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Internet Blacklist Back In Congress 278

Adrian Lopez writes "A bill giving the government the power to shut down Web sites that host materials that infringe copyright is making its way quietly through the lame-duck session of Congress, raising the ire of free-speech groups and prompting a group of academics to lobby against the effort. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced in Congress this fall by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It would grant the federal government the power to block access to any Web domain that is found to host copyrighted material without permission."
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Internet Blacklist Back In Congress

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  • by e9th ( 652576 ) <> on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:11PM (#34246884)
    Got a site you want to shut down? Just a) post some copyrighted material there, and b) complain. Problem solved.
  • Congress = welfare (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:15PM (#34246940)

    Gawdlmighty damn, if only once, just once they would make even a token attempt to do something useful. sighhhhhhhhh. Congress is a welfare program for people who can't hold down real jobs.

  • Hardly suprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#34246982)

    I've been saying for a long time that the day will come very soon when typing in or other torrent site will only get you a "This site has been blocked for illegal material" message. the only question was whether it would happen by government mandate or voluntary ISP decision.

  • More lists? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:19PM (#34247022) Homepage Journal

    That's all we need, is more lists for the government to maintain. They do a bang up job already with no-fly.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:20PM (#34247030)

    The current method of doing that (child porn) was creeping out even the Evil Organization to Neuter the Internet, so they decided to buy a less disgusting alternative.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:25PM (#34247118)
    But remember, if you vote for anybody but a Republicrat or Demoblican you're throwing your vote away! So keep rubber-stamping business as usual like good sheep.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:25PM (#34247122) Journal

    Once IPv6 is in place, IP addresses will be cheap, illicit DNS server roots will be added to your DNS list, and voila, blocking will be meaningless. Oh sure, the *official* DNS servers will be blocking tpb, and I suppose someone will be trying to block IP addresses, but it will be a game of cat and mouse where the cat is always two steps behind the mouse.

    All any of this does is force the pace of innovation in precisely the opposite direction such legislation purports to be attempting to kill.

  • Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:29PM (#34247188)

    As soon as they pass legislation like this, people will just move to using proxy servers. Proxy servers lists change hourly. And I do not expect this to survive a challenge in court -- it is a restriction of trade and commerce, and it will only be a matter of time before they shut down the wrong site, cost them millions, and are forced to pay restitution.

    So let's be clear -- this isn't about piracy. It's about killing free speech. Because no sooner will they pass this, than they'll add a rider saying they can shut down sites which host "terrorist" material as well... and then Greenpeace, PETA, and a lot of other political undesireables will find themselves on the list.


  • hmm.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:31PM (#34247224)

    so wait, HOW exactly are they filtering?

    Domain name - I'll change my domain, and out of blacklist/their retardedness
    IP address - ISP's are going to get hurt here, unable to use one of their ip addresses (or for shared hosting ?....maybe?) just buy a new one
    IP address blocks - ISPs and legal sites going to be hit hard.

    on another note, I'd like to say how stupid "COICA" sounds. that is all.

  • Lame Duck Congress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bryan3000000 ( 1356999 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:33PM (#34247268)
    While it's often said that a Lame Duck congress can't get much done, it is the perfect time for them to pass unpopular legislation that powerful lobbies want passed. It's one of the few times congress can get away with it while having very few political repercussions.
  • bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:34PM (#34247290) Homepage Journal

    I'm a libertarian (small, weak government), not an anarchist (no government), but just stop and think: If there was no government and no congress, then there would be no COICA. And no COICA would mean no way for the Corporations from stealing our stuff. We could pirate books, songs, shows without limit.

    instead, your rulers would be the corporations. with their private 'security' divisions.

    what you speak of, is basically feudalism. that very environment gave rise to feudalism in early middle ages.

  • Re:bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:37PM (#34247358)

    He said limited government, not no government. I have never heard of a libertarian who did not support a criminal justice system and police force designed to protect civilians.

  • "Rule of Law" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by macjn ( 785842 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:42PM (#34247430)
    So is this blacklisting to be done without a proper copyright infringement trial? If so, I'm not sure how it would be legal. If it is to be done via a proper copyright trial and a party is found guilty, I'd think we don't need a special blacklist law. Or I'm completely missing the point. Of course, when it comes to things made by Congresscritters, there doesn't necessarily have to be any logic or reason applied. Sigh.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:01PM (#34247706) Journal

    What, exactly, are these socialist ideas? Who espouses them, exactly? And, if true, why are these socialist ideals bad? The semantic content of your post boils down to "Booga! booga! booga! socialists! Booga booga! Are you scared yet? Should I say the word socialist some more until you are?"

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:11PM (#34247874) Homepage Journal
    "So then we use an alternate root. Seems simple enough, once again the Internet is flexible enough to route around damage."

    So, just wait for them to add an amendment here, or on some other bill...making it illegal for a US citizen to use alternate roots.

    While I agree with your sentiment...there is real danger letting them set a precedent of this fashion, and we need to stop this kind of shit right in its current tracks.

    I applaud current moves to try to get rid of earmark/pork barrel spending.

    Lets also try to convince the congress critters to quit fscking with the internet (something they really don't understand to begin with)...and leave it free.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:14PM (#34247930) Homepage Journal
    pray tell me ?

    EVERYthing in a capitalist society, hinges on money. that includes the potential of getting elected. you need to have enough financial power to be able to even get your voice heard, if you are a candidate. going from town to town with train, doesnt cut it anymore. you need to buy ads, appear in mass media, get your name and opinions heard, to be even considered a candidate. you cant just be a candidate by registering as a candidate in the elections.

    and, even financial power doesnt cut it anymore. no mass media outlet will let you on, and speak in their channels, even accept and run your ads, if your views do not support theirs. even more, your interests coincide with theirs. so, basically not even financial power is enough ; you need to be friendly with established hierarchy - no, you actually need to be THEIR puppet candidate, so that you can actually make your voice heard.

    and what the average citizen can do ? the only candidates they can see, are the ones, well, they can actually see and hear.

    the capitalist system, and its resultant established elite hierarchy, doesnt let anybody but their own puppets to be seen.

    and naturally, these share the votes.

    im not even going to go into constant brainwashing and 'opinion shaping' that can be affected, by using the power of big established media conglomerates. there is a whole network, sitting on top at #1, by spewing outright lies and hatred, despite they dont legally call themselves 'news' in courts anymore. (while defending against libel).

    so in an environment like this, what do you expect citizens to do ...
  • Re:hahaha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:39PM (#34248380)

    You left out one big fact, Germany one of the most socialist of them all is bailing them out.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:50PM (#34248524) Journal

    Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with America, it's government and how its constitution before asking such obviously answered questions. How about the socialized health care for one, Obama and the leadership of the democrat party espouses them, and yes they are bad because A: the US federal government does not have the constitutional authority to impose systems like that in the constitution's present state, B: there is a way to amend the US constitution in order to give the federal government the authority but for some insane reason, ignoring the US constitution seems to be the route chosen. C: this equals little more then an attempt to destroy the fabric of the US constitution which like it or not, will result in things like the Bill of rights being completely decimated in the process.

    It's not necessarily that they are bad ideas, It's that the constitution doesn't allow it and if you think things like the freedom of speech, or the freedom of religion- or even the non-existent constitutional separation of church and state, the right to a fair trial and so on are somehow able to survive, you would be wrong. This is because of they can ignore the constitution based around political ideology, then they can ignore the entire constitution based around political ideology. In other words, if they skip the necessary processes required to give the government the power and authority, then they can skip the necessary requirements for the government to take rights away.

    And yes, even FDR knew his programs were unconstitutional. In fact, there was a supreme court battle over most of them that ended up ending with FDR ignoring the court and the court invented the expansion of the interstate commerce clause to avoid a constitutional meltdown at the time. The US federal government is not equivalent to parliament or any other country's central government. It is by design only intended to be a state face for foreign diplomacy, an arbitrator for disputes between the states, and an overseer of trade between the states. This is why the country is called the United States of America. -It's a collection of State bound by a common defense. Not some over ridding power structure that controls the people. It retains it's authenticity through the consent of the governed and that consent was given though the US constitution.

  • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @05:58PM (#34248632)
    You are right it should be more like....

    "I am with the Government and I want to control everything and I don't give a shit if it hurts someone."

  • by Homr Zodyssey ( 905161 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @06:10PM (#34248776) Journal

    Nobody bothered to actually ask what kind of "change" he was talking about. D'oh!

    I get so tired of hearing this sentiment. I know exactly what kind of "change" he was talking about. He specifically stated he intended to change the way Washington politics worked. He promised to get rid of the partisan bickering, gridlock and blatant disregard for the populace that define Washington politics.

    Unfortunately, he got into office and concentrated on his progressive agenda instead. The conservatives stopped trying to actually get anything done, and instead focused on a 24/7 dirty PR campaign. In an inept attempt at fighting the smear attacks, Mr. Obama sank into the same partisan bickering that he had previously railed against.

    I liked him and voted for him. Even now, I like him better than anyone likely to run against him. But, he has not lived up to his promises. He's become just another politician, doing what politicians do. That's why the left lost their energy, and the right was able to make some gains in the recent election.

  • by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross.quirkz@com> on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @06:54PM (#34249268) Homepage
    Funny, you'd think they'd take this opportunity as lame ducks to pass the legislation that's actually *good for the people* despite being unpopular with the powerful lobbies, because there wouldn't be many repercussions. Shame it doesn't appear to work that way.
  • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:47PM (#34249842)

    Didn't read the post, did we? gp specifically said finding infringements which means "without permission". So exclude for a moment anything that was posted with permission because that's not the topic. Consider only things that might not be posted with permission.

    Not sure what point you're making. Slashdot's footer says

    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2010 Geeknet, Inc.

    which supports gp's post. That post, and yours, and mine, are still copyrighted, and pushing submit doesn't transfer copyright to Slashdot, it just gives permission to post it. So you can't be complaining about the first sentence. Submit button does not change copyright ownership, it just gives permission, which makes me wonder why you are even considering that. It's a red herring.

    Some sites, like I thin Expertsexchange... oops I mean Experts-exchange go out of their way to get as close to owning your post as they can:

    you hereby: (i) grant EXPERTS EXCHANGE a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted, transferable, fully sub-licensable, worldwide, royalty-free license to use, distribute, display, reproduce, perform, modify, adapt, publish, translate and create derivative works from Your Content in any form, media or technology, whether now-known or hereafter developed; (ii) grant EXPERTS EXCHANGE and its affiliates and sub-licensees the right to use the Member Name that you submit with Your Content for purposes of attribution; (iii) authorize EXPERTS EXCHANGE to assert and prosecute claims against any third-party making any unauthorized use of Your Content, including any use that violates this User Agreement ("Third-Party Claims"); and (iv) appoint EXPERTS EXCHANGE as your attorney-in-fact for the purpose of asserting and prosecuting Third-Party Claims. []

    This is probably what gp was referring to. Lots of sites just scrape other pages, including comments which are copyrighted by individuals. Expert sexchange will go file lawsuits and takedown notices to sites that scrape their content on your behalf, because they make money from your content. But this is the general case.

    Specifically: Even if all I do is help someone by posting here a snippet of javascript I found on someone else's site, that's copyright infringement. Notice I didn't say the snippet was public domain or otherwise licensed, it was just on a blog - no license, which means it's technically copyrighted. This is a US-hosted site AFAIK and I am a US citizen, so there's no wiggle room here. Unless the site is hosted somewhere with an opt-in copyright, or the site explicitly licenses things in a way I can re-use it, copyright is held by the creator.

    So Slashdot posts my comment, with my permission per the terms of use, and everything's fine. But the content is infringing material, which is not fine. and it's far too easy to take any random website and find something that's infringing. Even if you have to look at the JavaScript, which might have been posted on MSDN or a mailing list without a specific license attached, or the CSS which was copied out of "CSS for Dummies" without a license to reproduce (I haven't checked to see what license the examples are under).

    And of course user comments, especially on a political site where people spew talking points they heard this morning... very likely that someone will post something that is similar enough to qualify as infringement.

  • by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:07PM (#34250032)

    The three strikes laws in Europe emphasize the fact that action is taken without due process. This is essentially the same concept applied at websites (without 3 strikes) rather than at consumers.

    The whole idea of fair use is a defense instead of the default (assumed guilty without trial)--and the inconsistent manner that it's applied--and the idea that you can be accused (as with the DMCA) without evidence, shows that anything of this sort is rife with potential abuse.

    And, why was this guy elected again to office? He should have the brains to understand what this legislation (written by the lobbyists) is proposing?

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:48PM (#34250326) Journal

    Funny, you'd think they'd take this opportunity as lame ducks to pass the legislation that's actually *good for the people* despite being unpopular with the powerful lobbies, because there wouldn't be many repercussions. Shame it doesn't appear to work that way.

    You'd only think that if you assumed that legislators were good and kind-hearted people who were merely corrupted by the toxic Washington political/lobbying environment. If you assume they're bastards through and through, it makes perfect sense.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:00PM (#34250416)

    Funny, you'd think they'd take this opportunity as lame ducks to pass the legislation that's actually *good for the people* despite being unpopular with the powerful lobbies, because there wouldn't be many repercussions.

    Of course, being a congressman who will be out of a job when the session ends, it's also an excellent opportunity to make or help some "friends" (i.e. lobbyists) on your way out who then might be in a position to "reward" you with a nice cushy job at one of their client's corporations; nobody likes to be unemployed after all, especially in today's economy.

  • Re:bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tehdaemon ( 753808 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:05PM (#34250454)

    I tried to find a well phrased way to head off this kind of crappy reply. I didn't find one. So here goes the tl;dr version:

    Without a corporate charter, such 'bands' would be much smaller and fewer than current corporations. Why? Ownership and trust issues. There would be no corporation to own any of the assets, just a bunch of people. Each member of the company would have a big interest in making sure one of the others doesn't just walk off with all the stuff. Or sell it and disappear with the cash. These trust issues would be a huge limit to the size and number of companies. Just think of how much smaller corporations would be if they couldn't do IPOs or issue more stock. And without corporate charters and corporate law, this would be impossible.

    With no stockholders to screw, or stock valuations to inflate, many of the abuses that CEOs currently do would be pointless. Pumping up the stock for short-term gains and long-term pain would be stupid if the company was run by the owners of the company instead of some CEO looking for a big bonus and golden parachute. It wouldn't happen. Cutting corners in product safety to make a fast buck looks a lot less inviting when you go to jail for manslaughter when things go bad, instead of losing some of your bonus.

    Corporate charters are very relevant to our current situation. They are the current, but not the key problem.

    "its not a contemporary issue. it is an issue of social dynamics -> if groups are allowed to acquire more power than others, they dominate others. this was so in 5000 Bc, this is as such now."

    You are correct. This is the key problem. Shall we explore how this happens? There are two basic methods that have been used throughout history, and they both amount to the same thing in the end. Bad government.

    Method 1: The wealthy/ambitious get the current government to pass laws giving them special status of some sort that allows them to dominate. Examples are special laws for 'nobles', inheritance laws, like primogeniture to keep the wealth in one piece, and regulations that keep out smaller competitors. (EPA, OSHA, and licenses of most kinds fit here). Corporate law - including the charter are a modern version of this.

    Method 2: Hire thugs/soldiers and take over by direct force. The result of this is to become the de facto if not de jur government. Feudal europe is a good example of this method.

    Notice in both cases this is a problem of government. A proper 'limited' government would prevent both methods from happening. In fact the emphasis should be on 'proper' and not 'limited' - a fact that most limited government advocates don't seem to get either. They seem to think that free market competition would prevent this. They don't seem to get that each and every business is trying to prevent competition, and only government power can sustain a free market. I don't claim to know exactly what form of government it would take to achieve this. I am hopeful, but not certain that it is even possible. Mainstream Libertarian ideas usually don't understand these points. They would be sadly disappointed in the results of the kind of government they advocate, and largely because what you have stated would indeed happen. What libertarians do get is that a big government with lots of regulations is inefficient, expensive and ripe for it's own brand of tyranny. And it still doesn't prevent the strong/rich from dominating the weak/poor.


  • by miserere nobis ( 1332335 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:17PM (#34250530)

    Then how come a significant proportion of the support for libertarian movements is from the lower, weaker classes?

    You're right that government is a group of people banding together to protect their interest, but mistaken as to who therefore needs to be protected from whom. A great deal of the Constitution is designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority-- that is, domination and control by means of the government. There's always a tug of war, because there are always people under the thumb of other individuals or corporations, who want more government to get out from under this...and there also are always people under the thumb of a dominating government, who want less government for exactly the same reason. Given that government is the biggest, most durable, most powerful entity that can dominate and control, and the hardest to remove once it has established that control, I'd say we should always treat skeptically the request for more of it.

    And you might note, too, that your claim as to the useful role of government-- to protect people from one another-- is exactly the primary role libertarians believe the government should have. What they don't agree with is that it should go much beyond this, into what might be termed as "messing around in" the lives of people, or exerting control itself.

    Of course, there are plenty of people who think as you say, who want to get what they can get and ride all over everyone else to get it, and they want government control reduced to allow them to do what they want. Except we can't forget those same people are quite ready to use government for the very purpose of giving themselves those advantages when they can get away with it. Both government reduction and government intervention are often covers for people's power plays. I think we'd be wise to understand why so many people truly view government as one of the powers they need protection from, and also need to be wise enough to recognize when an argument couched in libertarian appeals is really just a gambit for being allowed to do things that go altogether against libertarian ideals (run over other people's rights)

  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:58PM (#34250810)

    "And, why was this guy elected again to office?"

    Perhaps because a majority of the population consists both of indoctrinated drones and people who feel that carrying on with their little unimportant activities is more important than defending their freedom and privacy?

    "He should have the brains to understand what this legislation (written by the lobbyists) is proposing?"

    Of course he does. He just doesn't care because of the money he's getting for doing it.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @10:46PM (#34251064) Homepage
    They will gladly settle for blocking the 99.9% of the people in the US with a computer who have no idea what the words you just wrote even mean.

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