back to school
Gather ’round, kiddos! It’s time for your weekly lesson on how your propensity for downloading music illegal is killing the content creation industry.
If that doesn’t excite the inner child in you, imagine how kids in California are going to feel because some schools are rolling out a curriculum dedicated to copyright theft. Students from kindergarten to sixth grade are soon going to be treated to a delightful presentation from the Motion Picture Association of America, Center For Copyright Infringement and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, which includes executives from Comcast, AT&T and the RIAA.
Two more execs are leaving Yahoo. Call it the “Mayer effect.” Or is that the term for bringing Googlers to Yahoo? [AllThingsD]
The social media sector has LinkedIn and Yelp to thank for boosting its image by meeting their projected revenues. The rest of y’all look like chumps. [Wall Street Journal]
Hey everyone let’s freak out and say you can’t read Quora anonymously. But psst…you can. Just change your settings. Problem solved! [GigaOm]
Au revoir, piracy police. At least in France, anyway. [PaidContent]
Yes, you can go to jail for admitting to rape on Reddit. Also, you’re a monster. [BuzzFeed]
Elon Musk got his crazy futurism on at PandoMonthly. He’s the best, isn’t he? [PandoDaily]
London ain’t got nothin’ on New York’s IPOs. [Wall Street Journal]
Meanwhile, the U.S. is going after a 24-year-old British kid who set up a portal to find pirated content, but never hosted any of it himself. FYI, America, ya look desperate. [New York Times]
Facebook is monitoring your chats for “criminal activity.” Maybe keep your cybering to off the record Gchats? [Mashable]
You can now go on a road trip through California’s national parks without ever having to leave your house. [Google]
At the Paley Center for Media yesterday, New York tech’s paterfamilias Fred Wilson offered something largely absent from recent anti-SOPA debates: a plan for an alternative. Better yet, he wasn’t just preaching to the choir. Rather, the Union Square Ventures managing partner broke on through to the other side: media execs.
Last month, he seemed frustrated, tweeting out “#screwcable” when a feud between MSG and Time Warner Cable forced Mr. Wilson to consume pirated content if he wanted to see the (pre-Linsanity) Knicks. But during yesterday’s talk, Mr. Wilson seemed more convinced of the universality of the condition.
Anti-piracy rhetoric holds that online piracy is a devastating force on the U.S. economy, responsible for the theft of between $200 billion and $250 billion per year and the loss of 750,000 good American jobs. “These numbers seem truly dire: a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010,” write the economists over at Freakonomics.
But those numbers are wrong, the authors say, citing a breakdown by the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez.
Yet another Important Internet Person has come out against SOPA, the controversial legislation that would put the power of a kill-switch in our totally computer-savvy government’s hands: The Zuck.
You should not listen to him, nor commend him, nor care. Why?
Deadline Hollywood brings us the news that Gilberto Sanchez, a 49 year old Bronx resident, was sentenced yesterday to 1 year in federal prison for uploading a copy of “Wolverine” to MegaUpload one month before the film’s theatrical release.
“The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be internet pirates,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”
The ruling comes amid vigorous debate about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would give the film and music industry far reaching new powers to combat illegal uploads of copyrighted material.
It’s embarrassing enough to watch politicians who don’t know a server from a waiter debating the SOPA legislation that the architects of the internet say will make the web less effective and less safe. But yesterday the members of the Judiciary Committee decided to spend a good portion of the time they set aside to discuss these news laws insulting each other on Twitter and arguing over inane parliamentary procedures.
The Economist is well and known and well regarded for its intellectual and stridently capitalist takes on everything from healthcare to governance. But when considering the new Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that is currently being debated by Congress, the magazine’s editors took the unusual stance of siding against America’s big entertainment industries.
“Compared with other countries’ anti-piracy laws, SOPA is indeed draconian,” they wrote. It’s not that international, online piracy isn’t a serious problem. But targeting the companies like AT&T and Google which provide the infrastructure for web service and search is far more damaging to consumers and the internet economy than the problem demands.
Tumblr’s 32.5 million users woke up last week to a vision of a dystopian future. ““WTF,” a frustrated fashionista working on her own startup wrote to Betabeat. “I can’t see any of my god damn archives. UGGGGHHH.”
Logging in to their dashboards, where they browse the stream of posts from the blogs they follow, users were greeted with text and images that were blacked out like the redacted sections of a classified briefing.
Those obscured blogs represented Tumblr’s take on American Censorship Day, a protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was going before a hearing of the Congressional Judiciary Committee that afternoon. The bill would allow companies to sue service providers like Tumblr or Facebook for hosting content like copyrighted music files or movies, a big reversal from the safe harbor provisions which had long defined internet piracy law.
The startup community, both entrepreneurs and the investors who back them, had been raising the alarm for several weeks about their concerns that this bill would cripple their ability to innovate and damage the internet economy. But if SOPA was the first real test of the political muscle of the entrepreneurs and small-business owners who are driving the tech sector, it was a test they would fail. Whether SOPA eventually becomes law or not, the issue provided a clear illustration to many in the startup world that they may be frighteningly unprepared to navigate the dangerous waters of Capitol Hill, where buttonholing trumps beta-testing and hard-nosed lobbying beats “likes.”
“We’ve got all these blogs and these Twitter followers, but when it comes to politics, I worry that we’re the tree falling in the wood and nobody is hearing us,” said Fred Wilson, New York’s most prominent venture capitalist and an outspoken opponent of the SOPA bill.