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Censorship Your Rights Online

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Speaks Out On SOPA 188

natecochrane writes "Father of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee called for Americans to protest SOPA and PIPA, laws he says violate human rights and are unfit for a democratic country. Sir Tim's condemnation came on the day an editorial in Australia's leading broadsheet newspapers pointed out that although the laws ostensibly applied to U.S. interests they could overreach to impact those in other countries."
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Speaks Out On SOPA

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  • The Joke's on Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:21PM (#38751642)

    "an editorial in Australia's leading broadsheet newspapers pointed out that although the laws ostensibly applied to US interests they could overreach to impact those in other countries."

    The laws were written specifically for that purpose. They have clauses that (supposedly) prevent them being used on US sites and site owners. What's left? The rest of the world!

    That's why it disgusted me every time I saw someone overseas saying to get this junk off their news sites because it didn't apply to them.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:30PM (#38751790)
    Freedom of communication, speech, association, congregation are not human rights?
  • And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by echo_kmem (982727) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:30PM (#38751794)
    All these voices coming out against these Bills, yet the Congress and Senate still push as if they really have a shot.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:33PM (#38751826)
    They do "have a shot". We the people get no real say in what bills get passed or not. Best we can do is vote the current person out of office, at which point they get a cushy job in the industry they represented and a new industry spokesperson takes their place.

    So long as corporations are "people" (which if they are, wouldn't buying stocks be slavery?) and money is "free speech" there's not much we can do about it.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:38PM (#38751884) Homepage

    Increasingly, "democracies" are passing all sorts of stuff which is repugnant the tradition of liberty:

    -Panopticon street cameras in England
    -Patriot Act in the US
    -Web censorship and the RIM affair in India

    What's needed is an emphasis on "liberal democracies", democracies that promote (classical) liberal values.

  • by MoldySpore (1280634) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:39PM (#38751900)
    This is an extremely fitting description of why the bill shouldn't passed, considering that it will put us under the same umbrella as Iran, China, and Syria...at least when it comes to the DNS blocking part of the bills and internet censorship in general if SOPA/PIPA are passed
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@NosPAm.laurencemartin.org> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:41PM (#38751936)

    The problem is The Internet is rapidly becoming the best way to get The Word out.

    i can see in our lifetimes as different government services go online it becoming almost impossible to do anything of real value without being online somehow.

    we are even now seeing places that have job applications only online and some jobs also require you to already have a phone with text messaging.

    wanna be forced offline (because you have been blackballed due to being a dirty thieving pirate) in a world where business offices either 1 have 5 hour lines just to see anybody 2 are only open Mon-Wed from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm (with a semi random 45 minute Lunch) 3 some combo of both

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:44PM (#38751970)
    A limitation on the means of exercising a right is a limitation on the right. Saying you have the right to free speech, but not the right to exercise that right is silly.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:46PM (#38751988)

    Don't be so quick to resort to the usual (and frankly, warranted) pessimism. Yesterday may have been a pivotal moment when the power of the technical community was finally realized. Multiple senators dropped their sponsorship of PIPA. My senators' phone lines were busy all day long. While it's certainly a possibility that everything will return to business as usual, we finally saw a glimmer of the numbers of the masses overwhelming the influence of the money of the few. We have so few other avenues left, so we might as well see if this can effect real change.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:49PM (#38752024)
    We'll know next week when it gets voted on. But even if the bill's get defeated, they will just be tweaked and resubmitted. This will be an ongoing issue that will require massive amounts of vigilance. Many bills are not even read before being voted on. If SOPA/PIPA get renamed "the blankets and apple pie for war orphans" bills we may be in trouble.
  • by spagthorpe (111133) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:55PM (#38752100)

    ...is his first mistake. Once you realize that the country is run by corporate overlords, it all makes perfect sense.

    I expect this round of the bill will get shot down. Then someone will attach it as a rider to some BS terrorist or child pr0n bill later in the year with little media coverage.

  • by Ice Tiger (10883) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:03PM (#38752184)

    Except when the blocking mechanism is to remove say slashdot.org from DNS.

  • by alendit (1454311) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:09PM (#38752254)

    "Tell me, Mr. Anderson... what good is a phone call... if you're unable to speak?"

    No rights were violated, they just took the means to exercise them...

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:12PM (#38752288)
    People who continously argued over the years that game DRM services like Steam (or SecuROM, or EA newcomer "Origin") were "harmless" anti-piracy measures or even - gasp - "just great, so easy to use!" can now rejoice. Once SOPA/PIPA, and then SOPA/PIPA 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 get passed, using the ENTIRE INTERNET will VERY MUCH become like being permantently trapped in a walled garden like Steam, or iTunes. Today's "wild" internet will then, over the years, become a distant memory, like 8 track tapes or Polaroid film. Of course 50% or so of the internet's population will then walk away from the NET entirely, because there's nothing interesting on it anymore. And content companies/dotcoms/stock markets will now PANIC that people are LEAVING the internet. But that shouldn't stop a nice bill like SOPA or PIPA and EVEN STRICTER LEGISLATION THAT WILL ALMOST SURELY FOLLOW THEM. Go on. Pass these stupid bills. See what happens to the Internet as a result.
  • by smartr (1035324) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:32PM (#38752528)
    So if we shut down television, radio, and all digital networks - we haven't violated free speech, because people can still speak. If we ban printing presses, we haven't violated free speech because people can still speak. If we ban all writing and recordings, because recorded information allows piracy, we haven't violated free speech because people can still speak. If we ban words and ideas, we haven't violated free speech, because people can still speak. If we ban speech entirely, we haven't violated free speech, because we can still use grunts and gestures. We don't need to be more advanced than dolphins, that's why we should only use grunts and gestures.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:43PM (#38752652)

    So the blackouts affected your productivity? Then you might be interested in the fact that if those websites get taken down with SOPA or PIPA, it will likewise affect your productivity, therefore these laws *do* affect you, and your whole logic breaks down.

    > In actual fact, the SOPA blackouts just made me find alternate sites and avenues to the content I would normally use.

    Yes, I am afraid that's exactly what non-US people will have to do. So I guess the blackouts pushed you towards doing what needs to be done ;)

    > They actually *helped* me not be reliant on people who think their service is there to push their own political agenda instead of being a service.

    Actually, the "service" e.g. Wikipedia offers centers around a highly political cause itself, namely free access to knowledge. You like to treat "service" and "politics" as different things, but in this case, they aren't.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:53PM (#38752764)

    Would you like your site to be removed from Google Search?

    Google is a US-based company, you know.

  • by webheaded (997188) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:55PM (#38752788) Homepage
    I'm sorry but I don't think I'd group Steam in with SecuROM on the scale of things that people thought were harmless anti-piracy measures. Even Origin, which is shitty, is basically a copy of Steam with shitty customer service. SecuROM is a shitcake topped with diarrhea. Ubisoft always on is shit. Steam and Origin are actually pretty fair compromises. I get to download my games anywhere, I can share my Steam account with trusted friends for them to try out games, and all I have to do is get online once in a while to activate the games (it has offline mode if you need it).

    The only bumps I've hit usually have nothing to do with Steam and have everything to do with the shit that the publisher puts there on TOP of Steam...such as *cringe* Games for Windows Live or...hey...SecuROM.
  • by sirlark (1676276) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:03PM (#38752902)
    So as long as you have one method of exercising a right, all others can be removed? Then I can deny you the use of a specific method of communication, and not have that considered a limitation of your right to free speech and/or association. What's to stop me throwing you into solitary confinement. That's not an infringement of the right to free speech, as long as you are allowed to scream your protests ... where no one will hear. Sorry, but you not only need to be free from interference in exercising your rights, but also in exercising them effectively, i.e. you have to be allowed to scream where others can hear you. In the modern age, that means the right to publish on the internet. I too am not saying internet access is a right. But I am saying that selective or discriminatory limitation of access to the internet is a violation of the right to free speech.
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:14PM (#38754066) Journal
    For now, they are.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tool462 (677306) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:07PM (#38755026)

    This will be an ongoing issue that will require massive amounts of vigilance.

    I thought this was one of the very basic requirements of democracy. You don't EVER get to sit back and let the thing run itself. It requires constant vigilance on the part of the people to make it work. Maybe things have been too good for too long and people forgot this fact.

    There's nothing wrong with a little self-satisfaction when you're able to make your voice heard. The victories show you the system can work. Use it to give you the energy for the next fight.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

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