Friday, January 20, 2012

Setting Dodd Straight on SOPA

Former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), now the head of the MPAA and the main spokesperson for SOPA and PIPA (now shelved or withdrawn), just told Andrea Mitchell a bunch of nonsense on MSNBC.  Here are some of his major points, with translations into truth to set the record straright:

Dodd:  Most people misunderstood what the bills were about - which was, to stop the loss of American jobs due to Internet piracy.

Truth:  Everyone understood that purpose of the bills.  What we also understood were the provisions of the bill that would have held entire sites responsible for even one pirated item on their otherwise massive, non-pirated sites and could have crippled the Internet as we know it.  Dodd said nothing whatsoever about that.

Dodd:  the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 has been effective against Internet pirates and has led to the shutdown of many sites.  SOPA and PIPA were just trying to extend its provisions to international pirates operating here.

Truth:  Right, the DMCA has been very effective.  So why not just extend its provisions to cover international pirates?  The DMCA has none of the provisions of SOPA and PIPA which could have crippled the Internet.

Dodd:  The First Amendment does not protect criminals, people who libel and slander others, etc.

Truth:  Right, but the First Amendment does protect from government regulation all modes of speech and press which are not engaged in criminal, slanderous, or libelous actions.   If The New York Times, for example, inadvertently published something deemed libelous, it could be sued for libel under the current laws.  Those same laws can be used against anything online - without the need for SOPA and PIPA - and the same applies to piracy (with extension of DMCA to cover international pirates).  The problem with SOPA and PIPA is they went way too far, and would have have seriously violated the First Amendment.


In sum - Dodd, after being rebuked by the withdrawal of SOPA, is starting off on the wrong foot for where we go from here.  A little truth would help.

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