How About This Instead of SOPA? My Proposal for Legislation to Proactively Combat Piracy While Encouraging an Open and Innovative Internet

Last week’s Internet-wide SOPA/PIPA protests divided the Internet between content owners looking for stronger anti-piracy tools and technologists who believed the proposed legislation was an overreach. Those opposed said SOPA/PIPA opened the door to content companies taking down sites such as Tumblr and WordPress based on infringement by even one of the sites’ millions of users. Though I was at AOL/Nullsoft when Gnutella was created I am not pro-piracy by any stretch — half of what our company, Topspin, sells is easily-pirated digital audio and video (it could certainly be argued Topspin stands to benefit from SOPA-style legislation) and our raison d’être is helping artists leverage their creativity to build a fan base and earn a living. But I found myself on the side of the technologists in this debate; based on my read the legislation didn’t solve the problems it aimed to and created a number of unintended problems instead. I voiced my opposition to SOPA/PIPA in a letter on Topspin’s homepage last Wednesday, archived on Topspin’s blog for posterity.

Given many of SOPA’s proponents are people I count as both friends and business partners I found myself in frequent debates on the topic in person, over email, on Facebook, and in Twitter exchanges. In these debates I tried to convince this wasn’t an question of “is piracy good or bad?” but more of a mouthful: “what is the practical way to support an ecosystem where copyright holders have options and control without breaking the openness and innovation which makes the Internet valuable?” This is not a question of pro or anti piracy, it’s a question of how to put the controls of pricing and access into the hands of the person who owns the copyright while allowing innovation on the Internet as a platform for discovery and consumption.

More than one person turned the question back on me: “If SOPA/PIPA aren’t the answer, then what is?”

The first question that needs answered is: Do we need a legislative solution beyond what’s available today? Via previous legislation (DMCA, PRO IP) we already have a laws for protecting copyright online, as evidenced by the innumerable take-down notices issued to sites like YouTube every day and US government shut down and arrests of Megaupload and the company’s officers. But these take-down notices are exactly the problem, opponents will tell you. I spoke to a lawyer representing music publishers who described the cat/mouse game he plays with illegal lyrics sites every day. He can only practically issue so many take-down notices and can’t make a dent in the hundreds of thousands of pages these sites have up. Meanwhile legitimate sites which share ad revenue with the artists, or even artist pages who want to give their lyrics away for free online in the context of their own site, are pushed to search-results-page-two or further back. Similar are the complaints about torrents of MP3s or lossless files in search results, linking to .torrent files on transient off-shore servers and bundles of albums at sites like Megaupload, Rapidshare, and others who have plenty of legit purposes right alongside the illegal sharing of copy written material. Prior to this SOPA debate I would have told you further legislation wasn’t the answer or needed. Now that we’ve seen some very scary legislation introduced I would prefer to err on the side of proactivity from the technology camp. If we’re headed toward more legislation, let’s help craft the solution rather than complaining about the byproduct of lobbyist pressure. If there *is* something we can do to improve the cat/mouse game for content owners while maintaining an open and innovative Internet, let’s be a proactive part of that solution.

Also, as you are imaging what the Internet looks like once your solution is implemented, please keep in mind an increasing number of artists are releasing their content outside of the traditional models, in many cases for free. Take a look at the top 50 albums of 2011 on Pitchfork, 4 were given away as free downloads instead of sale (The Weeknd, Clams Casino, Danny Brown, and Frank Ocean). Read this incredible case study on how Pretty Lights went to #1 on Pirate Bay and reached millions of people as a result. Free is a price point many creative people will intentionally release their content at. Any legislation must be about giving artists control of how they release and charge for their creative work, not dictating a business model or price point to them.

There is a solution which curbs piracy, grows the industry overall, gives equal opportunity to all content holders, and allows for exponentially more innovation in the digital media space than we’ve seen in the past fifteen years. My proposal:

In brief:
A content registry where copyright holders can express the rules governing the use of their content and a legislative requirement sites dealing in media respect the rules expressed by the rights-holder in the registry.

In more detail:
A central organization or consortium would construct a content registry software solution and service. Copyright holders would place their media along with all the rules governing the use of said media, in the registry. These machine-readable rules would contain the prices for various uses of the content, from download and streaming to inclusion in subscription or other services. Any application creators willing to abide by the registry’s rules would be welcome to utilize the content, though rights holders could still opt in/out of specific services via the registry, too.

If you are building a sites with legitimate uses which could also be leveraged for piracy then you use the registry for a different reason, testing to see if the content uploaded by a user is available for the use in question. For example, if I upload a file to Rapidshare for free download, Rapidshare does an Audible Magic-style identification on the file then checks the registry to see if this content is available for free download. If so, awesome. If not, kick it back to the user. This is a non-trivial development challenge with many questions about who would build and maintain it, but it’s not science fiction. The technology exists. YouTube has very sophisticated recognition and rights management technology today. Similar systems have been built by countless companies over the years. Look under the hood of services such as MediaNet, 7digital, Rhapsody, and many others and you’ll find independently-developed versions of such a registry managing rights, paying rights-owners based on varying kinds of usage, etc. This solution would make a similar registry and technology available in a non-proprietary way.

An industry-wide content registry is not a new idea. In fact when Rob Lord and I started Medicode in 2001 the notion of a “digital packing slip” respected by all members of the digital value chain was a key part of our vision. I pitched this idea at Yahoo! when they purchased Mediacode in 2004 but couldn’t make it stick. VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff worked on something similar at Universal Music Group several years ago but wasn’t able to make progress there, either.

Today, if you want to start a music service, you start by visiting the major labels, sharing your idea and asking for a license to use their content in your service. Assuming you can get the meeting and general approval of your particular use, they ask for an advance payment (a steep barrier for most any startup technology company which immediately whittles the field down to relatively few players) and dictate the terms of an agreement. That’s just for the four (soon to be three) major labels. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle you need to find a way to cut a deal with thousands of independent labels to build a catalog of music. Also, this is just music which is easily organized by label, distributor, artist, album, track, and genre — other forms of art (movies, images, etc) are even messier. No wonder piracy reigns supreme. Building successful consumer-facing businesses on content is a nearly insurmountable challenge. Few, if any, technology companies have historically made it to positive cash-flow on this model in the past 15 years. It’s a high stakes game (evidence: the more than $100M Spotify has raised thus far) and the road is littered with the bodies of those who have attempted to run this gauntlet (recent evidence: Beyond Oblivion, a $40M smoking crater where $20M was spent on music licensing before a product even existed). For more on how this model works read Michael Robertson’s pessimistic piece re: Spotify.

But what if there existed this registry of all content, one where any developer was able to use your music to develop a service, so long as he respected your wishes. You, the content owner, could set the rules and the prices. Which tracks are available for free download? Available for streaming? How long a streaming sample allowed? High definition? At what price points? The market could decide if the price you’re asking is fair: “My service only supports downloads with a wholesale price of $0.70.” “My service is only interested in free downloads.” “My service is only interested in content which is available for subscription streaming.” The content owners could opt in/out simply by setting the rules. The upside to the industry as a whole is massive, developers willing to play by the rules can integrate media into their apps (and pay for the rights to do so) simply, and a true digital marketplace for content governed by market forces, not gatekeepers of large catalogs of content. I strongly believe the net of this will be more money to content owners more quickly than the current course we’re on today. We keep hearing “digital music needs to get to scale quickly for the music industry to succeed”; why wait for one player to scale when you could scale an industry of players?

Until this SOPA/PIPA debate I hadn’t thought of adding a legislative component to this idea of a content registry. Thinking on it over the past two weeks the “enforcement” component here strikes me as a reasonable pill to swallow. Oh there’s still something about it that makes me queasy and I reserve the right to change my tune based on the specific implementation but I think the quid pro quo here can be net positive for both sides. It would allow is a way for good actors to reasonably stop illegal uses on their sites while letting the many legal uses sail through without scary threats. You would effectively be drawing a bright line between white and black hats in the content services game, a line Safe Harbor works against today. This would be useful to both content sites who want to proactively respect copyright so long as the cost of becoming a white hat is not overly burdensome.

MPAA and RIAA: What do you say? Shall we work together to build an industry-wide technical solution to curb piracy and grow the overall pie? Embracing the above solution would show you aren’t simply interested in regaining yesterday’s control but are truly interested in seeing innovative content applications so long as your copyright is respected. Count me on board if you want to tackle this together.

Thanks for reading. I share this here to get feedback on the idea. If it resonates I can follow the thread. If it doesn’t I can refine my position. If it’s confusing I could devote an episode of This Week In Music to talking about it. Feel free to poke holes, comment, and share.


ps – Dumb question:

In order to find a solution you have to identify exactly what you’re trying to solve. I found myself asking this question repeatedly and getting blank stares: “What, exactly, are you hoping SOPA/PIPA stops?” I’d ask. (Incredulous) “Piracy! Of course!” Arrrrrrr and avast ye! Unfortunately many don’t appreciate piracy is far from the only factor which has caused the traditional recorded music business to shrink in the past 12 years. What, specifically, are you hoping SOPA/PIPA eradicate? Limewire? (It’s dead) Torrents? File share sites? Sneaker Net? File transfer via AIM? Something else? When discussing a legislative solution to a technological problem, an “I know piracy when I see it” argument won’t pass muster. In order to propose a workable solution you have to first enumerate the specific situations you’re looking to overcome. What people told me they were trying to stop:

  • Upload and share of copy written material to download sites (Megaupload, Rapidshare, etc), particularly when these sites are hosted on non-US soil and domains
  • Search engines linking to Torrent sites
  • Illegal lyrics sites

Anything else? Please be specific. 😉 I’d love to see a comprehensive list of the piracy outlets folks want to see stopped. For what it’s worth, these are all quite difficult because they’re general activities that have legitimate non-infringing uses, too, so any solution to these is by definition non-trivial.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. a practical system for regulating infringement — Lucas Gonze's blog on 01 Feb 2012 at 1:26 am

    […] appreciate Ian's proposal for a global scale rights registry, but I think it is far harder than just making adjustments to DMCA notice and takedown. Ian's […]

  2. Sigh! It’s the Copyright Royalty Board to the rescue again… « on 18 Apr 2012 at 2:16 am

    […] much likelier to exploit their wares by themselves.  Ian Rogers, the CEO of Topspin Media, proposed the construction of a machine-readable, rules based content registry into which content owners could opt-in or out easily by setting up the rules and the prices for the […]


  1. Andy Weissman wrote:

    I like this alot, Ian, in fact in the past I recall you and I talking about something like a “music api” which this gets to.

    So, so so . . . it feels like a compulsory license scheme .. . except it’s not compulsory. And there is no mechanism to determine rates other than the rights holder setting it. Two questions then – how do you ensure that rights holders will register their content – all of their content? And how do know the rates will be at such to actually stop the things you mention?

  2. iancr wrote:

    Great questions, Andy. Thanks! My answers to your two questions:

    1) Rights holders only get the benefit of the proactive copyright protection if their content is registered. Unregistered content does not need to be proactively monitored.

    2) Capitalism. 😉 It’s a marketplace and market forces apply. I don’t think you’ll *ever* stop the pirate options. But you can do two things: a) draw a bright line between white and black hats, and b) create a marketplace of content for application developers. When the scale of white hat applications reaches a certain size content owners will be compelled to be there, just as they are compelled to be a part of iTunes today even if they don’t like the terms.


  3. Andy Weissman wrote:

    so re #1 – what does “rights holders only get the benefit of the proactive copyright protection if their content is registered. Unregistered content does not need to be proactively monitored” actually mean?

  4. iancr wrote:

    Meaning only when I register my content does it get proactively filtered by white hat content applications. E.g.:


    I own Curtis Mayfield’s “Groove On Up” best of album (CD case sitting in front of me on my desk). I register this content with the registry. Rights:
    – All 15 songs avail for $0.70 wholesale each or $7 for the 15 track bundle
    – Streaming samples up to 70 seconds allowed
    – Available to subscription services who pay (the basis of this payment is too complex to mention here but take the leap and assume we can express those rules here)
    – Kung Fu and Give Me Your Love are available for free download

    Now, Soundcloud utilizes the registry as I’ve described above. You, dear Andy, upload two tracks from this album to your Soundcloud account, Sweet Exorcist and Kung Fu. Sweet Exorcist is either kicked back or trimmed to a 70 second sample, per the registry rules. Kung Fu is fine, since the registry explicitly makes it available for free.


    I don’t register “Groove On Up”. You upload those two songs. They both pass, since when Soundcloud checks the registry it doesn’t find a match.

    Make sense?


  5. Andy Weissman wrote:

    Yes makes sense. I thought you were referring to some “legal” or other protection.

    So, given your scenarios, what incentives are there or are needed for rights holders to place the media and define the rules into the registry? In other words, when Soundcloud pings the registry and it doesnt find a match, is there a safe harbor?

  6. iancr wrote:

    Yes, if you are trying to obey the rules proactively, there is a safe harbor. If the work should be protected by the registry and is not for some reason either the content owner hasn’t properly registered or there is a technical problem which needs improving. Given the state of content recognition technology today we are far enough along for this to be realistic and not science fiction.

  7. J Herskowitz wrote:

    Ian, you lost me at your Curtis Mayfield example above. Are you Curtis Mayfield (and/or the rightsholder) in that example?

  8. Chris wrote:

    Great post Ian.

    I think most rights holders will agree that your solution is a great starting point and applaud sites who willingly comply with the registry.

    I can also see the RIAA pushing for legislation to force compliance with the registry on an ISP level for EVERY site….whether the site owner wants to or not.


  9. iancr wrote:

    Yes, in my example I was pretending to be the rights owner of Curtis Mayfield’s “Groove On Up” best of album.

  10. J Herskowitz wrote:

    My biggest concerns over the central registry or database is: who owns it? Who runs it? Is it for-profit or not-for-profit? Is this a government-led project? If so, I don’t have faith the government can provide a competitive offering.

    If it’s a market solution then there will never be just one provider (although between YouTube and Google Music’s new artist platform Google would be happy if they were the defacto standard). Therefore we are left with what we have now… a village of solutions that then leads the consumer services to have to integrate with all of them and continually manage the complexities of them coming and going. I think you will see more of this where rightsholders manage their content rights and if/how they are exposed through those services’ APIs to consumer services. Right now they are fairly binary (e.g. let 3rd party apps/services stream my stuff or not) although in the near future I think we will see more granular controls.

  11. iancr wrote:

    I agree, this is a big (the biggest?) and concerning issue.

    A couple of places to look for examples:

    – Visa started as a not-for-profit consortium of banks building a layer to enable transactions
    – ICANN and the domain registrars

    What else?

    It’s definitely tricky (and therefore scary), but I do believe the problem is tractable. How would you feel if the government created the charter for the consortium, it was funded by technology, media, and govt, and staffed with folks from Google et al?


  12. J Herskowitz wrote:

    ICANN may be an interesting model – although I admittedly don’t know enough about how it works – or fails to.

    While an approach like this may help draw the line on content offered up to the public at large, the line between fair use (e.g. lockers) and infringement would still be a separate, and significant, issue to sort out.

    I’m not saying it’s not worth the effort, on the contrary. I’m just saying this is pulling the first thread on a sweater that will quickly come undone (and is tied to a ton of other sweaters).

  13. alex wrote:

    AWESOME! We need people like you to figure out how technology and content can get along and make things better for
    everyone. a few questions:

    1) could/would you integrate this with distribution windows (it seems like this is something else rights-holders want to protect) – maybe that could be another option (i.e. licensed to iTunes until x date)?

    2) how would you ensure that rights-holders are paid? i could see this as merely shifting the burden of sending DMCA notices to the burden of checking on payments (then again, this works fine for publishers).

    3) what kind of enforcement are you envisioning for unauthorized use? why not do a compulsory license where they’d be liable for whatever they SHOULD have paid? maybe at some level, the penalties could be criminal, but if we’re remaking the game, might be worth considering (but see how this might combine with the distribution window issue).

    4) check out SipX which is trying to do something similar:

  14. Frank Woodworth wrote:


    Great post. I think it is an interesting starting point for a solution. One thing I’d like you to address is it seems like your model allows for variable pricing for music, so do DSP’s have to convert to a variable pricing model. For instance, if I wanted to sell a song for 25 cents – what happens when itunes ingests it into their system spits it back at 99 cents?

    Also how would synch fees work for content that is between UCG ( cat videos and what not) and Hollywood content. There is a whole world of semi- professional video makers out there that are stuck in a crazy legal quagmire whenever they want to use music in their productions?

  15. Clyde Smith wrote:

    I had to quick scan your article cause I’m running out the door. Look forward to digging in. But your ideas about a universal recognition service reminded me a bit of Eliot Van Buskirk’s thoughts about “one big database.”

    Apologies if you mentioned that and I missed it.

  16. Steve Raymond wrote:

    Great Post. I think we should approach Google about open-sourcing their content ID system that they use for YouTube. Not sure if its practical, but certainly they are a company that could benefit by providing an olive branch to the content industry, and forestalling heavy handed SOPA-like legislation. I’m not an expert on the system but it works pretty well at scale already.

  17. Chris Brooks wrote:

    I too agree that if content was being properly monetized then issues of piracy would not be the issue. A system where ALL content earns royalties based on it’s amount of use would work best (i.e. BMI and ASCAP). It could be paid by ISPs and it would be their responsibility to monitor use, and pass on the cost to the end user (a small fee tacked on to your monthly bill). This would be completely scalable (The New York Times getting huge checks, bloggers only pennies). The problem is that Google does not believe in the owning of content and they are the 700 elephant in the room.

  18. Olivier wrote:

    I dig your post Ian ! here is my 50 cents to the cause :

    When i first start Fairtilizer/ with a group of labels and artists from the digital generation, our big idea was the MASTER URL.

    What was dreamed from my fellow streaming superstars was

    — > ONE upload to : diy legal deposit, micro and macro licencing/pricing options, stats and then regular hosting sharing services.

    I had meeting withWIPO/ICAN and i found somebody over there who was really on the same tune. Our idea together was to explore the possibility of a real time diy legal deposit.

    Working with young artists make you realize how each hosting (publishing?) platform are currently building there own kind of sound/brand/community. Therefore a central neutral platform seemed to us extremely hard to evangelize. Our Idea of “standardization” involved APIs, fingerprinting and stats in key places like youtube, soundcloud, vimeo … and not a single place where you have to educate the kids to go.

    The benefit of such system, beyond the obvious piracy argument would also be to pave the way for an equitable way of tracking and collecting performing rights online …

    Also check out south korea, this post CD market has some very good initiatives (public and private) in the those kind of ideas.

  19. Diana Uh wrote:

    Hi Ian,
    great post and I’d love it if you could make an episode of This Week In Music on this topic!

  20. Tammo wrote:

    Great post. This sounds similar to something you talked about on TwiM, don’t remember who your guest was?


    # I really like the idea but am a bit concerned about the ‘centralized’ approach. Not from a technical standpoint, more from an operational point of view.

    ## Who would operate this service / repository?
    ## Would iTunes / Amazon / etc. have to get the music / video / data from this central repository as well when they are serving their customers?

    One way of solving this may be to create a protocol / certificate (you can interpret this in a technical and non-technical way). The repository you mentioned would only contain the metadata that is the rules you described. Domains could get certified to serve music when they demonstrated that they obey the rules in the repository. This may be the iTunes / Amazon / Topspin / Rapidshare domain or even smaller ones.
    Any client (third party apps (soundcloud, ios apps, etc) or humanoid) would be able to consume the content from these domains without thinking about licensing issues.

  21. Chris H wrote:

    Thanks Ian. Speaking for myself, I think your post is right on in at least two ways:

    1) Silicon valley can’t just hope this goes away. It won’t. The best outcome is a joint effort on something that we can all live with.

    2) It addresses today’s impossible situation, where the creative community is expected to comb the entire internet, non-stop, to find infringements. Objectively this can’t work; our policing effort cannot scale to the size of the internet.

    As for the database proposal itself, I need to think about it further. There are industry things under development that could serve the purpose. It’s not clear to me what you expect could be done with fee-bearing content. E.g., are you anticipating some kind of click license, or will companies still need to negotiate licenses as today? I will forward this proposal around for internal discussion.

  22. Bruce Warila wrote:

    Great post / good start Ian.

    It seems that Echonest is eminently positioned to provide a content registry alongside of their ubiquitous recommendation services; it also seems that they could offer it autonomously and probably succeed (financially) at doing so.

    Since it would probably take 5 to 10 years for such a service to become universally adopted, I want to suggest starting in a different place: we need to create a Copyright Respect Policy document (think Privacy Policy) that every site can prominently display. The (short and simple) document should specify that simply complying with DMCA takedown notices is overburdensome to rightsholders; that Copyright Respect actually means tendering solutions that proactively prevent copyright theft.

    Short of employing a registry, there’s plenty of proactive steps that sites like Tumblr (random example) could take:
    – must watch a short copyright advert upon signup or upon every upload (I can hear the chuckles)
    – “shazam” content during end-user upload, and then notify users of potential infringement
    – prominent display of the Copyright Policy on the front of the site
    – a dedicated copyright team that anyone can access
    – repeated reminders / sending notice-of-consequences (for example: possible account cancellation) to potential offenders
    – an in-house blacklist content registry that rightsholders could upload to (it would be easier than issuing takedowns)
    – individually badged content where end-users continually and publicly declare responsibility
    – individually badged content that has been cleared by rightsholders (via some registry)
    – the capacity for end-users to flag infringing content or links (think search results)
    – etc.

    The industry needs to start someplace where success can be easily achieved. We need to get a few dozen sites to agree to a simple Copyright Respect Policy that insures proactive steps against infringement, and then put industry-wide pressure one site after another to declare if they are PRO or AGAINST copyrights. Fully-automated solutions can come second. The market force of artists and their fans favoring sites that are Pro Copyright is all the pressure that the technology industry needs to adapt.

    I will readily acknowledge that the biggest problem is the large-scale (foreign) offenders. However as it has often been said: that’s a “whacamole” problem that probably can’t be solved. I think we need to massively re-program a generation of unknowing offenders via the help of the large tech companies (that are compelled to declare FOR or AGAINST). The ‘copyrights’ button should become as ubiquitous as the ‘share’ button…

  23. Pete Austin wrote:

    The most important thing to stop rights-holders being unreasonable. The headline fee is *not* the only factor in a business relationship.

    For example, I have wasted a huge amount of time trying to get the two main UK rights-holders to send me full details of their contracts, before the shop I was trying to help signed. The PRS didn’t send details even *after* they were forced to sign! This was not about money, simply getting Big Media to follow legal norms. Why would any industry set out to make it difficult to deal with them? This sort of thing is a killer for tech startups who are always short of time.

  24. Lucas Gonze wrote:

    I think the key innovation is to take the idea of a middle ground seriously, whether with an opt-in registry or any other approach.

    It could be surprisingly effective to work from Bruce Warila’s minimalist idea of a policy that “simply complying with DMCA takedown notices is overburdensome to rightsholders; that Copyright Respect actually means tendering solutions that proactively prevent copyright theft.” (Though “theft” is language I disagree with).

  25. Alex Stacey wrote:

    Hi Ian,

    I read this the other day and have been meaning to comment.

    Something that has come up in the sopa/pipa and megaupload discussions is that there are legitimate reasons to have copyright content available to download for free. If a copyright file is being hosted on a file-locker site or blog, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is there without the content owner’s permission. If a track is being used on an advertisement, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is with the content owner’s permission.

    Would a database like the one you describe have to take that into account? For example, if a track is given away as a promo on a blog, presumably the content owner would have to register (in the database) their permission for that track to be given away on that blog, but not on other blogs. Something like that would require very fine-grained permissions to be held in the database, but could make it a much more useful resource.

    Anyway, I think it’s a wonderful idea that should be developed and attempted. I agree that lots of the technology and data is already available to make it possible, and that it’s something worth talking about. Props for starting an open discussion on it.


  26. Bruce Warila wrote:

    Reading comments around the Internet, a common theme from legal types is that “DMCA takedown” is an adequate (legal) mechanism. Up until this morning, this generated a “huh?” response in my head. After retreating from Starbucks, it occurred to me that DMCA takedown could be just fine if automated-monitoring-and-DMCA-takedown machinery existed, then yeah sure. Give me a dashboard and charge me $10 per song / per year to fling automated takedown notices at random services that I haven’t authorized; back it up with ‘class-action’ protection; and I think someone could make a serious business out of this?

    Where to start? Perhaps analyze content at the end of Twitter links first, as this is the stuff (worth mentioning) that may be depriving a rightsholder of revenue?

  27. Gabby wrote:

    This is a very interesting idea. I have a question though. How could you apply this idea to an over basis of piracy including movies and literature? Is there a way that this idea can be implemented to take down recordings of movies that people take in movie theaters or recordings of concerts that are then posted on websites illegally? Can this idea be applied to the things that SOPA was trying to cover?

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