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Censorship Government United States Your Rights Online

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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  • ... I produce the sound of loud laughter aimed at any blacklisting effort ever made.

    • Like adblock?

    • You might want to read up. This isn't 'blacklisting' the way you are likely to think about it. This is removing items from the Root DNS server.

      • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
        And do they forbid to provide alternative DNS servers ? How is the information provided not covered by first amendment ?
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        So then we use an alternate root. Seems simple enough, once again the Internet is flexible enough to route around damage.

        • 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 h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            Let's see them enforce that. I can easily rent a VPS in another nation and tunnel all my DNS queries to that. Good luck breaking ssh.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by HermMunster ( 972336 )

            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 t

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              "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.

    • Yeah, I hate to break this to you, but stuff will be deleted. Further implications of this are scary (as anybody on /. is smart enough to pirate without torrent sites): with how much porn is on the net, do you think for one moment that once they are done with pirates that they will not go to porn.

      It is a scary thought, I know. I don't want to lose my "special" girls that I hang out with daily. The mindset would be simple for them, "Well we took care of those pesky pirates, lets just move forward and t
      • I don't believe for a moment that there is any will in Congress to fight p-rnographers. They are very wealthy and could certainly exert a lot of influence.

        Pirates are a nebulous group with no leadership, no lobbyists, and most importantly no money to direct at the people who need to be movitated to "see things our way".

        Much like the gambling industry, the p-rn industry will make damned sure that whoever gets whatever they need to stay in business. How many billion a year industry is it again?
  • Got a site you want to shut down? Just a) post some copyrighted material there, and b) complain. Problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.

  • Priorities! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:13PM (#34246910)
    With the huge backlog of important legislation requiring immediate attention in an already gridlocked congress, it's sad this is even being considered. I guess the financial incentives to its backers are just too large. Set the controls for the heart of the sun, we are doomed.
    • by Shark ( 78448 )

      Honestly? Important legislation? Really?

      You think there are laws missing in your country?

      I'd take the tax burden to double each and every lawmakers salary if they all provided a sworn statement under penalty of death never to pass a new law. I'll triple their salary if they also swear to go through every bit of existing legislation and throw out anything that is unconstitutional or useless.

  • You gotta help out your Hollywood Friends before you lose the majority.
    You're as bad as the Republicans (i.e. shills for megacorps).

  • This would be annoying but would it really matter in the long run anyway? How hard would it be to use a proxy. The companies pushing this draconian copyright crap need to move on. On the other hand worrying about them changing their ways is probably just as fruitless as their efforts to stem the tide of change. :)
    • its still at the hands of united states. this, actually could cause them to totally lose it though. it was high time.
      • Agreed. The internet is truly an international system, so too should the domain name system, be.
      • by Zerth ( 26112 )

        Let them keep it, as long as they stay the hell away from IPs. Many of us already use a manual host file or local DNS to blacklist, just as easy to add the "correct" entries back in.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Proxy to where? the domain will be removed.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        Oh sure, we'll always be able to play the "chase the latest IP address of said torrent sight" game. But it will never be as simple as typing in again. You'll have to go to a site or alternate DNS server to find the latest IP address (and possibly demonstrate that you're not a cop to get access to it), and that's assuming that your ISP hasn't started blocking all the alternate DNS servers and sites with IP address listings for pirate sites too (which they probably will start doing at some po

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by apoc.famine ( 621563 )
        Even now, there's a damn good chance they'll just block the DNS entry. And how hard is it going to be to post "" to twitter, facebook, or any other such site?

        IPv6 will make it easier, but even now, all a site has to do, at the absolute most is change their IP address and then hit the social networking sites to spread it. Hell, I bet someone could hack together a p2p distributed "dns" program in less than a few hours. A bit of pgp to authenticate a site, and they'd be able to push a new IP add
    • The real question is, how will they do it? DNS? IP block lists?

      In the end people will find ways around it. Expect to see P2P overlay networks like TOR and stuff like Freenet explode with popularity. Freenet in particular could EASILY host a static txt page with magnet URI hash addresses to torrents....and it would probably be pretty quick even on Freenet.

      Of course the above may not be what happens, but I can come up with a couple of ideas just off the top of my head...well it will not take long for others t

  • 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.

  • Not that it matters anymore, but I just wrote both of my senators explaining to them how this will be used as a club to quash free speech. Shame they both get so much money from Disney.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:27PM (#34247148)

    I hope they realize there is no real way to distinguish a google torrent search from a pirate bay torrent search.

    On the other hand, actual hosting- might be trickier- just Youtube then.

  • 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.


  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
      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 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

        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.

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

    by macjn ( 785842 )
    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.
    • So is this blacklisting to be done without a proper copyright infringement trial?

      That's exactly what what would happen. The Attorney General would decide a website is infringing, a judge would rubberstamp the AG's request, and finally the website's domain would be shut down and locked (or, for international websites, blocked by US ISPs).

  • by Spad ( 470073 )

    COICA? What, no backronym? This really is a Lame Duck Congress...

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun