Hollywood's Copyright Lobbyists Are Like Exes Who Won't Give Up

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
March 10, 2014

You know when you break up with someone and they just don’t get the message? A few months later, they’re trying again, testing the waters with a few small things that just keep getting bigger. They friend you again on Facebook. They start liking your posts. They show up at a party they expect you to be at. They ask you for drinks, just to “catch up,” you know? And then they talk about the way things used to be, and if only you two could try again. And you’re like, “What part of ‘I never want you to be a part of my life’ did you not understand?”

The copyright lobbyists in D.C. are following this ex-boyfriend playbook.

Let’s begin with the breakup. Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, WordPress, and Facebook aren’t responsible for the copyright infringement of each of their millions of users, so long as they take down specific posts, videos, or images when notified by copyright holders. But copyright holders thought that wasn’t good enough. They wanted to take down whole websites, not just particular posts, and without ever going to court. In 2011, they proposed a bill that would let them do just that.

It was called SOPA.

Read the full piece over at Slate.