American Censorship Day

This coming wednesday, when you visit AVC, you will see this image over the AVC logo:

Stop censorship

That's because we are going to participate in American Censorship Day. I'm hoping that thousands of web sites will be showing this message over their logo that day in a coordinated protest over the SOPA and PIPA bills that are currently before the House and Senate.

Nov 16th is the day that Congress will hold hearings on the idea of putting in place a series of legal mechanisms that will be the first coordinated set of changes to Internet law to effectively allow for censorship of the Internet here in the US. It's a slippery slope from there. 

If you aren't aware of what is at stake, please take a minute or two to watch this video.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.


If you operate a blog or website, I hope you'll join in this protest on wednesday. Here's how.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Ben Apple

    Oh no, that’s a slippery slope.  I’m living in China and know all about internet censorship!  Thanks for bringing this issue to everyones attention. 

  2. mike gilfillan

    Ugh, I feel sick just watching this.  Can’t blame them for trying to protect their fiefdom, but by lobbying to pass a draconian bill??   Why can’t they just write these things narrow to go after the obvious, high-volume and blatant infringers instead of targeting EVERYONE for everything!  

    1. fredwilson

      because they can’t get to the foreign sites with US law. so they target the US services that act as distribution and payment points. but of course, that is a dangerous approach for all the reasons we have discussed

      1. David Semeria

        One of the reasons governments hesitated from regulating banks in the last two decades was the fear that if they did, the banks would just move to another jurisdiction.I haven’t followed this debate too closely, but what’s to stop US internet companies from relocating offshore to avoid the proposed regulatory net?If relocation were possible, then SOPA and PIPA seem a really effective way of eviscerating the US internet industry…. 

        1. fredwilson


  3. Darren Herman

    Fantastic explanation video.

  4. Rohan

    MY GOD.I knew from your previous posts that it was bad.But didn’t realize it was this bad. Credit to the video makers for a brilliant video.I have signed up for Wednesday. Fight this, we must. 

  5. mike gilfillan

    It’s funny, I had this exact discussion with my lawyer & board when I launched JobFusion (a job scraping site in 2002/03). They said you can’t do that, you’ll get sued!  I said well someone’s going to do it, but they’ll just do it offshore.  I launched it anyway and took my chances.They could still put in some thresholds and/or more specific language to ensure that their proposed bill won’t be excessive.  I’m sure most Americans would agree/support going after the obvious foreign pirates just like we don’t care much if Polo has to sue to keep the cheap china knock-offs out of the retailers.   

    1. mike gilfillan

      Looks like the bill is now worse and being marketed as the E-PARASITE Act.……While the Senate version of the PROTECT-IP act only applied to sites “dedicated to infringing activities”, the House flavor includes websites with “only limited purpose other than infringement” and those which “induce infringement.” Since induction is broadly defined as “to introduce,” the definition is broad enough to include a vast range of legal software–and the content industry is notoriously terrible at defining such behavior…

  6. Dennis Buizert

    You know what the sad part is, it will pass. No matter how hard you fight against it. It is the government and some of their high profile companies that want this to pass. This idea didn’t come from the regular smart thinking businessmen. This came from a bunch of power losing businesses. Such as the Movie and music industry. That is the what happens when you don’t react to the world changing. Either you change with it, you don’t and die or you cry on the door step of your government with a collective to get some weird bill passed. And btw everyone has to do this on their website. Not only if you live in the USA. If you have website you will be affected by this. The internet is interconnected. Your host might be in the USA without you knowing it is. So you might be affected by it when it passes.Keep that in mind as well! 



  7. William Mougayar

    And to make things worse, there’s another international agreement that was just signed Oct.1st by 8 countries and it’s called ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). ACTA is the international back-door to the Protect IP bill if it passes. “ACTA contains new potential obligations for Internet intermediaries, requiring them to police the Internet and their users, which in turn pose significant concerns for citizens’ privacy, freedom of expression, and fair use rights.”…

    1. ShanaC

      *head thunk on keyboard* why do they do this….I’m voting for someone who isn’t idiotic enough to pass this next year.

  8. ShanaC

    Dear Entertainment Industry land.I have no problem with people paying for content.  I do have a problem when the music/movie/parts of the writing industries don’t realize their protections are actually preventing them from making money.I like streaming.  I pay for streaming.  The Lion King is unstreamable in the US.  So I download it when I am sick.You lost money – that is your fault.  Suing me and mine makes you look like an idiot.  Passing laws to stop someone when they are SICK from watching your movies makes you look out of touch and cruel.  You know I legally stream, so let me legally stream.Stop blocking content and instead adapt to what normal, everyday people, do.  You’re just pissing off customers.

    1. Wesley Verhoeve

      I just had this experience with the NYT documentary Page One. It’s not available for legal stream anywhere, so I watched it illegally. I’ll make a comment from a right’s holder’s perspective in a separate comment (I run a record company).

      1. ShanaC

        I’m still trying to figure out why the content industry is missing this fact.  it seems really obvious if you just follow your customers around.*sigh*

        1. Wesley Verhoeve


    2. Elia Freedman

      And it is not like there isn’t an example of success. Pre-iTunes, everyone illegally downloaded music. Post-iTunes, everyone paid $.99 per song. Providing easy and legal means to attain content gets people to pay.

      1. ShanaC


  9. Jason

    Let’s not forget to mention the petition in place to stop this.… It looks like almost half way to goal, we need a way to make it go viral!

    1. fredwilson

      They make it hard to sign that. It should drop dead simple

      1. Jason

        I agree. If only they had an API… I couldn’t even signup with Android or iPhone originally. It’s that bad yet important enough to make the extra effort just to sign.



        1. LE

          Why further empower facebook?

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            TO SAVE INTERNET.

  10. kidmercury

    Cool. Slowly but surely we are building up our our collective political will and re-awakening our allegiance to morality instead of legality. Thanks for being a leader here fred. Hopefully more pf your peers will follow suit (prolly too scared though)I hope as a community we can work towards building our own internet free of govt’s ability to shut it down. Ultimately this means we need to own data transmission end-to-end, which means our own DNS, our own spectrum (or protocol for taking spectrum licened to others), our own computers that can access our private internet (frednet?) And our own money supply (fredbucks). As the nation state collapses from its own fiscal and moral irresponsibility, we have the opportunity to create a new world order from which the much prophecied a golden age emerges. #fs

    1. Donna Brewington White

      How’s that fredland game coming?  At least we can begin practicing for your proposed utopia.

      1. kidmercury

        coming along well; i’m hoping it will be ready for public participation on 12/25. if you want to get a headstart on earning badges and boosting your fredscore, tag any comment you leave here on avc that helps startups learn with #fs — and it’ll automatically get imported into fredsquare!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Very cool, Kid! And I stand corrected — fredsquare!Does the #fs apply throughout the Disqus system or just at AVC? Will there be an AVC post to help launch this?

  11. Wesley Verhoeve

    As a founder in the entertainment industry, I am constantly amazed by the insistence of my peers to treat illegal downloading like a disease, rather than like a symptom of necessary change in the environment. My dog was diagnosed with lupus (not as bad as it sounds), causing the body to treat parts of the joints in her wrists as foreign to the body. If I were to operate in the spirit of the entertainment industry, I’d have to chop her legs off at the knee. Instead we just got her anti-inflammatory pills and she is running around again, bringing us joy.Streaming should be seen as a godsend by the entertainment industry. Think of the incredible simplification of tracking income and accounting, the enormous amounts of data we gain that allow us to know more about our customers, the increased access for a larger audience, distribution efficiencies, improved metrics clarity, and I can keep going. I am not saying it’s not also challenging, especially to those who insist on holding onto the old model, but embrace the challenge and all the great things that come with it! That’s how we see it at Family Records at least.Fred, what do you think the chances are that this is actually just a Trojan Horse law that has very little to do with protecting the entertainment industries and is more about the secondary effects pointed out in the video? Perhaps that is too “conspiracy theory” of me

    1. fredwilson

      I am not a conspiracy minded person. The Kid wishes I were!

      1. Wesley Verhoeve

        I watched a lot of X-Files and Oliver Stone movies in my teens. Hard to shake!

      2. kidmercury

        all will be in due time. all great truths begin as blasphemy. 

        1. fredwilson


        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. kidmercury

            only a problem for those who do not stand for something. if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. if you stand for something, you’ll know the truth even when it is presented as blasphemy. 

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        3. ShanaC

          I rather just be blasphemous.

  12. Tom Labus

    Pointing out that legislation is deficient seems to have zero effect on Congress (that’s what they are good at).  Maybe the spotlight should be on who’s paying for the legislation and the lobbyists who are pushing it.  Usually those people like to keep their motives out of the sunlight.On Veterans:  Chase has started a program for employment, home ownership and banking features for Vets.…

  13. Avi Deitcher

    Anyone know what the Constitutionality of the Act is? Of course, that only helps once it gets thrown out, and a lot of jobs get lost in the meantime.Let’s assume for the moment that politicians are as self-interested as everyone else, and not angels. Right now, the number one issue on everyone’s mind in the US is economic growth and jobs. The politicians *have* to have some understanding that this type of Act kills jobs, as it kills entrepreneurship.So what is the incentive to them to do this? Or am I simply being too rational?

    1. fredwilson

      There is some concern it violates free speech. I am one of the concerned

      1. Avi Deitcher

        I would like to agree with you. But there is nothing in the Constitution preventing the government from allowing me to sue you, just the government from shutting you down. But you could argue that the government allowing a private individual (of which a corporation is legally one) is only an extension.This is one the courts will love, but how much more growth will be sacrificed and jobs lost while it wends its way through?

  14. andyswan

    Seems like not that long ago this blog was advocating FOR government interference.  Of course, in that case, “we” were for “net neutrality”, which benefited one industry (those typically invested-in or built by the readers here) over another.We got our wish.Now the champagne is empty, but the government is still in the business of picking winners and losers on the internet.  Now, the government is a tool for one industry to use against another.  Now we are the ones looking down the barrel of the federal gun that we loaded.  And we cry victim.

    1. fredwilson

      Bullshit andy. We were arguing to keep the telcos honest and the internet open.

      1. andyswan

        I understand you see it that way.  I’m sure that the startup ISPs saw it another.  And I’m sure the content owners/creators/trolls see it another.  Everyone is “right”, and pulls the government lever in their direction.  You argued to restrict the way that telcos can conduct business.Now it is content-owners/creators/trolls arguing to restrict the way you can conduct business.May the best lobby win.

        1. William Mougayar

          You’re right that there is some goodness in that bill against the bad guys, but the issue seems to revolve around the fact that it goes “too far” and can adversely affect ordinary citizens and small startups. 

        2. Andy Zhang

          The purported role of the government is to pull the lever in a way that maximizes innovation and/or social welfare. Unlike allocating physical property rights, if the government gets it wrong, the nonrivalrous nature of IP makes Coasian barganing break down. I agree with andyswan in that the lobbyists are yanking the government’s chain, but I think ultimately the government must to be involved. 

      2. Dave4schools

        Fred…love the blog and agree with stance on this issue….but… Rudely dismissing your most consistent, intelligent and passionate commentors after a post of substance that should make us ALL think….It’s in bad form.David

        1. fredwilson

          You dont understand andy and my relationship. This is all in a days work for both of us. Then we go drink some pappy together

          1. andyswan


          2. LE

            It’s a slippery slope though.  Personally I wouldn’t want it to deteriorate into something like this:… Obviously many of your readers aren’t aware of your relationship with Andy.One of the things that is great about this blog is that most commentators tend to present their case in an intelligent way even if what they are saying is not exactly well-informed.

          3. fredwilson

            I have always done it this way. I am not going all PC just because someone is offended

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Yeah, the blood rush was a little too short lived.  Was hoping we’d get a real beef between you and @andyswan:disqus  and  @kidmercury:disqus  would have to call it.  You guys are going soft.

        2. testtest

          are you suggesting @fredwilson:disqus  should censor himself on a post about stopping censorship?i jest. kinda ironic however

        3. Rohan

          Hey David,Not sure if you’ve seen the Tony Robbins TED talk on Why we do what we do.You should check out the way he treats Al Gore.. calling him a ‘Son of a b*tch etc). While it might be easy to conclude Robbins is an idiot, it’s a measure of his relationship with Al Gore. Similarly, I wouldn’t read so much into Fred’s reply to Mr.Swantastic 🙂

        4. Aaron Klein

          This is the kind of friendly intellectual honesty that exists on AVC.I’m still waiting for Fred to call bullshit on me. It will happen. 😉

          1. fredwilson


          2. Aaron Klein


          3. William Mougayar

            Whether you deserve it or not is another question.

        5. JamesHRH

          Plus, I think Kid has Fred in a box on this one…….

      3. kidmercury

        open is a very malleable word. what you wanted is your definition imposed through govt force. but, i am not trying to fall for the bait and turn this issue into anything besides censorship, which this legislation is all about. teh solution is attacking the root of the problem, which is the military industrial complex. 

      4. Larry Jay

        Digital commerce will not thrive unless there is some order. Right now it’s compete chaos with only a handful of tech companies profiting, like Google and illegal sites.I think we need a balance of tech and content creators, not a bullshit hyperbole statement like “stop censorship.”These statements make the tech sector weak.

        1. fredwilson

          censorship is what it is and i have to call it out when i see itso does Vint Cerf, one of the architects of the internet…

          1. Prokofy

            Vint Cerf is absolutely shameful these days, writing gushing fan letters to a dictator like Berdymukhamedov calling him an Internet innovator when he jails citizen journalists. And pretending that protecting the right of the little guy against you big oligarchs on the Internet is “censorship” — absurd and even sinister.

          2. fredwilson

            easy. he’s one of my idols.

          3. Prokofy

            Great way you got of giving yourself the last word, Fred, with this software, no “reply” ability after one round. Well, it’s your bar.What Vint Cerf did with the dictator of Turkmenistan was just plain wrong.

    2. kidmercury

      this issue is not about property rights, it is about the feds using property rights as an excuse to censor and advance political/imperial agendas. 

      1. andyswan

        I agree kid. I’m not disagreeing with the sentiment of this post.

  15. andyswan

    wrong spot

    1. fredwilson

      The moral high ground is the architecture of the Internet. We should not fuck with it by creating firewalls for content owners or private networks for telcos. I am surprised a libertarian like you cannot see this.

      1. andyswan

        I agree and I agree with you on this post.I don’t agree that govt was needed to enforce competitive ISPs as you know.And I am always intrigued when people are disappointed that govt can be used against them in the same manner they use it against others.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          Opposing net neutrality was not about “controlling the internet” it was about making it economically viable for the marketing term “unlimited data” to continue to exist. It was about controlling the volume of consumption by filtering packet type. In a net neutrality world there will be no unlimited data plans, everything will be metered (and that’s OK).I think this is different and the thing I find troubling is it seems to lack due process in coming to conclusions.

      2. Prokofy

        No. The architecture of the Internet that rewards you and your pals in Silicon Valley and only creates 100,000 jobs despite its billions in profits is destructive of human life on this planet. It has killed entire industries, massive numbers of job losses, even threat to government. So it’s time to make the machine serve people instead of visa versa.Unless of course you want to usher in the totalitarianism of the Singularity with yourself as Enlightenment Commissar.

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t subscribe to the singularity. i am sorry to disapoint you

  16. RV

    Thanks again for bringing an internet freedom issue to light.  This is the type of corruption that people are protesting IMO.  Govt relentlessly trying to serve corporate interests (media + entrenched internet giants) at the expense of civil liberties and fairness.  I hope it can be stopped.

  17. Dave W Baldwin

    Need to apply pressure and a good starter would be to post those in favor of the two bills on Facebook, Twitter and so on.  Of most importance is to get attention of those waivering so they can see it is something they cannot do in the backroom and not be noticed.If fact, maybe we need a site that is easily linked showing those that are for the acts and allow comment forcing those that support to state their case in a sensible fashion.

  18. William Mougayar

    Along with this protest day, there should be a boycott of Disney, Warner Bros and whoever the other content instigators are. It strikes me that the content industry is going too far and doesn’t care about throwing the baby with the bath water on this one.There is lots going on around this, judging by the news on it:  Why can’t technology be used to protect IP instead of legislation? 

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Yes.  It is time to use the weaponry of capital to fight.  A true boycott could be effective.

      1. kidmercury


        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Now we need 4, 16, 256, 65356…… 😉



    3. LE

      “Disney, Warner Bros”Don’t think the artists are blameless in this. While certainly many others in the system take a cut from their work, legislation like this is driven by the high end of the industry – the big money. (I don’t have a problem with that by the way.) The salaries that many of the actors make and a competitive system that insures that will continue to happen. Actually many people earn a living and feed from this trough. Not everyone shopping on Rodeo drive performs in front of a camera.  And we have customers and have made money off this industry as well.

  19. HowieG

    I am against the bill in it’s current form. When the Feds started going after people who downloaded songs illegally and hit them with big fines it did nothing to stop what was going on. In fact we all burn CDs or load our USB drives and share stuff with each other. I have a friend who said ‘Bring your back up hard drive and we can each swap out 100GBs of music’.This is like the stupid war on drugs. Instead of trying to curb something people are doing already figure out how to make money out of their behavior.@fredwilson:disqus I think what might be causing some feelings of confusion is that the examples brought up were your investments giving you a bias in the case. Even though your position is rational and to me ethical.

    1. JamesHRH

      There is a perspective on the drug dealing side that makes it a poor analogy.From a societal point of view, there exists a line between accepted and unacceptable behaviour. Some people feel compelled (and of course, the ratio is higher for people 15-34), to do unacceptable things as part of expressing their individuality.Part of government’s role in society is to set the border lines for acceptable / unacceptable behaviour. Think gender issues 1955 & 2005. Government spurred a lot of those valid societal changes, in the US in particular.When dealing with drugs, the current acceptable / unacceptable line is somewhere around marijuana. In countries that legalize marijuana, the line moves past marijuana to non-organic narcotics (chewing coca leaves is not the same as cocaine). Whatever revenue they gain (or policing costs the recoup) has pretty much been eaten up in the ravages of young people crossing a poor border line, when doing their unacceptable behaviour.The war on drugs is dopey, as are most wars – but that’s a separate inappropriately long comment.So, with creative works (and Wikileaks) I think it is worthwhile to consider where the border line on acceptable / unacceptable behaviour should be placed.I have not read the bill or put much thought to the issue – I don’t believe people pay for content, they pay for experiences / service – but I do not agree with Fred that censorship is a slippery slope, in this case.Set the line and hold it – but where?

      1. ShanaC

        You end up on a slippery slope – it would be better to not legislate at all in certain contexts….

  20. GlennKelman

    The bill may or may not be a good idea, but I wish we would make a distinction between free expression of our thoughts and the distribution of someone else’s. Distributing someone else’s work without his permission is theft.And stopping theft isn’t censorship. What’s surprising to me is some of the Internet’s most respected thinkers have been slow to recognize this distinction. It gives the rest of us permission to steal.Friends of mine who would never steal a Star Wars DVD routinely download movies without paying, and many cite Michael Arrington and other thought-leaders in their defense.Artists, writers and musicians have been impoverished as a result, which is a consequence I am sure no one wants. It doesn’t quite seem right to vilify the artists’ lobby as “Hollywood,” complaining about the studios’ wealth while arguing that the Internet deserves to be protected because it creates more wealth.This blog, and the Internet generally, was created to celebrate and support creative people. We can support freedom of expression and stop theft but only if we try to solve this problem in a thoughtful, urgent way. Otherwise, we’re just like the industrialists criticizing indiscriminate government action on pollution when we ourselves have refused to engage, all the while profiting from every year’s delay.So I hope when you post your protest on Wednesday that you propose a way to protect intellectual property as well as innovation and self-expression at the same time. Otherwise, you can’t blame the government for acting in less informed, thoughtful ways.(And sorry to be so strong on this point; as you know, I love your writing and thinking Fred)

    1. fredwilson

      We have a large number of portfolio companies doing just that. Kickstarter, for example, is doing a lot here.



        1. Prokofy


          1. fredwilson

            technocommunism is the prevailing mindset here prokofy.

          2. Prokofy

            Just because it’s the prevailing mindset doesn’t mean it’s right. Often the prevailing mindset is wrong on many things in life.

          3. Jbcolmenares

            You have absoluty NO idea about what communism is about. Sharing + internet freedom + respecting intelectual property are in the opposity side of communism. I know, because I’ve lived in a communist country. And you can see that these three things are not done in china, north korea, or cuba.Americans have a very strange way of viewing communism.Fred, I wouldn’t call anything “technocommunism”. I think I agree with you in many many many things, but that name is definitively a bad name for anything.Communism is not about sharing. It’s about control. Absolute control by the state. I don’t explain myself better because that would be off topic I think.Cheers.

          4. Prokofy

            Of course I have a very good idea what communism is all about, having lived and worked in communist countries for years. Have you? or are you the second generation or third generation of parents who used to?My view of communism isn’t merely some “strange American way” of viewing communism; it’s shared by many people in those countries living under those regimes.Intellectual property is indeed the opposite of communism, but depending on what you mean by “Internet freedom” and “sharing” — in fact those can be the same sort of Soviet collective farm. The same sort of “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” The same sort of *coercion*. I view Creative Commons, for example, as a tremendous shill and a terrible form of coercion preventing many people from charging an honest payment for their content.Technocommunism isn’t even my concept — as I’ve often explained, there are people from Kevin Kelly at Wired to Joi Ito to Andrew Keen to Jaron Lanier who have all spoken of the same thing — web 2.0 is like communism, socialism, Maoism, etc. I use the term “technocommunism” to stress that it is not like the organic world’s communism in which people were killed.Communism is about expropriation of property; it’s about collectivization; it’s about dekulakification; it’s about forced communalism; it’s about communal apartments; it’s about all kinds of things in that vein. Control only occurs AFTER those collectivizations are made, as part of the process of Bolshevist takeover. That’s why we have to oppose the online version.

      2. GlennKelman

        Is Kickstarter a reasonable way for an artist to make a living?

        1. fredwilson

          Well think about it this way. They can get their advance directly from their fans and keep all their rights.

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            You also need to emphasize ‘independence’. 

          2. scottythebody

            That’s such a cool way to phrase it. The advance was the great enslavement tactic of the labels for decades.

          3. LE

            “great enslavement tactic”It only looks that way in hindsight after the artist is a success.Before that the risk is on the label.It’s a competitive system. Many labels are free to make offers to aspiring artists who can choose the best offer.I wouldn’t call the result of that “enslavement”.No offers? Now that’s a bigger problem than getting screwed evenif you call it that. Isn’t it a little like angel funding or what VC’s do for that matter? There are people tripping all over themselves to get funded. And there are those taking the risk. After a success everyone thinks they got screwed and should have cut a better deal.

          4. Prokofy

            And the fans don’t get any equity and all they get is a t-shirt.Glorified busking.

          5. fredwilson

            or the product. keep you head in the sand. its becoming.

          6. Prokofy

            That’s a great answer (they get the product). Except…people could get these freebie products you support without having to give a dime to the tip jar.Why couldn’t  you build it with equity, Fred? You’re investing in Kickstarters. (And therefore are responsible in part of Occupy Wall Street’s funding.)Why didn’t you build equity in it! There is absolutely no reason on earth why I couldn’t d

    2. Dale Allyn

      Glenn, I share your sentiment and concerns here. In my case, I’m repulsed by posts on various blogs (and even in this thread) implying that one who buys a song or a CD (yes I like to buy CDs still) has the right to distribute the content to friends at will. Generally, laws don’t do much to stop this sort of behavior, so there needs to be a bit more social pressure to help people prefer to stop bootlegging and infringing on copyrights. The content industry misses numerous opportunities to embrace, engage and benefit from technologies in place, because of the lazy approach of doing it the old way – lobbying congress. There are parts of this bill (as I understand it) that attempt to achieve worthwhile goals – some of which is already addressed in current law. Unfortunately, our government is in a terrible state of decline as the leadership panders to the highest bidders. 

    3. Aaron Klein

      The issue isn’t whether or not we should protect IP.The issue is who should be punished for the theft.I think we should punish the person doing the stealing. (Or even better, give them a good way to become a paying customer.)

      1. GlennKelman

        What about websites that make it impossible to punish the person doing the stealing, which make no reasonable effort at all to limit stealing?

        1. Aaron Klein

          That’s like saying parking garages have a duty to stop people from shop lifting.Maybe to share their surveillance footage if need be…

        2. Blsavini

          You have to figure out a way to do it yourself.

    4. Cam MacRae

      You’re talking about copyright infringement, not theft. Theft, in plain english, is defined as the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive. Stealing is the act of theft.Copyright infringement is not theft, although some copyright infringement is criminal. In each case the remedies are different.Theft, stealing etc. are terms co-opted by a particular lobby for their emotional weight, but have no place in any rational debate.

      1. kidmercury

        gotta give cam macrae the edge of glenn kelman in this beef. analogies to real world theft are flawed from the start. 

      2. GlennKelman

        There may be a legal distinction but is there an actual one? Is it stealing if someone copies my whole website word for word?

        1. Cam MacRae


          1. GlennKelman

            How is it different, not in terms of the name of the law that applies but in terms of the impact on me?Do you think that intellectual property just isn’t a legitimate form of property at all?

          2. Cam MacRae

            You wholly retain your website.Intellectual property refers to a basket of intangibles; I reject Ayn Rand’s absolutism out of hand, without being opposed to creations of mind being considered as assets, or enjoying limited protection under law. 

    5. underplank

      Also I dont think that “Artists, Writers and musicians have been impoverished as a result” is actually that correct. For example in the Music industry, most of a recording artists income comes from Live music and possible Merch. From the Uber bands to the little Guys. I have Musician friends who are on their third album, that can a test to this. This is also true for the likes of U2. I read a rolling stone article for highest earning artists in 2003. U2 was at the top with $64 million USD. $4 million of this from album sales, $60 million from live concerts. As far as a Musician is concerned an Album is a marketing exercise  for their live shows in many cases. Now the money that the studios forward them for recording an album that allows them to record it is another matter. And the movie industry is again different, but they are much further behind in the technology curve. A blanket “all artists are impoverished by copyright infringement” is not really correct and again I think is a little propagandist, as trotted out by the Music Recording industry.This is not to say I dont think the Music Recording Industry doesnt have a place. I think it does. Just lets be carefuly about broad statements



    1. fredwilson


    2. leigh

      i’m thinking Ricky Gervais gets to be the leader 🙂

    3. Donna Brewington White

      now we’re talkin’

    4. Prokofy


      1. ShanaC

        economically inefficient.  as much as I hate to use spain as an example, see spain, (and parts of canada).3 strikes/Rockefeller statutes just ended up putting a lot of black men in jail (fyi, whites are more likely to take drugs)So yeah, don’t buy it.

  22. Avi Deitcher

    From a different angle, did you see the research that Preyas Desai at Duke (he taught me in my MBA) and Dinah Vernik at Rice recently did? Only summaries available now, but apparently, adding DRM *increases* piracy and reduces profits.It will be published in INFORMS later this month/early next. Link to it from my own blog post:…If the crusty people running the entertainment companies spent more time trying to create and capture value, and less time trying to beat their own customers into submission, they might actually make more money *and* keep customers heppy.

    1. fredwilson

      I am not surprised

    2. Prokofy

       Oh those evil entertainment companies that make stuff that you keep downloading for free! Evil, evil!

  23. Thomas Vladeck

    Hi all – pretty new to the community. I’m not too well-informed on this issue, but as an average user of the internet I don’t like the feeling that the government has any control over where I “go”. To me it’s like being told I can’t travel to certain countries. It also smacks of “prior restraint” – stopping the publication of material before a hearing on it’s legality has taken place – something that has consistently been rejected by american courts except in extreme circumstances. This doesn’t fit with our values.

    1. fredwilson


    2. ShanaC

      first off: welcomeout of curiosity – are there times where prior restraint is legit?

      1. Thomas Vladeck

        ThanksI’m no 1st amendment lawyer but yes, there are cases when it’s appropriate. But the point is that the onus is overwhelming on the body requesting the censorship to show that’s the case. The point is that as this law is described it would remove that step.

        1. ShanaC

          thank you good sir!

  24. Aaron Klein

    I’m in. Riskalyze will carry this on its logo on Wednesday. Government can’t be in the business of picking winners and losers.

  25. jason wright

    Noam Chomsky.…One of the greatest documentary films ever made on media, politics, and power. If you haven’t seen it you really must make the effort and try to do so. A warning for the now future and the web.

    1. leigh

      that movie is one of the reasons i’ve always been interested in media ….

  26. Chris Johnson

    Hi, Fred.  I think I’m going to make a quick walkthrough about how to do this – as well as a link of some VAs that can be hired to help people do this sort of thing.We’ll be participating for sure.Chris

  27. mike gilfillan

    The problem with this proposed legislation is that it will snuff the life out of those trying to create innovative information service because it obfuscates the real issue of “who owns the copyright”.  I’m developing a new content aggregation site and I’ve been down this path before — the DMCA’s take down notice is hard enough to deal with without giving big corp even more teeth. According to the House version of the bill: One of the things the House version of the bill effectively does away with is the DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’ provision. Under the DMCA, an ISP is essentially shielded from being forced to act as a copyright enforcer through the safe harbor provision, which prevents them from being held accountable for a users’ actions.The Center for Democracy and Technology’s David Sohn writes “Rightsholders need only a good faith belief that a Web site is ‘avoiding confirming’ infringement, and they can demand that payment systems and advertising networks cease doing business with the Web site.”… It would be easy if the bill were limited to obvious works like movies and music, but what about things like a listing on   Who owns it?  Realtors say they do because “it’s their listing”.  As a homeowner I say I do b/c it’s MY house.  And then’s terms & use says “You are strictly prohibited from downloading (other than page caching) modifying, or making any other use of the Move Network or Content, except with express written consent of Move.” so they are effectively trying to own/control the listing even though their terms  acknolwedge that they don’t actually own the copyright to it. Obviously a pre-emptive move by old media (and entrenched dot.coms) to go directly to ISP’s and Payment providers would shut down a startup before it ever had a chance to argue its case in court.  It reminds me of when a few old media companies tried to sue for “deep linking” and trying to force ALL visitors to use their homepage — imagine where that would’ve led us? I’m calling my congressman tomorrow dammit!  This is un-American and unbecoming.

  28. Dave W Baldwin

    Being asked to discuss SOPA with students.  Was given a good analogy- this is like holding Xerox liable for someone using their printer to print something deemed illegal.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Prokofy

      No, that’s a bad analogy because there is nothing in the US that is deemed “illegal” to print — you could try to edgecase this with some bomb manual or something but — good luck.Not having SOPA is like saying that content creators have to pay for the machine, toner, and paper while everybody gets free copies and they get nothing.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Are you sure you want to state that? The issue is somebody placing something they shouldn’t on YouTube.  YouTube is alerted and they block the post until it can be determined.With SOPA, the vagueness basically says that somebody places something they shouldn’t and/or a troll says there is something, YouTube is guilty until proven innocent with the Fed power to freeze assests until innocence can be proven.As per my back and forth with @fredwilson:disqus , @FakeGrimlock:disqus  and @kidmercury:disqus … they know I’m not posturing because I happen to be an artist, on over 3 million CD’s (before YouTube) and as someone who is original knows I can be copied and if so… write something else.What is good about the current situation is these interactive forums allow unmasking those that copy.  Take the forums away will not help anything.

  29. Prokofy

    Oh, that’s ridiculous, Fred, and even sinister, absolving crime. It’s also a travesty to compare legitimate curbs on theft with censorship of free speech. I’ve worked my whole life combating real-life and online censorship in oppressive countries where people *really* suffer — from jail, torture, death for their critical content. I’m sorry, but it’s obscene to compare what happens to them with the inability for your slacker friends to download their latest WoW patch with lightening speed or steal their latest Twilight episode. That’s not censorship; that’s restraint in the name of a balance of human rights for all. And there you go again, whining about “innovation” — you mean the latest start-up that uses the same old tired California Business Model, ad clicking and freebies? Puleeze.Thank God for Andrew Keen, who answers you superbly so I don’t have to take time today:

    1. fredwilson

      that was so lame. he didn’t write that. a lobbyist for the film industry did.i honestly don’t know what is wrong with you that you don’t see what is going on here but you never have and you apparently never will

      1. Prokofy

        Is that the best you can do, Fred? But I’ve seen you dodge this challenge about the “musicians making money by giving away free music” before, and never show us the numbers.Andrew Keen is a public intellectual who has written a book on this subject. Have you? He’s done a lot of homework and can cite all these arguments without any “film industry lobbyist”. Where did you pick that up, from the dregs of the comments at TechCrunch? If he interviewed a lobbyist for this story, what of it? He’s perfectly capable of making all these arguments himself, and makes them all on his own, cogently. I hardly have “something wrong with me” because I care about intellectual property rights and not having all your hacker and 4chan friends destroy them and destroy the economy. And because I have said even before Keen said it that Silicon Valley doesn’t create jobs and takes away as much or more value as it produces.I asked you whether the revolution is eating its children. You said in the tech world you eat your young. Was that what happened to Ilya Zhitomirskiy? Well, Fred?I can always tell when you are losing an argument, you get mean, saying nasty things like “tell me what you hate, and I’ll know what to fund” or “what’s wrong you with that you don’t see what is going on.”I am capable of being as mean right back, mister. And I do it because you are threatening our very freedoms. And I will not let you do that.

    2. ShanaC

      From a computer architecture POV, freedom of speech versus freedom to illegally download WoW are one and the same.  If you are going to do deep packet inspection, why not do it as much for censorship of what I think as much as I want to consume.  Same tech, just needs a little tweaking.That’s the problem with engineering this stuff.  So would you prefer to have a society with free speech and illegally downloaded torrents, or little free speech and no illegally downloaded torrents?

  30. Avery Church

    This video didn’t have copyright for the 3 seconds of “faster than my bullet”. Hahaha sued.

  31. Avery Church

    lol nvm they gave credit.

  32. Douglas Crets

    I think it’s great what you are doing. I think it’s awesome what Tumblr is doing with its censorship campaign. But Tumblr needs to do this in a way that shows the politicians, who are not likely using Tumblr, what the SOPA will do.  I see it as a great marketing effort to show Tumblr leads the charge to see a better Internet for us all, but they are preaching to the choir, who are likely being motivated by their own networks to address SOPA and PIPA. This is the result of the snake eating its tail methodology inherent to marketing. A marketing department only talks about itself to itself and to the people who are already believers. 

  33. fredwilson

    Public shame is the goalIf Google, Facebook and Twitter would do this to their logo on 11/16, the shaming would be on big time

  34. Dale Allyn

    I agree with you, Charlie. There needs to be a list of those working closest to the bill(s) with images and details of the havoc that this piece of garbage can create. I’m a huge fan of IP protection, and I hate pirate sites as well as those who use images without permission (happens to me all the time), but I don’t want to see this sort of poorly conceived reaction get hold. Sadly, those in D.C. are not intellectually nor morally equipped to craft laws for this type of problem, so your suggestion of targeting them where they’ll feel it is likely the only way.

  35. Anne Libby

    Do you think they will?

  36. andyswan

    Build another gate

  37. Prokofy

    No, telcos are a good balance to the ad agency Google.

  38. andyswan

    Going extremely well early….but ACL is a long road.Luckily I am up for a good fight. Trying to turn short term shitstorm into a long term positive.

  39. fredwilson

    I dont know

  40. fredwilson

    I am very disappointed with Chuck on this. And he knows it.

  41. fredwilson

    Thats the unlicensed spectrum debate. The telcos are using their monopoly profits in wireline to gobble up all the spectrum. We need to stop auctioning it off to the highest bidder and deregulate it so we can do that.

  42. kidmercury

    yes that is the solution in all regards. frednet!

  43. andyswan

    I dig.

  44. fredwilson

    Missed it. Watching football. What was it about?

  45. Dave W Baldwin

    Congressional Insider Trading. Actually the better segment was the third on the College in Maryland that is kicking ass in Math/Science.  Not sitting in front of television, so I can’t bring up the school name.@ccrystle:disqus 

  46. ShanaC

    that is just so depressing….

  47. LE

    It was an interesting segment but they didn’t frame the extent of the problem. They gave several good examples but I don’t believe they had access to enough data to say how often or how many take advantage of this so we know how bad the situation is. And I hate when that happens with the media. They can frame something from any angle they want to achieve the point they want to make. (I’ve had this experience personally.)From the transcript:”Schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks.”They answered the question of “why” (for the same reason a dog licks ___ _____ as the joke goes – actually since we don’t need to be PC here “his balls”) but didn’t say “how many” are actually trading in stock on inside info.While it’s not great that they can do this, I hate when time is wasted on legislation to try and control every possibility in modern life. (What do they call it at the NYT, the “nanny state”?). This may be a problem or it may not be a problem.More disclosure is probably the first step obviously.Edit: Punchline to the joke if you don’t know it is: “because he can”.

  48. ShanaC

    Google isn’t an ad agency – they don’t do the media planning, media buying, or creative service.If anything they are more like conde nast. a really wierd conde nast