PIPA

There’s nothing like a loaded question to start the day, especially when tensions are consistently high about the piracy issue. Both sides are so committed to their positions that even people on the sideline and in the stands are feeling the heat rise off the field. SOPA was crushed by the sheer force of populism on the internet, and as the MPAA and internet service providers ready slower downloads for suspected pirates, the folks over at Paralegal (obvious movie fans judging by their name) are concerned with another question: doesn’t the movie industry have a hypocritical position toward piracy? They’ve created an infographic answering that question with a resounding, “Yes,” and since they included an image of the Borg, it qualifies for posting. There’s a ton of information here. Check it out for yourself:

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The discussion about movie and television show piracy is raging right now, which makes sense given the tension between a massive online movement and the conglomerated studios seeking to curb their enthusiasm for downloading without paying. The bottom line is that when The Oatmeal makes a comic about it, you know things are getting serious. And after a crushing defeat over SOPA/PIPA, groups like the MPAA and RIAA are getting serious about firing back. Their latest weapon took three years to build and involved the cooperation of the leading Internet Service Providers (including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon). According to Variety, the Copyright Alert System will go into place this Spring. So what is it?

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The Motion Picture Association of America must die. It’s a monopolistic behemoth that poisons creativity and commerce while hiding behind the failed task of educating parents about film content, and the time has come to call for its dissolution. The above logo is what we, as movie fans, are most familiar with when it comes to the MPAA because we see it on trailers and home video, but that symbol is really a trick of PR. The goal of the MPAA is not to rate movies, even if that’s the product we know and loathe best. The MPAA’s founding, fundamental aim is to maintain the corporate dominance of its members – the six largest studios. It does not serve fans. It does not serve families. It does not serve filmmakers.

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The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)’s website is live now, but it went down for a brief time alongside the websites for the US Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the US Copyright Office, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), and the French copyright enforcer HADOPI. The attack is thanks to Anonymous, who is taking credit and citing the shut down of Megaupload.com and the arrest of its founder, Kim Dotcom, and several other executives as the catalyst for its work here. [Time] This comes in the wake of the SOPA Blackout and may prove that the fight for internet neutrality is just getting warmed up. The hack is, of course, hilarious (and it’s fun to imagine that they did it from phone booths while navigating through a visualization of a mainframe until they found a garbage file), but its effect was short-lived. A hassle for the MPAA and other agencies, but perhaps it’s just a shot across the bow, proving what the group is capable of. It’s just a prank, though, like signing the MPAA up on a sex-seeking site or convincing it that there’s a pool on the roof. It’s a nice, chaotic gesture, but it’s time to organize such that it forces the MPAA to restructure in a way that’s far more transparent, meaningful, and productive. There’s a way to deliver content information to concerned parents without overstepping the boundaries of economic censorship, and it’s imperative that the public pressure the government […]

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In October of 2011, Representative Lamar S. Smith (of the great state of Texas) introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act to Congress. The bill’s aim was to bolster copyright holders in fights against those that infringe upon them, and that’s an important task. Intellectual property theft can be incredibly injurious to the victim. In fact, FSR had to cut through red tape in the fall of last year to stop a Chinese-based website from stealing its content and republishing it wholesale. Plagiarism is despicable, and stealing the hard creative work of others is too. However, SOPA is tantamount to drinking drain cleaner because your nose itches. The bill is unduly generic – granting massive powers to the government and entities who would wield it like a plaything to shut down websites for spurious reasons and to keep them down throughout what would inevitably be a drawn-out legal process. In short, for an accusation with no meat on it, some of your favorite sites could be shut down on a whim, creating both temporary and possibly permanent damage. As you can see from our masthead today, we’re in full support of the protest against SOPA (and PIPA, it’s cousin in the Senate). While we don’t know how powerful the SOPA blackout might be, we genuinely wish we could go dark as well, but it’s just not feasible for a site like ours that operates on a smile and a shoestring. Losing a day of revenue is just too much of a […]

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