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Piracy The Internet Your Rights Online

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 Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:39PM (#38427192) Journal

    Congressmen and Senators can only hear the voices of people who are shoving huge piles of cash at them. You can't just point them at an expert. There must be a huge pile of cash sitting next to the expert.

    I'm not wealthy enough to afford corruption in this country. Mexico, on the other hand...has affordable corruption.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:40PM (#38427198)

    You really don't need to know much about the details of TCP/IP, or DNS, to understand these proposed laws.

    The idea of these laws is to circumvent the standard law enforcement process.

  • Maybe if we all wrote them a letter on the back of a US$10 bill they'd notice.

  • by ironjaw33 ( 1645357 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @06:11PM (#38427526)

    If just 5% of the American public wanted to overthrow the government, an armed revolution would be possible. You do not need overwhelming support, you need enough angry people with guns. The problem is that less than 0.05% of the public cares about SOPA or PIPA. Most people just want to watch The Jersey Shore, football, etc., and then post about it on Facebook. They will not overthrow the government as long as they can still get their cheap entertainment. They will not even get their magazines and clips loaded.

    It would not surprise me if the "cheap entertainment" you speak of soon comes to an end. With legislation like SOPA, this only encourages broadcast media corporations to engage in tit for tat patent-style quibbles over copyrights.

  • Re:Copyright length (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @06:13PM (#38427540)

    I've thought of a clever solution to the copyright problem.

    Make a law that makes copyright longevity equal to the life expectancy of an American.

    So you wanna make copyright last longer? Raise the standard of living.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @06:24PM (#38427648) Journal

    4) The SCOTUS makes blatantly unconstitutional decisions all the time. They're every bit as corrupt as Congress, if not more so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @07:22PM (#38428158)

    You misunderstand, thinking that 100% of the population actually cares.

    Call it a hunch from just observing society as a whole, but I'd say those 95% could give even the slightest of two shits about who's in power or what's happening in the world of politics, as long as it doesn't affect the broadcast schedule of their favourite TV shows, their access to Facebook, or their job to pay for the first two.

    They'll just vote for whoever the television tells them the most to vote for, or alternatively the party they've always voted for in the past regardless of what that party does, because it's the easiest path to follow. Actually looking stuff up and making decisions based on it is effort, that could be better spent watching Nascar.

    In the book 1984, these people were called the Proles. They will affect things just about as fast as they affected things in that book.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:54PM (#38428910)

    Actually, you picked a bad example with extradition for murder. Most places in Europe, Japan, Australia and a few others explicitly won't extradite to the US in a murder case. We'll gladly arrest and try someone at the submission of your evidence, but we won't extradite to the possibility of a death penalty.

    Also, there's a lot of public support in the UK for leaving the extradition treaty with the US, as your laws prohibit you from extraditing a US citizen leaving the treaty rather one-sided.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:55PM (#38428912) Homepage Journal

    You've got it half right. What we need are the Facebooks and Googles of the world to work together for the common good.

    All it would take is one ad campaign in which the first time each U.S. user logged into Facebook on a particular day, they would initially see a bleak, grey-looking Facebook. Every YouTube video on their site, every photo, and every link to every website would be replaced with the words "This content has been removed due to a copyright claim." Superimposed across the top of the screen in large letters would be the words, "If SOPA and PIPA pass, this is what Facebook will look like." Below that would be two links: "Tell me more" and "I don't care about freedom on the Internet. Just take me to Facebook." Either button would reset Facebook to normalcy, but the first button would take you to a Facebook page explaining the laws and why they are bad. At the bottom of the page would be links to email forms for the appropriate congresspeople based on the user's current address.

    The key, however, is to do this not just for Facebook, but also for Google image searches, YouTube searches, etc. Every high profile site that is involve in video sharing has to do it on the same day. Such an ad campaign only has to happen once and I can pretty much guarantee that SOPA and PIPA would be buried for years. The hard part is convincing Facebook and Google to work together to put together such an ad campaign and stick their necks out that far in the interest of protecting their users. It's possible, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • by LaRainette ( 1739938 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:22AM (#38432850)
    "democratically elected politicains are passing laws"
    There is so much wrong in this statement. where to begin ?
    First of all I'd like the democratically elected politicians to MAKE the laws instead of passing laws redacted by lobbyist, and private interests groups, and passing only the ones they get paid to pass.
    Secondly The average congressman gets 5 TIMES its salary from Lobbyist and private corporations. That's right : the average Senator is 5 times more Goldman Sach's bitch than yours. So please keep your condescending horseshit. Democracy is a very nice ideal but the USA are FAR from ever achieving it.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie