Second Life creators and users should support the Stop Online Piracy Act. It's legislation that helps stop copybotting by ending the impunity for it; it's the policy on intellectual property you always wanted in Second Life instead of chasing DMCA takedown notices.
But not surprisingly, Mitch Kapor, CEO of the board of the the maker of Second Life, Linden Lab, through his Electronic Frontier Foundation and other geek networks, is fighting SOPA. Belatedly the dogs of war have been unleashed on SL, a small community compared to Reddit which is going to shut down in protest (the reverse of what the merchants did when they shut down to protest piracy).
That's been done through the usual EFF mouthpiece and geek copyleftist (who always wrote extremely unsympathetically about the copybot issues and protests), SL Hamlet ne Linden Au on his blog.
SOPA doesn't threaten Second Life in the slightest. Oh sure, piracy, supposedly to be especially likely with mesh, goes on in large quantities. But that's what we want to fight. This notion that entire sites are taken down when only some infringing content on them is absurd. Law-enforcers have to meet the test of the definitions in the law, and anticipate the defenses and remedies. That's why I've suggested, um, READING the law, which spells this out. You would have to prove that Linden Lab knowingly profited in large amounts (over $1000) for a period over more than 3 months, repeatedly and deliberately, and also failed to make its case that shutting down the site would be too technologically non-feasible or too hard (more applicable to SL servers). So even if someone somehow manages to show that the SLM pirated items sold taken as a whole on the SLM were knowingly and deliberately kept by LL there to make a profit from commissions or subscriptions or tier fees somehow, you'd have to show IP holders for $1000 worth of content and all the rest of it. It's not going to happen. OR if it should come to that, LL will remove the content. Hello! Like the do now, when a serious IP holder tells them to.
What SOPA would do would remove the endless seperate DMCA cases -- or at least many of them. Because as the law of the land, companies would have to stop looking the other way and move on their own internal complaints better.
Google said it had a whopping 5 million takedown notices in a year. 5 million! On Youtube and other properties. It took down an enormous 75 percent of them! that's how to look at it. That's millions. The 25 percent they didn't take down probably didn't have good lawyers. See how this works? 5 million items that they got to make ad money from. 5 million cases or multiple cases from IP holders like music companies, having to chase them to make them take it down. Yes, Google and others are going to have to change somewhat their criminal and negligible business model, and start licensing content and stop ignoring pleas to take it down until it comes to lawsuits.
The idea that Google was harming free speech when it took down 75 percent of 5 million items is preposterous. Free speech wasn't harmed a whit. Livelihoods were made safe and money wasn't lost for artists. Some of Google's ad revenue got dented a bit. Boo-hoo! That will teach you to stop stealing and making money off other people's content.
When Google removes millions of infringing youtubes constantly, they don't say the Internet is broken or that innovation is harmed. They comply. That's the law. This law codifies it better, instead of letting code-as-law rule.
SOPA's language specifically addresses the false claim that providers have to become "copyright police". They don't. The law says they do not have to become prior monitors. Read it! As one congressman put it acidly: they have to obey the TOS they already have. Good! Pity it takes Congress intervening on the Internet to do this, but that is what it takes. Or actually, not pity. Thank God, we have organic institutions that can control greedy geeks. It's our only hope of keeping our freedom.
Go to SOPA Opera to see where your congressmen is on this bill. And write him or her to ask him to supoprt it! Howard Berman, a champion of human rights, is thankfully supporting it. But Daryl Issa, the libertarian and Tea Party darling is putting in killer amendments -- Silicon Valley is in his district. So is Zoe Lofgren in Silicon Valley. That's why Cory Doctorow's shrill claims that technologists have no input are silly -- there are some very heavy hitters from Silicon Valley already turned on this. That's why we have to fight for it!
So many are still undecided! An easy way to write them is on their Facebook pages if they have them. Look at New York's, 4 only are supporting, 27 undecided. I've been writing them.
Oh, going to yammer on and on about how Congress is "in the 1 percent" (a stupid idea if I ever heard it) and "bought out" by lobbiests? Well, look at Zoe Loefgren. At least if that theory is true, she stays bought and true to the Silicon Valley industries of computer and Internet that paid her; the music industry just paid her a lot less.
I'm going to be watching Sen. Gillibrand in my state. She picks up a lot of the "progressive" causes. But TV/Movies interests gave her more campaign contributions than Computers/Internet, so she better support SOPA.BTW, I'm all for lobbying -- it's legal, and now you can see how transparent it is.
Ron Paul lolbertarians and Obama technocommunists are together on opposing the bill, and that's why the liberal center must hold.
One of the most deceptive aspects of all this is how geeks are screaming that this will "break" the Internet and hatrm the new DNSSEC planned security regime. Gosh, worried about security all of a sudden, i.e. their privacy, after telling us for 15 years that you can't encrypt content and DRM doesn't work. So now something new and special? And geeks block malware sites all the time; that doesn't break the Internet. Why can't they block pirate sites? And indeed, Tor will work around this, although Tor may be one of the circumvention technologies targeted if they show that they in fact have intent to allow pirating (and ideologically, of course, they do, though they dance around it.)
There is enough amount of hype, hypocrisy and hypotheticals around this, to quote the lobbyists of the RIAA. But long before any RIAA lobbyists said it, I said it for a different set of reasons.
I've written why Second Life resident should support SOPA and why Second Life actually shows how SOPA can work, and not harm innovation or censor speech, both chimeras that hysterical geeks have whipped up to try to scare Tumbling teens to screech about this everywhere.
My articles on this on Wired State: