Explaining Southern California's economy

Taylor Hackford versus the Internet pirates

64th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards - Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for DGA

DGA President Taylor Hackford and host Kelsey Grammer speak onstage during the 64th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland on January 28, 2012 in Hollywood, California.

Directors Guild of America President Taylor Hackford went on "The Patt Morrison Show" on Wednesday to offer withering opposition to the opponents of SOPA and PIPA, the two pieces of federal legislation that are intended to halt the scourge of online copyright piracy and, if you believe Hackford, to preserve the gainful employment of many thousands of entertainment industry workers who make far less money than he does ($50,000 a year, on average).

You certainly can't begrudge Hackford his defense of the "artists" against the Internet ruffians. He's made some fine films, including "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Ray" (we'll forgive him "Against All Odds" and the improbable ballet-tap Cold War mashup "White Nights"). He's on his second go-round as the DGA prez. That said, he could have done a better job of dealing with Patt's question during the segment about the Hollywood business model.

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Megaupload shutdown: Who needs SOPA?

MegaUpload

Screenshot from the MegaUpload music video

USA Today reports in the federal government's shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload yesterday:

The five-count indictment, which alleges copyright infringement as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering and racketeering, described a site designed specifically to reward users who uploaded pirated content for sharing, and turned a blind eye to requests from copyright holders to remove copyright-protected files.

It was unsealed a day after technology companies staged an online blackout to protest two related bills in Congress that would crack down on sites that use copyrighted materials and sell counterfeit goods. Congressional leaders agreed Friday to indefinitely delay action on those bills — Stop Online Priacy Act in the House and Protect IP Act in the Senate.

Critics contend SOPA and PIPA don't so much protect the rights of filmmakers, musicians, writers and artists as they do preserve an antiquated film and music distribution system.

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Hollywood is shocked — Shocked! — that it lost SOPA battle

SOPA/PIPA protest, Wikipedia

Wikipedia blacked out its whole website to join the SOPA/PIPA protest

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Mozilla

Mozilla puts a note on its homepage.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, MoveOn.Org

Political website Moveon.org participates.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Minecraft

Minecraft's website sports a colorful protest page.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Imgur

Imgur.com also shuts down.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, PostSecret

Postsecret.com also joins the protest with an interactive webpage. The faint light illuminating the center of the screen follows your cursor, leaving other sections dark.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Reddit

Popular site Reddit.com also shut down in protest.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Wordpress

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Wired

Wired.com had a creative take on censoring, only blacking out certain words and photos.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Google

Google made changes to its homepage to support the SOPA/PIPA protest.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, BoingBoing

L.A.-based website Boing Boing is down for the day.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Craigslist

Craigslist updated its homepage to this message protesting SOPA/PIPA.

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Destructoid

Destructoid.com

SOPA/PIPA Protest, failblog

Failblog.org

SOPA/PIPA Protest, Flickr

Flickr is letting users participate by darkening their uploaded photos.


At The Wrap, Sharon Waxman lays into Hollywood for not being able to convince Congress that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a worthy undertaking:

The messaging industry never had control of the message.

The tech guys found a simple, shareable idea -- the Stop Online Piracy Act is Censorship -- made it viral, and made it stick.

Hollywood had Chris Dodd and a press release. Silicon Valley had Facebook.

That's pretty well put. But of course it doesn't really get to the root of the issue, which is that California's two leviathan businesses — entertainment and tech — are running away from each other way faster than they're running together. And when it comes to the race for future economic viability and the hearts and minds of consumers, only tech is running in the right direction. 

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Internet uproar forces GoDaddy flip-flop on SOPA support

Ford 300 - Qualifying

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

GoDaddy is no longer supporting SOPA. It's sticking with Danica Patrick, however. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Internet registrar GoDaddy was one of the big proponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) — opposed to the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter — but now it suddenly isn't. Why? Simple: GoDaddy's stance toward SOPA was seriously threatening its bottom line.

It was a victory for the anti-SOPA contingent. This is from VentureBeat:

As one of the largest domain registrars, Go Daddy’s support of SOPA was extremely alarming to many people and companies with a strong presence on the internet because it could make de-indexing domain names much easier.

Talk of a Go Daddy boycott began yesterday on community link sharing site Reddit, and quickly grew to include several influential business leaders and media personalities. Among them were Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh and celebrity/investor Ashton Kutcher.

The company initially shrugged off the protests, issuing a nonchalant response to let people know it hasn’t negatively impacted its business — which was the equivalent of shaking the hell out of a giant beehive and not expecting to get stung. Boycott participators responded by publishing step-by-step tutorials for transferring a bulk of domains to a new registrar, complete with recommendations to competitors.

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In SOPA debate, is Hollywood on the wrong side of history?

Mercer 6349

Getty Images

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT)

The debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act is heating up. The SOPA bill could come to a vote this week in the House, and a similar bill is under consideration in the Senate. This has kicked the so-called "Geek Lobby" into high gear. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm in New York, has been vocal on his blog, going to far as to symbolically censor his post today as a call to action.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has suggested that the online encyclopedia could go on strike in protest. And California Republican congressman Darrell Issa has broken ranks and proposed his own alternative legislation, allying himself with Silicon Valley against Hollywood and the Big Content industry that supports the SOPA legislation.

The opposition has also created a video explainer on why the legislation is the worst thing that's ever been proposed. It's over-the-top and doesn't present the issue with anything resembling complete accuracy. But it is worth a watch (In the interest of reasonable objectivity, I'm not going to embed it, so follow the link if you're interested).

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