After SOPA Defeat, Paramount Reaches Out To Academia
Until very recently, Hollywood seemed to think that the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act were both slam-dunks. The bills, which were largely negotiated behind closed doors, seemed to have broad bipartisan support when they were unveiled. And the Protect IP Act sailed through a Senate judiciary committee, where it passed unanimously.
In fact, however, the bills drew adamant opposition from a myriad array of groups, including Internet engineers, venture capitalists, Web sites and ordinary users. Among the roster of opponents were dozens of law professors who warned that the legislation would result in censorship.
The bills targeted “rogue” Web sites that are dedicated to infringement, but the language was so broad that the bills could have affected numerous sites with user-generated material. SOPA and Protect IP provided for court orders banning search engines from returning links to “rogue” sites, and also empowered courts to stop credit card companies and ad networks from doing business with such sites. The measures also originally contained provisions requiring Internet service providers to block domains of rogue sites.
The bills were shelved two weeks ago, in the wake of massive protests.
Now, Paramount is reaching out to academia in hopes of engaging in an "exchange of ideas" about piracy. "Over the last few weeks, we at Paramount have been humbled by the strong public opposition to SOPA," begins a letter that was sent to law schools and publicized by Santa Clara University's Eric Goldman.
Paramount adds that it would like to visit the school in order to give a presentation. "Our goal would be to exchange ideas about content theft, its challenges and possible ways to address it," the company says. "We obviously think about these issues deeply on a daily basis. But, as these last few weeks made painfully clear, we still have much to learn."