The article below contains several examples of copyright wrongfully employed to either: (1.) silence critics; or (2) attempt to drum competitors out of business by making false accusations. I had a case once where a company tried to trademark and copyright a “type” of Chinese tea. Apparently, there is a great deal of money to be made selling tea. My client changed the name of their product and website. The competitor still sued and would accept nothing less than my client closing its doors and ceasing business. Ultimately the trademark office denied the Plaintiff’s application stating that the name was merely descriptive of a type of tea, and the case settled. Unfortunately, that was after months of litigation in federal court. So you can imagine my reticence to hand Plaintiffs like that tools such as SOPA. Tools that will be abused, and initially impossible to defend. You may not get any due process until you are already ruined financially as a business. In the example above my client would have been forced to “cease business” under SOPA, because their website visibility and ability to process payments would have been gone. There are many examples of unfair competition (or censorship) executed under the cover of intellectual property enforcement.
Dumb Examples of Copyright Enforcement: http://bit.ly/s9hF4f
"Paranormalist" Uri Geller got YouTube to remove a video of a 1993 PBS piece that Geller did not own which debunked the psychic’s special abilities. The poster’s YouTube account was also suspended.
Competitors of dancer/model/actress Elizabeth "Sky" Ordonez registered the trademark ELIZABETH SKY and got Twitter, MySpace and Facebook to take down the actress’ pages based on nonsense claims of trademark infringement.
Most recently, Warner Bros. admitted that it did not bother to confirm whether a slew of content that it asked cyberlocker website Hotfile.com to take down actually infringed on its copyrights. (In a rare show of support for its users, the content publisher sued Warner Bros. for violating the DMCA by making a false take-down request.
Given the DMCA’s great "success" in fighting online copyright infringement, Congress has decided that copyright owners (read: Hollywood studios) should have even more tools to fight copyright infringement.
Accordingly, SOPA provides online advertising platforms and payment processors with DMCA-like immunity from lawsuits if they voluntarily cut ties with accused copyright infringers.
This means that parties who previously liked to use the DMCA to hamper their innocent competitors with inconvenient two-week content "time outs" will be able to use SOPA to freeze legitimate business advertising and payments as well.
A great breakdown of what you should and should not do with the internet as it relates to intellectual property. Second, EFF has kicked off a project to demonstrate copyright’s relationship to censorship.
Five things you should know about intellectual copyright and online sharing http://bit.ly/tCEG4n
Global censorship tracked by new project http://bit.ly/vKtwc4
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in collaboration with over a dozen civil society organizations worldwide, today launched Global Chokepoints at http://www.globalchokepoints.org to document how copyright enforcement is being used to censor online free expression in countries around the world.