SOPA and Star Traks

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SOPA and Star Traks

Postby cmdrajd » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:15 pm

I tend to avoid discussing controversial matters on this site (beyond my opinion of a movie, TV show, or book), but, considering that the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation being considered in the US House of Represenatives and the comparable PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act (at least I think that's what that acronym stands for)) in the US Senate has potential ramifications on Star Traks, I felt the need to weigh in on this one.

I'm not going to defend piracy, and I don't think any of the major groups opposed to SOPA would either. However, this legislation as written is so vague and possibly broad in scope that it could be used as a weapon against legitimate forms of speech. In the case of Star Traks, we are quite obviously playing with the Intellectual Property of Viacom (Just tracking the chain of ownership of Star Trek over the last few decades is fun in itself) and occasionally throw other properties into the mix. However, the concept of Fair Use has generally seemed to cover us (I had a friend who was a law student use Traks as a case study for a Fair Use paper he wrote in law school that concluded we should be covered, which is as close as I've wanted to come to actually delving into those legal waters).

However, under SOPA, Viacom (or Paramount, CBS TV, or whatever corporate entity owns Trek or any other property we've decided to poke fun at) could contact our hosting provider with a claim of copyright infringement and have the Traks site taken down without us being notified or really much in the way of legal recourse. Granted it's unlikely that such a thing would happen, but we don't need to put that particular tool in the toolbox. I'd also hate to see such a thing used against some of the sites out there that use Trek more directly. There are several fanfilm sites out there that could be shut down even though they don't make a dime from Trek. If anything, they provide free advertising.

Before I go off on a full rant, I'll bring this to an end. If you want more information, here is an information sheet from the EFF and commentary by Mr. Wil Wheaton: ... -pager.pdf ... ernet.html
"I'm not insane -- my mother had me tested." - Sheldon Cooper, "The Big Bang Theory"

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Re: SOPA and Star Traks

Postby Star Traks » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:51 pm

I already submitted a petition against the referenced item on 1/18/12.
Wheaton's article touched on many aspects of act consequences.
Enforcement / Enforcers of such acts are typically irrational in such gray areas. TURF becomes a four letter word.
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