Looks like Congress has declared war on the internet

248 Comments

Many internet users in the United States have watched with horror as countries like France and Britain have proposed or instituted so-called “three strikes” laws, which cut off internet access to those accused of repeated acts of copyright infringement. Now the U.S. has its own version of this kind of law, and it is arguably much worse: the Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced in the House this week, would give governments and private corporations unprecedented powers to remove websites from the internet on the flimsiest of grounds, and would force internet service providers to play the role of copyright police.

To recap a bit of history, the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA is the House version of a previous bill proposed by the Senate, which was known as the PROTECT-IP Act (a name that was an abbreviation for “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property”). That in turn was a rewritten version of a previous proposed bill that was introduced in the Senate last year. Not wanting to be outdone by their Senate colleagues when it comes to really long acronyms, the House version is also known as the E-PARASITE Act, which is short for “Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation.”

Copyright holders win, free speech and an open Internet lose

What it really is, however, is a disaster for the internet. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes in a post on the proposed legislation, the law would not only require ISPs to remove websites from the global network at the request of the government or the courts (by blocking any requests to the central domain-name system that directs internet traffic), but would also be forced to monitor their users’ behavior in order to police acts of copyright infringement. Providers who do not comply with these requests and requirements would be subject to sanctions. And in many cases, legal hearings would not be required. As Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said of the PROTECT-IP Act:

At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.

In effect, the new law would route around many of the protections in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, including the “safe harbor” provisions (a number of law professors have said that they believe the proposed legislation would be unconstitutional because it is a restraint on freedom of speech). The idea that ISPs and internet users can avoid penalties if they remove content once they have been notified that it is infringing, for example, wouldn’t apply under the new legislation — and anyone who provides tools that allow users to access blacklisted sites would also be subject to penalties.

In addition to using what some are calling the “internet death penalty” of removing infringing websites from the DNS system so they can’t be found, the proposed bill would also allow copyright holders to push for websites and services to be removed from search engine results and to have their supply of advertising cut off — and would require that payment companies like PayPal and ad networks comply with these orders. If you liked what PayPal and others did when they shut off donations to WikiLeaks, you’re going to love the new Stop Online Piracy Act.

Creating a firewall around the internet, just like China

According to Techdirt, which has been a vocal critic of the bill and its predecessors, the new legislation would create a “Great Firewall of America,” similar to the firewall that the Chinese government uses to keep its citizens from accessing certain websites and servers that it deems to be illegal. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick notes that the new bill actually expands the range of websites that could be targeted by the bill: the previous version referred to sites that were “dedicated to infringing activities” with no other obvious purpose, but the new law would allow the government to target any site that has “only limited purpose or use” other than infringement (by the government’s definition).

The bottom line is that if it passes and becomes law, the new act would give the government and copyright holders a giant stick — if not an automatic weapon — with which to pursue websites and services they believe are infringing on their content. With little or no requirement for a court hearing, they could remove websites from the internet and shut down their ability to be found by search engines or to process payments from users. DMCA takedown notices would effectively be replaced by this nuclear option, and innocent websites would have to fight to prove that they deserved to be restored to the internet — a reversal of the traditional American judicial approach of being assumed innocent until proven guilty — at which point any business they had would be destroyed.

That might make for the kind of internet that media and entertainment conglomerates would prefer, but it would clearly be a much diminished version of the internet we take for granted. Opponents of the bill have set up a website to try and convince voters to reject the legislation and tell their congressman not to support it. Embedded below is an interview that Senator Wyden did at the recent Web 2.0 Summit about his views on the PROTECT-IP Act and why it needs to be stopped:

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr users Stefan and Kevin Dooley

248 Comments

Psycho.Child

New turn in US politics – becoming more like china and russia.

Oscar FL

I hope the pople uf the US repeal, destroy and oppose this unforgiving bill as it plays to the private interests rather than the public good, and if passed, it will only signify that the government is really for sale (has been sold) and it does not represent the people, only the “rich people”.

Peter

Power = Money = Control = ? … is in any combo a vicious circle, with vicious having more than one meaning.

Taking a broader perspective look at the act, it is not as harmless as it looks. Let me clarify.

When you look at it closely and with a wider view, it is history repeating itself for the n-th time.

It is just the establishment trying to maintain control, trying to protect the elite. There are many examples to be found in history and this is no exception. It targets the “digital” where as in the middle-ages is was “print” that was targeted.

It looks much like an desperate act to control society and keep it from changing, thus protecting the ones in power. That is fundamentally un-democratic at least. Could it be that legislators start to fear the sheer power that the ‘free internet’ has ? Just look at the recent history in the Middle-East and how the “open” internet actually toppled whole governments and societies in literally months ?

The fact is that “Occupy Wall-Street” starts to spread and that “Social Networks” and “open internet” is used to spread these new ideas. Surely this is considered a threat to the current establishment and they will fight it with any means available …
Even if it means turning ISP’s into unofficial and potentially even unlawful cops.

Peter

Peter

Power = Money = Control = ? … is in any combo a vicious circle, with vicious having more than one meaning.

Taking a broader perspective look at the act, it is not as harmless as it looks. Let me clarify.

When you look at it closely and with a wider view, it is history repeating itself for the n-th time.

It is just the establishment trying to maintain control, trying to protect the elite. There are many examples to be found in history and this is no exception. It targets the “digital” where as in the middle-ages is was “print” that was targeted.

It looks much like an desperate act to control society and keep it from changing, thus protecting the ones in power. That is fundamentally un-democratic at least. Could it be that legislators start to fear the sheer power that the ‘free internet’ has ? Just look at the recent history in the Middle-East and how the “open” internet actually toppled whole governments and societies in literally months ?

The fact is that “Occupy Wall-Street” starts to spread and that “Social Networks” and “open internet” is used to spread these new ideas. Surely this is considered a threat to the current establishment and they will fight it with any means available …
Even if it means turning ISP’s into unofficial and potentially even unlawful cops.

V for Vendetta.

Anonymous

If this bill passes… The government will have picked the wrong fight.

“People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” -V

isene

This would be a wet dream for the Church of Scientology – shutting down any critic and terrorizing your neighborhood.

Trevor

They might not succeed but they will spend a lot if tax dollars trying, what is the definition of ‘futility’?

Peter Hofman

“Economic Creativity”. The companies behind the acts, pushing the politicians, just want more money. That is what this is all about. As if they don’t have enough. Large corporations are a menace to society. All they want is power, control and money. In the end, through acts like these, we will end up in an animal farm like dystopia. You can guess who the pigs are and who the dogs. I myself feel like a little lamb…

Noneya Biznazz

A DNS server isn’t hard to create. If passed this law would just cause the creation of thousands of private DNS systems, and encourage more widespread use of encryption. It has no real teeth with regards to piracy, its main target of concern, and therefore would only serve to disrupt small internet startups and stomp on free speech.

This proposed law only serves to illustrate the ignorance of lawmakers regarding technology. If they truly understood the problem, they would realize that there is no solution. The minds that enable the amazing technologies of the web are the same minds that bypass all restrictions on creative content. You can’t out-hack the hackers, and they don’t care about your stupid laws.

WhyBother

They’re trying their hardest to force countless people like me to have to resort to physical acts of crime that cause damage, rather than non-crimes of “piracy”, since it’s a ghost theft. (Anything I take that’s good I buy first chance, anything else I never would have bought in the first place.)

First I have no access to full, no-cost healthcare I require prior to being able to work. That isn’t provided. I’m not given aid, told I’m not eligible. Now, if they take away the ONLY thing that keeps me from losing it- gaming, to escape my hopeless reality, well… it strikes me that I won’t have anything to do but go look for trouble on my way out the door. Perhaps a co-ed or three before I give up on the other choice: staring at a blank wall every minute of every day of every month of every year.

papataal

You can’t complain, you voted for these corrupt politicians, wake up America, get out of your slumber like state.

Tom

We didn’t vote for them, they were put into power. I believe South Park states it best, you get two options a Turd Sandwich or a Giant Douche.

Dave Walker

Once again, politicians attempting to legislate the technically impossible. How they can be caused to understand that what they want to do, can’t be done, is a question which needs answering urgently.

Nick Iler

This will bring on the rise of open DNS servers. They may block it within their own system. But there is nothing stopping you from using another DNS server that takes you to the goods.

Marco Massenzio

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much incensed about this legislation about the next man, but I have a suspicion that most of my rage is directed at the sheer stupidity of it all – more than at its blatant assault on freedom of speech and due process.

I presume most people here understands the concept of replication and distributed systems – so, unless the US Congress also dictates the construction of a ‘Great Firewall’ of blocking and filtering proxies (and good luck with that) the easiest way to circumvent all this pointless crap is to just host such websites outside the US, set up DNS resolvers equally outside the US and then arrange for a bank of proxies that will circumvent any restriction imposed (remember, the ISPs can only cripple _their own_ DNS servers, but can’t legally block traffic to a given IP – and even if someone stretched this legislation to encompass this… et voila, dynamic IP addresses come to the rescue).

Bottom line: folks like myself accessing whatever the hell we want and fancy accessing – foreign organizations (any guess as to their likely nationality? :) minting money to provide such services and ‘pirates’ continuing to enjoy unfettered access to the Internet.

US Corporation on the other hand are likely to be massive losers, along with American workers as well as the hapless, hopeless computer illiterates (the Occupy idiots spring to mind) being either cut out from innovation or having to pay through their nose to the Hollywood paymasters.

So perhaps, on second thoughts, this is not as bad as it sounds :)

Praveen Kumar K J V S

What is this nonsense. Its totally stupid. For eg. how can ISP’s play the role of copyright police, if they Highway authorities lay roads, then should they play the role of
narcotics police preventing smuggling on their roads. Then even book shops should play the role of copyright police, reading through all the pages of infinite books they sell to check there is no copyright infringement.

xtinctionevent

Your analogy doesn’t work. Without a viable alternative, consumers cannot access the internet without an ISP – the same companies bankrolled by the MPAA, the RIAA and other relics of the analog age. If people have no choice but to play by their rules, what else can we do?

Do a search for “decentralized internet” and check out how some MIT scholars and other computer scientists are working towards offering a viable alternative to the system we’re stuck with for now.

Christopher Michael Durden

If it passes, either it will pass because people are too stupid to acknowledge the factors involved, or it will pass because congress values making money over the rights of it’s citizens. This act interferes with privacy, freedom of speech, and due process, therefore violates our constitutional rights. If it passes, Rem “It’s the end of the world as we know it” and it won’t be the first time congress stoves a big stick up the arse of Americans.

Ray Burns

This is a hysterical, paranoid take on the legislation.

The headline is hilarious, since it’s completely false.

This won’t affect free speech in the slightest. It’s codifying electronic theft, just as e-banking is codified.

Something must be done to combat piracy. America leads the world in creativity, yet 15% of that is lost to raw theft, according to the most recent data. A 1 in 6 theft rate is unsustainable. It must be stopped.

Signed,
a leftist libertarian artist

Ryan Portsmouth

There is a couple of things that you’re not understanding Ray, after reading the proposed legislation, the first is this legislation will give the ability for any trademark holder to have your entire website shutdown if you place a negative review on the trademark and you don’t get to comment or even know about the problem until it is too late.

So for example if you wrote a review on “Coke” and said that “Pepsi” is better, the Coca-Cola Company could then without warning have your website shutdown because you’re not authorized to use the word “Coke” as it is trademarked, now imagine that review is on wordpress.com or blogspot.com, in fact for me using the word “Coke” or “Pepsi” for that matter in this comment this entire website could be shutdown for unauthorized use of the protected name, how many millions of bloggers, readers and average non-infringing people will be effected?

The staff that run gigaom.com could be left without jobs, Googles BlogSpot division could be shut down, then there is the impact on people sharing images on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I hope you don’t like social networks and you can bare the responsibility for so many people being left unemployed.

And before you say that I’m taking it too far, I didn’t write the legislation, all I can tell you is this is the power it gives.

All of this so you can make 15% more money, every business has theft and we deal with it. The company I work for has had products copied that are under patent but there is nothing that can be done about that due to the Chinese government not prosecuting international patent infringement. When we attempted to take it up we quickly realized we couldn’t win even though we had the law on our side, so what did we do? We did what any reasonable person would, we got back to work and didn’t look back.

At the end of the day the honesty system needs to come back and people need to play fair. Compromising the welfare of others for 15% isn’t a good solution even for a “leftist libertarian artist” as you put it. For any decent law abiding citizen regardless of what side of the fence you sit on this is not the answer.

Ray Burns

It’s not about 15% more money… Though being asked to accept a 15% theft rate is absurd.

The issue is this: look at where your mind went. Hysteria. You really think that gigaom will be shut down, or that brands will demand nullification for mentioning “coke” or “pepsi”? Get a grip.

The protection of free speech is WRITTEN IN THE BILL.

Literally, all the act does is force compliance upon mass distribution networks. It’s an act of political purpose that hurts no one but those that think it’s their god-given right to watch movies for free because they foolishly think that everyone in Hollywood is rich.

It has taken 10 years to get to this point. To respond, “But then they’ll take away our free speech” is to misunderstand the bill completely. It’s about getting the cable companies and other high-speed providers to police themselves with some basic degree of common sense. They haven’t so far, this is the outcome.

It would be a lot better if there were intellectually mature headlines and analysis of ways to improve the bill. The hysteria is f*cking nonsense.

Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

Ray and Charles, in your legislative cheer-leading zeal you completely fail to recognize the undermining of due process involved here.

But it’s okay unless it negatively impacts you, right? Just wait– if passed, it will.

Charles Arnold

Mr. Burns, my compliments and complete agreement with your sentiments.

Charles Arnold

Ruben Safir

Ray,

Frankly your full of shit. The internet has increased the profitability of creative works. Youtube alone is a billion dollars of added value in the US economy and THIS BILL would snuff it out and through the country into a deeper recession. Furthermore, nobody takes advantage of artists and steals from them more than Recoord and Movie companies. If both industries would be destroyed, artists, and especially American artists, would profit tremendously as all their works would be available to them instead of Time Warner.

Secondly, any business deals with lose, even lose through theft. Do you even have a CLUE what retailers deal with in theft?

Beaugrand

What’s unsustainable is the absurd notion that Corporations are “people” (yet can’t be arrested and jailed for committing crimes, nor executed when they commit murders), and/or that money is “speech.”

Bjorn Larsen

The government doesn’t need “luck” – they have power.

Joe

Who is up for setting up and internet petition? We will see how many people feel that the government is speaking on their behalf in this case. I do not see this in the same spirit the constitution was written, Do you?

Charles Arnold

Then, Joe, you have no concept of how our Founding Fathers thought.

Brent Hinckley

They don’t need to be effective, all they need to do is fail to justify more funding. Ultimately this is a jobs bill at the expense of freedom, a mortgaged future, and further ‘justified’ state theft.

anonymous

Rule #1: Never vote for Republicans.
Rule #2: See rule #1.
Look you elected all these crazies to congress, you can fire them. This is just another ridiculous bill from a virulent anti-intellectual, anti-democratic (small d), anti-constitution, anti-bill-of-rights, right wing. Don’t let them silence you. Don’t let them take away your right to vote. Vote them out now, while we still have a chance.
Again — see rule #1

Lynn Bundy

The wholesale assault against the Bill of Rights comes from the left, not the right.

Melissa

Love how people are so ignorant, with how they vote. You want change well guess what? Our change is coming in the form of Socialism. Thank you Left wingers for making our Founding Fathers spin in theire graves. I myself prefer less government. Can’t imagine why anyone could support this, then try to blame the Conservative Party.

Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

Incorrect, Lynn (and Melissa). This isn’t socialism at work, it’s fascism– work of the far right.

And the founders leaned left themselves. They would have been right at home with Occupy Wall Street.

James

Texrat, you are woefully ignorant of basic political ideology, like most of the Useful Idiots of the Left. There are only two sides to politics – Government, and No Government. Authoritarianism, and Libertarianism. Left, and Right.

The single overarching goal of the Left is to expand government, and thereby the authority it has over people. They hide it behind language like “fairness” and “equality” and “redistribution”. But there is only one way to enforce any of these ideals – through the power of government. And in order to empower government, you must expand its authority and reach. Every time the Government increases its power, the People lose more of their liberty. Go back and reread history now understanding this, and you will see exactly why Socialists (be they Soviet Socialists or National Socialists) are firmly planted on the left.

Marco Massenzio

er… you perhaps may have not noticed, but there is a …wait for it… Democrat president – and the Senate… drumroll… yup: is controlled by Democrats.

If anything, the left (of any shape and form – from the Soviets, to the Chinese, to the European Communist parties) have always the ones pushing harder against freedom of speech and thought – but then again, sir, expecting you to be able to read and understand history and politics, is asking too much of your intellect.

Jeff Lyons

@Marco & Lynn…It doesn’t matter who’s in control of what. All politicians get up in front of the public and push their political hot buttons, then offer up vague promises to assuage their fears in order to get elected. Once their in Congress, they just collect their bribes from whatever special interest group or lobby, and enact legislation that usually makes things worse, not better. Right or Left, it doesn’t matter. Middle America gets screwed, and they retire fat dumb and happy. The only way anything changes if one party has a super majority push their fringe agenda down our throats. Real world compromise doesn’t exist, and the treat of filibuster looms over every piece of legislation. Right or Left, it doesn’t matter. So, why don’t we all stop pointing fingers at the other side, and instead demand the same type of flawlessness from our own political party that we demand from the other side.

Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

Also incorrect Marco. In general, the Left pushes for freedom, the Right clamps down on it. Progressive vs Conservative.

Communist leaders tend to wear leftist “clothing”, but that’s as far as it goes. In reality they corrupt leftward ideals by combining them with fascism.

How ironic that you insult others for allegedly failing to comprehend history, while spouting nonsense propaganda crafted by neocon spinmeisters. Is intellectual honesty “asking too much of your intellect”?

Bob Shapiro

The bill was sponsored by two liberal Democrats and two moderately stupid Republicans. You actually appear to be more virulent and anti-intellectual. But I also oppose all aggregations of Federal power – which has expanded exponentially with a liberal president.

Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

Granted that Obama has continued the same sort of heavy-handedness and Federal expansion that Bush enjoyed, but saying that Federal powers have expanded *exponentially* is hyperbolic. It’s been linear– increasing too much IMO (and overdue for a significant decrease), but linear nonetheless.

xtinctionevent

See, the problem with this statement is the belief that there is essentially a defining difference between Democrat and Republican. There isn’t.

Electing ANY public official is like gambling. They’re all for sale, and the question isn’t whether they’re corrupt and self-serving; it’s HOW corrupt and self-serving they are.

American Voter

Rule #3 make sure you know your facts before vilifying the someone/Republicans. The bill is being brought forth by both parties idiot – The new House bill is sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith [R, TX-21], and co-sponsored by the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. John Conyers [D, MI-14], and a hearing is already scheduled for November 16. Expect this to be given priority rush treatment – as was the Senate bill (note the “D” and “R” next to their state is what party, not the “Rep” which stands for “Representative” – as in House of Representatives! Demagoguery is so transparent and preys upon uninformed folks like yourself.
P.S. – I am not a Republican either rather an informed Independent voter.

Freddy Potter

Back @ you – “Look you elected all these crazies to congress, you can fire them.”

This is the same lame line that’s used everytime either party introduces some dumb a$$ bill. Look, the truth is all politicians are completely worthless. They are power mongers who have no productive talents so they all coherse in making sure the rest of the country follows their rules. It’s asinine! To hell with all of ’em.

I wanted to be sure I said that before someone else copyrights it.

CommonSense

Ok, Republicans? Really? If Democrats want bigger Government and ulimately socialism, who do you think controls how you think and how to use the Internet then?

Blain Gunter

You need to start thinking for yourself instead of letting the dumb liberals do it for you. Liberals are running this country and we’ve never been worse off, especially with unemployment at record highs. If it weren’t for the right wing not only would we all be speaking russian or german, but the slaves would have never been freed. Go ask how the Canadians like giving half their paychecks to the government, or how they like being turned down at the emergency room.

Robert

We Canadians like paying taxes just fine. Sure, we grumble about it, but by and large we understand that shared sacrifice helps us maintain our social democratic state. We rather enjoy having the same high standard of living found in all those other socialist hotbeds you’ve probably only heard about but never visited like, say, Scandinavia.

Coincidentally, we also enjoy worry-free access to medical care. You might be asked to wait when you arrive, but that’s only because someone in worse shape needs more urgent care. Part of that whole “social fabric” business, you see.

Good luck with your wars, corruption, and unbridled free market capitalism. Believe it or not there are plenty of us foreigners rooting for you folks.

Canuck

I’m a Canadian, and i’ve never heard of anyone being turned away from an emergency room, and the amount of money from my paycheck that goes to the government is negligible – and much of it goes to employment insurance and the canadian pension plan. which i am happy to pay into. if we have a higher income tax rate, it’s because our health care system is free, and was recently voted by canadians as the thing they are most proud of about our country.

point being, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Guest

Democrat’s ideals are worse. It’s just that all of the crazies and retards decide to side with Republican ideals, where they don’t belong at all because they don’t think for themselves.

chad

I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, the only person who can and will stop this legislation is Ron Paul. Otherwise, both the Dems and Repubs are bought and paid for. I just swallowed my pride and registered Republican so that I could vote for Dr. Paul in my state primaries.

James

That’s weird, this bill is sponsored by left-wing Democrats… if it ever makes it to 0bama’s desk, I wonder if he’ll sign it… Hmmmm. 0bama will run off to Hollywood for another fundraiser to figure out which way to go…

Beaugrand

James, you are woefully ignorant of politics.
Left and Right define economic policies (Socialist= Left, Capitalist= Right), but there is another element- Authoritarian v Libertarian. (Stalin represented Left/Authoritarian, Hitler Right/Authoritarian). This is something the knee-jerk Right still doesn’t get: just because it’s anti- Liberal doesn’t mean it’s pro-democracy Libertarian.

I do understand this is just too complex for the one-dimensional thinking of the Tea Party “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare” mindset.

Zack Passman

So much for free market. What’s more free market than the internet?

Dan Fonseca

Why are we so protective? Putting up walls instead of bringing people together. More proof that the government does not get internet culture. The internet is greater than any national boarder or institution. If anything we must actively try to separate the two.

http://www.whoisdanfonseca.com

Charles Arnold

Dan, how would you feel if I snuck into your home and stole your computer, your sound system and a few other things. After all, don’t I deserve to have what you worked to get? If you think that this is a bad idea try changing places with the various authors, writers, poets and artists who have had their work ripped off.

Charles Arnold

Cal

Any artists who’s work should be valued in any way will far more likely side with free speech than profits.

I’m so tired of hearing about the artists who are suffering because of copyright infringement. They’re suffering because of the contracts they signed with their greedy parasite major labels. Very little profits from record sales goes to the artist. They make their money by touring, selling merch, and selling use for advertising.

Also the terms are so broad in this bill any website could be taken down.

Do some research because your comment is stupid.

Daniel Robbins

Charles, though this was directed at a different person, I feel obliged to reply. How would I feel? Bad. How would you feel if you started a company, and then the government came in and blocked off access to the building without warning? This is essentially the power that the government will have if this bill passes. Sure, they will be able to protect the work of authors, writers, poets, and artists on the internet, but they will also be able to shut down entire websites and businesses according to their own vague criteria. This is unconstitutional because it is doing so without proper due process in a judicial court of law. These businesses will be guilty until proven innocent. These businesses will have their freedom of speech and freedom of expression taken away, which is something I am sure writers/artists would not appreciate. What if the government claimed that a writer’s hard work appeared too similar to another’s work? That writer could have his hard work instantly destroyed, if his work is only stored on his personal weblog. The list of problems goes on and on…
-Daniel

Tom H

Also remember that theft of something physical etc is criminal law, while copyright violations is civil/contract law in general (ie. breaking an agreement). Nothing in digital form has an actual tangible value as it is purely information, hence the ease by which the legal processes get blurred

Michael Yunkin

This ridiculous argument ignores Fair Use, which has slowly been eroded thanks to politicians who make laws that either a) they don’t understand; or b) they’ve been paid to act contrary to the express intention of the Constitutional basis for IP law.

Aside from the problem of penalizing people who may or may not have even done anything (surely you’ve seen the hundreds of stories about little old ladies who’ve never even HEARD of bittorrent being targeted by file sharing lawsuits), there’s the obvious problem of outright abuse. Imagine this scenario:
Anonymous decides that Charles Arnold is a moron. So they get his IP address and send a flurry of takedown notices to Mr. Arnold’s internet provider, who is then obliged to cut off his internet under the 3-strikes law.

This is what you’re arguing for, genius. There’s a reason legal action requires government review and involvement.

This has nothing to do with people stealing — anyone who wants to do that can easily just share files through a secure proxy.

Derrick Harris

I have to agree w/ Michael Yunkin (but I distance myself from any personal attacks). Unless those court orders are issued only after some sort of legal proceedings where both sides present evidence, we run the risk of shutting down sites and censoring search engines based on allegations.

I think this is a problem with the DMCA, too. I complain, and a service provider must remove content or risk legal action. But copyright claims aren’t always cut and dry, especially with the presence of defenses such as fair use.

Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

As an artist/writer I’d be outraged that my work was stolen.

But that’s not the issue here. I suggest, Charles, you get acquainted with the actual subject before making a fool of yourself.

gfxm

Charles, we know where you are going with this, but your argument is straight out of 1998. What we need to do is come up with a scenario that allows profitable sharing. The article is pointing out a system that will sabotage many new-age marketing efforts. While I appreciate your motives against sharing, take a look at what is going on in countries where iterations of these rules have already come into play.

Ruben Safir

Everytime someone prevents me ripping my DVD and putting it on my webserver, its like the MPAA has walked into my house, stolen my disks, and computer. This law will be grand theft of everyone in America and prevent us from coming out of recession.

Robert Smith

I love how mr Charles Arnold here attacks anyone who may disagree with this bill on some random mindless quote about people being stolen from and never once mentions or defends the fact of what this bill will cause. People need their money protected, as if they aren’t still making more than enough to live Luxuriously, that may be true but this is not the way to do it. He is either a raving moron supporter or more likely someone who has major stakes in the hollywood industry

Tonbar

Charles Arnold is clearly mentally deficient, please don’t feed the troll.

Miles

Let’s assume you’re a car dealer. What if I stole a car from your lot in the middle of the night, and when you opened shop in the morning it was still there? No, I didn’t return it, I took a copy of it. You still have a car, and now I have one too.

If everyone had what they wanted/needed, it would seem we have reached a more idealized society. The reason it doesn’t is that you didn’t make money on that car. Without copying it, I would have never bought a car from you anyway, but because I copied it from you, you assume I stole your profits.

Arun Naina

@Miles: That argument is a little flawed. Technically, it is lost profits, because that car dealer spent money to obtain that vehicle. You’re basically getting that car at the expense of the car dealer, which, if he/she didn’t spend money on it to begin with, then you’d have nothing to copy.

As for the overall issue – I think we all want to see artists benefit from their works and continue to do their trades, but we don’t like the corporations that they sign up with, which lead to bills like this where little thought is put into it. It’s funny because the internet allows the artist to sell themselves without any sort of label or gallery or what not now, so why do they keep going with along with them?

This bill is more for the retention of those companies, not the artists. You don’t need those companies to be successful now, and I think that’s what they really fear.

alan

If you snuck into my house made a copy of everything and left, I’d be fine with that. You have to look at how other governments have been abusing their similiar laws to understand what is really going on here.

Dan Fonseca

Easy guys. Love all the comments but somehow I feel as though we are getting a little hostile. Yikes!

That being said, I simply do not feel comfortable with the idea that the internet and the ISPs are rooted in ANY national government. In true technology character, the internet is moving power all over the place. The ones in power, national governments, are simply trying to hold on it even if they are doing so poorly. That is why I’d like to see more separation between the two. The question then arises, if my own thoughts make sense, who will watch over the internet? Who will have the power? The people? Just one perspective and idea here…

A note of scientific research, it should be public by default.

http://www.whoisdanfonseca.com

Beaugrand

Charles, how would you feel if you were banned from accessing the internet because you downloaded a copyrighted picture?

Heather Ferreira

As a produced motion picture director and screenwriter, allow me assure you that if your writing examples seen here are in any way reflective of your actual skills in crafting literature, you are in no copyright infringement danger whatsoever.

Stephen Triebl

Charles, what youre talking about goes back to the napster era of internet enforcement. I can understand the theft of other peoples work. We are talking about The internet and its core meaning. The internet’s main purpose in today’s world is to bring people together and share thoughts and ideas. This bill is guided by people who probably do not use the internet like their younger generation. In a nut shell, this bill will close down fan sites expressing their interests, original user based material that inadvertently contains copyrighted material. I meana baby video was pulled off youtube because some song was playing in the background. This bill will give the government power comparable to giving the keys of a 747 to a 5 year old. They just have no idea what it is they are dealing with let alone what powers would be regrettably be given to them.

Lucian Armasu

Since the House version is even worse than the Senate one, I guess we can assume the House is more bought/corrupt than the Senate?

Lynn Bundy

Unfortunately the government understands all too well the power of the internet as well as their ultimate powerlessness to control it. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of any true democracy. As we as a country continue to slip toward government control of everything we hold dear, those in control of information access essentially are in a position to ultimately control how people think and act. The death of the internet is essential to their long term plans.

vesey

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, freedom to steal others work is not.This is not a free speech issue. This bill has no provision to inhibit free speech. I HAVE read the bill carefully, you do the same and then quote me the exact references that inhibit free speech. I wait patiently………..

GB

Agreed. So what do we do about it? I say change congress by voting agains the incumbent senator and representative in the next several election cycles.

dlevartt

George Orwell said it all. Meanwhile, while we were obsessing with the government becoming big brother, we didn’t even see the corporations assuming the role.

James

GB, don’t forget to vote out the top incumbent in 2012 – President 0bama.

NoelArmourson

vesey, this means that any site can be shut down with a specious claim of infringement, thereby censoring speech and the flow of information.

Ryan Portsmouth

You got off easy, my heart just cut a hole in my chest and jumped out screaming!

Charles Arnold

Shayn, what in the world ever gave you the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to steal someone’s else’s work, research and time?

Rich

Charles, what in the world ever gave you the idea that this issue is as simple as that?

Claire

no one person should hide their light… as longa ss you are credited it should be shared… if I sign my name to it THAT’S a problem! Most people are concerned with censorship not getting credit for sharing information or exprssing opinion. What happened to free speech in the US of A? I thank my luck in never moving there! We are so much better off in Canada: human rights and reccession as well as open access to what really happens news wise…

RMDan

Charles: this law is a double edged knife. The one side being seen and commented on is the posting of unlawful content(aka Movie Rips, Game ROM’s, etc.). This I can see but this is not the way to do it. The side not reflected on is that towards users who want to show off their achievements in games, and even make videos from them. Let’s Plays, User Made Music Video’s, and even user made Trailers for Movies & Games are affected by this law as they contain copyrighted material. These are the people that are getting screwed over for freedom of speech as this is what they have to say. This will affect how the Internet runs beyond what they say they, but ultimately turn things into two sides. There will be to good, ordered, boring side of the web that is without creativity as ideas can not be free if the means to convey them are limited. Then the dark side, with all its illegal black market movies, music, and games will be harsh environment as when things escalate, they will start nailing the users of such content to the unfair law for trying to be free of mind.

daf

thats not what shes saying, this act will give the govt and corporate elites power to completely control what goes thru the internet.

RAWWWRR!

You’re so laughably ignorant I don’t know why people have bothered respond to you.

David WhiteDevil Alsberge

Seriously, do you want anyone else telling you what website you may or may not visit, or even to make that website invisible to you. That’s like having someone decide you’re no longer allowed to see your neighbors house. Why would ANYONE give someone else that right. That’s the same as censorship.

TM Lutas

Charles, what in the world ever gave you the idea that copyright holders deserve a parallel justice system where the normal rules of guilt and innocence do not apply?

This legislation is a recipe for DNS fragmentation and dark nets which are going to make the problem much worse.

Mark McAndrew

The only things more ridiculous than these laws are the God-awful acronyms…

“You don’t want to support e-parasites, do you Senator? Take our word for it. Sign here.”

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