from the overkill-much? dept
You might have hoped that the extensive discussions that took place around SOPA a year or so ago would have warned off governments elsewhere from replicating some of the really bad ideas there, like DNS blocking, but it seems that Taiwan didn't get the message, as Global Voices reports:
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has recently proposed to amend the Copyright Act and provide legal justification of IP and DNS blocking at the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) level through a black list system. The government claims that the amendment is to stop the illegal sharing of copyright movies and music.
Of course, as Techdirt readers know, there is no such thing as "obviously violated copyrights" -- that's what judges are for. The idea of of targeting technologies like BitTorrent and FTP is nothing less than an attack on aspects of the Internet itself. And as the article points out, the new powers are almost certain to be abused:
Although IPO has stressed that the Internet service providers will only block overseas online platforms which are "specifically designed for copyright infringement activities" or websites which have "obviously violated copyrights", such as Megaupload, the authorities will target online platforms that enhance peer-to-peer transmission including Bit Torrent, Foxy, and FTP sharing.
If the Taiwanese copyright amendment is implemented, the Island will have a mechanism that blocks and filters away "illegal websites" that host material that infringes copyright laws. This could be detrimental to sites like YouTube, where users regularly upload videos that may violate copyright laws. Although the company has a system for removing these videos, a law like this could lead to the site being blocked altogether.
The new measures will move Taiwan closer to China's Great Firewall in terms of censorship, and will therefore probably be well-received on the mainland as a result. But there are surely better ways of improving relations between the two countries than instituting these kind of measures that won't stop people sharing unauthorized copies online, but will damage the Internet, and not just in Taiwan.