Stephen Colbert explains SOPA

Colbert explains the science behind the net-killing SOPA, the worst proposed Internet law in American legislative history.

(UPDATE: Autoplaying videos moved after the jump)

Stop Online Piracy Act


  1. Shame he didn’t ask Goldberg to reconcile the allegation of entertainment media losing thousands of jobs and wads of money with the undeniable fact that they continue to post banner revenues.

    1. Weird, I’ve got no problems watching the videos from Europe. I already expected a message telling me to move to the other side of the globe, but no.

    2. ahem.
      Here’s how you can watch it from anywhere:
      If you have Firefox install the following addon Modify Header then:
      1) Go to tools-> modify headers
      2) From the drop down box on the left select add
      3) Then enter: “X-Forwarded-For” in the first input box without the quotation marks
      4) Enter: “” in the second input box without the quotation marks
      5) Leave the last input box empty, and save the filter, and enable it
      6) Click the ‘Configuration’ tab on the right then proceed to check
      the ‘always on’ button. Close the Modify Headers box and it should work.

      1. Nah – I’ll just torrent the whole programme. Less hassle and it’s obviously what Comedy Central want.

      2. No, didn’t work for me. 

        Oh well, I won’t torrent it, I’ll do the one thing that is worse for any creative type..I’ll simply ignore it and spend my time elsewhere.

    3. Seriously? I’ve always been pleased that Comedy Central is the *one* US Network whose online content I can access here in Germany. I wouldn’t know what I’d do without that – The Daily Show has kept me up to date on US politics for the last 4 years or so :D
      Anyway, it’s weird. I can watch those videos just fine.

  2. The problems with embedding the file causing user problems just highlights one of the issues:

    Region restrictions may or may not be ok, but the way they “enforce” it breaks other people’s stuff.

  3. Part of me wishes I could visit an alternate universe where this law passes just to see how politicians and corporate executives react when it’s their children being thrown in jail.

    1. Never going to happen. The children of those who write the law will get the full protection of their parents while the children of those with little to nothing will bear the brunt of it. Bonus points: those at the top will probably simultaneously blame those parents for their wayward parenting while hiding their own children from public light.

  4. I’m not happy to see Danny Goldberg shilling this law. I’d got the mistaken impression from his work with Led Zeppelin that he was, if not actually cool, at least not a tosser.  Oh well. :(

    1. You’d think, given the apparent provenance of some of that band’s hits, that he’d be taking a more conciliatory stance.

    2. Given how he is just vaguely reciting  content-mafia talking points, I’d suspect he’s just used as useful idiot here. The guys that sent him there hoped he might look sympathic in his jumper compared against a lawyer in a suit. That’s it.

      1. Seconded…the entire show, unlike, for instance, The Daily Show (which is real news– check it out sometime!), is a farce.  I just read that Colbert isn’t even a Republican, that’s it’s all a show.  I don’t even know if he’s part of the 1% any more.  

        1. I think this was the only way he could get around the censors (VIACOM) to talk about SOPA and PIPA. I know TDS ain’t mentioning it and it might be because everyone knows what kind of show it is but Colbert still has that satire thing going on so people might think he’s on their side.

  5. The offspring of Congress critters would never get locked up for illegal downloading. Haven’t you been paying attention? Congress is immune to prosecution. They can do all sorts of things, like insider trading, that you and I would do time for.

  6. Um, Bieber, or any CHILD singing covers of songs is protected by Fair Use.

    It’s the mom and pop and smaller companies who get fucked by counterfeiting. They can’t compensate by raising the price of a movie ticket to $14 and turning out 20 crappy low brow movies instead of 5 good ones to maintain their profit margin.

    Walmart and E-Bay are the principal enablers of counterfeiting and wage suppression. SOPA needs some fixes, to be sure, but anything that scares the shit out of BOTH of them isn’t all bad.

    1. Read the law. It will have a chilling effect on fair use, and narrow its scope. Remember that Fair Use as codified has been refined through the courts, and new law has the capacity to alter the way the doctrine is interpreted. The entertainment industry has the money and the interest to re-litigate everything and you don’t. Good luck fighting a spurious lawsuit- from jail, because this law will take what used to be torts and turn them into felonies.

      The penalties don’t apply to anything that wouldn’t cost more than $2,500 to license. As far as SOPA is concerned, mom and pop can go fuck themselves. This way, when Fox news airs that photo you took, or a big label samples a tune you released to Creative Commons in a way that violates that license- you’re shit out of luck, because as far as SOPA is concerned, only the big guys matter. Of course, they wrote the law so I’m not surprised.

      1. Indeed, which is why I’m no fan of SOPA, as it does nothing to protect the nearly 170 latex designers I deal with who get repeatedly ripped off by China. If SOPA gave them some genuine recourse and compensation above the $1,000 DMCA fine for the pics of their work posted by counterfeiters who operate on eBay, that would be productive. We want the knockoff outfits thrown off of eBay and for eBay to pay some fair restitution for aiding and abetting, but shutting down eBay is obviously an overreach.

        1. This is only a tangent, but I think that SOPA (which, if passed, would have a very real effect even on a non-american like me) tosses counterfeiting and piracy into the same pot, even though the two aren’t really anything alike.
          Counterfeiting requires – by definition, really – some sort of overhead, and is thusly the domain of organized crime, which can afford said overhead (and in my book, China is as organized as crime will ever get). Also, counterfeit goods are a real competition to  “legitimate” products, because people actually pay money for them.
          Piracy, on the other hand, is a low-barrier “crime” that doesn’t really compete with anything because it’s free.

          Whatever you might think about piracy – do you really believe that someone who downloads one or two songs to preview an album he’s interested in is on the same page – in the same book – as someone who buys a fake brand handbag?

      2. of course i don’t support sopa, but is there any reason why mom and pop can’t charge $2,501 for a license to a non-affiliated entity?

  7. try its the Canadian version of comedy central. not sure if it’s zone restricted too, but can’t hurt to give it a shot if you want to watch the video and are outside of the States

  8. That Goldberg person was not just extraordinarily douchy, smug and smarmy, he also failed completely to make ANY valid point to why SOPA is a good idea. In fact, he gave of the impression that he didn’t even know what it implies. As a rule of thumb, if your defence is to just shrug something off with “oh, it’s not that bad, i’m sure”, without actually explaining why it’s not that bad, I’ll think you’re either lying or don’t know what you’re talking about.

  9. So anoying to hear the endless “we just wanna stop people stealing”. Yeah, that’s nice and all but missing the point of the fact that SOPA goes far far beyond just that and, like the DMCA before it, gives media companies more power then they actually need or even deserve to simply censor things they don’t like.

  10. I’d comment, but being outside of known space, i.e. not USA, I cannot watch the video. Oh, the Canadian link only works in Canada.

    1. I’m in Norway, and it works fine here too. And we never gave you anything that I’m aware of (and if we did, we want it back!).

      1. Oh, I’m sure at some point some kind of disgusting fermented fish product has made its way over here from you nice folks. You’re welcome to come pick it up whenever you wish.

  11. Yeah, I don’t ever watch Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart anymore, because I can’t be bothered to fire up BitTorrent daily just for a comedy news show, and every time I get linked to it online, it never works. (And if I can’t be arsed to torrent it, you can imagine how I feel about going to the Canadian Comedy Network and trying to find the same video that was linked, by navigating their braindead, siloed interface.)

    Colbert and Stewart just don’t exist for me. The shows come out and then Comedy Central shoots them in the head before they get to me. I am out here, network idiots, and I have eyeballs — so come and get me. Don’t expect me to come to you.

      1. I have no cable television. What’s your point? And if you respond, don’t forget to account for the fact that I am lazy and not willing to lift a single extra finger compared to what an American would lift in order to follow a link and watch some comedy clip. Therefore these shows do not exist for me as I explained.

    1. MAFIAA Fire had an add-on that would combat that. But it didn’t out right so they went back to the drawing board. what you can do is get a US proxy, fire fox has a few proxy add-ons, and from a US IP addy you can access it. No need to download it since you can view their eps online.

      MAFIAA Fire recently came out with a proxy rotation add-on called The Pirate Bay Dancing, but they tend to shun to US Proxies because of SOPA and PIPA. But there are others there.

      If worse comes to worse, you can try TOR, but it’s run by volunteers and mainly used by human rights advocates and activists to protect themselves.

  12. Fact is, the US Government can already shut down and seize websites.   It doesn’t need SOPA.  SOPA would merely give more legitimacy to what they already can do.

    1. They can seize the domain. But not shut down it down from the ISP or cut off the funding or make it a CRIMINAL offense and apply prison time to it.

      Besides, MAFIAA Fire killed it with The Pirate Bay Dancing app in which it rotates thousands of proxies (mainly non-US based ones) so you can access the banned sites. We can also still access them via just putting in the IP addy instead of the domain name.

      This does nothing but make the legal sites like YouTube, Twitter, and FaceBook more vulnerable and have people leave and go underground to do their stuff. It won’t stop it, it will make it worse.

      Studies have shown, pirates are the biggest customers. But with this coming out. More people will boycott things and be less likely to pay for things. Why should I shell out my hard earned money to this igit who is trying to kill the internet and my ability to watch their damn show before I rent it on Netflix or buy it online via Amazon?

      Not to mention as a small business owner this will impact my business as I plan on distributing my content via these ‘pirate’ websites because of the high viewership they have. It is the BEST way to try to get your product out to the world without shelling out a damn penny. It’s called Free PR.

      Data is not permanent. It is not a real threat in the long term. I own VCR tapes that are older than I am and they still work. But DVDs get scratches and digital copies get corrupted. Only physical forms last semi-permanently.

  13. i don’t understand what the problem is with streaming.

    perhaps the issue is different for movies/music vs. tv shows, but what i find strange is this current trend among the networks of locking down their current episodes so they can only be streamed by cable subscribers or people who subscribe to a service like hulu plus — even though they are “free” over-the-air networks.  it makes no sense, don’t they see how this loses them viewership?

    if my favorite show is on, say, nbc, and i’m in the habit of watching it online because that’s more convenient, then i’ll gladly sit through a commercial — which i cannot skip — to watch it on nbc’s website.  you’ve retained my viewership and you’ve put my eyeballs on your
    sponsor’s commercial.

    if my favorite show is on fox, however, and i’m not a cable or hulu plus subscriber, i have to wait a week for the new episode — which i might do, or i might go to my friend’s house and watch it on tivo where we skip every commercial, or i might find it online somewhere, again commercial-free.  fox has possibly lost my viewership, and their sponsors have lost
    my eyeballs.

    when my favorite nbc show comes out on dvd, i might buy it, because i enjoyed it so much.  or i might buy show-related merchandise because i’m a fan.  or i will tell my friends to watch the show because it’s so awesome.  win all over.

    incidentally, i think nbc is considering locking their shows too.  if this is obvious to me, why isn’t it obvious to them?

    it’s even more obvious when it’s kid’s programming — if you make your popular kid show easily available on your website or hulu or youtube, kids will find it and get hooked on watching it over and over, as kids do, and will be asking for show merchandise for christmas — again, win all over.

    also, as someone said above, there are eyeballs everywhere now.  lock your content up, and you’re limiting the viewers to the decreasing numbers who pay for cable.  leave it out there, and the guy in the UK who’s gotten hooked on your show is new eyeballs.

    really, are tv networks that stupid?

    1. “really, are tv networks that stupid?”

      Yes, yes they are, as they have demonstrated many times over.

    2. Networks aren’t stupid, but in many places they have contracts with other providers. For instance here in Canada, NBC might have a contract with CTV (a Canadian network) that precludes NBC from broadcasting a show in Canada, even over the internet. The only option available is to block the streaming of their show.

      As many people have pointed out, this is a complete FAIL because while you can determine where someone lives by their IP address it doesn’t always mean that the IP address isn’t spoofed.

  14. I looked at those girls shown in the clip and thought of my son.  A video of him dancing to a well-known song went viral recently. 

    Here is what was interesting to me: Within days of the video going viral, it was showing up on television. So, in these times, when media companies are working and spending to get draconian anti-piracy laws enabled in order to punish those who download content for personal use, media companies have no problem stealing content from a 9 year old and selling advertising with that content.  It just kind of blows me away. I can only imagine if he downloaded some of their content and tried to do the same. 

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