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Senate Panel Approves Website Shut-Down Bill 390

Posted by timothy
from the best-interests-at-heart dept.
itwbennett writes "The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 19-0 in favor of a bill that would allow the Department of Justice to seek court orders to shut down websites offering materials believed to infringe copyright. 'Rogue websites are essentially digital stores selling illegal and sometimes dangerous products,' Senator Patrick Leahy, the main sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. 'If they existed in the physical world, the store would be shuttered immediately and the proprietors would be arrested. We cannot excuse the behavior because it happens online and the owners operate overseas. The Internet needs to be free — not lawless.' However, the internet will likely remain 'lawless' for a while longer, as there are only a few working days left in the congressional session and the bill is unlikely to pass through the House of Representatives in that short amount of time."
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Senate Panel Approves Website Shut-Down Bill

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  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:31PM (#34275246) Homepage

    Dear U.S. Government,
    Remember when the shit hit the fan over the U.S. Government's control over the root DNS servers a few years back?

    Welcome to part 2.

    Sincerely,
    The Rest of the World

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:41PM (#34275422) Homepage Journal

    it also matters how MUCH each person cares about each issue....that is how they prioritize such things in electing a representative.

    But in practice, it also matters that the television news organizations have a conflict of interest. On the one hand, they should present all issues and all candidates to the public, but on the other hand, they all share a corporate parent with a movie studio in the MPAA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:48PM (#34275578)

    It is amazing how often people rail against the lack of democracy in the modern world, and how few are willing to do anything about it.

    "What can we, mere peons, do?" you might ask. Well, you can start by working on the one and only hope you have: open sourcing [metagovernment.org] governance.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theskipper (461997) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:50PM (#34275630)

    Not to mention the potential of Joe jobs. Could be a brand new market segment for the cracker crowd, catering to a company's competitors. All with the blessing of our laws.

  • by MarcQuadra (129430) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:03PM (#34275842)

    There probably were folks who thought it was a bad bill, but voted for it anyway because it bought them leverage on (what they felt were) more important issues.

    I'm a bit of a state house watcher, and I've heard politicians stand up and speak against bills five minutes before voting for them. Basically, if the chairman of the committee favors something and you don't, but it's going to pass anyway, you curry favor with the chairman by letting him submit the bill to the floor with 'unanimous approval', thereby increasing the chances of getting your own issue heard by the now appeased chairman in the future. In the end, you get the same result you would have if you opposed the thing, but the next time you need something, you're more likely to get it.

    That or the HVAC might have been out. Our state legislature seems to decide completely on-the-fly that 'today is going to be the last day of session'. They typically suspend public hearings and pass 300 pieces of legislation that night. Why would you suspend public hearings and do 80% of your work on one coffee-fueled all-nighter? Well, the committee rooms don't have air conditioning, suits are really hot, and most of the legislature is a bit portly. Once the summer heat starts penetrating the marble walls, there's no stopping it until late October, so they 'go Nike' on democracy's ass and Just Do It.

  • Re:19-0? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Peristaltic (650487) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:23PM (#34276066)

    I thought the government was for the people by the people. What a fucking joke.

    No offense, but that's taking naivety awfully far.

    The fourth branch of government, corporations and banks, swing as much power as any two of the other branches. Our government has faded from a bright, hopeful experiment to one bunch of people lording it over another bunch of people- Pretty much how most "governments" have always worked throughout history. The primary difference nowadays is that the dominant group has a historically unheard of technological advantage with which to distract the peons from that reality.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:38PM (#34276298)
    That's easy: By making it 'blocked enough.' The block doesn't have to be perfect - it just has to take long enough to get around that most people wouldn't bother. Or, even more effectively, make it look like some sort of technical problem. That way people will just assume the server is down, and not even try to find a way around blocks. There just isn't a need for a perfect block.
  • Re:19-0? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:54PM (#34276484)

    The prosecution will show great potential for loss of revenue (requiring only a "rational basis" for skirting due process...

    The "prosecution" doesn't have to show "loss of revenue." It doesn't have to show that the infringer has a profit motive. NET [No Electronic Theft] Act [wikipedia.org]

    It only has to show that is acting to protect a federally granted property right.

  • Re:19-0? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sortadan (786274) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @08:24PM (#34276810)
    Not to mention that all classified documents will now have a copyright clause in the footer, so they can justify pulling the plug on wiki-leaks and others that speak out of turn.
  • by citizenr (871508) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @09:58PM (#34277576) Homepage

    "What can we, mere peons, do?" you might ask.

    Form the resistance. Decapitate senators that voted against people. Worked for France during the revolution.

  • Re:19-0? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Peristaltic (650487) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @11:44PM (#34278252)
    I know that you aren't quite sure what advantage I'm referring to. That is why I continue to use the term "naive".

    You refer to technology such as "(linux, truecrypt, ipsec vpns, etc etc etc)", implying that this is the technology that levels the field??? The vast, and I mean the overwhelmingly vast majority of Americans don't know what these things are, let alone how to use them. Let alone how to use them effectively. So, the peons are more literate than ever before, and have access to vast "stores of knowledge" via the internet? Internet access wasn't the level of technology to which I was referring. The dominant, powerful people in this nation, people who control the majority of wealth and power, have exclusive access to technology that goes a bit beyond this.

    Several examples come to mind, but one with which I have direct experience is easiest to talk about- Last year I ended a contract completing enhancements for a high-frequency trading package for a mid-sized trading house. The use of this technology, which incidentally makes use of your great equalizer, Linux, has been pulling in an incredible, I mean a whole shit load, of cash for the firm... and this is a mid-sized firm, and the software probably isn't as good as what I've heard the bigger guys use. I talk to the traders now and then- You simply would not believe how much money is being siphoned off for the benefit of a -very- small group of people. I made decent coin on this contract, but not what they make using the system. No regrets- My point is that this is just one type of very profitable manipulation made possible by -technology-, technology to which you and I do not have, and will never have, access. I know the principles and could write my own system, but would never make it out of the legal system before I was too old to use it. This type of technology alone effects an unprecedented transfer of wealth. There are many other examples, examples that are more directly malevolent that involve data gathering and surveillance on a large scale, among others.

    You "rethink" it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @11:44PM (#34278258)

    Therefore... participate in the Metagovernment project [metagovernment.org] and you can actually work on the project that will allow you to take control of your democracy.

  • Re:19-0? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by evanism (600676) on Friday November 19, 2010 @01:49AM (#34278794) Journal
    Way back in 1995 /6 I remember using altdns .... Wonderful. I see the days of a private dns springing up quite soon.
  • Re:19-0? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daath93 (1356187) on Friday November 19, 2010 @02:31AM (#34278932)

    The system works fine, the problem is there is a disconnect in reality in the mind of the voter. For the last few decades we have been telling the voter that its okay to expect the government to take care of you. Its okay to be unemployed, we will pay you to sit on your butt. Its okay to have 10 kids and not work, we will pay for each of them and give you free food and medical. its okay to let criminally insane people walk the street because we should just understand that they are sick when they are beating our brains out. Let the government fix it. Let the government fix it.

    50 years ago if Katrina had happened the people of New Orleans would have banded together and rebuilt that place better than ever 2 days after the storm. Now they sit in filth for years and wait for the government to fix it.

    These same people have been told that they need to vote certain ways to keep their entitlements going. And you, sir, are frustrated that our perfectly working system is being subverted by people who are addicted to government spending, and have been very successfully educated on how to keep that entitlement coming. Vote for the person (D or R but more stereotypically the D) who sponsors this entitlement. It works fine, its the voter who is fucked up. But its okay, the government will soon fix that too i'm sure.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sepodati (746220) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:01AM (#34279232) Homepage

    It appears you also missed the part about the "temporary" injunction, that does take the site "down entirely" before you have a chance to appear in court, this based only on an accusation.

    No, it's based on initial evidence provided to a judge who issues the order. A rubber stamping judge is a problem, but that kind of judge existing doesn't mean the bill is necessarily bad.

    You're guilty until proven innocent beyond shadow of a doubt.

    Your presumption of innocence only applies in the court. Cops don't assume your innocent when they pull you over for speeding. If you go to court, though, you have the presumption of innocence and the cop must prove you guilty.

    Also, take a look at the hoops you must jump through to get off the black-list... I wonder if GoDaddy will charge extra for "premium" blacklisted domains?

    What hoops? The bill just says the AG will "establish and publish procedures" to get removed from the list. It could be hoops or it could be as simple as a web form. There are no details.

  • Only American DNS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by munky99999 (781012) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:44AM (#34279358)
    This bill if passed only applies to american based dns records; and for non-american websites they have to goto all the isps to create the great american firewall. Long story short... everyone moves their dns records to non-american registrars and the hosted pages also. That includes every website who doesnt like the censorship. Net effect: American economy has a decent sized exodus of money(currently in USA) now leaving the country.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:37AM (#34279540)
    Why have DNS at all? Consider the DHT system that torrent programs use, that lets you find IPs that share the file without having to go through a tracker. It is in essence a distributed lookup mechanism. What is the DNS? A hierarchical lookup mechanism.

    Nobody knew about Kademlia back when DNS was set up, but now we do, and so we can build a system that doesn't need root servers nor can be easily blocked by nations who'd prefer their citizens not get their grubby paws on "subversive thought".
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:56AM (#34279882)

    The majority of the population does NOT want to see this pass, yet it made it through the Senate with NO opposition?

    It's post like these that make me wonder if people are really Americans posting. Because the Senate has a lot more than 19 people., this is just a committee. Now you can still wonder why there is no opposition in that small group, but I'm pretty sure not every Senator would vote for this when or if it comes up.

    As the article summary states it will not even make it that fat thanks to the House - an unstated reason for that is the conservative (NOT Republican) wave that swept the elections. You can bet that had liberals maintained power it would pass the house and senate easily in a full vote.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @08:45AM (#34280380)

    I'm all for whoever will do some serious sculpting on the US gov. We need to first, stop introducing laws, and second begin repealing them.

    The people in office have no incentive to sculpt the government or to repeal laws. They benefit from the system being the way it is: it gives them power and political influence.

    Any representatives you just voted in who has been spouting high-minded ideals either: 1. were lying to you or 2. will be corrupted in the next couple of years as their corrupt peers welcome them to the machine.

    Voting for Republicans or for Democrats will never solve the problem because both parties are equally invested in the system which actively works against you.

    Again, the only real hope you have is to open source [metagovernment.org] the way we do governance. Read the site, especially about collaborative governance [metagovernment.org], and give it some thought. Maybe even join in.

  • Re:19-0? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rwa2 (4391) * on Friday November 19, 2010 @09:49AM (#34280866) Homepage Journal

    Maybe I'm missing something, but how exactly do they propose to "pull the plug" on WikiLeaks, or any foreign-hosted website? Unless they put in a government-operated Great Firewall (a la China) on all links coming into the USA, it's technically impossible to block foreign websites.

    Well, the wording from TFA indicates that they would put a court order for all US ISPs to "redirect" traffic away from the affected sites. That's a lot of ISPs. Though after most ISPs get closed down for contempt of court for not filtering the internet, it won't be so many ISPs :-P

    This is just the first step. I don't think the technology is that important to the lawmakers. They're simply making it legal for them to attempt to shut down websites, via any technological means necessary. Hence, no one is really complaining much, because there's nothing really specific to attack in the wording of the law.

    The next logical step would be to make it illegal for citizens to circumvent whatever filter mechanism they use (via anonymizing international proxies, for example). Then the fun begins... it won't really matter if their pathetic technological means are ineffective.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday November 19, 2010 @11:16AM (#34281688) Homepage Journal

    Uhhh, that would be no-one

    Which did you mean by "that"? If you meant that no one buys All Things Must Pass, then why does Amazon continue to list it [amazon.com]?

    donation to a private tracker isn't paying for downloads

    The private trackers to which I refer grant early access to other torrents to people who donate.

    (as not everything on the trackers is pirated)

    I've seen plenty of private trackers whose published rules state: If it's not on NFOrce or grokMusiQ then forget it! [google.com] What on such trackers that specialize in "genuine scene releases" isn't pirated?

    and using some of your bandwidth isn't "paying".

    The private trackers to which I refer grant early access to other torrents to people who seed more. So they "pay" in share ratio to be able to access these torrents, and United States copyright law appears to define "financial gain" to include such a method of payment.

    So stop being pedantic.

    I'll stop once the mainstream entertainment industry's lawyers stop.

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