Talking Points

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I feel like it is important to have some talking point when discussing copyright law abuse with lay people. Here's a little something I copied and edited from HappyHead's Slashdot posting:

Don't forget to point out that SOPA andACTA are not about combating piracy. They are about decreasing the cost and risk for the copyright holders. Using this legislation they can issue orders without any oversight or liability, and without any costs to them.

The whole point of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, is that the corporations want to escape the last few shreds of oversight and responsibility they currently have to deal with under existing laws. These laws were NEVER about combatting piracy - they are entirely about making sure that the copyright industry companies don't have to worry about little things like actually telling the truth when they say they own the copyright for something and are shutting you down.

Under current laws, if you post a video of yourself doing something, like say, a college professor posting videos online of his lectures so that his students can view them, and the MPAA files a takedown notice claiming they own that video and the prof is a dirty stinking pirate for stealing it from them (even though it's a false accusation), the prof has (supposedly) the recourse that he can file a counter-notice, and have the videos restored, (note: this is an actual example from the real world - they really did this.) and then the MPAA would to take him to actual court to sue for damages (which they didn't, because they didn't have any evidence, and it was obvious that they didn't actually own the material) instead of just having him thrown in jail and his property seized without having to show any evidence that he actually did what they claim. Under the combination of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, the MPAA would not have had to go through any legal procedures, or have any evidence that the prof's lectures belonged to them (which they didn't), but instead would be allowed to just say "BAD! YOU ARE THIEF!", and automatically be correct under the law, because they said so, and thus be allowed to take his domain, and shut him down with no recourse, no right to a trial, and no way to do anything about it.

Considering how little responsibility the MPAA and RIAA have demonstrated when applying the current copyright laws, is it any wonder that people who are paying attention don't trust them to behave with laws that take away what little responsibility and oversight they currently have?

Even worse, these laws are so poorly put together that any nutjob with a grudge can do the same thing to anyone they don't like, and have anything that person has put online shut down (the whole website), with little to no proof that their claims are true. Did you accidentally mention that you like eating bacon on your website? Look out - when the crazy person who has decided that all bacon-loving people are actually aliens trying to hypnotize the human race into complacency, they can fulfill their personal mission of silencing your bacon-promoting alien agenda by falsely using SOPA/PIPA/ACTA to shut down your website. Before you even know it has happened, you're gone, and if you are very lucky, you might even find out why, some day.