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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Regarding: "Stop Online Piracy Act" that everybodyscreams about...
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Re: [vox] Regarding: "Stop Online Piracy Act" that everybodyscreams about...



On 11/22/2011 08:41 PM, Mikies Runs Baal wrote:
> Heya Bill,
> 
> Besides me, has anyone bothered to d/l and read the actual bill to find 
> out IF and WHAT the hubris is actually about.

I've not read it, care to summarize?  I found this link but no idea how
biased it is:
http://mashable.com/2011/11/16/sopa-infographic/

The large content industry is pushing to make the world police
themselves (at their cost) to increase their profits.  So they are
trying to side step the justice systems, don't want to have to prove
anything, and want unlimited powers to help make it cheap/easy to
extract money from everyone.

So they often make many assumptions along the lines of:
* filenames == content, so titanic.mp4 is something they own, the IP's
  connection should be terminated and a $5k bill should be sent with a
  threat of $50-$100k of legal fees.  If it turns out it's my daughter
  wearing a huge hate I'm just out of luck.
* any contesting of their allegations by refusing the extortion letter
  should result in confiscation of all computers and media within the
  household
* IP address is person, and doesn't need to be proved and is the basis
  for legal action.

This has numerous bad effects:
* It's no longer feasible to offer free/open wifi, even within ones own
  home.  God forbid you have a social event in/near you own and don't
  audit every incoming/outgoing packet.
* Large businesses can censor content
* Various security problems can trigger the permanent
  loss of internet connectivity and large legal bills.

I thought the DMCA was a pretty good approach, anyone can file a DMCA
violation, the accused can defend themselves, and there's a severe
penalty for abusing/ignoring the response for either party.  Large
companies did try to censor various things (a DMCA take down without
justification) and paid heavy penalties.

But of course that was too arduous, so now they circumvent the DMCA and
instead send extortion letters and abuse the legal so much that many
judges have spoken out about the abuses.

Without having read it, it seems to have all the bad signs of numerous
other pieces of proposed and accepted laws/acts.   The Business Software
Alliance (Dell, Microsoft, and Apple among others) are against it.  Not
the typical collection of "porn and illegal activities".

Digging a bit further I see Google, Yahoo, facebook, twitter, reedit,
linked in, ebay, mozilla, wikimedia, EFF, ACLU, and Human Rights Watch
are all against it.

One good quote from "Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property
and Social Justice at the Howard University School of Law"

  "Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the bill is that the conduct it
  would criminalize is so poorly defined. While on its face the bill
  seems to attempt to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial
  conduct...in actuality the bill not only fails to accomplish this
  but, because of its lack of concrete definitions, it potentially
  criminalizes conduct that is currently permitted under the law."

> Seems to me that the major screamers are the ones hosting porn sites and 
> other illegal activities.

Heh, well politicians seem to want a magic button to block evil, the
reality is that such a system can be abused and that the rights of the
accuser needs to be balanced with the rights of the accused.  Basically
it looks like just an unfair DMCA that doesn't have an appeal process.

There's nothing about actually condoning piracy, just a few complaints
even if it's just a few pieces of content among millions could block a
website.  Except it's not really blocking, just removing dns entries....
which is what dnssec is designed to protect against.

Basically it looks like semi-automated censorship that favors companies
like the RIAA/MPAA at the cost of all other companies and individuals on
the internet.

Should amazon.com be shut down because one of a million books is listed
by a reseller that doesn't have the rights?  Facebook because you can
recognize the music playing in the background while a dog does something
amusing?  Should large businesses be able to remove smaller competitors
from DNS?  What is wrong with the DMCA and related laws against selling
illegal products?
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