With the call to oppose SOPA/Protect IP by the creators of the most popular blogging software package in the world, it’s time for bloggers to stand up.
Are you a blogger? Do you run a one or two person business that is supported all or in part by the internet?
The makers of the software that most of you use, WordPress, has stood up and urged users to stand in opposition to these laws.
Did you see it?
Do you oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its Senate equivalent Protect IP?
If you don’t know what these are, well, welcome back from Mars. How was your trip?
If you do know what these are, you’re an American, and you’re not opposing them, what are you thinking?
On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the U.S. Senate is poised to vote on the internet blacklist bill. This bill is ostensibly intended to combat the theft of intellectual property, including films, music, and patent infringement. If the backers of this bill get their way, it will give them the power to blacklist websites and force payment services to cease providing a means to do financial transactions to any site they allege of infringement.
Note that word closely: allege.
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Others have expressed with great authority and eloquence on the evils of the SOPA/Protect IP. Here, though, is why I feel so strongly.
SOPA — the “Stamp Out Piracy Act” — and its Senate equivalent “Protect IP” (or PIPA) has the stated intent (quoting from PIPA) of mitigating “online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property.”
From the 5/26/2011 summary:
Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 – (Sec. 3) Authorizes the Attorney General (AG) to commence: (1) an in personam action against a registrant of a nondomestic domain name (NDN) used by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities (ISDIA) or an owner or operator of an ISDIA accessed through an NDN; or (2) if such individuals are unable to be found by the AG or have no address within a U.S. judicial district, an in rem action (against a domain name itself, in lieu of such individuals) against the NDN used by an ISDIA.
Follow that? Yeah, I had to wade through that a couple of times myself. God forbid this stuff be written in a language us mere mortals can understand.
What SOPA/PIPA really does is give Big Money intellectual property holders the ability to accuse websites of infringing on their materials, and press the Attorney General for the United States to seize the domain for the offending site, or blacklist it if the domain is outside of U.S. jurisdiction. My reading of the bill shows no due process, and gives pretty much all the power to the accusing agent. Worse, it actually doesn’t solve the problem because the methods employed appear to be easy to side-step, and it undermines overall security of the internet as well as the security infrastructure that was in process of being created.
Not only will it not accomplish what it sets out to do, it will allow the big players to quash new internet startups, chill internet innovation, and kill jobs that the internet might have otherwise offered this brutally savaged economy.
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