I’m happy not to be living in the USA. The sad thing is that the USA doesn’t just export “intellectual property” in the form of music, it also exports the legal framework to install this market abroad. Sooner or later a lot of people around the world have to fight their local battles to prevent the same kind of idiocy from happening in their own countries.
The Stop Online Piracy Act is terrible. I’ve been following BoingBoing on SOPA for a while. Check TechDirt on the SOPA amendments for some dispairingly inane Congress. Way to go! Where’s Lawrence Lessig and his Rootstrikers movement?
What I find particularly disappointing is that these days, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is being held up as a model even though its “anti-circumvention” provisions are also terrible (EFF on DMCA). Soon after it was introduced, Switzerland revised its copyright law. We are still allowed to download stuff for personal use (“Eigengebrauch”). The government recently confirmed this. That means that if I have something that is “protected” by DRM, I am still allowed to make a copy for myself. To exercise my right, I need to circumvent the restrictions placed on the thing I want to copy. It turns out that thanks to the USA’s export of legal frameworks, the Swiss copyright law now also has an anti-circumvention article (Art. 39a Schutz technischer Massnahmen). Thus, while I am allowed to circumvent DRM in order to exercise my legal rights, others are prohibited from “creating, importing, offering, selling, distributing, renting, letting, advertizing or owning with the intent to profit” the very tools that I need to exercise my legal rights.
SOPA will lead to the same levels of inanity, I’m sure. Just google for DNS alternatives.
As for the rest… For obvious reasons I don’t care whether the National Defense Authorization Act affects US citizens or not. At least they get to taste some of what they are serving the rest of the world. It’s just like the Transportation Security Administration and how they make life miserable for everybody without actually helping much (BoingBoing on TSA). People like me just start avoiding the USA.