updated 09:20 pm EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Comments also made about Google search, 'four strikes' rules
Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America and former Senator Christopher Dodd told Wired in an interview that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are not going to return to to the congressional floor. Dodd claimed that "that legislation is gone. It's over. It's not coming back" after an appearance at the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club on Tuesday night.
During the interview, Dodd commented on the voluntary anti-piracy measures that most of the US internet providers have agreed upon. The agreed-upon countermeasure asks the ISPs to impose "mitigation measures" that are ill-defined but will likely include reduction of connectivity speed and a redirection of a subscriber's search or query to a landing page discussing copyright infringement. The option of complete disconnection of the subscribers is left to the provider, but the plan does not address customer suspension.
Unlike the failed SOPA and PIPA legislation, the new plan also pushed by the MPAA and Recording Industry Association of America will require no re-engineering of the US internet backbone. The previous bills would have required ISPs to prevent Americans from visiting prohibited sites by altering the domain name server system.
The new "four strikes" system relies on the public nature of BitTorrent peer-to-peer user IP sharing. Private companies will be relied upon to collect the IP addresses and forward them to the relevant internet service providers. The measure has come under some fire for the lack of oversight and appeal, and the non-standard implementation between ISPs.
Also at the appearance, Google was praised by Dodd for changing its search engine algorithm to reduce the rankings of sites with large amounts of copyright infringement search notices. "That's exactly the type of efforts we need," he said. "It didn't require a law to pass. Getting that type of cooperation is important."
Both grassroots opposition and public campaigns by Google, Wikipedia, and thousands of others of sites are believed to have educated millions of Americans about the concerns of DNS-based censorship and lack of due process inherent to either SOPA or PIPA. Activism on January 18, a planned day of action, was so high-pitched that it got 4.5 million petition signatures at Google alone and jammed the phone lines and websites of politicians who were in favor of either measure.
Much of the initial support for the bills had been leaning on the assumption that piracy was costing movie and music studios billions of dollars in lost potential sales and the job cuts that would presumably follow. A $6.1 billion figure sometimes trumpeted by the MPAA has been called into question as it was generated by an MPAA-commissioned study with undisclosed formulas. The figure also counted international piracy regardless of where it was located, only some of which would even be covered by the SOPA or PIPA bills.
Arguments that media outlets were facing devastating losses from piracy rang hollow after album sales began climbing again in 2011. Movie theater revenue dropped, but it didn't necessarily lead to significant losses with discs and digital picking up some of the slack. [via Wired]