USTR Puts Out Its 'Rogue Sites' List… Can't Even Find 20

from the and-for-this-we-need-to-change-the-internet? dept

One of the completely ignored questions in the larger debate over SOPA/PIPA is how big an issue this really is. How many of these dangerous “rogue sites” are there that need to be dealt with? When confronted on the issue, they usually say it’s around 50 sites or so. So it seems rather bizarre that we’d want to change the entire legal and technical framework of the internet, along with putting massive compliance costs and liabilities on tech companies who create jobs… just for such a small number of sites. And… it’s looking even more ridiculous than before. As you know, every year the USTR comes out with its silly and widely mocked Special 301 report, which takes industry complaints about who’s infringing where, rewrites them (with no significant additional investigation) and puts a government seal on top of it. This week, they came out with the “out of cycle” naughty list of evil sites. Again, this involves just asking the big entertainment companies what sites and countries they don’t like, and then writing up a report.

So, given a chance to highlight just how “big” a problem this is… all the industry could turn up was 19 specific sites that are rogue sites (well, here they’re called “notorious”). To be fair, one of the 19 is “Allofmp3 clones” so that could encompass a few more sites. But, really, if the problem is just dealing with a small number of sites, is that really worth such a massive infrastructure change, since pretty much every technically clueful commentator has noted the massive cost on internet security of using these laws?

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Comments on “USTR Puts Out Its 'Rogue Sites' List… Can't Even Find 20”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Let’s see…

Half the document seems to refer to “physical markets”, so they’re irrelevant.

Many of them seem to be sites hosted in Russia and China, many of which I’ve never heard of (thanks for advertising them, guys!).

Some seem to rely on biased and/or inaccurate descriptions of what they do – for example, modchip device (which have many legal uses, or at least uses which have nothing to do with piracy).

Many would seem to owe their existence to basic flaws in the business models of the content owners (e.g. TV Ants – I wonder how many people watching the material have any legal way of accessing it).

So, yeah, you want to destroy the internet, due process and freedom speech for this?

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, but they are still up because the US court judgement was to make them change how they operate (they have to filter out a bunch of keywords provided to them, which they are complying with as far as I can tell) instead of shutting them down entirely. The court could have ordered them shut down or filtered out of the US entirely instead if they thought it was appropriate.

Hello again says:

Simple Solution

OMFG… This is much worse than expected. I thought all the hype was based on some billionaire wanting to waste other peoples money for an imaginary threat. But now I know the threat is real. And instead of going after ISP, Web Host, and Users. We should get rid of the tool that they use. Lets ban all computers and smart phones. That will stop it for sure. And don’t worry. I will create a report on the economical benefits world wide if all computers and smart phones are gone… I will be the world’s hero.

Mr. Smarta** says:

Need another list

The RIAA/MPAA mafia has their “report card” list identifying (embarassing) companies that allegedly support piracy. The USTR has a “rogue sites” list that identifies supposedly rogue sites. We need an “Incompetent Company/Group” list that identifies/embarasses companies or groups that don’t innovate, but just sue. These should be companies run by incompetent individuals who could innovate themselves out of an industrial paper bag. Then have a list of top companies that are innovating and are not in the process of suing other companies for infringement (might be pretty short).

The Coward says:

Status Quo

Come on Mike, this is just status quo for the American political knee jerk reaction. According to Netcraft back in 2008, there are 168 million active web sites in the net, so just like when one bad person puts a bomb in his shoe in a plane causes everyone to take off their shoes forever at the airport, then one bad website should ruin it for everyone else too. Standard knee jerk thinking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, you need to pay attention. This is 19 of the clearly, obviously bad sites. That isn’t to say that it is an exhaustive list, just an indication of sites that are out there.

I don’t get it – you claim SOPA will be over used, and when they come up with a short list only, you complain because it will be underused?

Are you whacked?

Chris-Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t get it – you claim SOPA will be over used, and when they come up with a short list only, you complain because it will be underused?

Mike is complaining that it will be abused, not over used.
this article doesn’t show that it will be under-used It shows that SOPA is not needed.

I suppose it’s a bit much to ask a troll to understand simple concepts like that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

He is complaining that the justification for SOPA is a short list of sites, but, in reality it will be over used.

It like saying there are 19 incidents a year of people sticking there hand in candy machines, trying to steal candy, while someone is kicking the machine, causes it to fall over then kills the guy with his hand in the machine. So now we have to outlaw all candy machines over 3 feet tall.

The justification for the legislation does not match the scope of the legislation. If you truly want to get rid of those sites, make use a more focused approach.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What makes you say those sites are clearly obviously bad? Just because they are on the list? Because they aren’t really clearly bad.. In fact, except for piratebay, the ones I recognize are pretty tame. Selling mod chips in places where it’s completely legal.. oh nos! search engines that comply with dmca notices and don’t allow searching for anything the MPAA asks them not to.. oh nos!

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mike, you need to pay attention. This is 19 of the clearly, obviously bad sites. That isn’t to say that it is an exhaustive list, just an indication of sites that are out there.

Right. There are obviously more than 19 sites, so it is an outright manipulative lie for Mike to say they “can’t even find 20.” What else would you expect from Techdirt?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You have, I believe, 19 sites as grist for your mill. Why not try something useful and present arguments rebutting the allegations associated with the named sites?

It also helps to place things in perspective. This document is ancillary to the much maligned Section 301 report. Has it occurred to anyone that the document may be less about naming “names”, and much more about naming “countries of origin”, a precursor to future discussions with officials in those countries relating to trade policies?

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The Special 301 Report has been laughable for 20 years. It has not stopped piracy, but it has been used to put significant pressures on countries to comply with lopsided copyright laws or face sanctions. Brazil is the perfect example. Because of US bullying in copyright, they had to shut down pharmaceutical plants that would have helped numerous Brazilians over expensive imports from America.

Meanwhile, the people that read these reports just found new advertising due to the rogue sites list.

What’s absolutely amazing is this: If rogue sites are such a large problem, why do they only have a few sites? The music industry has already seized 450 sites with the MPAA and ICE. Obviously, the rogue sites problem is solved by now.

Anonymous Coward says: added

Now I have added to my “trusted sites” for purchasing aftermarket parts and accessories… I have used before, and found them pretty reliable to deliver what you order – but i’ve been burned by some sites.

USTR has confirmed for me that consolesource delivers though, so that’s enough for me!

mermaldad (profile) says:

I'm with Mr. Smart***

I had much the same idea as Mr. Smart***, although it s?nded like he was talking. about patent trolls. We need some organization to put out a special report of its own, identifying the “rogue”players, individuals and organizations who do the most to distort and abuse copyright, patents, and trademarks from their original purposes. there should be a separate report for each form of IP.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

This would be funny...if it wasn't so sad

As some of you know, I’ve done a lot of research over the past several decades in the general area of spam and abuse, including phishing, forgery, mailbombing, DoS attacks, and related topics.

One of the tactics that’s now quite common — because it’s also quite effective — is the use of plausible domain names. Thanks to greedy registrars, obfuscated registration, and complicit hosting companies, it’s pretty easy and cheap to register many domains with names along the lines of update-adobe-2011.whatever, update-your-pdf.whatever, fix-adobe-2012.whatever — and then of course load them up with appropriate malware, spamvertise them, and wait for victims to arrive.

Alright, maybe “common” isn’t the right word: let’s try “epidemic”. Now these domains are clearly “rogue”: put aside the IP issues of copyright and trademark for a moment, they exist solely to push malware. That’s it. They don’t even pretend to have a legitimate purpose. There are new ones every day (as the old ones gradually get blacklisted, confiscated or taken down). So all of us who work in this area see a constant parade of them…thousands of them.

And USTR couldn’t come up with ANY?!

Anonymous Coward says:

Missing something?

The belief:
If SOPA/PIPA are passed that will = filtering the internet = Infringement/Lost sales Problem Solved!

But China currently filters what their citizens see from the internet and yet it is stated that a couple of the biggest offenders are Chinese domains?

So this filtering/blocking/censoring already doesn’t work. huh?

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