White Paper- Rick Casario

1. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was an act “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and other purposes.” -H.R. 3261. The act basically expanded the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking of copyrighted material. It demands that advertisement companies and search engines to not pay infringing internet domains, which would have essentially killed those sites. The act would’ve expanded as criminal laws that would be against unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

2. Stopping overseas piracy is what legislators behind the Stop Overseas piracy act say they want, but what will happen is more a breach of all privacy with innocent consumers in its sights. SOPA is not so much to stop the stealing of ideas overseas but intimidating new created content by endangering every consumer whom infringes on any given domain. The idea of stoping over sea internet piracy is an attempt to stop internet piracy in general and being that the line in the sand is so skewed, the room for jurisdiction makes for a massive amount of court cases. The fact that SOPA would potentially wreak so much legal havoc is the reason why it was never passed. In fact as soon as it was brought up to the House of Representatives, they all agreed that such a bill would cause way to much cyber chaos and even more disarray to an already wild web.  We know that with that new legal power, the “hammer” of the law would fall on our own population far before it reached across the sea. How can you even apply the same laws to an out of country internet pirate? The idea itself is so broad that where can you even draw the line for something that is so massive as the internet?


“Do as I say, not as I do…”

– Anything linked on any social networking site that SOPA deems is a copy right infringement can take the entire website down, sometimes permanently.

– Threatens free speech and innovation of people like artists who want to get their work out to the public eye for people to enjoy but without the fear of being stopped from infringement

– websites such as tumblr and instagram, two websites that are at the core, picture sharing sites. SOPA would be a death sentence, especially because thousands of artist’s works and cinema work is displayed on both sites constantly

– Websites like Facebook work in tangem with advertising sites because they fulfill roles for one another. Advertisement companies keep their products alive by advertising on Facebook and Facebook keeps itself alive by allowing those side bar advertisements as a form of income which is essentially what keeps the site a float besides investors who would also be bar’d from investing if a site like Facebook is taken off the web because one person linked something that was infringing on copyright laws deemed by SOPA.

4. Some topics you could pull out for smaller papers would be things like: Where to draw the line on copyright infringement? Why are federal workers not being penalized and watched? What would be safe to post without fear of time in prison? Who is a potential victim?

5. Currently, I’m still in the research stage and I am in the process of collecting more view points to bring up, and facts to strengthen my argument.

Annotated Sources

1. “SOPA explained”

This article by CNN’s Juilanne Pepitone, discusses what SOPA does and why it is important to everyone who uses the internet. Pepitone says that SOPA’s main targets are “rouge” overseas sites like torrent hub or mega-upload. It’s difficult to enforce our version of justice in other countries so what SOPA pushes to do is require U.S. based search engines, and to have advertising parties to withhold business from such sites.

This article clearly states that it is for SOPA. It gives a good insight into what SOPA is hoping to accomplish, and does bring up the point of copy right infringement and creator content endangerment. There are parts of this article I can use for defining SOPA’s goals and also talk about the counter-argument as to why SOPA is a benefit and not a detriment to the internet.

2. “DMCA > SOPA”

Alex Howard writes this article clearly siding against the idea of SOPA. Howard says that the existence of SOPA basically just defeats the purpose of the DMCA or better known as the Digital Millennium Act. The DMCA has a very similar idea to SOPA, but allows a safe harbor for sites to take work down when they are notified of infringement on the site by the content creator or content creator’s agent.

“SOPA is “really a Trojan horse that might be better named the Social Media Surveillance Act,” said Leslie Harris, CEO of CDT, in a press conference. “Expect it to have a devastating effect on social media content and expression.”” Howard really brings out the idea of the article here. SOPA is really more-over a way of being a tool of public surveillance than merely a protector of intellectual property. I absolutely believe that artist should protect their work, but at a cost of privacy which is something that’s been in question since the Patriot Act. Where does the government draw the line?

3. “Do as I say, not as I do…”

This article is rather self explanatory. Legislators in the house were illegally downloading  American T.V. shows and movies. The exact thing that SOPA was meant to fight.

This link is evidence to what my thesis is stating. Why bring up the question of internet surveillance to stop cyber piracy when the same pro legislators are pirating themselves? Are they above the Act because they came up with it?

4. “Six Strikes is just ‘Soft SOPA’ “

This is what SOPA has devolved into today. Soft SOPA, also known as the copy right alert system (or CAS), basically gives the user who is infringing six strikes. At the end of those strikes, the bill proposes that user loses internet usage. The author of the article brings up great examples. “… let’s say somebody blows through a toll plaza 6 times, does that mean you don’t ever use the highways anymore?”

I feel like CAS can be considered even more counter-intuitive because where do you call someone out when the DMCA is still alive? Is the system of DMCA not easier than having to monitor how many strikes a single person has when hundreds of thousands of people are pirating content? What happens when we lose our 6 chances? We get an internet time out? I’m sorry I forgot I was in internet kindergarden again. It’s such a ridiculous motion for what? Being able to pry into people’s privacy?

5. Sopa dangerous opinions

Chris Heald takes a very close look at the bill itself and its really quite useful. It shows exactly what is at stake for sites admins and their users. Heald breaks it down into three sections. These sections are: The Scapel, The Sledgehammer, and The Bulldozer.

Chris is against SOPA and he does a great job of summing it up by going right to the legal text’s heart. It is worth looking at the opposite’s view point who also does the same. I will continue to look for another article with that in mind.

This entry was posted in A09: My White Paper, Rick Casario. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to White Paper- Rick Casario

  1. kmbuttari says:

    1- You should explain what SOPA is a little better and explain why people are trying to pass it. For someone that doesn’t know what SOPA is, it ca be a little confusing.

    2- I think you could be a little clearer on your thesis. What you’re trying to say is a bit vague.

    3- You didn’t really present an opposing view point for your argument, you just defended your own standpoint against SOPA.

    4- I like the ideas for the smaller papers but think you should keep just a little closer to the central topic.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Rick, the only counterintuitive angle you present here is that SOPA, an attempt to “promote creativity,” might inadvertently stifle creativity.

    So, let me ask you, how would that occur? It’s a fine idea for a paper, but you seem to be ignoring it. Your “threatens free speech and innovation of . . . artists who want to get their work out” comes close, but doesn’t explain the mechanics of the problem.

    Copyright can be waived by the creator. Writers do it all the time when they publish their material under a Creative Commons license. They post to the internet with a statement that the work can be freely distributed but not sold. They might want to sue if someone did sell, but they could certainly “get their work out to the public” without “fear of infringement.” Web sites and their users could all host the material without fear of infringement too.

    Your original impulse to write about the power of governments to use (or restrict) the internet to repress their citizens is still a very valid option though. If you’re characterizing SOPA correctly, any law that lets the government squelch a site that hosts a single piece of copyrighted material without permission is WAY too easy to abuse.

    Certainly wikileaks could be shut down under this law, but so could any site that criticized the government, on the allegation that it misused copyrighted material (government documents, for example). If, as you suggest, the burden is on the site to prove its innocence before relaunching, an oppressive government agency would win every time.

    I do admire the deviousness of trying to coerce advertisers to effectively strangle sites on the government’s behalf, but how is this accomplished? Does the government threaten to prosecute the advertisers for paying to appear on pages that contain proscribed material? I’m completely unclear on the mechanics of this as well, and would appreciate clarification.

  3. rickc1030 says:

    So while I was doing more research on SOPA, I found that the SOPA we’re talking about is essentially dead. They keep trying to bring it back to the House but its now known as “Soft SOPA” and the new idea that it is proposing is honestly even more ridiculous. Would writing about (the late) SOPA and Soft SOPA still be acceptable topics for this paper?

    • davidbdale says:

      Certainly it would, Rick. Your topic doesn’t need to be utterly contemporary to be relevant. For a while, there will still be new academic work done, mostly post mortems to explain what killed the bill. It’s still a rich topic. Maybe the way SOPA continues to evolve will offer even more counterintuitivity (or make it increasingly obvious who’s really behind it and what their motives really are).

  4. rickc1030 says:

    I’ve updated my work. I look forward to your feedback professor!

  5. rickc1030 says:

    Just making sure, I have updated this. See you today!

  6. davidbdale says:

    Thanks, Rick. Revisions noted. I will return for very specific feedback if you wish, including notations for grammar flaws, outright failures, and mild infelicities, if you ask me to with another comment. Meanwhile, I’ve referred to your White Paper with Causation recommendations in today’s A11 Assignment.
    Grade recorded.
    You can improve today’s grade by receiving and responding to additional comments if you wish.

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