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SOPA and the blackout: What cost to stop Piracy?


Hiflyer
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For reasons that many people will be completely unaware of, today, many of the worlds best known websites will go dark in protest of yet another record and movie company financed attempt to "Stop Piracy"

Since that is a goal that few would openly argue with, why are so many of the worlds most powerful and influential companies fighting it so forcefully that they are willing to "Go Dark" in protest (and to raise awareness?)

First, what exactly is SOPA?

Original Gizmodo Article

If you hadn't heard of SOPA before, you probably have by now: Some of the internet's most influential sites—Reddit and Wikipedia among them—are going dark to protest the much-maligned anti-piracy bill. But other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress...

House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it's formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a "mark-up period" on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by its cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

...that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet...

The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site's ISP prevent people from even going there.

...which would go almost comedically unchecked...

Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a "good faith belief" that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court's permission.

The language in SOPA implies that it's aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that's why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that's just part of it.

...to the point of potentially creating an "Internet Blacklist"...

Here's the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don't even need a letter shut off a site's resources. The bill's "vigilante" provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.

Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a "good faith belief" that they're hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.

...while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily...

SOPA also includes an "anti-circumvention" clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, Wordpress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government "enjoinment." They could and would be shut down.

The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.

...and potentially disappearing your entire digital life...

The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That's false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it's you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can't get it back.

...while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective...

What's saddest about SOPA is that it's pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We've all seen enough "video removed" messages to know that it works just fine.

As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they're not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren't US-based, so they can't be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It's incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.

...but stands a shockingly good chance of passing...

SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, it remains popular in the House of Representatives.

That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill's most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.

...unless we do something about it.

The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we're finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they'll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they've received in the last few months.

So keep calling. Keep emailing. Most of all, keep making it known that the internet was built on the same principles of freedom that this country was. It should be afforded to the same rights.

I am sure that all here are aware of the costs of piracy on the content creation industry. Even niche markets like flight Sim companies have felt the bite of piracy. Yet many content providers that might stand to gain from the implementation of this bill are still dead set against it.

Why?

The internet goes dark today

Google takes a stand

Firefox Speaks

Because the bill as currently structured is an instrument of blunt trauma that would potentially hurt far more than it helped. (supposing that it could reach its stated goals at all, which many believe to be highly doubtful) I ask the question: being aware of this bill and the reasons for protest against it, would you still be in favor?

A software developer makes a stand

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For me SOPA has nothing to do with stoping piracy (sorry true believers), it's more of a thing to censore and control the internet, if it does what it does it would destroy internet as a unit, if you get charged for covering a song on youtube, making a seamless quote (or including a picture e.g. from airliners.net) in an article it makes no sense what so ever to have internet, less invading the internet, more actual work please!

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For me SOPA has nothing to do with stoping piracy (sorry true believers), it's more of a thing to censore and control the internet, if it does what it does it would destroy internet as a unit, if you get charged for covering a song on youtube, making a seamless quote (or including a picture e.g. from airliners.net) in an article it makes no sense what so ever to have internet, less invading the internet, more actual work please!

The White House is calling for sanity: (maybe)

The government can often make different people hear multiple opposing things, depending on what the listener wants to hear.

https://wwws.whiteho...vative-internet

On another note, wandering the internet today, its actually surprising how many sites have big cover blurbs mentioning the blackout and urging people to act. Somebody has riled up a hornets nest.

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Yes, obviously the (dark) sites will cover this object and bla, bla, bla (don't care, because they are already bad). But the sites like Google, Wikipedia are against this and if they don't fight-they are gone and more and more people will create things that are mind blowing so that no one can track them, because that's what they found in internet. Please do stop piracy, not the internet, don't censore the things that are needed to know, there are articles on a Latvian site (because I'm Latvian) that do tell about the really, really dark side of internet, that is the thing that worries me, if people don't get freedom they try to break to one, well enough of me talking rubish, I hope that this does not pass (at least in a form it's now) and that there will be more sensible ways to stop they pirates than banning the internet.

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The land of the free, umm.

Say why dont all the big internet providers and Google etc run for office and kick out the people who make these stupid laws.

The government should represent the people, and the people should not represent the government as some governments seem to think.

If all else fails take up your right to bear arms against an oppresive goverment.

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Hello Folks,

Quite frankly I cant see it being brought in, I would sign the petition but dont think our postcodes would be accepted.

As it stands now, I don't either, but that's only because the people sponsoring this bill are not at all accustomed to, or comfortable with, having their actions in these matters scrutinized under the public spotlight. More often things like this are slipped into innocuous bills in the dead of night; but this time, the opposing side have equally deep pockets and influence.

Without that influence, the sponsors of this bill and their corporate handlers would have rammed it right through, and to heck with petitions.

Now, faced with the harsh glare of publicity, they are running for cover as fast as they can (And they are also very very upset)

Like former senator Chris Dodd, now head of the MPAA (Gosh, Golly. Wonder how that happened?)

Chris Dodd: SOPA blackout an ‘abuse of power’

Considering history, and the readily available and easily verifiable facts, all you can do is shake your head.

And keep vigilant. They will be back with this again. And again. And again.

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Anything proposed by Politicians is - by definition - unsound, unscientific, ill-considered, rushed and judgemental, as well as influenced by criminal corruption and behind-the-scenes machinations and manipulation...

Therefore anything proposed by politicians would seem to fall into many of the same categories proposed by this legislation.

Should politicians not therefore be removed from office based on any unsound complaint? Have their voices silenced until they are handed a mandate by the masses? Be assumed to be criminals without right to trial or judicial review until such time as they prove themselves innocent?

Based on this premise, I think it's time to take out the trash, whether it be Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Labour, Christian Democrat or Ba'ath...

And if the web helped bring this about would it not actually be doing the World a favour?

How do you know a politicians lying?

Their lips move

How do you know when a politician isn't lying?

When they nail the coffin lid shut.

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  • Root Admin

But on SOPA... it's one of the worst things ever invented. Here is how it could work in relation to Aerosoft.

1) a customer wants us to do a DC3, so he writes about it and includes and DC3 picture from Airliners.net

2) Airliners.net is upset and for some reason has a bone to pick with us.

3) they go to their legal staff and have a court declaer forum.aerosoft.com a pirate site. They only got to point to a file that a customer (not us) put there to have that done. Seriously.

4) forum.aerosoft.com is taken from the DNS list (handled from the US right now) and you would not be able to get to it anymore.

5) I would wake up and find a lot of sh*t in my mailbox, we would loose a lot of money.

And yes, that is what this law can do. Can you imagine how easy it is for a US competitor to shut us down? Upload a file, walk to court and voila. We'll have to spend a fortune to fix the damage. This is how stupid this law is. Every cent I own is paid for by copyrights but this is NOT the way to protect them.

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But on SOPA... it's one of the worst things ever invented. Here is how it could work in relation to Aerosoft.

1) a customer wants us to do a DC3, so he writes about it and includes and DC3 picture from Airliners.net

2) Airliners.net is upset and for some reason has a bone to pick with us.

3) they go to their legal staff and have a court declaer forum.aerosoft.com a pirate site. They only got to point to a file that a customer (not us) put there to have that done. Seriously.

4) forum.aerosoft.com is taken from the DNS list (handled from the US right now) and you would not be able to get to it anymore.

5) I would wake up and find a lot of sh*t in my mailbox, we would loose a lot of money.

And yes, that is what this law can do. Can you imagine how easy it is for a US competitor to shut us down? Upload a file, walk to court and voila. We'll have to spend a fortune to fix the damage. This is how stupid this law is. Every cent I own is paid for by copyrights but this is NOT the way to protect them.

And that is exactly why I posted it here. I also pointed out those facts on another flight forum. It’s ridiculous. It’s also exactly why people who barely know how to turn on a computer should not be writing internet laws. Nor should they be foisting such travesties off onto the rest of the world on behalf of the usual “one-percenters”

Anybody with a grudge could pretty much shut down anybody else. And smaller companies could very likely be driven into bankruptcy and/or out of existence just trying to defend themselves. Please note that an amendment to this law that would have forced accusing parties to pay all court fees if it was found that their claim was erroneous was soundly rejected by the bills proponents.

Golly, I wonder why? :rolleyes:

Meanwhile, the plot thickens

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So technically they expect websites to police themselves and have a 100% detection rate to remove copyright material or get taken down.

But in reality that may not be possible, how can they expect websites to do that when the police force cant even manage a 100% success rate at catching criminals themselves, so if Hollywood etc can demand that from the government why is it that the public cannot or do not demand that of the police, because the public are reasonable and know thats just not going to happen..

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All - the SOPA bill has been withdrawn from our American Congress...indefinitely. :excellenttext_s:

Link is here

Good! But dont be fooled. Lots of powerful people with lots of big money are pushing this, and it will be back, as soon as they can get the numbers to get it passed. (Numbers they lost as several "Congress Critters" ran for cover when all the fuss started)

successbaby1.jpg

For now.

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Or maybe not. those with an interest might Google the term ACTA

And off we go again!! (sigh)

As the fight heats up, you will be seeing more about this in the news. SOPA and PIPA were defeated by the people. ACTA will create an extra-national corporate oriented organization not subject to public or judicial review, pretty much doing the same stuff.

The usual suspects are involved.

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The U.S. is pushing for broad provisions that cover import, export, and in-transit shipments."[67] Newspapers reported that the draft agreement would empower security officials at airports and other international borders to conduct random ex officio searches of laptops, MP3 players, and cellular phones for illegally downloaded or "ripped" music and movies. Travellers with infringing content would be subject to a fine and may have their devices confiscated or destroye

Nothing like isolating ones country form the rest of the world.

So like I fly from England to the U.S.A. with legally transferred music to my Iphone, I aint carrying all the documentation around just to prove I purchased it. Just another holiday destination not to go to.

Was thinking of going to visit my cousin in the states but shant bother, seems like to much hassle getting in.

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Nothing like isolating ones country form the rest of the world.

So like I fly from England to the U.S.A. with legally transferred music to my Iphone, I aint carrying all the documentation around just to prove I purchased it. Just another holiday destination not to go to.

Was thinking of going to visit my cousin in the states but shant bother, seems like to much hassle getting in.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to escape that easily. Things like this are like the blob: they slowly engulf everything.

ACTA first came to public attention in May 2008 after a discussion paper was uploaded to Wiki-leaks. After more leaks in 2009 and 2010 and denied requests for disclosure by groups such as Doctors without Borders, IP Justice, the Canadian Library Association, and the Consumers Union of Japan, the negotiating parties published an official version of the then current draft on 20 April 2010.In June 2010, a conference with "over 90 academics, practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents" concluded "that the terms of the publicly released draft of ACTA threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators." A group of 75+ law professors signed a letter to President Obama demanding that ACTA be halted and changed.

The final text was released on 15 November 2010, with English, French, and Spanish published on April 15, 2011. A signing ceremony was held on 1 October 2011 in Tokyo, with the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signing the treaty. The European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland attended but did not sign, professing support and saying they will do so in the future. Poland announced on January 19 that it will sign the treaty on January 26, 2012. A number of Polish government websites, including that of the President and Polish Parliament, were shut down by denial of service attacks that started January 21, akin to protests against SOPA and PIPA that had happened two days previous.

Keep in mind this was all negotiated secretly, with little to no oversight by the public, and the EU is balking a bit.

The European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations states that "according to documents leaked, the ACTA negotiations touch on, among other things, pending EU legislation regarding the enforcement of IPRs (COD/2005/0127 – Criminal measures aimed at assuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED-II)) and the so-called "Telecoms Package" and on existing EU legislation regarding e-commerce and data protection." The resolution furthermore states, "whereas the ongoing EU efforts to harmonize IPR enforcement measures should not be circumvented by trade negotiations which are outside the scope of normal EU decision-making processes." Also, that the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including patent, trademark, and copyright law, must be "accomplished in a manner that does not impede innovation or competition, undermine IPR limitations and personal data protection, restrict the free flow of information or unduly burden legitimate trade."

The resolution calls for the European Commission and the European Council to "grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with" the Lisbon Treaty and "Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents." In the resolution the European Parliament "deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation"

Be alert for having this abruptly railroaded through by people who will then move on to nice cozy lobbying jobs. Good luck stopping them! In the meantime, discard the notion that a little bitty ocean can protect you from the blob! :lol:

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Hello Devon,

Where does it all stop, random phone searches in the street, the right to invade and search anyones homes at any time of the day or night without warrents just to look for the odd downloded movie or music file.

Seems to me there spending good public money on ludicrous ventures instead of saving the economy.

Well we all know what people power can do once the powers to be overstep the mark.

Thats when the quiet moderates come out to bite them too.

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[quote name='Shaun Fletcher' timestamp='1327

585666' post='354470']

Hello Devon,

Where does it all stop, random phone searches in the street, the right to invade and search anyones homes at any time of the day or night without warrents just to look for the odd downloded movie or music file.

Seems to me there spending good public money on ludicrous ventures instead of saving the economy.

Well we all know what people power can do once the powers to be overstep the mark.

Thats when the quiet moderates come out to bite them too.

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I'm not sure if this is right, because I read this in a news site years ago. But by that information by UK law you are not allowed to have like movies on an iPhone even if they are transfered legally and they are subjects of checks.

I believe thats why the UK is over hauling the archiac copyright laws as it makes no sense if you already own it not to copy it onto other media that you own like Iphone MP3 players etc.

Like here.

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I believe thats why the UK is over hauling the archiac copyright laws as it makes no sense if you already own it not to copy it onto other media that you own like Iphone MP3 players etc.

Like here.

In the US the response was to block transfer between devices through the use of DRM, and then make it a crime (DMCA) to bypass that DRM or to own or sell software that allowed that.

Some regard this as a direct contravention of existing US fair-use laws, and possibly as a major contributor in the explosion of the means to circumvent these protections despite the illegality. Software that bypasses device DRM is now ubiquitous. (bringing to mind the law of unintended consequences)

Follow-on laws supplementing the DMCA have been ineffective except in possibly creating smarter pirates, hence even more draconian attempts like SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, which many believe would/will probably be far more destructive to innovative new businesses and the structure of the internet as a whole than they will ever be to their intended targets. (These laws are a sword of Damocles over the head of all cloud computing ventures, for instance)

Despite that, the rest of the world tends to follow the US lead on these issues, and if you want to know what that means, Imagine the steps necessary to transfer your Apple Store purchases to any other device should you ever elect to depart the Apple ecosystem. (I am not even sure that there is any legal way unless you rely on the increasingly undermined fair use doctrine to protect you)

The article you pointed at sounds good, but I am not sure how that can be rationalized with existing copyright agreements of which the UK is now a signatory. In fact, ACTA would seem to almost directly head some of that off at the pass. This is, (according to leaked documents) one of the main reasons the whole thing is extra-judicial, so that it remains outside of the influence of governments and citizens, and speaks almost solely to the interests of those lobbying for this legislation, in this case, big media, irregardless of other public and private interests.

http://www.guardian....tes-sign-treaty

You may have already been eaten by the Blob!

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