Strong opinions, weakly held

The anti-SOPA protests worked

The big news of the day is that on the day of the blackout protests, 18 Senators announced their opposition to PIPA, the Senate version of the SOPA bill. Most of the newly opposed Senators are Republicans. Sadly, Democrats get a lot of campaign contributions from the entertainment industry, and the entertainment industry desperately wants to be granted even more authority to bully suspected copyright violators.

Killing this terrible bill is great, but there are two broader discussions that really need to take place. The first is about whether attempts to prevent piracy through new laws is worthwhile at all. (I would argue that it is not.) And the second is about how laws like SOPA come about in the first place. For more on that, read about Larry Lessig’s recent work.


  1. The discussion that needs to take place is around whether there is such a thing as intellectual property.

    Failing that, there are two copyright reforms that are necessary and sufficient: (1) forbid assignment of copyright going forward; (2) any work whose copyright has been assigned, but which has been allowed by its assignee to become unavailable, ipso facto enters the public domain.

  2. Society would receive more benefit from eliminating intellectual property as a legal concept altogether, though that is unlikely to occur.

    We are fighting the long defeat against bills like SOPA/PIPA. Corporate interests always win, in the end.

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