I hinted at this piece of legislation in the thread about the government and internet privacy.
This is basically a retry of an earlier bill, the Protect IP Act which itself is a version of an earlier bill, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). Both were geared at trying to grant the government broader powers in combating piracy. Accordingly it garnered the support of various corporations, typically in the media realm.
In its current form, the Stop Internet Piracy Act give expanded power for government to pursue copyright infringement claims. This will allow prosecution to be pressed on those who remove the offending content before being informed.
In particular one worrying aspect is the power it grants to prosecute sites themselves. The Justice department would seemingly be able to issue demands to DNS providers and search engines to essentially render offending sites invisible.
Now of course the backers of the bill say it won't due anything to free speech and harp on a familiar tone in American politics- it will save and protect American jobs and ingenuity. This, coupled with the US's recent blasting of China and Russia in stealing American innovation that according to them hurts the economy, the rhetoric of acts like this being solely a security and economic concern is ramped up.
That is made evidently clear in the drafts of the bill currently working its way through Congress. The House Bill for example is subtitled with "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes."
Of course like the Three-Strikes Laws that countries like New Zealand has passed, the drive behind all these proposals have been from media and corporate interests seeking to clamp down on piracy. The US as has been shown had a hand in having these laws passed in other countries. Arguably though such measures could be used by the Department of Justice to clamp down on certain unsavory sites- like Wikileaks- or targeting small political groups domestically on charges of radicalism. In the US's partners in the third world of course, it could help clam down on anti-government forces.
Other articles on the issue:
Victim of Forgotten HopeForum bystander
26th April 2004
Artists get so little out of albums sold, it's only to protect huge music corporations. Those corporations are stuck with 20th Century marketing and distributing, thus they have to use desperate means now and a lot of lobbying.
I think the only industry genuinely harmed by piracy is gaming, but hey look at what Valve has innovated with Steam. It has moved to a new century and is making profit. These music corporations should try the same.
There are ridiculous examples of how pensioners were prosecuted after someone with dynamic IP downloaded music from the Internet.
People have to pay private copying levy to these corporations for each CD, cassette, external HDD, blue-ray etc. made. Music industry has no shame, they're trying to get a new levy for them, over 1 euro for each metre of Ethernet cable produced.
Considering the term "theft". Definition should be stealing something from someone. Well, copying 0s and 1s on your personal PC is not taking something away from someone. How can someone equate copy pasteing files on your PC to snatching a 50 dollar note from a granny?
Strict copyright laws and patent trolling have never been decisive for creativity or entrepreneurship. Truly liberal market economy wouldn't need such regulation from the state's part. Other factors would benefit both customers and corporations.
27th July 2004
This is a personal opinion:
Any media that you have garnered using legal means should be legal to download as a duplicate, digital copy by any person who STILL owns the legal product. If a person (the seeder) is seeding a copy that they have illegally acquired, then it should only be the seeder who is punished in this case. If the seeded copy is legal, then only those who own a legal copy should be allowed to download it without consequence. Of course this is impossible to regulate, but that's my moral standing on it.
Of course an exception to this rule is an uncopyrighted or unpatented material and media, this would bear no consequences to either party and will be legal in any case, exception being that the payload of the material is illegal and/or malicious.
15th September 2004
More corporate lobbying to get the govt to regulate things in the name of IP protection. Great. :rolleyes:
Piracy is bad, but draconian solutions are worse.
Yeah, I agree. Some of the crazy stuff that has been working through legal channels to 'combat' piracy just seem so overreaching at times. In my opinion it has really made it inconvenient for a lot of people who buy their games legitimately. I admit I do 'torrent' my own share of games, but the majority of them I own. A lot of those I've torrented I end up buying later if I really like it. Steam and other expansions in digital distribution has been really good in this regard for me, though they've been packing it with DRM, internet authentication, and other shit now.
I also worry about the other applications of the law with it giving power to act directly against domains to remove offending sites from search listings and what not. I doubt it'll solely be used against those infringing against copyright laws in this nation.
Some engineers, including one of the co-creators of the ARPANET protocols, have signed and submitted a letter to the subcommittee handling this particular bill. Unfortunately while they side with copyright protection, they also point out that the bill's intent to 'filter' DNS is unfeasible and will create more harm than good.
This comes as the bill begins to be discussed in the house. For those of you who use firefox, you'll notice that mozilla.org has a splash right now referencing this bill.
(Couldn't find a title)
14th February 2007
Terrible Bill. I hope It fails!
(Couldn't find a title)
14th February 2007
How Did It Go?
I'm trying to gauge the possibility of such a bill going anywhere. The Senate counterpart (Protect IP) got stalled when it came up, though the House counterpart here (Stop Online Internet Piracy) managed to get to the floor for debate. The 'internets' as it were is crediting a senator Wyden from Oregon for being behind the drive in Congress to shoot down the bill and prevent its passage.
Techdirt has a piece out right now detailing the attempts by Representatives Lamar Smith (Texas) and John Conyers (Michigan) to get delegates from their states and party to go along with the bill. According to a copy acquired by them, they have now attached to it that it 'protects the troops'.
The main sponsors of SOPA, Reps. Lamar Smith and John Conyers, are taking political cynicism to new and extreme levels. We've certainly joked about how politicians love to put things like "for the children" or "to save jobs!" on every piece of legislation, because no one wants to be called out for being "against" those things. But now they're simply attaching things that have absolutely nothing to do with SOPA to SOPA... such as claiming that it "protects the troops." That link is to a PDF of a leter sent by Smith and Conyers to their colleagues in Congress, with the headline:
Promote Jobs and Economic Growth: Protect Consumers and Our Troops - Support H.R. 3261
(Amusingly, the URL of that letter also says "Rouge Websites" rather than "Rogue Websites" -- a mistake that lots of folks make, but you'd really expect a bit better of Congress.)
So what does SOPA have to do with the troops? Well, they try to stretch the bill by noting the following:
Trafficking in counterfeit military goods -- H.R. 3261 creates a strong deterrent to those who knowingly risk the lives of members of our armed forces and law enforcement by significantly increasing criminal penalties on those who knowingly traffic in counterfeit military goods or goods sold to law enforcement.
Um. Sorry, but it's already very much against the law to sell counterfeit military goods. SOPA changes nothing there, and certainly won't deter anyone. This is just the ultimate cynical ploy by some Congressional Representatives who appear to have no shame at all, trampling on the good name of our military to pass a bailout bill for Hollywood.
Hell, even the "jobs" claim is bogus. The entertainment industry isn't losing jobs because of "piracy." It's losing jobs because its out-of-touch management hasn't figured out how to adapt to a changing marketplace. Instead, we're seeing tons of innovation and new jobs -- including jobs and innovative tools for content creators come out of the tech industry -- the same industry this bill seeks to regulate, which will significantly slow innovation and job creation.
SCHOFIELD DID 4/30
10th August 2004
And for a philosophiculz conversation on the bill, the Pub as it for you here: