Washington Post Column Incredulous That Congress Is Considering Censoring The Internet

from the mainstream-america-is-waking-up dept

It appears that more and more in mainstream America are waking up to the horrors of SOPA and PROTECT IP. Dominic Basulto, writing in the Washington Post notes that the debate over SOPA sends an “ugly message” to the rest of the world about the US:

Imagine a country where the government is able to shut down Web sites at the slightest provocation, where elected representatives invoke fears of “overseas pirates” to defend the interests of domestic industries, and where Internet companies like Google must cave in to the demands of government censors or risk being shut down.

No, we are not talking about China, North Korea or Iran ? we are talking about the United States, where legislators in both the House and Senate are attempting to push through new anti-piracy legislation by year-end that would benefit Hollywood at the expense of Silicon Valley.

Basulto also makes the point clearly. Supporters are “[confusing] ‘piracy protection’ and ‘censorship.'”

He goes on to point out that this also shows “the failure on the part of lawmakers to understand how the Internet works.”

This new legislation, if enacted, would strike at the very core of the way the Internet has been structured. Sharing, openness, and participation are at the core of what the Internet represents. When it comes to a choice between an open Internet and an Internet of walled gardens patrolled by government censors, there is no doubt which is preferable. As Booz & Co. pointed out in a recent study, the SOPA legislation could lead to a decline in Internet innovation.

The Chinese government attempts to portray dissidents as “pirates” and “rogues” outside the system. Entertainment interests are taking a similar approach, and have found what they consider to be the perfect bogeymen: the “rogue” sites and “overseas pirates” who steal content and make it available elsewhere on the Internet at a cheaper price. Under the cover of protecting intellectual property and making the Internet safe again for users, they risk destroying what makes the Internet so special and attractive to innovators and investors alike.

A really strong piece in a very mainstream source. This isn’t just about a few “pirates” complaining — as SOPA defenders would have you believe. This is a widespread recognition that censorship and massive regulation of the internet, just because Hollywood refuses to adapt, is not in anyone’s best interest.

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Comments on “Washington Post Column Incredulous That Congress Is Considering Censoring The Internet”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“Dominic Basulto is a digital thinker at Electric Artists in New York. Prior to Electric Artists, he was the editor of Fortune?s Business Innovation Insider and a founding member of Corante.com, one of the Web’s first blog media companies. He also shares his thoughts on innovation on the Big Think Endless Innovation blog and is working on a new book on innovation called “Endless Innovation, Most Beautifuland Most Wonderful.””

He is a blogger. Welcome to another op-ed style piece passed of by Mike as the Newspaper having that opinion.


Anonymous Coward says:


I am not commenting on the post one way or the other, only pointing out that Mike is once again letting something dangle out there, trying to make it appear like the mainstream media is doing X or Y, when this is just a blogger op-ed.

I didn’t comment on the content of the column, but thanks for playing “I didn’t read your full comment”.

Anonymous Coward says:


Actually, you’re just being a disingenuous asshole. The title reads: “Washington Post Column Incredulous That Congress Is Considering Censoring The Internet”

Column. The fact that Mike used that qualifier means that he is presenting the opinion as contained within the individual piece and does not imply that it is representative of the paper as a whole. This shouldn’t need to be specially clarified to anyone who’s not a trolling douchenozzle.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think there are significant problems with SOPA, but I think it’s primarily the detractors that are confusing (conflating, rather) combatting piracy/infringement with censorship.

I don’t think most people see copyright enforcement as “censorship,” though I understand there are arguments that the former is a form of the latter, or at least can be.

While SOPA may go overboard, it has nothing to do with, say, suppressing unpopular political opinions, unless those opinions happen to be conveyed in a manner that infringes some copyright or trademark right.

I think the whole anti-censorship campaign is an effective, but cynical, means of getting support from people who don’t fully understand the law.

Anonymous Coward says:


Without the standard “opinions and views of the writer do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Wasington Post” disclaimer, it is apparent that, even If he is a blogger contracted to do a hit piece on SOPA, it was done so with the consent and approval of the Washington Post. Otherwise the disclaimer would be there. Nice try at making it appear as if Mike was trying to pass it off as what you described though. Fail.

Anonymous Coward says:


What part of a law that uses the force of the government to remove speech is not censorship? We can argue about what sort of speech should be censored and what should be free, but when the government removes speech it is censorship. And when the definition of what can be removed is as vague as in this law it gets scary to think of what could be targeted.

Zangetsu (profile) says:


Dear Anonymous Coward (won’t last long in the new SOPA era):

You seem to have misunderstood (deliberately) Mike’s note. Mike did not pass off Dominic as saying the Newspaper had that opinion. He merely noted that Dominic, who seems to have dozens upon dozens of articles at the Washington Post, wrote an opinion piece in a mainstream newspaper. The fact that he has written dozens of articles for the Washington Post lends some credibility to his being a voice that the editorial board believes needs to be heard and who does not adversely affect the review streams of the newspaper.

Based on your review of the situation, virtually everyone who writes an opinion piece should be dismissed. Much like I am dismissing you. Good bye.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


It would seem to me that it is the content industry that seems to confuse combating infringement with censorship. They have written a piece of legislation with vague definitions and broad sweeping terms that would easily enable it to be used/abused for censorship. That’s the biggest issue that people have with SOPA. The majority of the outcry is not to protect infringers, but rather because the people do not trust the government or the content industry not to abuse legislation that seems to be designed specifically to enable such abuses.

Anonymous Coward says:


I think that is a potentially valid definition of “censorship,” but broader than most people’s common definition of “censorship.”

For example, if the military targets an enemy soldier about to relay crucial military intelligence to enemy commanders in wartime, is that “censorship?” Well, under the broad definition you have proposed (any government action stopping speech), yes. But I don’t think that’s how most people would use the word “censorship.”

Also, I think that’s the kind of “censorship” most people would be perfectly ok with.

Anonymous Coward says:


I think the definitions are problematic because they make it too easy to target incidental and unknowing/unintentional facilitation of infringement, but I don’t think they’re really that easy to use for targeting, say, unpopular political speech, unless there’s some legitimate argument that such speech also happens to be infringing.

Anonymous Coward says:


“No one’s arguing that copyright enforcement is censorship.”

Well, the other guy I just responded to is.

“We’re arguing that the overly broad nature of SOPA will result in censorship of protected speech.”

That’s an even worse argument, from my perspective. I mean, if “will result in” is the standard, all sorts of things count. For example, power outtages result in the removal of protected speech.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


I would almost agree with that from the standpoint of legitimate requests under the bill, but it could be easily used illegitimately to have non-infringing speech removed. Because the liability issues favor removal of content immediately after receiving notice, how much due diligence do you think will actually be done to confirm the legitimacy of such requests?

Machin Shin says:


“While SOPA may go overboard, it has nothing to do with, say, suppressing unpopular political opinions, unless those opinions happen to be conveyed in a manner that infringes some copyright or trademark right.

I think the whole anti-censorship campaign is an effective, but cynical, means of getting support from people who don’t fully understand the law.”

Well, I counter that this anti-censorship campaign is actually to get support from those who understand the law and how the law will be abused. Yes if the bill was used properly it could be a great benefit. The problem is that laws are abused all the time. Take a look around at this country! A lady sued McDonnalds and WON because she spilled coffee on herself! This nation is full of people who are just looking for ways to abuse the system. This law is FULL of opportunities for abuse. Most of the people fighting this bill would be happy to support a well written law targeting piracy but how do you expect to get that when you exclude the technology industry from the talks? The tech. industry is the exact group they should be going to and asking what can be done.

kenichi tanaka says:

We no longer have a U.S. Constitution. I’ve been warning everybody for the longest time that Congress has been whittling away the very protections that Americans enjoy.

Let’s see, the first amendment, fourth amendment, fifth amendment, sixth amendment, eighth amendment, ninth amendment, tenth amendment protections have all been removed from the Bill of Rights in favor of stronger government interference in the lives of its citizens.

Never before have I been more afraid of my government than now. It’s abhorrent that our government has stripped so many of our rights from the constitution just because it thinks its doing the right thing.

Our government has never done the right thing for our people and our current government is worse than the Nazi’s and the British Government (when we were unuder British rule).

The U.S. Government no longer looks out for the protection of its people and I think the time is coming when our country is going to embroiled in a new civil war that will make the first one look like a walk in the park. President Obama and the U.S. Congress are risking turning our entire country into a lawless nation and a gang of terrorists.

Anonymous Coward says:


I agree that most people are ok with some amount of censorship, Military censorship is a perfect example, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that it is censorship, it’s quite well known the military employs censors to look through correspondence of it personnel, to prevent the disclosure of troop movements and such. We also accept the fact that child porn is censored. I don’t think there is any other word to describe it. This bill is a censorship bill. The debate is about how to apply censorship to the internet. This bill would give absolute power to private parties, with little over site.

robin (profile) says:


While SOPA may go overboard, it has nothing to do with, say, suppressing unpopular political opinions, unless those opinions happen to be conveyed in a manner that infringes some copyright or trademark right.

How does one spell Wikileaks? Let me try this: state suppression of the press.

And yes, the internet is now “the press”: http://bit.ly/tMrJP1 and we are all journalists and reporters, accorded the full protection of “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; “

Anonymous Coward says:


Of course it’s misleading.

These are not honest people we’re dealing with here, duh, lol.

They rip off artists for cryin out loud, what else exactly would you expect?

Masnick is a manipulative slimeball that thinks he can protect piracy by yelling “censorship!” and “prior restraint!” all the time.

Over the past year, in anticipation of legislation, I’ve personally collected a sort of “greatest hits” of the type of things said here on this blog by Masnick and the regulars, and will be presenting it to my Senators and Representatives; they are most likely unaware of what the real mindset is of the pirates, and it’s important that they be informed of all the facts.

Rich says:


God, people are still bring up the McDonald’s coffee suit without even understanding it! The woman WON because 1) McDonald’s was warning on numerous occasions by the health department that they keep their coffee much too hot, and 2) because of that fact, she didn’t just scald herself when she spilled it. She required THREE reconstructive surgeries.

McDonald’s keeps their coffee at 190F instead of the “standard” 160F. They do this because it keeps fresh longer. They put costs ahead of public safety. THAT is why the woman won.

Don’t just spout off what every other mouthpiece on the Internet is saying. Actually read, research, and verify before your propagate inaccuracies and untruths.

Anonymous Coward says:


You guys x, this guy said y. X + y equals you guys are all part of a conspiracy and share a hive mind and he gave away your secret agenda.

Your looney man its like saying.
Hitler said kill the jews.
People say its ok to censor because germany does.
Therefore all sopa supporters are nazis.

You can not draw connections between td commentors and and part of a sentance of a wp column. Unless you are a disengenious asshole who can’t actually argue all the massive flaws in sopa so he uses personal attacks and misdirection to try to “win” the argument

cjstg (profile) says:


what happens when someone quotes an overly long section of one of martin luther king’s speeches? the king family is famous for protecting their copyrights on his material. right there we have the potential of a political website being taken down because a copyright holder objected to political speech that happened to quote some famous political speech.

now i’m not saying that the king family would actually do this, but if they were so inclined they could.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


I don’t think most people see copyright enforcement as “censorship,”

It’s not the copyright enforcement that’s censorship, it’s the disrupting of DNS and payment services that’s censorship. Once explained, most people seem to understand it as censorship, in my experience.

While SOPA may go overboard, it has nothing to do with, say, suppressing unpopular political opinions, unless those opinions happen to be conveyed in a manner that infringes some copyright or trademark right.

Actually, it has everything to do with that (if you throw “bankrupting commercial competitors” in there too).

SOPA allows private interests, without effective oversight, to stop others from getting payments processed and possibly having their domain blocked. This law-enforcement power that is in the hands of unaccountable entities.

This will be abused, and it will be used by the powerful to destroy their opponents, be they political or business.

The main problem with SOPA has nothing to do with stopping infringement.

cjstg (profile) says:


i think that your argument can best be addressed by pointing at the transportation authority that turned off cell phone coverage in a subway station (sorry, the city escapes me, oops). that incident was a perfect example of what you are talking about. the fallout from that event has, in part, reestablished, for now, the standard of not only free speech but also of the availability of the medium. if there had been no outcry, everybody who runs communication systems could shut them off at a whim when they felt there was something being said that they didn’t like.

Anonymous Coward says:


Like I said before, political speech might be removed if it also happens to be infringing.

Just like if you spraypaint political speech on someone else’s building, it might get removed (and you might even be punished for it!). I don’t think that makes such punishment or removal “censorship” under most people’s common definition of the term, because it’s not the political content of the speech that matters.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:


The popular narrative of the case was definitely framed in a manner that made it a poster-child for tort reform, but when you hear about the way McDonald’s was brewing their coffee [at temperatures it knew were far greater than necessary or even safe], the damage it did when spilled [seriously, the pictures of the woman’s burns are pretty horrifying and go beyond mere clumsiness], and the fact that the jury took her contributory liability [for having spilled the coffee in the first place] into account when assessing how much McDonald’s should pay, it’s arguably a pretty sensible ruling.

Anonymous Coward says:


I don’t really see how disruption of DNS services is distinct from copyright enforcement in this context (assuming a valid claim is made, and we’re not under the more questionably broad definitions).

As for your other points, I think most people *don’t* think that actions by private entities fall under the common definition of “censorship.”

“The main problem with SOPA has nothing to do with stopping infringement.”

Well, that’s just ridiculous. You don’t need to make ridiculous claims to validly criticize SOPA.

Planespotter (profile) says:


Lol, unless the evidence is accompanyed by a 6 figure cheque for “campaign contributions” I doubt he’ll give a crap…. but if you really want to get the dirty, thieving, scumbag mindset of the typical pirate I’d recommend signing up at one of the private torrent sites… those people are truly disgusting! They’d sell their own grannie for a bootleg of Justin Biebers latest album.

hothmonster says:


SOPA can be used to suppress anything with a mere letter from a private citizen and then puts the burden of proof on the accused to prove there are not in violation of the law.

I could take a photo and get copyright on it. Put a link to it on techdirt and then send letters to payment processors and techdirt’s hosting company and every ISP in the country and have TD blocked/shut down. Now TD has to defend itself and in the mean time it is blocked. I can do this every time the site comes back up. I can do this to any website or company that says or does something I don’t like whether what they do is legal or not. If I say have some staffers I could pay to do this all day long, *cough* viacom *cough*, I could effectively destroy anyone who can’t afford a full time lawyer. Sure it might be easy to argue the first time you get reported but if you are getting 20 reports a day do you think the ISPs and CC companies are going to take a chance and turn service back on without a court order? No fucking way.

That is how you use this bill to censor

hothmonster says:


If your uniform power law allowed private me to report a person for using too much power and have them cut off whenever I felt like it you can be damn sure everyone would criticize it.

This law is designed to block speech. We as a people allow certain types of speech to be censored, i.e. child porn. This law intends to block infringement which by itself wouldn’t be a problem. The issue is infringement is something so easy to spot, as courts still have problems determining if things are infringing or not. This law removes courts from the equation and allows private citizens to judge something as infringement and get it shut down. Are you starting to see the problem?

Jay (profile) says:


I’ve tried having logical conversations with Jay before.

Where? You hide behind the AC moniker and expect someone to just automatically remember you?

Your argument is non-sequitar and by trying to make this something to do with me, personally, you’re admitting there’s no merit to what you were proposing. Great if you want to do that but that means the point stands.

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m not talking about military censors as that terminology is common used (as I though my example made clear).

Let’s take another example. Someone spraypaints “Obama is a Fag!” on the side of my house, is punishing him or removing the speech “censorship?”

Or if the cops catch him in the act and prevent him from him from finishing, is that “censorship?

I don’t think most people would characterize it that way.

out_of_the_blue says:

"That is how you use this bill to censor"

@ “Hotmonster”: Boy, you just don’t seem to have the proper attitude of trust and sharing that made the Internet what it is, if you expect that some hypothetical conspiracy will use SOPA in the way you describe. — Or maybe it’s that you “trust” your pirate pals, while demonizing those whose property they’ve stolen. Seems to me you’ve got it backward. — After all, what pirate has ever actually produced anything for you? Passing on what they’ve stolen is no big deal: a few minutes of ripping versus months of work to make a movie.

mischab1 says:


Do you really believe that!?! Masnick himself has repeatly said he doesn’t download pirated stuff. He also highlights artists he likes who are making money directly. What part of that is ripping off an artist?

Granted there are pleanty of people commenting who pirate, but not all of us.

So what… Everybody who says they pirate is a dirty thief and everybody who says they don’t priate, is a lying dirty thief?

“Over the past year, in anticipation of legislation, …”

Does that mean you knew SOPA and ProtectIP were comming?

Thomas (profile) says:

It's coming..

the entertainment industry owns enough people in Congress to get this passed. They expect votes in return for the money they slip to Congress in plain envelopes.

congress likes it because they can now start shutting down sites that they don’t agree with. Have a site that criticizes Congress? Expect to be shut down. Gay/Lesbian site? Shut down.

We castigate China for their censorship, then turn around and do the same thing. Congress and the White House are such hypocrites.

Anonymous Coward says:


No. That’s my point.

Something as benign as a uniform, non-targeted power outage will result in the removal of protected speech, because websites will go down. That doesn’t make it censorship.

That’s my problem with the “will result in removal of protected speech” standard of determining what is or isn’t censorship.


Anonymous Coward says:


Will companies/individuals be forced to tell somebody who they are trying to block, why and if they are wrong be held responsible?

Of course not, now why are not strong protections against abuse of the system being put in in that crap?

Like maybe make the guy who accuses someone responsible for all the costs somebody else incurs defending themselves against this BS. that is just one way, but there could be more.

The government don’t will even collect data on that BS legislation and will not know what happens just like they get surprised when people come out with DMCA data points that show how much it is being abused, so go fuck youserlf.

Anonymous Coward says:


Who says you “supposed to pick you out of a hat and say that you, an AC with personal beef with me, can’t have a logical discussion.”?

You’re the only person who has suggested that. I don’t care one way or another. I’m just not going to try to debate issues with you, because my past experience demonstrates that it’s pointless.

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m saying a law passed for a good reason that may accidentally and temporarily censor speech, like your power law is not the same a law that creates an avenue for private citizens and corporations to act as judge and jury for infringing content.

You example was something that may accidentally limit speech. This laws intended purpose is to limit speech, the problem with it is it is too broad in defining what speech it limits. It allows for abusive action, which is extra dangerous in a law that limits speech. We have to be very very careful when designing laws to censor, this bill is not being careful.

If your problem is “will result in blocking speech” we can easily change that to “will result in the purposeful and abusive blocking of protected speech.” But really if you see the problem why are we arguing semantics?

Anonymous Coward says:


If you’re saying that “calculated to suppress protected speech” is a better standard for determining “censorship” than “will result in removal of proteced speech,” I agree.

Again, though, all copyright law (and trademark law, for that matter) is designed to suppress protected speech, in the sense that everytying covered by a copyright or trademark is “speech” of one form or another.

I still don’t think that makes a “censorship” based campaign reasonable or nonmisleading.

Anonymous Coward says:


No but you said these laws also can be used to prevent speech and he said “yes but those laws require a court of law to confirm that the speech should be blocked” that is the step that prevents unfair censorship, this bill lacks that step. And again all those laws are censorship laws, we accept the censorship of certain material after a court of law rules on it.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


The main reason that I would argue that SOPA is a censorship bill as opposed to simply a bill focused on the removal of infringing content is that the bill is agnostic to the collateral damage when uninfringing (not sure if that’s a word, but it is now) content is removed as well.

Let’s take the example of a sport blog to illustrate. Here we have tons of protected free speech where people talk about their favorite teams or players, and plenty of trash talking about the opposing teams to keep it lively. Now let’s say that one of the users starts a thread about how stupid it is that he lives in a blackout zone and can’t watch his favorite team play a game later this evening. In response to this someone tries to help him out and posts a link to justin.tv where he will be able to stream the game live and not miss the game. The content owners get wind of this link and decide to react to it…

Under current law, the link could be removed with a DMCA takedown notice and the rest of the blog would continue on its merry uninfringing way.

Under SOPA, the content industry could have it blocked on a DNS level and force any payment processors to not deal with the site. This effectively kills the entire site. When access to all of that uninfringing speech is removed to stop access to a legitimately infringing link, censorship has occurred.

It’s possible that we just have a different understanding of the definition of censorship, but at least we agree on the important issue: that the language of SOPA is extremely troubling and ripe for abuse.

If you’d like to read up a bit on why others also believe this bill to be about promoting government sponsored censorship, here is a link to a prior article: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111014/03284916352/why-cant-protect-ip-supporters-just-admit-that-its-about-censorship.shtml There is a link to a paper published by Derek Bambauer on this exact issue (although it is aimed at PIPA). Unfortunately the article is a paid download.

Anonymous Coward says:

You didn't comment on the content of the column

You’re a dumb ass. Read it again. There’s obviously one AC attacking Mike for misrepresenting an article from the Post as being a blogger posting an editorial and then there was my responses to the original AC defending Mike. And then you jumped on me thinking I was the original AC. We’re on the same side here, but now I may flip sides just because I don’t want to be on the same side as your dumb ass.

Anonymous Coward says:


“When access to all of that uninfringing speech is removed to stop access to a legitimately infringing link, censorship has occurred.”

This is where I think we differ. I’ll be the first to agree that it’s hard to plot out rigid definitions for words.

That said, I don’t think collateral damages to speech that nobody really cares about (including the people loding the complaint) falls under the commonly held definition of “censorship.”

John Fenderson (profile) says:


I don’t really see how disruption of DNS services is distinct from copyright enforcement

Censorship is a means, copyright enforcement is a goal. Censorship is used as a means to achieve the goal of copyright enforcement. They are two different things.

I am saying that the problem with SOPA isn’t that it wants to enforce copyright. The problem is that it provides a means that is too broad, and that will lead to censorship (through DNS blocking and disconnection from payment processors) of protected speech.

I think most people *don’t* think that actions by private entities fall under the common definition of “censorship.”

Well, we certainly disagree on that. When I har people talk about censorship, they rarely make any kind of differentiation between public and private action.

However, SOPA turns private action into public, in the sense that it gives law enforcement powers that should stay squarely with the government to private entities. In this situation, private/public is a distinction without much of a difference.

You don’t need to make ridiculous claims to validly criticize SOPA.

Wait, what’s ridiculous about my statement? It was an obvious statement of opinion. Perhaps I should have made the first word “My” instead if “The” to make it clearer. Sorry. Here you go:

My main problem with SOPA has nothing to do with stopping infringement.

TheMoiderahOfPolitics says:

I've had enough of your disingenuous assertions

Oh, please. This is the web! Home of freedom, hackers, mad scientists…

And Anonymous. Oh dear lord, Anonymous.

Oh, congress, you stupid fucks. See what have you unleashed?

Not just the fury of millions of people, but also the anger of hundreds of thousands extremely skilled hackers.

And angry members of Anonymous, but that’s beside the point.

The bill was crafted by people who have no idea what an “IP Address” is. All someone has to do in order to get past this is to put the IP address into the bar above, and voila! Instant access!

All you need now is an advanced proxy, and the government will not be able to find you.

Pfffft! It’s like the members of congress are a bunch of retards!

…Oh, wait.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


No, copyright law is not to suppress speech. It never was. Copyright law grants you the copyright holder a temporary monopoly on content that you hold the copyright over.
In that (short) amount of time, you get all rights to it.

That law is not about piracy, it’s about you being able to own creative works. That the outcome of this could mean that the work is pirated is the other side of the coin.

But no copyright law is about suppressing speech.

However, SOPA is. It deliberately gives the US government the power to block websites based on allegations and accusations. There is no court of law that checks these allegations and accusations, meanwhile the website that someone is complaining about is dead in the water. No credit card transactions, no DNS-records, nothing. THAT is what we call suppression of speech.
Sure, the intent of the law is to stop the “Pirate bay” and sites of that ilk (disregarding the legal uses those sites have), but do you know the term “mission creep”?

Where were you, when we were discussing the “rogue websites” list put out by one of the RIAA labels? That list contained a lot of websites that didn’t distribute even files, but discussed music, and promoted artists.

And that’s what we are afraid of (and about 100% sure will happen) when SOPA becomes law. The collateral damage. as someone said before, it’s not a guided missile, it’s a clusterbomb. And it goes to the heart of the internet. It is designed to deliberately destroy that what makes the internet, sharing of information.

No, we don’t agree with those pirates, most of us don’t even infringe on copyright. (granted, some of us do, and some of us have good reasons to defend that.) But on the whole, most of us NAY-sayers do so for solid and fair and sound reasons, which we have displayed over and over again.

And you can say: “it’s not the intent”. But the wording should reflect that intent, and as it stands right now, it too broad. It could be used as a nuke to the internet.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


My main problem with SOPA has nothing to do with stopping infringement

And you’d be right with that statement too. Stopping infringement is just a nice bonus. The law is about gaining control back. By being able to deny distributors access to credit card payments, the media industry (and any other industry) can hamper competition, and therefor gain back control over what the general public gets to watch.

SlinkySlim (profile) says:



If the state allows for the blocking of websites based upon an accusation then the state is directly enabling the ability to censor. This bill not only enables the state it empowers the individual to a private right to action. The state will enable censors.

ICE has censored.

Speech, and all of its wondrous forms, is also, now, a data packet.

Censor : to suppress : remove access to : one given the power to censor

How, exactly, did you wrap yourself up in a such a tight ball over the usage of the word censorship?

If you, Bob, tell Bill that my website infringes and Bill says “I see.” and proceeds to block my website. You, Bob, have censored me. And that’s just the beginning, now I may not get paid. And I definitely won’t be able to afford to defend myself.

So tell me, Bob, how the fuck is that *not* censorship?

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

"That is how you use this bill to censor"

You got it backwards. Your industry created the piracy.

By trying to lock a genie in a bottle with drm and region locking and general stupidity, your industry created a huge black market.

Consumers feel under-served, they want certain content, but they can’t get that content legally, have to jump to weird hoops to get to the content that they want.
So what do you get, a black market that enabled consumers access to content they couldn’t get previously, in formats that are easier to deal with. And it’s cheaper too.
Meaning that they can spend their dollars on other things, such as food, going to a concert, buying loooooooooooots of t-shirts, etc.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


No, I think that Jay has a point.
You do expect people to recognize you from all the other anonymous cowards on this site. You dismiss his points flat out by saying that you’re not interested in a debate on the issues, because of your past experiences with him.

But he was right about your comment on power outages.

There is no law against nor for power outages.
Those are freak accidents. And it has no basis in a discussion on SOPA, unless you mean to use it to distract us from the real issues.

Sure, a power outage could prevent someone from speaking his mind. But that doesn’t mean that power outages are designed to suppress free speech.
Whereas the design of the SOPA bill is solely based on suppression of freedom of speech, in order to gain control over the internet, and as an added bonus to rid the world from piracy (which will never happen btw, as piracy existed since the beginning of copyright laws)

SlinkySlim (profile) says:

Be interesting to know how much "Internet companies like Google"

Mis-ter Masnick! Can I call you Mr.?

Me thinks thou art in dire need of a “nutter” button. Yes, that’s it; anutter button.

And I henceforth authorize your usage of my positively fabulous idea. Should it grab some sort of foothold I grant you stewardship of said fabulous idea and hope that you would be of the mind to kick me down if the ride is good.

Please consider mine the 1st through 4th votes using aforementioned super-nifty (not to be confused with “super nifty”) nutter button for this post’s poster.

On a final note, being that the poster is, in fact, the originating societal influence for this super-nifty and fabulous idea I, in turn, reserve the right to kick him down should the ride accommodate three sledders.
Thank you.

@OOTB: You’ve been nuttered.

nasch (profile) says:


Let’s take another example. Someone spraypaints “Obama is a Fag!” on the side of my house, is punishing him or removing the speech “censorship?”

I wouldn’t call that censorship, because it’s not the speech that’s being prohibited. If he just sprayed a spot of paint on your house, it would be equally illegal, and for the same reason. If he sprayed “Obama is a fag” on his own house, there would be no legal issue (setting aside any binding covenants on the property).

nasch (profile) says:


That said, I don’t think collateral damages to speech that nobody really cares about (including the people loding the complaint) falls under the commonly held definition of “censorship.”

If nobody cared about it, it wouldn’t have been spoken or written in the first place. And there is no clause in the first amendment saying “unless nobody cares about the speech”.

nasch (profile) says:

"That is how you use this bill to censor"

Boy, you just don’t seem to have the proper attitude of trust and sharing that made the Internet what it is, if you expect that some hypothetical conspiracy will use SOPA in the way you describe.

I’m so confused. I thought OOTB was all anti-big-corporation, and always talking about how evil and soulless they are, and all they want is profit, and now you’re telling us we should trust them not to abuse this law? Are you the real OOTB or an imposter?

Anonymous Coward says:

"That is how you use this bill to censor"

What utter bullshit.

Let’s see the citation that piracy in the US is because people want to buy something but are unable to.

You can’t, you cretinous slime.

Go die in a fire.

Nice to see you’re raising the level of discourse. If you’re representative of all shills of the legacy gatekeepers, then I won’t be sad to see your organizations implode due to your own inneptitude. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

What a sad, angry, miserable person you must be.

Anonymous Coward says:


Mike likes to play weasel word games. No, he didn’t say that the Post had the opinion, but would you have the same opinion of the rest of the piece if the title was:

“Blogger Dominic doesn’t like SOPA”.

See, by putting the newspaper name up top, he is trying to play the game of making it appear that mainstream media companies are against SOPA. He didn’t lie, but his approach is to be carefully misleading, without ever totally outrightly fibbing.

Basically, he is doing the sort of thing (in attitude) that he claims the other side does… but that it’s acceptable because he is the one doing it for a just cause.

Anonymous Coward says:


If it was:

“government action, directed at expression, which results in the removal of only protected speech”

you might have a valid argument. But the intention of the law isn’t to stop random protected speech, and any protected speech that may be harmed is in the effort to stop piracy, which is a valid government interest, and the courts have already long accepted that this could happen.

Further, why do you not address the concept of using “protected speech” like a human shield? You know, putting some protected speech on a site that is filled with infringement. Would you expect the website to stay up and authorities to do nothing because there is some measure of protected speech around?

PaulT (profile) says:


You seem to be confused. Arrogant, offensive and troll comments are flagged, and even then by multiple people clicking the button that’s publicly available before the comment if flagged.

Nobody minds unpopular opinions here, and we’re willing to discuss valid points. Troll idiots who attack and lie on a regular basis? Those will be flagged by multiple people. If you find yourself the subject of this on a regular basis, I’d suggest thinking about what you’re been writing.

Anonymous Coward says:

sharing is not piracy, the internet is a share in ideas if they censor the internet they control whats listed in wikipedia, they control for example wikileaks, isrealinewsnetwork, they control all that which threatens their dominion on us. do not let them take away or freedoms, internet is the last place people express themselves freely and communicate views. its not about piracy at all, its their rope-a-dope. “look over here while im doing this to actually stop you from doing that which i do not like.”


Virginia says:

Internet Censorship

The Internet has opened up a wide field of media opportunities in the last ten years for artists who would not otherwise get the opportunity to put out their talents to the public.

OK GO is an Internet sensation whose start was a YouTube video they made featuring the band dancing on treadmills. This dance has more than gone viral: it was parodied in mainstream television entertainment such as The Simpsons, and OK GO performed on the Music Video Awards show as well. They are connected to their fans through the Internet, including their FaceBook fan page on which they advertise their upcoming tours and albums, and they even post pictures they take of their audiences. What a wonderful give and take there!

AudioBody is another Internet sensation who does performance music with their technological music show. They have been featured on the videos of yet another Internet sensation, Eepybird, who have gone worldwide showing their Coke and Mentos experiences.

“The Mean Kitty Video”, also known as “Hey Little Sparta” also went viral and generated a lot of hits for SMP Films. SMP Films does a lot to feature musicians. SMP Films is produced in California, and they featured music from Ronald Jenkees, a musician who sells his music online by CD and by MP3 download. Jenkees lives in my home state, Kentucky.

None of this would be possible with censorship of the Internet. Censorship of the Internet sends a chilling effect to those who would use it for legitimate purposes. And if music and media are censored, how small a step that would be to censoring messages of all kinds? My religion, Eckankar, relies a lot on the Internet to give information about what it is all about. I rely on it to work with my regional clergy to get our church color tabloid newsletter done in a timely fashion.

Telecommunications providers would be affected, and they would lose money, especially if people decided it is not worth keeping a service that doesn’t allow uncensored searching. Indeed! Google, one of the largest search engines, was almost gagged, endangering a lot of commerce generated by this highly successful enterprise.

You cannot cut down all the phone lines to prevent wire tapping. You cannot stop sales of recorders to prevent people from recording their favorite songs. You cannot stop sales of cameras to prevent people from taking pictures of copyrighted paintings. In all these cases, the scope is way too broad.

It is up to the copyright holder to approach and litigate against those who have violated their right. And so they do: Disney and others. YouTubes have been taken down due to copyright violation, and those that have been are still named, so we know they were Disney or whatever company that had copyright on it.

Companies use YouTube for advertising: Toyota and other companies put their commercials on it. Movies put promos on there. It has become a new television media outlet. Some companies even have services where they will play movies with commercials sprinkled in, just like on T.V. The difference being that there are more commercials and advertisements on the edges of the screen than a T.V. for a person to peruse at her convenience.

This is why Internet censorship is unthinkable. And, for all that, it might be undoable. Censorship has caused books to be bestsellers. Might it also happen to the Internet?

nasch (profile) says:

Protecting Rights...

The dilemma seems to be how do we protect the freedom of the internet while also protecting the work & talent of those who should have rights to the material they create.

If we go back to the purpose of copyright law, the question should be how to protect the freedom of the internet (and freedom more generally) while ensuring there is sufficient incentive to create and release content.

Anonymously Brave says:

They have no idea what kind of monster they are creating...

The writers and backers of SOPA believe they are providing content creators with keys to a big red button that will give them the power to nuke pirates.

But they have gone too far; written this thing too broadly; and they don’t realize…

…they’ve handed everyone those same keys.

For you SOPA apologists out there, are you just as comfortable with the knowledge that the likes of Anonymous will possess these same keys? Take another look at the wording of SOPA with that in mind.

reg says:

nothing new on the brave new world's front

that the senate wants the internet censored is nothing new.. alex jones has been saying this was in the works for years .. as have others… the usa as a whole is a good nation.. but its those that are involved in this censoring business that are the agenda makers behind all the scenes and political offices. its as plain as day.. but people rather continue running around in the ‘rat race’ and stick their heads in the sand and hope that that will make it not real. nuff said.

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