Those who are either undecided on SOPA or, like me, think the clouds of rhetorical shrapnel are already dense enough without adding our own, may think opponents are exaggerating the potential downside of SOPA and the extremism of its supporters.
Primary source of ridiculous tenets behind SOPA: a cartoon villain from the music industry
The anti-piracy enforcement arm of the RIAA has, for almost a decade, been so aggressive about investigating, suing and attempting to prosecute those it accused of illegally downloading movies or music that it was sued by illegal investigatory practices and invasion of privacy, for fraud, conspiracy and extortion, deceptive business practices and violation of the RICO statutes normally used to prosecute bosses of organized crime families
The RIAA is an enforcement organization, that, among other sins:
- Once tried to sue a dead grandmother to extract what it felt was its rightful pound of flesh for files allegedly downloaded to a house in which the dead woman wouldn't even allow a computer to be installed.
- The RIAA sued a homeless man because someone was allegedly downloading files from an apartment the man once occupied.
- It sued a Vietnam Vet, and allowed the family 60 days to grieve following the man's sudden death, before demanding they return for depositions and threatening to lodge charges against them as well.
- It sued a 42-year-old single mother who had to retire from the Justice Department due to a disability, charging that she had illegally downloaded a rap song called "Shake that Ass Bitch" at 4:24 a.m. under the username Gotenkito. When she told RIAA lawyers she would counter-sue for harassment, RIAA operatives threatened to confront the woman's 10-year-old daughter and interrogate her in their offices if the woman didn't drop her effort to resist their bullying and extortion.
The industry's misplaced ardor isn't ancient history, either.