Technology March 17, 2012
Copyright Math: Does Your MP3 Player Have $8-billion In Stolen Material?

Remember SOPA? The Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced to the U.S. Congress as a means of cracking down on internet piracy and copyright infringement, caused quite a stir earlier this year when Internet firms from Wikipedia to Google mounted co-ordinated protests against it.

The bill was never passed, due to protesters' accusations that it amounted to censorship, and would sacrifice the freedoms of an open internet in order to protect Hollywood's bottom line.

Representatives of the film and music industries, on the other hand, were among the most outspoken supporters of SOPA. They argued that file-sharing amounts to intellectual property theft, threatening jobs and an important component of the North American economy.

But what level of economic threat does copyright infringement actually pose?
At a recent TED conference, comic author Rob Reid took a look at data and found that Copyright Math makes some surprising claims:

While SOPA is no longer in the offing, the debate over copyright protection is still ongoing. In Canada, a federal bill that would update the country's copyright laws has attracted less attention. Bill C-11 has passed second reading and a committee review, and will soon be subject to vote in the House of Commons. (A third reading and a Senate review are still pending.)

While not as drastic as SOPA, C-11 also has its share of critics, who object to its potential to undermine consumer rights. Lobbyists for the music and film industries, however, are looking for a more heavy-handed approach to copyright protection.

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