The Very Real Risk Of Overly Broad Censorship Under SOPA

from the nice-explainer dept

The more people look at the details of SOPA, the worse it looks. Alexander Macgillivray, much more widely known as amac, is Twitter's General Counsel, and has taken to his personal blog to discuss one of the many troubling aspects of SOPA: the fact that if it's deemed a rogue site because "any portion thereof" of the site is infringing, it can completely block out tons of legitimate speech and content. He constructs the following scenario:
The harm that does to ordinary, non-infringing users is best described via a hypothetical user: Abe. Abe has never even so much as breathed on a company’s copyright but he does many of the things typical of Internet users today. He stores the photos of his children, now three and six years old, online at PickUpShelf* so that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining backups. He is a teacher and keeps copies of his classes accessible for his students via another service called SunStream that makes streaming audio and video easy. He engages frequently in conversation in several online communities and has developed a hard-won reputation and following on a discussion host called SpeakFree. And, of course, he has a blog called “Abe’s Truths” that is hosted on a site called NewLeaflet. He has never infringed on any copyright and each of the entities charged with enforcing SOPA know that he hasn’t.

And yet, none of that matters. Under SOPA, every single one of the services that Abe uses can be obliterated from his view without him having any remedy. Abe may wake up one morning and not be able to access any of his photos of his children. Neither he, nor his students, would be able to access any of his lectures. His trove of smart online discussions would likewise evaporate and he wouldn’t even be able to complain about it on his blog. And, in every case, he has absolutely no power to try to regain access. That may sound far-fetched but under SOPA, all that needs to happen for this scenario to come true is for the Attorney General to decide that some part of PickUpShelf, SunStream, SpeakFree and NewLeaflet would be copyright infringement in the US. If a court agrees, and with no guarantee of an adversarial proceeding that seems very likely, the entire site is “disappeared” from the US internet. When that happens Abe has NO remedy. None. No way of getting the photos of his kids other than leaving the United States for a country that doesn’t have overly broad censorship laws.
This is just one of many significant concerns about the bill which have been raised. And yet Lamar Smith and the House Judiciary Committeee appear poised to make a push to move forward with SOPA this week (Thursday) anyway. Despite the widespread problems of the bills and complaints about nearly every aspect, Smith is expected to offer up only very modest changes, and then push to have the bill voted through. This is a travesty. Smith's legacy is going to go down as the elected official who led the charge to censor the internet.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    What a crock of shit:

    If a court agrees, and with no guarantee of an adversarial proceeding that seems very likely.......

    Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applies to SOPA. The companies mentioned in this bizarre fantasy scenario have the same rights to a hearing as any other civil litigant. The desperation by the freeloader community is way over the top.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

      Re:

      Agreed. They seem to be acting as if there is no recourse, no get back - that random people will be able to make unfounded claims, and not be held responsible for them.

      It's a crock of shit, that is for sure.

       

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        Almost Anonymous (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Does anyone else think the above two Anonymous Cowards are the same guy, logging into two different systems in order to slap himself on the back for his insightful and witty repartee?

        But I digress. Mike just discussed a website that was put into legal limbo for over a year... this happened now, with no SOPA and no PIPA. That's why all of us sane people know that it will only get worse if either of those atrocious wannabe-laws is passed. Bad laws are always abused. Always. It's the only reason people like you want them in the first place.

         

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          MrWilson, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, they posted six minutes apart. Either they're the same person or buddies or more than one troll is constantly hitting refresh on the Techdirt homepage to see if Mike posts another article that they can attack. Either way, it doesn't speak well of them.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

        Re: Re:

        You seem to believe that is not the case but aside from harsh language is there anything you can show us that contradict the scenario proposed and prove it won't happen?

        Using the DMCA as a measuring stick one can see the potential for abuse. The vast majority of DMCA take downs is either wrong, target at competing business or trying to censor something, since SOPA have even less recourse than the DMCA what makes you think it won't be abused?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Reading comprehension failure. The person in the story is a user of the sites. What are his remedies? They aren't his sites, he's just a user that has just lost all that content he posted.

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applies to SOPA. The companies mentioned in this bizarre fantasy scenario have the same rights to a hearing as any other civil litigant. The desperation by the freeloader community is way over the top.

      Like Dajaz1.com?

      And are you honestly calling Twitter's well-respected General Counsel a "freeloader"?

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re: Mike queries: "Like Dajaz1.com?"

        That's already happened, remember? It may argue for codifying procedures, but definitely isn't due to SOPA.

        >>> And are you honestly calling Twitter's well-respected General Counsel a "freeloader"?

        No, he isn't, Mike. You prove that you're desperate with such trivial tactics.

         

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          TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: Mike queries: "Like Dajaz1.com?"

          Dunno about you, blue but I won't think that something as foundational as "due process" needs to be codified.

          One observation here, not accusing anyone of anything. Where constitutions have had to codify things like "due process" it has been largely or entirely to avoid them while allowing the governments in question to stomp all over their own citizens and any any neighbouring countries they wish to stomp all over. Case in point -- Zimbabwe.

          Sleep tight, blue.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: Mike queries: "Like Dajaz1.com?"

          Good grief, it amazes me how you can read and interpret words miles apart from anyone else, draw inferences that were never there to begin with, and use ad hominem in one post yet accuse others of hurling insults in another post. I'm beginning to think you learned a very different english language than the rest of us, or you are one of the most closeminded and willfully ignorant individuals I've ever seen grace a comment page. I know which one I've chosen.

           

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          Rekrul, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 12:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Mike queries: "Like Dajaz1.com?"

          That's already happened, remember? It may argue for codifying procedures, but definitely isn't due to SOPA.

          No, it isn't due to SOPA. It was done under laws that gives the government less power than SOPA does. If they can abuse the existing laws, what makes you think that SOPA's even broader powers won't be abused? When has ANY law not been abused?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re:

        And are you honestly calling Twitter's well-respected General Counsel a "freeloader"?

        No, a piracy apologist who will concoct the most outlandish parade of horribles he can dream up for the purpose of stopping a bill that will put the brakes on freeloading.

         

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          Gordon (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For the umpteenth time.....these bills will NOT in any way stop copyright infringement.

          Anyone who thinks they will is either looking at the world through the wrong colored glasses or is just patently stupid.


          My 2 cents.

           

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          BreadGod (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: "No, a piracy apologist will..."

          I can't tell if you're a troll or just plain stupid.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, a piracy apologist who will concoct the most outlandish parade of horribles he can dream up for the purpose of stopping a bill that will put the brakes on freeloading.

          Wow. You have no shame. You'll smear anyone for a fast buck from your employers, huh?

           

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            Jay (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Notice how he's said nothing in regards to your questioning of Rule 65. It seems a certain AC enjoys cherry picking comments to answer.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Jay, you are without a doubt the most oily, unctuous supplicant in Masnick's entire harem of fanboys. Does the obsequious truckling ever end with you?

               

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                Jay (profile), Dec 13th, 2011 @ 5:44am

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

                Does the blatant shilling ever end with you? Does the support of censorship ever end with you? Does the support of bad legislation that won't work ever end with you?

                Don't answer all at once. We know your twirly mustache can get tangled in your keyboard.

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So, Floyd Abram's integrity and scholarship are ripped to shreds by your toadies and hangers-on; and I am shameless for calling out the douche from Twitter? That's a pitiful double standard even for you Masnick. I doubt that either are the sort of thin-skinned milquetoasts who'd be bothered by shit like this. Sorry if you find it so unsettling.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, Floyd Abram's integrity and scholarship are ripped to shreds by your toadies and hangers-on; and I am shameless for calling out the douche from Twitter?

              At no point did we make personal comments about Floyd Abrams or call him names. Apparently only you stoop to such levels.

              Quite telling. When the laws not on your side, when logic's not on your side, when economics are not on your side, you revert to name calling and cursing.

              You must be so proud of yourself.

               

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                Hephaestus (profile), Dec 13th, 2011 @ 7:45am

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

                "You must be so proud of yourself."

                Personally I would have gone with ...

                Your mother must be so proud of you, I will toss her a kitten next time I cross her bridge.

                 

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:15pm

      Re:

      You are showing your desperation now pro-authoritarian person.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:03pm

      Re:

      > Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applies to SOPA.

      Congress can amend those rules by statute. If this law conflicts with those rules, then the statute wins.

      And this law clearly does provide for takedown based on mere ex parte accusation.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      "Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applies to SOPA. The companies mentioned in this bizarre fantasy scenario have the same rights to a hearing as any other civil litigant."

      If they have the money and time to invest.
      Most average citizens, don't, boy.

       

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    Isakill, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    SOPA/PIPA bypasses your "Rule 65" you coward. If not, offer proof and i'll eat crow.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:55pm

      Re:

      Except that it doesn't.

      Post the language, verbatim, that nullifies Rule 65.

      Post it right here:

       

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        Jay (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 7:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Kind of hard to support Rule 65 when NOTHING helped out dajaz1. Why don't you answer exactly how the government spectacularly failed in following the law for a full year on a website?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          dajaz was guilty of flagrant copyright infringement.

          Why the government chose not to go beyond seizing their domain is an unknown story at this point.

          Doesn't make dajaz any less guilty of copyright infringement.

          If they were so squeaky clean, let's see them go back and behave exactly as they did before, and we'll see what happens. LOL

           

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            BreadGod (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Judging by your comment, it appears you oppose due process and are in favor of arbitrary and unexplained domain seizures and forfeitures.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Nothing arbitrary about it at all; dajaz had thousands of links to infringing files on their site. No safe harbor exists for that.

              And go look up the laws regarding seizure.

               

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                BreadGod (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:44pm

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

                With every post you make you sound more and more like a paid shill. Did you even bother to read the Dajaz story?

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:13pm

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

                Dajaz1 had thousands of links to youtube videos. You cannot state with any authority that those videos were infringing, and he doesn't need safe harbors, since linking isn't illegal. Try again?

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 6:21am

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

                no law exists saying you can't have links either, so you don't *NEED* safe harbor. silly shilly.

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Was he, now? Says who? A court certainly didn't, and that's who matters, not your made-up definition. If you truly believe they were guilty, explain how, without ever hosting a single file, they were.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    You're an idiot. SOPA requires only that a Take-Down notice is filed - BY ANYONE - and that capitalised part is important. The site would be ripped down and blanked from search engines with - if they're lucky - mybe aan e-mail telling thme its happened. They cna try and fight for it in court after the fact but msot likely by then they'll have lsot enough income to fold. Thus, tthe site is gone forever.

    That is the world that SOPA and PIPA will bring.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

      Re:

      Yes, and ANYONE who did it fraudulently would be liable, both civil and criminal, for their fraudulent actions.

      SOPA does not, in any manner, eliminate liability.

       

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        rubberpants, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Can you name anyone who has been prosecuted for filing a false DMCA takedown notice?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's funny (but perhaps not surprising) the IP maximists love to proudly proclaim that any download will invariably cause irreparable harm even after prosecution of (a laughably small number of) downloaders; yet regardless of whether fraudulent enforcement SOPA is countersued they'll shake their heads and say, "Nope, absolutely no harm at all; you're all idiots. Go pound sand."

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How many people can you name that have been prosecuted for repeated DMCA violations?

          Despite the fact we all KNOW there are thousands of guilty parties that having been doing it because they don't fear prosecution?

          Hypocrite.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          UMG is being sued over that. Any other questions?

           

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        Gordon (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

        Re: Re:

        Didn't think so.

         

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        MAJikMARCer (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

        Re: Re:

        But if you are a large company who can absorb that liability to eliminate a competitor, why wouldn't you? It's just plain good business. It's been shown again and again that profit margins are more important than ethics/morals in corporate business today.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

        Re: Re:

        You can't be that stupid.
        Show us anyone that was punished for abusing the DMCA ever!

        The DMCA is the template by which we can look at how it will work or don't and by know it should be clear it is wildly abused with no consequences to the people who actually do abuse it and you want everybody to believe it will somehow be different with a law that have even more ways to be abused?

        Right, I have some moonland I want to sell you.

         

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        btr1701 (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re:

        > Yes, and ANYONE who did it fraudulently would be liable,
        > both civil and criminal, for their fraudulent actions.

        You mean the same way anyone who currently files a false DMCA claim is criminally liable for perjury?

        Out of the thousands of false DMCA claims that have been filed (most by huge companies with legions of smart lawyers who should know better), why don't you list... oh, I'll make it easy for you and only ask you to come up with ten people who have been indicted on perjury charges for doing it.

        Betcha can't.

        If they're not holding people to account for abusing the DMCA, even though the law says they are liable, what makes you think Justice will suddenly take up the mantle of defending the downtrodden with SOPA?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re:

        "SOPA does not, in any manner, eliminate liability."

        There's no criminal or civil liability for copyfraud.

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Well, "Abe" better put his photos on a DVD! Maybe even on paper!

    "He stores the photos of his children, now three and six years old, online at PickUpShelf* so that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining backups. ... No way of getting the photos of his kids other than leaving the United States for a country that doesn’t have overly broad censorship laws."

    Look, you kind of had me agreeing UNTIL the "hypothetical" with that TRIVIAL danger. -- It's laughable, especially with the stupid idea that one MUST keep photos in "cloud" storage.

    Then an admittedly "far-fetched" example: "but under SOPA, all that needs to happen for this scenario to come true is for the Attorney General to decide that some part of PickUpShelf, SunStream, SpeakFree and NewLeaflet would be copyright infringement in the US. If a court agrees," -- WELL, first, I DOUBT that'll happen. While I can understand that having "developed a hard-won reputation and following" as I have here (my fanboy followers wait with bated breath to pounce on mine with contradictions), the notion of "imminent" danger to free speech just doesn't grab me. Not compared to all else that's going on.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

      Re: Well, "Abe" better put his photos on a DVD! Maybe even on paper!

      Precisely what "all else that's going on"?

      Just curious about the knot you tied yourself in to get there and please don't say copyright infringement and the damage it's doing to movie studios and record companies and all the rest of them, they're doing fine, thank you very much.

      Oddly enough so is human creativity. It must be to get to that post.

      And mark me down as one of your most loyal fanboi's . I can't live properly without seeing one of your posts and suffer severe withdrawl trauma if I don't.

      You're just soooooooooo important!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

      Re: Well, "Abe" better put his photos on a DVD! Maybe even on paper!

      The industry has been relying on hypothetical since they pushed all their legislation through. Cinema would kill theatre, television would kill cinema, cassettes would kill vinyl, CDs would kill cassettes, VCRs would kill television, MP3 players would kill CDs.

      Feed the public hypotheticals, and you'll get hypotheticals in return.

       

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      Rekrul, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 12:51am

      Re: Well, "Abe" better put his photos on a DVD! Maybe even on paper!

      And you think a court won't agree? What do you think is going to happen, that the court is going to request piles of evidence and spend a few days researching the case?

      No, what's going to happen is that the AG is going to go in front of a judge with the warrant already made up, spend maybe five minutes telling the judge about how they need to shut down this horrible site that is full of infringing material and the judge will sign the warrant and move on to the next piece of business. That's what happens with warrant requests. How do you think the police get arrest warrants so quickly? The judge relies on what the AG tells them.

       

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    anonymous, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    'Smith's legacy is going to go down as the elected official who led the charge to censor the internet.'

    seems to me that is exactly what he wants! a legacy that marks him as being a complete, paid for, twat, that should never be in the position he is in and investigated for accepting 'incentives' to produce a law which is in the best interests of the entertainment industries but not in the best interests of the people or the US as a country. hopefully, that legacy will carry over to the next generation and perhaps further still, marring the family name for years to come.

     

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      gorehound (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      +1
      This is the same sentiment I feel.My two bands and thousands of others will get less and less publicity.
      I will up you on your statement.

      If this piece of toilet paper passes how many will be willing to finally March on the Cancer called Washington ?

      These people who dare to sign this or PIPA should all be investigated and it should be public knowledge and I MEAN PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE as to exactly how much money they are taking and where it all comes from.

      And I will also state that a MASS PROTEST OF PURCHASING all MPAA & RIAA occur and I mean MASS PROTEST.............
      No buying Digital Stuff
      No buying New DVD/Blu-ray
      No going to the Theater
      Buy only used stuff or nothing
      Hopefully a grassroots Campaign of some kind will emerge to attack both the RIAA & MPAA.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:08pm

        Re: Re:

        This is the same sentiment I feel.My two bands and thousands of others will get less and less publicity.

        There not much real estate between obscurity and oblivion. Maybe it's that no one wants to hear geriatric burnouts playing hardcore from the eighties any more?

         

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    Abe doesn't have to worry, because once SOPA passes nobody will ever create those websites to begin with - it would be considered a legal nightmare.

     

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    abc gum, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 5:16pm

    A fine example that illustrates the downside of "the cloud"
    Caveat Emptor

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:20pm

      Re:

      > A fine example that illustrates the downside of "the cloud"

      Yeah, I suppose people should have taken into account that their government would suddenly repeal the Bill of Rights, transform itself into an engine of censorship, and implement the Chi-Com version of the Internet right here at home.

      You're right. That does make "the cloud" a less attractive option.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 6:02pm

    New letter from Vixie, et al

    Technical Comments on Mandated DNS Filtering Requirements of H. R. 3261 (‘SOPA’)“ by Paul Vixie, CircleID, Dec 11, 2011:
    About two months ago, I got together with some fellow DNS engineers and sent a letter to the U. S. Senate explaining once again why the mandated DNS filtering requirements of S. 968 ("PIPA") were technically unworkable. . . .

    In the time since then, the U. S. House of Representatives has issued their companion bill, H. R. 3261 ("SOPA") and all indications are that they will begin "markup" on this bill some time next week. SOPA contains a DNS filtering mandate similar to PIPA's, and our arguments about the technical unworkability of PIPA are entirely accurate about the technical flaws in SOPA. . . .

    Today we're sending a letter to the chairmen, members, and staffs of the committees in the House and Senate . . . .


    This new letter, dated Dec 9, 2011, is signed by:

    • Steve Crocker, PhD
    • David Dagon, PhD
    • Dan Kaminsky
    • Danny Mcpherson
    • Paul Vixie, PhD

    These people are well-known and respected here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 7:01pm

    That may sound far-fetched but under SOPA, all that needs to happen for this scenario to come true is for the Attorney General to decide that some part of PickUpShelf, SunStream, SpeakFree and NewLeaflet would be copyright infringement in the US.

    What a giant, fear-mongering douchebag.

    Needless to say, this is all a lie, and this asshat hasn't read the mark up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 7:33pm

    and another thing you haven't seen on Techdirt:

    http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/legal-and-management/will-i-am-sent-takedown-no tice-for-megaupload-1005662752.story

    Will.I.Am filed a takedown notice, as he and everyone else in that video got scammed by Fat Bastard.

    Megaupload is one of the pirate sites Mike Masnick defends here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:30pm

      Re:

      You shouldn't talk like that, have you been to the mirror recently?

      I hope him, you, labels, studios and publishers all go broke before they break the country.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

      Re:

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 10:21pm

      Re:

      From the article YOU linked:
      "Let us be clear: Nothing in our song or the video belongs to Universal Music Group. We have signed agreements with all artists endorsing MegaUpload," MegaUpload CEO David Robb told TorrentFreak. "Regrettably, we are being attacked and labeled as a 'rogue operator' by organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA."

      So... Explain that, then?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 12th, 2011 @ 11:10pm

      Re:

      Will.I.Am filed a takedown notice, as he and everyone else in that video got scammed by Fat Bastard.

      Even if it were true that he scammed them, that wouldn't give them a copyright claim.

       

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    Rekrul, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 12:57am

    Abe has never even so much as breathed on a company’s copyright but he does many of the things typical of Internet users today. He stores the photos of his children, now three and six years old, online at PickUpShelf* so that he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining backups.

    I'm sorry, but Abe is an idiot. Online sites delete images all the time. Images I uploaded just a couple years ago are now gone. I regularly see placeholders on websites saying "Bandwidth exceeded".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 6:31am

      Re:

      "bandwidth exceeded" doesn't mean the file is gone. It means the server stopped serving them since the site went over its bandwidth limit for that billing period. Moreover, online sites, especially ones that you pay for have certain agreements and requirements in place. You're going to have to come up with a better argument, or at least one that doesn't show how little about the internet you understand.

       

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        Rekrul, Dec 13th, 2011 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        "bandwidth exceeded" doesn't mean the file is gone. It means the server stopped serving them since the site went over its bandwidth limit for that billing period.

        No, the files aren't deleted, but that's little comfort when it's the 12th and you want to access your photos. "Sorry mom, you'll have to wait until next month to see photos of your grandkids..."

         

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    Andrew (profile), Dec 13th, 2011 @ 5:24am

    Abe's actions


    He has never infringed on any copyright and each of the entities charged with enforcing SOPA know that he hasn't.


    Sadly, this may not be true.

    As well as sharing photos of his children, Abe made use of PickUpShelf's new video upload features to share a short clip of his children dancing to music at a carnival during the summer.

    Abe is a forward-thinking teacher who wants to do the best for the children he teaches. By making his lessons easily available even when he isn't there, the children can review difficult work or catch up if they were ill. Sadly, Abe's contract with the school where he works states that his class notes are works for hire and, due to the slow grinding wheels of local government, he does not yet have permission from the school to post his classes online at SunStream.

    One of Abe's favourite discussion topics on SpeakFree is local politics. There have been elections nearby recently, during which Abe and others vociferously discussed the positions of the candidates. Abe in particular was fond of quoting candidates themselves and other opinion pieces as part of his arguments with people from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

    Abe uses Abe's Truths as a personal blog to talk about his life to friends and family. He recently went on holiday with his children and wrote about it when he returned, including some of the best shots he had taken while they were away. However, to get an extra 2GB of free space on the PickUpShelf server, Abe agreed to license any photos he uploaded to them exclusively through PickUpShelf. Rather than trying to get their complex embed tool to work, Abe just used the simple 'upload photo' button on his blogging software to get the photos in his post.

    Thus, through Abe's actions, PickUpShelf, SunStream, SpeakFree and NewLeaflet may all be infringing copyright and thus may all, if enough other Abes do the same, be shut down under SOPA.

     

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    rxrightsadvocate (profile), Dec 13th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    SOPA presents a risk to public health too

    Macgillivray hits the nail on the head. It is ridiculous that a site (and all of its content and free speech rights) can be completely blocked if any portion of the site is deemed to be infringing. The overly broad language in SOPA is problematic on many levels and could result in a great deal of negative and unintended consequences.

    One particular consequence that hasn't been discussed in the mainstream press is the fact that the bill will have grave health implications for hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on importing safe, affordable prescription medications from licensed, legitimate Canadian and other international pharmacies. This is because SOPA inappropriately groups real pharmacies — licensed, legitimate pharmacies that require a doctor’s prescription and sell brand-name medications — with the rogues who sell everything from diluted or counterfeit medicine to narcotics without a prescription. As it's currently written, SOPA would shut down legitimate international pharmacy sites.

    Americans can't afford the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs in the U.S. and, therefore, need continued access to the international pharmacies they depend on for the medications they need to survive.

    RxRights is a national coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting American consumer access to sources of safe, affordable prescription drugs. The Coalition is asking Americans to take action now by sending letters to their representatives urging them to stop SOPA. For more information or to voice your concern, visit www.RxRights.org.

     

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