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November 16, 2011

Save the internet
Posted by Patrick at 02:11 PM * 77 comments

I’ve been too busy to fully track on this story over the last week or so. But if you’re an American and you want to continue to read sites like Making Light, read this and phone your senators and congressperson today.

Today.

EDITED TO ADD: The EFF is all over this. Here’s just one of several excellent pieces about what’s at stake.

Comments on Save the internet:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 02:15 PM:

I filled out the petition form yesterday, and was reminded that my neighbors and I don't currently have a House Rep.

Loony, grope-y, David Wu won't be replaced until January.

Oregon's senators got copies, though.

#2 ::: Suw Charman-Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 02:20 PM:

And if you're not American, you can sign an international petition here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_internet_d/

It's currently approaching 200,000 signatures, up from 70,000 at lunchtime GMT, and adding signatures at a dizzying rate. I know petitions might not make much difference, but it's got to be worth a shot. The internet is a global resource, after all.

#3 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Sent this to Senator Menendez:

I am writing to express my deep opposition to the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968).
This outrageous bill does not do what its stated intention says. It is a huge attack on free speech and will destroy the freedom of the internet, because it allows an astonishing variety of entities to shut down any website they want to for real or invented reasons, and protects them from liability if they did it without good cause.
This bill would embarrass the Chinese Politburo. I urge you to oppose it with all resources available to you, including filibuster.
Christopher Hatton
Lautenberg's site had an "I support/I oppose" radio button and a space for the topic, so I put the bill's name there and omitted the first paragraph.

Albio Sires' site is apparently designed to discourage voter input (it requires a phone number and a ZIP+4 extension), but I persevered, changing the bill name to SOPA (HR. 3261) and leaving out the part about filibuster, since it's not available in the House.

#4 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:01 PM:

I think this implies that all of (e.g.) LiveJournal could be shut down if one person did something that infringed copyright. True?

And it strikes me that it would be easy for an agent provocateur to get something onto a site that could be taken to infringe copyright, then insist that the whole site be taken down. True?

I ask because I don't know.

#5 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Tom, my (admittedly not deep) understanding of these bills is that the agent provocateur isn't even necessary, at least for the initial shutdown. A simple unsupported allegation appears to be sufficient.

#6 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Three emails sent.

(I still vote as a resident of my previous address in the US, so that's senators Boxer and Feinman and Representative Lee with yet more mail.)

#7 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:20 PM:

I've sent my e-mails.

#8 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Sent mine too.

#9 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Sent mine, too, under circumstances similar to abi's.

It's a weird coincidence that I'm currently reading Charlie Stross's "Big Brother Iron."

#10 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:03 PM:

Governments seem to be exuding an atmosphere of devil-may-care lunacy, as though they've just admitted to themselves that they don't actually care what the voters think of them (what, so you're threatening to vote for the other lot? Ha, ha!) and have decided to go for some kind of repeated-stake-doubling strategy of exponential lunacy to see how much we can all stand. I've always looked down on people who don't follow current affairs, but I'm now less and less inclined to read news. It's important, yes, but exposure to all this stuff isn't good for my mental health and I just want to ignore as much idiocy as I can. It's the wrong attitude and the attitude of defeat, but I'm becoming resigned to it. There's just too much batshit insanity out there for me to fight or for me to drive my blood pressure up caring about. Which might be their intention, of course. Who can say?

#11 ::: Kristi Wachter ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:06 PM:

When I contact my reps, I'm going to point out that I'm a copyright holder. If you've posted anything on the web (or written anything, ever, in your entire life), you're a copyright holder, too.

The MPAA and the RIAA do not speak for me.

#12 ::: Jenett ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Tom @4: There have been attempts to do similar things in the past (usually with "Won't someone think of the children!" content-control type requests), so it would totally fail to surprise me if someone tried it with copyright if the law allowed. People try to exert pressure to make the universe the way they want it in some very strange ways sometimes.

(LiveJournal, when I volunteered for the TOS/Abuse team, back in 03-04 was also seeing a moderate number of patently false DMCA requests and other similar attempts to get individuals in trouble. Not dozens a week, but often enough that they were absolutely no surprise when they showed up. I suspect it's only gotten more so.)

#13 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Thank you, Jenett, for information-from-experience. It's that kind of information that (I hope) will get people away from sitting on the fence.

#14 ::: Mike D ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:18 PM:

There's a petition over at Change.org too (http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-internet-control-bill-now) that was circulating on some of the social networks last night.

As of when I got home yesterday evening, it had 1700 of the 100,000 signatures needed. Right now it's at 81,250, meaning it's been averaging a bit more than one signature per second since then. I'm unsure how much of a difference it will make, but it's impressive, regardless.

#15 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Also, it's time and past time to download and run Freenet. Note the lack of a "www." on that URL; the www. version is apparently claimed by a squatter. Freenet is an encrypted, anonymous, peer-to-peer network, which has "freesites" corresponding to web pages, a wiki-type system for collaborative web pages, a Web Of Trust system, and message board systems (Frost and FMS) overlaid (they're working on Freemail).

#16 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Emailed all three. Also mentioned I am a copyright holder. The payment processor angle scares the wits out of me.

Seriously. Any nutcase who thinks they've been infringed upon could take down Ravelry's payment processor. Who thinks that's a good thing?

#17 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 05:20 PM:

Tom Whitmore #4: That threat represents the "Big Gun" to bully LiveJournal and other sites into toeing the line -- given their margins and limited human labor, that most likely means immediately nuking any user who's the subject of a complaint, and demanding that the user themself prove (at their own expense) their "innocence".

Note also that sites such as DeviantArt would be dead meat, along with any other site that offends some people --because the offended can come up with anything they want for a complaint, and they don't have to prove anything.

#18 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 05:24 PM:

David Harmon: are you sure about www.freenetproject.org? It's not trivial to "squat" on a sub-domain of someone else's domain like that, and it doesn't currently seem to be happening.

In DNS terms, www.freenetproject.org is a CNAME (i.e. an alias) for freenetproject.org.

When I visit the former with my web browser, I get a "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" to the latter.

Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier, I "emailed" Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Representative Dreier.

#19 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Emailed to Senators Boxer and Feinstein and my Representative:

    Dear [Congresscritter]:
    SOPA (HR. 3261)/PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) is too far-reaching to be useful and provides far too many opportunities for abuse by corporations, "Big Media", and government. It will not stop Internet piracy of copyrighted material, but it stands a very good chance of shutting down free speech through threats and intimidation with insufficient penalties--or no penalties at all--for malicious actions.
    As such, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to vote against this bill. Please protect the right to free speech for the majority of your constituency.
    Best Regards,
    [me]

Boxer got an "and despite the monetary contributions you've apparently received from SOPA/PROTECT IP supporters" in her email after the "As such", based on the list in one of the early comments on the BoingBoing post.

Fingers crossed, for what it's worth.

(HLN: Area woman learns to indent in HTML, professes herself pleased to add even a little new stuff to her knowledge base. "I mean, I'd seen it done on other comments, but for some reason, this time I decided to look it up. Yay for the Internet--may it always be free! As in availability of information, at least. I suppose the ISPs have to make something on the deal...")

#20 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Jeremy Leader #18: I got a message to the effect that "this domain may be for sale" -- and given that the Freenet project isn't using that usual subdomain, I assumed there was a squatting issue, that being a fairly commonplace problem. I may well be wrong, but if so, I'd kind of like to know the reason for the oddity.

#21 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 06:27 PM:

David Harmon @20:
I just got it and got redirected to the correct (non-"www" prefix) URL. I would guess you had a temporary DNS glitch and thus redirected by a wildcard A record (which I see a lot with e.g. Google DNS), or you accidentally/habitually typed ".com" instead of ".org".

#22 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 06:36 PM:

I sent my representatives my letter of opposition yesterday, and emphasized that I did so as an employee of the independent music industry. (I'm still shaking my head over the fact that the industry trade organization to which I belong has gone on record supporting this legislation ... they're usually much better-informed as a group than this.)

The bill is well-intentioned, but so, *so* horribly executed. No, no, no.

#23 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 06:49 PM:

I rarely use the letters after my name, but I felt that this time, it might lend a little extra oomph to an obviously impassioned plea.

My senators may both be disasters and whited sepulchers, but I believe my representative to have his heart in the right place.

#24 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Seen Elseweb:

"The Copyright Office has been asked by Congress to study the obstacles facing small copyright claims disputes, as well as possible alternatives. Specifically, the Office is to undertake a study to: (1) assess the extent to which authors and other copyright owners are effectively prevented from seeking relief from infringements due to constraints in the current system; and (2) furnish specific recommendations, as appropriate, for changes in administrative, regulatory and statutory authority that will improve the adjudication of small copyright claims and thereby enable all copyright owners to more fully realize the promise of exclusive rights enshrined in our Constitution. The initial notice of inquiry seeks comment on how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims and the obstacles they have encountered, as well as potential alternatives to the current legal system that could better accommodate such claims."

http://www.copyright.gov/docs/smallclaims/

It looks as though this PROTECT IP Act is timed to short-circuit an attempt to enhance IP protection for all copyright holders.

Isn't the procedure in the DMCA easy enough?

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Although I signed the change.org petition, and have previously sent email to both my senators (I live in Stefan Jones' district, and so don't currently have a representative) praising them for their stands in opposition of bad intellectual property law, I just sent emails to both senators reiterating my position and specifically mentioning the SOPA and PROTECT IP bills. I don't know if they can do anymore than they've been doing, but I hope they'll get a sense of how urgent we consider this situation.

#26 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:22 PM:

Senators Lugar and Coats and Representative Burton notified. Well, actually, Burton's website threw an error after I submitted my comment, so maybe he didn't get it. I don't suppose it matters - I have very low opinions of Coats and Burton. Lugar wasn't bad before he began toeing the Republican line.

Xopher, I borrowed the second paragraph of your comment - I couldn't think of a good way to say it myself. Hope you don't mind.

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:23 PM:

geekosaur #21: Nope, I refreshed, and it's still showing a "Sedo Parking" page with "This domain may be for sale by its owner!" I even enabled scripting for sedoparking and domdex.com -- that got some sort of spinner happening, but no redirection. I'm using Firefox on Ubuntu, with NoScript and AdBlock, also I use the OpenDNS servers.

Given your report, though, this is starting to sound more like an issue with my browser stack than with the domain itself.

#28 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:35 PM:

David Harmon @27:
Actually, OpenDNS is rather (in)famous (at least within the sysadmin community) for that kind of failure mode. Try using Google DNS (8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4; if they're doing the same thing, you'll end up at a PairNIC domain-available page) or your ISP's DNS instead.

#29 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:39 PM:

American Library Association is on it and has sent a letter stating the following:
"The bill would change the scope of “willful infringement” with the potential to capture what the courts would have previously determined as innocent infringement– raising the stakes of statutory damages sought up to $150,000 per work.
"In addition, the bill would impose criminal sanctions for public performances including streaming. Public performances would include digital works transmitted to classrooms, including those at a distance, and even those of a non-commercial nature.
"Ultimately, this bill brings into the realm of possibility the criminal prosecution of a library for streaming or public performances for educational purposes (yikes!)."

And I've already had an argument with a friend of mine in the entertainment industry in LA who thinks SOPA is a very, very good thing designed only to protect her material from piracy. In fact, some of her professional work is similar to what TV Tropes does -- does she think she'd be able to get away with illustrating examples of mythic motifs in current TV shows with actual dialogue and screen shots if this passed? Not likely. Not likely at all.

#30 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Webmails sent, though I have low hopes for them to be actually heeded; my Senators are Cornyn and Hutchinson, and my House "rep" is Michael McCaul (ClearChannel).

#31 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Just sent webmails to my three congresscritters (only one of whom is listed as a sponsor of one of the bills), and to President Obama. My basic message was "This is the wrong bill for the job", in somewhat more verbose terms.

I also made it a point to refer to 'the so-called "PROTECT IP Act"' and 'the so-called "Stop Online Piracy Act"', to reduce the value of those misleading names.

#32 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 08:22 PM:

Dave 26: Not at all, feel free. In fact, consider it an unofficial Creative Commons whatever thingie. Reuse, remix, no attribution needed.

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 08:26 PM:

geekosaur #28: Yep, that's redirecting properly.

All: Sorry for the false alarm. My point remains, that Freenet's time is here, now.

#34 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Wrote to my Congresspeople. Unfortunately, one of my senators is a co-sponsor, but I sent my letter to him anyway. The other two may be persuadable.

(As someone who links to a number of book sites around the Net, I pointed out that I didn't want my library links to start breaking merely because something *else* on a site I link to arguably infringes a US copyright. As I read the bills, such sites could be blocked even if there's no content that violates copyrights in the site's home country.)

I used the contact forms on each Congress-person's web sites to send slightly different versions of my letter to each of them. I noticed that each contact form included a pull-down menu for the writer's preferred salutation, and that two of the three had it set by default to "Mr." How common is that across Congress, I wonder?

#35 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 10:09 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @34: I can only report that none of my congresspeople had a default, but did require the use of a salutation (a fairly broad range were available, not all of them gendered).

#36 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Xopher @3 I hope you don't mind - I used your letter as a template for mine. Sent email to Keith Ellison, Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar.

#37 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 12:18 AM:

I'm feeling all honored and stuff that people are modeling their letters on mine. No one needs to ask permission; it's fine. Thank you.

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 03:36 AM:

The people sponsoring these abominations are the sort of people referenced here

As a creator of content and hence a copyright holder, I feel this does not enhance my rights, it threatens them. There is clear potential for these laws, as written, to breach the US Constitution and sundry international treaties. Also, in light of the ancestry of US law in the laws of England, Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super cum ibimus, nec super cum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre. Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut justiciam.

The banksters, and their ilk, don't seem to be getting their due rectum aut justiciam[1].

And, via Wikipedia[2]:

As Chief Justice Warren E. Burger noted: "A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law - in the larger sense - cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets."


[1] Apparently now translated as "if you go to court, you're buggered".
[2] This may be a breach of copyright under the proposed laws

#39 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 09:36 AM:

I live in Washington, DC, the nation's capital, and as a consequence have neither senators nor a representative to write to.

#40 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 11:29 AM:

So, is this bill basically an attempt to give copyright trolls a huge upper hand in extracting tribute from people?

#41 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 12:18 PM:

It looks worse than that. It's not just about exacting economic tribute from those willing to buckle under, it's about the general fear that corporate criminals have of Internet entities that expose their modus operandi (and their fear of anyone advocating political stances or lifestyle choices that they perceive as threats).

The bill would provide a legal excuse for the "1 percent" to bully and silence any Internet entity that appears to criticize the policies of corporate thugs and their bought government shills).

The legal cover would be that only sites attempting to pirate or steal copyrighted product will be blocked or put out of business. But in reality, it will open the door for departments of nasty tricks to block *any* site that appears not to support the dominance and policies of our plutocratic owners.

It's worse than the three strikes law, because the proprietors of the site, itself, don't have to be caught in "violations." Anyone with a computer will be able to post "unlawful" links on a site that allow the greedy and fearful to demand that the site be blocked from public access.

#42 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 01:06 PM:

It would also, if I'm reading it right, completely bugger the idea of 'fair use', because any entity could complain about any use of copyrighted material.

#43 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 01:18 PM:

I've gotten responses from both of my senators. Cantwell's actually has something relevant here (after talking about the limitations that are supposed to make this usable only on websites that are solely engaged in infringing activities -- I doubt that would work!):

While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will hurt innovation and threaten online speech. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this or similar legislation regarding intellectual property rights.

So she is at least paying some attention....

#44 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 02:14 PM:

If fair use is buggered, so are libraries and education. We don't base our policies solely on the library and education exceptions; fair use is important too.

#45 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Done, done, and done. Thanks.

I'll be interested in the responses I get.

#46 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 05:52 PM:

So far, I've gotten an auto-responder from Senator Brown, and nothing at all from Senator Portune or Representative Schmidt. I'm actually rather surprised my representative doesn't have an auto-responder - she's big on the "keep in touch with the constituency" type things. (Pity I disagree with her on absolutely everything else.)

Also of note:

Both Senators' contact forms wanted you to pick a topic from a list. I picked "Telecommunications" on Sen. Brown's page, and "Communications" on Sen. Portune's page. Sen. Portune's page also wanted you to enter a subject for your email. I believe mine was something like "Oppose S. 968" or "Oppose Protect IP Act (S. 968)". Neither a topic list or subject line were available on Rep. Schmidt's page.

#47 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Left messages with both senators and my rep. Thanks for the heads-up.

#48 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 04:03 AM:

I've actually been wondering for a while now how long it would take TPTB to try something like this. The Internet is really just too cool and useful for us "little people" out here.

I can't help but wonder if OWS is finally starting to worry them.

The bad news is that, as they become more frightened, they'll likely try raising the stakes. Could get pretty unhappy around here, in the next while.

#49 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 04:08 AM:

Well, this is encouraging. My rep, Jared Polis, tweets:

SOPA is overreach;balance needed between idea protection & idea dissemination,destroying Internet not the answer #DontBreakTheInternet
#50 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 06:57 AM:

Jacque @48, 49: Yes, this is a little bit blatant even for the usual suspects. I really hope that this is not a sign of the sword specialists' deciding to make the most of their comparative advantage by confiscating all the pens.

Because responding to discontented talk by imposing silence, tends to shift discontent into channels a great deal unhealthier all round. There is a certain kind of mind, or possibly a certain kind of groupthink, that never ever seems to learn from previous instances of this. And part of its nature is to rise, like several corresponding forms of matter, to the top.

At any rate, it is time to start hitting the IP pissants in their pocketbooks, and I see several changes in my entertainment habits in my immediate future. I don't care how good the films and music the organizations driving this kind of crap produce - not only don't I want to pirate them, I am starting not to want to hear them, see them, or have any reason to care that they exist. I'm really beginning to wonder if commercially burning the whole Big Media sector down to the ground isn't the only way out of this siege.

Having a Mickey Mouse government is bad enough, but is pretty much in my mind the default condition. Having Mickey Mouse be my government, is just taking things one little step beyond my zone of tolerance!

#51 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 07:09 AM:

Jacque @ 49: Also, how cool is it to have a rep named Jared Polis?

#52 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 02:41 PM:

I think our Galtian Overlords are looking at what happened in the Arab Spring and thinking that these cursed new technologies can't be allowed to remain in the hands of their subjects. I'm not sure they've noticed that attempts by, for instance, the Egyptian government to shut down the internet didn't prevent the rebels from communicating and coordinating, it just cost them some time and effort to get other technologies working for them.

#53 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Got a great response from my Congressman, George Miller (CA).

"While combating online copyright infringement is a worthy goal, this legislation, as currently written, would cause substantial harm to the innovation and economic opportunities created by the Internet. I have joined with several of my colleagues in a letter to the Judiciary Committee to express our concerns and opposition to this legislation."

#54 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 12:47 AM:

Gray Woodland @51: Also, how cool is it to have a rep named Jared Polis?

Heh. Indeed. What's really hilarious is that the sign is still up on the building downtown that he used for his campaign headquarters. Right next to the sign for the medical marijuana dispensary. This is so Boulder....

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 01:06 AM:

Gray Woodland @50: I really hope that this is not a sign of the sword specialists' deciding to make the most of their comparative advantage by confiscating all the pens.

Just admiring that.

At any rate, it is time to start hitting the IP pissants in their pocketbooks, and I see several changes in my entertainment habits in my immediate future. I don't care how good the films and music the organizations driving this kind of crap produce - not only don't I want to pirate them, I am starting not to want to hear them, see them, or have any reason to care that they exist. I'm really beginning to wonder if commercially burning the whole Big Media sector down to the ground isn't the only way out of this siege.

I take your point, but this would directly injure too many people that I really really care about, so it's not an option I can really contemplate.

The chief problem is that Big Media has been injested by Big Finance, and so it's the latter's value set that's driving behavior. Big Finance is consititutionally incapable of comprehending the idea that there are ways to combat piracy and improve profits. "Don't want people stealing your stuff? Well, then, quit making it hard to buy!" Dimwits. CBS, I'm looking at you.

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 04:04 AM:

Jacque, the thing is that Big Finance has had it's grip on Big Media since, roughly, Hollywood started. But they put in people such as Jack Warner and Sam Goldwyn to run the studios. Arguably, they were backing talent rather than MBAs.

That's part of the change in corporate culture that is killing us all.

#57 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 01:06 PM:

It occurs to me that all the large companies involved in perpetrating this abomination deserve their websites looked at and questions raise about whether THEY are/might be violating copyright... Disney most assuredly, has been I think taken to court at least twice and lost bigtime, for copyright license abuse (in the form of having purchased X number of copies or licenses for use of software, and had the software installed and operating on Y desktops, where Y majorly exceeded X. That is, company purchases say 50 copies or a license for 50 "seats" for a particular software applications--and has 300 people actually using the software, and more then 50 of them doing it at the same time. COPYRIGHT/LICENSE VIOLATION!! Disney the court records show as guilty, guilty, guilty, and fined triple damages I think....
(I called at least one of my federal legislators objecting to the bill...)

#58 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 01:35 PM:

#38 Dave
Earl Warren speaking as a Justice of the Supreme Court was speaking in the public domain... Injustices Thomas and Scalia etc., I refer to as Injustices for reasons which include I think I was Scalia who demands no recording be allowed of what he says when he gives talks to his fellow fascists' audiences (and they ARE fascist greedy control freaks)...

Meanwhile, this all reminds me of the issues months ago where AP was shutting down sites over alleged copyright violation and made false promises to provide specific guidelines regarding what it regarded as constituting copyright violation. It seems to me that that entire chain of events needs to be pointed out as evidence of extreme bad faith and illegal/unethical/immoral/unconstitutional restriction on speech on the part of the interests pushing this abominable, and I believe unconstitutional legislation....
Perhaps DMCA takedown requests against the copyright troll greedy control freak cartel members are appropriate...

#50 Gray
The profits are less than 50% of their interest--mainly it is that they are greedy control freaks who like Big Brother and the Kheristian malevolent moralists, want to control your life and require you to jump when they say "frog," getting their jollies by having you be in their power and buy what they tell you to buy, when they tell you to buy, and making them wealthier.
As with Marvel failing to accept, "We are not interested in buying that CRAP you are selling!" the sales declines in the music cartel sales were not a matter of "thievery" but rather, "what you are selling is NOT what we are interested in/able to buy! Sell what is worthwhile at a reasonable price for a reasonable product with reasonable distribution and backlist, and you might actually see some profit... and extortionate profits are NOT socially viable and not sustainable and collapse the economy!" To the last, for the current times, add "people whose incomes doesn;t even meet their living expenses, do not have any discretionary monies to spend! Stop being greedy control freaks who "are the cheapest bastards in existence" (that line is straight from an entertainment industry VP) and actually pay people for their time and effort who do the acting, singing, production, distribution, etc., and have those jobs in the USA, and there will be more jobs and discretionary spending on the part of EVERYONE for "entertainment." (Everyone, that is, except religious fanatics who regard entertainment other than sermons and such as Evil and endeavors to exterminate--and some of THEM are among the people funding the promulgation of abominations like the two bills this thread focuses on.)

If all the writers, singers, songwriters, etc., shortchanged and otherwise abused by publishers, music distributors, the AP, etc., went after the websites of abusers, I wonder if that cause some rethinking.... or, perhaps, class action suits by author associations and by other creative and by interpretive artists, shortchanged or feeling shortchanged by the cartels and their minion legislators.

And Sony Bono's grave should be under a lake of urine.... (that is, his role in DMCA and everything since in the the same areas abusing anyone who isn't a corporate tool and beneficiary of the current status and the continuing erosion of interests of the public and creative and interpretive artists....)

#59 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Jared Polis is exceedingly Boulder. And he's one of the good 'uns. We're lucky to have him.

#60 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2011, 02:17 AM:

Contacted my congressman, and both senators -- congratulating Ron Wyden on his opposition. I included After a week of looking at police attack peaceful protesters, the only thing that gives me hope is that everyone has a cell phone camera, and can share what they saw freely on the internet. Without that, thugs such as the ones at UC Davis would be even worse.

#61 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2011, 10:20 AM:

janetl, some communities are passing laws against taking video of police in action. IMO these communities should consider wholesale moves to Syria, where they can support Bashar al-Assad.

#63 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2011, 09:58 PM:

I received a response from my Rep re: my "No on SOPA/PROTECT IP" email. It read as a canned response ("choose Version A for those who want you to support SOPA/PROTECT IP; choose Version B for those who oppose"--at least it used my name and not "Dear Constituent") and is all in favor of fighting Teh Eebil Pyrates to Ensure Prosperity for All Artists.

Idiot.

Of course, neither of my senators has responded with so much as a form letter, so boo to them too.

#64 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2011, 10:20 PM:

How interesting: I heard back from both Senators and not my Rep, Syd!

#65 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2011, 01:44 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 64: It's a plot! A plot, I tell you! I don't know what kind, unless it's a plot to instill various levels of dissatisfaction with the response times of Congresscritters, in which case it seems to be working--but still, a plot!

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Feinstein got back to me. Waffle without even the benefit of maple syrup. Key 'grafs:

The "PROTECT IP Act" (S. 968) would give both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are "dedicated to infringing activities." These are websites that have "no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating" copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying. The bill would not violate Internet users' First Amendment right to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech. On May 26, 2011, this legislation was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration by the full Senate.

I understand that you oppose the "PROTECT IP Act." While I supported reporting the bill to the full Senate, please know that, prior to the close of the 111th Congress, I worked with California high-technology businesses and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to improve upon language from previous versions of the bill and to address the concerns of legitimate high-tech businesses, public interest groups, and others. However, I recognize that the bill needs further work to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working in cooperation with Chairman Leahy or by offering amendments on the floor of the Senate. Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the full Senate consider the "PROTECT IP Act."
#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2011, 09:41 PM:

abi, that's DiFi for you. She's good on a few things, but mostly she's good at waffling and doing the wrong thing. (I think it's time she retired.)

#68 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2011, 12:00 AM:

abi @ 66, I will take it as given that, do I receive a reply to my email to Feinstein, it will be a duplicate of what you've posted.

And I will have peanut butter as well as maple syrup with my waffle, Senator!

#69 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2011, 12:52 AM:

P J Evans @ 67:

I lived in California when she was first elected, and watched as she went from avowed liberal to party hack. These days as far as I can tell she's just doing whatever she has to do to keep her office in DC open, baffling the constituents with bullshit and keeping the lines to the money and influence open.

#70 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2011, 01:46 PM:

My thoughts on hearing about this bill and what it's _supposed_ to be doing:

a) ...so ... there'll be provisions for complaints about copyrighted material to pretty much automatically shut down websites (and redirect traffic trying to reach those websites to _a_ Department of Justice server that'll serve up a canned page on why you're there). And it'll be difficult, at least, to get the webpages back up without going through layers of government bureacracy that'll want you to produce the receipts and credit card bills for your copyright claim ...So just how long do the Big Music, Big Media, and government organizations think THEIR sites will stay up once this Final Internet Solution is implemented? (One of the features of the Internet is that if you provide access, pretty much anyone can use that access. And 99% > 1% ...)

2) That poor Department of Justice server is effectively going to be living in a state of massive DOS attack upon itself, just from what the bill says it's designed to do. Not to mention what other people are going to be attempting to do to it; anyone want to bet that if this got actually set up, anonymous would be unhappy about it?

iii) I don't think the people sponsoring this bill have the least idea how the Internet _works_, or how DNS servers work, or that there's Internet outside the USA, or that the USA can't possibly mandate that USA-government-made trapdoor/backdoor code be placed into routers or DNS servers located outside the USA. At _best_, one of the results of this would be that every DNS server outside the USA would reject the ones inside it as non-authoritative or worse, and would keep the non-DoJ-server-involving routing intact... effectively making the scheme useless for access from outside the USA. Can anyone say "proxy"? Oh, and cutting all the USA corporations off from their overseas outsourced departments and workers and call centers, and their profit-making foreign-website departments...

(And of course mandating by law that all existing and new DNS servers do this trick has little or nothing to do with what existing or new DNS servers will actually DO. "Let's make sure that these newfangled 'automobiles' have to stop every 15 miles to get their buggy whips inspected and change the horseshoes that the engines use!" "Yes, that'll certainly protect our industries from the changes these 'car manufacturers' are trying to illegally force upon them! Our profits are sacrosanct!"...)

--Dave

#71 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 01:10 AM:

Emailed my Congresscritters a nearly 2 weeks ago... no replies yet, which is odd... Will do it again this week...

#72 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 01:31 AM:

David DeLaney #70: "Let's make sure that these newfangled 'automobiles' have to stop every 15 miles to get their buggy whips inspected and change the horseshoes that the engines use!"

<Snicker!>

#73 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2011, 04:12 AM:

I did indeed get a reply from DiFi (good shorthand, P J Evans @ 67)--and it was, as suspected, a clone of the one abi received. So, topical and unhelpful. On the other hand, it was another week before I heard from BaBo (heh), and that was so canned you could have featured it on Monty Python.

They really don't know (or care, perhaps?) how much this makes us look either technologically stupid or as repressive as China, do they?

#74 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Heard back today from all three. All today, all explaining the bill, all noncommittal. I think Lautenberg is going to vote for it; his note presented only the "pro" side arguments. Menendez was more balanced; I think he's leaning against, or will want to amend it. Sires is cagey; hard to know how he'll vote.

Of course, the bill they passed yesterday repeals the whole Bill of Rights, declares all American citizens "enemy combatants," and declares the entire US a battlefield, so maybe this is just whining about a cut finger when your legs have been blown off.

#75 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Hadn't checked the email I used for my messages, but got a specific reply from Sen. Brown dated December 1. (This is the same Senator whose office sent me an autoreply to my initial message).

I think this one may have been a form letter, but if so, it was a tailored form letter. Started with bog-standard "Thanks for sharing your thoughts", followed by a list of talking points about what the bill is supposedly going to do. (I think the assumption was that the reader would think these talking points were good things. If I thought that, I wouldn't have bothered emailing him in the first place!)

The encouraging bit was the conclusion:

However, I have also heard from individuals with concerns about the scope of this legislation, as well as its First Amendment implications. I take these concerns seriously.
Should this legislation come before the full Senate for a vote, I will keep your views in mind. Thank you again for getting in touch with me.

I'm not holding my breath on him voting this down, but he's at least willing to acknowledge that not all his constituents blindly agree with everything that comes up for a vote in Congress.

#76 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Under the circumstances this is a bit rich.

(Background: we have a problem with internet access in Turkey. As far as I can make out the root of the problem is a law which means that an ISP can be required by a judge to block access to - say - the whole of YouTube the moment someone (often a prosecutor with a bee in their bonnet) makes a complaint about a single problematic clip there until the complaint is resolved. Many of the problems with this situation seem similar to those that are being predicted with SOPA.)

#77 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2012, 12:51 PM:

...and I just got a form response back from one of my senators today. I sent it when you posted this.

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