Streetwise Professor

January 23, 2012

A Perfect Illustration of Anti-SOPA Hysteria and Dishonesty

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Regulation — The Professor @ 10:22 pm

R passed along this video interview with Jacob Appelbaum, the would be tortured Romantic martyr for freedom on the internet. SOPA, and the recent arrest of Megaupload megaload Kim Schmitz are the focus of the interview, but there are detours into Iraq and other peripherally related subjects.

Given Appelbaum’s prominence as an advocate, and his involvement in Wikileaks–an involvement that is bringing substantial official scrutiny–his rather juvenile and hysterical remarks deserve some discussion.  Indeed, they deserve attention precisely because this juvenile and hysterical level of argument is all too common in the SOPA/PIPA debate.

A few of the lowlights:

  • Around :17 in the video, he claims that SOPA is a censorship regime like Syria or China.  Uhm, no, actually.  None of the content of the web that Syrian or Chinese censors wish to stamp out–notably, political speech–is covered by SOPA.  SOPA is clearly aimed at commercial sites that sell copyrighted material.  Such dishonesty, and the attempt to conscript truly oppressed individuals in his cause, is a clear giveaway that he cannot make an argument against SOPA on its (de)merits, but must instead invent and grotesquely exaggerate flaws in order to prevail on emotion and ignorance.  If you have to lie and inflame emotions to make your case, you probably have no case.
  • At 1:07 Appelbaum bemoans the arrest of Schmitz: a “guy who [was] arrested for running a website where other people upload files.”  Mr. Appelbaum, legal expert, finds such actions “supersketchy” [warning!: technical legal jargon] and un-American.  News for Mr. Appelbaum.  There is a component of American copyright law called contributory infringement, whereby an individual facilitates infringement by another.  This is, in essence, aiding and abetting.  This is no different than fencing stolen property.  As to the possibility that Megaupload was used to share some files legitimately, that is not a defense, any more than an art dealer who fences stolen paintings is not able to skate because he also engages in legitimate sales.  Apparently, these established features of the law are “supersketchy” too.
  • Insofar as contributory infringement is concerned, US courts have demonstrated some ability to distinguish between different technologies.  This is what did in Napster, but the Supreme Court found in favor of Sony when it was accused of contributory infringement in the Betamax case.  Too many SOPA hysterics fail to realize that courts will–will–weigh in on these issues, and enforcement of the law.  Appelbaum, and too many others, overlook this basic fact.  Do they really think that all the courts in the US, up to the Supreme Court, would meekly permit the most lurid scenarios that they posit to occur?
  • At 1:33 or so, he begins a juvenile discussion of copyright.  The gravamen of his argument is that the property owner is not deprived of property by copying.  This is, in a sense true.  The fundamental conundrum of intellectual property is that the marginal cost of reproduction is close to zero, and that intellectual property is non-rivalrous.  Two people can consume a song: only one can use a car at a time.  People have understood this for donkey years (since the work of Plant in the 1950s).  But people have also understood that there is a fundamental tension between static efficiency–which is impeded by copyright–and dynamic efficiency–which it can advance.  If copying is not restricted, and the price of a work (e.g., a song or a movie) is driven to zero as a result, there is no incentive to create the good in the first place, especially if the fixed cost of production is high (as is often the case, especially with a movie).  This is a knotty economic problem that is found in many settings–including the subject of my PhD thesis, ocean shipping.  This always leads to difficult legal and policy choices.  There is no easy way to determine the set of rights that optimally balances the static costs of copyright (too little of existing creations are consumed) against the dynamic benefits (more creations exist).  This is why copyright law–and IP law generally–is so much more contentious and controversial than law involving conventional, rivalrous property.  So have the debate over the messy ways to achieve balance.  Don’t be juvenile and just assume the tension away by focusing only on the static inefficiencies of copyright.  That’s just what Appelbaum–and many SOPA opponents–do.
  • At 2:20 he claims that Schmitz was arrested without reasonable process.  Really?  The Feds got a warrant, and presumably went through the normal process.  If they committed procedural violations, Mr. Schmitz will have every opportunity to make that case.  And if he does, he walks.  Appelbaum actually asks, rhetorically, “why not give him [Schmitz] a day in court?”  Does Appelbaum really believe that Schmitz is not going to get a day in court?  Really?  Arrest is the beginning of the process.  There are many legal battles yet to fight, and Herr Schmitz will have the legal counsel he needs to fight them.  Jeez: has Appelbaum never watched Law and Order? You know, the show where the first part shows how the cops develop a case and arrest people, and where the second part shows how the courts judge people who the cops arrested?  It’s not that freaking complicated.
  • At about 3:14 Appelbaum says that the arrest was unjustified because SOPA was intended to give the government powers to enforce IP law overseas, the implication being that since SOPA has not passed, the government exceeded its authority in arresting Schmitz.  Can anyone actually be this stupid?  Well, yes, actually: anyone who actually believes this crap.
  • SOPA is really just a new mechanism for enforcing existing rights, not an assertion or creation of new rights.  Under existing law, it is possible to go after people who infringe copyright even if they are overseas: that’s what USDOJ did in New Zealand.  The point is, that is very expensive and difficult, especially if the authorities in the countries where the pirates operate are not cooperative.  That is, if Schmitz had operated in Russia or China, he would have been at much less risk from arrest by US authorities than he did by operating in New Zealand.   What SOPA does is provide an alternative way to enforce copyright against infringers in uncooperative jurisdictions.

    Appelbaum and others–notably Google–suggest that the mechanism is novel and outrageous, in that it utilizes third parties (search engines, payment systems) to help enforce copyrights.  It is neither novel nor outrageous.  In the words of Posner and Landes (in The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law) it is beneficial to have “a legal mechanism for placing the ultimate liability” for preventing the violation of a copyright on the party that can do so most cheaply.  That’s not always the infringer: it can be the provider of a service complementary to the infringement.  Would Appelbaum–or you–prefer to have copyright enforced by Feds breaking down doors, or by Paypal cutting off a pirate?  Which is more intrusive, and more subject to abuse, and more costly in the event of a mistake?   This is exactly the logic behind the doctrine of contributory infringement, a recognized part of current law, and applies to SOPA.  It is a way of reducing the costs of enforcing copyright.

    This points out one of the issues that is often confused.  Many people object to SOPA because they really object to copyright law, as it exists.  If that’s true, don’t focus on the mechanism of enforcing the copyright law: focus on copyright law itself.  Again, it is an economically difficult issue, and people of good will can differ on this.  Battles are inevitable.  But fight the battles over the relevant issues of how best to delineate copyrights, rather on than on the issue of how to enforce rights as they exist.  That addresses the issue at the root.

  • At around 4:19 Appelbaum argues that SOPA represents the normalization of the surveillance and censorship state.  He asks, in a tired trope, “who are the real terrorists?”, and drags the Iraq War into the discussion.  More overstretch, and more dishonest and emotionally manipulative exploitation of human tragedy to advance a position on a completely unrelated issue–and a demonstration that much of the opposition to SOPA and copyright is inextricably mixed with an implacable hatred for the US.    The truly disgusting part of this discussion is that the creator of Tor advocates people use it and other techniques to escape surveillance–without acknowledging that Tor is also used by hackers to surveil, invade privacy, destroy lives through “doxing”, and steal.  An honest individual would recognize that his creation can be used for good and evil: like Nobel, say, who was tormented by the use of his invention of dynamite to kill.  But Appelbaum is hardly so honest, or self-reflective.  He refuses to acknowledge the very sharp double edge of the sword he has created, and the malign purposes to which it has been put.  He presents himself as a crusader for right, protecting the innocent against the predation of the state, but denies responsibility for the harm that occurs when non-state actors–his hacker buddies and fanboys (emphasis on “boys”)–prey on innocent people.

This interview is a perfect distillation of anti-SOPA hysteria and dishonesty.  There is room for legitimate debate on copyright, and the proper extent of copyright coverage.  This Appelbaum, and other opponents of SOPA, too often fail to do.  Instead they appeal to emotion, make wild analogies, engage in hysteria, and make demonstrably risible assertions about the law.  The ultimate irony is that by opposing SOPA, they are likely to increase reliance on coercive enforcement of copyrights (like the raid on Megaupload), and to induce the socially wasteful expenditure of resources to protect IP via technical means.  If copyright exists, and those copyrights are valuable, holders have an incentive to enforce those rights, and they will do so–and you may not like the way they do it.  If you have a problem with copyright law, as it exists, there is plenty of room to make legitimate argument.  Do that, and spare us the “who is the real terrorist?” crap.

Note: Catherine Fitzgerald has been on to Appelbaum for a while.  Here are a  couple of her posts that are definitely worth a read.  She refers to him as “an open-source cultist and thuggish heckler of critics on Twitter. He’s also a liar, claiming that US soldiers deliberately killed children in Iraq when they could not have possibly known that there were children in a vehicle of a driver who stopped to help wounded, armed persons whom were shot at by the US soldiers from a helicopter. The entire incident — tendentiously released by WikiLeaks — had enough problematic features to it and a need for investigation and more caution without tarting it up and lying about it. That they can and do lie and do so shamelessly taints everything about WikiLeaks.”

Oh, and Mr. X and others who have advanced the theory that Catherine Fitzpatrick Fitzgerald=LaRussophobe, you should note that Fitzpatrick Fitzgerald is a strong supporter of SOPA, but LR has written numerous tweets in opposition, and has advocated signing the Google anti-SOPA petition.  This could be a masterly act of misdirection, but I’ll defer to Occam’s razor.

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  1. “he claims that SOPA is a censorship regime like Syria or China. Uhm, no, actually.”

    The question of INTENT by the backers is surely relevant, just as it is in a murder case on trial, no matter how much you pretend, duck, dodge and try to pretend the Establishment position is perfectly reasonable, and that you oppose massive, unfunded mandates from Washington, except just in this teeny little case.
    Joe Lieberman advocates for an Internet kill switch on CNN

    And SWP, in case you didn’t notice, your buddies in Congress (do you know Lamar Smith, BTW?) backing this bill slinked off with their tail between their legs, no doubt to await the next New Year’s Eve or some other point when no one is paying attention when they can pass this gloriously patriotic piece of legislation like the NDAA.

    Like I keep saying, if these bills are so legit, why do they have to be ramrodded through with opponents getting accused of ‘not supporting the troops’ if they vote against like NDAA? And why when they actually do get debated like SOPA do they go down in flames?

    Comment by Mr. X — January 23, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  2. “Given Appelbaum’s prominence as an advocate, and his involvement in Wikileaks–an involvement that is bringing substantial official scrutiny…”

    “He’s part of OWS and functions on the same level.”

    Your authoritarianism and class hatred are showing.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — January 24, 2012 @ 1:05 am

  3. The Criminal class and Putin’s Boot Lickers hatred are showing – Sublime Moron

    Putin’s Boot Lickers

    The perception in Russia is that the CPRF is the ‘loyal opposition’ to Putin’s United Russia. They are given space to organise in a way that other more explicitly anti-Putin forces just aren’t in Russia’s tightly managed polity. This article, although published ten years ago, by the prominent Marxist intellectual Boris Kagarlitsky, places the CPRF firmly within the Kremlin’s orbit, pre-, peri- and post- Putin.

    They are very useful to the Kremlin after all. They crush any genuine opposition from the left and provide a left-wing cover to the government’s ‘national-patriotic’ policies, e.g. Putin’s war in Chechnya in 2000. In return Putin gave CPRF deputies prominent roles in parliamentary committees and also at the time of the Second Chechen War supported the CPRF’s bid to get one of its deputies elected as Speaker of the Duma. We shouldn’t be under any illusions that the CPRF enjoy such political prominence in Russia because they are so useful, and toothless.

    Comment by Anders — January 24, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  4. “As I said in replying to Gordon’s comments in the previous SOPA post”

    I think you mean “Scott’s”


    Comment by Gordon — January 24, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  5. Only one side here stoops to constant profanity and defamation to make their points.

    “Your authoritarianism and class hatred are showing.” Yep, and silencio on the TSA detaining a certain United States Senator who’s led the opposition to SOPA and NDAA. Just a coincidence right rytb? Only a conspiracy nut would believe that certain figures get, ahem, special rubber gloves treatment, which the Prof bitches about once and then ignores the rest of the time.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 24, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  6. And why the carrying water for Ekaterina? Let her defend herself.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 24, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  7. @Gordon . . . Yup. Working from memory. Your name stuck, being less common than Scott. Apologies.

    @Mr. X. You are such a tool. WTF am I supposed to do, be like you, and obsessively repeat the same shit over and over again? People know where I stand on TSA. I’ve said it more than once. And I push the envelope quite often when dealing with those clowns. So I don’t need any instruction from you.

    Re catfitz–I just think it’s wildly hilarious that you and others are so obsessed with figuring out who LR is. I was just doing the public service of giving you some actual data. Not that you’d know what to do with it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 24, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  8. And by the way, I count at least 4 TSA flame posts. Plus additional asides on the subject.

    Just to show I care, by the way, here’s a little expose, from Al Jazerra no less, about your favorite news source.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 24, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  9. LOL-LOL – The Al Jazerra video is to the point .
    Flame posts and Professor phobia from the Moron class
    The second generation Russian was born and went to school in USA , and they suffer from a quite serious inferiority complex. Here are these young men, full of energy and aspirations, but it takes a while to integrate into the upper echelons of any society. I think there is a lot of frustration among a group which feels it has not been able to get where it could have or should have. And at the same time there is injustice against Russians in the world.

    poor Mr X and Sublim Putin asslickers

    Comment by Anders — January 24, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  10. There is plenty of juvenile hysteria about SOPA, but there are also well-reasoned arguments against it. Clay Shirky is not hysterical and arguably knows more about the intersection of creative content and technology than anybody. SWP, please watch and comment.

    Comment by scott — January 24, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  11. Regarding the raid on MegaUpload, it would be more normal for the FBI to raid the office, collect evidence, and put Mr Schmitz under arrest— but, and big but, not shutter the business to its customers during due process. Clearly the FBI clearly thinks this is illicit business model, and it is not targeting a bad apple running a business. The press took the bait and portrayed the story as a bad apple- and not as a clear line in sand of illicit business activity. I store much of my copyrighted material on dropbox, sugarsync and Amazon EC2…. is that illegal? What if I had my copyrighted material on MegaUpload?- I doubt I would ever get it back and I would have to purchase again. That is too high a transaction cost for the victims versus the perpetrators- a cost which is rarely considered. Essentially the legitimate art collector in your example above loses everything.

    Comment by scott — January 24, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  12. Professor,

    It’s rather ironic that you link to an Al-Jazeera video putting down RT, considering how many former RT staffers now work there, and a few vice versa, at Rusiya al Yaum. Go look it up — there’s several with public profiles on Facebook who’ve worked at both places!

    Plus, RT covered the demos, but a protest featuring tens of thousands of folks in Moscow is hardly the same as protests featuring hundreds of thousands of Occupy people across the U.S., or rioters burning down a good chunk of London.

    But there’s a double irony too, which demonstrates once again how your hatred of all things Russian blinds you to the other agendas at work in this world — i.e. New World Order globalism and how they use Islamists here and there as their useful foot soldiers/ To ignore the fact that Qatar is no democracy, Al-Jazeera like Echo of Moskvy is funded by a state-owned gas monopoly (just one you don’t happen to hate), and the good ole’ Qatari emir has been the strongest supporter of certain Libyan Islamists that the Bush Administration once had Gaddafi — y’know, back when he was the Anglo-Americans new friend post-Saddam — detain, and possibly torture, on the short list for rendition to Gitmo in 2005-2006.

    This was all covered extensively in the Wall Street Journal, I don’t need to rehash it here, except to mention some of these cats did fight the U.S. in Afghanistan in 2002 and joined the jihad against U.S. forces in Iraq in 2003-2004. And don’t you remember post 9-11 when Putin was Dubya’s pal that Al-Jazeera was being denounced on Fox News as ‘Jihad TV’? Ah, but now they recycle their money through the same five families, er six megabanks that dominate D.C. and New York, and they back American foreign policy. Ergo you love Al-Jazeera now. The hated Russkies and Chinese, meanwhile, quietly dump their Treasuries and stockpile gold, and encourage the Germans to do so against the day Ben Bernanke becomes the new Walter Rathenau.

    These are the people the neocons you never criticize suddenly decided where freedom fighters, rather than people who should rot in Gitmo. So apparently as in Chechnya (which Andy always seems to have a fetish for their cause) there are Islamist SOBs, and there are OUR Islamist SOBs, flying the black flag that the Iraqi head choppers once used in their jihadi porn snuff films proudly over Tripoli. And that’s just the warm up for Syria, so Islamists can seize power their, stock pile rockets opposite the Golan Heights, and the fun can really get started with the MIC raking in more profits. Mil budget cuts? Not if they get what they want, and to hell with grass growing in the streets and bridges falling back stateside.

    In fact, I’m very glad you brought up Al-Jazeera, because they had three cats on today with some Brit who probably is chums with the Brits who work at RT, and there wasn’t a single spokesperson to explain why Russia was being so obstinate on the Syria regime change by outsiders agenda. No Rogozin successor, no Russian Arabist, nobody to present the duplicity. Y’know, no mention of how a UN resolution and no fly zone ostensibly designed to protect civilians was used for the real goals in Libya, to get all that sweet, sweet crude and rearrange the deck, and make darn sure that Gaddafi like Osama died and never got to spill his guts about all his previous deals. You notice nobody liked it in South Carolina when Ron Paul brought up that Saddam was taken alive but not Osama. Neither dude, like good ole’ Rudolph Hess kept muzzled till he committed ‘suicide’ at Spandau, ever got to tell their side of the story and who they were in bed with before hostilities commenced (Lord Halifax, all the British elites and royals who wanted to cut a deal with Hitler).

    And that really sums up the heart of this blog. Hate of Russia, hate of any critics of the MIC, of Occupiers, of ‘Paulbots’ — trumps love. It trumps love for the Constitution, love for liberty, and any empathy for the tens of thousands of farmers, and ranchers that the CME owes compensation and a groveling apology to for allowing Corzine and co to steal them blind. And no empathy for the kids your daughters age joining the Occupy movement because they got sick of being jobless and told they couldn’t even get the scutwork cuz those jobs are now reserved for illegals.

    And while you ‘hold your fire’, the feds investigation into what has been the greatest heist of segregated customer accounts in American history is starting to resemble OJ’s search for the real killers. Why aren’t you on CNBC or Fox Business News channel raising holy hell and defending the CME from these jackals who just put its reputation into the toilet? Ah, because you are afraid.

    By your fruits ye shall know them. And what type of people does this blog attract? While you denounce Ron Paul for every person, Establishment plant or otherwise, who purports to support him, your fan club includes bitter women like rytb who hurl f-bombs at me for pointing out the hypocrisy of a Right that pretends not to trust this bloated government at home but is supposed to blindly follow it abroad. Kiwis like Andy who trade in their native Middle Earth mellowness for pro-Caucasian separatist fanaticism. And drunken ramblers like Anders who complain about Gazprom while deals with Gazprom account for a growing share of Statoil’s profits.

    And Catherine Fitz…who may not be La Russophobe, but fits the profile about 90%, and at the end of the day, isn’t worth confronting anyway, because any woman spending her golden years in flame wars on Second Life is to be pitied, and is too pitiful to be hated.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 25, 2012 @ 1:57 am


    P.S. love is stronger than hate. They will never NDAA all of us, or use SOPA to shutdown sites you don’t like such as ZeroHedge as ‘collateral damage’ and then get them all. Strike down one site and you will get a thousand. Suppress liberty at home while pushing aggression abroad, and you will find the tables turned from the Cold War with Radio Free America broadcasting from all over the world — from any place where people refuse to submit to one world under corporatist fascism.

    “All the armies in the world cannot stop an idea whose time has come.”

    Comment by Mr. X — January 25, 2012 @ 2:33 am

  14. Just to show I care, by the way, here’s a little expose, from Al Jazerra no less, about your favorite news source.

    So what? Bravery too has its critics.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — January 25, 2012 @ 2:37 am

  15. but a protest featuring tens of thousands of folks in Moscow is hardly the same as protests featuring hundreds of thousands of Occupy people across the U.S., or rioters burning down a good chunk of London

    You’re right — it’s not the same at all. It’s far more significant.

    Because there are protests in the US all the time, and in the past 20 years or so, a number of protests in the US and UK have turned into riots. But there hasn’t been a single protest of this size in Russia in 20 years. So the protests in Moscow and other cities are far more important.

    BTW, I agree with Cathy on most issues and sometimes agree with LR. But I disagree with them both on the protests. This might be “you have to be here” thing. There was a sea-change in thinking and action. For years only 200-300 people showed up for the 31st day demonstrations. Most people didn’t even know about them. And then suddenly my park was plastered with posters about the Fair Elections demos and it seemed like everyone — particularly young people — were talking about them and going to them. Apolitical students who never read the news were passing out flyers. Vkontakte was filled with info. Tens of thousands of people who would have said six months ago that they’d never go to a demonstration were there with hand-made posters and white ribbons. It’s a very big deal.

    Comment by mossy — January 25, 2012 @ 2:41 am

  16. You’re right — it’s not the same at all. It’s far more significant.

    Yes, the Internet hamsters have been out in force.

    A terrifying sight indeed.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — January 25, 2012 @ 2:51 am

  17. I just love the way all the Putin apologists claimed for years that the narod loved the great leader and cited as proof the absence of demonstrations against him. And now that there are the largest demonstrations in 20 years against him — not to mention booing, a dramatic drop in his ratings, etc. — they either denegrate the demonstrations or play the usual game of “watch the birdie” — ie switch the subject to US demonstrations.

    Comment by mossy — January 25, 2012 @ 3:02 am

  18. I speak only partly in jest.

    The protesters have been significant. So much so that many people are now going to go out and vote for Putin specifically thanks to the swamp creatures.

    Incidentally, that includes myself. I never voted in a Russian election before, but on March 4th I will make an exception and go vote for Putin at the SF Consulate.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — January 25, 2012 @ 3:39 am

  19. Nice to see Julian Assange is coming home to the KGB .

    You’re right Sublim moron — it’s not the same at all. It’s far more significant.

    Putin doesn’t understand who the protesters are or who should represent them, according to Kudrin, who said he met with the premier after rallies in December and this month.

    The Putin- Mafia know the hamsters can be controlled in the long run , by different programs

    1 .You can either fatten them them
    2 .Or You can do like the Russian mafias friends in Bosnia feed them less .

    Comment by Anders — January 25, 2012 @ 4:06 am

  20. Converted or dangerous Hamsters the Mafia have to kill . Internet is a superb instrument for identifying the right Hamsters .

    The sacred cows have to bee saved

    Comment by Anders — January 25, 2012 @ 4:22 am

  21. And M X…who may not be Sublim moron, but fits the profile about 90%, and at the end of the day, isn’t worth confronting anyway, because any moron spending her golden years in flame wars on on pro Putin -Mafia internetforums is to be pitied, and is too pitiful to be hated

    Comment by Anders — January 25, 2012 @ 4:27 am

  22. And Mafia supporters like Mr X is bragging about deals with Gazprom account for a growing share of Statoil’s profits.

    As long as Statoil have support from strong partners and a are listed on The New York Stock Exchange the Russian mafia thieves behave .

    TELENOR have a different experience in the Mafia run state .

    Comment by Anders — January 25, 2012 @ 4:42 am

  23. @Scott. Watched, and not persuaded. At least he recognizes that there is something called contributory infringement, and focuses on the proper issue: what should be its scope? He insinuates SOPA would put Facebook, Twitter, etc., at risk of being found a contributory infringer. I am not convinced. As US sites, SOPA doesn’t affect them, and if there is a big risk of an overexpansive interpretation of contributory infringement, these sites would already be at risk–so why hasn’t that happened? Shirky therefore relies heavily on the “fear” and self-censorship argument. I think this is pretty weak.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 25, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  24. And when you are in uniform, say hi to deda for us.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 25, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  25. The little boy in Berkeley , coming home by sea or by air -?

    Comment by Anders — January 25, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  26. “Or will he continue to hide in the US?” did you got to Iraq or Afghanistan rytb? Enjoy any of those wars you think are so cool?

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  27. Nevermind, she already answered my question.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 26, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  28. SWP, thanks for watching Shirky and providing comments. The line in the sand of “contributory infringement” is still being drawn. However SOPA does affect Facebook and YouTube. These companies already have dedicated teams to cancel links to copyrighted material and have paid hundreds of millions in legal fines- they recognize the cost. With SOPA their police efforts will have to increase massively because many of their users are offshore, and now the burden of proof has moved to guilty until proven innocent.

    Comment by scott — January 27, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  29. No problem, Scott. Yes, it’s all about defining the boundaries of contributory infringement. I’m still not convinced that SOPA will affect these companies all that much, because it is the domicile of the company that matters, not the users (except to the extent that the company sells to people in the US). Moreover, they would have a strong defense that the sale of these materials is not their primary business (although I wonder how advertising revenues fits into that–not something I’ve seen discussed).

    I can understand the fears/concerns that will exist until the contours of SOPA would get defined in legal precedents. But I think that the language–which could be strengthened–makes it clear that it is avowedly foreign piracy sites, not FB or Twitter, are the target. This gives them a strong legal leg to stand on.

    But the fact that it is costly for these companies to serve as the enforcers of copyright law explains why they hate this. It can be economically efficient (i.e., this is the way of minimizing the total cost of enforcing copyright), but it does have distributive effects. Not to mention that raising the cost of piracy reduces the demand for the suppliers of complementary services–like FB, Google, etc. That’s why they really hate the existing law, and its expansion. I just find it dishonest (and in Google’s case, Orwellian) to stoke fears about censorship.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 27, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  30. At 1:07 Appelbaum bemoans the arrest of Schmitz: a “guy who [was] arrested for running a website where other people upload files.”

    The reason Jacob Appelbaum is bemoaning this is because his Canadian buddy Nadim Kobeissi (“Kaepora” on Twitter) is himself the webmaster of one such a rogue file-sharing website,, one that is reportedly being used by pedophiles to exchange kp. particularly enables the exchange of kp thanks to its deliberately designed lack of oversight; unlike Megaupload which at least pretended to have some semblance of an abuse reporting mechanism, has nothing of the sort. Anon had enough of the kp-enabling on and proceeded to expose Nadim Kobeissi as the webmaster of

    It is in this context that you should understand Jacob Appelbaum’s downplaying of the Megaupload “Megaconspiracy”. The Megaupload crackdown is making Jacob’s buddy Nadim very very nervous.

    Comment by mtex — January 27, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  31. Hi, that was a public service, thank you, all excellent arguments against all the common fallacies that the copyleftists make — Appelbaum is a particularly conniving and disingenuous one: on the one hand, he essentially knocks adversarial defense and the independent judiciary of the United States which is the context in which any enforcement of copyright law has to take place, but on the other hand, he expects to benefit from those same features of the US himself in his own court case related to WikiLeaks.

    It’s especially important to call out as you have the idea that piracy “isn’t theft” merely because you are left with your own copyable original. Thanks, guys! But of course the monetarization capacity of your creation is then stripped out by the pirate. The entire copyleftist movement, exemplified in Creative Commons, is not only designed to “liberate” content, but it deliberately seeks to break the connection between content as a commodity and commerce. So in my view, that’s why it’s worth fighting not only in its own terms but as technocommunism, a new form of online totalitarianism. If that seems far-fetched, you have only to look at the absolutist and eliminationist tactics of Anonymous and their many academic, journalist and think-tanker supporters and you get the idea.

    My last name is *Fitzpatrick*. I always post on these topics under my real name or Twitter name catfitz. I also have an avatar, Prokofy Neva, linked to this real name.

    I’m not La Russophobe. She’s a libertarian, I’m not a libertarian. I’m a liberal. I’m not a “progressive”. There are differences. La Russophobe indeed opposes SOPA in the same way the CATO Institute and other libertarian think-tanks oppose SOPA on the grounds of opposing government intervention, although presumably they uphold intellectual property rights. I support SOPA not only to protect intellectual property, but to protect organic representative democracy and the rule of law over cyberspace. This last bit is something I think nobody else is concerned with now, and my interlocutors on this subject think I’m too apocalyptic on the subject.

    I find that Mr. X and Sublime Oblivious and other pro-Kremlin ankle-biters always show up to attack anyone who criticizes the Kremlin and the Russian government in any way. They then accuse them of “hating” Russia. La Russophobe seems to have capitalized on that old discrediting term “Russophobe,” which goes back at least as far as Solzhenitsyn’s debates. She’s decided instead to run with it deliberately as an in-your-face tactic. I find some of what she does extreme and hateful, but it’s part of an online persona that is designed as part parody and part partisan raid, and that’s ok, it’s no different than what the pro-Kremlin bloggers do.

    Comment by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick — January 28, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  32. @catfitz Thanks for your kind words. I’ve learned a lot from your posts on Appelbaum and SOPA and the whole collective commons issue. I’m just sort of kibbitzing in this space. The Anonymous types infuriate me. Google disturbs me. I just try to bring a little of my economics and intellectual property litigation experience to the debate.

    Re your name: Sorry . . . I definitely know your name, but had a brain cramp. Speed kills. Apologies: won’t happen again.

    I just find the obsessions with you and LR to be bizarre. They have cropped up not infrequently in my comments, so I felt compelled to mention it.

    I’m definitely aware of the differences between libertarians and progressives and liberals. I consider myself classical liberal, except that hardly anybody understands what that means. So I sometimes refer to myself as a libertarian, even though I am an idiosyncratic apostate of one, and as an early post discussed in detail I am uneasy with that label given the disrepute into which rabid Paulians have brought it.

    Re Russophobia generally, it has been a subject of back-and-forth debate on this site. I wrote my response to such allegations in August 2008, in a post titled On Russophobia. That post was probably a turning point for SWP, because the comment traffic upticked noticeably thereafter. (The Russo-Georgian War also had a lot to do with it.)

    Re LR-you have her pegged.

    Thanks again for your comment, kind words, and writing on such disparate subjects (the internet & the ‘Stans: what a combo!)

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 28, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  33. “I’m not La Russophobe. She’s a libertarian, I’m not a libertarian.” Ah well, maybe the Darth Vader mask fits Reason’s Cathy Young better, though I find it hard to believe that she’d be that shrill and insane. But as a sideline from Jamestown or a crumb from some other anti-Russia lobby table, perhaps…living in NYC is expensive. And all the stereotypes would probably fit someone who speaks Russian ok but doesn’t remember anything about their country past 1981, or so.

    “Google disturbs me.” Damn well as they ought to, what with their In Q Tel roots.

    You see Catherine, SWP takes a very naive view of who are the Russophiles and Russophobes. He doesn’t understand that once you dig deeper into Russia stuff you find an Angletonian hall of mirrors, where the ‘Russophiles’, even some of the Lefty peaceniks back as early as the 60s, were really working for Uncle Sam in reality while the ‘Russophobes’ were…well, serving multiple interests, sometimes even Moscow’s. Look at what Angelo Codevilla, who himself once worked in the intelligence community, has to say about the Lefty circles around Barack Obama and his Agency-employee grandparents:

    Not all of them very patriotic at all, in fact some of them who treat our Constitution as toilet paper. That’s really my chief grievance and what I’ve been trying to enlighten the Professor on (Soros backing NED/NRI, cough cough, plus all sorts of ‘leftist’ and creepy one-worlder foundations). He thinks the Reset was some naive thing Obama and his weak-kneed liberal advisors dreamed up in 2008-2009. Ha! The Reset is the tail, the dog is Wall Street, and to a lesser extent the aerospace, defense and metals/energy industries. The Northern Supply Route was already sending lethal ordnance or at least weaponry into Afghanistan using Russian planes long before Andy Dzughashvili and anyone publically can point to it, but that was really a sideline. And oh yes, I have it on solid authority that Viktor Bout worked for both sides and Washington hung him out to dry, while the Russians at least tried to save an old loyal operator for both sides from Africa to Southeast Asia. And yes, that same source told me that they flew guns to both the Iraqis and Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. So that is the kind of dark world I see, while SWP sees his normal, hum drum world where the U.S. is not being turned into a Corporatist Police State to protect the old Anglo-American Natural State/oligarchy.

    If you do your homework, you’ll find the Reset kicked into high gear or started getting prepped after:

    1) Russian oligarchs started buying into U.S. steel and other infrastructure and even peripherally defense-related industries

    2) Russia’s Central Bank started buying U.S. Treasuries, and U.S. agency debt

    3) Goldman Sachs, Barclays (go look up Bob Foresman’s career at RenCap prior to joining them, for one) all started investing big in Russia from 2005-2006 on.

    Like the boss man explained in that key scene from Network I keep referring everyone too, all petrodollars or petroeuros must ultimately return. To not do so violates the fundamental laws of Nature Mr. Beale!

    But once you go far enough back you’ll find Rockefellers fueled Tsarist Russia’s oil establishment at Baku, the Soviet industrial complex owed a massive debt to Armand Hammer who was probably an agent playing both sides off against each other, telling both the KGB predecessor and Hoover what they wanted to hear, etc etc etc. Think of Arman Hammer (I’ve been pondering that he was great-grandfather to the actor who played Clyde in the new Clint Eastwood Hoover biopic, my what a coincidence) as the prototype for Soros.

    “I just find the obsessions with you and LR to be bizarre.”

    Here’s a few videos to explain why. Catherine is being nice here but she had one ugly run in with this guy:
    AIDS sufferer asks why Catherine questioned his disease

    The Second Life thing ain’t my bag so I’ll just leave that one alone:

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:49 am

  34. Codevilla is fairly certain, and Pilger also says so, that Obama’s first job after Columbia was with a CIA front company. Kept it all in the family business, y’know? That’s why Henry K. became a popular man in Moscow despite the Russians knowing him to be a very clever adversary who played the Chinese off against them in the old days. As he said to Putin, again according to this U of I law prof, we’re both spooks, and spooks for life.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:52 am

  35. So now having said all that, I bid you all a healthy good bye, and good luck.

    “The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.” – Stanislav Mishin, as quoted on the Glenn Beck Show in 2009. Let us hope and pray to God that Mishin is sorely mistaken, and that there will be one hell of a fight for Liberty.

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 2:56 am

  36. “So, call me an [America hater] if you will. But don’t expect that such epithets will dissuade me from opposing, in my small way, a government, a state, a political system [Corporatism], and a worldview that is inimical to mine, any more than I expect that my words will have the slightest impact on a devoted [globalist] (except to arouse his ire or contempt). We come from different worlds–different [faiths], really–and neither is about to convince the other.

    Instead, I conceive my role to be to communicate to those who more or less share my philosophical beliefs that the current [Anglo-American elite] is an enemy of those beliefs. Moreover, as I believe that that [the Corporatist] state is the enemy of the freedom of individuals of [all] heritage and culture, and thwarts the ability of those individuals to realize their human potential, in my opposition to that state I truly conceive of myself as a [American Patriot AND Russophile]. Believe it or not.” – Senor Equis

    Comment by Mr. X — January 29, 2012 @ 3:01 am

  37. Moron X – You are a bloody racist like Vigrid relatives in Norway . The right and the left wing jew-hating fascists ARE SPAMMING ALL OVER THE NET

    Harris has written: “I choose to write for Veterans Today because this is one of the very few media outlets that actually tells the truth, warts and all. I would rather have an ugly truth, than a beautiful lie.” Well, that is questionable.

    On Nov. 30, Harris posted to VT something titled “David Duke Kidnapped by German Government.” VT editors gave it another headline in red “Free David Duke,” although by Nov. 30 Duke had already been freed. On 11-27 an announcement was posted on Duke’s website that read: “Dear Friends, I am free now …”

    Comment by Anders — January 29, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  38. Mr. X doesn’t really seem like a worthy interlocutor, and all these complicated conspiracy theories and “gotchas” based on his personal, private sources we can’t check don’t engage me. I don’t feel the need to take the time to answer them now, as he wouldn’t be persuaded in any event. I’m critical of Soros, NDI, NED and all that — probably with more details and actual experience than anyone spouting about them just out of ideological spleen. But I don’t oppose anyone inside Russia or other authoritarian countries taking grants from these organizations or collaborating with them; indeed they need them for survival and to carry out their work, which is legitimate.

    The frenzy Mr. X and others have shown for trying to “out” La Russophobe is creepy. And the purpose is only to be able to better bully and harass an actual individual in real life to try to silence them. I know from experience the lengths to which these pro-Kremlin ankle-biters go to harass and bully online — I’ve experienced it myself repeatedly.

    A good example of harassment is Mr. X posting this video of “Deadly Codec,” a man who died of AIDS who in fact himself was a big-time serial online bully, griefing numerous people in the Second Life virtual community. I was one of the people he attacked, and he resented my accurate journalistic documentation of his server crashing, obscene spam, and even spewing of particle textures hateful about people with AIDS.

    That’s why, when he suddenly turned up claiming that he actually had AIDS, I was skeptical as a journalist — and rightly so. It’s not that I’m some sort of heartless person who doesn’t care about those dying of AIDS. That’s ridiculous. Rather, it’s about this particularly case of a person who had hoaxed people a number of times in various online stunts and therefore needed checking.

    You would have to understand something of the culture of Anonymous, the e-thugs, and their Second Life variant, to grasp this. Among their standard “memes” were various catch-phrases and spam about AIDS and various homophobic and racist slogans. So that’s all that’s about — my legitimate questioning of this online griefer (bully) and my reporting on this case:

    When you try to report on thugs like this, and report the truth of their actions which they often go to great lengths to hide or obfuscate (they pretend they are “doing good”), they can attack you more, and create “Google bombs” like this video.

    What’s sad about this young man is that he never made any videos for his mom or his family members at all that they could remember him by — he only made this hateful video spouting about me. That’s all he’s left for posterity — ranting about someone reporting the truth about him and his online antics.

    So think about that, Mr. X. Are you creating a lasting legacy for posterity that your loved ones will love to read when you are gone?

    Comment by Catherine Fitzpatrick — January 31, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  39. Streetwise Professor » A Perfect Illustration of Anti-SOPA Hysteria and Dishonesty

    Comment by GS test — March 31, 2013 @ 9:28 am

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