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Managing Madrid Officially Opposes SOPA

Dear MMers:

As you may have heard, the US Congress is considering a bill that would jeopardize this site specifically, and SBNation (and our parent company Vox Media) and Internet freedom more generally. This bill is called the "Stop Online Piracy Act," (SOPA), and could really endanger Managing Madrid (among other sites) if it is enacted: under SOPA, for example, I (Gabe Lezra) could receive prison time for posting (or allowing you to post) links to (or embedding) streaming media like live games.

While the bill is designed to, in some ways, protect me from people stealing my "property" (because I'm sure you all want to rip off the Managing Madrid Podcast), it goes much too far. I urge you all to inform yourselves about SOPA, and read the official statement from Vox Media here. Below you'll find a couple of relevant excerpts from their press release.

Vox Media -- the parent company of SB Nation -- is officially opposed to SOPA. The bill as drafted is overly broad, vaguely worded, and gives rise to a number of significant concerns:

  • Decreased effectiveness and questionable availability of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor for sites that host user-contributed content;
  • Higher compliance costs for all sites that host user-contributed content;
  • Potentially overzealous compliance efforts by search engines and payment providers in their attempts to maintain the immunity offered by SOPA section 104;
  • Serious constitutional issues in regards to due process and seizure of property. These are major issues that appear to be insurmountable in SOPA as it is written.

Although the legislation purports to target only so-called foreign pirate sites and not US-based sites or those that end in .com, .net, or .org, there is a very real possibility that (over)reaction to the legislation would catch more than a few U.S.-based .com sites in its crosshairs.


Whether or not US-based sites are directly targeted by the language of SOPA, Vox Media will certainly end up having to defend our properties and the content we display, whether published by our own employees or by our dedicated readers. We will eventually be forced to show why our publications fall outside of the wording and thus the reach of SOPA, which may prove to be an easy task or a much more difficult one - the vague language of SOPA makes it impossible to predict. What we do know is that dealing with SOPA will cost us time, money, and energy that would be better spent serving our readers with quality journalism and empowering our communities with innovative technology. Whatever heightened protection SOPA might offer to content owners is not worth that price, and SOPA should be opposed.


Content owners, including Vox Media, need to be able to enforce their rights in a meaningful and practical way against those that would steal from them. And we need to preserve the power of communities, like the Vox Media communities, by explicitly expanding fair use to encompass a wide range of legitimate uses that do not erode the market for the original works: commentary, criticism, parody, remix. Vox Media's opposition to SOPA is not limited to defeating one bad law grounded in an outmoded view of content; it extends to a genuine desire for copyright law and policy to strike the right balance, which must start with comprehending and embracing the the powerful and inspiring new media world in which we now live.

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