from the good-for-them dept
It's been unfortunate that the mainstream press hasn't really spent much time digging into the actual details of the text of the E-PARASITE/SOPA bill, and just how awful it is. At best, some of them have done a "well, the tech industry is worried about it" kind of piece, without actually looking at the details. Thankfully, some in the press really are digging in. James Temple, at the SF Chronicle, has an excellent and detailed piece about how SOPA would do more to "stop online innovation"
than it would ever do to stop online "piracy." Just a snippet:
There are lots of concerns here, including the amount of discretion it hands to the attorney general. But another big worry is that blocking the domain name for one infringing site (say, latviablogging.com/counterfeitrolexes) could prevent access to thousands of innocent ones also hosted under that domain (like latviablogging.com/motherscookierecipes).
"It is inevitable that there will be bad behavior on any site that has thousands and thousands of dedicated subsections," said Dane Jasper, CEO of Santa Rosa Internet service provider Sonic.net. Cutting off the entire site's traffic and funds amounts to an "Internet death penalty" without a trial, he said.
It also highlights the ridiculous broad drafting and confusing language in the bill -- something SOPA/E-PARASITE defenders still refuse to admit. The worst of the worst is in the definition of what constitutes "dedicated to the theft of U.S. property." The dreadful drafting is going to lead to massive lawsuits:
This section of the bill appears to apply to both U.S.-based sites and foreign ones, or even a portion of a site, if it's "dedicated to theft of U.S. property." One of the key definitions of that is if a site "is taking, or has taken, deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability" of infringement. Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C., public interest group, helpfully boiled down that clumsy legalese to: "lacking sufficient zeal to prevent copyright infringement."
In other words, it would place the responsibility for detecting and policing infringement onto the site itself, rather than content owners, as required under the DMCA.
"There's really not much question that this bill is designed to do an end run around the DMCA," said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco. "What has been affirmed by court after court is that service providers do not have to affirmatively police infringement. That's a good thing because it's a terrible burden to put on a service provider."
The thing that gets me is that if defenders of this bill were intellectually honest, they'd just admit that they were, in fact, trying to change the DMCA, and have a conversation on that point. So far, only Rep. Bob Goodlatte has been intellectually honest enough to admit that's the case
. However, others in our comments and on other sites keep insisting that the bill is "narrowly drafted" just to impact the worst of the worst. Anyone who reads the plain (if convoluted) text of the bill knows that's simply not true. A "narrowly drafted" bill does not impact pretty much every internet property, like SOPA does.