Opposition to SOPA mounting as Google, Facebook link arms
Tech giants and freedom fighters friend each other
An MPAA-backed bill designed to let rights-holders block Websites on the accusation of copyright infringement has drawn the ire of Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, eBay, Twitter, LinkedIn, Zynga and others.
According to Bloomberg, AFP, and others, the Stop Online Piracy Act would expose “law-abiding” US tech firms to “uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of Websites,” the firms have stated in a joint letter to the House and Senate judiciary committee.
Stating that the bill as it now stands would even pose a cybersecurity risk, the joint letter says “we cannot support these bills as written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting.”
The bill’s explanatory note says SOPA would create a process under which the US Attorney-General would seek a cease-and-desist court order against domain registrants or site “committing or facilitating online piracy”.
However, the bill also gives new rights to copyright holders. In a model apparently copied from the Wikileaks payment blockade, rights-holders could demand that “payment network providers or Internet advertising services” suspend services to “an identified site”, with the targeted site then required to defend itself via counter-notices.
Moreover, SOPA appears to include an attempt to white-ant existing safe-harbour laws: service providers, payment networks, advertisers, advertising services, search engines, domain registrars, and domain registries are only indemnified if they “take actions required by this Act”, or cut off services to accused pirates voluntarily.
According to Bloomberg, David Sohn of the Center for Democracy and Technology believes the vague wording of the bill would put legitimate Websites at risk merely for allowing users to post comments, post blogs, or share video.
Also weighing into the row is digital freedom group Access, which along with a host of anti-censorship groups from around the world, has written to the judiciary committee criticizing the bill.
Their letter says SOPA “puts the interests of rightsholders ahead of the rights of society” and would pressure “private companies to monitor the actions of innocent users”.
“Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource,” the Access letter states. “This is as unacceptable to the international community as it would be if a foreign country were to impose similar measures on the United States.”
Furthermore, Access states, the cumbersome process embodied in the bill would also leave reinstatement of an accused Website to the discretion of the likes of Google and domain registries, “robbing online companies of a stable business environment and creating a climate where free speech is subject to the whims of private actors”. ®
"... the targeted site then required to defend itself via counter-notices."
Gone are the days of innocent until proven guilty (in an appropriate court of law). Now you can have punitive action taken against you ON SUSPICION of copyright infringement.
How hard would it be to create a new Internet which the US Government can't get their grubby, egotistical hands on? (Could even be IPv6 from the start to take advantage of the inevitable collapse of the USGov's Interwebz and ensuing public/commercial panic).
Go for it...
And when these rights holders decide to jump on the "orphan content" bandwagon... well, let's just say things could get interesting indeed - screw you if you think you're gonna take my content, pretend you don't know its origin (or can't be assed to find out) and use it without paying me the billions it is worth (your own examples).
SOPA - and Canada
From the Toronto Star:
Geist: U.S. could claim millions of Canadian domain names in piracy battle
"First, it defines a “domestic domain name” as a domain name “that is registered or assigned by a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority, that is located within a judicial district of the United States.” Since every dot-com, dot-net and dot-org domain is managed by a domain name registry in the U.S., the law effectively asserts jurisdiction over tens of millions of domain names regardless of where the registrant actually resides.
Second, it defines “domestic Internet Protocol addresses” — the numeric strings that constitute the actual address of a website or Internet connection — as “an Internet Protocol address for which the corresponding Internet Protocol allocation entity is located within a judicial district of the United States.”
Yet IP addresses are allocated by regional organizations, not national ones. The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the Americas Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada and 20 Caribbean nations. This bill treats all IP addresses in this region as domestic for U.S. law purposes.
To put this in context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes."