Greg's Bite: SOPA, Congressional overkill
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Greg's Bite: SOPA, Congressional overkill

By Greg Mills

The Constitution of the Untied States grants the government the right to protect intellectual property for the benefit of inventors and writers. Patents, copyright, trademarks and the like are protected by federal laws. Those laws are subject to tweaking by the idiots in Congress.

Recently, in an attempt to further quash movie and music piracy, a bill was introduced that got the short name SOPA. The "Stop Online Piracy Act," however well intended, has apparently been so broadly written that search engines can be sued for simply listing web sites that engage in piracy.

Should Google be forced to be an online cop and decide if any of the web site they list are involved with Internet piracy? This amounts to an impossible task and subjects search companies to unlimited financial risk.

One would think the giant lawsuits where music companies sue individuals for illegally downloading music and get $80,000 per song is enough. But no, now they want to basically shut down the Internet as we know it. Instead of going after the person that downloads the song, they want to be able to destroy the web sites that host the content --- and in the loosely written law that appears to include search engines.

Some Congressmen are aware of the situation and the bill is likely to be amended or killed completely. For now, the risk is slight that the concept of making search engines responsible for all the web sites they list will become law. As I have indicated in previous articles, while I strongly support the rights of creative people to protect their ideas, that protection must allow free expression for the Internet to remain free.

In other news, RIM appears to have hit the wall and investors continue to bail out of its stock. After a disappointing quarterly report RIM stock tanked another 7% and brought RIM's stock down a full 80% since they launched the disaster known as PlayBook. As they continue to sell the remaining PlayBooks at a loss, returns by disappointed buyers keeps RIM away from putting an end to the losses. Lackluster new BlackBerry phones and a delayed OS release in addition to the flop of RIM's iPad killer might just spell the end for RIM.

As RIM and Nokia, once the powerhouses of the cell phone industry attempt to recreate themselves Apple hums along with strong sales of iPhone in all the most recent models. The Android platform, in addition to the furious Apple lawsuits also seems to be floundering with recent projections showing developers are reacting to the information that releasing both an App for the iOS and Android will likely result in three-fourths of the long term income from the iOS version of the app. Piracy eats so much of the potential Android revenue, it can't pay out like Apple does. Ouch.

Rumors are that Apple has ramped up the Siri R&D department to the point it dwarfs other software product development teams. That can only mean Siri is headed to the Mac and iPad platforms sooner than later. The iPad 3 is very likely to be the next Apple device to get Siri, but the Mac can't be far behind.

That is Greg's Bite for today


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