On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
November 14, 2011 12:00 AM   Subscribe

American Censorship Day is an internet protest against the oft-renamed Stop Online Piracy Act.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is increasingly being viewed, not merely as copyright lawyers buying themselves a meal ticket, but as an internet border around the U.S. or a political blacklist tool. (previously)

At least, it's less market unfriendly than the internet kill switch, which Senator Lieberman has championed ever since the Arab Spring.

There are two interesting organizations I'd never heard of among the backers of American Censorship Day, the Participatory Politics Foundation, who run OpenCongress, and Fight For The Future, who added a little levity with Free Bieber.
posted by jeffburdges (39 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Selective Online Persecution Act.
posted by telstar at 12:17 AM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Apparently U.S corporations are jealous of the Chinese censorship systems. The Obama administration is already taking active steps to shut down websites that promote file sharing, In some of the domain seizures recently they took down websites that promoted file sharing, not just sites that actively facilitated sharing. They also took down a popular message board, about rap music, due to file sharing links (or something)

So, it's likely that if laws like this passed it could mean active censorship not only of copyrighted material, but people advocating against copyright.

The other thing is that they're claiming jurisdiction not only of sites based in the U.S, but any IP addresses or domain names issued by organizations in the U.S. So for the first time the U.S. government will be taking an active roll in censoring .com/net/org/etc domain names.
posted by delmoi at 12:33 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, isn't this just the U.S's implementation of the new ACTA treaty, like the french HADOPI laws and various laws in other countries.
posted by delmoi at 12:35 AM on November 14, 2011


The ruling Chinese communist party suppresses any opposition to its hegemony, any mention of democracy, any scrutiny of its actions. To equate that blanket political censorship with spats about downloading Britney Spears albums in the U.S.A. is fatuous.
posted by joannemullen at 12:52 AM on November 14, 2011


is fatuous.

Sterling logic. Also, Britney Spears? Could you try updating your cultural references to something relevant to the current millennium? Perhaps Avril Lavigne? Thanks in advance.
posted by delmoi at 1:44 AM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


My problem with this, as someone who has for a number of years largely made a living due to copyright laws, is simply this: a lot of big cartels and corporations are going to get a lot of power in order to "enforce their rights".

But I'm sure as heck not.

If we want to have enforced copyright, then let's have it. But let's have it for everybody. Let's have it for folks like me. Let's have it for musicians who haven't been paid a dime by their record labels. Let's have it for photographers whose shots are used, without compensation or attribution, in publications, etc., etc.

Because, honestly, I would love to live in a world where the random photographer can push a button and take a multinational publishing conglomerate off the internet.
posted by ubernostrum at 2:50 AM on November 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


...With Liberty and Justice, for the Rich!
posted by Goofyy at 2:53 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Chair recognizes the senator from the RIAA. Sir, you have the floor.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:37 AM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The proposed law is much more melodious in the original german.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:56 AM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This situation reminds me of a quote from the recent Parrot/BLIT post:

Using anything other than plain ASCII/ANSI text on websites or in e-mail is a guaranteed way of terminating your net account. We're all nostalgic about the old, colourful web, and about television, but today's risks are simply too great.
posted by gubo at 5:29 AM on November 14, 2011


To equate that blanket political censorship with spats about downloading Britney Spears albums in the U.S.A. is fatuous.

What is fatuous is the imply that only your personal worst example of any category is worth discussing. It's like the opposite of "the perfect is the enemy of the good".
posted by DU at 5:30 AM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Afaik, all 'imposed' internet blacklists have been abused for political ends, joannemullen. American library internet filters frequently block sites pertaining to coming out as homosexual. Australia blocked wikileaks. etc.

There are good internet blacklists aimed towards spam reduction, removing advertisements, or privacy, like SpamHaus' RBLs, AdBlock+, and IBlockList, but critically their users have complete control over the blacklist's operation. Also, they are completely transparent about their lists contents, inclusion criteria, decision making processes, etc.

In this case, anyone with money could silence critics simply by claiming they infringe upon some copyright, making this blacklist potentially worse than anti-pornography blacklists.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


isn't this just the U.S's implementation of the new ACTA treaty

Not cool for the Executive Branch to enter into agreements with other countries and then pressure Congress to retroactively change the law to fit.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:38 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Chair recognizes the senator from the RIAA. Sir, you have the floor.

This is great, and if it hasn't been done, it should form the basis for a piece of satirical writing. I have to go get on my tractor and move cow shit around or I'd do it.

COPYRIGHT THAT IDEA!!
posted by Trochanter at 7:40 AM on November 14, 2011


I'm afraid ACTA is much broader, delmoi, notably covering patents, probably elevating drug costs around the world, make developers more livable for software patents, etc. For copyright, ACTA pushes a HADOPI style three-strikes policy, not this sue em' off the web approach. I liked the videos and wiki about ACTA at La Quadrature du Net, btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:31 AM on November 14, 2011


Does anybody have a form letter to send to reps? Lotta links up there, but little info on who to contact. The only thing I found was a link to an online petition. I'm worried that the government views internet petitions the same way I do: Cute.

I can write, but I'd like a form letter that gets all the facts straight, dates, acronyms, bill number, etc. I'm awfully bad at navigating government sites to read these things. I think they do that on purpose, "Make it hard to read, no one will participate!" "Yeah!"

And which ones am I contacting? Reps or Senators? A direct message or call would work best right now, not a friggin' 'CENSORED' banner on a website, like they'll notice... (I'm doing it anyway, but come on.)
posted by CarlRossi at 8:34 AM on November 14, 2011


Here is EFF's form letter to "stop the internet blacklist legislation", and their action center database should help you find the appropriate recipient.
posted by KatlaDragon at 8:43 AM on November 14, 2011


This situation reminds me of a quote from the recent Parrot/BLIT post:

Using anything other than plain ASCII/ANSI text on websites or in e-mail is a guaranteed way of terminating your net account. We're all nostalgic about the old, colourful web, and about television, but today's risks are simply too great.


I'd like to remind everyone that the colour "blue" is trademarked by Fazer.

Don't try changing that colour either because "brown" is trademarked by UPS and "purple" by Cadbury.
posted by Talez at 8:51 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are almost four hundred letters attached to the OpenCongress page on H.R.3261 (example).

Related : How litigation only spurred on P2P file sharing.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:52 AM on November 14, 2011


How SOPA will attack the Internet's infrastructure and security
posted by homunculus at 9:15 AM on November 14, 2011


yeah but it's boing boing so we can disregard it, because of, uh

hey look over there!
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:28 AM on November 14, 2011


joannemullen: The ruling Chinese communist party suppresses any opposition to its hegemony, any mention of democracy, any scrutiny of its actions. To equate that blanket political censorship with spats about downloading Britney Spears albums in the U.S.A. is fatuous.

Incorrect.
SOPA would use the same exactly technological scheme as the Chinese do to create their "great firewall" in the US to support the reigning orthodoxy. Its just that the orthodoxy here is large content companies.

What you so flippantly dismiss as "spats" are, in actuality, large scale campaigns to remove often non-infringing websites from the Internet, and force the then-removed sites to commence litigation to prove that they were non-infringing in order to have their service restored.

Let me put it this way for you. If SOPA becomes law, Matt would be well advised to either: a) hire a bunch of staff for the sole purpose of being able to claim that he was doing everything he could to make sure that none of us ever posted anything that was copyrighted without permission; or b) close Metafilter. Youtube? Forget about it. Youtube is the holy grail here. If the content companies get this bill passed, I give Youtube six months before it is closed or completely coopted by Hollywood as yet another vehicle for their content and only their content.
posted by Inkoate at 9:49 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Youtube? Forget about it. Youtube is the holy grail here. If the content companies get this bill passed, I give Youtube six months before it is closed or completely coopted by Hollywood as yet another vehicle for their content and only their content.
Are you delusional? Youtube will be ensconced in as a monopoly. Any site wanted to compete with youtube? No chance. Google can afford to hire plenty of lawyers and lobbyists to make sure Youtube is safe, but any small startup wanting to compete with it, will go down.
posted by delmoi at 10:41 AM on November 14, 2011


Oh, and they are. See, for example, Viacom v. Youtube, which Viacom is currently losing based on what is a fairly standard reading of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Among the many things that SOPA would do is a fairly targeted overhaul of the "notice and takedown" regime in the DMCA that gives Youtube the cover it is using to protect itself in the Viacom case. Google can have all the lawyers in the world, but if Congress changes the law to do away with the intermediary liability that they rely on for their existence, it really won't matter.
posted by Inkoate at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2011


Are you delusional? Youtube will be ensconced in as a monopoly. Any site wanted to compete with youtube? No chance. Google can afford to hire plenty of lawyers and lobbyists to make sure Youtube is safe, but any small startup wanting to compete with it, will go down.

Nope. One word: Netflix.

Media companies don't want you to pay one flat fee for content. That just devalues their own content because then they're forced to negotiate with the monopolistic gatekeeper and if the gatekeeper says "pass" what do they do then?

No the endgame of this is that you pay $19.95/month for the Sony content lounge, $19.95/month for the Vivendi Universal NBC lounge, $19.95/month for NCIS:[Insert Your Local Town Here] on the CBS store, $19.95/month for the Fox ghetto, $19.95/month for the Turner collection IN COLOUR BECAUSE I DAMN WELL SAY SO BECAUSE I'M TED TURNER GOD DAMMIT.

And that's if we're lucky. Chances are that Comcast will make sure that video from the other vendors will be strangled so that the video buffers and looks like shit, TWC will fuck with Comcast in retaliation, Fox will be perfectly fine because Fox News will have seniors and right wing nutjobs complain to their cable companies till their customer service reps all hang themselves, Verizon will just fuck with everybody until they give them cash and CBS will go cry in a corner when they realize they haven't licenses anything, don't have anyone to license their crap out to and nobody gives a shit that Two and a Half Men isn't availble to Watch Instantly™.
posted by Talez at 10:59 AM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Congressional SOPA hearings: no opponents of the bill allowed
posted by homunculus at 3:11 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I intended this post to cover the emerging free speech and blacklisting implications of SOPA, rather than the straight up copyright components, which we discussed recently, but this looks interesting too :

RIAA wants ReDigi out of the business of selling "used" iTunes tracks
posted by jeffburdges at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2011


MetaTalk about MetaFilter's participation in the campaign
posted by KatlaDragon at 3:29 AM on November 16, 2011


This is as unacceptable to the international community as it would be if a foreign country were to impose similar measures on the United States
(An open letter signed by 60ish press freedom and human rights advocacy groups)

The European parliament adopted a resolution against US domain seizures
posted by jeffburdges at 4:40 PM on November 17, 2011


Google, Facebook, and Zynga have an anti-SOPA full page print ad

Microsoft apparently lobbied for SOPA? Yes, the they've never understood the internet, but their sales could plummet. How many IT people outside the U.S. really prefer M$?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:27 PM on November 17, 2011


Copyright isn't working, says European Commission
posted by jeffburdges at 7:33 AM on November 20, 2011


Business Software Alliance withdraws SOPA support.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:42 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Via Waxy, very extensive coverage of the SOPA opponents and their arguments from O'Reilly Radar.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:38 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Global Internet Chokepoints is an online resource created to document and monitor global proposals to turn Internet intermediaries into copyright police.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:56 AM on December 2, 2011


Senator Floats Alternative to Internet Blacklisting Bills
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on December 2, 2011


Rupert Murdoch lobbies congress to restrict internet (surprise surprise)

There now exists a draft of Ron Wyden's retake on SOPA, not sure I like it, but it's sane.

Lawmakers release draft alternative to Stop Online Piracy Act

Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act
posted by jeffburdges at 5:33 PM on December 8, 2011


How can Hillary Clinton keep a straight face? There are many people who can credibly claim to defend Internet Freedom; Obama officials are not among them
posted by homunculus at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2011


Two Congressional Staffers Who Helped Write SOPA/PIPA Become Entertainment Industry Lobbyists (via politico)

- Allison Halataei, the former deputy chief of staff and parliamentarian to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), went to the NMPA where she'll be "chief liaison to Capitol Hill."

- Lauren Pastarnack, a Republican senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, went to the MPAA where she'll be "director of government relations"
posted by jeffburdges at 10:27 PM on December 10, 2011


Wikipedia Mulls Total Blackout to Oppose SOPA
posted by jeffburdges at 4:56 PM on December 12, 2011


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