December 21, 2011

SOPA COULD BE USED TO CENSOR CANDIDATES: I predict that it will be used mostly on candidates that Hollywood doesn’t like.

During the waning days of the 2008 presidential race, there was an important but overlooked occurrence on the John McCain campaign. In mid-October, the McCain campaign awoke to find that its Web videos and online advertisements were disappearing from its YouTube page.

The culprit turned out to be a major television network claiming they owned portions of the videos and that posting the clips was a violation of copyright law. Even though the campaign, and many others in the online community, believed the content to be privileged under the “Fair Use Doctrine,” the videos were pulled down.

Fast-forward more than three years, and a new piece of legislation is making its way through Congress that would make it easier for online campaign content and websites to be taken down. Even more concerning, if passed, this bill would allow opposing campaigns or campaign committees — not just the original content provider — to pull down websites harboring “infringing content.”

But I’m probably just cynical.