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SOPA, PIPA and Kim Dotcom

SOPA, PIPA and Kim Dotcom

The arrest of Kim Dotcom and the raiding of Megaupload plays into the SOPA & PIPA argument about stopping online piracy.  Goggle & Wikipedia just did a blackout to protest these pieces of legislation.  The problem with this whole area of legislation is that it is dominated by special interests instead of based on fundamental understandings of property rights and the due procedure.  The two groups doing battle are Hollywood and the content providers against Google/Wikipedia and the free internet nuts.  The legislation was written by Hollywood and basically allows the government to take down a website without any due process.  It allows “in rem” suits in which the website is the defendant instead of the owner – essentially making it a one-sided hearing.  Hollywood wants more tools to stop online theft.  However, Hollywood has gotten a number of laws related to this problem passed already.  My other complaint is that Hollywood is great at publicizing its plight, but the more economically important theft going on is the theft of our technology.  In that case we have a government website that tells people exactly how to steal out technology – it’s the USPTO website.  Google and friends don’t have much of a moral ground to stand on, since they have been happy to steal other people’s intellectual property.  Google pushed for laws to weaken patents (property rights) and has been unwilling to pay patent holders for the technology they have used in their Android phones.  In addition, their heavy handed approach to other people’s copyrights in their Google Books Library Project shows they are not above stealing other people’s intellectual property.  Google’s founders are quite happy to manipulate the laws of this country for their own benefit.  For instance, they invested in several solar energy companies and were quite happy to take tax dollars to bail themselves out of their failed investments.  (See Throw Them All Out, by Peter Schweizer).  Unfortunately, this whole area is just power politics at its worst.


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