Tag Archives: intellectual property

SOPA Intellectual Property – Why We Should Protect Creators Authors and Inventors

Who Can Stop Online Piracy – George Mentz, JD, MBA

In the last few years, we have heard many politicians, companies and libertines talking about privacy rights and keeping the internet free and the protections of intellectual property.

Of course, every red blooded American wants to keep the internet open, collaborative, innovative, and even let the debates continue as it is part of our culture.

Overall, there is a big difference between “fair use” and mass piracy and counterfeiting. While the world is big, it is also getting smaller.  When you think about the ease of piracy with technology and the lack of enforceability, we are talking about billions if not trillions of dollars that is being stolen.  Now this money is not being exclusively stolen from Wall Street or Bill Gates, it is being hijacked from local: artists, programmers, musicians, and single mothers and so forth. People who are trying to put food on the table for their families.

Copyright infringement is illegal and so is trademark infringement.  We  should be protected whether  we have created a book, a song, poetry, essays, computer code, pictures, graphics, or other. The music industry survived in a slow conversion to downloading songs for a small but legitimate price.  The book world is going all digital, and hopefully writers will continue to be protected.  Also, the movie world is very dynamic with “on demand”.

However, you must consider that the world is 6 or 7 Billion people, and the USA is a tiny part of that with a meager 350 million or so consumers.  Thus, anyone offshore can  copy some great idea invented or created by a taxpaying citizen of one country and pirate it in other countries. Or, a former disgruntled employee can steal data, content, images, trade secrets and so forth, and sell it offshore and around the world from offshore locations. The bad news is that the major search providers and governments do not seem to have the money or the manpower to regulate or police all of the phony websites or search results, and different laws may apply in different countries.

In a perfect world, you would search Yahoo or Google or MSN and find the company that you are looking for.  However, there are times that you may search for a company and the most meaningful results are some imposter operation offshore that is counterfeiting, pirating, or selling goods which are either the same or confusingly similar to the authentic proprietor.

In the end, billions go down the drain, and the US government and the: states, cities, and counties suffer from losses in tax revenues.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) if enacted could bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites. This means that the big search engines could not include results with violations.  Presently, the DMCA copyright complaints may work to request that a search engine remove a copyright infringement, but it must be an obvious violation. Also, if you take something down, something else might pop up…

Overall, the SOPA is a key national and international debate.  It must be said that our laws must keep up with technology.  Additionally, there must be a way to protect artists, creative writers, teachers, researchers and inventors.

Here are some US laws, that are on the books but difficult to enforce.  The question is whether new laws will make it easier to stop piracy, trade secrets violations, and counterfeiting and the like.

Here are some US laws, that are on the books but difficult to enforce.  The question is whether new laws will make it easier to stop piracy, trade secrets violations, and counterfeiting and the like.
17 U.S.C. § 501 (copyright infringement);
17 U.S.C. § 506(a)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b) (criminal copyright infringement for profit);
17 U.S.C. § 506(1)(B) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(c) (criminal copyright infringement without a profit motive);
17 U.S.C. §§ 1203, 1204 (circumvention of copyright protection);
15 U.S.C. § 1114(1) (unauthorized use in commerce of a reproduction, counterfeit, or colorable imitation of a federally registered trademark);
15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) (trademark infringement due to false designation, origin, or sponsorship);
15 U.S.C. § 1125(c) (dilution of famous trademarks);
15 U.S.C. §§ 1125(d) and 1129 (cybersquatting and cyberpiracy in connection with Internet domain names);
18 U.S.C. § 2318 (counterfeit/illicit labels and counterfeit documentation and packaging for copyrighted works);
19 U.S.C. § 1337 (unfair practices in import trade);
18 U.S.C. § 2320 (trafficking in counterfeit trademarks);
19 U.S.C. § 1526(e), 15 U.S.C. § 1124 (importing merchandise bearing counterfeit marks)
18 U.S.C. § 2320(h) (transshipment and exportation of counterfeit goods);
18 U.S.C. § 1831 (trade secret theft to benefit a foreign entity); and
18 U.S.C. § 1832 (theft of trade secrets for commercial advantage).
18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7).  (identity theft statute)


Let the debate continue.


H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act; House Judiciary Committee; October 26, 2011