OpenDNS Comes Out Against COICA Censorship

from the good-for-them dept

Broadband Reports points us to a blog post from OpenDNS's founder and CEO, David Ulevitch, highlighting the dangers of COICA. He notes that services like OpenDNS already allow individuals the choice to block access to certain websites, but having the government declare entire sites blockable at the DNS level is definite trouble -- especially considering how much accidental copyright infringement there is.
What COICA proposes would induce, and in some cases, force ISPs -- including yours -- to block websites for you without your input. The Internet is a global phenomenon and at OpenDNS we serve a global audience with customers around the world. If we are forced to block something due to a mandate by the U.S. federal government it would impact all our users, not just those in the U.S. That's a terrible precedent for the U.S. government to set.

Furthermore, as we've seen with the ongoing Wikileaks.org saga, the government will try and utilize whatever resources it can to take sites offline. There is absolutely no need to arm them with a tool to automate it, let alone one that sits outside of any judicial review as COICA does.

Blocking a domain name is black and white act, meaning that if the Justice Department decided that one aspect of a website was enough to make infringement "central" their only recourse would be to block the entire website rather than systematically removing the infringing portion. For many sites this would lead to massive censorship of data and speech that was non-infringing.
While it looks like there isn't likely to be much movement on COICA in the lameduck session, it'll definitely be back next year. It's important that more people recognize that COICA is all about censorship before the bill goes much further.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    robin, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 3:57am

    Dead But Not Forgotten

    While COICA may be temporarily on hold, it is still being sold:

    OP-Ed Piece by Senator Leahy:

    http://thehill.com/special-reports/lame-duck-december-2010/132513-putting-a-stop-to-online -criminals-

    Original with extra documents:

    http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=4c6b5d31-902d-4e78-a3c1-e392d b0dd488

    Sadly, it seems as if government coercion and intimidation are now part of our country's speech. I'm sure Senator Leahy is quite proud...

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    robin, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 4:00am

    Re: Dead But Not Forgotten

    oops, sorry double post :(.

    And by being sold, please note the utterly confused conflating of counterfeiting and infringement, which runs from the first sentence to the last.

    Actually a question for the hive: is it cluelessness or is it purposeful mis-direction?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 5:06am

    Two words: Copyright abolition!!!!

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Dead But Not Forgotten

    The COICA bill is just another step in a long line of stupid decisions. This cannot be attributed to ignorance any more. After this long, no one can stay this clueless. This can't even be "we took the wrong path, but we must see it threw", it's gone on too long and too far for that. It's one thing; all encompassing greed.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    4 chan tard, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 5:44am

    COICA is about protecting creators from having their work taken.

    Techdirt is about Mike Masnick and his lying, fear-mongering bs about the bill and just about anything else to do with intellectual property.

    Keep at it all you want, Masnick. We're not going to let your lies become hivemind.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Re:

    For someone with a name like that, you sure don't troll very well.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Berenerd (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re:

    he is a tard afterall..he probably doesn't even know what 4chan is.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:18am

    It's for the children... errr, national security... eeemmmmm, airport security.... Well it is for your own damn good, and shut up now!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Anyone with half a brain in the US knew that Homeland Security would turn into a nightmare that will need to be forcibly stopped. It runs rampant over people rights to the point that you need to stay at home to stay away from them. Don't travel. Don't complain. Don't support anyone but our own government and 'Vere are your papers'? Wow, does that sound like Nazi Germany to you? I feel like the Terrorists are winning? I don't feel safe because I am more afraid of my own government than I am of Terrorists. The level of corruption in the US Congress and the Senate makes me think that anyone who runs for those offices just wants to cash in.

     

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  10.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    "I don't feel safe because I am more afraid of my own government than I am of Terrorists."

    You would not believe how often I have heard those words recently.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    Keep at it all you want, Masnick. We're not going to let your lies become hivemind.

    That's right everyone! Don't become part of Mike's hivemind! Be part of 4chan's! Or the government's! Or the MP/RIAA's!

    FOR TEH SWARM!!!

    ~snerk~ tool.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    Thou doth protest too much, methinks.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re:

    +1

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    COICA is about protecting creators from having their work taken.

    Wow. I didn't know that this bill was about protecting artists from the legacy gatekeepers. /sarc


    Techdirt is about Mike Masnick and his lying, fear-mongering bs about the bill and just about anything else to do with intellectual property.

    Of course...anyone who disagrees with your point of view is lying and fear-mongering. That's a typical response of someone who has nothing to argue with except "Because I said so"


    Keep at it all you want, Masnick. We're not going to let your lies become hivemind.

    I haven't got a clue what a hivemind is, but you are certainly not going to stop me from becoming educated on all sides of issues so I can make up my own mind.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    "COICA is about protecting creators from having their work taken."

    Says the one brain cell repeating relay parrot troll falling into a while (true) loop.

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    davidu (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I know what 4chan is. I just don't understand how people find value in it.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    For(;;) I've seen this become increasingly popular lately. I always get a little tick when I see that. If your not writing a Game for a Unitask os ...

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    "COICA is about protecting creators from having their work taken."

    No, COICA is about side-stepping due process and giving even more power to delegated (not elected) officials without any opportunity for oversight. One more step toward tyranny (toward which we are already sprinting at a breakneck pace).

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    erin, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Dead But Not Forgotten

    of course it is. he has to throw a bone to the RIAA & MPAA droids in Hollywood that have been shoveling cash to the Democrats for many years.

    That's all COICA really is.. a handout to Hollywood thanks to paid off Democrats. It's disgusting.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Timmy, Jan 12th, 2011 @ 11:45pm

    The true power of the Big Media lobby shows its muscle

    Big Media doesn't deserve our support because:

    (a) They bought out all the news organizations and quickly cut all the investigative journalism budgets. Now, America and most other "Democracies" whose media are owned by the same 8-9 multinationals have no means for the public to find out what their leaders are doing (except maybe who they're having affairs with).

    (b) Tabloid or News-tainment has almost completely replaced news-as-a-public-service, leaving nothing substantial. This, combined with the abandonment of investigative journalism, means voters don't know s*** about what their leaders or even candidates stand for, or how their taxes are being spent.

    (c) No investigations of sponsors or advertisers, or even potential advertisers, because that would mean lost revenue. Product safety, especially in pharmaceuticals, is no longer open for serious news analysis.

    (d) Popular media has lowered the level of political and social discourse to the point of infantile rhetoric. "Horserace-style" reporting of elections has completely replaced any conveyance of the issues at stake in an election. The voter is left with nothing but emotional rhetoric and no facts.

    (e) Many are even starting to abandon their traditional role of performing exit polls in an election, as a check against bad counting. Now that more votes are being counted by computers instead of human beings, the counting process is no longer in eyeshot of the public, so the need for exit polling is greater than ever before.
    (f) Big Media steals more from musicians than the public ever could through file-sharing, giving artists such poor contracts and infinitesimal royalties that the ONLY way they can make a living is through live concerts. Big Media's arguments about protecting artists are nothing but crocodile tears and hypocrisy.

    So, Big Media has almost completely crippled the 4th estate's ability to serve its traditional and vital role in Democracy, as a check on Government power and on the various non-democratic powers that plague us every generation. Big Media does not deserve our sympathy -- it has done far too much harm to our society, our culture, our values, and our democracy.

    Big Media's drive for ABSOLUTE control over files reminds me of Leviticus 23:22, which, if this pattern continues, will be deleted from future versions of the Bible that are printed by publishers they own:
    "When you reap the harvest of your land, don't reap the corners of your field or gather the gleanings. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

    Ultimately, rampant world-wide file-sharing is not just driven by the wish to get stuff free, but has become a global rebellion against Big Media, hitting them the only way the average Joe can. This is a mass protest against the destruction of democracy.

    As long as Big Media chooses to sabotage public power over listening to the public, as long as they choose obsessive greed and control above liberty and democracy, the public will continue to search for ways to bypass any and all measures instituted to control their internet use.

    Why?

    Because the public knows that buying Big Media's stuff means subsidizing the ruination of Democracy in the West.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    Lets put it this way:

    If I were to use my Broadcast License (because you have to be REGISTERED to broadcast over radio) to distribute any of the information that you all are advocating for... I'd be fined, possibly jailed, and lose my license.

    If I did it on the internet I'll just receive a cease and desist letter.

    Now "freedom of speech" advocates, explain to me: Why am I not allowed to broadcast the information that you all say I can put online? Why can't I print it? Publish? Distribute it in ANY OTHER MANNER than the internet?

    The truth is thus:
    It is not protected under freedom of speech.



    Three things need to happen
    A) Webmasters have no rights.
    If a company asks for IP records, they should have to hand them over (granted, of course, if they have legal rights (i.e. if an individual posts how to "hack" their device so that 5 people can install linux and a few million can download pirated games).

    If a company asks said webmaster to RECORD IP LOGS, said webmaster should have no choice. (Many Piracy Sites have stopped recording IP's so they "can't" turn over a list of people who are committing crimes).

    If a company asks a webmaster to remove information, they should do so and they should not have any decision on the matter. (DIGG and the HD-DVD Scandal. DIGG said "fuck you, we're losing customers!" instead of responding to the Cease and Desist notice.)

    B) Open Source needs to be considers "a product sold for $0.00":
    Copyright law is designed to protect against profiteering, not piracy. So some distinction comes into play if a product is "sold."

    Emulators that emulate "copyrighted hardware" cannot be sold, but they can be distributed for free. Even if you manage to "build the thing from documentation" you're still reverse engineering, and the original copyrights can be extended to include your "hacked" platform.

    Some Open Source projects contain copyright modules that were developed "for private use only". This is less frequent now as these modules have been hacked and reverse engineered (again, should the software be sold lawsuits would be active). But the definition of "private use" and "commercial distribution" was flawed.

    The problem here is when these modules are used to supply a FREE version of the product that is being sold. And the reason such modules exist was not to be used in "open source software" but for use by developers for compatibility reasons. *Hence, it is now harder to get dev tools.

    C) Trials should be forgone in instances of overbearing empirical evidence. Circumstantial Evidence is the only thing that can be disputed... and the only thing that SHOULD be disputed. If someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as is often possible with internet based crimes, the need for a trial is just a formality.

    Thats not to say that I'm for forbidding appeals... but simply against trials that attack empirical evidence.

    But... they traced your IP, they found incriminating evidence on your hard drive, they verified that you were the only user of that computer. What argument does the defense have? None, except to resort to professional bullshitting.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Dwayne, May 13th, 2011 @ 3:50am

    Re:

    You are wrong.

    First of all, there is an internet privacy that is protected by fourth amendment. Secondly, I'm sorry to say that you don't even know anything about a computer or the internet. If you did, why would you tell us that anything we download is illegal? If that's true, then eBay, Youtube, and Google will have to be shut down. Otherwise, it wouldn't matter if I copy and pasted stock photos of what I'm selling on eBay. And even if HollyWood give you a permission to post their works, they can then lie in the court they didn't and guess what, they make a buck out of you. So your comment doesn't matter. All that matters here is the COICA gives freelunch to HollyWood and Department of Justice.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Dwayne, May 13th, 2011 @ 3:52am

    Re:

    It's not about protecting creators, it's about letting Government decide what website should shut down in a Federal Court.

     

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


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