Good Debate On The Unintended Consequences Of 'Rogue Website Crackdown'

from the timely dept

I recently was able to attend an interesting Cato/Techfreedom/CEI debate on the unintended consequences of the rogue website crackdown. The specific focus (not surprisingly) was the debate over SOPA/PIPA, but thankfully some of the debate went further back, to discuss how the government and private actors were already using existing law to do questionable things to sites they declared "rogue." This became even more timely with the Megaupload takedown... which happened about the same time that this panel ended. It was especially nice to see some discussion over the problematic seizures around Dajaz1 and Rojadirecta, as well as the fact that Veoh went bankrupt defending a bogus copyright lawsuit under existing law. These are not "hypotheticals." These are real problems with today's law already. Many of the things people are worried about under SOPA are already possible. SOPA just took them to the next level. Anyway, the debate -- which includes Julian Sanchez, James Gatusso, Ryan Radia, Allan Friedman and Dan Kaminsky -- is well worth watching:


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    as well as the fact that Veoh went bankrupt defending a bogus copyright lawsuit under existing law.

    "On February 11, 2010, in an open letter published on his blog, company founder and former CEO, Dmitry Shapiro, indicated that "the distraction of the legal battles, and the challenges of the broader macro-economic climate have led to our Chapter 7 bankruptcy."

    So did you just forget to mention the "broader macro-economic climate" or does that just not fit your personal agenda?

     

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  2.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    Troll,

    They may have very well been able to overcome the broader macro-economic climate if it hadn't been for the legal battles. We'll never know for sure now, will we?

     

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  3.  
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    LC (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    Maybe I'm asking too much, but now that SOPA and PIPA are as close to defeated as they will possibly be anytime soon, hopefully the sleeping giant that is the American public will have woken up and start to demand that the all copyright law be re-examined.

    For example, have the definition of "fair-use" expanded and the length of copyright reduced to 50 years. Furthermore, all copyright law from DMCA until now are repealed outright and re-written in a language that only effects content pirates and not the general public, and provided heavy penalties for misuse, such as two years federal prison for individuals and a fine equal to 1/2 of their income during the last financial year for corporations.

    Hell, if SOPA itself was written to the criteria above, perhaps it would start being S.O.P.A. (Stop Online Priacy Act) rather than S.O.P.A. (Screw Over the People Act).

     

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  4.  
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    abc gum, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    I'm uncertain about what they mean when referring to a website as "rogue". Which of the following definitions apply? Maybe they are using the term in a fashion similar to "rogue elephant", but in that case they had better not piss it off unless they have a big frickin gun.

    from Merriam Webster
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rogue

    rogue:
    1: vagrant, tramp
    2: a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
    3: a mischievous person : scamp
    4: a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
    5: an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

    Another good one is one showing the economic impact that can have on small business or any other business, but my interest is the small business because those are the real workforce for job creation in any economy.

    Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea) by TEDtalksDirector on Jan 18, 2012

    A granted monopoly excludes all small business from being able to provide services and goods which means less economic activity, which means less money, which means less jobs, which means less wealth creation, which means less experimentation, which means less path discoveries for business models.

    People could laugh that a bakery not being able to offer printing sugar plates because of copyright is nothing, but the impact of hundreds of thousands of bakeries not being able to do it is no laughing matter, is not one bakery store stopping something or having to abandon something that could increase expending for them but thousands of bakeries not being able to improve consumers expending is an impact that everybody will feel but not realize it is happening.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    Copyright is a granted monopoly and the negative economic impact that has is tremendous, reducing that problem will not make it go away unless it is reduced for a very, very limited amount of time and that is something between 5 to 10 years probably best to have 5 years and a maximum expansion to 10 years, but that is not going to happen the reason is that the law is viewed as good, nobody question copyright, they don't view the bad of a granted monopoly those people in decades have never faced opposition they don't know how to take no for an answer and so they need to be slapped in the face first to wake up to the situation, something like ending it and letting it reaper in 10 years or so, that would send a powerful message that they need to conform to certain constraints also people, normal people need to be reminded what copyright is and that is a granted monopoly that will impact their lifes, in order for copyright to exist it must take away the rights of normal citizens, in order to be enforced it needs invasive measures that are in disagreement with democratic values and that is exactly why it should be very limited and never expanded beyond the strictly necessary to serve as an incentive and nothing more.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    Re:

    The "broader macro-economic climate" today is simple America doesn't export anything, it imports and relies on internal spending to generate growth, so it is surprising that given the choice to stimulate business to experiment with new ways to generate consumer spending they are trying to strength something that is proven to not do that and that is trying to slap the economy with granted monopolies(i.e copyrights and patents) the stronger those are the less people spend, the more the market shrink and to compensate for that the more prices rises until it can't rise anymore leaving most of the market unattended and not generating economic activity in it, that is bad for a economy that don't have external markets to counter balance that.

    That is exactly what we are seeing happening right now in the music industry, they keep rising prices to make for people spending less and the more pricier it gets the more people stop spending and only a certain level income is now being catered for the rest below it are ignored and there is nobody experimenting with new business models because to do so is so costly and so the pace of business innovation is slowed down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Crowdsource info on the impact of granted monopolies.

    I would love to see a map, with people relating their experiences with granted monopolies(i.e. copyrights and patents) and how it affected them or stopped them from doing business in some way, maybe then people start paying attention to how much economic value is lost for granting monopolies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:21pm

    This was by no means a debate, but I do compliment the moderator for asking some good questions. I also compliment the individual who took on the question of what DNS and DNSSEC are.

    Unfortunately, no clear answer was provided by the latter regarding the technical challenges involved in scaling up filtering from its current, limited implementation.

    Mr. Sanchez spoke with a firm voice, but his comments lost persuasive force when he began to ad lib and take poetic license with facts.

    The other three seem to be nice fellows, but in my view they contributed nothing of substance to the panel discussion.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    Re:

    Dan Kaminsky was very clear what it happens, SOPA and PIPA can't be implemented because the lying being done locally would be bypassed by the very mechanism that DNSSEC employs to stay stable, it would look elsewhere and find an answer outside the jurisdiction of the local authority and so it would bypass SOPA.

    DNSSEC would ask to America Authority: Is there a entry for this?
    American Authority would answer: no, there is not.
    DNSSEC would then ask another Authority: Is there an entry for this?
    Another Authority would answer: Yes and here it is.

    To stop that would include among other things accepting a high failure rate and be ok with that.
    To introduce a system that says to other Authorities they should not process that entry and accept only theirs is opening up a backdoor that if compromised can be used by bad people too, anonymous proves every other week that you can't just hide it, it must be impervious there is no hiding on the internet either you are strong or you fail, I can just imagine what anonymous could do with a compromised DNS authority that can tell every other authority that they hold the one and unique proof of anything, it would be a field day re-routing every page from the RIAA and the MPAA to LoLCats, no DDoS required.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 8:16pm

    The members of the panel continually associate copyright infringement as criminal conduct, but isn't infringement a civil issue, not criminal?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 8:50pm

    Re:

    It can be both, though criminal indictments are rare as the elements that must be proven by the prosecution are far higher than mere civil infringement. For example (and only one among many), whereas wilfullness is not an element in a civil case, it is an element in a criminal case.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, this is the gist of his comments. But it still begs the question. If filtering is already implemented within the current internet "environment", why is it that scaling up would cause the technical problems he talks about. Unfortunately, this specific scenario was not addressed.

    Now, Vixie has commented on this, but his comment framed the issue as one of policy, and not technology.

    Perhaps there really are technical problems associated with scale, but I have not heard any cogent explanation of why it is not insurmountable in some situations and is believed to be insurmountable in this...and this is where the technical discussions to date have been lacking.

    Lswyers are constantly berated for talking in legalese, but many years within the engineering community has demonstrated to me that engineers fall prey to the very same thing, i.e., talking in technoese. Lawyers banter using latin. Engineers banter in greek. Perhaps each should try a truly radical approach...speak in easily understood english.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He said right there it doesn't scale, to give the authority to any one point to tell the others to believe only its data is asking to have a single point of failure that can be exploited by bad actors, more local authority on the internet means for the US an American DNS authority not an European DNS authority, not a Chinese DNS authority how is the US going to mandate those countries fallow their censor list without having to fallow the European, Chinese, Iranian, Saudi Arabian, Turkish, Israelis, Egypticians, Russians lists?

    But you don't care about that do you?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 3:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In english then.

    Lying is bad don't do it in any circumstances.
    Lying is bad for children and it is also bad for computers.

     

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  16.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re:

    Copyright is a granted monopoly and the negative economic impact that has is tremendous, reducing that problem will not make it go away unless it is reduced for a very, very limited amount of time and that is something between 5 to 10 years probably best to have 5 years and a maximum expansion to 10 years,

    10 years is an awful long time - I like Martin Luther's suggestion:

    "Shouldn't one printer be able to show consideration to another out of Christian charity and wait for one or two months before reprinting the other's work? "

     

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  17.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 4:22am

    Re:

    So did you just forget to mention the "broader macro-economic climate" or does that just not fit your personal agenda?

    Would that be the same "broader macro-economic climate" that the MPAA/RIAA regularly ignores when estimating piracy losses?

     

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  18.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps there really are technical problems associated with scale, but I have not heard any cogent explanation of why it is not insurmountable in some situations and is believed to be insurmountable in this...and this is where the technical discussions to date have been lacking.


    It doesn't scale for the much the same reason that banning heroin didn't scale to banning alcohol in 20's America. It doesn't require a really technical explanation to understand that it is easy to ban a minority pursuit but not one in which just about everyone participates.

     

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  19.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Further to this I would comment that any engineer assessing the viability of a project where significant scaling was required would place the burden of proof on those who believed it possible.

     

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  20.  
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    bob, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Problems yes... but

    While it's important to keep the problems with enforcement in mind at all times, it's also important not to stop all enforcement. If that were the case, we would stop enforcing rape laws because some boys at Duke University were falsely accused.

     

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  21.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 6:20am

    Re: Problems yes... but

    It rather depends on which law you are enforcing. Your comparison is the last refuge of someone who has no directly relevant arguments.

    I think we should enforce the laws against bribing politicians much more strongly than we do.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do care about understanding the technical issues, but in order to understand them it requires answers on point to questions being asked. In this case scale up was not anwered, leaving me in the dark.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I well understand that scale up can quite easily create additional technical issues that must be addressed (try and scale up a stress-free substrate for graphite panels intended for aircraft structures from a small proof of principle substrate to one of a size equivalent to aircraft structures such as a fuselage, control surfaces, wings, etc.) Maybe something somewhat equivalent exists here, but as yet no one has articulated what technical hurdles they would have to overcome to increase scale. Would new algorithms have to be developed and code written to incorporate them into current code. This and other questions I have were not addressed.

     

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  24.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What you have to remember is that we are not talking about ordinary engineering here - we are talking about security engineering. The difference is that the failures are not merely random - they are the result of deliberate, intelligent attacks by an adversary.

    I think it is perhaps misleading to characterise the difference between what is happening now (with child pornography) and what is proposed as purely a difference of scale. There is more to it than that.
    Realistically what the child porn blocks achieve is to shield the general population from that material. It does not, of itself, prevent those who have an interest in the material from obtaining it. They can use private networks, Tor, Freenet etc etc. Of course this does not prevent the police from attacking the problem because they can infiltrate those networks themselves. This is, of course, just old fashioned policing - and it is perfectly practicable provided they mostly target only those who are actually creating the objectionable material - who are relatively few in number.

    So the technical block on child porn does not of itself prevent wroingdoing it simply removes it from the public gaze.

    Exactly the same will happen if we attempt to block copyright infringement. It will be removed from the gaze of the content industry - but it will continue on private networks, Tor, Freenet etc. However the scale of the problem will prevent the police from using old fasahioned infiltration to stop it. Police numbers would need to rise from around 1 in 5000 to about 1 in 50 and we can't afford that many.

    Another side effect will be to nullify law enforcement's ability to crack down on child porn and terrorism - because the network of encrypted material they will have to sieve through will be so much bigger.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    So did you just forget what the meaning of 'and' was or does acknowledging it just not fit your personal agenda?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Re:

    That's actually a misprint. What they actually meant to say was 'rouge sites' and what they forgot to mention is that they never browse the net without wearing these glasses.

     

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  27.  
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    Dementia (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    While I really don't object to the 5 to 10 year mark, I think I like Martin Luther's better.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It scales up to the point where the US has its borders after that it doesn't scale anymore, how hard is to understand that?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    People told you already, it does scale up to the borders of the US and that is it, since it is unlikely the US will gather the necessary support from outside its borders to enforce such blocks because of the very nature of the DNSSEC it will find a list that is not censored outside the US borders and there is nothing one can do about that except not implementing it.

     

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  30.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Right now, if you use a DNS server that provides a filtering service, this works because you're using a server that is not really part of the DNS system as a whole. It is not an authoritative server, and other DNS servers do not coordinate with it. A filtering server is technically broken, but it does not harm the rest of the DNS system because the rest of the system does not rely on it.

    The problem with the SOPA approach is that it is like requiring the rest of the DNS system to rely on the broken server as if it were reliable and authoritative (in the technical meaning) -- which it is not.

    This is the source of the trouble, and going this route leads to untold problems, and the breakdown of the DNS system as a whole.

     

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