Old 17th November 2011, 20:26   #1
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Call to Action: Stop Online Piracy Act

Copyright Bill Draws Widespread Controversy from Industry Experts

By Randall Krause

Internet radio is once again being threatened by pending intellectual property legislation. Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261), a bill intended to effectively curb online piracy. But don't be fooled by the seemingly benign title. The language of this bill, and its potentially destructive applications, are far more concerning.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation refers to SOPA as "the most disasterous IP legislation of the past decade," and for good reason.

Within its convoluted legal passages are stipulations that effectively "hand the keys to the inner-workings of the Internet" to major content owners allowing sweeping enforcement actions that could shutdown major social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr, most of which rely on user generated content, but nonetheless enable infringement -- and indeed, that is only the crux of the bill's overly broad definitions.

Certain provisions of SOPA are actually derivatives of the Senate's PROTECT IP Act (S.968), and therefore pertain to Webcasting specifically. Most notably, under the proposed legislation, unauthorized Webcasting of 10 or more copyrighted works within a 180 day period shall now constitute a felony and carry a penalty of up to five years inprisonment.

Unlike the DMCA "safe harbor" provisions that have allowed ISPs to merely remove infringing content upon written notification in exchange for indemnity, by contrast SOPA's "private right of action" induces ISPs to indiscriminately deactivate entire Websites and disable entire domains -- even if merely suspected of hosting illicit content -- otherwise incur liability. In addition, expanding the scope of contributory liability will force search engines, payment processors, registrars, and advertising affiliates to immediately cut ties with any and all services that are allegedly enabling infringement, even without so much as a court injunction.

In the context of this bill, any Website that indexes hyperlinks to other data sources for purposes of viewing or download constitutes a "search engine". Therefore, the SHOUTcast homepage itself would be under continual scrutiny should any of its listed streams violate copyright law. Can you imagine this entire domain someday resulting in a DNS lookup failure because of a potentially bogus claim by a disgruntled copyright holder?
As well, an ISP invariably encompasses any and all SHOUTcast stream hosts whether of a domestic or foreign origin -- a significant source of music programming from around the world. However, should a select few clients willfully fail to comply with copyright, a stream host could be subject to liability and disabled in its entirety. All search engine entries would disappear and all payments-received would be declined resulting in a frenzy of confusion for potentially thousands of listeners and broadcasters alike.

The fundamental purpose of copyright law is to encourage the progress of technology and the arts, not instill unwarranted fear in the minds of consumers and craft artificial communication barriers online.

It is imperative that we thwart these and other ridiculously burdensome and intrusive policies, and establish a system of checks and balances to ensure that the Internet remains a free and open marketplace, operated for the interests of the consumer public without the unnecessarily singular and unilateral constraint and oppression of our government.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives today, and urge them to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261).
More details about the bill, including its cosponsors and the supporting organizations can be found at
Thank you for taking action to protect the future of Internet radio.

Randall E. Krause
Executive Director
Small Webcaster Community Initiative
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Old 17th November 2011, 21:34   #2
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Old 18th November 2011, 11:45   #3
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This is huge, I have been surprised by the lack of attention it has been getting.

"unauthorized Webcasting of 10 or more copyrighted works within a 180 day period shall now constitute a felony and carry a penalty of up to five years inprisonment."

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
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Old 15th December 2011, 16:04   #4
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Thank you dotme for the sticky! I do hope more people take notice of this legislation and its considerable impact on Webcasting.

Today, in a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, the Stop Online Piracy Act is to be marked up and potentially amended following a committee vote. Several high-profile Internet services including Google and Twitter have already expressed concerns that the chilling effects of the bill in its current incarnation could stifle creativity and restrict an open market that has helped to nurture the evolution of the Internet.

The MPAA has chimed in recently, its president Chris Dodd even remarking that such critical allegations of repression and censorship are false. While some of the more outrageous doomsday predictions indeed remain questionable, the bill as it currently stands, nonetheless contains some very dangerous (read, remarkably vague definitions and obtuse language). Several of the more demonstrable concerns have already been enumerated by respected legal experts and law professors.

In particular, Harvard law graduate Terry Hart has this to say about the felony streaming provisions of the bill.

[There is simply] no defense for broad drafting of a new felony in U.S. criminal law. When crafting a criminal statute with serious jail time at stake, it's incumbent on the legislators to properly narrow the scope of the law, rather than to write a really broad law and then count on prosecutorial discretion to ensure it isn't misapplied.
An excellent summary and review of the key amendments being proposed can be found on TechDirt:


Opponents of SOPA recently introduced a bill into the House and Senate, sponsored by Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Ron Wyden, entitled The Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act or OPEN Act. The draft specifies several important compromises aimed at curbing online piracy without stifling technological innovation. These provisions can loosely be summarized as follows:
  • Protects the intellectual property rights of artists
  • Protects against new Internet "police powers"
  • Secures DMCA safe harbours for qualified Internet businesses
  • Protects access to social media and legitimate Websites
  • Ensures intellectual property cases resolved by IP experts
  • Targest foreign criminal Websites exclusively
  • Applies due process to judge infringement claims
  • Encourages economic development and industry expansion

There is a very thorough point-by-point analysis, including pros and cons, of the current incarnation of the OPEN Act on TechDirt:


It remains to be seen whether the numerous shortcomings of this bill even make it a worthy alternative to SOPA of the PROTECT-IP Act. But we can only hope that Congressional proponents will use common sense once these and other concerns are raised in committee, and to exercise extreme care to lessen the potential burdens on the industry.

Please remember to call contact your Senators and Representatives, urging them to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.


Thank you for your attention,

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Old 16th December 2011, 00:06   #5
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Thanks for the update, this may impact my work on an "isp" level, and I wasn't aware of this yet. thanks again.
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Old 17th January 2012, 03:22   #6
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I have put BOTH of the banner available on the Stop SOPA website on my political blog & new podcasts

As far as contacting my Reps. is concerned, all three of them are Democrats so I don't think I have to be a nag on the issue (Unlike those of you with RepubliCANTS for Reps - Don't get me started on them ), but I'll be sure to remind them about it every now & then ;D

If I find any audio and/or video material to include at the end of each episode, I'll be sure to post the 411 on that

Honestly, I think SOPA is redundant

While I don't think it will give content owners to (Effectively) shut down a site like Facebook (What content owner would wanna shut down AN AVENUE FOR THE PUBLIC TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK anyway ?? That behooves me !!), I contend that the DMCA already does an adequate job of controlling the distribution of content. What SOPA amounts to is simply little more than SUPER CORPORATE GREED




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Old 18th January 2012, 18:57   #7
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sorry to ask but how non US citizen can help, I am sure this will effect to all

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Old 18th January 2012, 22:13   #8
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Originally Posted by forumtalk View Post
sorry to ask but how non US citizen can help, I am sure this will effect to all
Because SHOUTcast is hosted on servers located in the U.S. Therefore as such, they are subject to U.S. law (Which will include SOPA if passed) EVEN THOUGH you are not in the U.S.

That's how

Does that answer your question?


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Old 18th January 2012, 22:21   #9
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Greetings everyone:

As many of you are aware, there has been a surge of activity as numerous prominent Websites are staging a total or partial blackout in protest of PROTECT-IP and its counterpart SOPA today, the most notable being Wikipedia and Reddit, with Google taking a more conservative approach by blacking out its iconic banner. One of the principal groups organizing these viral protests, Fight for the Future, estimates upwards of 12,000 total participants in the campaign.
These blackouts were to coincide with testimony provided by technology experts on Capitol Hill today, however due to the public outcry, that meeting has been postponed while representatives purport to be re-evaluating the situation.

Godaddy, a staunch advocate of the controversial IP legislation, has already faced a remarkable consumer backlash as tens of thousands of disgruntled customers transfered-out domains over the course of the past month in opposition of their political stance -- clearly a testament to the power of the consumer voice.

"It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don’t want to protect American consumers and businesses," remarks Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the House version of the bill.

Margaret Brennan, of Bloomberg, is quick to counter, "As a copyright holder myself, I also want to be protected, but these bills were written by lobbyists, not technologists. $94 million dollars from Hollywood went into Washington last year, and it is frustrating in a time when we cannot get Representatives and Senators to agree on anything important, like the deficit or unemployment but someone shows up with $94 million and we have Democrats and Republicans lining up to co- sponsor the bill?"

The Whitehouse offered similar sentiments in a statement last week, while decidedly backing away from the legislation: "While we believe that online piracy by foreign Web sites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Currently, movie studios and music labels comprise the largest portion of SOPA supporters. Advocates claim that the bill is ostensibly aimed at foreign piracy, not unbridled censorship. But, the jury is still out on the potential rammifications on American businesses. Fortunately, many of the more egregious domestic provisions have been curtailed since the original draft was introduced; however, the language still remains intentionally vague and obtuse, effectively inviting radical misinterpretations.

Ultimately our greatest voice rests on Capitol Hill. While lawmakers are often backed by vested stakeholders, they also recognize their duty to the public at large. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and one of the bill's original co-sponsors, today withdrew support for the PROTECT-IP Act claiming it's "not ready for prime time." Others are sure to follow suit, but we still need to continue placing pressure on our elected officials, many of whom are entirely oblivious to the problematic nature of these bills.

It's not too late to make a difference. Please visit
If you do not reside in the United States you can still take a stand. Help to spread the word about American censorship with your friends and colleagues by sharing the link above. There are also many banner campaigns online, allowing you to protest directly via Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for your support!


Executive Director, SWCI
www.smallwebcaster.org // Redefining Music Royalties for Small Webcasters

Legal Disclaimer: The information hereinbefore is not intended to constitute legal advice or consultation nor does it form a legally binding contract.
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