Internet Piracy: Will SOPA Change the Web as We Know It?
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Internet Piracy: Will SOPA Change the Web as We Know It?

There's a major battle on Capitol Hill involving big money with Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue. It's all about Internet sites that profit from pirated films and music. Can that material be protected without destroying the freedom that makes the Internet so important to so many users? Also, Syrian President Bashar Assad denies any crackdown, and the Romney campaign says a TV ad quoting President Obama out of context is just "propaganda."

Banner image: Netflix is just one of several companies which provide online content that is threatened by Internet piracy. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Making News

Syrian President Denies Any Crackdown ()

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has denied any suggestion that he ordered a bloody crackdown against protesters demanding that he resign. He insists that any violence is the work of criminals, terrorists and sympathizers with al Qaeda. In an exclusive interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, he also denied reports that on his orders Syrian troops have killed their own people, including children. Rania Abouzeid is in Beirut for Time magazine.


Main Topic

Internet Piracy: It's Hollywood versus Silicon Valley ()

America's so-called "creative" industries are battling it out on Capitol Hill with a lot at stake for consumers who depend on the Internet. The movie and music industries, some labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce want to crackdown on Internet piracy, which is costing some $58 billion a year. They're backing laws proposed in the House and the Senate to give the Justice Department the power to shut down Internet sites that profit from stolen material. While the Internet industry says it's concerned about piracy too, web giants like Google and Yahoo — joined by consumer groups — claim the proposed laws are a real threat to freedom and openness on line. Would Washington have the power to police the web, like China?  Are there other ways of protecting the rights and income of producers and artists?


Reporter's Notebook

The Postmodern Approach to Truth in Political Campaigns ()

A couple weeks ago Mitt Romney's campaign released a TV ad with a quote from President Obama. Although he did speak those words, the context was far different from what was implied by the commercial.  In 2008, candidate Obama said, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," quoting his Republican opponent John McCain. The Romney campaign has defended the misrepresentation by saying, "Ads are propaganda by definition…. It's ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context… All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art." Jonathan Chait writes about politics for New York magazine.



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