Friday, January 20, 2012

Stance on IP Violations

In my previous post I replied to the US Chamber of Commerce's stance on SOPA and PIPA. Afterwards I received a few inquiries from various people who questioned as to what my stance on Intellectual Property theft was and what other issues do I have with SOPA and PIPA, so I thought I would post to make sure it is clear.

To the first inquiry, I would like to say that Intellectual Property theft is a real concern. My associates here at Dolomite and I work diligently to protect our Intellectual Property and the Intellectual Property of the companies we represent.

To the later question, I am a bit surprised. If the issues I pointed out previously weren't enough, then let me add another few more.

Both SOPA and PIPA were designed to block domain names responsible for piracy and to help curb the source of funding for the web sites involved. Both are laudable goals. Unfortunately, how the bills went about it was ineffective.

If you block a domain name, you can still access the domain name with the IP Address. This is a simple thing and easy to do. Most teenagers can do it and you can be sure that those who want to pirate something will learn how to do it. Besides, there are many tools that will do this for you already. In fact, with the rise of the publicity resulting from SOPA and PIPA, many new tools have come out, including some that integrate into your browser to automate the process.

When it comes to funding for the web sites I have a few other concerns. First, how can you enforce that any company that does business with a site will stop? Most sites have multiple sources of revenue; advertising, links in search engines, subscriptions, etc. Are they suspended to the business running the website or just to that particular website? And what happens if a website provides content under multiple domain names and only one domain is listed in the ex parte proceeding? Do we need to cut links to one site but are allowed to continue doing business with the other? Probably most important, if a website is providing legitimate content, but a few items turn out to be illegitimate, is sites funding still frozen or only funding to the pages with the pirates content? For that matter how do you decide how to break it down?

There are too many questions that need to be answered. Both methods to curb piracy addressed in the bill are inadequate and won't work.

If your going to do something to curb piracy, lets atleast try to do it right. And in the process, lets make sure our right to Freedom of Speech is not put in a state where it is limited. There is room to do take action against piracy while still protecting speech. Now we just need to get our Congressional leaders to see that.

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