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I'm Confused About Sopa


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#1 Dr.Marie

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:26 PM

I've been trying to read about SOPA to figure out what all the fuss is about. The way I understand it, it is a plan to regulate the internet to protect against people stealing other people's content and profiting off of it. It looks like one of the main concerns is that if I have a comments section and someone leaves a comment containing copywritten material, then I, as the website owner, can be punished.

How is this different than what exists now? If I post someone else's video on my site, isn't that illegal now? Or is the difference simply that someone else could post it on my site and I could be punished for it?

#2 EGOL

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:30 PM

I don't really understand it either.

So, if we don't understand it, how can a bunch of old farts in Washington decide which way to vote.

I think it is a good opportunity for a tail to wag a dog.

In a way I am glad to see sites like Wikipedia take a strong stand on the issue... however, I don't know if my interests are the same as theirs.

Edited by EGOL, 17 January 2012 - 06:32 PM.


#3 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:49 PM

Here's a good video that helps explain it



It refers mostly to protectip rather than sopa, but both are essentially the same in terms of why they shouldn't be allowed to made into laws. The gist of it...if someone merely accuses a site of infringement, the site could get censored without any recourse - you wouldn't be able to stop it or fight it. No such thing as innocence until proven guilty. In addition, nearly all the sites we take for granted - Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc...they could all be shut down because they don't do enough to "filter out" the infringing sites. But go watch the video and keep reading. It's important to understand why it needs to be stopped.

#4 iamlost

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:52 PM

Two major things about it really bother me (and lots of little things :)):
1. the US (in this instance) government applying their rules ad hoc without international consultation and agreement despite the transnational reality of what they are attempting to regulate.
2. the fact that proof is NOT required nor is practical recourse provided.

#5 jonbey

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:47 PM

In a way I am glad to see sites like Wikipedia take a strong stand on the issue... however, I don't know if my interests are the same as theirs.


If wikipedia switch off in protest I don't suspect I will shed many tears over it!

#6 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:02 PM

SOPA takes all the stuff that the US government has already been doing and explains that this really is okay. It adds the component of holding advertising services like Google to the standard of NOT accepting money from Websites that are profiting from unauthorized use of intellectual property rights.

The stick that seems to have most people upset -- imposing DNS blocks against foreign Websites that are violating copyright -- was apparently just removed from the proposed act (but this is a method that the US government has already implemented on more than one occasion to take down illegal Websites and will most likely continue to be used regardless of whether SOPA is passed and signed).

#7 EGOL

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:04 PM

Thanks for the video, Donna. That was helpful.

#8 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:35 PM

I especially like the nonsense about companies suing new startups and shutting down innovation. Like that isn't happening already.

#9 Dr.Marie

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:11 AM

Sadly, the best thing I have seen so far to explain SOPA is this:

http://theoatmeal.com/sopa

(Warning...it's a little crude).

#10 jonbey

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:24 AM

Can you confirm that no animals were harmed in the making of that video?

#11 glyn

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:34 AM

Long live Europe ;)

#12 Dr.Marie

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:55 AM

Can you confirm that no animals were harmed in the making of that video?



No. I am quite certain several immoral and illegal things were done in the making of that video.

#13 jocelyn

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:46 PM

Found this one today ...

#14 EGOL

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 12:16 AM

Thanks Jocelyn, That was a great video. This guy explains clearly. :)

#15 jonbey

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:12 AM

yeah, but where are the burning kittens?

#16 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:49 AM

So that video simply repeats the lies upon which the anti-SOPA campaign was based. Clearly these people are not reading the actual bill. The U.S. government has already been removing Websites from the domain name system -- they've been doing this for years in their wars against child pornography, drug trafficking, terrorism, etc. It's a very effective method because most people don't type in IP addresses -- a workaround that doesn't work for any Websites that are on shared IP addresses (unless they happen to be the FIRST sites in the list).

What SOPA proposed doing in addition to that, however, was to sever ties between the criminally infringing sites (the bill specifically mandates that only criminally infringing sites would be affected, thus protecting the vast majority of Websites) and the advertising networks that accept their advertising and/or allow the criminally infringing sites to run their ads.

According to specific language in the bill, these sites must be DEDICATED TO INFRINGING CONTENT:
(a) Definitions- In this section:
(1) DEDICATED TO THEFT OF U.S. PROPERTY- An `Internet site is dedicated to theft of U.S. property’ if–
(A) it is an Internet site, or a portion thereof, that is a U.S.-directed site and is used by users within the United States; and
(B) either–
(i) the U.S.-directed site is primarily designed or operated for the purpose of, has only limited purpose or use other than, or is marketed by its operator or another acting in concert with that operator for use in, offering goods or services in a manner that engages in, enables, or facilitates–
(I) a violation of section 501 of title 17, United States Code;
(II) a violation of section 1201 of title 17, United States Code; or
(III) the sale, distribution, or promotion of goods, services, or materials bearing a counterfeit mark, as that term is defined in section 34(d) of the Lanham Act or section 2320 of title 18, United States Code; or
(ii) the operator of the U.S.-directed site–
(I) is taking, or has taken, deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of the U.S.-directed site to carry out acts that constitute a violation of section 501 or 1201 of title 17, United States Code; or
(II) operates the U.S.-directed site with the object of promoting, or has promoted, its use to carry out acts that constitute a violation of section 501 or 1201 of title 17, United States Code, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement.

That definition right there limits the applicability of the law only to Websites that are created for the sole purpose of making money off of other people's property rights. It would be difficult to argue that is YouTube's purpose but you could not make that argument about this forum, for example, even if I came here and uploaded a Disney cartoon every day.

It's these kinds of lies and omissions of explicit references to the language of the bill which worked so well in a classic Nazi Propaganda campaign format to deceive so many people around the world.

SOPA was designed to specifically target and cut off an extremely small sub-segment of Websites that really only exist for one reason; and it mostly relied on methods that are already employed (in fact it even refers to existing law for penalties to be applied). Only the idea of chasing the money was really new.

Edited by Michael_Martinez, 19 January 2012 - 11:50 AM.


#17 iamlost

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:17 PM

My problems with SOPA-PIPA and similar proposals are (in no particular order):
* adding new unnecessary remedies to existing ones. There are existing national and international laws and regulations in place. The same idiocy mindset that brought the US the Patriot Act is at work here.

* the (subsequently - temporarily? - removed/modified to some degree) extension of US law to the entire world. Sorry, but that is just not acceptable...it may be a pain but work with the international community if changes are truly required. This is a common US behaviour and I will oppose it wherever and whenever it shows up.

* that it codifies existing bad behaviour is not a valid excuse let alone reason. Have you stopped beating your spouse?

* it requires impractical actions that do not can not solve the problem. One of the first lessons a parent learns is not to demand what can not be adequately enforced.

I know that it is a drain on US (and other) companies that exploit third world minimal labour standards for products when someone creates imitations (often out of the same factory at night) BUT there are existing remedies.

I know that it is difficult to manage digital intellectual property - we are in the midst of a change as dramatic as the Industrial Revolution - but no law and no level of punishment is going to help because for laws to work the majority must agree with them or they will fail sooner or later.

Off Topic offtopic
I find it amusing that whereas the Industrial Revolution put many individuals (starting with weavers) out of business the Digital Revolution is reversing that conglomeration process. Todays Luddites are the media/entertainment companies.


Frankly, the current IP laws around the world are outdated and that is a serious matter for international discussion and solution. Not for politically expedient solo expeditions by technically ignorant navel gazers.

Note: yes, I've read both bills.

#18 A.N.Onym

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

Yup, thanks for the video, saved me a few hours of researsch and reading ;)

Though, judging by what Michael had said, I should research it even more :/

Now, who do I call to remind them to call their representative? ;)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 19 January 2012 - 02:35 PM.


#19 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:44 PM

My problems with SOPA-PIPA and similar proposals are (in no particular order):


So, I'm not going to defend SOPA or say that it's the law that we need or that I want but please allow me to pick a nit...

* the (subsequently - temporarily? - removed/modified to some degree) extension of US law to the entire world.


SOPA doesn't do this in the least respect. All it does is address Websites that are targeting American citizens (and we already have plenty of laws on the books that deal with American citizen activities overseas, overseas actions against American citizens, etc.).

#20 iamlost

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:02 PM

To open up the conversation: Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing by Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, 10-January-2012.

The shape of the copyright wars clues us into an upcoming fight over the destiny of the general-purpose computer itself.
...
In short, they made unrealistic demands on reality and reality did not oblige them. Copying only got easier following the passage of these laws—copying will only ever get easier. Right now is as hard as copying will get.
...
We don't know how to build a general-purpose computer that is capable of running any program except for some program that we don't like, is prohibited by law, or which loses us money.
...
On the network side, attempts to make a network that can't be used for copyright infringement always converge with the surveillance measures that we know from repressive governments.
...
The copyright wars are just the beta version of a long coming war on computation.
...
The triviality of copyright tells you that when other sectors of the economy start to evince concerns about the Internet and the PC, copyright will be revealed for a minor skirmish—not a war.
...
It doesn't take a science fiction writer to understand why regulators might be nervous about the user-modifiable firmware on self-driving cars, or limiting interoperability for aviation controllers, or the kind of thing you could do with bio-scale assemblers and sequencers.
...
But just as we saw with the copyright wars, banning certain instructions, protocols or messages will be wholly ineffective as a means of prevention and remedy. As we saw in the copyright wars, all attempts at controlling PCs will converge on rootkits, and all attempts at controlling the Internet will converge on surveillance and censorship.
...
I want to know that these technologies are not designed to keep secrets from me, or to prevent me from terminating processes on them that work against my interests.
...
We haven't lost yet, but we have to win the copyright war first if we want to keep the Internet and the PC free and open. Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices and set meaningful policies for them; to examine and terminate the software processes that runs on them; and to maintain them as honest servants to our will, not as traitors and spies working for criminals, thugs, and control freaks.



#21 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:51 PM

His argument misses the whole point of passing laws to regulate behavior on the Internet (and elsewhere). It's the rule of law that keeps us from picking up clubs and trying to kill each other.

These laws are not trying to curb technology, they are simply trying to regulate human (mis)behavior -- which is what laws are supposed to do.

#22 glyn

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 06:39 AM

I know that it is wrong that you can upload a piece of copyright protected content to youtube and that Google can then serve advertising and that the onus is on the copyright owner to report the breach, and it is then on the person who posted it to be held responsible.

Always been bad in my books, never saw eye to eye with it. Always judged it as bad ethical conduct.

Technology has a morality because it is programmed by humans.

Don't know about this law. but that is all I am going to say on this.

#23 iamlost

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 01:33 PM

While the SOPA-PIPA hullaballoo was occupying the general media, off in Japan, away from public scrutiny under the guise of being 'trade' rather than IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) had just been signed. And which is now receiving scrutiny as it has became broadly public...the EU having to vote upon it in June. Other countries simply quietly signed - including Canada, Australia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the USA - on 30-September 2011 (1st October in Japan).

It's roots extend back to the TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) found in Annex 1C of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) Agreement.

Hah!
You thought all this was recent and local and rather quite simple didn't you?
Not a hope.

Fortunately, and thanks to the EU believing them either contrary to existing EU law/regulation or unsupportable, the nastiest internet provisions were removed but it is still a sweeping piece of international law requiring it's own international governing body.

Of intriguing interest are who was not invited to the discussions: the majority of WTO members, mostly third world nations. Because of this and because many/most of the provisions would be politically difficult for the involved governments to enact domestically this is being seen as policy laundering.

If you are interested:
* TRIPS: Text of the Agreement

* ACTA: Consolidated Text as of 02-October-2010.
Note: pdf file, 240KB.

* Government Should Lift Veil on ACTA Secrecy by Michael Geist, 09-June-2008.
Note: this article from almost 3-years ago is what brought the issue to my attention.

* Stop ACTA!

At least some signatory countries each have their own explanatory webpages:
* Australia
* Canada
* European Union
* New Zealand
* United States

Enjoy :)

Edited by iamlost, 28 January 2012 - 01:33 PM.


#24 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:36 PM

Yawn. All this posturing over IPR laws that will not have any impact on the vast majority of Websites is really a waste of everyone's time.



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