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SOPA is not back.

Crossposted from FYeahCopyright on tumblr:

nameless-traveler recently posted concerns that "The Obama administration announced that it will be bringing back a piece of SOPA legislation that would make streaming copyrighted material a felony" and linked to a petition against SOPA at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-sopa-2013/LMzMVrQF

But here's the thing. The Obama administration did not announce that they are bringing back a piece of SOPA legislation (apart from the fact that only Congress can introduce legislation).

The Commerce Department published a paper where they asked Congress to amend the Copyright Act itself to make it a felony to reproduce or distribute at least 10 or more copies with a total retail value of at least $2,500. They're trying to match up aspects of a 20+ year old law to make them more consistent and whether that's a good idea or not, there's one thing that's very clear.

THAT is not SOPA. That tweak may have been included as part of SOPA, but nowhere in the recent Commerce Department paper did they ask Congress to bring back SOPA itself.

And even if they had asked for it, someone in Congress would have had to write it into a bill; the Commerce Department can't just make something a felony because they want it to be. 

And even if THAT happened (which it won't because the telecoms and tech companies would not support it this go round any more than they did once they actually read it last time) it would have NO IMPACT on fanworks, transformative works or sites that allow the public to upload or stream content because of the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act, along with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In other words, there is nothing in this Commerce Department proposal that will have any impact whatsoever on any fanworks, fanfic, fanvids, spreecasts, fanart, online cons, reblogged and gacked images, screencaps or anything else. On the off chance this became law it might possibly impact live group viewings of tv shows or films, but if the marketplace is anything like what we've seen in the last 20+ years some companies will set up to do this on a licensed-works basis and we'll be able to carry on as we always have, just on a new platform.

But the fanworks? Fanworks are never actionable infringement because "fair use [including in a transformative work] is a lawful use of copyright." Here's the court case that says so.

So, guys sign that petition! There's no downside. But this? This thing  you're afraid of? Is not happening.

And yes, I am posting this comment as a standalone in the SOPA tag in hopes that it will get picked up and reblogged. If you reblogged the frightening threads before, please reblog this too - SOPA sucked, but this departmental proposal is very definitely not that.

Backstory note: We were as anti-SOPA/PIPA as anyone could be. But this just isn't the same thing.


Aug. 25th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
useful info
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