Coloradans protest federal
The Denver Post
dwindling support for congressional efforts to curb online piracy highlights
the powerful platform that social networking has given to those who spend
little to no money lobbying lawmakers.
be sure, strong opposition from Internet giants such as Google and Wikipedia is
playing a large role in the retreat of support for the proposed laws simply
referred to as SOPA and PIPA.
countless entrepreneurs, tech geeks and others who traditionally do no more
than call their local lawmakers, if that, have taken to Facebook and Twitter to
voice their displeasure, updating profile pictures with a "STOP SOPA"
banner or sharing related posts and stories with their legions of virtual
we've witnessed here around this campaign is a possibly historic effort in
terms of Internet entrepreneurs paying attention to what's happening in
Washington," said Phil Weiser, executive director of the Silicon Flatirons
Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado.
"Unlike more mature companies, they're not necessarily organized to
participate in traditional ways in Washington."
media has made this type of organizing much more impactful," said Weiser,
dean of the CU Law School.
are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act
(PIPA) supposedly so dangerous, as foes argue, when most of those involved
agree that illegal use of copyrighted content on the Internet is a real
general terms, provisions in the proposed measures make it more likely that
Internet companies such as Facebook and Google would face legal action if their
users upload or share a link to a video with copyrighted content.
of the bills include movie studios and record labels who say more needs to be
done to curtail the piracy of digital goods.
it stands now, Internet companies are required to remove the infringing content
if asked by the copyright holder but aren't liable if the material slips
through the cracks.
hard for Facebook to proactively check all their users, all the time, in all
sorts of ways," Weiser said. "If you build in such requirements and
subject them to lawsuits on the back end, and if they don't do it perfectly,
that is a real risk to Internet companies' ability to thrive."
of the measures argue that the requirements would lead to censorship as large
companies may limit services and smaller ones may shutter rather than face
potentially crippling lawsuits.
copyright enforcement responsibility from government to the private sector
makes it much more costly to do business on the Internet," said Dan Lynn,
co-founder of Denver-based tech start-up FullContact.
is among those who have placed a "STOP SOPA" banner on their Twitter
issue is top of mind for many residents as Colorado's Twitter users are
generating about 2 percent of the tweets about SOPA, according to Trendrr, a
social media intelligence platform. California, home to technology-rich Silicon
Valley, tops the list at 11 percent.
State College of Denver criminal justice major Silvia Arellano said she learned
of the issue Wednesday when she received a text alert about Wikipedia
temporarily shutting its site in protest.
Porritt, a Metro State student from Boulder, said content sharing is too
widespread to address through legislation.
understand the legality and income-loss issues, but I grew up in a era where
everybody downloads everything," he said.
Ray, an associate professor in the computer science department at Colorado
State University, said the onus should be on industry to come up with a
business model that works in an Internet age.
we put in some type of legislation, the general trait of mankind is to break
that," Ray said. "One way to solve it is to come up with a different
business model where the incentive to do piracy is not that great."
Internet service providers have a voluntary agreement with content providers to
send subscribers a warning when they are engaging in infringement activity,
such as downloading an illegal copy of a movie. Trials of such efforts have
shown to be effective in reducing the amount of piracy, said Weiser, a former
deputy assistant attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department.
people know that their behavior is not anonymous, they're a lot more
responsible," he said.
said another option to fight the problem is to eliminate avenues for known
file-sharing and piracy websites to accept payments or earn advertising
revenue, similar to the way the U.S. cracked down on Internet gambling.
Andy Vuong : 303-954-1209 orfacebook.com/byandyvuong