SOPA arises from the ashes cannot be answered today. But in the vacuum of SOPA's
demise, several alternatives have been offered. Keep your blackouts at bay - maybe
there's a solution upon which we can all agree.
How about a Tax?
Dean Baker of Truthout wants to (in a way) put copyrights to
bed. He recognizes that the issue isn't as much about piracy prevention as it
is about payment. Unlike SOPA, he doesn't want to put a muffle on the internet.
Instead, he wants to generate payment for creativity:
One route would be to allow individuals a
modest refundable tax credit - an artistic freedom voucher (AFV) - that would
allow them to give $75-$100 a year to support creative work. This money could
either go directly to the worker or to an intermediary that supports specific
types of creative work (e.g. an intermediary may finance action films, jazz
music or mystery novels).
workers would be funded with this tax revenue. However, the funding comes with
The other condition for receiving the money is
that the person would be ineligible for copyright protection for a substantial
period of time (e.g. five years) after
collecting money through the AFV system. This rule is to prevent the AFV system
from turning into a farm system for the entertainment industry.
Be Responsible but without the Government
Mariellen Jewers of policymic
argues that business models must change, not the law. In the grand scheme,
consumers are the true victims as "both sides of the piracy debate
benefit from not changing."
The old business plans that
cannot survive in a new economy get privileges they should not have, and new
companies can make a lot of money from inefficiencies.
backs away from a legislative answer and moves towards a market answer. The
solution is (if possible) a meeting of the minds:
If internet companies and the traditional media
industry really wanted to protect creative innovation and free speech, then
they would sit down together and work out an agreement. There is shared
responsibility of the private sector to foster a free, fair and safe online
If Not SOPA, Then OPEN
about another acronym, but this time OPEN, a/k/a the Online Protection and Enforcement of
Digital Trade Act. As Mashable reports, Google's all in for OPEN, which would subtract
the Justice Department from the enforcement equation and replace it with the International
Trade Commission. Despite Google's endorsement, OPEN's been cooling its heels
in the shade. As the Mashable article reports:
One reason that the bills haven't gotten much
attention is that the entertainment industry isn't behind them, primarily
because of objections over the ITC's ability to enforce online piracy. However,
the bills are also being sidelined because of the focus on SOPA and PIPA and
confusion over which House and Senate sub-committees should debate OPEN.
there's still an argument for saving the Titanic. Matt Reed of Florida Today wants SOPA fixed rather than put
to sleep. He notes that the bill has "a few dubious provisions that have
nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with spooky government
intrusion." But does that mean it should die a painful death as trumpeted by
the big internet players? If something's broke, can't it be fixed? In giving
SOPA a second life, Mr. Reed wants to trash:
- prosecutorial powers against materials deemed
"intended for use in a national security, law enforcement or critical
infrastructure application;" and
- criminal liability for
Internet companies that process a rogue site's credit-card payments, list
it in search results or deliver its advertisements to web pages.
- prosecutorial powers against foreign
Internet sites "dedicated to infringement;" and
- defining offending sites as those with no
other purpose but to steal intellectual property and sell counterfeit
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