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    SOPA will make the whole internet like WordPress.com

    SOPA will make the whole internet like WordPress.com

    Readers have been emailing me about the dangers of the Stop Online Privacy [wow, what a slip] Piracy Act but I’ve been a bit distracted.  Here’s the concern from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

    The “Stop Online Piracy Act”/”E-PARASITE Act” (SOPA) and “The PROTECT IP Act” (PIPA) are the latest in a series of bills which would create a procedure for creating (and censoring) a blacklist of websites. These bills are updated versions of the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” (COICA), which was previously blocked in the Senate. Although the bills are ostensibly aimed at reaching foreign websites dedicated to providing illegal content, their provisions would allow for removal of enormous amounts of non-infringing content including political and other speech from the Web.

    The various bills define different techniques for blocking “blacklisted” sites. Each would interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), which translates names like “www.eff.org” or “www.nytimes.com” into the IP addresses that computers use to communicate. SOPA would also allow rightsholders to force payment processors to cut off payments and advertising networks to cut ties with a site simply by sending a notice.

    I’m not in a position to agree or disagree with the concern; I just haven’t looked into it carefully enough yet.  But there are plenty of other people who are concerned, with a STOP SOPA movement growing.  Instapundit has numerous links.

    Concerns about Google unilaterally being able to shut down a Blogger blog was one of the motivations for me moving to a self-hosted platform.

    Now WordPress.com has pulled the plug on BareNakedIslam blog under pressure from CAIR.  (Note, although Legal Insurrection uses WordPress software, this blog is not hosted on WordPress.com.)

    If the claims about SOPA are accurate, then the entire internet will be like being hosted at WordPress.com, leaving politically incorrect blogs like Legal Insurrection at risk.  There will be nowhere to run.

    So out of an abundance of caution, consider me part of STOP SOPA.

    Update:  BareNakedIslam has been turned back on, Instapundit has the letter from WordPress.

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    I think we should simply drastically cut back on Copyright law. Create greater exemptions for noncommercial use of copyrighted material. Mandate forced licencing on a “most favored status” much like song writers currently must do. Reduce terms to something more manageable like 14 years. Place a property tax on copyrighted material with a minimal fee in exchange for protection. On the other end, make TV stations bid of the rights to the spectrum while opening up the bidding to other technologies like cell phones. Then and only then will we be able to get the corrupting influence of these parasites out of our system and force them to make an honest living.


     
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    LukeHandCool | December 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    OT:

    I don’t usually expect to well up with tears when I visit LI, but the Video of the Day did it to me.

    Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’ rendition was one of the songs my sister included on the DVD with pictures of our mother’s life we played at her memorial.

    It simultaneously reminds me of my mom and the hilarious semester I had in the dorm at the University of Hawaii many years ago.

    LukeHandCool (whose roomate in the dorm had an imaginary girlfriend from whom he’d type letters to himself, keeping Luke awake at night. Luke became good friends with the guy next door whose roomate had Tourette’s Syndrome, and who chewed tobacco constantly. When he talked to you, he’d spray your face with chewing tobacco whenever he yelled “First!” uncontrollably (about every five seconds). Strangers would approach Luke and his friend in the dorm cafeteria and ask them what it was like to room with the two most notorious roomates in the UH dorm system. Good times, good times).


     
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    PrincetonAl | December 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    First, the concern about the legislation is legitimate and is a classic case of a tech-illiterate Congress writing a poor piece of legislation that will morph into something far worse. Check out the articles on techcrunch.com about “Dump GoDaddy Day” — which I am in the process of doing for supporting SOPA, then refusing to oppose, and then finally opposing it once it was costing them too much money. But too late to keep my business. I encourage anyone else using GoDaddy to look at alternatives …

    Second, the power of the boycott on GoDaddy is a reminder that these things *CAN WORK*. I find the WordPress censorship problematic as well, and while not familiar with the details of the case, find it troubling in general (although it is unlikely that WordPress actions alone will generate enough interest to impact them). But something to keep an eye on for future potential actions are similar censorship issues.

    Third, I recommend Tech Liberation Front and Digital Liberty as two sites / twitter feeds for tracking tech issues. They do a good job of hitting on the techical idiocy of congress, TLF I find is especially good even if I don’t agree with them 100% all the time, they are directionally correct and on top of everything stupid that our Congress Critters are up to.

    In particular, Republican Congress Critters are very prone to backsliding in this area.

    As a lifelong technology entrepreneur, the Repubs disappoint me and by and large in this area (when they aren’t out and out worse).

    […] Blazing Cat Fur, iOwnTheWorld, American Power, 1389, Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country, Gateway Pundit, The Mad Jewess, Infidel Bloggers Alliance, Pat Dollard, E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe, Macsmind, Simon Studio Analysis, The Astute Bloggers (here too), Hill Buzz (here too), Moonbattery, The Blogmocracy, Israel Matzav, Instapundit, Answering Muslims, Born Conservative, Marooned in Marin, Waznmentobe, The Lonely Conservative, Quite Normal, Common American Journal, Conscience of a Conservative (Nelson Abdullah-Oldironsides, designer of BNI’s masthead logo), Atlas Shrugs, The Right Planet, Theo Spark, Americans Stand with Israel, Legal Insurrection […]


     
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    Henry Hawkins | December 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    In that half my income derives from contacts made through my website, I took an early interest in this. It’s a loser all around.

    At its greatest reduction, SOPA employs vague language to assign great power to governments and corporations and this is never a recipe for good legislation. Politicians and lobbyist attorneys will not limit themselves to the stated intent of eliminating piracy and rights infringement from offshore internet sources. This is a clusterfark waiting to happen. Under the guise of its stated purpose,SOPA provides avenues of censorship for anyone with just about any agenda: business sharking, governmental control (and eventual taxation), corporate warfare, limiting speech (it’s hate speech, shut ’em down!), social engineering, political biasing, etc… All you do is identify your enemy websites, concoct a SOPA offense, and go after ’em. In short order, very little actual SOPA anti-pirating action will occur – it will all be hidden agenda, chaos introduced to a currently stable business environment – the internet.

    From a Stop SOPA post at A List Apart:

    “Under SOPA, an article on NPR’s website covering the copyright dispute between Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press could be seen as supporting copyright infringement, because the article includes a JPG of Fairey’s infringing “HOPE” poster as part of its news coverage, or because the article refers passingly to Fairey’s “fair use” defense. Under SOPA, the AP could legally block the entire NPR website in response.

    But it doesn’t stop there, because this is the internet, and the internet is about connections.

    Say you blog about the NPR story and include a screen capture. Under SOPA, your website could be blocked. If your blog is a subdomain of Tumblr or WordPress, all of Tumblr or WordPress could also be blocked.

    Maybe you just post a link to the story on your Facebook wall. Under SOPA, all of Facebook can be blocked. To avoid this fate, Facebook would be responsible for policing the copyright status of every piece of content its users post.”

    [Jeffrey Zeldman, A List Apart]
    http://www.alistapart.com/articles/say-no-to-sopa/


       
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      PrincetonAl in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Spot on. Its a terrible piece of legislation, and by being vague, the sponsors can swear only “serious cases of obviously bad stuff” will be the target. And then, much later, a new bad administration will come in and find that it is useful for (a) political purposes, (b) shaking down corporations in novel and usual ways, and (c) causing mayhem for competitors of donors, etc.

      And because it doesn’t require a court case, and in the digital era whole legitimate businesses can be shutdown, the consequences are awful and the burden is on the comp

      Of course, the big boys will be OK through large contributions, etc., and a few little guys will take it on the chin in some major injustices – but since the vast majority won’t – who cares?

      But thats what these laws are always about. Opening the door to crony capitalism into an industry that is still wildly free and open and major creator of growth and opportunity. The big government statists can’t stand that, and will do anything (Net Neutrality, SOPA, Internet taxation, etc.) to stop the last great mostly free market on earth. (Forget lemonade stands, they are toast already).


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