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Government Censorship Electronic Frontier Foundation Piracy Privacy United States Your Rights Online

Stop Online Piracy Act Supports Blacklisting, Says EFF 73

hessian writes with this quote from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the Stop Online Piracy Act: "Of course the word 'blacklist' does not appear in the bill's text — the folks who wrote it know Americans don't approve of blatant censorship. The early versions of PROTECT-IP, the Senate's counterpart to SOPA, did include an explicit Blacklist Provision, but this transparent attempt at extrajudicial censorship was so offensive that the Senate had to re-write that part of the bill. However, provisions that encourage unofficial blacklisting remained, and they are still alive and well in SOPA. First, the new law would allow the Attorney General to cut off sites from the Internet, essentially 'blacklisting' companies from doing business on the web. Under section 102, the Attorney General can seek a court order that would force search engines, DNS providers, servers, payment processors, and advertisers to stop doing business with allegedly infringing websites. Second, the bill encourages private corporations to create a literal target list—a process that is ripe for abuse."
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Stop Online Piracy Act Supports Blacklisting, Says EFF

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:26AM (#37995820)

    So much time and effort is spent on failing to try to stop the potential loss of hypothetical profit. Even if you're pro-copyright, I still don't understand it. It seems to be treated as some kind of national emergency that must be 'corrected' right now. So many draconian laws being rushed through (and made in secret) just to stop such a small thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:43AM (#37995900)

    the reason being, the government would love to have these powers and is just looking for an excuse to implement this bs.
    the internet is the single biggest threat to the corrupt system on this planet!

  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:44AM (#37995908)

    It sounds like they wrote this legislation intending for it to be abused. Does anyone seriously think that this will stop piracy? That they won't simply move to another country?

    This is just a pretext for giving the government the authority to censor the internet. The corporations will abuse this like crazy, using the broadest interpretation of "infringement" they can. Probably also be used a revenge tool between entities like the patent trolls we see more and more of.

    Once the mechanism is in place for censorship you can be sure the government itself will start blacklisting things they don't like. Probably with gag orders attached so no one knows what is being blacklisted. Just like warrantless wiretaps.

    The American people oppose blacklists for a very good reason, this is just an attempt to use fancy wording to achieve the same ends.

  • by fightinfilipino ( 1449273 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:59AM (#37995966) Homepage
    i think it's a lot simpler than anyone's thinking. yes, government would love to have these powers. but the bottom line is that the US is no longer a manufacturing powerhouse. our economy is gasping breaths on service industries and intellectual property creation, two things where the US can still claim a measure of global superiority. of COURSE the government is going to do everything it can to prop up its two biggest cash cows.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirlark ( 1676276 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @02:15AM (#37996040)
    Piracy? What about the wikileaks payment embargo? Doing something like that to the next 'threat to national security' will not only be much easier, i.e. won't require voluntary action on the part of payment processors, but will also be legal and not open to challenge.
  • by blarkon ( 1712194 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @02:23AM (#37996074)
    Comes down to 8% of US GDP being earned directly out of the film/TV/music/books and commercial software industries. There is also a lot of "cultural soft power" earned out of those industries. US films/TV/books and music have substantially influenced the world's attitudes about things like government, trade and a whole lot of other things. If you were a government and on one side you had people saying "yes, you can maintain that 8% of GDP by giving it all away for free" and the other side saying "piracy is killing our revenue" - what would your rational course of action be?
  • by toriver ( 11308 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @04:26AM (#37996568)

    Tax contributions due to "Hollywood accounting" that slashes the profit: near zero.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @04:32AM (#37996606)
    But the people have plenty of food, and entertainment via television and games. That's enough to silence any revolt. The romans figured that one out long ago. The most you'll see in the modern US revolt-wise is an increase in people going on forums and complaining that someone else really should start a revolt.
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @05:36AM (#37996926)

    Notice that its not the content creators that are pushing for this, its the content distributors (although many of them are also creators).
    Its not about piracy, its about the fact that the Internet (as it stands now) increasingly has the power to remove the content distributors as gatekeepers of the worlds content. And the big distributors are fearful that they will lose control over how content is distributed, what content is distributed and what content gets promoted (and what content does not)

  • Cyberpunk is Now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @05:40AM (#37996940)

    Things like this make it seem like the 'cyberpunk' dystopias of William Gibson novels are quickly becoming reality. Laws have some eerie parallels with with alcohol prohibition. The word 'escalation' comes to mind.

    Gordon: What about escalation?

    Batman: Escalation?

    Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics and they buy automatics. We start wearing kevlar, they buy armor-piercing rounds.

    Batman: Yeah?

    Gordon: And you're wearing a mask. Jumping off rooftops.

    This is why Gibson's newer novels take place in the present rather than the future. Professional scammers, Anonymous, Wikileaks . . . an escalation of black hats, grey hats, and white hats respectively. Pieces of legislation like this won't do much to curb piracy but they will cause further escalation. Create a new class of criminals - ones much worse than current black hats, but ones the black hats will come to depend on. All of a sudden Neuromancer doesn't seem all that unrealistic.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats