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Law Professors On SOPA and PIPA: Don't Break the Internet 283

An anonymous reader writes "Law professors Mark Lemley, David S. Levine, and David G. Post have just published a piece on the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. In Don't Break the Internet, they argue that the two bills — intended to counter online copyright and trademark infringement — 'share an underlying approach and an enforcement philosophy that pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet's addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet's extraordinary growth, and for free expression.' They write, 'These bills, and the enforcement philosophy that underlies them, represent a dramatic retreat from this country's tradition of leadership in supporting the free exchange of information and ideas on the Internet. At a time when many foreign governments have dramatically stepped up their efforts to censor Internet communications, these bills would incorporate into U.S. law a principle more closely associated with those repressive regimes: a right to insist on the removal of content from the global Internet, regardless of where it may have originated or be located, in service of the exigencies of domestic law.'"
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Law Professors On SOPA and PIPA: Don't Break the Internet

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  • by OverTheGeicoE ( 1743174 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:29PM (#38427054) Journal

    There's a rival proposal in the House called the Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act [], or OPEN, which claims to be better than SOPA/PIPA but does similar things in a different way. I suspect it's better to do nothing at all than approve any of these bills, even OPEN, but it's hard to say because OPEN doesn't get as much coverage. It would be nice if OPEN were included in the discussion in the future.

  • by justdiver ( 2478536 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:35PM (#38427146)
    They've been weighing in this whole time... [] Perhaps you were reading the wrong articles? To quote from the linked article: "Vint Cerf of Google, domain name system software author Paul Vixie and Internet routing engineer Tony Li were among 83 high-profile engineers who signed an open letter to Congress in opposition to the House Stop Online Privacy Act and Senate Protect Intellectual Property Act."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:44PM (#38427246)

    The political system is being closed. Read Naomi Wolfe, watch her on Youtube. Read Glen Greenwald at Salon.

    The consequences of this law are fully intended by all parties.

    There is no other important issue in the next election, as there will be no other meaningful elections if this process isn't stopped.

    The only candidate who supports the Constitution and its guarantees of Civil Liberties is Ron Paul. If he isn't elected, there is a gulag in our futures.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <> on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:45PM (#38427248) Homepage

    At least, based on what I know of these professors - these professors do have a fairly decent amount of technical knowledge, which is evident in TFA.

    In addition, they point out some excellent legal challenges to SOPA/PIPA, which indicate there's a good chance either act would get defeated fairly quickly within the Supreme Court. (See the CDA as an example.)

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <> on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:46PM (#38427270) Homepage

    1) It's unfortunately looking very likely these will pass.
    2) Death warrant or not, you have to follow the law
    3) If it passes, the article points out some good legal challenges that will likely cause the act to be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:54PM (#38427350) Journal
    The one that allows the US military to indefinitely detain anyone, even American citizens arrested on American soil, until some nebulous 'end of conflict'. The one McCain sponsored.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:56PM (#38427372)

    Geez, you really haven't been paying much attention, have you?

    An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress []

    Today, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the United States Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills that are under consideration in the House and Senate respectively.

    Blacklisting Provisions Remain in Stop Online Piracy Act []

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) urged panelists to remove the DNS and firewall aspects of the bill.

    Rep. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) said he was not a technological “nerd,” but said he did not “believe” security experts who said that the internet would become less secure unless Issa’s amendment was adopted. “I’m not a person to argue about the technology of this,” Watt said before he voted against the amendment. Issa’s amendment failed 22-12.

    Congressional SOPA hearings: no opponents of the bill allowed []
    Nov. 15

    As the House of Representatives opens hearings on SOPA, the worst piece of Internet legislation in American history, it has rejected all submissions and testimony from public interest groups and others who oppose the bill.

            Irony Alert: The House is holding hearings on sweeping Internet censorship legislation this week -- and it's censoring the opposition! The bill is backed by Hollywood, Big Pharma, and the Chamber of Commerce, and all of them are going to get to testify at the hearing.

            But the bill's opponents -- tech companies, free speech and human rights activists, and hundreds of thousands of Internet users -- won't have a voice.

    There is plenty of commentary by tech people out there on the detrimental effects to the internet by SOPA and PRO-IP. Just fucking google it.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:16PM (#38428620) Homepage

    No, the standard law enforcement process never envisioned a country would sign onto a treaty and then decide not to enforce it.

    Let's take extradition for murder, for instance. If a country signs an extradition treaty it is assumed that should a murderer flee there that they can and will be extradited to face trial where the crime was committed. In no case today do I believe this is not done. There are countries that have not signed extradition treaties and countries that place conditions upon extradition but that is a separate matter.

    Today, we have countries that allow the hosting of web sites whose sole purpose is the removal of revenue from the sale of digital goods. If I set up a software store that sells pirated copies of high-value products for 1% of their original cost in the US it will be shut down within a day or so. If I do this in other countries - some of which that have signed copyright treaties - the site will continue without any problems.

    Until this changes the US and Europe can only consider unilateral action against such countries.

  • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @03:38AM (#38431616)
    No, they're not. The military has to follow lawful orders. If the Commander in Chief declares that the US is in open rebellion, the military has the duty to supress it. Orders to attack armed citizens become lawful. Go Wiki up the 'Whiskey Rebellion' of 1794 for precidents.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith