SOPA, PIPA, and the Battle of Money

Earlier this week I took my blog down for the day to protest SOPA. This was easy for me to do because I don’t derive income from my website and because WordPress made it as easy as clicking a box to join in the protest.

Of course, easy or not, I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t believed in the cause. SOPA and similar bills, both in the past and future, threaten creativity and, more importantly, grant a little too much power to “Big Brother”.

Rather than explain it all to you myself, listen to Clay Shirky on the topic:

That pretty much sums up most of what you need to know, but there is more. [Ed Note: Almost immediately after hitting publish, Clay published a great post about not underestimating Hollywood]

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Copyright Law and Blogs

In a follow-up comment to my post on Fair Use and Original Thought, an anonymous poster helpfully provided a link to the full copyright laws. They are quite long. After a little research on the U.S. Copyright Office website, I came up with Circular 66 on Copyright Registration for Online Works. Favorite tidbits:

“Many works transmitted online, such as websites, are revised or updated frequently. Generally, copyrightable revisions to online works that are published on separate days must each be registered individually, with a separate application and filing fee”


“Copyright protects original authorship fixed in tangible form (17 USC sec. 102(a)).”

So my take-away is that, by default, bloggers are not covered as it is never “fixed”. You can register your blog/website, I think as describe in Circular 62, but I would check with the Copyright Office Public Information Office. There is a special registration for “dailies” (Circular 62a), but I’m not good enough to be sure about posting at least 2 posts a week. I can see that I have failed to post at least 8 times a month in two of the last six months. There is also the issue of many blogs not being a “Collective Work”, which I think would rule either of those alternatives invalid.

If you are a lawyer and can cite a precedent that says that my blog is covered, please let me know. I’ll share whatever I can validate with everyone.

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Regulating Fair Use

My original post on Fair Use and Original Thought had some interesting bits of things fall out of that. The first, and foremost, was the complete dissolution of the offending blog. The other is the appearance of a new graphic on my, and several other, blogs.

Regarding the Recently Departed

The blog that I referred to is now gone. I can find a small cached version through Google, but it is no more. The writer claimed to be an employee of EMC, but some EMC people I know failed to find them in their Global Address List. Who knows at this point? I did determine that every single post, except the first A Message to All Viewers was copied from another blog.

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