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> Two US laws that could change the entire Internet
Groundsplitter
post 15 January 2012, 02:33
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Lars Eriksson
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A long YouTube clip plus a link to an in-depth analysis at Seibertron.com at the bottom of this post.


Lobby organizations in the USA have convinced politicians to propose/support two bills for new laws that could have serious implications for the Internet.
One of them, the "Protect IP Act" (PIPA) is up for voting in the US senate in just 1,5 weeks time; the other, "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA), is still being discussed and hasn't received a date for the vote yet.

The name of the second of the two proposed laws may look like it's a law for a benevolent purpose, but there is a serious problem here in that the laws give way too much power to corporations and other powerful organizations, and places all smaller websites in a very prone and unprotected situation. A corporation just has to accuse a website of hosting materials that infringe on their copyright, to get that site blacklisted in the DNS registrys on the Internet while the accusation is being investigated. And since the website owners are responsible for the content on the websites, this makes website owners in the USA subject to possible jail time for not preventing the material from being posted.
In the long run, these laws, if they are legislated, will force websites located in the USA to screen everything posted on their website - even simple follow-ups to a blog article or a forum post - to protect themselves from the risk that their users post something that could theoretically cause the website to be blacklisted and the administrator in court for copyright infringement.


John Bain, a law graduate in the United Kingdom, sees many other potential problems with these proposed laws: the major copyright holders in the USA (music industry, film industry, game industry) could very well use these new laws to protect their own market shares, and while they may be reluctant to attempt to go head-to-head with sites like YouTube and force them to shut down, they could single out and intimidate any new services that could in theory grow to become the next generation of social networking websites, and strike them down before they ever grow to the same size as Facebook, YouTube and the other websites of today.

Additionally - while this threat is limited to the USA today (if you can call a threat that concerns the USA's entire share of the Internet presence "limited"), if the legislation of these laws are successful there, it's only a matter of time before we get similar laws in Europe as well. The lobby organizations are powerful, and we have already seen them influence the introduction of certain laws in some European countries.

Here's a 21-minute long analysis by John Bain:

Direct link

I can also recommend that you read what Seibertron.com has written on the subject, at http://www.seibertron.com/transformers/new...internet/23668/
They are looking more specifically at what the new laws could mean for Transformers fan sites (and other fan sites and message boards too, of course).


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Lucar-tron
post 15 January 2012, 11:33
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Alexander Mars
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This is a serious matter, and I'm glad that you brought it up.
I think that these new laws aren't good and not exactly precise enough, and lets not forget that most companies that do support SOPA can do anything they want.

I do really hope that these laws doesn't pass.
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BigPete
post 15 January 2012, 11:33
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The consequences of what would happen if this bill is passes could be very serious. I shudder at the very thought.


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Groundsplitter
post 15 January 2012, 12:40
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Lars Eriksson
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I'm not completely familiar with what the decision hierarchy looks like in the USA, but I get the impression from the topics that I read, that the president always has the option to veto the laws decided by the congress (which both the senate and the house of representatives are part of, I just learned that bit).

And apparently the White house has recently stated that it will not support these two laws. Which would be good news, provided that we could trust that promise.
The threat is not over until the president has actually vetoed the laws however; there has been occasions in the recent past where the Obama administration has said that it wouldn't support a law but then did it anyway, and the proponents of these two bills are already adjusting the proposed laws in an attempt to get the senate/house-of-reps to accept them. That would make the proposed laws somewhat less aggressive, but obviously still far from harmless (basically it's the same maneuver as when the FRA law was accepted 3,5 years ago - it was blocked once, but the proponents changed it slightly so it could be accepted the second time the Swedish parliament voted on it).
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Ravage
post 16 January 2012, 00:24
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Worrying news, and a fine example of legislators regulating sectors where they have little to no idea about what they are truly doing. A higher amount of technocracy in the american departments would be desirable.
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Honkimus Prime
post 16 January 2012, 14:46
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Hopefully reason wins this case. At least EU Parliament has now criticised SOPA, but you never know what might happen here as well if we allow these kind of a things to happen.


http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/arti...sm_of_sopa.html


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Tetsuro
post 16 January 2012, 18:01
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QUOTE(Ravage @ 16 January 2012, 00:24) *
Worrying news, and a fine example of legislators regulating sectors where they have little to no idea about what they are truly doing. A higher amount of technocracy in the american departments would be desirable.

US congress is made up of old people who have absolutely no idea how the internet works so it's easy for the big businesses that do to confuse them out of their tiny little minds.


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Lucar-tron
post 16 January 2012, 18:23
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Good news! The SOPA bill is shelved, for now.
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/t...sensus-is-found

If that's true, then hopefully so will this bill not be brought up again, and that ignorant Texas represetant Lamar Smith will be kicked out.
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Groundsplitter
post 16 January 2012, 19:06
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QUOTE(Lucar-tron @ 16 January 2012, 18:23) *
Good news! The SOPA bill is shelved, for now.
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/t...sensus-is-found

If that's true, then hopefully so will this bill not be brought up again, and that ignorant Texas represetant Lamar Smith will be kicked out.

"Until consensus is found", they say. Unfortunately that usually means that they just touch up the bill a bit, and grind down a few of the most offending phrases so that the bill can be accepted by the legislative body. So the danger is not over - the proponents are still working to get the bill accepted.
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Lucar-tron
post 16 January 2012, 19:52
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Alexander Mars
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QUOTE(Groundsplitter @ 16 January 2012, 19:06) *
QUOTE(Lucar-tron @ 16 January 2012, 18:23) *
Good news! The SOPA bill is shelved, for now.
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/t...sensus-is-found

If that's true, then hopefully so will this bill not be brought up again, and that ignorant Texas represetant Lamar Smith will be kicked out.

"Until consensus is found", they say. Unfortunately that usually means that they just touch up the bill a bit, and grind down a few of the most offending phrases so that the bill can be accepted by the legislative body. So the danger is not over - the proponents are still working to get the bill accepted.


Then I hope that the proponents will fail.
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Protek
post 20 January 2012, 07:12
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What's most annoying in these proposed bills that they won't do anything to prevent the IP abusers, who'll do their stuff in Tor network or similar. It just pisses off us regular law abiding users. That's what's wrong with the legislation in general nowadays.


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Bermuda Mohawk
post 21 January 2012, 05:03
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QUOTE(Tetsuro @ 16 January 2012, 12:01) *
QUOTE(Ravage @ 16 January 2012, 00:24) *
Worrying news, and a fine example of legislators regulating sectors where they have little to no idea about what they are truly doing. A higher amount of technocracy in the american departments would be desirable.

US congress is made up of old people who have absolutely no idea how the internet works so it's easy for the big businesses that do to confuse them out of their tiny little minds.


Yes, and what's worse is they way the lobby groups are using t.v. to promote pro-SOPA support. They are saying that foreign companies(i.e. Chinese really), are stealing American ideas and forcing companies to close and create less jobs for Americans to work, and if Americans rally and get Congress to pass the bill, all will be saved. This is a dirty tactic, one that is baseless and untrue.

Now the problem will be whether Congress will do the right thing and vote down the bills, or fall under the pressure of idiots who think this bill will save jobs. In a year of elections, I fear the idiots in Congress will vote yes to the bills.

It's really frustrating living in a country where the people are supposed to be in control and yet the big money corporations get the ultimate say on everything in the end.


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