My Adventure in Mommyhood

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA/PIPA



This is an absolute ‘must read’ post   from the Techdirt website about SOPA.


The Hitler screaming about SOPA video that has been making the rounds is a 'meme.' Hitler has screamed about a lot of things over the years - changes in Xbox Live, et cetera


For more from Hitler on SOPA/Wikipedia Blackout/etc go here.
There is an exception in Copyright law called 'fair use.' You can use copyrighted material, to a limited degree, for several things - criticism and parody among them, (I would call the Hitler meme both criticism and parody). It remains to be seen what will happen to these types of videos  IF SOPA is ever enforced.
A couple of years back, PA passed a law where any person could call the AG's office and claim a site was hosting kiddie porn. The AG had the power to order the web host for that site to take it down. Technically, the AG had to sue to have the sites taken down, but he intimidated most site providers into taking them down without due process. As many of the websites targeted by the AG were outside of PA, (the law only applied to people and sites "living" in PA, the take downs were attempted anywhere a PA citizens complained about a  website.), the method used to cut off PA's access to alleged 'kiddie porn' sites was IP blocking. Hundreds of websites are commonly hosted using one IP address. So, blocking a single IP address took down 100's of sites that weren't accused, much less proven, of having illegal content. The AG's method of enforcing the law, using IP blocking, shut down huge parts of the Internet to PA Internet users.
When PA's law was tested in court, the court held that blocking IPs was an infringement of freedom of speech and stopped the AG's office from  enforcing the law.  SOPA/PIPA are, largely, the PA law on steroids.
SOPA or PIPA are a long way away from getting out of congress and/or getting to the president's desk for his signature. Obama has already said he doesn't support SOPA. Even if Obama signs it, it will have to face judicial scrutiny. I don't see either of these laws coming anywhere near to being upheld as constitutional. There are a couple of centuries of precedent against them.(1)
No doubt the EFF, et al will file a lawsuit seeking a TRO blocking enforcement of the laws as soon as they are signed into law. The TRO will granted and the law will wend its way through the courts for years before it makes it to the Supreme Court. Keep in mind, the responsibility for defending the constitutionality of laws lies with the United States Solicitor General, who acts on behalf of the president - a president who doesn't support SOPA/PIPA.
I would say we are, at least, five to ten years, or more, away from the law making it to the Supreme Court - if it makes it that far.
This law is one of those, "Too Bad to Be True" things that comes along every once in a great while. The bills are junk. They constitute an attempt by the RIAA/MPAA to get the US government to support their antiquated business model.
Enforcement would be a nightmare. The Internet was designed in time when there was still a real possibility of nuclear war in some politicians' fevered imagination. At the time, networking protocols were designed so that both the sending and receiving networks had to be up and running for a message to be sent or received. Using TCP/IP protocols designed by ARPA, (Advanced Research Projects Administration–i.e.; the US government), only the sending network had to be 'up'. If part of the network between the sending and receiving network was down or damaged, (as might happen in a nuclear war), TCP/IP routed the message around the damage(1) and followed whatever route was available to get to the recipient.
The Internet will see what SOPA/PIPA are doing as 'damage' and route around it. Trying to stop this will constitute a high tech version of hide and seek*. One route will be closed, the traffic will route around it, et cetera. Meanwhile, the RIAA/MPAA will be chasing right after it in a futile attempt to stop the Internet from doing what it is designed to do. And spending millions to do it. (Eventually, they will, probably, try to make a law to stop the “Internet” from using TCP/IP protocols.)
Once MPAA/RIAA has the authority, they will start shutting down websites(2), they will have to continuously chase the information around the Internet. When the power is given to a private entity, (Corporations are people, too - Mitt the Nitt), to implement any type of censorship, it will be abused. Let me say that, again, IT WILL BE ABUSED. To stifle dissent. To blackmail other companies. To prevent competition. It is incredibly naive to believe these laws will only be used to “control” online privacy.
 Considering how many people make their living off the Internet(3), this scheme is totally impractical. (Buying and selling goods and services on the Internet equals taxes paid. No matter how much their buddies at the RIAA/MPAA donate to members of congress, they aren't going to cut a source of tax revenue.) Furthermore, it will cost the RIAA/MPAA millions of dollars to do this. It's a zero sum game. One they cannot win. (Which is why they keep trying to pass these obscenely stupid laws.)
I, personally, hope they try to do it. I would love to see them spend millions of dollars trying to perpetuate a business model that has been dead for 15 years, at least.
Needless to say, this post is copyright 2012 by me. If you copy it, use it, quote it, even think about it without paying me, I will have you thrown in jail and sue you for all the money you, and your kids, will EVER have.
Just kidding. I don't think that way. But, congress does think that way… (actually congress feels any way the RIAA/MPAA tells them to feel)
Footnotes 1 through 3 are from: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111122/04254316872/definitive-post-why-sopa-protect-ip-are-bad-bad-ideas.shtml
(1)"Finally, even if you disagree with all of that, and believe that the problem is enforcement, SOPA and PIPA, won't be effective in dealing with that. The internet always has a way of routing around "damage" no matter how hard people try to stop it, and the approach put forth by these bills is a joke. It's hard to find anyone with technology skills who thinks that they will be effective. Every "blockade" has an easy path around it, and the supposed "anti-circumvention" rule in SOPA will never deal with the more obvious paths around things like DNS blocking (use a different DNS or a perfectly legal foreign VPN system)." {emphasis added}
(2)"Even worse, it appears that Universal Music also included the personal website of one of its own top artists, 50Cent. The hiphop star has a personal website as well as a website owned by Universal Music. The personal website is much more popular... and it appeared on the infringement list. Suddenly, you can see how letting companies declare what sites are dedicated to infringement can lead to them looking to stifle speech and competition."
(3)"That uncertainty has very real and quantifiable effects on jobs in this country. President Obama has noted that the internet adds approximately $2 trillion to the annual GDP (pdf). The amount of jobs created by the tech industry are massive, and represent a large percentage of all new job creation today. IDC has predicted 7.1 million new jobs and 100,000 new businesses created in the next four years from the tech sector. An astounding 3.1 million people are employed thanks to internet advertising -- jobs that simply did not exist a decade ago." {emphasis in original}
*I was going to say, "Wack-a-small, underground rodent", rather than hide and Seek. However, since I have seen the "Wack-a-small, underground rodent" game at Chuck E. Cheese, I am assuming Chuck holds a copyright on the phrase.
There is no way I want to take on that large rat, (also known as a large, above ground rodent), that works for Chuck.
You see, this is 'self-censorship.'



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