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October 27, 2011 1:00 PM   Subscribe

The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted their version of Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act, renaming the bill the E-Parasites Act. Among other changes discussed previously, the bill now makes internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
posted by jeffburdges (120 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The "E" stands for "Entrenched."

The government and major commercial players are not going to give up on this power-grab until there is a law passed that prohibits what this law allows. There is overlap with the Net Neutrality and Occupy movements here.
posted by rhizome at 1:02 PM on October 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is this enforceable and legal only within the borders of the United States or apply only to sites hosted on US ground or applicable to all and any website hosted anywhere in any language ?
posted by infini at 1:04 PM on October 27, 2011


No, then they'll just keep pushing for a law that prohibits what that law allows. I half expect this to end with a ban on Tivo, at which point PVRBlog becomes the last vanguard of freedom.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm Just a Bill.
posted by crunchland at 1:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


CWAA.
posted by grobstein at 1:06 PM on October 27, 2011


Aw, how cute -- they named it after themselves! <3
posted by vorfeed at 1:12 PM on October 27, 2011 [39 favorites]


So now even Dems in congress are injecting dangerously dehumanizing terms like "parasite" into the national political dialogue. Ugh. That name is appalling, whatever the subject of the legislation.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:12 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


E-Parasites Act

It says something about my mindset that I immediately assumed that this meant the House was against the RIAA and had to read to clarify.
posted by immlass at 1:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm Just a Bill.

Due to the legal liability of hosting this and other infringing content, we at Google are announcing the discontinuation of our popular "YouTube" service.
posted by theodolite at 1:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


oh crap, I get it know--it's the usual suspects in the house that named their version that. damn. itchy trigger finger today.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:14 PM on October 27, 2011


Yes, there would be lawsuits against foreign companies filed in the U.S. by the MafIAA, infini. In fact, they'd consider the defendant's difficult in responding as an asset.

I've always been surprised how effectively the U.S. imposed the DMCA upon other countries, but this version become downright trivial.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:15 PM on October 27, 2011


ugh again--"now"
posted by saulgoodman at 1:15 PM on October 27, 2011


I'd love for there to be a real effort to prevent laws from having names.
posted by odinsdream at 1:15 PM on October 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Heh. E-Parasites, huh? Loading a bill with this kind of baggage (see USA PATRIOT act) is a bald-faced ploy to sway votes, and I fear it has an inordinate effect. No good congressperson could vote against it! They couldn't very well be seen by their constituents as PARASITE LOVERS. I can see the smear campaign now...
posted by troll at 1:16 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


E-Parasites Act

... and get the law they wanted.
posted by hat_eater at 1:17 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is completely ridiculous.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:17 PM on October 27, 2011


How many insane bills has the House drafted this session? I think it must be a record year.
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Time to review our Niemöller?
posted by owalt1 at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2011


The parasites refers to the intellectual property robber-baron class, right?
posted by kaibutsu at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I hope the next P2P/ Torrent type app is called Cuckoo just to make the whole thing come full circle.
posted by quin at 1:20 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


We could perhaps view the COICA, Protect-IP Act, and e-Parasites Act family as an attempt by copyright lawyers to bring patent trolling into the copyright space. In other words, they'd create a spectacular market for themselves of filing lawsuits against virtually anyone doing anything interesting online.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:21 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Unemployed IP lawyers rejoice! Who ever said the government can't create jobs?
posted by pokermonk at 1:21 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it common-place to refer to the intellectual property of companies incorporated in the US as "U.S. property"?
posted by clockzero at 1:22 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it unusual for the House to name a bill after its proponents?
posted by rube goldberg at 1:23 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well that would be the end of, let me see... YouTube, Reddit, Twitter... oh, Metafilter...
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on October 27, 2011


Short title "Stop online piracy act"

Yes, there would be lawsuits against foreign companies filed in the U.S. by the MafIAA, infini. In fact, they'd consider the defendant's difficult in responding as an asset.


In a way I understand, yet in a different way my mind boggles. They really cracked down on music piracy here in Kenya a few years ago and interestingly what happened was that the local music industry took off. That however is an easy concept to communicate and crack down on, but with FB, tumblr, posterous et al allowing fast and easy ways to share amongst your community, where and how do you differentiate what exactly is online piracy ( as opposed to bootleg Windows Office which MS is still chasing around the developing world) and what isn't? Credit my photograph when you link or use it - I found myself giving up on ever expecting this anymore. What happens when the 'online' keeps diffusing outwards through the population of the world amongst cultures where privacy and private property may not be the norm?

Will they then keep filing these lawsuits adn then do what? Show up in Chengdu or Bangkok or Nairobi?
posted by infini at 1:24 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wired's take : Feds to Blacklist Piracy Sites Under House Proposal
posted by jeffburdges at 1:27 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Short title "Stop online piracy act"

Yeah, I suspect that your actual proper piracy and commonly understood would be entirely untouched but a lot of essentially harmless borderline stuff would suddenly become a big deal, to the benefit of nobody.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm going to read the whole act and hear Andrew Ryan's voice in my head.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:30 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


As expected, this is being trumpeted by sponsors as a job-creation bill. I fail to see how creating a business environment where a company can get the equivalent of the digital death penalty without due process is going to attract investors. It's like robbing from the future to preserve the past.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:33 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fact it gets more interesting, from the link:

Supporters of PROTECT IP say the bill would help shut down foreign websites that sell counterfeit, and sometimes dangerous, products. PROTECT IP would save U.S. jobs by shutting down online sales of counterfeit products, Steve Tepp, chief intellectual property counsel for the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a blog post last month.

"Rogue sites ... flood the U.S. marketplace with dangerously defective products, attract more than 53 billion visits per year, and have total disregard for U.S. laws which are designed to protect consumer safety and intellectual property," Tepp wrote. "Consumers should be able to rely on trust and good faith in buying legitimate products online. Rogue sites and online criminals abuse this trust for their illicit gain."


This implies foreign websites being blocked to US based viewers or shutting down the WORLD's wide web.

In fact, it might also mean the end of Meta Filter for those of us without the right IP address, if they start blocking foreign users from nice clean American websites.

Oh!
*sniff*
posted by infini at 1:33 PM on October 27, 2011


From the Wired article:

The Senate’s counterpart legislation, however, has been placed on a permanent, procedural hold by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Wyden said the Protect IP Act represents a “threat to our economic future.”

Hopefully someone will stop this. If it reaches the Senate, it'll probably be Wyden. And thanks for his existance.
posted by mephron at 1:34 PM on October 27, 2011 [23 favorites]


It's like robbing from the future to preserve the past.

Well that they certainly have a lot of practice in already.
posted by infini at 1:36 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank god, now I will never have to watch another "lipdub" again. Finally.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:39 PM on October 27, 2011


Apparently I've still got some childlike optimism in me somewhere, because when I first skimmed "overturning parts of the DMCA", I got all excited. sigh.
posted by Zed at 1:40 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Both bills allow the Justice Department for the first time to obtain court orders demanding American ISPs to stop rendering the DNS for a particular website — meaning the sites could still be accessible outside the United States. The House bill also allows the Justice Department to order search sites like Google to remove the allegedly infringing site from its search results.
[...]
said the measure could be interpreted to prevent reporters from writing about DNS workarounds, such as publishing the IP addresses of banned websites. DNS servers translate domain names, such as Wikipedia.org, into IP addresses – but DNS can be bypassed if a user knows the IP address of a site.

“If anybody tells people how they can get around that block, the attorney general can bring an action on them,” Siy said in a telephone interview.


Phew, its just the Great Firewall around America.
posted by infini at 1:41 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


It will be interesting to see what happens once a DNS blacklist gets put in place and people can't get to The Pirate Bay or whatever. That might be the catalyst needed to get a decentralized alternative to DNS like namecoin or something similar off the ground.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:47 PM on October 27, 2011


Can I configure my router to use a DNS outside of the country in lieu of my ISP's DNS?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2011


Continuing the above from infini and jeffburdges:

Furthermore, the newest proposal, (.pdf) introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), grants the U.S. attorney general sweeping powers to block the distribution of workarounds that let users navigate to sites that have been blacklisted or had their domain name seized, such as the MafiaaFire plugin on the Firefox browser.

So yeah, this is a sneaky way to introduce a Great Firewall. Homeland Security has been taking down domain names and attempting to strong-arm a takedown of the MafiaaFire plugin without a court order. This bill would give them that power.
posted by formless at 1:50 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've been considering doing a P2P-DNS vs. NameCoin post, but never quite dug into the material enough.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:52 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hadn't known about DHS going after MafIAA Fire, interesting.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:54 PM on October 27, 2011


Seriously, does anyone know if it's unusual to refer in legislation to U.S.-based corporate property as U.S. property?
posted by clockzero at 1:54 PM on October 27, 2011


FYI: it's not E-Parasite, it's E-PARASITE, or Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:56 PM on October 27, 2011


When I first read a story that it had been renamed the E-PARASITE Act on some web site I had never heard of, I thought I was reading a tech equivalent of the Onion.

This is a worse, more Orwellian name than the USA PATRIOT Act.
posted by grouse at 1:58 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I configure my router to use a DNS outside of the country in lieu of my ISP's DNS?

Without getting too technical, it goes deeper than that. This is basically the kind of national firewall that has commonly been a source of criticism for China and Australia.
posted by rhizome at 1:58 PM on October 27, 2011


This is basically the kind of national firewall that has commonly been a source of criticism for China Boo! Hiss! Communism! and Australia. Um, then it's OK? Yaah, Aussie ingenuity!

How is Australia doing in the implementation of their version of this sort of thing? Did they go all-out national firewall, or lay the burden on ISPs to monitor their users?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on October 27, 2011


FYI: it's not E-Parasite, it's E-PARASITE, or Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act.

In other words, someone spent time coming up with a way to make the catchy name work. I now wonder, was Parasite the only name they were going for, or were there others that didn't quite work out? I ask, because it distracts me from the content of the bill.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:04 PM on October 27, 2011


Is there a specific person whose job it is to come up with ridiculous acronyms?
posted by desjardins at 2:05 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


E-PARASITE, or Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act.

Ian Fleming, is that you?

SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:06 PM on October 27, 2011


Is there a specific person whose job it is to come up with ridiculous acronyms?

No, each time a different person does it instead of doing their job of making America a better place.
posted by grouse at 2:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is there a specific person whose job it is to come up with ridiculous acronyms?

Yeah, that role belongs to the Republican ASSHAT. (Assigner and Selector of Substantive and Helpful American Terminology)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:08 PM on October 27, 2011 [52 favorites]


I have a few websites that gather (legal) information about collectibles which will come down immediately if this passes.
posted by maxwelton at 2:09 PM on October 27, 2011


This is basically the kind of national firewall that has commonly been a source of criticism for China and Australia.

Where does Singapore's efforts fall into this continuum of protecting innocent citizens from Cosmopolitan magazine?

And, to muse a little, is this a trend that will spread globally? The great walled garden of the WWW formerly known as the WorldWideWeb? I'm suddenly very sad.
posted by infini at 2:10 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, prompted me to make an additional contact to my Senator Leahy about this, for whatever good it will do.

I am not acutely familiar with the history and ultimate consolidation of -that hotbed of innovation and job creation- broadcast radio, but haven't we seen this story before?
posted by meinvt at 2:13 PM on October 27, 2011


I wasn't aware until yesterday that Chris Dodd was now head of the MPAA. That is a pretty frightening situation if you consider his connections and previous experience and the MPAA's hard on for shutting down the Internet or twisting its use to its own purposes.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing this is job creation because they'll need people to monitor all this stuff.
Or will they just outsource it?
posted by sio42 at 2:20 PM on October 27, 2011


Yeah, that role belongs to the Republican ASSHAT.

And his second in command, the ass-whip.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:29 PM on October 27, 2011


David Vitter is never going to live that down.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:31 PM on October 27, 2011


Wow, that sounds like something Cyber-Ayn-Rand would say!

a==a
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:35 PM on October 27, 2011


It will be interesting to see how hard Facebook and Google lobby against this, if they lobby against it at all. After all, paid relationships with old-media content producers is a better way to make money than hoping for ad click-throughs on pirated content when you're an established figure in the industry. If that is the strategy, then it is a little sad and yet another step to a more "civilised" internet.
posted by kithrater at 2:37 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, now we see if the Tea Party takes a privileged stand for liberty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:37 PM on October 27, 2011


/tumbleweeds
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2011


Wow, that sounds like something Cyber-Ayn-Rand would say!
Ayn Randroid.
posted by modernserf at 2:43 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


*principled stand for liberty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:49 PM on October 27, 2011


Copyright troll righthaven ordered to pay $119,000

I suppose they'll need this law if they want to extort that money back form other victims.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:08 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If big players like Google are actually concerned about it they could do something as simple as turn youtube off for a day to show people what could effectively happen if this bill, and others like it, passes. It would certainly shine a big ole light on the discussion anyway.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 3:17 PM on October 27, 2011


I think this is more an attempt to shut down Filestube and all the 'sharing' sites more than anything else.
posted by empath at 3:19 PM on October 27, 2011


I favor the End the Viciously Insinuative Language (EVIL) Act instead
posted by jet_manifesto at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't recall where I saw the headline about law enforcement requesting google to take down all youtube videos of police brutality... but it was today (can't google right now, got very few kilobytes left and saving it all for MeFi)
posted by infini at 3:45 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is some fascist bullshit right here. This bill is for corporate US interests to launch trade wars on foreign and domestic interests non-aligned with the patent/copyright cabal behind the bill. The powers granted in this bill allow them to use all US controlled IP(internet protocol) infrastructure as a tool for economic war.

Worst case scenario.

The website you are trying to access has been judged or is suspected to be in contravention of the E-PARASITE Bill. It contained or had links to words, images, sounds and ideas or depictions of words, images, sounds and ideas or derivatives of words, images sounds and ideas that are patented, trademarked or owned by US companies and protected under US copyright and patent law.

To avoid any potential trouble with US law, it suggested that you use only words, images, sounds and ideas which are digitally signed as Safe to Use Online. You can buy Safe to Use Online digital property at approved online retailers.

Ugh. Too believable.
posted by vicx at 3:53 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


How likely is it that this insane-sounding bill will actually become law?
posted by twirlip at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2011


When I first read a story that it had been renamed the E-PARASITE Act on some web site I had never heard of, I thought I was reading a tech equivalent of the Onion.

Indeed. Nowadays a legit Onion article could be titled "Congress Passes Even-Handed, Narrowly Scoped IP Enforcement Bill That Caters To Public Interest."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


U S Government- Lawyers are elected, and make laws, lawyers defend and enforce laws, lawyers become judges and rule, to be overturned by a "higher" court of judges, who were once lawyers. Sounds like the lawyers will never be out of work!
posted by GreyFoxVT at 4:16 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I donno, but crunchland's "I'm Just a Bill" retort provides zero protection. A bill's crazy often represents the influence it's corporate master's hold, meaning they'll push through some 'compromise' fragment now, and come back for the rest down the line.

In the past, there were all these internet startups that congress feared to step upon openly because they generated massive shareholder value. Ain't such a rosy picture today though : The lawyers have tempered that 'disruptive' innovation by permitting rampant patent trolling. There are more than enough big boys like Apple and Google who'll maintain the critical functionality congress cares about whatever dumb laws they pass. etc.

We need disruptive internet startups from other countries without software patents or strong copyright laws to really crush a few U.S. companies, otherwise congress has no incentive to listen to reason. Yet, most countries lack the tradition of venture capital found in the U.S. Instead, those nations should probably start investing directly in tech startups, perhaps by investing some fragment of state retirement accounts as venture capital.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:31 PM on October 27, 2011


If big players like Google are actually concerned about it they could do something as simple as turn youtube off for a day to show people what could effectively happen if this bill, and others like it, passes. It would certainly shine a big ole light on the discussion anyway.

My worry is that Google isn't concerned about this but rather the oppsite: it will work as a useful tool to strangle competition. It's a time honoured business practice to make a profit at the grey-edges of legality, use the profit to fund a transformation in to a more legitimate enteprise, then lobby for a regulatory regime that imposes significant hurdles of anyone who seeks to duplicating your method of ascenion.
posted by kithrater at 4:35 PM on October 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


How is Australia doing in the implementation of their version of this sort of thing? Did they go all-out national firewall, or lay the burden on ISPs to monitor their users?

The announced policy is that ISPs will be expected to prevent users from accessing websites on a classified list of "Refused Classification" content.

Implementation of the policy is currently on hold until the Australia Law Reform Council completes its review on the National Classification Scheme, which is due before 30 January 2012.
posted by kithrater at 4:40 PM on October 27, 2011


i find this almost more/as disturbing the trying-to-kill-birthcontrol crap a lot of conservatives are trying to pull.

i'm imagining the filtered internet suddenly be filled with "crisis center" type sites instead of actual information about birth control methods because the sites with real information will have allegedly somehow violated some sort of rule and are down while being investigated.

it's like 1984 meets The Handmaiden.
posted by sio42 at 4:57 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Politicians gotta politician.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:15 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This may be the cough medicine talking, but seriously, fuck those guys.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:24 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This makes me feel ill.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 6:35 PM on October 27, 2011


filthy light thief: "FYI: it's not E-Parasite, it's E-PARASITE, or Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act."

How about:
Exploitation, Pandering And Ridiculous Asshattery So Industry Takes Everything.
posted by symbioid at 8:02 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


The past few years have shown us that the Internet is a weapon governments can and should fear more than any guns. If there is a right to bear arms which we should fear being infringed, it is the creeping "surveillance" and "restrictions" on the Internet in the name of "stopping piracy" which should scare us the most.

I swear if I wind up with a job opportunity in Oregon I am moving there just to vote and campaign for Ron Wyden.
posted by Saydur at 8:03 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, so everybody should've worked out by now that straight-up opposition to this kind of thing won't win. You need to start thinking about alternative strategies.

E-PARASITE, USA-PATRIOT, CAN-SPAM, STOP-FRAUD, etc. Hmmm, catchy names, aren't they? And that's their first step right there. Parasites & spam? Nobody likes them, so bills against them must be good. Patriots? Every good American is a patriot, so it's just right that the government strengthens patriotism with its very own act. Not to mention anything with "Child", "Family", or "Life" in the name. By the time you start to organise against laws like that, they've already entered the public consciousness on the sponsor's terms. You're starting from behind, chasing to catch up, and each time the name is repeated it grows stronger.

Hell, even the DMCA evokes memories of a particularly catchy earworm from the 70's…

First thing to do: stop playing by those rules; attack the pillars of the method they're using to promote these things. You've got to come in sideways and rip out those pillars before the structure gets built. And the first step to that would be an act banning stupid, forced, emotive, and manipulative names for bills. Ideally, you'd want to forever associate every bill - good or bad - to the person and party who wrote or sponsored the damn thing.

What you really want to get passed is a law to limit all reporting - government and media - to that name only. Then you can stop fighting the uphill battle against emotive bullshit like E-PARASITE, and start calling the spade a bloody shovel by referring to it as the "Leahy (D) 112-S.968 bill - y'know, the one that legalises internet censorship…"
posted by Pinback at 8:19 PM on October 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


I agree with kithrater. Once the technology is in place to disappear any inconvenient content on the web, it's only a matter of time until there are all sorts of shady and lacking-due-process ways for it to happen. OccupyOakland 2012 got out of hand? No problem, we'll shut down DNS service to all users in Northern California.

That's a pretty worst case scenario though. Fortunately, I still see no evidence that anyone associated with this really understands the actual mechanisms of the technology they are trying to legislate, so I wouldn't expect whatever end result to actually be all that effective.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:10 PM on October 27, 2011


I agree with kithrater. Once the technology is in place to disappear any inconvenient content on the web, it's only a matter of time until there are all sorts of shady and lacking-due-process ways for it to happen.

Well, my broader point is slightly different. I'm still thinking this through, and happy enough to have a discussion about it here or via MeMail.

Essentially, the internet is (was?) a new frontier, the Frontier Thesis without the American exceptionalism. And what we see happening to the internet today is general society assimilating this frontier in to the core. The frontier is a space where normal core conventions (such as laws) is not able to be effectively enforced by the traditional enforcers (such as the state).

There are also opportunities in the frontier, the ability to find new markets and products that are not available in the core. These opportunities attract businesses, and once these businesses become suitably profitable, they start to demand the benefits of being a business in the core (such as certainty in regulation).

Likewise, with the increase of business presence comes an increase of core citizens who now have to interact with the frontier. As the frontier has developed a significantly different sub-culture, there is widespread distress and moralising over the behaviour of the frontier occupants. Because the core and frontier engage more and more, the citizens of the core start to demand the benefits of social life in the core (such as agreed regulated behaviours).

So the state, prodded by both business and citizenry, begins the slow, long, torturous and non-linear process of dragging the frontier in to the core. A lot of frontier activities are competently forbidden (they've always been formally forbidden, just in an incompetently enforced fashion) and go underground, some frontier activities become sanitised and monetised (BBS turns in to Facebook), and the security and certainty provided by the core allows for new activities (banking from your mobile phone).

As far as I can see, the frontier ends up losing in the long run, although a few pockets of "frontier behaviour" remain. However, it is no longer flaunted, and no one can just join the frontier, but you need to rely on existing connections to get an invite.

How this all relates to the law, is that this is just the next step after DCMA, Facebook, Anti-Bullying laws, Google, online gaming, and so on. You could win a battle here, but the war, the preservation of the internet as a wild and wacky place, will eventually be lost. What is worth fighting for, though, is for how long we digital natives get to keep the internet the way we like.
posted by kithrater at 9:50 PM on October 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think this is more an attempt to shut down Filestube and all the 'sharing' sites more than anything else.

LOL! That's the initial pretext for getting their paws onto these additional levers of control. The TSA is searching for drugs on internal transportation routes in Tennessee in case you missed that.

Santorum just might clear his name after all, what a glorious future awaits us all!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:57 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can I configure my router to use a DNS outside of the country in lieu of my ISP's DNS?
Yeah, of course.
Homeland Security has been taking down domain names and attempting to strong-arm a takedown of the MafiaaFire plugin without a court order.
Which is why lots of sites have stopped using ICANN controlled TLDs like com/net/org. c.f. demonoid.me rather then .com
If big players like Google are actually concerned about it they could do something as simple as turn youtube off for a day to show people what could effectively happen if this bill, and others like it, passes. It would certainly shine a big ole light on the discussion anyway.
I wouldn't count on that. This law is our implementation of a treaty that was passed a while back. No doubt Google and others were involved in the negotiations at some point. The same way Google and Verizon hashed out an end to net neutrality and the FCC rubber stamped. Google, Apple, Microsoft and the telecom companies are much larger then the content industry. And they've reached saturation to a large extent. Assuming cynicism it would make sense for internet companies to lobby against efforts to curb piracy while the internet was still maturing, but now that 'were're here' and the only risk is an upstart it makes more sense for them to erect barriers to new competitors. Restrictive IP laws with loopholes for their services would work well.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone analyzed the factors that made internet successes vs failures, particularly from the boom years of the late 1990s? Also has anyone taken a look at the revenue generation within China's firewall?

I'm wondering if this may not in fact be a good thing, once the nasty foreign websites are kept out and the wagons circled, what would be the impact on the internet as a business generating entity within and without? For US based companies - how will this impact Amazon's business? What difference will it make to Facebook's 800 million people? What about localized advertising?

Will there finally be an opportunity for local internet companies to flower everywhere else?
posted by infini at 12:40 AM on October 28, 2011


Interesting thought - but it sounds like a modern version of the US's isolationist stance pre-WWII.

i-Solationism?
posted by Pinback at 1:07 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


here's the law itself (The Scribd link is B.S why should you have to register to download it and read it at the zoom level you want?) Looking at the law itself, it may be more far-reaching then just DNS, but with a few exceptions:
21 (2) REASONABLE MEASURES.—After being
22 served with a copy of an order pursuant to this sub-
23 section, the following shall apply:
24 (A) SERVICE PROVIDERS.—

1 (i) IN GENERAL.—A service provider
2 shall take technically feasible and reason-
3 able measures designed to prevent access
4 by its subscribers
located within the
5 United States to the foreign infringing site
6 (or portion thereof) that is subject to the
7 order, including measures designed to pre-
8 vent the domain name of the foreign in-
9 fringing site (or portion thereof) from re-
10 solving to that domain name’s Internet
11 Protocol address.
So essentially, an ISP will have to block infringing sites by limiting DNS, but it's not restricted to DNS. However,
16 (ii) LIMITATIONS.—A service provider
17 shall not be required—
18 (I) other than as directed under
19 this subparagraph, to modify its net-
20 work, software, systems, or facilities;
21 (II) to take any measures with
22 respect to domain name resolutions
23 not performed by its own domain
24 name server; or
Then there is another thing that says they don't need to block things that are already blocked.

They also have rules against search engines serving links to banned foreign sites.

They also ban countermeasures:
24 (A) IN GENERAL.—To ensure compliance
25 with orders issued pursuant to this section, the
1 Attorney General may bring an action for in-
2 junctive relief—
3 (i) against any entity served under
4 paragraph (1) that knowingly and willfully
5 fails to comply with the requirements of
6 this subsection to compel such entity to
7 comply with such requirements; or
8 (ii) against any entity that knowingly
9 and willfully provides or offers to provide
10 a product or service designed or marketed
11 for the circumvention or bypassing of
12 measures described in paragraph (2)
...
(D) DEFINITION.—For purposes of this
12 paragraph, a product or service designed or
13 marketed for the circumvention or bypassing of
14 measures described in paragraph (2) and taken
15 in response to a court order issued pursuant to
16 this subsection includes a product or service
17 that is designed or marketed to enable a do-
18 main name described in such an order—
19 (i) to resolve to that domain name’s
20 Internet protocol address notwithstanding
21 the measures taken by a service provider
22 under paragraph (2) to prevent such reso-
23 lution; or
24 (ii) to resolve to a different domain
25 name or Internet Protocol address that the
1 provider of the product or service knows,
2 reasonably should know, or reasonably be-
3 lieves is used by an Internet site offering
4 substantially similar infringing activities as
5 those with which the infringing foreign
6 site, or portion thereof, subject to a court
7 order under this section was associated.
So essentially, it sounds you could interpret this as banning any alternative to the DNS system that can't be controlled by the government. Good times.

posted by delmoi at 2:23 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I work for a huge CLEC. We don't have firewalls in place to stop people from doing accessing sites or DNS servers, and it would cost us millions of dollars to implement. The ISP's don't want to regulate what their customers go to and will spend a lot of money to stop a bill that forces us to.
posted by empath at 2:54 AM on October 28, 2011


The ISP's don't want to regulate what their customers go to and will spend a lot of money to stop a bill that forces us to.
Well, this bill explicitly does not require them to do that, as I quoted:
16 (ii) LIMITATIONS.—A service provider
17 shall not be required
18 (I) other than as directed under
19 this subparagraph, to modify its net-
20 work, software, systems, or facilities;
21 (II) to take any measures with
22 respect to domain name resolutions
23 not performed by its own domain
24 name server
So an ISP won't need to filter DNS traffic to other DNS servers, just remove entries from foreign infringing sites. This could easily be done by pulling from the ICANN root servers, which will probably be in compliance. For ccTLDs they could pull from a central US mirror that has any foreign infringing sites removed. It should just be a simple config file change.

So just use a foreign DNS, right? Well, one thing in this bill is that you won't be able to use Google to find it. Search engines will be required to remove links to any circumvention services. You also won't be able to pay them, since they'll all get the wikileaks treatment (that's in the bill). and they can't use ad-networks either (presumably this would only apply to ad-networks within the reach of U.S law)

Anyway, how would you know what the management of every ISP is thinking? AT&T, if they weren't interested in controlling what their users did, why would they have lobbied so hard against net neutrality? AT&T is already doing deep packet inspection to catch people on unlimited data plans tethering their iPhones. They actually testified in congress that they want more regulation like this.

Plus think about it, if they do already have the capacity to do this, and their competitors don't, it'll be good for them and bad for their competition. The more regulation the better it is for large incumbents against small competitors, since the incumbents can lobby for regulation that they're already in conformance with.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyway, how would you know what the management of every ISP is thinking?

I can tell you what the management of the ISP I'm working for is thinking, and it's a multi-billion dollar company. There is absolutely no planning anywhere being done with regards to filtering our customers. We'll just stop providing residential DSL before we implement this.
posted by empath at 3:18 AM on October 28, 2011


AT&T is already doing deep packet inspection to catch people on unlimited data plans tethering their iPhones.

Not true, as far as I know. Where are you getting this?
posted by empath at 3:22 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Indeed. Nowadays a legit Onion article could be titled "Congress Passes Even-Handed, Narrowly Scoped IP Enforcement Bill That Caters To Public Interest."

"Public interest"? What are you, some kind of Commie?
posted by acb at 4:31 AM on October 28, 2011


In other news, Congress' approval rate is now down to 9 percent.
posted by Twang at 7:20 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whatever law is passed:

30% of the population will bend over backwards to conform to the letter of the law.
25% will at least not actively try to break the law.
20% will think they are in compliance when they are probably not.
15% will occasionally break the law when they think they can get away with it.
10% will circumvent the barriers no matter how strict the law is.
posted by telstar at 11:28 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


AT&T now says the game is up and I can start paying extra dough (and lose my grandfathered in "unlimited status") or never tether again. They claim they have a team of crack scientists and supercomputers that can tell if ever tether on my own again.
So they're doing something on that front. Here's an article on AT&T lobbying for website blacklists:
Also, AT&T thinks that getting the US government into website blocking would be a pretty terrific idea. AT&T suggests that the Department of Justice "create and maintain a list of international websites known to host and traffic in infringed copyrighted works."

After "thorough investigation and governmental due process," the Department of Justice could simply require ISPs to block all access to those sites.
This isn't some conspiracy, it's what they're saying publicly, they are spending money to lobby for this To claim it's not what they want is ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 AM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"So they're doing something on that front."

From what I read, it's less a "a team of crack scientists and supercomputers" dedicated to detecting tethering, and more a combination of (a) watching which APN your data is being routed through (AT&T configures their smartphones to use different APNs in tethered mode vs mobile mode), and (b) simply sending nastygrams to heavy users accusing them of tethering.

They can probably also (c) look at the headers to see if the packet has been NAT'd or other indications of it coming from a non-A&T-registered device (e.g. compare the MAC address). But that hardly requires "deep packet inspection". You could do it with a shell script.
posted by Pinback at 11:34 PM on October 28, 2011


"Big Content" is strangling American innovation
posted by jeffburdges at 9:30 AM on October 29, 2011


La Quadrature du Net has released some videos on ACTA and action European can take to kill it.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:28 AM on November 1, 2011


Petition to Stop the E-PARASITE ACT: "This Bill would allow essentially allow A Great Firewall of America and would be a shameful desecration of free speech and any sort of reasonable copyright law. The new Law would allow copyright holders to force websites which have any copyrighted material to be blocked by ISP companies around the country, without requiring that the websites be given time to take the offending material down. It would also put pressure on ISP companies to monitor their users like never before, a gross invasion of privacy. This bill is a direct assault on a free internet and a shameful attempt by copyright lobbyists to destroy net neutrality. Essentially it's a censorship law that would end the internet as we know it in America."

The petition currently needs 19,792 more signatures to elicit an official government response.
posted by troll at 1:33 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The petition currently needs 19,792 more signatures to elicit an official government response.

After which they say they're just going to do whatever they want anyway, just like the cannabis petition the other day.

Online petitions are 110% for shit. Always.
posted by rhizome at 4:24 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Id agree, rhizone, that calling senators and representatives has more far more impact than signing a petition.

Kill Switch

The only people who can possibly be in favor of this bill are either ignorant of its implications or stand to gain by its passage. This desperate power grab by a diminishing elite fails to even comprehend the problems it aims to solve, and its blunt force methods are wide open for abuse, and very possibly unconstitutional. Make no mistake about it: this is a kill switch, and if it’s passed, it will revisit us for years to come in ways we never suspected possible. If you think that’s an overstatement, think about it again next time you’re posing naked for the TSA, and ask yourself how that came about.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:43 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an aside, Obama has already dissed the petition for an end to software patents.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:19 PM on November 1, 2011


I'm seeing petition crap everywhere, I think they're intended to sandbag liberal energy.
posted by rhizome at 10:32 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I basically agree with you rhizome, and so do the people who ironically signed the petition to actually take these petitions seriously instead of just using them as an excuse to pretend you are listening. Heh.
posted by troll at 10:45 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, I've wondered if such petitions do more harm than good too, rhizome. Two interesting fpp topics might be : A summary of Obama's "We the People" petition blow offs. Any public policy wikis that aspire to some meaningful level of legitimacy.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:27 AM on November 2, 2011


If you wait long enough, they can just block access to all the petition sites ho ho ho
posted by infini at 8:39 AM on November 2, 2011


I just had a horrible thought, would our FPPs constitute copyright infringement for the MetaFilter website?
posted by infini at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2011


Yes, you could file copyright complaints over small snippets of text, like quotations, infini, well companies already use that tactic to quash dissent.

At present, the DMCA protects American based sites like metafilter from lawsuits by requiring the plaintiff to first file a DMCA take down request. I'm imagine they could sue first and ask questions later under this proposed act, although anti-SLAPP statues apply.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:52 AM on November 2, 2011


US Marshals ordered to sieze $63,720.80 from Righthaven.   ha ha
posted by jeffburdges at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Copyright bill controversy grows as rhetoric sharpens
posted by homunculus at 9:51 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Free Bieber!
posted by jeffburdges at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2011


It appears SCO has moved to partly reopen SCO v. IBM, talk about copyright trolls behaving like patent trolls, or really D&D trolls (regeneration).
posted by jeffburdges at 9:39 AM on November 5, 2011


Yeah, it's amazing. That case has been going for more than eight and a half years. It's like a Jarndyce and Jarndyce for the 21st century.
posted by grouse at 11:08 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember the "borderless" Internet? It's officially dead
posted by homunculus at 8:51 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It appears SCO has moved to partly reopen SCO v. IBM, talk about copyright trolls behaving like patent trolls, or really D&D trolls (regeneration).

God, I hate that case. Don't tell me I need to put Groklaw back on my RSS feed.
posted by odinsdream at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll respond to that arstechnica piece linked by homunculus :

Internet traffic should be viewed as very nearly speech because data cannot hurt more than speech except when data gets automatically interpreted, which only applies when discussing viruses, malware, hackers breaking into systems, spam, etc. There should be no internet specific regulation upon activities wherein human agency intervenes.

There are obviously restrictions upon speech that produces reasonably immediate threats though human actions, like fraud, false advertising, incitement, hate speech, etc., but such regulations exist wholly outside the internet realm already.

Is there any need for countries to enforce such regulations at their border? Again, not beyond the physical realm, no. Incitement and hate speech aren't problematic because demagoguery doesn't really cross national borders. You should obviously embargo physical and financial products that saturate the internet with fake advertising, but that's still meatspace since stuff like direct deposits doesn't cross national boundaries. etc.

And copyright laws shouldn't even warrant this much consideration, given their intrinsically artificial and intra-national nature.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:08 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Righthaven : I'm not quite dead yet
posted by jeffburdges at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2011


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