Alternative To PIPA/SOPA Proposed; Points Out That This Is An International Trade Issue

from the it-is-a-trade-issue,-isn't-it dept

While the MPAA has been pretending that there are no alternatives beyond the insanity that is PIPA and SOPA, some in Congress have actually been hard at work on trying to think through the specific issues. And one key point has become clear: this isn't a law and order issue, but an international trade issue. Nearly all of the complaints are about the problem of "foreign" sites sending goods across the border into the US. So it makes absolutely no sense that this issue isn't under the purview of the Finance Committee, whose job it is to oversee international trade. Thus, a bill is being worked on that tackles the issues as an international trade issue. A "discussion draft" is being circulated on this (embedded below).

This new effort has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and unlike SOPA and PIPA, seeks to try to focus in on situations that are actually problematic. In the Senate, it has the backing of Senators Cantwell, Moran, Paul, Warner and Wyden. All of whom had come out against PIPA, except for Warner. Adding him to this issue is big, given his experience in the business world. On the House side, it's Reps. Chaffetz, Campbell, Doggett, Eshoo, Issa and Lofgren. The focus would be putting the issue into the International Trade Commission, where there are experts focused on trade issues.

I think this is an approach that absolutely makes sense for counterfeit physical goods and the websites that sell them. Frankly, it's bizarre that it ever went beyond a discussion of international trade. It becomes somewhat trickier with copyright issues, and that's because you now have questions about how physical borders apply to digital networks. And I'm not sure I know how to best deal with that. Separately, having seen the ITC process on patents go off the rails at times, and become more of a way for patent holders to issue a "double whack" against a company they accuse of infringement, I'd be concerned about making sure that this process doesn't allow for two bites at the same apple. If it's properly focused on just foreign sites, that might not be as big an issue.

Either way, the devil will be in the details, but the details are still being written. Seeing as this is a discussion draft, I'm hearing that the folks involved really do want a discussion (unlike what we got with SOPA/PIPA), and that includes folks here. Take a look at the draft, and weigh in, knowing that some of the folks involved really will be reading what you have to say.

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  1. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 1 Dec 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: The International Trade Commission!!!

    You can read my extended reply below if you want and rant and rave all you want but I need to know something.

    If, as you keep insisting you see all that is wrong with the current copyright regime and how it's uses by those you call Big Media I'm very curious as to why you support legislation that basically amounts to an extended welfare project for the same Big Media and their desire to extent copyright until our sun finally explodes and fries up all their stuff.

    I'd love to know how you make illegal dodging a broken DNS server (as in blocked) when that's what the Internet does by design. And just what, as I've asked, will enforce it? Criminalization in support of those you call Big Media?

    While I'm glad to see the courts brought into the discussion about shutting down web sites found to be hosting gobs of 'infringing' files I also see that you want to insist that the country in which they are located shut them down. I have a small bulletin for you on that one. You have absolutely no idea how tired those of us outside of the United States are of the US Congress attempting to apply American laws extra-territorially. You have less than no right to do that and the rest of us are under no obligation to do anything at all about a court decision in the United States unless it is to use it as precedent in countries that share the legal system we all inherited from England. (And only US Supreme Court decision at that.)

    You make the assumption that copyright laws are the same in the country you're referring to which would be right only if that country was a signatory of the Berne Convention.

    (By the way the USA was a late comer to signing that one so in one way the USA was considered copyright "pirates" long before the Internet existed. Didn't hurt creators whose work was published in other countries all that much but it could explain why some people from the UK, Australia and places like that don't have a great deal of sympathy for American cries of "respect copyright!")

    I doubt that the "bad" things (most of them near insane in you understand deeply how the Internet works) when you'd see industries and government agencies outside of Big Media line up to oppose such things.

    At the risk of repeating myself there is no empirical evidence anywhere outside of claims made by your Big Media that piracy is a problem far less the massive problem they make it out to be from their bought and paid for researchers. Problem is, you see, that independent research can't duplicate the results of Big Media's bought and paid for reports. Cries of "It HAS to be" don't count. Evidence does and there is none. You can't lose what you don't have and you don't have a "potential" sale, it can't be put on a balance sheet or used to settle accounts or pay taxes so if it's "potential" it doesn't exist.

    In any event the revolt is and always has been a consumer revolt against your Big Media and not a revolt against copyright except in the fevered minds of Big Media and their crys of "what about the artist?" as if they care. After all the artist has to sign over their copyright to Big Media and one day they may see a small royalty from that in the vast majority of cases. The consumers know that too.

    OK, back to DNS blocking. If you don't understand that DNS servers are passive merely connecting one server to another server to another server, often another DNS server, then you don't understand the damage blocking can do.

    An internet connection is not a nailed down point to point connection from your computer to the one at the distant end. That happens in rare cases such as HTTPS and FTPS but otherwise the route taken my my connection to Techdirt will change when I press Submit from the one I retrieved your post on after I pressed the last submit.

    In the case of always on such as streaming audio, video and the bittorrent protocol the route can change every few seconds depending on traffic conditions somewhere out the on the Internet. Same thing happens with across the Internet phone calls.

    In that sense SOPA and PROTECT IP silliness only affects the first server out the one you connect to from your ISP and you're routed from there. There's nothing on earth, however to prevent you from connecting to another one. And companies, people and telcos (and me) always have a secondary one loaded up in case the primary becomes sluggish or goes off line.

    So if the idea of the bill is to control what ISP "first out" DNS servers can pass on to the next server should I type "" and head out there from my browsesr then what's being accompished? And at what REAL cost to users of misrouting and a host of other issues that always arise when this sort of thing gets done. And the United States has no jurisdiction over servers located in other countries no matter how much America may jump up and down and throw diplomatic hissy fits they don't.

    Personally I don't really give a damn. It's easy enough to get around just type in the IP directly instead of the name and off you go bypassing most of the DNS structure altogether from the initial and ongoing connections. It's how the Internet works unless what you really want is a complete re-engineering of the beast :)

    So DNS blocking is kinda pointless in that respect.

    As I've said, if the goal is to get people to respect copyright laws then you need to get people to respect those who old the majority of copyrighted material out there. The disconnect with the "what about the creator" thing comes when people realize, as they so, that the creator has had to sign over their copyright to get published, have their song recorded or the get the movie they wrote, directed and produced made. And most people also realize that the folks you call Big Media don't have a stellar track record on paying those creators and didn't long before the Internet.

    I have no more desire than you do to see copyright laws go into the dustbin of history and I too want them to be respected. I have a hard time, though, squaring the circle when, in the vast majority of cases, the only ones profiting are your Big Media, corrupt and unimaginative that they are.

    And I do have an interest in seeing copyright continued in one form or another as I am a writer and do write for the web and elsewhere. Admittedly what I write about isn't light reading or what you'll find on Amazon as it's often rather esoteric aspects of things like theology, biblical criticism and history as applied to the previous two. While I don't get paid for it in the traditional sense I'm supported in actually getting it out there both on paper and on the net so I'm happy.

    What I don't see happening is that respect for or the observance of copyright will be enhanced in any way by SOPA, in fact quite the opposite. I know enough history to know when governments have gone too far and with SOPA and it's companion legislation the US Congress has gone far to far.

    Particularly when so-called piracy has nothing to do with copyright is has to do with a consumer rebellion against the major copyright holders, namely the MPAA and the RIAA for their annoying habit as a customer to foist crap on the consumer at ever increasing prices.

    People do pay (support) creators directly when and where they can, otherwise there would be no independent bands and acts out there. No self published books. No attempts at do it yourself movie making. So people do respect the artists and creators.

    The legistalative equivalent of a multi-warhead tactical nuclear weapon (SOPA) won't increase respect for copyright. Given that legislators are almost as popular and what I call Big Content and you call Big Media (right down there with the bubonic plague and hiking in an active sewer pipe. So if think these bills will stop piracy I submit that you're wrong on just about all the counts I can think of.

    Particularly in English speaking counties. While most of us don't have the mythology of liberty and freedom the United States has we are just as intolerant of government getting too big for it's britches. And we are just as intolerant of government propping up failing industries in the name of something like copyright as Americans are. Maybe more so, speaking as a Canadian we have the habit of taking large majorities in our federal House of Commons and reducing 360 members to 2 following an election when they do that. We're ornery that way.

    That tends to lessen, for a while, the tendency of government to drift into authoritarianism and remind them who the boss is.

    In a free and democractic society laws such as copyright and patents exist at the consent of the governed. When those laws become a form of taxation without representation which extended patent and copyright have become the great unwashed, the governed have an annoying habit to power of withdrawing that consent particularly when it's done for the benefit of corrupt, failing businesses whether it's in the creative end of life or not. Up here in the Great White North we have an example of that that took place south of us around 1776.

    With all respect I submit to you now that what is taking place is a consumer revolt against just that and has been taking place since ADSL and cable in the home became commonplace.

    SOPA, should it pass, will only serve to increase that revolt and what respect is left for IP law, and it's not a lot, will start to vanish even more quickly than it already is. The governed will withdraw consent.

    The tech industry, the industry most dependent on IP laws in the North American economy sees that and opposes things like SOPA and ProtectIP and other such legislation.

    I'm amazed that others don't. Particularly when people such as you seem to agree on just about every point with the consumer revolt except that you want to clamp down harder and not let the marketplace function as it should and not let the citizenry make crystal clear that they are in the process of withdrawing consent for the laws as they are currently written and proposed to be written that affect on small sector of the economy at the expense of the rest of the economy.

    I have to say, I'm amazed too. I apologize if being amazed is something you consider vulgar but I am.

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