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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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RE: Oookay
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2012 9:43:16 PM , Rating: 1
LOL so you're just leaving out the ENTIRE cause of the actual housing crisis? Brilliant Retro, just stunning.

And you repeat the favorite lie of the Left, the "balanced Clinton Budget". Which I've disproved too many times here to do it again. Clinton robbed Social Security with "I owe you's" and then pretended that wasn't actually debt. Plus national debt grew under Clinton, like every President, but you cannot have a "balanced budget" if you're spending more than you take in. Hello?

Retro you get a lot right, but when it comes to politics, you're out of your element.

quote:
1. Reagan. Record deficits


And record private sector growth, prosperity, and job creation. Numbers we haven't seen since. He also slashed inflation from Carters outrageous 10% to 3.5%!

Oh and I love that we're using a "prior to Obama" premise, how convenient. Let's just focus on the Republicans and ignore the 800 pound pink elephant in the room shall we.

quote:
Don't bother to try and 'splain that away. these are facts.


Obama and the Democrats have spent more than all of those Presidents combined, racked up larger deficits than all combined, and added more to the national debt then EVERY PRESIDENT combined before him. 'Splain that away, you ass.


RE: Oookay
By retrospooty on 7/12/2012 11:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
I am not out of my element on politics, not at all. I really think that you are and I really think you need to listen. You keep wanting to assert that the democrats are the problem and the republicans are the answer. You couldn't be more wrong. The problem is the democrats and the republicans. It's all of them if you just stand on 1 side and blame the other you'll never get anywhere. We as a country will never get anywhere as long as 1 half is fighting the other. It shouldn't be republicans versus democrats it seriously needs to be people verses all of these god damn politicians that have been selling us out for years... all of them do it both sides are full of shit and if you cant see that then you're full of shit. LOL


RE: Oookay
By Reclaimer77 on 7/13/2012 1:03:31 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
You keep wanting to assert that the democrats are the problem and the republicans are the answer.


*sigh*

How many times must I say it? "Progressives" are the problem regardless of party. And yes, the Republican party has their share of them. But Democrats are simply choked full of them, especially at the highest levels, and the entire party has moved RADICALLY left.

So whatever, nice speech about how both are "the same". Moral relativism is a bullshit argument and you know it.


RE: Oookay
By retrospooty on 7/13/2012 8:17:50 AM , Rating: 2
"How many times must I say it? "Progressives" are the problem regardless of party. And yes, the Republican party has their share of them."

If you want to say that politicians spending our money to the point of criminal negligence, we can agree on that. IF you want to say it's "progressives" fine, whatever. But if we are talking about the USA, it IS a 2 party system and the 2 parties in power are the subject matter that the fact is that both of those parties are full of politicians that spending our money to the point of criminal negligence. WTF difference does it make to blame Bosh over Obama, or lament about what McCain could have done or Romney may do. They are are the friggin same and if you dont see that you are blind.


RE: Oookay
By Invane on 7/13/2012 12:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
You nailed that. What we have now are two corrupt parties that are both in the pockets of corporations and serve as little more than expensive sock puppets. Neither party is going to swoop in and save us from the other, because both are in bed with the same people.

Leaving the American public to fight it out over left or right or red or blue is just a nice convenient machine to allow them to feel like they're influencing something. They can focus their anger on the right hand or the left hand...but both are attached to the same guy behind the curtain.

At this point I will not be voting for any member of either party (with an exception for senator Wyden in my state as I actually like the guy thus far). The 'I have to vote for the lesser evil so the greater does not win' mentality will leave us right where we are for as long as we're willing to buy into it.


RE: Oookay
By retrospooty on 7/13/2012 1:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
" Neither party is going to swoop in and save us from the other, because both are in bed with the same people.
"


Exactly... As a country, we are "divided and conquered" by our own govt.


RE: Oookay
By Reclaimer77 on 7/13/2012 12:42:49 PM , Rating: 1
Again, moral relativism. It's just as weak today at it was last night.

We have a two party system. OH well, deal with it. Grow some balls, educate yourself, and pick a side that best represents your beliefs.

Is the Republican party perfect? God no. But at least with Republicans there is a CHANCE of getting Conservatives into office. When most Democrats think Obama is a "centrist", there is obviously NO chance of that happening with that party.

This is America, we've proven that the people CAN change the Government. We've just forgotten. If everyone thought like you, throwing your hands up in some pathetic apathetic "oh well everyone is the same", then how the f#ck is anything going to change?

"Parties" didn't get us to this point. WE got us to this point.


RE: Oookay
By retrospooty on 7/13/2012 1:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
"We have a two party system. OH well, deal with it. Grow some balls, educate yourself, and pick a side that best represents your beliefs."

Neither does... But at least I can see that both are robbing us blind . You are so far to the right you can't even comprehend what the middle looks like and cant take anything that happens politically with an open mind. I still am quite sure a liberal dropped you on your head when you were young causing great resentment ;)

"Is the Republican party perfect? God no. But at least with Republicans there is a CHANCE of getting Conservatives into office."

No, there isnt. They spend just as badly and are feeding the same masters.


"This is America, we've proven that the people CAN change the Government. We've just forgotten."


I totally agree with you there... But its not going to happen with 2 appx. equal sized sides blaming everything on the other side. It's going to take an awakening that it isnt the dems or the reps its Washington in general... You believe we can change it? Then WAKE UP!


RE: Oookay
By Reclaimer77 on 7/13/2012 2:51:30 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Neither does...


Well then stop posting because you have nothing to add apparently. I guess it's time for you to pack up and move to a country that has a better political system that better represents your beliefs. And doesn't rob you blind.

In other words, I hear Mars is nice this time of year :)

quote:
It's going to take an awakening that it isnt the dems or the reps its Washington in general... You believe we can change it? Then WAKE UP!


And you miss the target. It's not Washington, it's the American people. Washington, for the most part, reflects the views and wants of the electorate.

I can't fix a two party system, or change Washington, but I can sit here on my computer and tell people how fucking stupid and wrong they are. And I can vote better than 99.9% of the mouthbreathers out there. Hey, I'm doing my part.


RE: Oookay
By retrospooty on 7/13/2012 3:14:21 PM , Rating: 1
"I can't fix a two party system, or change Washington, but I can sit here on my computer and tell people how fucking stupid and wrong they are."

You and me both buddy ;)


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