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Pt 133

Stop Internet Blacklist Legislation | Take Action | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Internet Blacklist Legislation – known as PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – is a threatening sequel to last year’s COICA Internet censorship bill.  Like its predecessor, this legislation invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users’ attempts to reach certain websites’ URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.

It gets worse: Under SOPA’s provisions, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities.  While PROTECT-IP targeted sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” SOPA targets websites that simply don’t do enough to track and police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would be enough).  And it creates new powers to shut down folks who provide tools to help users get access to the Internet the rest of the world sees (not just the “U.S. authorized version”). 
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the Senate version of the bill, taking a principled stand against a very dangerous bill. But every Senator and Representative should be opposing the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA. Contact your members of Congress today to speak out!

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We (MAKE) rarely post anything political here and we try to keep the comments non-polarizing when these topics come up – everyone is here to learn, make, share and have fun. However, I personally felt the need to get the word out about SOPA. Please feel free to discuss this the comments, the smart community here has a lot to add to this we’re sure! I’ll be in the comments to keep us all on topic, let’s be cool and productive about solutions :)

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I understand the need to protect IP (a.k.a. copyright in a fancy new age name), but you won’t get there by throwing out the baby with the bath water.

    1. “I understand the need to protect IP”
       
      You see that’s what I can’t understand for the vast majority of history of mankind there was nothing like IP/copyrights and the world didn’t fall apart and people still made money. We’ve just had the idea of IP beat into our head so long people believe it’s important. In all honestly IP a completely paradoxical idea to a FREE market system. What’s worse is IP only slows the spread and growth of a new tech in the name of making a few people more money as can be seen by this very site and other open source hardware and software sites.

      1. Anonymous says:

        You’re right and I agree with you. I wasn’t too clear. IP for me means anything that was made and sold. Like Kia cars or iPhones or music cd/records. I don’t mean to apply IP to things like one click shopping, or reverse engineering the locks on a DVD or cell phone. I want to point out that preventing me from visiting a “warez” site in no way stops pirating (pirate is a stupid term. Making a copy isn’t stealing) or would protect me or a company from having our stuff “stolen” anyway. Blocking me would only make me less safer. The “baby” was true need for copyright, and the “bathwater” was everyone’s rights.

      2. Read up some time on the white-hot, livid rage of 19th- and early-20th-century authors such as Dickens and Twain, finding that their books were being printed without their permission, and with no royalties, because the copyright laws were so easily circumvented.  Twain, especially, would often find his books printed by Canadian publishers and distributed in the U.S.A., while the ink was still wet on the first run from his publisher.

        In a real sense, this was a problem of laws and customs not keeping up with technology; printing technology in the late 19th was changing, becoming easier and cheaper, accessible to a wider audience, with smaller capital requirements … sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

        I believe the real problem with copyrights is allowing business entities to own them.

  2. We could avoid a great deal of this nonsense by requiring that copyright holders be actual human beings with a birth certificate, who actually created the work, and requiring them to expire some time (17 years, originally, IIRC) after the death of the copyright holder.

    I might be willing to support a version that allowed business entities to hold a copyright for some period, let’s say 17 years, if and only if the work was originally created as a work for hire by that business entity.

    Of course, there is not so clear a path to clearing up the patent mess…

  3. Perhaps instead of the government going after people who violate a company’s copyright, a law should be made that makes it easier for the companies themselves to do it. If they really want their ownership protected, they should pay with their own money and time to have their own employees responsible for making it happen.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.  Actually, they already do this, and the results aren’t good.  I’d rather have a non-invested and well governed entity dealing with this than mercenaries. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    We are a police state in many ways, in New York the mauor had any membors of the media within a few blocks of a peaceful protest arrested, and he ordered a no fly zone for media choppers. I think as these progests drag on, we will see more cases like this, probably of bloggers being arrested for the contest of their blogs, probably under the guise of planing an act of terrorism or something else made up.

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