Feeds

Mozilla stirs netizens against US anti-piracy law

Dancing cats take-down threat

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Mozilla is rallying netizens to take action against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), otherwise known as the internet blacklist legislation.

Mozilla's urging people to spread the word about the damage SOPA - better known as known as H.R.3261 - could cause to the internet and free speech. As well as its Protect the Internet site, Mozilla has also hooked up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to encourage US citizens to lobby members of Congress about the dangers SOPA poses to the 'net.

Mozilla, whose Firefox browser renders around a quarter of web traffic, has also signed an open letter to members of the US Judiciary Committee poring over the bill. The letter was also signed by AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga. Google chairman Eric Schmidt also blasted the proposed law as "draconian".

That letter here [PDF] warned SOPA would "seriously undermine" the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), from 1998, which safeguards websites that remove offending content in good faith.

It seems Mozilla is the only one of the letter's authors to have floated a website that actually urges action.

The letter Mozilla signed and its site come as members of the US Congress are due to conduct hearings on SOPA today, November 16, in Washington DC. In a rare display of Washington bi-partisanship, SOPA enjoys the support of members from both the Republican and Democrat parties. The bill is therefore expected to pass.

Mozilla's site warns that under SOPA whole sites could be blocked for carrying only a few infringing links; the ban would apply to a site's web, ad and search traffic using tactics Mozilla said are the same methods of censorship used by China, Iran and Syria.

The EFF, meanwhile, has warned SOPA is vague because it targets sites that "simply don't do enough to track and police infringement". A bill similar to SOPA, called the PROTECT-IP Act, has negotiated the US government's other chamber - the Senate. PROTECT-IP, EFF argues, takes a more targeted approach by aiming only at sites "dedicated to infringing activities".

Jennifer Mercurio vice President and general counsel of the US Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), however, has warned here that both bills are dangerous to the internet. She argues they will end the "fair use" provision of content online, something protected by the DMCA.

This will, for example, bring an end to one of the internet's primary uses as a mechanism for posting embarrassing videos of people and pets "dancing" to samples of copyrighted music. Also, SOPA and PROTECT-IP will prevent gamers posting videos of gameplay from protected titles such as Call of Duty.

PROTECT-IP went through the Senate earlier this year. It's likely given the way the US legislative process works that if SOPA is also passed by politicos, the acts will be combined to produce a single piece of legislation.

You can read SOPA here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.