Posts Tagged ‘SOPA’
December 19th, 2014 at 2:38 pm
Google Seeks to Exploit Sony Cyberattack for Its Own Self-Interest
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The Sony cyberattack – apparently state-sponsored – obviously raises solemn concerns, including national security and the very safety of American citizens.

Accordingly, immediate public discussion should focus primarily upon the gravity of the attack and how the Internet, one of the most transformative and beneficial innovations in human history, can sometimes become a tool for those with destructive and even deadly intent.  While Sony Pictures, its employees, and its customers were the immediate victims this time, the reality is that this could happen to anyone and any enterprise.  In fact, such attacks on other companies and individuals occur at an alarmingly accelerating pace.

Leave it to Google, however, to attempt to profit from the attack and leverage it on behalf of its own self-interest.

Instead of joining the rest of the responsible online community in addressing the important issues of cybersecurity and the way in which the Internet is increasingly exploited to invade privacy, commit theft, sabotage and even terrorize, Google seeks to malign a very serious investigation into its own questionable Internet conduct.  Specifically, it remains under scrutiny by federal and state authorities for years of alleged anticompetitive conduct and invasion of privacy, as well as for potentially facilitating theft, fraud, illicit sale of drugs and even human trafficking.  The allegations are obviously serious, and Google is even more obviously worried enough about them to exploit the Sony cyberattack for its benefit.

Google even resurrected the SOPA corpse, which in its case is an acronym not for the Stop Online Piracy Act, but rather Same Old Predictable Arguments.  And rather than adhering to its self-proclaimed motto “Don’t Be Evil,” acting like a responsible participant in the Internet ecosystem and joining the condemnation and fight against cyberthreats, it is instead attempting some sleight of hand by highlighting materials leaked in the Sony attack to trot out stale arguments about “censorship across the web” and somehow breaking the Internet to obfuscate ongoing investigations into its behavior.  For instance, it highlights documents apparently stolen from Sony’s network and purportedly relating to internal strategy discussions among movie studios regarding how judicial remedies under current law might be employed to target websites trafficking in stolen content and operating illegal businesses that profit from the work of others.

That sort of strategy would actually be the polar opposite of SOPA, which was new federal legislation to change the law in order to more effectively target online piracy.  In contrast, discussions focused upon existing judicial remedies to “follow the money” to curb online content theft are precisely what the critics of SOPA argued the studios should pursue.  More broadly, the ongoing investigations into Google, and the judicial strategies the studios appear to have been considering are not about “regulating the Internet” or changing the way it operates.  Rather, they are about applying existing law to rightfully combat illegal conduct that happens to occur on the Internet.  The fact that it is occurring online doesn’t make it any more legal or sympathetic than if it was occurring in the physical realm.

Oddly, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt even made a puzzling trip to North Korea in 2013 over the objections of the State Department, which labeled it unhelpful and “ill-timed.”  Schmidt encouraged North Korea to more actively embrace the Internet, but perhaps he should’ve followed the adage, “be careful what you wish for.”

Regardless, whether one favored or opposed SOPA – and we detailed at the time how the criticisms were largely uninformed or flatly dishonest – Google shouldn’t be trying to pull a fast one.  We should instead transcend its transparent rhetoric and focus on the important issue at hand:  What responsible Internet stakeholders should be doing to strengthen our bulwarks against cyberattack, and to avoid facilitating illicit behavior on the Internet.

February 2nd, 2012 at 4:49 pm
Counterfeit NFL Merchandise Bust Blows Hole in Internet Piracy Apologists’ Claim
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In the ongoing battle over Congressional legislation to target foreign rogue websites, opponents falsely characterize the battle as one pitting sinister liberal “Big Hollywood” against underdog champions of Internet freedom.

That characterization was always false, but too many conservatives and libertarians unfortunately fell for it.  The truth is that hundreds of businesses and employers, from the NFL to EA Sports to Ford Motor to 1-800-Contacts to Burberry supported the bill.  Why?  Because their property, employees and innovations actually suffer from the menace of online piracy.  Meanwhile, groups like Google have no property right at stake from online piracy.  Indeed, they benefit from uninterrupted rogue website traffic.  So no wonder they opposed anti-piracy legislation.

Today, just days before the Super Bowl, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency announced a major bust of 307 rogue websites selling millions of dollars’-worth of counterfeit merchandise:

Special agents this week seized a total of 307 websites and snatched up 42,692 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia along with other counterfeit items for a total take of more than $4.8 million – up from $3.72 million last year.  Sixteen of the sites the agency shut down during this operation known as Fake Sweep, were illegally streaming live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games.  Two hundred ninety-one website domain names were illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise, ICE stated.”

And the bust wasn’t limited to counterfeit NFL merchandise:

During this operation, an additional 22,570 items of counterfeit merchandise and clothing representing other sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were seized by law enforcement. In total, this operation netted 65,262 counterfeit items worth $6.4 million, ICE stated.”

This is a critical example to keep in mind as the battle against foreign rogue websites moves forward.  That sort of illegal activity is already subject to seizure if it occurs within the U.S., but foreign sites remain largely beyond American law.  Piracy apologists want to make this look like anti-piracy legislation is just some sort of Big Hollywood handout, but this bust illustrates the falsity of that claim.

January 20th, 2012 at 9:25 am
Podcast: The Truth About SOPA and PIPA
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Timothy Lee, Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs at CFIF, corrects the record on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), and explains the urgent need for congressional legislation to crack down on foreign rogue websites dedicated to the theft of American intellectual property.

Listen to the interview here.

January 13th, 2012 at 1:35 pm
Video: Want to Protect American Jobs? Start by Fighting Internet Piracy
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino debunks the misinformation by opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and discusses the immediate need for Congress to pass legislation to crack down on foreign rogue websites that are dedicated to stealing U.S. intellectual property.