Wednesday Grok: SOPA is back from the dead, and this time it’s a Zombie

Wednesday Grok: SOPA is back from the dead, and this time it’s a Zombie

Less limbs, more teeth as copyright warfare rears again

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which raised so much sound and fury last year, is missing a few limbs, and it’s not as obvious as before. But as <i>Techcrunch</i> pointed out, this “Zombie SOPA” is still intent upon visiting a fairly aggressive anti-piracy regime upon the world.

Now in his time, Grok has worked both sides of this particular wrangle, where as much of the tech press commentary tends to be one sided. It’s a shame because there’s a pretty good argument for intellectual property protection — just ask anyone who’s ever taken anti-biotics, for instance.

So it’s really about balance and ensuring that entrenched agents in a market don’t bend the rules too much to their will at the expense of innovation. That’s the debate we should be having.

According to Techcrunch, in this latest development, “The proposed task force seems biased towards the very overreaching anti-piracy principals that were the basis of SOPA. In other words, Congress and local governments have a habit of sidestepping important policy debates with backdoor laws that force through a particular point of view before there’s general public consensus on the issue.”

For its part, <i>The Daily Caller</i> quoting other outlets, suggested the new Bill will give government “attaches” even more power and would create a new agency, independent of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

There’s a slightly less balanced pieced on tech blog <i>Boing Boing</i> which manages to sound slight Orwellian in its stance (which is not to say its argument is without merit).

Boing Boing: “Lamar Smith, the powerful committee chairman and corporatist arch villain who tried to ram through SOPA last year is now bent on reviving his slain monster and unleash it upon the earth. The new bill, the Intellectual Property Attache Act, will create a class of political officers who will see to it that all US trade negotiations and discussions advance SOPA-like provisions in foreign law. And as we've seen with other trade deals, one way to get unpopular measures into US law is to impose them on other countries, then agree to ‘harmonise’ at home.”

As a postscript, and with somewhat ironic timing The New York Times asked this morning whether, with SOPA six months behind us, tech and media will soon make up. Someone better yell “Zombie” in the Gray Lady’s headquarters before they feel a cold clammy hand on their shoulder. The Twittersphere woke up this morning and discovered the undead walk amongst us once more, so we expect the volume to increase in the coming days.

Mobility may recalibrate social network hegemonies: BI

Finally, here’s a good short think piece from <i>Business Insider</i> about how the mobile social network is playing out. BI has its own research outfit which you pay to subscribe to if you want the full report, but here’s teasers.

Facebook has a huge audience but it has suffered from false starts in mobility. Twitter is getting its mobile ad strategy together well, but lacks a comprehensive data story and Google’s strength in mobile search and locality may overcome the short falls in Google+.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham.

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