Skip to comments.Venture Capitalists Oppose Anti-Piracy Bill
Posted on 06/26/2011 5:33:57 AM PDT by abb
A pending bill aimed at curbing online piracy would "put American innovators and investors at a clear disadvantage in the global economy," a coalition of venture capitalists and Internet experts warned this week.
The Protect IP Act (S. 968) "is ripe for abuse," they say in a letter to Congress. "It allows rights-holders to require third-parties to block access to and take away revenues sources for online services, with limited oversight and due process." The letter was signed by more than 50 executives, including Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, Esther Dyson of EDventure Holdings and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.
The bill, which unanimously cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, targets sites "dedicated to infringing activities." The measure enables the Department of Justice to obtain orders prohibiting Internet service providers from putting through traffic to those sites' URLs.
Web users, however, could still reach the sites by typing in their numerical addresses. The Protect IP Act also provides for court orders forcing Google, Bing and other search engines to stop returning certain results.
Hollywood is backing the bill, while digital rights groups and others, including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, oppose it. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) put a "hold" on the measure shortly after it passed the Judiciary Committee, but the bill could still theoretically be enacted.
Andreessen and the other signatories argue that the law would give foreign search engines and social networks an advantage over U.S. companies: "Determined users who want to find blocked content will simply shift to services outside the reach of U.S. law."
The venture capitalists also say that measure would "undermine the delicate balance" created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law contains safe harbors providing that search engines and other intermediaries are immune from liability for copyright infringement as long as they take down pirated material upon request of the owner.
Google's YouTube defeated a copyright infringement lawsuit by Viacom because the video-sharing site was able to show that it qualified for the DMCA safe harbors. Viacom appealed that decision to the Second Circuit, which is slated to hear arguments in September.
The National Venture Capital Association filed a friend-of-the-court brief in that matter as well, arguing that the lawsuit was correctly decided in Google's favor. "The imposition of copyright liability on YouTube would discourage innovation and investment in Internet-based businesses," the organization wrote in that case.
I can’t believe I’m actually going to give Wyden props on something.
And the LA Times and NY Times. I suppose we must look to the stopped clock theorem.
A pending bill aimed at curbing online piracy would "put American innovators and investors at a clear disadvantage in the global economy,"...
The only explanation!
This is playing out as did the newspaper/radio wars of the late 20s and early 30s. Newspapers were up in arms about radio news taking from them what was “rightfully theirs,” namely news reporting. All sorts of proposed legislation to curtail radio newsgathering and to protect newspapers.
But once the politicians discovered the value of radio to reach voters, the newspapers were S. O. L.
The Newspaper-Web War
Ever get the feeling this battle was fought before?
THE NEW ORLEANS PRESS-RADIO WAR AND HUEY P. LONG, 1922-1936.
abb, that’s good stuff. Thanks.
Those who do not create think the creators MUST freely share their work on the Internet without any protections.
This mindset is pure communism. Your own creation belongs to the collective without restriction. You have to freely share your work with your comrades.
I see these communists posting on this site as if the only purpose of copyright law is to protect the music industry.
Copyright protects writers, poets, songwriters, photographers, illustrators, cartoonists, artists, sculptors, filmmakers and software developers.
The same conservatives who pound the table about the death of the U.S. Constitution have no problem with the death of the Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of that document which secures exclusive rights to holders of patents and copyrights.
It's easy to tell who the NON-CREATIVE people are on this site. They laugh at copyright law.
America is the land of invention and creation and our country's economic progress has been historically linked to, and driven by, economic incentives for creative minds.
To scoff at U.S. copyright law is to scoff at the miracle of our country's economic success, unprecedented in human history.
While copyright as ensconced in the U. S. Constitution may have noble aims, the origins of the “right to copy” was merely an attempt by the King of England to control the printing press.
Not so noble.
The Licensing of the Press Act 1662 is an Act of the Parliament of England (14 Car. II. c. 33), long title “An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses.” It was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863.
The Act was originally limited to two years. The provisions as to importation of books, the appointment of licensers, and the number of printers and founders were practically re-enactments of the similar provisions in an order of the Star Chamber of 1637.
Printing presses were not to be set up without notice to the Stationers’ Company. A king’s messenger had power by warrant of the king or a secretary of state to enter and search for unlicensed presses and printing. Severe penalties by fine and imprisonment were denounced against offenders. The act was successively renewed up to 1679.
Under the powers of the act Sir Roger L’Estrange was appointed licenser, and the effect of the supervision was that practically the newspaper press was reduced to the London Gazette. The objections made to lines 594-599 of the first book of Paradise Lost by the archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain, acting as licenser, are well known. The act expired in 1679, and for the remainder of the reign of Charles II, as in the reign of George III, the restrictions on the press took the form of prosecutions for libel.
On the origin of the right to copy:
charting the movement of copyright law in eighteenth-century Britain (1695-1775)
While I agree with you in spirit in practice I find copy right laws oppressive. I can see providing protection from copying for 8, 10, 12 even 20 years but protection FOREVER is a bit much. The copyright laws should be reformed to provide a reasonable amount of protection. At some point the works should be in the public domain. Just as patents expire so should copyrights.
Bring back the original term of copyright (14 years, 28 with application for extension) and I am absolutely ok with aggressive enforcement.
But if I'm on a jury if the issue is pirating 40 or 50 year old materials, I vote to nullify every time.
|To scoff at U.S. copyright law...
There is a difference between scoffing at copyright law and scoffing at the enforcement of copyright law.
In practice the government has been so ham-fisted at this that the balance is shifting in favor of tolerating some amount of piracy in order to prevent something that turns out to be worse. That's what this letter from the VCs is about.
Recently, in order to "protect" some copyright holders and "prevent piracy," the FBI seized several racks of servers, containing not just the pirates but hundreds of web sites belonging to people who had nothing to do with any of it.
There's just too much collateral damage involving innocent people to permit this to go on.
The only reasonable thing to do with this issue is the same thing we do with speeding: we put some cops out there, we catch enough to hopefully create a deterrent, but we don't empower third parties to shut down entire lanes if they think they see a speeder.
It would also stop Americans from accessing foreign sites for discounts on the same prescription drugs that cost much more in the USA.