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Government Censorship Piracy Your Rights Online

House Panel Moving Forward With SOPA 206

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the freedom-is-overrated-anyway dept.
itwbennett writes "The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a debate and vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act for later this week. Representative Lamar Smith, the committee chairman and main sponsor of the bill, will offer an amendment that is meant to address some concerns with the bill. Smith's proposed amendment would clarify that the bill applies only to foreign websites, not U.S. sites, accused of aiding copyright infringement."
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House Panel Moving Forward With SOPA

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  • Fuck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:09AM (#38354034)
    That.
  • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:10AM (#38354044) Homepage Journal
    its ok when the US law affect only to other countries? The only Web 2.0 sites in the world can only be from US now?
  • DOH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:11AM (#38354054)
    "We will only censor foreign websites, we promise!" does not make the proposal any better. Their are no nationality of a website on the Internet, a website is a part of the Internet, no matter where it is hosted.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:13AM (#38354076) Homepage

    Even during an election year, when the bill before Congress gives rights to wealthy corporations and takes them away from citizens, that's a sure way to win overwhelming bipartisan support. It's one of the effects of government by bribery that we currently have.

  • Re:DOH! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:24AM (#38354142)

    Their are no nationality of a website on the Internet

    Thus explaining why I go to so many Chinese-language websites. The truth is that there most certainly are national borders on the web and on the Internet, but the borders are not as arbitrary as the borders on a world map. Borders on the Internet are formed by the identity of groups of people, who are brought together by common cultures, common languages, common needs, etc.

    Otherwise I agree, SOPA is so anti-American that any congressman who votes for it should face impeachment proceedings.

  • Re:DOH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:28AM (#38354168) Homepage Journal

    a website is a part of the Internet, no matter where it is hosted.

    "A country is part of the world, no matter where it is situated". By your logic, different nations shouldn't exist. It's a nice idea of course, but reality kind of gets in the way.

    If anything the fact that sites are not located in the US should be what makes it impossible for them to do anything - apart from create something akin to China's "Great Firewall". If they want to stop people using US owned domains then fine, but they'd better not try to start taking down .ru sites etc.

    Note that I don't even agree with Copyright infringment, but neither do I agree with these clowns.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:28AM (#38354170)

    You can only complain if you've tried to make your voice heard:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/12/fight-blacklist-toolkit-anti-sopa-activists

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:30AM (#38354194)

    How long before the majority of the Slashdot crowd gets on board with limited Constitutional government and stops supporting liberals just because they're occasionally expanding an "acceptable" part of government? Give a politician an inch and they'll bend you over and give you 10. The only way to remain free is to slap down anything they don't have the authority to do. If we really need it, then we need an amendment saying so. Otherwise, make them stick to the enumerated powers and made them side with freedom over lobbyist bribes.

    Also, when your favorite politician is advocating some new expansion of government power, ask yourself if you'll be so happy when this new power is wielded by the other side. Listen to our Founding Fathers: the only way to be free is not tempt men with power. Historically, government is an oppressor and everything it does should be treated with suspicion or you deserve what you get.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:35AM (#38354232)

    "I think we should tax the incomes of foreigners living and working abroad!"

    That should go down well with domestic voters . . .

  • by ledow (319597) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:35AM (#38354240) Homepage

    Actually, all that will happen is that the US has built exactly what they've been decrying about the Chinese Internet for so long - only the US will be blocked from accessing those sites and they'll carry on being hosted in foreign countries just as before. It's a "Great Firewall of US" instead, that's all. And the feature creep from piracy to other undesirable things is *exactly* what the Chinese do to block sites that disagree with their regime (up to and including Google for mentioning democracy, for example). And who manages those lists? And how hard would it be to put Wikileaks on it, or any site that discloses "secret" details of Guantanamo Bay etc.?

    You still won't be able to shut down anything operating outside the US (hosting, domains, or internet access) and it will still carry on regardless, just that the US won't easily "see" it. It's an all-ways-lose for the US, really, trying to box its citizens off from the real world like China does.

    The US "pirates" won't suffer (they'll just download from somewhere else, or find a way to join the same downloads bypassing the filters, or buy a VPN in China with Bitcoins), the non-US "pirates" won't suffer at all, the "pirate" sites will lose a few users but also a whole lot of hassle (if the US people can't see the sites like AllOfMP3 that worked by having Russian music-industry licenses anyway, then what's to sue over?) and also still can't be brought to stand in court in the US unless something very serious has been done and they are extradited, and the music/movie industries get the law they've always wanted (and still there'll be no change to overall piracy levels).

    The burden of complying will push content providers out of the US (because now they HAVE to filter everything and Google already fled China once because of the cost of that) and that would include everything from international ad networks to search engines to payment methods (you think Paypal.com would be affected if Paypal's EU bank was doing business with SOPA "offenders"? They'd either partition the company, or just stop trading in one or the other, both options of which hurt the business and customer).

    And eventually, someone will realise that they can't go onto site X because it's been added to the list and has nothing to do with piracy (e.g. like the Australian filter list did, where perfectly innocent businesses were filtered for no reason), and that the movie/music industry are STILL claiming the same levels of piracy (so the law did nothing) - like they are in New Zealand at the moment - and that they have similar human rights as regards accessing an Internet as the Chinese do. And then it'll make the news one day, get blown out of all proportion, get thoroughly revoked and never mentioned again and people will carry on their lives.

    I'll say it again - the US is one of the least "free" places I've ever been to.

  • Re:DOH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imakemusic (1164993) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:54AM (#38354430)

    Borders on the Internet are formed by the identity of groups of people, who are brought together by common cultures, common languages, common needs, etc.

    As opposed to being formed by nationality. This is why me (a Brit) and you (I'm going to guess an American though you might not be and that would help prove my point) are having this conversation.

  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:57AM (#38354456) Homepage Journal
    American citizens thinks that doing this is wrong, so US will apply it to other people, in other countries, or in outside territories... Torture, or put in prison without trial is ok if done in guantanamo, people that complain against government/stablishment should be protected unless is in US, and only our voters need to have human rights. Heck, how loud are the US complains when other countries filter or censors the internet communication, but this time is ok because the bosses of the ones that are in the government say that their properties are being hurt outside.
  • by jpapon (1877296) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:58AM (#38354480) Journal

    I'll say it again - the US is one of the least "free" places I've ever been to.

    I don't know where you've been, but this seems like hyperbole to me. What countries have you been to that are so much more "free" than the USA, and what freedoms do you have in them that you don't have in the USA?

  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:04AM (#38354542)
    Correction.. Especially during an election year. The largest crowd of voters is the group most easily manipulated by a combination of advertisements and the media. Taking money from said media to get biased news coverage, and applying that money towards your own commercials is getting free votes, The voting population won't know what rights they are giving away, because the media doesn't have to cover it. To top it off, when this bill gets signed, it may also put a huge dent in independent online news. "I suspect that Slashdot is plagiarizing our CNN tech site as they both reported on the same topic". Once that goes on they can start systematically shutting down competing news sources, which in turn lets them mask who is doing it in their normal reporting etc...
  • by fedos (150319) <allen,bouchard&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:10AM (#38354604) Homepage

    How long before the majority of the Slashdot crowd ... stops supporting liberals

    You fail. Lamar Smith, the sponsor of this bill is a conservative. The truth is that both liberal and conservative congressional members routinely support draconian copyright laws that give huge amounts of power to large corporations. Snap out of the "small government" brainwashing and realize that the real fight is between those who want to give unlimited power to corporations, who make up almost the entirety of the Republican party plus a good amount of the Democratic party, and those who support protecting consumers from predatory behavior.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:17AM (#38354656) Homepage
    Too much hyperbole from the people against this bill. It sounds like the ramblings of a madman, or some conspiracy nut. What it's going to allow them to do is take down access to sites like The Pirate Bay that are "dedicated" (this word appears a lot in the wikipedia article) to copyright infringement. It's not going to be used to take down legitimate sites. You can twist the words in the law to make that possible, but no judge is going to take down legitimate sites because somebody posted a single copyrighted item on them which was promptly removed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:24AM (#38354722)

    I'll say it again - the US is one of the least "free" places I've ever been to.

    I don't know where you've been, but this seems like hyperbole to me. What countries have you been to that are so much more "free" than the USA, and what freedoms do you have in them that you don't have in the USA?

    Most of Europe for instance. ;)

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:54AM (#38355110) Homepage

    Ok, I'm feeling your angst, but your arguments make little sense. First, SOPA isn't law. It hasn't gotten through committee, let alone gotten to the full House, let alone been passed by both houses and signed into law. There's lots of objections to this law, many from some heavy hitters with lots of lobbyists. Its passage is far from assured. You've setup a large series of events in your prediction, but the first stone hasn't even been cast.

    Your assertions that the US is least "free" pace you've ever been indicates a serious lack of travel (I've been to far worse places). Much also depends on how you define "free". For instance: I love Germany. I've been there twice, enjoyed the Hell out it, think the health care system is great, find their attitude on things like sex, food, drink, and body image refreshing. It's also very clearly a "free" country by most reasonable definitions of the word. On the other hand, they have some severe restrictions on certain areas of speech. You practically can't mentions Nazis (I'm exaggerating a bit, but not much). Weapons laws are much more restrictive than in the US (Not a big deal for me, but I have friends who would find this onerous). I also recall a recent article about the German Government installing spyware on people's computers as they cross the border.

    Is Germany "more free" than the US? In some ways yes, in some ways no. The thing is, as Americans, we see the problems in our system much more prominently. To an extent, due to the influence of the US on world politics, even non-Americans see those problems more prominently. I'm not saying that the US is the best place to live on Earth; I haven't been everywhere for one thing, and I can't deny that I wouldn't mind living in Europe or Canada for a time at least. On the other hand the US is hardly an awful place to live. There are far far less free places out there, and far far worse situations to be in. Of course, we should fight things like this wherever we can to maintain (or even improve) that situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:07AM (#38355260)

    Banks won't let you hide your face and Health and Safety require cleanliness in the clothing for caterers. Both require that some religious clothes are not allowed.

    Whereas the USA has Free Speech Zones.

    You're only allowed to travel in the USA as long as you're not on the travel watchlist which you're not allowed to see or correct.

    And in many states in the USA you have a lot of hassle to try (and fail) to carry firearms.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:16AM (#38355354)
    Part of the problem is they are essentially outsourcing the decision making, giving private companies a big piece in the say regarding what a legitimate site is and what is not. It is also structured in such a way that site owners do not have a very good mechanism for challenging a shutdown, in fact they might not even have standing since people in other countries do not always have access to the US legal system. So there is very little reason to apply any real standards to what gets shut down and given how badly abused the DCMA's takedown notice has been it is not that much of a leap to picture this law being used the same way.

    So even if the law is well intentioned and billed as being used only against dedicated sites, it can and will be abused due to its low barrier of review and high barrier for defense.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:20AM (#38355398)

    The 44 cents in postage I would waste would pale in comparison to the $68,000 the media industry donated to my representative last year.

  • by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:27AM (#38355500)
    Who said anything about a judge? That's one of the major problems with this bill. It lets rights holders cut off funding to any site accused of copyright infringement without having to go through the courts. That's exactly what Hollywood wants to avoid. The legal system is actually starting to get wise to the sheer idiocy of their anti-piracy legal cases, so they're going around it.

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