse to either demonize or ask those who have been far, far more financially successful than I and my 1% compatriots to pay any more in taxes than they already do. They already much, much more than their fair share.

    It is up to me to improve my financial station in life by my own efforts.

    I do not, and will not, raise my self up by pulling down others.

    It’s just plain wrong.

    America is a land of equal opportunity; not of equal results.

  22. Gene,

    I respectfully, but fully, disagree.

    1) As WIPO describes in its last report, IPRs are government policy on innovation. Government grants monopolies (that project all across the value chain) because of the paradigm that a free market does not sufficiently rewards initial innovation. That paradigm is a) purely theoretical b) never empirically observed, and c) contradicted by recent facts, such as the unstoppable rise of open source software, and even the fact that today, creators, thanks to piracy, earn more money than 15 years ago. It is true that jobs in the music distribution industry are threatened, and disappear, but I’m not convinced that a distribution monopoly adds value to the economy in general. The distributors lose – but that, in my view, is creative destruction, not economic loss.

    So, I’m afraid your argument is anti-free-market, and in favor of government imposed distribution monopoly.

    (It’s also classic mercantilism, by the way – but that takes a long explanation).

    2) There is no objective study credibly calculating the so-called “loss to economy” of piracy. For a start, it is a clearly established fact that most people who copy peer-to-peer would never spend the money on overpriced monopoly products in the first place – that’s not an economic loss, it’s re-allocating spending. That spending stays in the economy, but seeks more efficient products than monopoly rents.

    3) The basic assumption you – and all IPR advocates – make, is that no-one would create if they didn’t get monopolistic protection. That’s fundamentally unproven, and never observed in reality.

    4) Finally, your point about the threat to the US economy, is weirdly wrong, in theory and in practice.

    If it was true that IPRs would strengthen innovative practices over and above a system where copying was totally free, then the US would never have to worry about others “free riding”, since their free riding economy could never overtake the US, which by hypothesis, with its strong IPR protection, would always outcompete the copycats.

    The argument just doesn’t make any sense, I’m sorry. And it is roundly contradicted by the facts. Only very advanced economies worry about IPRs, but that is a result of lobbying, and protecting existing champions (aka tomorrow’s dinosaurs).

    5) There is no such thing as “stealing” intellectual property. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants, and the sharing of ideas and innovation is a profound human characteristic. Sitting in a “clean room environment” and inventing something just doesn’t actually happen, no matter how much the lawyers write about it (and I’m a lawyer, I can tell). Sharing creates faster and better innovation. How you make a business success out of that is an important question, but not one that the state should resolve by granting monopolies on, let’s face it, rather inconsistent criteria – of which the very poor quality of most US patents clearly testify. “One click purchasing” – give me a break.

    Kind regards

  23. Not only is your refutation of the below quote untrue, the government has already started doing what you claim they would not without the new powers that would be given to them in SOPA and all versions following it.

    “The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial.”

    http://torrent-finder.info/torrent-finder-domain-seizure.php

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/27/technology/27torrent.html

    Second, IP as a concept is in direct contradiction to the concept of property and as IP is a subset to property said concept self destructs.

    Third, the utilitarian argument that you present is easily refuted through a systematic examination of the history of innovation.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/patent-nonsense/

  24. For an unbiased source of information about the state of creative employment in this country, check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics > http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_207.htm (scroll 2/3 of the way down for the section titled “Arts, entertainment, and recreation”)

    It’s a much different picture than what the Chamber of Commerce paints.

  25. get ready

    http://www.snotr.com/video/8766/Why_SOPA_is_a_bad_idea

  26. David Collado-

    Your comment is one of the more disingenuous comments I have seen in a long while.

    The link you provide doesn’t at all challenge the picture the Chamber of Commerce paints. The link relates to projected employment. Obviously, any projection of employment for any industry takes into account the market realities in the industry. So saying that these projections suggest that intellectual property theft doesn’t cost jobs is intellectually dishonest and borders on flat out misrepresentation.

    With the truth in mind I have to ask… what is your agenda? Do you have an agenda or are you just not knowledgeable enough to appreciate the economic and business forces at play in the industry and in the BLS statistics?

    -Gene

  27. Brandon-

    Your comment is exceptionally disingenuous. You are actually quoting the NY Times and accepting that as face value? You claim I am wrong. Newsflash… the NY Time is not the statute. If you ACTUALLY read SOPA you would find out that I am correct and the NY Times and all other sources are incorrect. The Attorney General goes to court to get the order. Section 102 covers this, just as I said. There are provisions about what the court can order and the proper procedures to affect service of process.

    So why would you ignore the statute and quote erroneous sources that manipulate the truth? You have been duped and aren’t knowledgeable enough to even appreciate that.

    -Gene

  28. Joran-

    You say: “There is no objective study credibly calculating the so-called “loss to economy” of piracy.”

    That is what everyone who reads a study they disagree with says. The truth is that the only credible studies do conclude that piracy leads to economic loss. Not only do all the credible studies conclude that, but common sense also demands that.

    The ONLY studies that conclude that theft (i.e., piracy) doesn’t create economic loss require the idiotic assumption that because people access something for free the value of what they access is zero. And you actually want to talk about credibility and unbiased studies? Let’s keep this real.

    You also say:

    “The basic assumption you – and all IPR advocates – make, is that no-one would create if they didn’t get monopolistic protection. That’s fundamentally unproven, and never observed in reality.”

    You are, of course, absolutely WRONG. All you have to do is look at the countries that don’t have intellectual property protections and see how much creation they have. Then look at the countries with intellectual property protections and see how much creation they have. Then finally look at the countries that once had little or no protection and the level of creation and then witness the levels of creation after that group of countries adopted strong or stronger intellectual property protections. The proof is all out there, we don’t have to rely on “studies.” It has proved out in country after country.

    Incidentally, you cite WIPO as if anyone at WIPO would agree with you. That is also untrue. WIPO is a huge proponent of intellectual property rights and actively works to have countries adopt strong intellectual property rights so as to help developing countries foster economic growth. The proof is out there and the fact that you say it hasn’t been proven shows you know absolutely nothing about the industry, history or economic development.

    You also say: “There is no such thing as “stealing” intellectual property.”

    This is asinine and untrue. You are an anarchist, think everything should be free and copied without penalty. Your statement is so provably false it hardly needs rebuttal. The unauthorized copying of protected creations is illegal around the global and takes away a market for legitimate, authorized copies. The fact that you don’t want there to be laws that make this illegal (from both a civil and criminal standpoint) doesn’t make it true. It merely means you prefer to ignore reality and live in a bizarro world.

    -Gene

  29. Agi-

    People are allowed to protest, but unless they are anarchistic liberals they are not allowed to break the law. If you are an anarchistic liberal that is a professional protester it seems that many cities allow laws to broken, which is ridiculous.

    As far as SOPA, protests are fine. What is not fine, in my opinion, is lying to manipulate the outcome. The NY Times and others lied about the provisions of SOPA. Lying to prevail shouldn’t be protected speech under the First Amendment. The First Amendment doesn’t absolutely allow false speech or speech that misrepresents. Someone ought to sue the NY Times and other news agencies for the clearly false things they say that impact policy. Their lies shouldn’t be allowed to negatively impact decision making.

    -Gene

  30. gzost-

    Because you cannot conceive of a marketplace where intellectual property dominates doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It actually already does exist, so 12% growth in jobs is completely believable if you understood the economy. The US economy is based on intellectual property, pure and simple.

    The fact that you are not sophisticated enough to understand this isn’t proof that the Chamber of Commerce is wrong. It just means you don’t understand or have formed your opinions without arming yourself with facts.

    -Gene

  31. Dave-

    You say: “SOPA apparently permitted blocking entire websites…”

    How can anyone take your comment seriously when you are interjecting yourself in a legal debate and you start your comment by demonstrating that you never even looked at the legislation?

    Why not actually read without relying on the erroneous, willfully misguided opinions of the NY Times and others?

    You also say: “On the other hand, 70% to 85% of occupiers are employed.”

    You base this on the NY Times, which is not surprising since they lie about practically everything of social relevance any more.

    Answer me this… how are the occupiers employed when they live in a tent in the middle of the city for upwards of 3 months? The claim that 70% to 85% are employed are absurd on its face and if you had stopped to think about this for half a second you would have been able to figure that out.

    As for the tea party, the NY Times clearly counted those who are retired and stay at home parents who raise their families while the other parent works.

    You mindlessly following obvious nonsense and repeating it as fact while you don’t take the time to investigate truth on your own is rather pathetic.

    -Gene

  32. Hello Gene,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I think I was pretty respectful of your views – we just happen to disagree on a number of points. Interestingly, I think we agree on the basic position: we both want to see more creation and innovation – we just disagree on how IPRs interact on that.

    Interestingly, but disappointingly, you adopt the position of a dogmatic priest : rather than answering my actual points, you start shouting and insulting. A great pity, I was hoping for real debate.

    Goodbye, Gene.

  33. Joren-

    I did substantively respond to your points. I proved you wrong on all fronts. Why would you say that I didn’t answer your points? Why do you find it necessary to misrepresent reality like that?

    As far as insulting, I didn’t say anything at all insulting. You apparently just don’t like being told you are wrong. If that is the case then maybe in the future you should try and say things that aren’t wrong. When you base your arguments on things that are false an easily proven to be false you shouldn’t be surprised that I will point out how and why you are wrong. When you argue facts support you, but provide no facts and there are facts that prove the exact opposite then you really cannot be upset that I explain your errors.

    What I did was I point out that you are either intellectually dishonest, or perhaps you simply choose to ignore reality or form opinions without arming yourself with facts. THe facts are clear, so why did you find it necessary to make things up?

    Perhaps if you find my comment insulting you should endeavor to engage in a debate without making so many obvious flaws. Perhaps you should try more carefully to say things that are true. When you lead with provably false statements and passing them off as fact is hardly a way to engage in a meaningful substantive debate.

    Finally, once again I have provided facts and you have not provided anything that even resembles a fact. What is sad is you still think you are correct and I should just agree with your faulty opinions that are based on clearly erroneous facts. The real pity is your inability to participate in a meaningful, facts based debate. Unfortunately predictable with folks who hardly have a first level understanding of the issues. So run away and pretend that I am the problem if that helps you get through your day.

    Goodbye Joren.

  34. Laws to stop the unlawful activity exist and work just fine. thank you. But, it is way more difficult to remove tonsils than it is to chop off a head. The IP owners are for “Off with their heads”, “Sentence first — verdict afterwards”. I am sure that you own a copy of those books. Text is public domain by-the-way, yet every year new versions with fresh illustrations are published. What we need is more creativity from IP owners and less whining, greed, and anti-competitive behavior.

  35. Article smacks of naivete and lack of knowledge of how the Internet was built, how it functions, and how difficult it is to monitor billions of connections per second to filter offending traffic. It simply cannot be done in any efficient way given today’s technology by any entity, no matter how much profit that company makes. Mr. Quinn would be advised to take some time and actually learn about the system he proposes to turn into a digital ghetto.

  36. Reverend Egg Plant-

    I know you are new here, but we prefer to operate on facts and not on naked conclusions and unsupported accusations. So why does my article smack of me not understanding how the Internet was built? That is, of course, an absurd statement, which you would know to be absurd and erroneous if you knew anything about me. Nevertheless, you have made an unsupported accusation and provide nothing to support the conclusion you reach. This type of commentary is what makes the Internet such a vile place, so here on IPWatchdog facts need to accompany comments. So please comply to forward the debate/discussion.

    -Gene

  37. c b calvin-

    You say: “Text is public domain…”

    You are wrong. Your erroneous understanding of copyright law is likely why the conclusion you reach is so faulty. Expression conveyed in the form of textual writings is protected under copyright laws. That is the truth whether you like it or not.

    -Gene

  38. Gene,

    Let me get this straight. You are concerned about my agenda while YOU blindly regurgitate the Chamber of Commerce IP job loss figure as fact? Really? And anyone who cites the New York Times is a fool, but citing the all holy Chamber is intelligent? Wow!

    The Chamber of Commerce exists for the purpose of promoting corporate interests over public interests. And the constitutional foundation for intellectual property rights is grounded in public interests. So pardon me for not tripping over myself to accept the Chamber’s assertions on this topic as unimpeachable.

    And you might want to revisit that BLS link I posted. Last time I checked, the years 2000 and 2010 are in the past. Are those numbers projections? Are they not based on real-world measurements? No matter how you slice it, the content creation industry grew from 2000 to 2010 and is projected to continue growing. If online copyright infringement has been killing jobs to the extent the Chamber (and you) wants us to believe, it must have been killing them since the early days of Napster over a decade ago, right? I just don’t see how the Chamber’s numbers reconcile with these BLS numbers. But I’m open-minded, so please enlighten me by spelling it out.

    You said, “Obviously, any projection of employment for any industry takes into account the market realities in the industry.” Exactly. The market REALITIES reflected in these numbers tell me that online copyright infringement is not killing the content creation industry. How can an industry lose 19 million jobs (roughly 12% of the nation’s workforce) and still be proven and projected to grow? What am I missing Oh Wise One?

    So please, remind me again how disingenuous, intellectually dishonest, not knowledgeable, and agenda-driven I am when it is YOU who believe 19 million jobs are lost to online copyright infringement because a mega-corp spokesperson says so. I can’t wait for another dose of your humorous, incredible, unimpeachable, self-righteous wisdom.

  39. Gene
    As a fan of your website, I am stung by the personal invective in your response.
    You wrongly assume that I base my skepticism on the NYT. Wrong. Several entities have reported employment statistics.
    I note that your invective and incorrect aspersions of facts suggested by commenters is the overbearing pattern in your responsive posts: Everyone holding a contrary fact is a liar, or “intellectually dishonest” or parroting the liars at the NYT. That does not promote exploration of the issues.
    The NYT was not the source of the 70-85% statistic. You incorrectly assert that it was the source, because you believe everything reported by the NYT is a lie. On the other hand, your unsupported factoids (employment status of OWS) are gospel, regardless of third party evidence to the contrary. You have set up scheme where you confidently make up facts (employment status of OWS), but castigate others for merely omitting citations. That does not encourage others (at least, me) to place much credit on your main article.
    In your responses, you are further undermining your credibility. In response to Agi, you state “Lying to prevail shouldn’t be protected speech under the First Amendment.” You are profoundly wrong, or you are referring to the first amendment of the Iranian constitution. The cure for false speech is more speech (I’ll leave it to you to find the citation; you could use the exercise, though it should be a short bit of research). After illustrating that you so fundamentally misunderstand basic free speech issues, how can you expect us grant credence to your discussion of due process and/or free speech as it relates to SOPA?
    As for SOPA allowing the blockage of entire websites, that is explicit in the statutory language. Ha! I did read it. Eric Holder merely has to go to Court to attack any website he disagrees with. He can get an order in an ex parte hearing. It is left to the defendant to overturn this ex parte order, if he can afford it. And because Eric Holder can also cut off his funding, the defendant cannot afford to defend. Imposing tens of thousands of dollars in litigation expense, and cutting off the defendant’s revenue, is the tool for repression. You should have addressed this.
    Don’t you remember your experience with patent trolls (you have written about it previously). Your free speech was quashed by the cost of litigation, though you believed you had every right to say bad things about trolls. Do you think that the Attorney General would never engage in similar troll-like conduct? To refute SOPA skeptics on the basis that the AG has to go to court, when you have previously illustrated how an adroit litigant can use the burden of litigation to illegitimate ends, indicates that you are missing a critical part of the analysis.
    And whether the AG gets a shutdown order “without having to go to court” or gets it on an ex parte order: is this just a silly quibble with Rebecca MacKinnon, or do you seriously contend that free speech is not threatened by SOPA and PIPA? The NYT article you seem to refer to “Stop the Great Wall of America” states “The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial.” Technically, the statute requires an ex parte hearing, but it certainly does not require a trial to obtain a shutdown order. What is the difference between an ex parte hearing and no hearing at all? We are all lawyer enough to know that there is not much difference.
    So I’ll finish this note by encouraging you to avoid the invective and anger that is so clearly illustrated in your post and comments.

  40. Entitlement is the keyword here. “According to the United States Chamber of Commerce “rogue web sites that steal America’s innovative and creative products attract more than 53 billion visits a year” – The reality is that just because you think you make innovative and creative products it doesn’t make you entitled to 52 billion visits a year.

    “The recent Internet protests basically stopped the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) from being passed in the United States House of Representatives. But why? Does anyone really believe that stopping illegal activity is a bad thing?” – Just because you own copyrighted work it doesn’t make you entitled to laws that make it easier for you to stop infringement at the price of increasing costs and destroying legit business models in a whole other industry. I mean, it is quite ridiculous. Google, wikipedia, and all those opposing SOPA are not rogue sites. They provide a lot of legitimate services and specially in the case of things like youtube, you would be talking BS if you told us that they wouldn’t remove your copyrighted works or even works from other people if you just sent them a request to do so. These “tech giants” you mention do not remotely base their profit margin on infringing copyright.

    In reality, it is the corporations behind SOPA that feel the most entitled. Something that is lost in these discussions is that copyright holders already have way more than enough legislation and protection in their side. Hey, the FBI can shut down a whole site holding files in its entirety WITHOUT TRIAL, even when there are millions of files in there that were uploaded legally. The copyright power already has enough power to battle copyright infringement. And you know what? It is not like they are entitled to more.

    The most awful thing about this, is while you use rhetoric about large sites profitting from “pirated” works. It is in reality the small sites everywhere that would have to pay for this. Any site that depends primary on volunteer work to generate its pages (read: wikipedia), and also many of those small forums about some topic that share resources (original resources made by the users) together would have to shut down, because the expenses of policing every content are just too much. Tech giants like google would be able to survive it. The internet would become a duller place, controlled by tech and copyright giants in which original work would have to be approved by copyright giants and hosted by tech giants. That’s the reason there were so many protests against SOPA, we like the internet the way it is. Not only because of what piracy, but because of the freedom to share our own stuff without having to ask for your approval.

    There are countless copyrighted works and that’s the reason it should be the holder’s responsibility to report infringement. You are not entitled to have the whole world working very hard not to ever infringe. It is not even possible. I can’t really listen to an arbitrary song and instantly guess it belongs to a copyright lobbyist.

    Copyright holders deserve protection. They already have protection. They deserve laws that allow them to get infringers prosecuted. They already have that. Copyright holders are not entitled to get so much protection that it removes the rights of others. Even the author agrees that there already exist enough protections.

    “But there is a process, albeit a cumbersome process, that already exists to get content removed.”

    And that’s the whole thing about the discussion. SOPA proponents are not asking to finally have the ability to stop infringement, they just feel entitled to have it easier and less ‘cumbersome’. To do so.

    I am sorry, but if my car gets robbed (and this is physical theft rather than copyright infringement we are talking about). I will have to deal with a cumbersome process to retrieve the car (if it ever happens). Someone would have to identify my car, there would have to be a trial and it will be messy. But the alternative would be to allow car owners to ask the government to jail anyone that has a car similar to the one I lost and let me keep their car without trial. Oh, it sounds so silly when outside the internet.

    The scribes were not entitled to get Gutenberg to destroy his printing press so that their jobs are kept secure.

    It is indeed a shame that web hosters already have to bow to copyright cartels. Rather than making web sites fall to the same ill fate, it is time to reform the law and remove the excessive power over web hosting companies. Just because you own some music videos it doesn’t make you entitled to power over all media channels.

  41. Vexorian-

    You say: “It is in reality the small sites everywhere that would have to pay for this. Any site that depends primary on volunteer work to generate its pages (read: wikipedia), and also many of those small forums about some topic that share resources (original resources made by the users) together would have to shut down, because the expenses of policing every content are just too much.”

    That is true and really what needs to be discussed. That is why I would personally be in favor of simply stripping domain names away from those who engage in copyright infringement. If there were a way to simply revoke domain names to those who disregard copyrights then we wouldn’t need to go through all this with respect to referrer sites. The trouble is no one wants to do that, which is ultimately because many want these copyright anarchists to go on without penalty.

    You say: “Copyright holders deserve protection. They already have protection. They deserve laws that allow them to get infringers prosecuted. They already have that.”

    I am anxious to hear your solution for copyright owners who are faced with rampant copyright infringement by those who are in remote jurisdictions. Your comment suggests you have figured out a way to provide a remedy even inspite of jurisdictional problems. So please share it. I am really anxious to hear what you say because there is no such solution. But forcing you to justify this statement should have the affect of you either thinking my request for proof is ridiculous or that you will finally understand that the problem.

    As for your car analogy… it breaks down because you don’t follow through with your own logic. Governments do put car thieves in jail. Governments don’t put copyright infringers in jail in nearly the numbers they could and should.

    You say: “It is indeed a shame that web hosters already have to bow to copyright cartels.”

    What is really a shame is you and others defending thievery. How do you look yourself in the face in the morning? Are you just plain and simple an anarchist?

    -Gene

  42. Dave-

    You say: “The NYT was not the source of the 70-85% statistic.”

    If you look at your comment you will notice you cited the Times for this statistic.

    Exactly what facts have I made up? You are the one who wanted to look at wholly unrelated BLS statistics about projections for jobs. You know or should know that those projections take into account market realities and the biggest one in this industry is rampant copyright infringement. So how can you in any intellectually honest way rely on projects that take into account rampant copyright infringement and argue that the absence of infringement wouldn’t produce jobs… citing to the statistics based on rampant infringement?

    We can quibble about whether lying and false speech should be protected by the First Amendment, but at the end of the day there is a correct answer. It is you, my friend, that fundamentally fail to understand First Amendment law on free speech.

    Speech that is erroneous is not protected under the First Amendment. I am correct and you are incorrect. Just look at defamation, for example. There is no absolute First Amendment right to lie about someone, and it is actionable in all 50 states. The primary basis for Federal Trade Commission enforcement is the fact that misleading speech that takes advantage of consumers is not allowed and not protected speech under the First Amendment. I could go on and on with other examples, but it is clear that the First Amendment does not protect false or misleading speech. So the fact that you believe that the solution to false speech is more speech is nice, but isn’t the law.

    You say: “Eric Holder merely has to go to Court…”

    So are you going to admit now that the NY Times and many others have been wrong on SOPA? They have said repeatedly that action can be taken by the Attorney General without hearing and without a trial, arguing depravation of due process. That is CLEARLY erroneous, as you admit here. The Attorney General must go to Court. It seems you are of the opinion that Federal District Court Judges will be the patsy of the Attorney General. I don’t like Eric Holder, but I have a higher view of the independence of the Federal Judiciary than you apparently do.

    You say: “Don’t you remember your experience with patent trolls (you have written about it previously). Your free speech was quashed by the cost of litigation, though you believed you had every right to say bad things about trolls.”

    I don’t know what you are talking about for sure, but I have never been sued by any patent trolls. I was sued by an invention promotion company, and if you want to search IPWatchdog you can still find plenty of things I say about invention promotion companies. I didn’t lose any rights at all in the litigation, and can continue to write and publish what I want. You shouldn’t be so careless with the truth. I didn’t wind up like the many who have had their free speech rights quashed by costs of litigation. We litigated and I have the bills to prove it. But to completely refute your erroneous position allow me to provide just a couple links:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/inventing/invention-promotion-companies/
    (notice the mention of specific companies by name)

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2010/07/08/invention-promotion-lawsuit-settled/id=11558/

    How you can say I caved and gave up free speech rights is really beyond me and demonstrates just how careless your factual assertions are. I finish by encouraging you to be more thorough and rigorous in your review of the law (i.e., First Amendment) and less careless in making clearly erroneous factual statements.

    -Gene

  43. Are you for real? SOPA would allow websites to be taken down *before* the outcome of the legal proceedings. How on earth is that due process?

  44. Name (required)

    First, you use not even a screen name and then you use a fake e-mail address. Here on IPWatchdog there is no absolute right to comment and those who demand complete anonymity are on a very short leash. FYI.

    Second, yes, I am for real. Websites could be ordered taken down by a Federal District Court Judge in the same way that other similar orders are made by Judges in other cases across all areas of law. For you to claim (or pretend) that this is unusual or violates due process makes it clear that you are unfamiliar with the law, unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution and have a very low opinion of the Federal Judiciary. Those, like you, who run around like Chicken Little seem to assume that the Attorney General can get Federal Judges to do whatever he wants. That is comical and shows a complete and utter lack of understanding of the judicial process.

    -Gene

  45. Gene, if everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, or intellectually dishonest, or however you want to put it, why even allow comments?

    -TR

  46. Gene -

    Regarding the bogus job counts propagated by Big Content lobbyists…

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/how-copyright-industries-con-congress/
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111214/16044417088/behind-scenes-how-dc-decided-to-regulate-internet-to-protect-hollywood-innovating.shtml

    In short, MPAA and USCoC are busy grossly inflating figures for how much they actually contribute to US economy (in terms of jobs and wealth), specifically by at least double- or triple-counting the flow of money, and lumping in all sorts of incidental jobs (caterers, flower sellers, etc.) that are barely impacted at all by Big Content industries, even on a peripheral level. The Government Accountability Office has already called BS on industry-sponsored studies based solely on lack of supporting data.

    As far as piracy goes, I have no interest in supporting it. I get my video content through Hulu and Netflix (along with an old and sizeable DVD collection) and get my music from Amazon. My problems with SOPA/PIPA:

    1) SOPA/PIPA requirements would impact legitimate free speech, not just pirate sites. Even SOPA supporters generally acknowledged this, but postulated that the impact was somehow “okay.”

    2) The burdens on intermediaries required by SOPA/PIPA would be substantial and, yes, extremely onerous. They wouldn’t just affect billion-dollar companies like Google, but also user-generated content sites (i.e. blogs and forums), and pretty much any two-bit site with a comment section. Automatic policing, for example, might even be impossible for companies like Google and Facebook to implement, partly because there is NO reliable way for a third party to accurately identify infringement. In fact, it has become apparent from the Viacom vs. YouTube case that even the actual copyright owners can’t keep it all straight.

    3) SOPA/PIPA introduce an infrastructure ripe for abuse. These possibilities of abuse are frequently downplayed by SOPA supporters with only unwritten assurances concerning the intent of the laws, with no regard for how other departments (NSA, ICE, FBI, etc.) decide to flex their newfound powers. Considering the flagrant abuses evidenced under existing law with fraudulent DMCA takedowns, DaJaz1.com censorship, ICE domain bungling, and the PATRIOT Act, providing more power for the same parties to abuse is unacceptable.

    4) The technical measures initially required by SOPA/PIPA (particularly DNS blocking) are fundamentally incompatible with DNSSEC or any other protocol designed to prevent DNS poisoning. Granted, these requirements were postponed (NOT removed) prior to shelving the Acts, but there’s no clarity on what kind of review they’ll receive and what we can do to kill those requirements for good if either act passed.

    As far as I’m concerned, SOPA/PIPA were simply landgrabs by an overprivileged old-guard industry of content middlemen who want to completely control the distribution channel and erect as many tollbooths as possible on content consumption. These middlemen do NOT create content, nor do they represent real content creators–rather, the middlemen are busy screwing over content creators as much as milking content consumers. They don’t deserve any legislative assistance for that.

  47. Gene:
    I cited the NYT for the 56% employment rate amongst Tea Parties. I did not provide citations for the 70-85% employment rate amongst occupiers. I provided a signifier (On the other hand). But, at the time you posted your comment, I presume you knew that MacKinnon’s article was not the source. So did you know you were misattributing that statistic?

    You think the Federal District Court Judges will NEVER be the patsy of the Attorney General? That is immaterial. District courts are not going to fully defend the rights of people the AG sues. What to you think is going to happen when Eric Holder walks into the courtroom for an ex parte hearing? The judges will be forced by the law to give him the remedy he seeks, based on evidence he presents, with no opportunity for the accused infringer to contest that evidence. That is ex parte. So, we don’t need patsy judges to incur the harm that SOPA opposers are concerned about (any more than we need patsy judges for patent trolls to inflict their special harm).

    Speech that is erroneous is not protected under the First Amendment? Wow. I’ll just let demonstrate my point.
    “So the fact that you believe that the solution to false speech is more speech is nice, but isn’t the law.” But I think it is. Here is a quote from Justice Brandeis: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” Whitney v. California. I think on this point, you might concede. Or you might dismiss Brandeis as another liar who gets all his facts from the NYT.
    We can NOT quibble about whether lying and false speech should be protected by the First Amendment. In your example of defamation, the law is quite clear that the government cannot act to prevent a defamation. A private litigant can sue for harm after the fact. If he is a public figure, he will probably lose even if the speech is false. Remember NYT v. Sullivan. I can see your rebuttal coming: Justice Brennan was a lying liar who merely parroted lies fed to him by the NYT, which lies about everything, so NYT v. Sullivan is wrong, and you, and you alone, are right, and Brennan is just another liar who gets HALF his facts from the NYT (he gets the other half from that paragon of virtue, Commissioner Sullivan).

    “So are you going to admit now that the NY Times and many others have been wrong on SOPA?” Why the tease? I am not “admitting” what I bluntly stated as though I had refused to admit it previously. I stated bluntly that the NYT (without mention of others) mistook the ex parte hearing and the absence of a real inter partes hearing as “no hearing at all.” No need for me to admit anything, as I explicitly stated it. But truly, you are missing the forest for the trees on this issue.
    Sorry to misstate your litigation. I thought it involved trolls, but I see that is only involved bad guys. But you get the point. The judicial process does not provide perfect protection for free speech when litigants can suppress speech with unwarranted litigation. Most litigators would agree that litigation is not a perfect process, and many litigants can win merely by outspending their opponent. In a SOPA case, the government will frequently win, until sues a very well funded defendant. But getting back to your case, if you did not give up any free speech rights, post the settlement agreement and see what happens. And think about the success of patent troll and copyright trolls. You’ll get the point.
    Since we are not submitting these comments to the Supreme Court, we don’t need that level of care. If we are all interested in the discussion, thoughtfulness and civility helps, invective and anger and insults do not.
    And what TR said. Keep your good blog good.

  48. TR-

    Not everyone is wrong, but there are certainly some who are wrong.

    Why would you expect that I should allow blatantly false statements go unchallenged? Why would you expect that erroneous statements of law not go unchallenged? Look at the name of the blog… do you see the name “watchdog” in it? I am not a watchdog for everything, no one can be, but I certainly do expect truth and accurate information to be disseminated by this website and I require honesty. Those who want to comment need to be truthful and accurate or it will be pointed out that they are wrong. That is the way that I keep lively, legitimate debate from descending into the anarchy that is typical on the Internet where anyone can say anything without facts to support themselves.

    Everything I have said is truthful, everyone I said was wrong was actually wrong. If you or others don’t like being told you are wrong then my suggestion would be to try to be correct.

    -Gene

  49. Kelledin-

    Any interest in expanding your points and turning it into an op-ed commentary for publication?

    -Gene

  50. Dave-

    You say: “District courts are not going to fully defend the rights of people the AG sues. What to you think is going to happen when Eric Holder walks into the courtroom for an ex parte hearing? The judges will be forced by the law to give him the remedy he seeks, based on evidence he presents, with no opportunity for the accused infringer to contest that evidence. That is ex parte.”

    I’d love some proof to support your accusation that federal district court judges will not independently evaluate the lawsuit. How much experience do you have litigating in federal court? How many federal judges do you know? You think they will be patsies, but that is simply not what history shows. Judges are independent and frequently go against the DOJ. Witness some of the high profile settlements that have been denied by federal judges because they are not fair.

    As far as ex parte, perhaps you missed the service of process requirements in section 102 of SOPA.

    Also, your understanding of the First Amendment is breathtakingly shallow. I notice that you focused on the defamation part of my statement, but chose to ignore the FTC part of my argument. You seem to try and say my defamation argument doesn’t have the requisite government action to create a First Amendment issue. Clearly the FTC is a government actor and the law is well established, all the way up to the Supreme Court, that the FTC can prevent false and misleading speech without violating the First Amendment. So you can try and pretend I am incorrect, but it is ridiculous to even say (as you do) that the First Amendment does not prohibit false and misleading speech.

    Another example… trademark law. You cannot say whatever you want and Congress has indeed passed laws to prevent certain speech that is likely to cause consumer confusion. No First Amendment problems whatsoever.

    -Gene

  51. re comment #40 & #41 Car analogy

    From the general discussion in this thread, I infer that this was in fact a good analogy, not because it is necessarily correct, but that it shows in stark contrast the differences, namely: vehicle theft is regarded as a crime and the state will therefore pursue and prosecute offenders, whereas copyright infringement is largely regarded as a civil matter and hence left to the victim to pursue and prosecute offenders.

    If the intent is to get the state to be more pro-active in pursuing and prosecuting copyright infringement then is legislation like SOPA/PIPA actually the right approach?

  52. Gene:
    You have proven your point: Your emotional and political investment is clouding your legal analysis of SOPA. Breathtakingly shallow? Really? Even after citing case law? Is this the rhetoric you need to discuss SOPA?
    You suggest that I don’t have enough litigation experience to understand the procedural issues here? Are you really arguing from authority here? You know more federal judges, so you must be correct? That is a high school level debate tactic. Are you insulting me by suggesting that I don’t know as many federal judges as you do, so therefore your authoritative position dictates that you are correct? It sounds like you are. I have only litigated a couple of dozen patent and trademark cases, and I have won every one of them. In some cases, the judges are helpful, and in other cases they are not. But they are bound by rules that allow plaintiffs to use the burden of litigation regardless of the merits to obtain their objectives. They will be similarly bound by the SOPA statute, if it ever passes, which may allow the AG to use the burden of litigation to obtain his objectives (both legitimate suppression of piracy and illegitimate suppression of speech) regardless of the merits.
    There is no requirement that the judges independently evaluate a SOPA lawsuit in the SOPA statute. America does not operate on an inquisitorial model, but operates on an adversarial model, which never requires the judge to independently evaluate a lawsuit. How would you like to get a Markman order where the judge says “Thanks for the input from your experts, gentlemen, but I spent some time at the library last night and found some better information.” I think you would realize that judges do not independently evaluate cases. The good ones try to be impartial, but they don’t try to independently evaluate the case.
    On the first amendment issue, I knew you would focus on commercial speech, which is immaterial to the issue, has weaker protections, so to allow you to stumble and offer that exception as proof that you are correct. I did not mention it just for the sport of seeing your response. Nonetheless, false speech is protected, unless you ignore the entire body of law protecting political and religious speech. (You do seem to ignore everything that undercuts your political agenda.) Political speech is threatened by SOPA, and that is highly protected by the First Amendment. Your focus on product labeling is a distraction. The AG, the Obama administration, or the next Bush administration are not going to use this law to attack importers of mislabeled wine. The legitimate fear (or at least the fear expressed by SOPA opposers) is that they are going to use it to shutdown political speech. Your suggestion that Wikipedia and EFF and others are merely interested in promoting piracy is the best display of the intellectual dishonesty you vociferously attack in all your posts here. If you require honesty, go back and edit out that strawman from your original post.

  53. Dave-

    Yes, your understanding of the First Amendment is breathtakingly shallow and why you can’t appreciate that is a mystery. You are the one who is clouded in your judgment. I have provided 3 different examples of scenarios where false speech can be legally prohibited and the First Amendment does not provide a shield, yet you persist with your narrow-minded understanding of the First Amendment and prefer to climb a soap box.

    So why don’t you educate us as to how and why the entirety of trademark law violates the First Amendment because there are laws that prevent false and misleading speech? Oh, right, you can’t because trademark law does prohibit false and misleading speech.

    So why don’t you educate us as to how and why the FTC is unable to prevent false and misleading speech? Oh, right, you cannot because the Federal Trade Commission does have the statutory authority to go after false and misleading speech.

    So why don’t you educate us as to how and why defamation law is unable to prevent false and misleading speech? Oh, right, you cannot because defamation laws in every state provide a mechanism for individuals and businesses to prevent false and misleading speech.

    You see Dave, I am the one who has proven the point and you are the one being dense for some reasons known only to you. Whether you like it or not there is no absolute right afforded by the First Amendment to speak things that are false or misleading.

    So why do you persist in being wrong? Why is it that you choose not to address any of the objectively correct things I write? Why is it that you ignore truth? Why is it that you cling to such a provably ridiculous interpretation of the First Amendment when it is clear that there is no absolute right to spew falsehoods or to mislead?

    You are the one who is intellectually dishonest.

    -Gene

  54. Dave-

    Just to further prove my position correct and your position incorrect, here is what the Supreme Court has said about regulating false or misleading speech. As you can see, time and time again the Supreme court says that false or misleading speech can be prohibited.

    What you attempt to do is confuse the First Amendment jurisprudence relating to commenting on public issues to reach the overbroad conclusion that the First Amendment does not authorize the regulation of false or misleading speech. Perhaps you should refresh yourself on commercial speech… as well as the fact that false commercial speech is not immune from regulation by simply referring to public issues.

    Looking forward to your rebuttal, which I’m sure will once again ignore all the objectively correct things I have said, like your other comments have.

    -Gene

    “Advertisers should not be permitted to immunize false or misleading product information from government regulation simply by including references to public issues.” Bolger v. Youngs Drug Prods. Corp., 463 U.S. 60 (1983)

    “The States and the Federal Government are free to prevent the dissemination of commercial speech that is false, deceptive, or misleading, see Friedman v. Rogers, 440 U.S. 1 (1979), or that proposes an illegal transaction, see Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Human Relations Comm’n, 413 U.S. 376 (1973). Commercial speech that is not false or deceptive and does not concern unlawful activities, however, may be restricted only in the service of a substantial governmental interest, and only through means that directly advance that interest.” Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of Supreme Court, 471 U.S. 626 (1985).

    “When a State regulates commercial messages to protect consumers from misleading, deceptive, or aggressive sales practices, or requires the disclosure of beneficial consumer information, the purpose of its regulation is consistent with the reasons for according constitutional protection to commercial speech and therefore justifies less than strict review. However, when a State entirely prohibits the dissemination of truthful, nonmisleading commercial messages for reasons unrelated to the preservation of a fair bargaining process, there is far less reason to depart from the rigorous review that the First Amendment generally demands.” 44 Liquormart v. R.I., 517 U.S. 484 (1996).

    “I have no quarrel with the principle that advertisements that are false or misleading, or that propose an illegal transaction, may be proscribed. Furthermore, I acknowledge this Court’s longstanding assumption that a consumer-fraud regulation that compels the disclosure of certain factual information in advertisements may intrude less significantly on First Amendment interests than an outright prohibition on all advertisements that have the potential to mislead.” Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A. v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 1324 (2010)(J. Thomas concurring in part and concurring in judgment).

    “Consequently, there can be no constitutional objection to the suppression of commercial messages that do not accurately inform the public about lawful activity. The government may ban forms of communication more likely to deceive the public than to inform it, commercial speech related to illegal activity.” Cent. Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Public Serv. Comm’n, 447 U.S. 557 (1980).

  55. “Your comment is exceptionally disingenuous. You are actually quoting the NY Times and accepting that as face value? You claim I am wrong. Newsflash… the NY Time is not the statute. If you ACTUALLY read SOPA you would find out that I am correct and the NY Times and all other sources are incorrect. The Attorney General goes to court to get the order. Section 102 covers this, just as I said. There are provisions about what the court can order and the proper procedures to affect service of process.

    So why would you ignore the statute and quote erroneous sources that manipulate the truth? You have been duped and aren’t knowledgeable enough to even appreciate that.”

    Gene,

    It’s interesting that you claim that I am wrong, claiming the NY times mislead me. First, I posted two articles, both of which are not about interpretation. They are about how the US government has already started disbanding websites, taking their URL’s, even confiscating assets of none US citizens (MegaUpload). This is not a question of interpretation. I am pointing out that the US government has already started doing what you claim they wont. So, not only is more complete lack of knowledge in this area pathetic you also have no strength as far as logic and reason.

    I also posted a second article that eviscerates your claims as far as the Utilitarian case. No response to that I see, your lack of scholarship is amazing.

    Third, that same article fleshes out the moral and logical point, IP is in fact a self destructing concept because it is in direct contradiction to the concept of Property. Again, no ability to think logically.

    BTW, while your at it, if you are going to be logically consistent you will have to shut down all the libraries in the country too. Best get on your crusade fat man.

  56. Brandon-

    You cite the NY Times for anything and have the audacity to question my scholarship? That is quite funny. Everyone with a brain knows that you cannot trust the NY Times for anything any more. They print lies, including the lies I pointed out in this article. Yet you want to take them at face value. How you verified they are reporting the truth? After all the NY Times reported that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, they also have had a real problem with reporters making up stories and have fired some. You just can’t trust the NY Times if you are actually interested in the truth, which you don’t seem to worried about.

    As for my crusading to shut down libraries… WOW. That is taking things to a whole new low. Would you care to explain where exactly I suggested that libraries should be shut down? I can’t wait to hear your convoluted explanation, if you even give one.

    I would also like to notice that so many have said I was wrong about my interpretation of the First Amendment, which is of course correct. I prove that by providing citation after citation from the United States Supreme Court. The silence is deafening.

  57. Gene – Great argument. Long time reader, first time poster. My facts are that I am not a lawyer, have 20 employees including half a dozen artists and product designers, I do not read the NYT, have not read SOPA, have no idea if the US Chamber has its facts right. But, I do make a lot of money (and pay a lot of taxes) for the 60 hours a week and capital I put at risk. I have also survived a rather trying federal court IP experience and enjoy your site every time a get a chance to read it. In any event, theft of our company’s creative works occurs regularly and costs real money. The effort our small group is forced to spend policing our IP from both ignorant and purposeful internet thieves is so unproductive. And, win or lose, the cost to play in federal court is so daunting. I’d much rather put that effort and those resources into growing a business, hiring creative staff and making tangible contributions to our customer’s lives. Keep up the good fight. The friendly anarchists you banter with might figure it out someday.

  58. Big Greg-

    Thanks for the comment. Rest assured I will continue to fight the good fight and expose lies and misrepresentations.

    Keep up the fight. Hopefully Congress will get around to giving us more tools to make fighting blatant and willful infringement in a meaningful way.

    Thanks for reading.

    -Gene

  59. [...] s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); Last week I wrote an article titled Stopping Online Piracy in the Age of Entitlement, which lamented the egregiously false claims made by those who challenged and protested the Stop [...]

  60. Wow… what happened to everyone who was so sure that the First Amendment absolutely protected false and misleading speech?

    You might want to take a look at:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2012/02/09/does-the-first-amendment-protect-false-and-misleading-speech/id=22202/

    Enjoy!

  61. Gene

    Just re-read your article, I think the logic contained in this statement is flawed:

    “Those who establish businesses with the sole intent of making money stealing the creative works of others frequently set up shop outside the United States in an attempt to be outside the reach of the companies that they are ripping off. That is why something like SOPA is necessary.”

    I accept that whilst SOPA would have some impact in countries with extradition treaties with the US, surely this is an area where international treaties (eg. ACTA …) that are enforced are more appropriate?

  62. [...] the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) failed earlier this year. For more see Stopping Online Piracy in the Age of Entitlement and Will Congress Break the [...]

  63. Gene:
    U.S. v. Alvarez, decided today, proves my point: False speech, even outright lies, is protected by the first amendment. Your focus on the narrow exception regarding commercial speech got you confused.

  64. Dave-

    You are simply incorrect. Your intellectual dishonesty is staggering! For crying out loud, you must not have even read US v. Alvarez. It says in the opening syllabus of the case that I am right and you are WRONG! LOL.

    “Content-based restrictions on speech have been permitted only for a few historic categories of speech, including incitement, obscenity, defamation, speech integral to criminal conduct, so-called “fighting words,” child pornography, fraud, true threats, and speech presenting some grave and imminent threat the Government has the power to prevent.”

    Justice Kennedy could have gone on to include all kinds of business laws that make lying illegal, as well as laws relative to court room administration and others. There are NUMEROUS situations when false speech is NOT protect at all. There are NUMEROUS cases where false speech is given less protections.

    For example, can you lie in court on the witness stand? No, that is a crime called perjury. You don’t even have to be on a witness stand to be guilty of perjury.

    Can you lie to a judge in a court room? Why don’t you try it and see what happens.

    Can you lie in tax filings to the IRS? No, that would be tax evasion.

    Can you lie about competitors? No, that would be illegal under any number of theories that all fit under the rubric of unfair business practices.

    Can you use someone else’s trademark or lie about their services? No, that would be a violation of US trademark law, and unless the Supreme Court ruled the Trademark Laws of the United States unconstitutional, which they did not do, then I am correct and you are incorrect.

    There are plenty of instances when false speech is not allowed under the law. The fact that you want to use an erroneous blanket statement that is absurd tells me all I need to know about you.

    You will either start commenting in an intellectually honest manner or you will be banned. There is no right to spew falsehoods and lies here on IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene