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Forum Post: Please support Demand Progress in opposing the PROTECT-IP internet censorship act

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 12:43 p.m. EST by mserfas (652) from Ashland, PA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"PROTECT-IP" is a bill that would require search engines and DNS servers to censor results under court order, which would list sites accused of hosting pirated material. Demand Progress is one of the many groups doggedly opposing the bill (the ever-famous EFF - http://www.eff.org/ - is another). Please see http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/sopa_testimony/ for their present petition to stop opponents of the bill from being excluded from congressional hearings about it.

I understand that authors of copyrighted materials do indeed face a very serious economic problem that needs to be addressed, but trying to reinforce the copyright system isn't the answer. Imposing a small royalty on an expensive product works, but imposing it on information that can be copied for nothing doesn't. The only way that enforcement can work is if every transmission of information everywhere involves three parties - the two people talking and a censor to authorize and watch over their conversation.

In practice, singers protest that they have become "indentured servants" under 30-year contracts just to have access to the public; the middlemen take all the rewards. In practice, U.S. consumers pay Chinese filmmakers royalties on imported films while the Chinese largely obtain their movies as pirated versions (their government thoughtfully making whole genres illegal simply to improve their balance of trade). We can do better.

We need a new conversation for a working market mechanism to reward authors and artists. For example, we could implement one right now where everyone pays a proportional surtax added to their income tax, and has the choice to direct that to one or more independent funding organizations that support the arts. In this way, popular or critically acclaimed works can be supported in proportion to their merit, as determined by individual consumers - but there is no enforced scarcity. Everyone pays just what they do now - maybe less, if the government bureaucracy turns out to be more frugal than Hollywood producers, which given the price of cocaine is at least plausible. But everyone has the right to read and watch and listen to everything they want, and to make sequels and fanfic and other derivative works to their hearts' content.

Freedom or absolute surveillance and censorship - your choice.

5 Comments

5 Comments


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[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 11 years ago

I'm completely on board with what you're saying; I've signed three or four petitions and written a couple of e-mails to senators in both my home state and the state of my college by now and if I had the money in my bank account I would have donated to them to fight this.

[-] 0 points by journey4word (214) 11 years ago

"we could implement one right now where everyone pays a proportional surtax added to their income tax"

NO to you and your Idea.

Americans are overtaxed already and suffer too much "Power Power I have the Power" government already. ty

the music industry will just have to find other ways to profit or find another industry to profit in.

Seriously? the really great artists will still sing, because they are that good. the ones suffering are the ones in it for business, and shouldn't be there , with their electronic enhanced lip synced voices, anyway.

concerts can draw in money for the artists :) providing they don't have to try to fool everyone.

[-] 1 points by mserfas (652) from Ashland, PA 11 years ago

I'm talking about replacing the royalty tax enforced under copyright with one which is collected without the need to meter everything you read and listen to. I am not proposing any net tax increase.

[-] 0 points by journey4word (214) 11 years ago

depends on who you are. or do you assume EVERYONE who works even listens to music.

you did say added to income tax didn't you?

the idea record companys could somehow force people, who heard what they claim belongs to them, to pay for it is as ridiculous as me wanting anyone who reads what I've written here to pay me a royalty.

I think the recording industry has to make some changes in how it earns a living, but taxing every working person to split amongst record companys because they have failed to find plausible means to earn money isn't it.

[-] 1 points by mserfas (652) from Ashland, PA 11 years ago

Actually you would no longer be paying the record company - you'd be paying an independent funding organization which gives grants to individual musicians or groups of musicians. Less like giving to a record company and more like giving to PBS. Also, it would be your choice whether you wanted to choose organizations that fund music or others that fund novelists, artists, sculptors, films, computer games etc. I think that overall most people in the U.S. are paying something in terms of copyright royalties - maybe in a cable bill, maybe in hardcover novels, maybe in software ... something.