Patrick Leahy Against Internet Censorship In Other Countries, But All For It At Home

from the hypocrite dept

We already wrote about yesterday's proposal, from Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch, for a law to censor and block any website that is deemed to mainly support copyright infringing behavior, under the misleading name "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (note the conflation of counterfeiting and infringement, yet again). Still, I did want to to post the full text of the bill, for those who wanted to see just how troubling it is:
It seems particularly troubling that sites can be blocked if they have "no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose." As if there's no such thing as having non-commercially significant purposes.

But a bigger point is just how hypocritical the Senators supporting this bill really are. Reader Dark Helmet already did a nice job highlighting the massive conflicts of interest among many of the Senators supporting this bill -- including the fact that lead sponsor Patrick Leahy has among his top campaign contributors the TV/Movie/Music industries, with Time Warner, Walt Disney and Vivendi showing up near the top of the list. But, I'm sure that's got nothing whatsoever to do with this bill...

What strikes me as much more ridiculous is that Senator Leahy has been one of the more outspoken Senators against other countries censoring or filtering websites. Just a few months ago he gave a statement at a Senate hearing condemning regimes that censor the internet. And yet, just a few months later, he's trying to be the regime censoring the internet:
One of the most pressing challenges posed by the Internet is the censorship of online information. For some time now, we have witnessed the troubling efforts of repressive regimes -- such as the governments of China, Iran and North Korea -- to censor, or in some cases eliminate, their citizens' access to information via the Internet. Most Americans are by now very familiar with the troubling reports that the government of China has hacked into the private e-mail accounts of human rights activists. We must address these serious challenges to freedom of expression head-on.

The early advances of the Internet originated in the United States, and the world rightly looks to us for leadership on matters of Internet freedom. I am very pleased that, last month, Secretary Clinton boldly reaffirmed our Nation's deep commitment to openness and freedom of expression on the Internet. The Obama administration has taken a decisive and important step.

America must also take the lead in protecting those who simply provide a platform for Internet speech from liability for the content of online speech generated by others. Our Federal laws already do this. And we must work with other nations to find the best way to promote free and open Internet speech around the globe.
Read that, and then realize that he's proposing to do exactly what he's condemning those other countries for doing. He's using the power of the government to "censor, or in some cases eliminate, their citizens' access to information via the Internet." Some will claim that this is somehow a "different kind" of information, in that copyright infringement is "harmful." But, of course, the governments of China, Iran and North Korea all feel that the information they're censoring is equally "harmful."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Hypocrisy: It's okay when I do it.

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:22am

    FYI

    For anyone who enjoys looking at the contribution stats of these elected officials, www.opensecrets.org is an absolute freaking gold mine....

     

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  3.  
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    TSO, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Mmmm.... American hypocrisy at work.

    "Do as I tell you, not as I do!"

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:58am

    I'm not sure it's really hypocrisy.
    Goes hand in hand with the ACTA negotiations with the US pushing other countries to agree to elements that will not actually apply in the US.

    It's the wild thrashing around of people who don't actually have a clue what they are doing, or indeed why they are doing it, except their money men want it or that, or the other thing... oooh shiny.

     

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  5.  
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    PolyPusher (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:03am

    But, but, Think of The Children!

    Oh wait, wrong topic and wrong side of the argument. But I figured an emotional plea was relevant in this situation.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:25am

    A hypocrite? I am not so quick to attach the label.

    No matter how many who frequent this site may feel about copyright law, the fact remains it is firmly embraced within our body of national laws and will remain there into the distant future. An integral part of the law and our legislative process, and notwithstanding the constant mantra "it is a business model issue", is that the law will continue to be amended in ways that are anathema to many of those who see nothing wrong with so-called "sharing" of copyrighted works without the consent of the rights holders. Hence, there is little in this proposed legislation to deal with perceived infringing or infringing-inducing acts that should come as a surprise.

    To equate copyright law with censorship of political speech is over the top, and to call the Senators hycoprites because they express views against the censorship in foreign countries of speech that suppresses political dissent and discourse is unfair (BTW, the suppression extends to far more than just the internet). Say what you will of copyright law, but I for one will not buy into the "hypocrites" argument presented here until such time as political dissent in the US is likewise attempted to be suppressed.

    Candidly, this is little more than an attempt to draw a ludicrous analogy morroring that between people who have no compunction about illegal copying and distribution because "I want my music and/or movie now!" and Rosa Parks saying "I want this bus seat!"

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Hack job

    It doesn't say they will shutter you for having a non-commercial site. It says they will shutter you for running a pirate site with no other demonstrable value.

    ie. Google will not be shuttered. A pirate torrent/link site will.

    Don't try to distort the reality just because you don't like it. It is a perfectly reasonable bill.

     

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  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re: Hack job

    What in the world is a pirate torrent/link site? I have to assume one that ONLY hosts trackers for pirated stuff. Fine. Use that as the baseline and rewrite the bill. Then I'll be okay with it.

    Unfortunately for these guys, sites like the Pirate Bay et al have perfectly legitimate uses as well, so it looks like they'll be left out of the persecution....

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Hack job

    Bullsh*t. So as long as TPB has one legal torrent, they are legal in your books? That's not how it works. On most torrent sites the illegal to legal content is >90% illegal. Same with link sites like NinjaVideo. Everyone knows what those sites are there for. Don't pretend to be naive.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:57am

    So what is the magic percentage that converts a service from legal to illegal (we'll ignore the stupidity of blaming services, for the moment)? 25% legal? 50%? 99.9%?

     

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  11.  
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    RD, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    "Don't pretend to be naive."

    You are the one being naive. Dont you realize that this sort of misguided law gives them the ability to shut down sites that only DISCUSS "piracy"? You do realize that they could technically shut down THIS site because of its stance on copyright issues, and because it spends a lot of time discussing "priacy" and file sharing?

    Let me say your phrase back at you:

    Don't be an idiot.

     

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  12.  
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    Hulser (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    To equate copyright law with censorship of political speech is over the top, and to call the Senators hycoprites because they express views against the censorship in foreign countries of speech that suppresses political dissent and discourse is unfair

    One thing that I think is not accounted for in your statement is the subjective nature of what a copyright issue is and what political speech is. If you enact a law that allows the US government to shut down a web site because it has some tangential relationship to infringement, then you're basically giving the government the power to shut down any web site it doesn't like. And the common answer to this concern -- "Oh, we don't have any intent to use this new law for that! Just for this! -- is nothing short of pathetic.

    On a daily basis, TechDirt provides examples of where the DMCA and "IP" laws are stretched so far from their original intent, it's just sickening. Given these examples, do you really trust the US government to not abuse this power? Leahy's comments are not just hypocritical; they're an example of the worst kind of hypocrisy, doublethink hypocrisy. In his heart of heart, Leahy must know his two statement are mutully excluse, but it's justified in his mind because "Well, we're the good guys. We know better, so anything we do must be OK." This is the kind of attitude that gives America a bad name.

     

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  13.  
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    known coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    By that argument we should arrest all Muslim’s in this country because 10% of them support terrorism. In theory in America we are suppose to judge on a case by case basis, not by the broad brush.

    Having no commercial significance is overly broad. Who determines what is commercially significant? And under what theory is only commercially significant deemed worthwhile? (all of Google is commercially significant).

    You find a site knowingly hosting and sending illegal material fine shut it down, and go after the owners of the site both criminally and civilly, there is absolutely no need for a new law to do so.

    As to Leahy, it is easy to be moral when it does not cost you anything, it is a lot harder when it hurts your pockets.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    No it doesn't. You can discuss piracy all you want. There is nothing in this bill to limit that. Have you read it?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    It will vary with time. At first, it will focus on the >90% piracy sites. Then as anti-piracy efforts and technologies get better, it will focus on the more minimally 40-60% infringing ones. Then the 20% infringing. etc.

    If you want to run an online site, there's a simple rule: don't offer illegal services.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    "You find a site knowingly hosting and sending illegal material fine shut it down, and go after the owners of the site both criminally and civilly, there is absolutely no need for a new law to do so."

    Yes, there is, since there is no way to currently 'go after' site owners or operators in another country.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re:

    Translation: Don't offer any services.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you run a site where you as the site owner publishes content, you are responsible for that content. If you run a site where your users publish content, you are responsible for moderating that content.

    If you can't handle that responsibility, don't run the site.

     

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  19.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you run a site where your users publish content, you are responsible for moderating that content."

    Exactly what law or theory of law are you citing for this? Because DMCA says otherwise....

     

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  20.  
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    cc (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re:

    How about we instead change that shitty, unbalanced, unfair law you so much love?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The DMCA says you must respond to takedown requests (ie. moderate content). Sites like TPB and NinjaVideo don't.

    And the next logical step as the 1998 DMCA is revamped will be to mandate proactive filtering like YouTube and Rapidshare have now administered.

     

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  22.  
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    RD, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you run a site where you as the site owner publishes content, you are responsible for that content. If you run a site where your users publish content, you are responsible for moderating that content."

    Wow. So, you either dont know what the actual law says (Section 230 FTW!) or you are purposely lying to try to steer the conversation into this demonstrably false direction. Which is it? Because it IS one or the other. Answer for yourself or you have no valid argument.

     

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  23.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    And what gives you the right to police someone living in another nation?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What's unbalanced is the sites that violate the rights of copyright holders every day.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Already answered.

    "The DMCA says you must respond to takedown requests (ie. moderate content). Sites like TPB and NinjaVideo don't.

    And the next logical step as the 1998 DMCA is revamped will be to mandate proactive filtering like YouTube and Rapidshare have now administered."

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    You aren't policing them in another nation. You are policing what they do in America. They can keep running their illegal site in Nigeria on a Nigerian domain name if they want. They just can't offer their illegal services in America.

     

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  27.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Holy Sh!t, I think TAM is back!

    Are you kidding? First, these filters are useless in how easy they are to bypass. To keep people from putting infringing content on your website (that allows users to upload content), you would need to pass every file-to-be-uploaded to every copyright holder in the country before it could be determined whether or not the file is infringing on someone's copyrighted work. What you are suggesting is that we shut down the internet because it conflicts with current copyright laws.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Who is paying who?

    If he wants to increase quality of reporting and sedate the rumormill, It would normally make more sense to re-introduce something similar to the Fairness Doctrine, or a standard of story research; but it seems this is not the goal.

    In fact, Orrin Hatch must be one of those guys that receives campaign donations when he yapps about US security companies and content aggregators being allowed gatekeeper status and control over the flow of the speech over the internet.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you run a site where you as the site owner publishes content, you are responsible for that content. If you run a site where your users publish content, you are responsible for moderating that content."

    ahh so it's purpose is to remove the safe harbours clause in the DMCA

     

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  30.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    I don't know if you know this... but the internet isn't IN America.

     

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  31.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    "So as long as TPB has one legal torrent, they are legal in your books?"

    Er, no. As long as the Pirate Bay can be and is used for LEGAL purposes, then clearly the site itself is not illegal. So how are you going to shut it down? Hell, even some content creators use The Pirate Bay for legitmate distribution, as do many open source developers. You shutting down the entire site instead of going after actual infringing parties would get in the way of people doing the LEGAL things they want. Why would you do that?

    "That's not how it works."

    Correct. How it works today is that the hosting company isn't liable for what it's users do. This bill could change that. Why exactly would that be a good thing?

    "Everyone knows what those sites are there for."

    Yes we do. We're aware that there are MANY uses for those sites. We're also aware of how silly it is to try to pigeon hole them into one purpose, no matter how prevalent that use might be. What percentage of weapons created today are used for aggressive violence? If the answer is above a certain percentage, do we outlaw all weapons?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    The users and ISP's in America are. They are the only ones this applies to.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Shutting down TPB would not get in the way of legitimate services. If you want to offer freeware or public domain material, there are plenty of legal trackers, cyberlockers, and hosts that can gladly help.

     

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  34.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The DMCA says you must respond to takedown requests (ie. moderate content). Sites like TPB and NinjaVideo don't."

    But this bill is attempting to use the Justice Department to route around the DMCA completely. That's the problem...

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. Sites like TechDirt would not be shut down. They don't offer illegal content. Simple.

    And for example, Rapidshare takes your CC information when you sign up a paid account. How difficult would it be for them to institute CC bans on infringers? They don't do it of course, because it would get in the way of their business. But that doesn't mean such measures aren't entirely feasible.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The DMCA doesn't address foreign sites. It can't. So a bill like this is needed.

    Sorry, Techdirt, but no one's going to abolish copyright law. And if that's not going to happen, protections like this are inevitable.

     

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  37.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    My comment was regarding "'go[ing] after' site owners or operators in another country." But now you're talking about just applying this to the people in America, so I guess you're abandoning your other statement. Good. Agreed.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Safe harbors is 12 years outdated. They already amended it for university ISP's in 2008, kicking in this year. Why shouldn't they amend it for other service providers as well?

     

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  39.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No. Sites like TechDirt would not be shut down. They don't offer illegal content. Simple."

    Except that users in the comments section occasionally have links to sites that are used for "infringing" content. More importantly, content owners have shown in the past that even THEY can't tell what's infringing from what isn't, so how is this all going to work?

     

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  40.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    My comment was regarding "'go[ing] after' site owners or operators in another country." But now you're talking about just applying this to the people in America, so I guess you're abandoning your other statement. Good. Agreed.

     

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  41.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Why shouldn't they amend it for other service providers as well?"

    How about the common sense stand point of actually holding responsible parties responsible for starters?

     

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  42.  
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    cc (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They violate the *privilege* of the copyright holders -- a privilege which was granted in an age where computers, the internet and widespread copying were not even imagined, a privilege that they have been extending to last for hundreds of years, a privilege used to limit what I can and cannot do with real property that I own, a privilege that corrupt governments are exploiting to censor and oppress. Copyright holders need to find a new way to do business.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the site is foreign, ISP's and accessing users are the only ones under American jurisdiction. Therefore, they are the only ones legally responsible. This law addresses the ISP's. No doubt future laws will address the individual users.

     

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  44.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, i don't know anything about Rapidshare. And i never said anything about techdirt. Stop CopyPasta-ing your comments to fill this thread. Take the time to read the comment and respond accordingly.

    I was refering to youtube and its filters and the impossibility of knowing what is infringing content and what is not.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re:

    1. This is merely proposed legislation within the Senate. It will undergo vetting in the Senate, after which (assuming it is still "alive") it would be passed to the House who would have an independent "crack at it".

    2. The standard in this proposed legislation is much more demanding than simply a tangential relationship. Search engines such as Google would not break into a sweat. Torrent sites that may be located in the US would have to stock up on Arid. Torrent sites outside the US would have various activities within the US curtailed.

    3. Contrary to what is read here and on many other sites critical of the DMCA, "abuse" is not the norm. It is the exception, but as the exception it is the one that makes the news.

    4. No system is perfect. Mistakes will be made. But to decry laws because mistakes will inevitably arise drives one to the position, if they are anti-mistake, to do nothing.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Linking in comments shouldn't really be a problem, since any illegal content will fall within the greater ISP filter anyway. The greater ISP filter will be contributed to directly by the copyright holders. And of course, comments can be moderated.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    "Having no commercial significance"

    How is this different from "having a substantial non-infringing use", the "test" borrowed from patent law by the court in the Betamax case?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hashes can be used to compile anti-piracy hash filter databases. Users can be fined or banned (both via credit card registration) for repeat infringement.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why does it make more sense to abolish the copyright industry that generates billions of dollars of revenue and millions of jobs, than it does to simply abolish the few ragtag websites that profit from and facilitate piracy?

     

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  50.  
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    Flyfish, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Right or left our elected servants all succumb to authoritarian impulses as they spend years legislating for those who feed their campaign finances.

     

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  51.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "3. Contrary to what is read here and on many other sites critical of the DMCA, "abuse" is not the norm. It is the exception, but as the exception it is the one that makes the news."

    Are you kidding me? According to whom, exactly? I offer you Google's take on it:

    "...quoting results from a 2005 study by Californian academics Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban based on data from the Chilling Effects clearinghouse.[19] Takedown notices targeting a competing business made up over half (57%) of the notices Google has received, the company said, and more than one-third (37%), "were not valid copyright claims."[20]" -- from Wikipedia DMCA page

    Half being used by competing business and over a third not being valid certainly doesn't sound like the "exception" to me.....

     

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  52.  
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    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Forgive me, i'm dense. What is this filter made out of? How does it work?

     

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  53.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Why does it make more sense to abolish the copyright industry that generates billions of dollars of revenue and millions of jobs, than it does to simply abolish the few ragtag websites that profit from and facilitate piracy?"

    Who is talking about either? Not me. I'm not a copyright abolitionist. Far from it, actually. I see a place for limited copyright.

    I also see a place for tools that promote filesharing. The problem I have is twofold. First, I don't want to take away content creator's abilities to legally distribute their works through any means they see fit, including the Pirate Bay. I've put some of my work out there for free myself, and I've seen a benefit from it. Second, I have yet to see any conclusive evidence to suggest that overall media piracy has a net-negative effect on either society as a whole or even on rights holders as a whole. Without that evidence, action is unwarranted.

    What I DON'T see a place for is opening the door to internet censorship, particulary by the justice department, a group absolutely riddled with reps from certain industries. That's a step in the direction of oligarchy, which is a step toward fascism, steps which I have no interest in taking....

     

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  54.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because it's not copyright that sustains those jobs, but the demand for new content creation. History tells us that lack of copyright leads to more creation, and lack of patents to more competition and innovation.

    You should provide evidence why such a privilege is required, and also evidence that piracy and those "ragtag" websites have an adverse effect on artists.

    Notice that this is not about the content industry, their shareholders or their billions. Society is better off without them (right?). Or, are you going to argue that they are somehow necessary?

     

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  55.  
    icon
    Hulser (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    1. This is merely proposed legislation within the Senate. It will undergo vetting in the Senate, after which (assuming it is still "alive") it would be passed to the House who would have an independent "crack at it".

    This point seems to boil down to "Don't worry about it. All of your concerns will be addressed in later versions." I'm sorry, but I don't buy that. The same kind of weak intellect who would think that a "no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose." clause makes any sense will be reviewing and amending the draft. You'll just end up with some other silly wording that could be exposed as fundamentally flawed within minutes of its release.

    2. The standard in this proposed legislation is much more demanding than simply a tangential relationship. Search engines such as Google would not break into a sweat. Torrent sites that may be located in the US would have to stock up on Arid. Torrent sites outside the US would have various activities within the US curtailed.

    Again, I'm not buying it. No matter what the safeguards are, this is the kind of power that the government should not have.

    3. Contrary to what is read here and on many other sites critical of the DMCA, "abuse" is not the norm. It is the exception, but as the exception it is the one that makes the news.

    When there are so many exceptions that exceptions become unexceptional, you have a problem. You can't look at this in terms of percentage. Is it OK if 5% of people get fucked by the DMCA? 4%? .01%? Using your own example, you'd apparently support segregation because it only affected a minority of Americans. Besides, the examples on TechDirt are only the ones that make the news. What about all of the other examples that don't or the chilling effects which change people's behavior, but don't end up in a lawsuit?

    4. No system is perfect. Mistakes will be made. But to decry laws because mistakes will inevitably arise drives one to the position, if they are anti-mistake, to do nothing.

    Doing nothing, especially when it comes to lawmaking, is highly underrated. When a proposed law is meant to solve a problem that will inevitably be solved by a business model change anyway, then that law is a waste of time and effort and doing nothing is better.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    This is merely proposed legislation within the Senate. It will undergo vetting in the Senate, after which (assuming it is still "alive") it would be passed to the House who would have an independent "crack at it".


    And just as your boss, my senator, Leahy, will then pass the consolidated bill behind closed doors without a final vote on the floor. PRO-IP, repeat after me.

    To equate copyright law with censorship of political speech is over the top,...


    Nice try, but no one singled out political speech.

    The issue here is speech in general, and the modern tools we use to speak. Sen. Leahy's naked assault on the DNS resolving system is an effort to break the internet and its communication and thus free speech capabilities, directed by nearly $350k in Big Content donations.

    Bernie's a nut job, one of the best, but at least he doesn't try to screw Vermonters like Patrick does.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Shutting down TPB doesn't even get in the way of illegitimate services, so why shut it down?

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Hack job

    It says they will shutter you for running a pirate site with no other demonstrable value.


    Not in the least. TFL states that ISP's must 404 a DNS resolution. that shutters nothing except breaking how the internet and the www work.

    and that, young man, is an open assault on my free speech.

    my domain, right here in VT, can also be 404'd by simply

    ...including the provision of a link to other sites...


    which is, of course, perfectly reasonable

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anon, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I assume that's not a non sequitur and you're answering my other comment. How does this filter know if the pixels in the photo or video i just uploaded are in violation of someone's copyright?

     

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  60.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Only if you are in the US.

     

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  61.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And "protections" like this are easily defeated by encryption. Then what? Ban encryption?

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Who is paying who?

    Nice catch lol, you are very correct sir.
    And as my name implies, I know. :)

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...the few ragtag websites...

    really??? i thought it was a serious, overwhelming problem.

    face facts son, you were sent here to defend something that is indefensible: gov't control of free speech.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You do realize that TPB and a bunch of other sites are not located in the US, and that the DMCA is a US law, correct?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can make laws saying something in another country is illegal all day long and it still will not do you any good as they have no obligation to honor that.

    Heck, even our own government just passed an anti libel tourism bill because people over here would get sued in the UK for libel where their libel laws suck. (That is my opinion, but they are undoubtedly more strict)
    So after our government reinforces that people can't get you from another nation, now they are going to say that they can do it? That is hypocritical.

     

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  66.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All I have to say to this is fuck the world you want to live in. It sounds like an incredibly restricted pathetic nanny state that I and anyone I know would HATE to live in. Fuck that place. If you want a nanny state, go and move to China, but please stop trying to make us that stupid and restrictive.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Hack job

    It doesn't say they will shutter you for having a non-commercial site. It says they will shutter you for running a pirate site with no other demonstrable value.

    It clearly favours "commercial value" over other forms of value. So a non-commercial site with (say) 20% infringing material on it might be censored but a commercial site with the same proportion would not be. This is clearly an attempt to shut down amateur sites with user generated content whilst pardoning commercial sites - so that those who might have the resources to bring a legal challenge are not affected.

    This is blatantly unfair.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Shutting down questionableactivities.com would not get in the way of legitimate speech. If you want to engage in respectable speech, there are plenty of legal blogs, forums, and web hosts that can gladly help.

    The main problem is the overly broad and vague definitions, and lack of oversight. It amounts to almost unsupervised authority to shut down whatever site is desired with almost no pretext. I cannot understand how anyone could be in favor of this, even if you're a ninja (ie, hate pirates) and produce movies, music, and/or books for a living.

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Search engines such as Google would not break into a sweat. Torrent sites that may be located in the US would have to stock up on Arid.

    Oh, I see, it's the "evil protocol" protocol.

    Am I to assume I should also break a sweat if I need to update my Warcraft client (or FFXIV), or my Linux distribution, or use any free (sustainably) public sharing mechanism?

    To answer myself, no I should not break a sweat, because Congress cannot, and never has been able to keep up with technology. Congress should go ahead and start stroking their keepers by targeting protocols, as this country and its people need more innovation.

    "No torrents" = better sharing technology than torrents.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Legal trackers and "illegal trackers" are...exactly the same thing.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Reed, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Abolish this

    I am one of the only readers of Techdirt that even advocates for abolishment of Intellectual Property. Next to no one on this blog shares my viewpoint that I am aware of.

    So please, if you are going to make generalizations about Techdirt readers at least try to get them right.

    I won't even start with your analogy of what is more profitable, because it is just plain stupid. It is apparent that you may just be trolling at this point as you have not added to the conversation and instead have taken one side without trying to consider the other.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The greater ISP filter will be contributed to directly by the copyright holders"

    What!? You don't see a problem with this? Shouldn't there be a court review of sites BEFORE they're added to this list? There are a lot of legal sites that copyright holders would love to add to a list like this. Can you imagine what the google-viacom youtube lawsuit would be like if viacom had the power to threaten youtube with down-time. "Pay us or our friends at the DOJ will have youtube off the dns map indefinitely while you appeal the decision." It is stupid to let prosecutors (i.e. the AG and the DOJ) decide which people are guilty before a trial. It's doubly stupid to let the copyright holders decide.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Out of curiosity, how would you feel about other countries blocking parts of the Internet that violate their laws? e.g. China blocking American news sites that discuss tiananmen square, or Germany blocking Amazon because they sell copies of Mein Kampf.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hold on. This is the second time you've referred to credit card registration. There's very few sites that require credit card registration to participate. Is that something you expect to see changed?

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just because some sites are out of the country doesn't answer DH's question about giving the DOJ the keys to the kingdom. Why can't a court decide who gets to be put on the black list. The part of this bill that lets the AG compile the list and then doesn't allow a court appeal until after the AG gets all the time in the world to consider your appeal extremely heinous. People could be go completely out of business while the AG twiddles his thumbs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If the site is foreign, ISP's and accessing users are the only ones under American jurisdiction. Therefore, they are the only ones legally responsible."

    Why? Just because you can't catch a crook doesn't mean you get to hang the nearest bystander. If a vandal throws leaflets threatening the President all over my lawn, will you arrest me, if you can't find him?

     

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  77.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In actual fact, Ninjavideo was not served with DMCA requests, mainly because of the fact they didn't host the content in the first place.

    TPB is a search engine, it does not host content.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    A hypocrite? I am not so quick to attach the label.

    If it's accurate, why not?

    No matter how many who frequent this site may feel about copyright law, the fact remains it is firmly embraced within our body of national laws and will remain there into the distant future.

    No one said otherwise. But this is not about copyright. This is about censorship. Copyright law is in place -- we agree. So the actions of users of these sites is already illegal. So that's set.

    The problem here is that this law has nothing to do with copyright, and everything to do with censorship of sites that the industry doesn't like.

    I find it odd that someone such as yourself, who is always so careful to be quite specific would conflate copyright with taking down sites without due process.

    Odd.

    To equate copyright law with censorship of political speech is over the top

    But this is censorship. Blatant censorship.

    to call the Senators hycoprites because they express views against the censorship in foreign countries of speech that suppresses political dissent and discourse is unfair

    Not at all. The issue is identical. I can't think of a single difference other than the politicians elsewhere don't like a different kind of speech.

    Say what you will of copyright law, but I for one will not buy into the "hypocrites" argument presented here until such time as political dissent in the US is likewise attempted to be suppressed.

    I see. So censorship is fine for you as long as it's speech you dislike. Sickening. Hypocrite.

    Candidly, this is little more than an attempt to draw a ludicrous analogy morroring that between people who have no compunction about illegal copying and distribution because "I want my music and/or movie now!" and Rosa Parks saying "I want this bus seat!"

    Your total ignorance and confusion on the issue is duly noted.

     

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  79.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    You aren't policing them in another nation. You are policing what they do in America. They can keep running their illegal site in Nigeria on a Nigerian domain name if they want. They just can't offer their illegal services in America.

    Without a conviction? Hmmm... Due process is so last millennium for copyright supporters.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Mmmhmmm... And shutting off their DNS accounts does what? That affects everyone, not just the US. Yeah, I realize it isn't enough to actually block anyone from the site, but fuck you if you want to censor what I do online. Trying to block anyone from these sites doesn't work, anyways. Think the Great Firewall has done China any good?

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    Today's AC chisels and chips away at freedom

    Astounding conversation here today!
    Scary, in fact.
    The rationale for descending down the slippery slope of enabling totalitarianism can be found in the comments above.

    So Mr. Media Lobbyist AC ... Is Freedom really too expensive??

    How about if I help you out here...For copyrighted material, why don't we just go with "Guilty until proven innocent". It certainly does save a lot of money, and I am sure that fewer of the really bad guys would get away.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re:

    We seem to have widely divergent views on the First and Fifth Amendment.

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Last I knew, TPB wasn't a US site, and thus wasn't subject to US law. When do we start goosestepping?

     

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  84.  
    icon
    Christopher Weigel (profile), Sep 21st, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah. Specifically, we believe they should actually count for something.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, that's on the table.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Why not, American law is regulating foreign financial wire services now?

    Second how difficult is to use ARccOS to scramble media and post it anywhere?

    People can do it and no filter in the world will catch that thing, it can get to the point where people only need to download mapping information, how about getting a program that looks at the binary and search the web for content that has the basic building blocks and downloads them from photos, text and other media the only way to shut that down would be to shut the internet and it ain't happening, but the whole internet would be in effect being used to infringe into something, will they block flickr? people could even use the MPAA and the RIAA websites to pull data patterns that would be used to infringe will they shut those websites down?

    As long as there is an internet there is a way to transmit data that is what you don't get, those laws don't bring nothing to the table that is good only bad things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    1. A bad proposal.

    2. The standard is ambiguous and we all know it.

    3. Right that is why thousands of bad takedowns are issued everyday.

    4. Exactly and because it is so damaging it should have a very high bar so as the benefits are clearly seen and measurable to offset all the bad that comes with it, which in this case it doesn't even pass the laugh test.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure, if your data is unique, but what if it is not.

    Besides hash are uncapable of knowing the status of the data.

    Ampache is a streaming media server used to make streaming audio data to any device possible, anyone can use it to stream their own legally bought music to their phones will hashes catch that?

    You ignore all the legal uses that one can make, this only works if fair use don't exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2010 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because without it there would still be an industry that would still make billions of dollars, piracy by know already proved that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 12:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just plain wrong. Asking for 100% human vetted moderation is ridiculous and not a reasonable request.

    Will the studios be willing to pay youtube to hire thousands of employees to monitor videos?

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 3:27am

    proactive, lol

    And the next logical step as the 1998 DMCA is revamped will be to mandate proactive filtering like YouTube and Rapidshare have now administered.

    Which last time I checked did nothing to prevent encrypted rar files with names like t445r-.rar from being shared. Good job!

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Abolish this

    It'd be great if these were the comments of a troll, but it sounds more like someone who is intimately familiar with the proposed legislation-- an attorney for a client who stands to benefit from such legislation perhaps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This made me chuckle, thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hack job

    Yes, we have. Apparently you have not, either that or you are stupid enough to blindly believe everything a "government official" tells you. The government abuses the powers we have given them on a daily basis, yet you insist on naively believing what they spoon feed you, get your head out of the sand and smell the repression.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 29th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Re:

    Your logic is greatly flawed. The only conclusion one can reach from your comment is that you think it's OK for the US to implement censorship to enforce its laws, but it's not OK for China to do the same. Sorry, but not unlike Laehy, that makes you a hypocrite also.

    You seem to be going out of your way to try to make the point that it's somehow OK for the US to do this since it is being done as part of enforcing a law, however the law in China makes political speech just as illegal there as copyright infringement is here (actually, a bit more illegal). If it's OK for the US to censor to enforce the US's laws, how can it possibly NOT be OK for China to censor to enforce China's laws?

    It seems that the reality is you somehow think extreme measures like censorship are OK when it's done to enforce a law that you personally agree with and think should be enforced, but it's not OK when it's done to enforce a law that you personally do not agree with and think should not be enforced.

    That, by the way, is the text-book definition of a hypocrite. You really need to pick a side and stick to it. Either censorship is OK when it is being done to enforce other laws (meaning everyone can do it, including China, Iran, North Korea and everyone else), or censorship is not OK even when done to enforce other laws (meaning no one should do it, including the US).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Sara, Feb 3rd, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Use a VPN skip censoring everywhere

    Using a VPN protect your privacy and give u unlimited access to every page. This might be the only solution against internet censorship.
    I want to let you know that there is currently running a Free Give Away of Premium VPN Accounts from several providers on this page: http://www.leechermods.com/search?q=vpn
    Chances are high to catch a account for free for everyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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