The next move in the SOPA debate, Packer proud, just deserts, who should own Nell the dog, and your daily Ricky.
1) THE NEXT MOVE IN THE SOPA DEBATE
What is the point at which rights are so violated, that we sacrifice ourselves -- or a piece of our lives -- to say "no!"?
The SOPA protest is over. It was impressive in its ability to generate buzz, but did it work? Was it enough? Wikipedia never really disappeared (people with iPhones could get to it, or the Google cache would make it available), and the black bar across Google's logo is gone this morning. Point made? Maybe. Politicians no doubt got an increase in e-mails and maybe phone calls and perhaps it'll make a difference; we'll see.
Their display of "expertise" on the subject does not suggest subtle protest will get through:
"The issue of pending legislation aimed at curtailing internet piracy is a violation of the Constitution and a slippery slope away from censorship 'because we can,'" Kate Harri of Minneapolis said in an e-mail yesterday, objecting to my point on The Current that the protest was more marketing than a strike. "It's closer to slapping a magnet on a car and saying, 'we support our troops,' while refusing any and all sacrifice in a time of war," I said. That's not a reflection on the underlying issue; it's a statement of the nature of protest in 2012.
Anyone who noticed that the U.S. recently enacted a policy of being able to detain American citizens without charges doesn't need a lesson about the slippery slope. How do you think we got this far but for the slow erosion of due process that went unnoticed by those it did not immediately affect?
If reality matches allegations and the legislation designed to stop online privacy is the march toward actual government censorship, to what extent would Americans who object go to say "no!"?
Within hours of the beginning of the "Internet strike" yesterday, people on Twitter -- mostly against SOPA -- were already posting details of getting around Wikipedia's front page "closed" sign. As I posted on Twitter, that's like calling a hunger strike and then eating Twinkies. Sometimes, we seek to minimize the inconvenience of our own protests. We're addicted to our connectivity.
The Los Angeles Times calculates the protest by the numbers:
8,882 people have liked the Against the Stop Online Piracy Act page on Facebook.
Google is reporting more than 3 million Americans have signed various petitions opposing SOPA.
51,689 signed a petition on the White House's website We the People, asking the Obama administration to veto SOPA.
1.4 million people worldwide signed a "Save the Internet" petition on the activist website Avaaz.org
BlackoutSOPA.org is reporting that 68,620 people have changed either their Twitter, Google+ or Facebook profile picture to feature an anti-SOPA message.
The New York Times noted the impressive response, but still...
Engine Advocacy, a service that helps people call their local members of Congress, said on Twitter that it was averaging roughly 2,000 calls per second, while Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees Wikipedia, said four million people used its blacked-out site to look up contact information for their local representative. Opponents of the legislation also took their demonstrations into the real world in New York, San Francisco and Seattle, but drew relatively modest numbers of protesters. Still, for a group that tends to be more comfortable showing solidarity from behind the warm glow of a computer screen - by changing a profile picture or reposting a favorite motto - it was a considerable showing.
"You're dealing with a world now where people genuinely believe that tweeting something constitutes activism," a Twitter follower said last evening.
Did the protest match the threat? Or are politicians simply waiting opponents out, calculating they're not about to stand in front of the virtual tank -- and certainly not a real one -- to make the point and save the Constitution? What would have happened if the "Internet strike" actually had been a real strike -- the kind with sacrifice and pain? What if protests weren't changing a logo, but shutting down a service? How long would the principles behind it last in the face of the effect of making the point?
The Associated Press considered what would happen if there were no Internet, even for a short period of time.
If an Internet outage lasted more than a day or two, the financial hit would be huge, with mass unemployment, said Ken Mayland, a former chief bank economist and president of ClearView Economics. Eugene Spafford, director of Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, worries about bank runs and general panic.
Psychologically, too, it could be wrenching.
"I think it's easier to get off heroin," said Lisa Welter of New York City, who weaned herself for a month last year from just the social aspects of the Internet -- she still paid bills online -- and felt as if she was "living in a cave."
"There would be a sense of loss: What would I do with my time?" said Kimberly Young, a psychologist who directs the Center for Internet Addiction and Recovery.
Yesterday's online protests contrasted with a real one outside a taxi company headquarters in the Twin Cities. Two-hundred cabdrivers sacrificed their jobs to make their point.
If Wednesday's "strike" doesn't change the minds of politicians, what's the next move?
2) PACKER PROUD
You have to admire Wauwatosa, Wis., native Casey Lewis for admitting this is Wauwatosa, Wis., native Casey Lewis. If you can spell Internet, you probably know that Lewis' sister filmed her, while driving, after they went to a bar and "had a couple of shots." Terrific.
This, you can probably tell, was after the Packers' loss to the Giants in the NFL playoffs.
Star Tribune sports columnist Michael Rand tracked her down and asked her a series of questions, one of which was not, "hey, if you're really crying and breaking down over the tragedy of it all, where are the actual tears?"
Find the "interview" here.
3) JUST DESERTS
How great must it have been last night to be a copy editor at the Star Tribune, the target of scorn by a well-respected website on newspaper and graphical design, and be able to turn the tables on the virtual school marm?
"The Star Tribune needs a copy editor!" blared the post headline on Charles Apple's blog at the American Copy Editors Society.
"The pun they're looking for, I believe, is desserts," Apple sniffed.
Except that it's not. It's actually "deserts," just as the paper said.
If English is your first language, this would be a good day to slap the back of someone who speaks and writes it as a second language and say, "I don't know how you did it." Because it seldom makes any sense.
(h/t: Vince Tuss)
4) "I WANT MY DOG BACK"
In Minot last summer, a couple surrendered their dog and cat to the Humane Society. They had lost their rented home in the flooding and couldn't take care of either. Two weeks later, Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald writes, they asked for the pets back, but it was too late. The cat had been killed, and the dog -- Nell -- had been adopted. The couple who adopted the dog refused to give her back.
"The people who adopted the dog are an older couple," she said. "They went through an adoption process, filled out a questionnaire and signed a contract. They spent time with the pet and learned about its temperament and personality.
"They're doing fine together."
Moen said she also thought it was unfair to put the couple in such a difficult emotional situation.
"They in good faith adopted this dog," she said. "It would be devastating to them."
5) FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF "I'M JUST A SPECK"
Storms in Africa, and the Milky Way above. It's the latest video from the space station. If you only see a black box here, go here instead.
Bonus I: It's pretty clear now that whoever the person was who appeared at Edgar Allan Poe's grave every year on Poe's birthday, is probably dead now. Insert obvious Poe reference here.
Bonus II: Your daily Ricky.
Bonus III: Your daily Gary.
An influential Republican pundit suggested on Tuesday that the GOP would be better off if Ron Paul left to mount a third-party challenge for the presidency. Today's Question: Under what circumstances would you vote for a third-party candidate?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour:The long-term impact of teachers.
Second hour: Julie Weisenhorn, master gardener with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, with some tips on how to protect your plants.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Midday's Council of Economic Advisors: Chris Farrell and Louis Johnston.
Second hour: Gov. Mark Dayton answers listeners' questions.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Venture capitalists,
vulture capitalists, crony capitalism and more.
Second hour: The sometimes daunting process of seeking second opinions, plus Elmore Leonard on "Justified," the FX show inspired by his short story, "Fire in the Hole."
At least Charles Apple was man enough to post a retraction and admit he made a mistake.
Bob, I may have missed the part of the funding bill for the government that allows citizens to be held in definitely, but the patriot act already allowed for that (and I believe it's been renewed... again... though I could be wrong.)
But the slippery slope with SOPA and PIPA is that we are
1) legislating technology. we are not legislating to meet new challenges raised by technology, no these define exactly how the obsolete and insecure DNS standard is going to have to work as long as these laws remain in place.)
2) we are creating Meta-laws, No longer is just illegal to share copyrighted technology on the internet, it's also illegal to link to a site that might be sharing such information... To use the terrible analogy that the copyright industry tried in their commercials about stealing cars... it would not only be against the law for the person stealing the car, but we'd also make it illegal for any one else in the vacinity to saw them steal the car (knowingly or unknowingly) to have whiteness that, and and one who see's them driving down the street or is on the road at the same time has also broken the law.
3) The acts fly in the face of freedom of speech. Were you as a reporter to report on people using napster.com (showing my age) you have now linked to that site in your article (even with out a clickable link you still gave people information on how to break the law) and are facing prosecution under SOPA/PIPA
Granted in the instance of the press, a court would certainly shoot this legislation down, but we shouldn't have to wait for "activist judges" to deal with congresses in ability to read the constitution.
Moving on, if some one came and asked for my dog back, I would certainly not want to give him up. We adopted him from the human society as well. Over all the situation is hard on the people who had to give the dog up, it's hard on the dog, and it's hard on the adopting family. Ultimately though the human society does say that once you release your dog to them you no longer have a right to the animal... sad on all sides.
Thanks, Jon. Don't get me wrong. I fully understand the nature of SOPA as it relates to the constitutional violations a reasonable person would conclude. So what's the next step?
I used to work at a Veterinary hospital and we received dogs (and other animals, including a goat once) from 7 different cities' animal control. The dog my family adopted while I worked there ended up being someone's dog. The problem was they waited over 2 weeks to contact the vet and by then we had adopted the dog (when there was talk he might be euthanized). They may have not been able to pay the backlog of boarding fees, but I cant remember exactly. He is now the best dog in the world.
Some people might not know, but when I was working there (2005-2006) the laws were that you had to keep an animal for 5 business days. It was something weird like for 3 days it was the state's property, and then 2 it was the city's. I may be wrong. Either way it became the Veterinary's 'property' within a week meaning they could do whatever they wanted to with the animal. Most animals were around for longer, but we would still get animals like Ferrel cats (which, if you didn't know, are a pain to try and take care of when they are trapped in a cage). I know the case above is slightly different with it being the Humane Society, but I can sympathize with the new owners having someone want their previously abandoned dog back.
"2) we are creating Meta-laws, No longer is just illegal to share copyrighted technology on the internet,
it's also illegal to link to a site that might be sharing such information...
To use the terrible analogy that the copyright industry tried in their commercials about stealing cars... it would not only be against the law for the person stealing the car, but we'd also make it illegal for any one else in the vacinity to saw them steal the car (knowingly or unknowingly) to have whiteness that, and and one who see's them driving down the street or is on the road at the same time has also broken the law."
Thanks, jon for reframing this and giving it better clarity. People do not realize that this INCLUDES linking to a site WITHOUT permission. Therefore damaging the legitimacy, reputation and authenticity of the original site.
I'm not sure I understand why those people expected to get their pets back. The Humane Society is no pawn shop...right?
And Bob - regarding "where we go next" - Apple has show the way. The music industry has been lamenting the decline of the CD for years, yet staying mum about how more music is being sold (and for greater profits!) than ever before. How does that work? Amazon and iTunes. Almost any song you want, for a buck, on any device that will play MP3's.
Now, if the TV and movie industry would get their *$%& together and come up with similar content delivery over the Internet, or better yet, LICENSE shows to iTunes, Amazon, etc, and forgo DRM so that something I bought plays on everything I own, then they wouldn't need this brutish copyright law. In fact, I bet sales would skyrocket.
Now I'm all fired up. Bob, have you heard of Steam? It's a digital storefront for video games - check this out (from Wikipedia):
Sales figures for Steam have not been released by Valve. However, Stardock, the previous owner of competing platform Impulse, estimated that, as of 2009, Steam had a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games. In early 2011, Forbes reported that Steam sales constituted 50 to 70% of the $4 billion market for downloaded PC games and that Steam offered game producers gross margins of 70% of purchase price, compared with 30% at retail.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale sold more than 140,000 units, which its localization distributor, Carpe Fulgur, attribute in part to Steam and its sales. Magicka sold 30,000 copies on its day of release in January 2011, and went on to sell 200,000 in 17 days. Garry's Mod sold 312,541 in its first two years and reached 1,000,000 after five years with yearly sales growth of 33%.
In November 2011, it was revealed by the developer of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings that Steam was responsible for 80% of the online sales of the game.
What does all this mean? Making things *available* and occasionally running deep discounts on them truly does deliver a "long-tail" buying pattern and cuts down on piracy.
Tyler, I'm going to need a little time to get back to you on that. :*)
I've discovered a new hell: to be trapped in a room with sloppy drunk female packer fans. :-)
Heh, fair enough Bob. Suffice it to say - if the media companies would embrace change instead of stifle it, they'd make more money and we'd have cooler toys.