How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

from the easy-to-amend dept

We've discussed many times how the censorship provisions of SOPA and PIPA require US companies to set up a system that is technically identical to internet censorship systems in countries like China and Iran. This always upsets supporters of these bills, because they prefer to focus solely on what's being censored, with the argument being that as long as the target of the censorship is infringement, rather than, say, political speech, it's okay. I've had two different arguments for why that line of thinking is ridiculous. First, while the bill may target infringing works, it will, without doubt, end up censoring tons of non-infringing works, as with the Dajaz1 seizure. The second point is that countries have a history of censoring political speech under the guise of copyright law. So, even if the intent is not to censor political speech, we have enough examples of it happening that it seems like a perfectly legitimate point to raise.

However, Julian Sanchez has taken this discussion even further, and pointed out an additional reason that we should be quite worried about the censorship portion of the bill. Even if it's only designed to be used for stopping infringement, we'll have now set up the legal framework for censorship, meaning that it will be quite easy to expand the law to cover other forms of expression:
With the legal framework in place, expanding it to cover other conduct—obscenity, defamation, “unfair competition,” patent infringement, publication of classified information, advocacy in support of terror groups--would be a matter of adding a few words to those paragraphs. One sentence slipped in as a rider on some must-pass omnibus bill would do it: “Section 102(2)(B) is amended to add ‘or civil action under 17 USC §271′.”—voila, a nuclear weapon for patent trolls.
And it's not just the legal framework and architecture he's worried about. Once DNS providers are set up to easily censor sites at the drop of a hat, does anyone honestly believe that the government and the courts won't be tempted to just use it in other cases outside of what's covered under SOPA/PIPA?
Then there’s the technological architecture. If SOPA passes, thousands of commercial ISPs, colleges, small businesses, nonprofits, and other entities that maintain domain servers are going to have to reconfigure their networks, potentially at substantial cost, in order to easily comply with the new law. There is an introductory clause in the latest version of the bill stipulating that no network operator will be required to implement a specific technology or redesign their networks in any particular manner in order to be considered in compliance. But let’s think realistically about what compliance will look like. Genuine “rogue sites” often operate via dozens of different domains, which means we’re apt to see regular updates to the government’s standing blacklist, potentially adding dozens or hundreds of domains in one go. Any sane network operator is just going to build a filter that reads off the current list of banned domains from a government feed and automatically stops resolving them. (This will, incidentally, be an enormously attractive attack surface for hackers: Spoof the SOPA feed—either at the source or to a particular provider—and you’ve got an instant bulk denial of service attack!)

Once the up-front costs of implementing that filter mechanism are paid, the marginal cost of additional censorship is effectively zero for the providers. It won’t much matter to the providers, at that point, whether the blacklist contains 10 domains or 10,000. The technology itself, needless to say, will be indifferent to the rationale for blacklisting. The filter will just automatically implement the list of domains it’s given; it won’t know or care whether they’re being blocked for hosting pirated movies, Hamas propaganda, or the Pentagon Papers.
And, as Sanchez notes, once you've got those two pieces in place, the broadening of US censorship online is almost inevitable, because the "cost" of doing so becomes so low:
Political actors—or special interest groups—who want to expand the scope of blocking will no longer have to justify putting in place a wholly new system of Internet blocking. Instead, the rhetorical question will become: Now that we’ve got this whole filter architecture in place for music and movie pirates, how can we possibly justify not using it for sites that host terrorist propaganda or classified documents, for sites that implement a patented business model without permission, for sites enabling speech some U.S. court has held libelous, and for whatever new moral panic is gracing the cover of Time in five years. Surely you’re not suggesting that illicit downloads of Norbit are a bigger problem than whatever outrage Joe Lieberman is fulminating against this week, are you?
This is a major concern with SOPA/PIPA, and one that supporters of the bill keep trying to brush off, because they have no good answer to these concerns other than "trust us, the US government doesn't want to censor." I'd like to believe that's true. In fact, it very likely is true for many people in the government. But the scenarios Sanchez predicts are not out of line with what we already see regularly today. It happens so frequently, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine how Congress won't expand the law to make use of this censorship apparatus.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:17am

    I think the best way to describe this post is "scare mongering".

    You are scared of what they MIGHT do, so you don't want to address the issues of piracy and counterfeiting, and instead want to concentrate on some possible, future, long term might happen abuse of a law - and an abuse that wouldn't stand up to the first amendment to begin with.

    Classic Mike! Happy Hanukkah! May the new year find you feeling less desperate!

     

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  2.  
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    demented, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    Wrong. It is what they WILL do. No government passes up a chance to exert more power over the people while putting more money in their own pockets.

    It's stupid and naive to believe otherwise.

     

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  3.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Re:

    I honestly don't know why you continue to ignore historical precedence on this issue. We have seen time and time again that if a law can be abused it will be abused by someone. We have learned that the easier a law is to be abused, the more often it is abused.

    Why would we want to pass a law that has clearly defined was of being abused?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    I don't see the same sort of uproar from Mike when an entire industry (web 2.0 content) has been created on the historical precedent of abusing the laws.

    Until that happens, I can't really take him seriously. Selective focus is the way he works, scare mongering any chance he can get.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    There are already methods of addressing piracy, and if SOPA was truly about counterfeiting, it would be targeting that crime specifically.

    SOPA is about giving the government -- and the Big Media corporations that own it -- powers that run contrary to the First Amendment and the tenets of free and open communication that the Internet is built upon.

    Given how the House Judiciary Committee seemed so desperate to pass the law before the end of the year, and how all of SOPA's supporters can do little more than nod their heads and smile when asked about the potential repercussions of the bill (and sister bill PIPA), everyone who opposes SOPA has the right to be worried about the ramifications of the bill's broad scope and non-targeted language.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Show me where modern copyright law makes any sense in terms of how people create, consume, and share creative works in this day and age, and I'll give you some uproar.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:27am

    they have no good answer to these concerns other than "trust us, the US government doesn't want to censor."


    The thing is - the "government doesn't want to censor" line is probably false. If they didn't want to censor, *why do they*?

    Wikileaks? Full-on censorship of political discourse.

    Dajaz1? Censored for a year, despite being perfectly legal.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    You are scared of what they MIGHT do


    No, we are scared of what they *ARE* doing.

    They are currently censoring perfectly legitimate speech. Right now. As I write this.

    This has all been pointed out *even in this article* and yet people like you keep posting obvious tripe.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    what do you mean "might"? they're already abusing their power without the law.

     

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  10.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Most people drive over the speed limit. Where's the uproar over the entire automotive industry being created on a historical precedent of abusing the laws? Until I see that, i can't really take you seriously.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:34am

    The ones in power already abuse the laws they have.

    So lets not give them even more opportunities, o.k?

     

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  12.  
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    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Now isn't that interesting.

    "and an abuse that wouldn't stand up to the first amendment to begin with."

    So here you admit that the law is so poorly worded that it CAN BE USED TO VIOLATE FIRST AMENDMENT. But then you just go on to try and tell us it will all be ok?

    How about they scrap this monstrosity and pass a law that is written so that there is no way it can be abused to take away someones rights to start with? We are not against attacking piracy. We are very much against laws like this that are ripe for abuse.

    SOPA is like giving a baseball bat to a 3 year old in the middle of china shop. Sure it is possible he might be good and not swing it around wildly breaking everything in the store. I would not bet on it though.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Where does it stop?

    I'm worried about extending this argument. Who will maintain this list of blocked domains? Will this list be public? What are the review and/or challenge processes?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    so we need to sue the cars makers because they clearly are making cars that can go beyond the law

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:39am

    "....and an abuse that wouldn't stand up to the first amendment to begin with."

    We already have laws that dont stand up to the 4th and 10th amendments and yet, there they are.

     

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  16.  
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    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    I am willing to bet that Wikileaks is a big part of why this bill is getting shoved through so hard too. Just imagine if SOPA had been in place when Wikileaks first opened. It would have instantly been shut down, DNS entry pulled and funds cut off. Then seeing as they were not in the US there would be zero chance for appeal. They also never would have been given chance to have gotten big. So their would be no public outcry over the censorship because only a few would have even noticed it happen.

     

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  17.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re:

    What a great idea for a YouTube video, kid playing baseball in a china shop ...

     

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  18.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but the real problem is the rogue car makers overseas in Japan and other havens for companies who profit from speeding. What we need is a new law wherein we can send notices to the gas stations of any car caught speeding, requiring them to cut off service.

     

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  19.  
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    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What we need is a new law wherein we can send notices to the gas stations of any car caught speeding, requiring them to cut off service."

    You know I read this post and laughed for a second and then about cried realizing that I could see them passing just such a law.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If by "abusing the laws" you mean following them, then sure.

     

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  21.  
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    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    I would like to take this moment to point out. How easy is it do you think to get a law repealed after it has passed? As a citizen of a country with little relative influence, what is easier, to protest a bad law as the government is thinking about passing it, or protesting the law after it is passed and trying to talk the government to take it back?

    I can tell you now that once this thing passes it will be a LOT harder to do anything about. So this stupid "ahh your exaggerating how bad it could be just wait and see" is the stupidest argument you can throw at us. Once the law is in place and we see the full extent of how it will be abused it is too late. Those in power HATE to admit they made a mistake and so they will press on with even the worst things. The only chance we have is to stop it now.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re:

    FUD.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The law can enforce the speed limit in any given situation, any time they want, and very often do.

    Your analogy is retarded.

     

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  24.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes. Exactly. It is wise to Fear increased government control. There is indeed a great deal of Uncertainty involved in any new legislation. Bad law creates Disorder.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    No they're not.

    A bank robber isn't being censored when he robs a bank carrying a protest sign.

    Masnick knows this- he's been told it hundreds of times, but he ignores it because his only agenda here is to defend piracy, which he quite obviously loves more than anything else on planet Earth.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:07am

    Re:

    Dajaz wasn't "perfectly legal."

    The site is just full of pirate liars, lying all day, every day.

     

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  27.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The law can enforce the speed limit in any given situation, any time they want, and very often do.

    Yup. And it's clearly insufficient - the ticketing process simply cannot keep up with the volume of speeding drivers. Meanwhile rogue corporations like Toyota make millions by unfairly profiting from American velocity. We need new laws to protect the public from this threat.

     

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  28.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    Dajaz wasn't "perfectly legal."

    Umm, then why did they give the domain back instead of pursuing forfeiture?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re:

    "They are currently censoring perfectly legitimate speech. Right now. As I write this."

    Where? Citation needed. You might want to remember that any site shut down or suspended with a valid court order isn't being censored... it is getting due process.

    So... where is the censorship, exactly?

     

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  30.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    Don't forget the NDAA violates the 3rd, 4th, and 5th amendments.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    Which is exactly why they had to stop censoring it, right?!

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because the government couldn't deal with all the lying. The government's feelings were hurt so they just decided to give Dajaz's stuff back.

    Have you never been in a relationship that was built on a foundation of lies? Hopefully the government can move on and find someone else.

     

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  33.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re:

    The NDAA forces people to house soldiers during piece time against their will?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re:

    "So here you admit that the law is so poorly worded that it CAN BE USED TO VIOLATE FIRST AMENDMENT. But then you just go on to try and tell us it will all be ok?"

    it's hard to have a discussion when you purposely try to misinterpret things.

    Many laws that restrict certain activities often come up against first amendment challenges for certain ways in which they are applied. It doesn't mean the law violates the first amendment, rather that some over zealous prosecutor may have tried to use the law in a manner it wasn't intended, and that use creates a violation of the first amendment - without making the law invalid.

    Technically, the RICO act could be used to shut down websites. However, depending on how it is done, the charges could be found to be invalid because that application of the RICO act violates the first amendment. It doesn't make the law invalid, it only makes particular use of it invalid.

    SOPA is giving a baseball bat to a 3 year old in a shop full of business models predicated on "safe harbors" and hiding off shore, and you guys are protesting that a few of them might get broken. Boo-fucking-hoo. Those business models shouldn't exist to start with.

     

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  35.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That should be "peace time".

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're FUD. Shillhole.

     

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  37.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes they are. Dajaz1, if it really was committing copyright infringement on the order of thousands of songs like the RIAA claimed, would have been a slam dunk case. The government dropped it after having an entire year to make a case, and out of the 4 instances the RIAA gave as examples 3 were perfectly legit and 1 was not under their purview. If there were thousands of examples, it should have been easy for them to find at least one example to give ICE, but they couldn't. During that whole year -- while the government couldn't make a case against a site who's accusers couldn't find a legitimate example out of "thousands" -- dajaz1 was censored.

    Censorship is happening right now.

     

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  38.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And iof by "following", you mean getting people in place by 'donating' to their re-election campaigns, so that they will pass laws in your favor, then sure.

     

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  39.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't you wish all the amendments were treated the same as the 3rd? I've never heard anyone worried about the government stomping on the 3rd amendment, and I've never heard anyone in government even want to stomp on it. I wish our elected officials would treat the others with the same respect.

     

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  40.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, UMG and Warner Bros never admitted to outright copyfraud on sending falsedMCA takedowns, under "penalty" of perjury on many, many occasions.

    That's called copyfraud, folks. And it's about damn time someone paid in multi-billion dollar fines foir these criminal acts. Y'know, actual crime.

     

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  41.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i think you misread the reply thread here, eejit :) AC is saying that most american web startups follow the law, in rebuttal to the assertion that their businesses are built on illegal activity...

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    AC, are you willing to discuss changes to SOPA/PIPA that would minimize the impacts of the concerns that have been expressed here?

    Maybe remove the DNS filtering clause, as it is the Internet's Maginot Line, and basically worthless for true pirates? I have yet to see ANY defense or discussion of this. The DAY that SOPA passes, 10 million tweets will go around, giving TPB's IP Address as a Bit.ly address, if this hasn't happened already.

    Perhaps treat the accused as innocent first, give them due process?

    Require warnings before cutting off advertising and payment processors, to give the site a chance to rectify any infringement they are accused of?

    Is there any interest in reforming this bill, perhaps make it more refined, address the serious concerns of so many people? Or do you TRULY believe that this bill will fix all of the MPAA/RIAA's concerns, it will eliminate piracy, and there is no chance of abuse based on the current version?

    I see AC's come in an scoff and ridicule at valid concerns, yet I see not a bit of "yeah, you might be right, lets discuss this".

    It is that COMPLETE lack of discussion and collaboration that is driving the resistance to this bill. With better dialog, it might actually be worth something. However, the incredible rush on the bill makes it seem like Congress is just trying to rush it through before anyone notices, because they KNOW its bad for America and bad for their constituents. Its not like piracy became an issue in mid-2011, and we have to stamp it out NOW. This has been a concern for more than 14 years now (on the internet).

    I'm preparing to be mocked, because I don't think you have any ground to stand on when truly defending SOPA/PIPA.

    P.S. I don't think payment processing and advertising restrictions will make any more of a difference in the long run than DNS filtering, as it will just move more payment processors and internet advertisers out of America and into the free world (wow, that just is wrong wrong, coming from an American). Maybe that is the idea: Lets bail out the rest of the world in the name of copyright infringement.

     

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  43.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I thought we have already covered the fact that sites operating under safe harbors are not abusing the law but operating under a clearly defined legal precedence that dates back to the 70's at least.

     

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  44.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Its not that Congress respects the 3rd amendment any more than the rest, they just can't figure out any way to justify violating it. Trust me, if they could find some way to use terrorism to force people to house soldiers they would.

     

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  45.  
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    bjupton (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re:

    It's a corallary to 'scope creep'

     

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  46.  
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    bjupton (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There's plenty of evidence.

    Showing you, again, won't help whilst you either have your head up your ass or your ears and eyes crammed full of their money

     

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  47.  
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    bjupton (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    It's true! They don't want to censor!

    But the people keep coming up with their own ideas, and this must be stopped!

    Why are we making them censor?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Really, you have the gall/stupidity to ask that? Even after the Dajaz article the other day. Where it was determined nothing was infringing and summarily returned to the owner.

    That's citation enough.

    Even if done in accordance with "due process", legitimate speech was censored.

    Yet, you and a few on here are still going on about how illegal and infringing dajaz is/was. Even after the fact. That fact being, nothing was found. Else, it wouldn't have been returned. If they were committing any kind of violation of law, then it wouldn't have been given back. And charges would be pressed accordingly.

    This is tantamount to locking someone up, for a year, denying them all rights/information (due to claims of "national security" or "secrecy" or "whatever") and then after you can't find anything to pin on them, letting them go and saying "no harm, no foul" or "my bad".

    Moronic. To say the least. That some advocate and support such actions is even more moronic. Due process he says. Ha! Hardly.

     

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  49.  
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    mark, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    dude, really? Please tell me you are not so incapable of abstract reasoning that the obvious problems with this law are not painfully obvious. The simple reality, is that laws like this are about censorship. The law is designed in such a way that contesting the blocking of a given domain is meant to be a long drawn out process that only happens after the censorship has taken place. Numerous studies have shown that online sharing of software/movies/music always benefits the content creator in the long run. It may not be ideal for the middle man who takes a chunk, but, for the creator, the evidence is pretty hard to ignore.

    Sadly, in the United States, ALL or the large "main-stream" media outlets are owned and controlled by very large financial interests. And it is painful obvious things like the NDAA are not being covered because the reality is that if the public at large really understood the implications of this bill, they would be pretty pissed.

    Things like SOPA are ignored, which boggles the mind, until one stops to consider the internet has become a platform for sharing information outside the "official" channels. The Arab Spring worked because they were able to harness the the internet and social media as a tool to coordinate the efforts everyday people, and share news when the state tried to shut down the flow of information.

    We are at a cross roads between a free society and something dark and ugly. Do we really want our children growing up in a country where disagreeing with the government gets one detained and tortured, indefinitely. How about a country where people are "preemptively detained" because they happened to associate with the wrong person.

    When I start feeling like I am in more danger from the government "protecting" me than I am from the "terrorists", I can't help but feel like something is really wrong.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Most people drive over the speed limit. Where's the uproar over the entire automotive industry being created on a historical precedent of abusing the laws? Until I see that, i can't really take you seriously."

    One of the wonderful things in trying to deal with an idiot like you is trying to get you to understand "connected" and "not connected".

    The auto industry is not connected to speeding, any more than the knife industry is connected to people scratching their names in trees. You have a large disconnect between the car and the speeding, and it is something that the auto makers cannot easily control - nor are they mandated to do by law.

    The auto industry doesn't abuse speeding laws.

    So sorry, you talentless schmuck, you aren't even good at making analogies.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The issue is that this law puts burden of proof on the owner of the site. If I was to open up a web site and someone did not like it then they could use SOPA to shut it down and pull any funding. Now if I was running a little store selling, we will say figurines of birds or whatever, then someone has funding pulled. Where am I going to get the money to go to court and get funding restored? My site is down and I'm not making any sales. It does not matter that nothing was infringing I would not have the money to fight it.

    That is just one of the many ways this could be abused. Small start up companies cannot afford long court battles even under regular conditions but when you shut them down first and then tell them they have to go to court there is no chance for them.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Ole Husgaard, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:17am

    What happened in Denmark.

    7 years ago we got a child pornography filter on the Internet in Denmark. Some people said that it was a bad idea, but others said these people were just paedophiles, or trying to help paedophiles. Some people said that it was against our constitution, which it was. So the censorship was implemented in a way so it was formally (but not in reality) voluntary, which ensured that it was not formally a violation of our constitution.

    Some people warned that once the censorship infrastructure was in place, it would most likely be used to censor other things. But they were told "Never! This is ONLY to prevent this horrible crime, and will never be used for other censorship."

    Fast-forward a few years, and the Danish recording industry did not like allofmp3.com, so they went to court to get a court order against the Danish ISPs to start censoring allofmp3 off the Danish Internet. The judge basically said "ahh, you already have the infrastructure in place, so there will be no extra cost", and issued the order to censor allofmp3.com. It was not a violation of our constitution because it was ordered by a judge.

    Since then other "pirate" sites have been censored. Most notably The Pirate Bay, which found out that the court would not even allow them to speak their case in court, or even submit a written brief.

    Then our politicians found out that they wanted to protect and expand income from taxes. In particular the high taxes gambling providers pay. The official excuse was to limit the horrible disease of ludomania. So they decided that foreign gambling providers had to pay the taxes in Denmark too if they were on the Internet and could be seen in Denmark. If they refused to pay taxes, they should be censored off the Danish internet. So they passed a law saying that if a foreign gambling provider refused to pay taxes in Denmark, a court would - on the request of our government - have to order ISPs to censor its sites off the net, and payment processors to block all payments to it. If an ISP does not censor, or a payment processor or bank does not block payment, hefty fines are issued.

    Now our politicians worry that some foreign companies selling medicines on the net are not licensed to sell medicines in Denmark. So they are preparing new legislation that will censor these sites off the net, and block payments to them.

    So our Internet censorship started a few years ago with a very limited purpose and good intentions. And it was solemnly promised that nothing else than child pornography would be censored.

    But once the infrastructure for censorship was in place, the censorship started spreading to other areas. And the censorship is getting more and more widespread.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Jason, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Just imagine

    If SOPA were in place when wikileaks released the material from the US government last year, do you really believe that their domain wouldn't have been obliterated?

     

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  54.  
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    grumpy (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Is this fragile?

    Is it just me or are the parties pushing for *PA really painting a big fat "DoS me" target on themselves? I mean, giving Anonymous etc. a legal weapon for taking a lot of stuff offline without even having to fire up nmap seems a bit foolhardy for corporate fat cats to even contemplate. I can't for a second believe that any mechanism set up to handle censorship is not going to be snowed under seconds after publishing their mail address. What am I missing?

    Also, making it expensive to defend against seizures cuts both ways, which does not seem like a smart move for a business already bleeding money according to themselves. The only group I can see benefitting from this are members of the ABA. Anyone for a game of conspiracy theory...? :-)

     

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  55.  
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    bjupton (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Where does it stop?

    A hallmark of a fascist society is getting on lists with no way off of them.

     

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  56.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The auto industry is not connected to speeding, any more than the knife industry is connected to people scratching their names in trees. You have a large disconnect between the car and the speeding, and it is something that the auto makers cannot easily control - nor are they mandated to do by law.

    Oh yes, how convenient. You freetard speeding apologists always try to play this legal loophole game to escape liability - blaming the conduct on the drivers even though you are well aware that auto manufacturers are profiting from their illegal behaviour. If their only products are tools that are routinely used to break the law, they need to find a better business model.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The auto industry is not connected to speeding..."

    Yes it is, in a way.

    I don't know how it works in your country, but in my country, the maximum allowed speed is 120 km/h, which is only allowed in Highways. Other kinds of roads have lower speed limits, obviously.

    However, most (I'd argue all) cars in the street are very much capable of exceeding this limit by a relatively large margin (my car's speedometer marks a maximum of 180 km/h).

    This speed limitation of the car is decided by car manufacturers, not users. Car manufacturers could easily limit the maximum speed if they wanted, but they do not.

    So, if you really wanted to, you could argue that car manufacturers are at least partly responsible for speeding.

     

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  58.  
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    gorehound (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    Wrong troll.This is why we do not ever want to open the door to censorship in our Country.
    Once you open that door it will in fact be used against US Citizens for other than copyright issues.
    Just like the Patriot Act created against terrorism is used against common criminals.
    All US Citizens should fight back against any forms of censorship.This is the American Way as we are supposed to be a Country of Freedom (yeah right).

     

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  59.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:06pm

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

    But iof everything is illegal (see also: NDAA, I think) then all tech is therefore illegal.

    If you criminalise everything, then it's easy to jail dissenters.

     

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  60.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or in other words, Putting Cleetus the slack-jawed yokel in jail for a year for buying fertilisers and diesel at6 the same time.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    There's an obvious DOS path via botnets...

    ...since they can used to generate an arbitrary number of unique complaints. How many web hosts/DNS providers/etc. will wade through 3,982 complaints to figure out which are real?

    There are also some non-obvious paths that will achieve the same goal -- consider the use of fast-flux hosting combined with frames. So perhaps a more general way to put this is that if ridiculous legislation like this passes, and then mechanisms are built to implement it, the very first people to use them won't be rightsholders. They'll be spammers and phishers and abusers, who are vastly more technically savvy.

     

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  62.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re:

    "It would have instantly been shut down, DNS entry pulled and funds cut off. "

    Well, funds were cut off anyway. Paypal and other companies at the same time stopped services to Wikileaks.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Where does it stop?

    You mean the no-fly list? That excellently thought out process where people are prevented from flying if their names match that of a suspected terrorist? A suspected terrorist who by the way is too scary to allow to fly but not scary enough to arrest?

     

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  64.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: What happened in Denmark.

    This should be an article in and of itself, and also shown at Congress once the hearings resume.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, they did manage to kill funding but it took them a while to do it. Under SOPA they could have killed it a lot faster. Wikileaks would not have even gotten off the ground under SOPA. As things are it was at least fully up and running drawing a fair bit of attention to itself before being killed.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Machin Shin, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Government's feelings hurt by lying? How you figure that? Our government might as well own the patent on lying. They sure seem to account for somewhere around 80-90% of the worlds lies. Pretty much every official in Washington lied his ass off to get there and continues to lie every day to try and keep his job there.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:11pm

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

    Actually, the speed limitation of a car is a factor of engine power, drag, as well as the tires that are put on the car and their max speed rating (regulated by... the government!).

    I guess by your logic god (or the grand creator, or the big bang) is responsible for jay walking.

    Sheesh.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:18pm

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

    Marcus, put down your schmuck persona for a minute and try to think past the end of your nose. Those who make inanimate objects are generally not responsible for how they are used. Baseball makers are not responsible for broken windows.

    It's pretty simple - because none of them make the overt act towards making something happen.

    A "hosting company" that aggregates content, puts it together in a walled garden, and charges a fee to access it? They are making overt acts towards a goal.

    Until you can grasp that small but meaningful difference, there is no hope that any of your random musings will amount to much.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    mischab1, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:19pm

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

    "Actually, the speed limitation of a car is a factor of engine power, drag, as well as the tires..."

    And speed regulators. My company once rented a school bus. It didn't matter that we were all adults and driving on a highway, the bus couldn't go over 45 mph because it had a speed regulator installed.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:26pm

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

    Actually my random musings have gotten you to sit here defending the very same concept of properly applied liability that you are so opposed to everywhere else. As suspected, you barely comprehend any of this stuff - you just say whatever is necessary to oppose the Techdirt community.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    mischab1, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The auto industry is exactly as connected to people using the auto industry's products to speed as the tech industry is connected to people using the tech industry's products to copyright infringe. In neither case is it the company who is responsible. In ALL cases it is the person using the company's product that is responsible.

    No one expects the auto industry to put speed regulators in the cars they sell to prevent people who use the cars from illegally speeding. The very idea is ludicrous. But for some reason, the recorded music and movie industries expect the tech industry to modify their products to prevent people from illegally infringing on copyright.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 1:48pm

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

    If we increase the penalties for speeding tickets, that's going to make more people obey the speeding laws in a section.

    Those rogue drivers in another state won't understand the harm that comes to them if they're 1 mph over the speed limit. And what about the safety of the children?

    Even if all evidence points out that the car may not be speeding, it's still Toyota's fault. Curse those rogue car makers!

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 2:08pm

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

    No, you idiot, it isn't insufficient in the least, and it was explained to your willfully ignorant ass.

    However, just to spell it out for you, can copyright law be enforced in any given situation, at any time?

    No. Which makes your analogy retarded, and you, by extension, also a retard.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe someone should ask ICE that question, instead of speculating on it, eh?

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: What happened in Denmark.

    You have evidence to show Congress that copyright infringement and trafficking in unlicensed medicines should not have been policed in Denmark?

    Please show us that.

     

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  76.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: What happened in Denmark.

    Sigh. Obviously, what I meant was that if shown in Congress and once the SOPA supporters say "Oh no, this filtering mechanism will only ever be used for copyright infringing cases", then we point to this and say "No, you're lying. Denmark has already done this and look what happened".

    Here's a solution to the trafficking in unlicensed medicines that are potentially harmful. Better controls at the borders/customs. With existing laws.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 2:44pm

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

    I'm pretty sure that it also makes copyright law retarded. If it can't be enforced... Hell, if most of the time you can't even know if it's obeyed or not... It makes very little sense to keep it.

    It reminds me of laws some states have about what sexual positions you are allowed to use. The only way to enforce it is to install cameras in all areas that sex may be performed. SOPA is to copyright as bedroom cameras are to sexual morality law.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Re:

    Actually it's quite a rational and reasoned argument for exactly what Sanchez sees coming. That, and as it WON'T stop piracy or counterfeits in the short or long run what WILL in all likelihood happen.

    Even if, as you say, it won't withstand a First Amendment challenge just what makes you think that in it's present form it will?

     

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  79.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 6:41pm

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

    it isn't insufficient in the least

    Right, because nobody speeds...

    just to spell it out for you, can copyright law be enforced in any given situation, at any time?

    Within the jurisdiction of said copyright law? Umm - yes. Simply bring a lawsuit against the infringer. Did you not realize you could do that?

    Which makes your analogy retarded, and you, by extension, also a retard.

    Actually the sole purpose of my analogy was to expose your cognitive dissonance, and it has exceeded my expectations in that regard. Thanks for playing!

     

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  80.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:23pm

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

    A "hosting company" that aggregates content, puts it together in a walled garden, and charges a fee to access it? They are making overt acts towards a goal.

    That may be the most ridiculous technobabble I have ever heard. Stop using words when you obviously have no idea what they mean.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:38pm

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

    Marcus, again, FAIL.

    The differences are large and clear, any idiot (except yourself) can see them, yet you go on and on like you got everything right.

    The only think you are proving is that you are an idiot, with no understanding of liability, nor an understanding of the difference between overt action and neutral parties.

    "you just say whatever is necessary to oppose the Techdirt community."

    Are you fucking kidding me? Holy fuck man, grow up. If that is your full and complete argument, then you are truly an idiot.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re:

    "AC, are you willing to discuss changes to SOPA/PIPA that would minimize the impacts of the concerns that have been expressed here?"

    The only changes I have seen proposed so far amount to gutting the law and allowing the pirating scum to slip away again.

    Look: the reason the P2P works the way it does is to create a gap between "hosting the torrent" and "hosting the content". Different schemes and scams are out there to try to diffuse the issue of trackers. They are all done to the ends of trying to get around the law, to find a little crack to slide through to keep things legal. SOPA (and similar proposed laws) aim to cut the bullshit and get rid of all of the dodges that people use.

    Hosting files on a "third party file host"? Not going to stand up anymore.

    Accepting "user submissions" of pirated material? Not going to work out.

    Linking to pirated works on "lockerz"? Your business is done.

    Further, SOPA addresses the most important issue: hiding shit offshore.

    Unless you can come back and say "here is a law that covers all of that", then we don't really have much to consider.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 12:51am

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

    The first sign of a losing argument: attack the person.

    Second sign, no rebuttal to what is being discussed.

    I guess being hit with a mach truck full of facts hurts a little, huh?

     

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  84.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 12:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Basically, the military is allowed to work inside the US. So they can lock you up, hold no trials, and call you a terrorist without any way for you to defend the accusation.

     

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  85.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re: What happened in Denmark.

    They should have Rick Falkvinge as a guest speaker.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    DoN0tReply (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 2:40am

    Re: Re:

    "So their would be no public outcry over the censorship because only a few would have even noticed it happen."

    This.
    Not only for censoring 'sensitive information but who knows what next innovative thing will come along that SOPA would be used to stall or even kill off (and in turn, to the desires of the corpocracy, potentially have a clone twisted to suit their agenda).

     

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  87.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 6:28am

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

    Jesus dude, calm down.

    Only one of us is exposing anything about ourselves here, and it aint me.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The issue is that this law puts burden of proof on the owner of the site."

    It should.

    If I print a newspaper, I am responsible for the content in my newspaper.

    If I publish a book, I am responsible for the content of my book.

    If I run a website, I am magically not responsible for the content of my site.

    As for your "my site is down" example, blame all the dickweeds who ran sites full of pirated content for years. They screwed it up for you, made it so there is a need for a law that might also hurt you. They used you are a human shield for their activities, you should be pissed off at them for doing it.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re:

    "erhaps treat the accused as innocent first, give them due process?"

    Let me add this: Due process does not mean "keep on offending until the courts come to a complete and final ruling in a few years". If you are running a business, say selling pirated DVDs, and the police raid your business, they will shut you down and take everything about your business with them as "evidence". Prosecutors very likely will also seize any and all bank accounts related to the business, or that they feel has profited from the illegal transactions.

    You don't get to keep on selling your illegal DVDs until the court makes a final ruling.

    You need to understand that, in the real world, "innocent until proven guilty" isn't a free pass to keep breaking the law.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If I print a newspaper ...

    If I publish a book ...

    If I run a website ...


    Sing it with me now: one of these things is not like the other! (remember, we are talking about sites with USER GENERATED CONTENT. Entirely different from a book or a newspaper.)

    As for your "my site is down" example, blame all the dickweeds who ran sites full of pirated content for years

    Right. And if you get falsely imprisoned for murder, blame all the dickweeds who DID commit murder.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    William Brown, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 7:47pm

    Re How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

    This lays the groundwork for an internet killswitch which appears obvious to me. Yet I see no one exploring the ramifications of the government being able to determine which sites are determined to be terrorists/rogue and with the above IP blocking scheme cut off internet users from those sites. It is all so automagically simple and deadly quick and profoundly effective.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    William Brown, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    Re How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship

    This lays the groundwork for an internet killswitch which appears obvious to me. Yet I see no one exploring the ramifications of the government being able to determine which sites are determined to be terrorists/rogue and with the above IP blocking scheme cut off internet users from those sites. It is all so automagically simple and deadly quick and profoundly effective.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    William Brown, Dec 23rd, 2011 @ 8:07pm

    Re:Re:Re:Re:

    Perhaps you are too young to remember the attempts to put throttle limiter on cars to keep their speed at 55 or below. Fail.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    CiscoDisco, Dec 25th, 2011 @ 9:04pm

    So let me get this right... if a drunk guy gets in a car and drives it then it's the manufacturer's fault for creating a car that can be driven by drunk people? I'm confused.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Dec 26th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Is this fragile?

    I can't for a second believe that any mechanism set up to handle censorship is not going to be snowed under seconds after publishing their mail address. What am I missing?

    You're missing the fact that these laws won't apply to the corporations who created them. Corporations will just have to make the request to get an order rubber stamped by a judge. The average person will have to jump through dozens of hoops and in the end, the judge will probably still refuse to sign the order.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anon Bastard, Dec 26th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: Just imagine

    No. Because that is not how SOPA works and it is not how the Internet works. SOPA doesn't obliterate websites. It directs the removal of the DNS entry from the DNS servers in the USA. A DNS entry is what connects a domain name, like wikileaks.org, to an IP address, like 88.80.2.31.

    Here is a simple analogy. A DNS server is like a phone book. It allows you to look up someone's phone number if you know their name. A DNS server allows you to look up the IP address of a website if you know the domain name. What SOPA does is similar to unlisting a phone number in phone book. Since this is a USA law only the USA edition of the phone book is affected. The actual phone number was never disconnected so you can still dial the phone number directly (use the IP address to get to the website) or you can use a foreign edition (a DNS server in another country) of the phone book which still lists the number you want to call.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    S.R.R., Dec 28th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Just imagine

    If SOPA passes and people get use to using IP addresses as suggested it will grow this type of address typing people into a hacking generation this world has never seen.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Re:

    So... what? His post against SOPA is fear mongering, so we should blindly support SOPA out of fear of pirates and counterfeiters?

    Piracy and counterfeiting shouldn't be ignored, but that doesn't mean we have to ignore how ham-fisted this piece of legislation is. Two wrongs don't make a right.

     

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


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