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  (Source: Sodahead)
Tax and expand the federal gov't says Texas Rep. Lamar Smith (R)

"When there's copyright infringement / In your neighborhood / Who you gonna call? / The U.S. federal taxpayer funded IP task-force!"

I. SOPA Returns, Renamed and Pared Down

It sounds like a joke, but that's precisely what the The Intellectual Property Attaché Act [PDF], hopes to implement.  The goal is to fight "global" piracy, but the proposal admittedly acknowledges that the taskforce -- a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce -- could be used in the homeland, as well.

In fact, it seems more than likely that the task-force created by the IP Attaché Act, would operate mostly in the U.S., given difficulties in sending IP "cops" overseas to quasi-hostile infringement-prone regions like China. (What would they do in China, "arrest" street merchants selling knockoff DVDs?)

Overseas complaints are already well-policed -- or about as well policed as is possible -- by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

So the new Commerce Department copyrights cops are essentially redundant, unless their policing happens to primarily focus on the U.S.  And you can bet it does.

The bill is essentially a repackaging of the heart and soul of the fortunately deceased "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and the U.S. Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) (S.968).  In fact, it's authored by the same fellow -- Rep. Lamar Smith (R- Tex.) -- who wrote SOPA.

Rep. Smith surely was sweating a bit under the collar when SOPA went down in flames. After all, big media wrote him a check for $85,000 USD during the last campaign cycle [source] and lawyers, many of whom represent big media clients, chipped in another $58,000 USD. [source

Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith feels he's above the laws he's looking to subject his lowly proles to.
[Image Source: Lamar Smith]

Together these contributions gave him about 10 percent of the money he needed to crush Lainey Melnick 69-to-28 percent voting margin (Mr. Melnick only raised $34,000 USD lacking sufficient big media sponsors).  To be fair, many of Rep. Smith's colleagues received similar payouts from big media.

That kind of money doesn't come for free or cheap.  It comes with big favors.  In this case the cost of the donations was likely a commitment to tirelessly push "anti-piracy" legislation even if it ignores big media corporations' own flagrant copyright theft, wastes taxpayer money, and likely tramples on civil liberties.

Clearly Rep. Smith doesn't truly take his rhetoric to heart, given the fact that he ripped off an independent artist's work for his homepage art, and reportedly initially refused requests from the artist for acknowledgement.

II. Will it Pass?

So does the IP Attaché Act stand any more of a chance of surviving than Rep. Smith's last monstrosity, SOPA?

Perhaps.  

The largely politically apathetic public burned through a great deal of energy killing the last bill.  And this revised version will likely draw less corporate opposition in that it appears to remove its provisions for sweeping website takedowns in its draft.

Further, the SOPA v. 2.0 (of sorts) has the support of House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) -- who initially supported SOPA as well, but later became a critic who helped sink the measure.  

TechCrunch has obtained a statement from Rep. Issa's office, commenting:

Rep. Issa is set to support the legislation, with small modifications. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act is written to help American individuals and companies that are experiencing intellectual property infringement in certain foreign countries. The legislation will place USPTO trained IP attaches in countries around the world, focusing on areas where American job creators and innovators are experiencing especially high levels of IP-theft. These attaches will work with the foreign governments to help eliminate in-country IP theft that is occurring. This is a net benefit to all Americans both IP holders and consumers. Also, the training and other programs that the attaches may provide can also help local law enforcement to deal with IP-infringement that is occurring. The cost for these attaches will come from collected PTO fees, meaning that the bill is revenue neutral. Additionally, we expect that an amendment will be made to the legislation before it is marked up that will instruct the attaches to promote clear IP exceptions ­ like fair use – already codified in U.S. Law.

The biggest hope for killing the measure perhaps lies in its likely substantial costs and sweeping expansion of the federal government.  Ballooning federal government and burdening taxpayers with the expense of large new federal programs certainly sounds outside the line of traditional fiscal conservative rhetoric that's in vogue these days.

zombie crawling
SOPA v. 2.0 has crawled back onto the scene, but might be killed yet.
[Image Source: DeviantArt;~k1ow3]

Some Republicans may balk at essentially voting for "a tax" in order to scratch the back of big media.  Although, the fact that big media donated generously to a great many members of Congress may allow them to look past their own political beasts and shove this copyright debt on the shoulders of the masses.

At least overseas there are signs of a break in the storm of big media trolling.  Denmark has turned off its warning letters program.  And Canada has implemented strong protections/permissions for user-generated content (e.g. montages) and capped non-commercial infringement at $5,000 USD.

In other words, the U.S. is one of the last places where big media can hope to sue individual citizens for millions of dollars for pirating a few songs.  It also looks to become one of the few nations to install a special redundant "copyright police" agency at the federal level, financed by its citizens' tax burden.

Sources: House of Representatives [PDF], TechCrunch



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Boycott big media in 2013!
By dgingerich on 7/12/2012 7:30:46 PM , Rating: 5
I would like to promote the idea of boycotting all big media for all of 2013! For all of 2013, in protest of these attempts to extort more money from the citizens of the US, we need to boycott all music and movies in any form. No buying CDs, DVDs, or BluRay disks. No going to the theater or concerts.

Show them we are the ones with the power, and they exist at our permission. Make them pay for these atrocious attempts to extort us!

Join me on Facebook on my "Anti-SOPA/Protect IP" page. I want to get all people who want to get justice against big media and their political lackies like Lamar Smith together in a coordinated effort to make them pay. Let's show them who has the real power here!




RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By Invane on 7/13/2012 12:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
I've been doing this for some time. I refuse to purchase any movies or music at this point, and I was a big home theater fan. It saddens me greatly that I can't buy movies any more.

The bad part, if enough people actually do this to impact their bottom lines, they'll just blame piracy and make up some new legislation that diverts money to their pockets. Then they'll make three more taxpayer funded government agencies to police the peasants and increase 'awareness' about the problem.


RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By dgingerich on 7/13/2012 12:41:10 PM , Rating: 3
That's exactly why we need a central communication point to tell them that we are boycotting them. (In addition, we need to tell them we're sick of supporting their flops and to stop making them.)

I have purchased a total of 3 bluray movies and one music CD (and that was a really old "greatest hits" CD) this year. that's far down from back before the RIAA got started suing so many innocent people. Before that all got started, I was buying on the order of 60-70 movies and CDs per year. They ticked me off.

I'm going for a total, organized, boycott in 2013. The Avengers should be showing up on shelves around early 2013. if we can impact the sales of that movie (don't worry, we can catch up in 2014) as well as The Dark Knight Rises, we'll possibly get their attention. If I can get enough people in on the Facebook page, or even, if I find one that represents my views, join another page that would organize a boycott, we could possibly get media attention and make those idiot music and movie executives listen.

Personally, I'm sock of garbage TV, music, and movies, and I'm tired of supporting it. I've switched almost entirely to BBC and Japanese TV. (Top Gear and Doctor Who are awesome to me. Misfits and some others are quite good, too. There are a few British shows that were cancelled that I liked a lot, but they don't really listen to their US market. Anime is well, amine. It's different, and I understand some people are just too small minded to look past the big animated boobs to see the social messages and philosophy behind it.) They just make so much better TV than anything we have here in the US.

I just find it hard to even find any good shows in US TV. White Collar and Burn Notice were good in the beginning, but have turned quite formulaic lately. Phych is still quite good, even though it is quite formulaic too. NCIS has been good for a long time, but that's the only thing I'll watch from any of the big networks these days. Do you think they even notice they're slipping? Do they even realize how incompetent they are?


RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By dark matter on 7/14/2012 6:14:39 PM , Rating: 4
People are simply not that politically motivated.

Especially not after a long hard week, and come saturday they decide not to invite their friends kids round to watch the latest disney movie because they are on some boycott.

Decided that the film they had been looking forward to watching once the kids are in bed, that's out of the window now, boycott on.

And their favourite artists new CD. Well, that won't be listened to on Monday on the way back to work, after a really boring weekend having to speak to each other, listen to no music, watch no films, or any TV.

Yup, they are too busy boycotting.


RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By topkill on 7/16/2012 7:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
I LIKE big, animated boobs...or any other kind of big boobs.


RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By dark matter on 7/14/2012 6:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
You're average Joe is far too indoctrinated to give a damn. If anything, tell them they cannot watch their sports, latest movie, or CD of songs to drive really reckless to, well, you would get away with calling their mother than get them to go without.

I'll let you into a little secret. Most people don't want to be "helped". Most people like the decisions to made for them. (religion, for example). Most people will work really hard for you whilst you take all the profit, so long as you give them little comforts. Like a fridge of beer, some weekend sports, and a movie for the missus. A CD to stick on the bedroom whilst they have a little hanky panky.

Now if you tell those same people, that hey, all you want to do is catch the guys who are "stealing" the stuff you have to pay for, that movie, that sports event, that CD. All that stuff you have to WORK really hard for they are not paying for it. Imagine how much cheaper it would be if you don't have to subsidize their feckless lives.

What do you think they would say? Sure, we'll give up the few pleasures we have, just so we can help out the guys who don't pay for the same stuff we have to.

But that isn't the secret I was on about. No, that is just the final end to your plan to foil the invetible. It won't work, you'll just be another tin foil hat wearing, illuminati, UFO spotter, ranting on facebook, or wherever.

The secret, as I've told you, is that people don't want to be free. So stop trying. If you're one of the few who are actually "aware", then you have two options;

Drop completely out of the system.
Learn the rules of the game, go directly to go and collect $200.


RE: Boycott big media in 2013!
By greylica on 7/14/2012 7:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
There is also another way to help this:

Better than only a boycott, is to turn our eyes to alternative Medias, like Creative Commons, Free Music, Free Software, Unlocked Phones, Unlocked consoles, etc.


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