Monday, July 18, 2011

MPAA Lies in Claiming Huffington Post Lied about Protect IP Act

This is my very first post on this blog. I started off writing this on my Google+, yet decided it was too long. I'm not so much a fan of really long posts on a social network, it can be fairly annoying to scroll through on a phone if you're not interested in what it has to say. A blog seemed much more appropriate for this. Pretty much spur of the moment, so I'm not sure yet what will ultimately result from this.

It starts with a link, to the MPAA blog in its response to an article from the Huffington Post about the Protect IP Act of 2011 (PIPA) and the negative economical impacts it will have on web start-ups.

MPAA Blog | The PROTECT IP Act is Good for Emerging American Enterprises

The fact that some senators who will eventually vote on this bill don't even know what it's about (such as Kirsten Gillibrand of NY, an actual co-sponsor of the bill, thinking it has to do with the presidential kill switch to the internet), just goes to show it's not vocalized enough by the people.

In the link provided, the MPAA bashes a Huffington Post article that claims PIPA could harm web start-ups, by itself claiming "nothing could be further from the truth."

The Huff Post points out that "the copyright owner can petition a U.S. court to make that site invisible to people inside the U.S." The MPAA tries to falsify this claim by saying in the 7th paragraph, "Furthermore, only the Attorney General – not copyright holders – would be able to seek a court order asking search engines and other intermediaries to block these sites from U.S. consumers." Yet from Section 2(11)(B) of the bill itself, "an owner of an intellectual property right, or one authorized to enforce such right, harmed by the activities of an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities occurring on that Internet site" serves as a "qualifying plaintiff" (should be said the Attorney General is noted in Section 2(11)(A) as a qualifying plaintiff) whereby under Section 4(b)(1), a qualifying plaintiff is provided with the rights to seek such court orders. So both the Attorney Generals [2(11)(A)] and copyright holders [2(11)(B)] can seek court orders.

When the Huff Post makes the claim how PIPA can remove the potential for due process, the MPAA states the "infringer" (accused, not convicted) must be provided with a notice first and, "Only 'if through due diligence the Attorney General is unable to find' a website or domain name owner can an action proceed without this notice." The MPAA semi-quotes Section 4(a)(2) of the bill for this, replacing "qualifying plaintiff" with "Attorney General" since they already lied that only Attorney Generals count as a qualifying plaintiff.

What's even worse, and one of the ways I predict this bill will be most widely abused? Under the same Section 4(a)(2), if " such person found has an address within a judicial district of the United States, the qualifying plaintiff may commence an in rem action against a domain name...", effectively skipping the requirement for the notice to the domain name holder. Since the bill targets domain names owned by people not in the US, not a far stretch to assume many, if not most, do not have an address within a judicial district of the US (though some will, notably the larger international companies; yet I doubt many start-ups will, the subject of the Huff Post article). How can you claim due process when you can easily bypass the need to notify the domain name holder, get a court order, and have the domain filtered from the US?

I could go on and on about this. My point being, if the Huff Post is not truthful that PIPA could harm web start-ups, why does the MPAA have to resort to blatant and unabashed lies in their counterpoints to the article? If they truly believe that "nothing could be further from the truth" in the Huff Post's claims, why couldn't they tell the truth?

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