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Government The Internet United States

Law Professors vs the PROTECT IP Act 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the clean-up-your-act dept.
Freddybear writes "Along with 90 (and still counting) other Internet law and IP law professors, David Post of the Volokh Conspiracy law blog has drafted and signed a letter in opposition to Senator Leahy's 'PROTECT IP Act.' Quoting: 'The Act would allow the government to break the Internet addressing system. It requires Internet service providers, and operators of Internet name servers, to refuse to recognize Internet domains that a court considers "dedicated to infringing activities." But rather than wait until a Web site is actually judged infringing before imposing the equivalent of an Internet death penalty, the Act would allow courts to order any Internet service provider to stop recognizing the site even on a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction issued the same day the complaint is filed. Courts could issue such an order even if the owner of that domain name was never given notice that a case against it had been filed at all.'"
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Law Professors vs the PROTECT IP Act

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  • by cshark (673578) on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:42PM (#36656736)

    Yep. We're as bad as China. Just in different ways. Difference is, here in the US, we're fucking hypocrites about it.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) * on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:45PM (#36656758) Journal

    The law will provide great incentive to develop new technologies to work around it.

  • by cshark (673578) on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:58PM (#36656798)

    How is it going over the top?
    You're totally stripping due process out of the equation.
    If someone makes a living from their website, and you kill that website, you are basically killing someone.

    The metaphor is fair.
    Doesn't take a lot of imagination to see that.

  • by bmo (77928) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:10PM (#36656842)

    The difference is that blacklists are entirely voluntary.

    Also...

    Spammer spotted.

    --
    BMO - Lumber Cartel membership # 2501

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:17PM (#36656878)
    Who was it that said "where one burns books, one ultimately burns people"? What is the internet but a great giant book that everyone can write a chapter in? The comparison between censorship and murder is older than both of us.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:17PM (#36656882) Journal

    No, you're not as bad as China. You still have free political speech, which is the most basic thing - thanks to it, these professors can publish materials explaining just how bad this law is, and campaign for getting it repealed. Whereas in China, no matter what goes wrong, you can't really complain.

    This isn't to say that "PROTECT IP" act is not bad - it is - but limitations on political speech are infinitely worse in comparison.

  • by cptdondo (59460) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:20PM (#36656896) Journal

    Once you establish the precedent, you're on a slippery slope. This has been coming for a long time. A black person driving from Florida carrying a lot of cash is assumed to be a drug runner. Their car and cash are confiscated without a trial and they have to fight to get it back.

    A Hispanic person in Arizona must show ID to prove s/he is a citizen, otherwise they're assumed to be illegal.

    Now your website and your business can be taken away just on the accusation of violating some copyright somewhere.

    Ever read any of Niven's sci-fi? We're just about there. Next step, organ banks.

  • by gullevek (174152) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:44PM (#36656978) Homepage Journal

    They can still complain, because we can still read it online. But no one will listen to them, and then one day you cannot read of them anymore, because they get silently censored.

    So much for free speak in america.

    The internet is just too scary for the people in power. They see their control slipping away, so they will slowly turn it into a consume only medium like TV is.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:52PM (#36657014)

    I've never been conerced about it. It's as if I was around in a state of olbivion.

    C'mon, it was an obvious typo - don't be a sas about it.

  • by superwiz (655733) on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:53PM (#36657020) Journal
    No, not really. Their contributions to Democrats dwarf their contributions to Republicans. When was the last time LA traffic was stopped because GW Bush went to Hollywood for a fundraiser? Never. It already happened twice in the 2.5 years of Obama's administration.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @09:55PM (#36657028)

    I have NO idea, where you Americans get your definition of "socialism" from. FOX "News"?

    Because it couldn't be more wrong.

    What it actually resembles, is a fascist dictatorship. Which is what the GDR, and other so-called "socialist" states *actually* were.

    So PROTIP: Just because those countries called themselves "socialist" or "communist", doesn't mean they were.
    Just like if someone called the USA (or many, many other countries) "democratic". You would laugh at him for being so delusional.

    It's fascism. The merger of industry and government. Resulting in the law of the jungle. Aka. the "free market".

    Why can 300 million people (or 500 in the EU) not crush a few thousand (yes, it's not more, no matter how bit they make themselves look) terrorists? (I mean the MAFIAA aka. "Big Content". They are terrorizing people for their own gains. Which is the actual definition of "terrorism".)

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 04, 2011 @10:26PM (#36657166) Homepage Journal

    No, you're not as bad as China. You still have free political speech, which is the most basic thing

    Until your political opponents accuse you of infringement on questionable grounds and get your domain blocked.

  • by zblack_eagle (971870) on Monday July 04, 2011 @10:41PM (#36657226)

    I think the "Freedom of Speech" became freedom to make noise some time ago. There's a lot more noise going on than speech these days, or at least that's what gets the attention of people. Bread and Circuses and Two Minutes' Hate for everybody!

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday July 04, 2011 @10:51PM (#36657266) Homepage Journal

    Stupid bills that want to become stupid laws, but are defeated, are just reintroduced in the following legislative session, usually as a rider on some other, far more important bill. Or, possibly even worse, the bill is defeated repeatedly, until something like ACTA is signed as a treaty.

    Stupid bills never just go away, their authors just get sneaky about pushing the thing through the legislative body in some other fashion.

  • Constitution? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by currently_awake (1248758) on Monday July 04, 2011 @11:05PM (#36657334)
    I believe there is a section of the US constitution that prohibits punishing people without a trial. I realize that's a depreciated api but it's still worth noting that prior versions of us gov allowed such functions.
  • by Bengie (1121981) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @12:51AM (#36657700)

    Sounds great on paper. But now you need to spend thousands of dollars to sue someone for a $5 website that you did in your spare time. And you have to take off from work and the most you'll get out of losing a half-years and getting fired for missing so much work, is your web-site is eventually brought back up after it's no longer useful and can no longer afford the $5/month because you no longer have a job.

    yeah... great system. Any other great ideas?

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:03AM (#36657750) Homepage

    I think you don't really get it. The law professors don't give a crap an about music linking sites, they care about political speech sites.

    Don't think it affects political speech, please wait 6 months after a complaint is filed, after spending thousands on lawyers and legal fees, to prove in court that you web site did not have infringing music, a paragraph from a book, plagiarised, shared an idea etc. etc and was only about politics and is original work. Oh yes, than rinse and repeat was the case is dropped as the new case is filed. You think for a second that corrupt corporations via insane right wing politics wont seek to pull that crap on every popular web site that challenges their bull shit.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:15AM (#36657976)
    I'm sure the Church of Scientology loves the idea, given their history of suing their critics for copyright infringement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:17AM (#36657982)

    And then you sue them for libel and get it unblocked

    Haven't you heard of being swiftboated? A number of liars got up and lied in order to directly harm John Kerry by calling him a coward who lied to get a medal. You do that close enough to a vote, and the truth doesn't matter. By the time you've sorted out the mess, you've lost. And if you prosecute them after, then you are a sore loser.

    Or is it only a bad thing if the Democrats do something but when the Republicans engage in a conspiracy to rob the Democratic office in some hotel or commit fraudulent libel, that's OK because the Democrats deserve it?

  • by aevan (903814) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @04:07AM (#36658380)
    I'd imagine the point was suing takes time and is after the fact and damages are done. Winning in court might net you cash (if it amounts to more than the legal costs), but won't necessarily clear your name, or even be equivalent to the damages. Think there is an old saying about 'a lie has walked many miles while the truth is still putting its boots on'.

    Being silenced at a crucial point might not be recoverable from; setting up alternate websites would be near pointless if you're being specifically targeted and the blocking takes effect near instantly.

    In this instance, believe AC is inferring that a presidential candidate lost his chance to being elected due to being slandered en masse. Any attempting to sue would just end up making matters worse for him, being seen as sour grapes.

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