Anti-Piracy Act

Even with the postponement of a vote for the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US Congress, the issue still remains a hot one. Our Zintro experts weigh in with their thoughts and opinions.

Ben Levitan, a cellular expert, says that the internet was designed by the government to assure constant communications. If during a war, a link between headquarters and the front line was blown up, communications would not be interrupted via an Internet where there were hundreds or thousands of alternate routes to the same location. If international links are removed then people who host the internet will simply find alternate routes. It would be easy to route traffic over a private link from Canada to the USA. These types of things will not help the piracy issue,” he says.

Dr. LLau, an expert in IT and IP law, says that while the law allows self-help under certain circumstances, trying to counter an economic tort (loss of excess profits) by hindering a third party (advertiser on the alleged infringing web-site) is not effective. “Apart from the potential for abuse (framing competitors), the use of emotionally laden words such as stop piracy and protect property marks an abuse of the legal concepts. IP can be seen as a head-start; a patent is exhausted after 20 years and the copyright is released into public domain,” Llau says. “What has shifted in this case is the technology has altered the careful balance the courts have evoked. The reality is that the half-life of digital products (when 50% of what you know/experience becomes worthless) has dramatically shortened. So rather than address the core issue of what makes a piece of music or film memorable (and thus extending life-span), corporations are either suing their customers or bullying alternative distribution networks. Copyright infringement is a valid concern, but attempting to blacklist secondary or tertiary participants doesn’t solve the issue.”

Michael Plishka, president of a design consultancy, says that the discussion of controlling online piracy is, at its core, a discussion of business models. “Current models have not anticipated, nor are they adjusting to, current market dynamics that are heavily influenced by social communities that utilize technology in ways that increase the ability of individuals to share and build community in ways that were not possible in the past,” he says. “The typical reaction to new problems is to use methods that were used to deal with old problems, modifying these techniques accordingly.”

Plishka says that the problem is that online piracy is so different in scope, breadth and depth, from the piracy of copyrighted brick and mortar entities that the methods for dealing with this must also be completely different. “Essential to this is the reframing of the challenges at hand: innovative ways of looking at the world and seeing that social networking via the internet is an opportunity, not an enemy to be conquered. This means that typical models of profit-making must be abandoned in favor of alternate methods that work symbiotically with the internet as opposed to current methods which simply use the internet as a means to an end,” he says.

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