Life will suck if they censor the internet
December 15, 2011 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Get your censor on. GYWO creator David Rees takes on the Stop Online Piracy Act. Meanwhile, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills (previously).
posted by homunculus (81 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Internet Blacklist vs. The Constitution
posted by homunculus at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Turn off Facebook for a day blaming SOPA.

Problem solved.
posted by Talez at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wait, the engineers are against it? Why campaign against a system thats ripe for exploitation (the bad kind) and abuse and just... you know... engineer a new internet. And then put a sign on it: "RIAA and assoc. are not invited! Stay out! We mean it!"
posted by Slackermagee at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2011


Wikipedia Mulls Total Blackout to Oppose SOPA (poll)

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 11:03 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find it ironic that while our Congress is debating whether or not to break the internet with a China-esque censorship regime, the State Department is funding a dictatorship-proof mesh network research project, which is being tested at ... wait for it ... Occupy DC.

You can't make this stuff up.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I was already uncomfortable with our civil liberties disappearing, but this and the ability to arrest and detain US citizens, along with the response to the Occupy protests, makes me want to go live in a hobbit hole in the ground and never come out.
posted by theredpen at 11:15 AM on December 15, 2011


makes me want to go live in a hobbit hole in the ground and never come out.

It makes me want to hunt up Gandalf and storm Mordor.
posted by JHarris at 11:16 AM on December 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


It makes me want to hunt up Gandalf and storm Mordor.

Glad you're thinking of it in these terms because Mordor is not somewhere you just walk into.

Also, my fellow Americans, please write your Senators/Congresspeople. It'll be a sad sad sad fucking day in the Land of Sweet Liberty if this horseshit gets passed.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2011


Don't you all see how this is a good thing? Members of congress want to protect us from piracy, viruses and Dangerous Ideas.
posted by double block and bleed at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2011


Saw a quote from one of the head legislators pushing this, saying "well sure, it _could_ be used to shut down a company like Google, but that's not what we _would_ use it for." Seriously? That's his defense?
posted by inigo2 at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you live somewhere in the US where you have a rep (ie, not DC) and you bitch about SOPA without having made the 20 second call to your Representative's office then I am perfectly comfortable judging you.

This tool makes it crazy stupid easy. You can even ignore their suggested talking points; I personally question that the staffer answering the phone usually goes beyond ticking off the box that a constituent called and wanted a no vote. I told Moran's office I am a constituent who wants a no vote, they asked my name and we were done.

If you can't be bothered to do that then you're part of the problem and should shut the hell up.
posted by phearlez at 11:39 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's the defense being used for a lot of things. I've seen quotes claiming now that they would not use it to shut down any major content host, that they would not use it to go after individual people posting infringing videos on Youtube, that they would not use it to go after individuals doing streaming. So... why didn't they just make it the Force ISPs To Block The Pirate Bay Act?
posted by gracedissolved at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2011


Don't you all see how this is a good thing? Members of congress want to protect us from piracy, viruses and Dangerous Ideas.

Members of Congress want to protect media corporations from us.

"well sure, it _could_ be used to shut down a company like Google, but that's not what we _would_ use it for." Seriously? That's his defense?

It is a failure of our electoral system that someone who could say such a thing could be elected to office. That is terrible reasoning.

On the tool phearlez linked to, I hear that it actually helps your argument if a lot of people say the exact same thing, or something similar to each other, as it adds coherency to the message. I think that makes little sense personally, but hey, if congressional staffs really think that way I guess I could oblige them. I added a little personal note after the boilerplate, so they'll know how really angry I am about this, and that I actually did read the message and know what it says.
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And... I would greatly enjoy it if a vote in favor of SOPA became a red brand on a congressperson's face. Republican or Democrat. I want that shit to stick.

Just as I'd want it to stick if, were it to pass, that Obama didn't veto it.
posted by JHarris at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris: Like congressional support for the PATRIOT act 'stuck' to the elected officials?
posted by el io at 11:48 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meringuoid's Law: "Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're *lying*. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible."
posted by fings at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am for this legislation. One of these oversteps will be the overstep too far. And unless we keep letting them overstep we're just delaying the day that Americans shake off their stupidity and finally say "...the fuck you did what?"

Meanwhile, the internet does not belong to Americans. The Internet will continue to be fine. It'll suck to be an American on the internet, but it's sucked to be an American everywhere else for twenty years, so it probably won't seem unfamiliar.
posted by rusty at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2011


I don't know why the media companies don't just cut to the chase and lobby for direct government subsidies for record companies and movie studios. The speeches practically write themselves: "These industries are job creators. We must eliminate all taxes on music, television, and movie revenue in order to keep these important US industries strong in the face of foreign competition, particularly from China and India."

The pitch has it all: big business tax cuts for Republicans, helping the media companies for Democrats, and a dash of protectionist jingoism for everybody.
posted by jedicus at 12:01 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris: Like congressional support for the PATRIOT act 'stuck' to the elected officials?

I said it's what I'd like to happen. Anyway, that law passed before hardly anyone had thought about it.
posted by JHarris at 12:10 PM on December 15, 2011


makes me want to go live in a hobbit hole in the ground and never come out.
posted by theredpen at 7:15 PM on December 15


It makes me want to riot.

I wish I wasn't so old.
posted by Decani at 12:11 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chuck Schumer is such a crapper. No one is even answering phones in his DC office. Shameful. I'm not sure that phone calls will really be all that effective against thousands of dollars, but while I don't expect legislators to listen to me, they sure as hell are going to be hearing from me.
posted by fuq at 12:12 PM on December 15, 2011


I don't know why the media companies don't just cut to the chase and lobby for direct government subsidies for record companies and movie studios.

That's a little too transparently self-serving. They are still afraid of us somewhat.

You can bet that someone has thought hard about how to do this without seeming too much like an utter tool. It's not a question of making an honest argument with them. It's a mathematical equation, how much financial benefit can they derive from some law times the chances of it passing, minus the cost of lobbying for it. I'm absolutely convinced they think of it in these terms.
posted by JHarris at 12:15 PM on December 15, 2011


I was already uncomfortable with our civil liberties disappearing, but this and the ability to arrest and detain US citizens, along with the response to the Occupy protests, makes me want to go live in a hobbit hole in the ground and never come out.

That may be smarter than you think. Hobbit holes are found in the Shire, and the Shire, as we all know, is found in New Zealand. And in New Zealand, the police response to occupation protests was this, filed in court.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Saw a quote from one of the head legislators pushing this, saying "well sure, it _could_ be used to shut down a company like Google, but that's not what we _would_ use it for." Seriously? That's his defense?

Just like non-lethal police weapons would *never* be used to torture and brutalize, right?
posted by treepour at 12:30 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually saw a commercial in favor of this bill yesterday.
"Internet hackers using international websites are costing the U.S. hundreds of thousands of jobs!"
I shit you not. That someone would put such blatant bullshit on the air sickens me.
posted by charred husk at 12:43 PM on December 15, 2011


And in New Zealand, the police response to occupation protests was this, filed in court.

They, uh, use Comic Sans on their official letterhead? That's a paddlin'...
posted by cmonkey at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are the chances of this thing actually passing? Has anyone done any reporting on that? What are the voting results on preliminary versions of the bill looking like?
posted by Aizkolari at 12:46 PM on December 15, 2011


Oh God I'm scared for the internet and now I'm using MetaFilter like Ask Jeeves.

Please hope me!

posted by Aizkolari at 12:47 PM on December 15, 2011


It makes me want to hunt up Gandalf and storm Mordor.

All right, JHarris and Decani, you've motivated me to come out and fight. We hobbits can get things done on occasion.

I live in a blue state, though, and I feel very powerless.
posted by theredpen at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2011


So, getyourcensoron's plot has MacrameJoe144's Flickr account being disabled due to posting photos of Sons of Anarchy -influenced dolls.

But, that's the regime we're already under with DMCA takedowns on individual instances of infringement, then hosts like YouTube closing accounts that repeatedly have this happen.

I thought the danger of SOPA was that it removed the safe-harbor provision for a host like Flickr, YouTube or metafilter so accused infringement by a user can result in the whole site being taken down and if the web host or bandwidth provider can't be shut down, the domain name is removed (or redirected) by changing DNS records and the "user-generated content publisher"'s credit card processing is stopped.

Meaning that no-one can afford to allow user-generated content unless its on a very small scale where everything is reviewed before posting.
posted by morganw at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2011


Forget writing your representative. Write Google. They make most of their money from ad impressions sold on hosted content. The less content there is to host, the less they can make. They should refuse to host any content from RIAA and MPAA members, illegitimate or legitimate, ostensibly for fear of unintentional infringement and the penalties prescribed by SOPA.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:17 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am for this legislation. One of these oversteps will be the overstep too far. And unless we keep letting them overstep we're just delaying the day that Americans shake off their stupidity and finally say "...the fuck you did what?"

I'm 30 years old, and I've only been really aware of politics for somewhere in the neighborhood of a decade, so perhaps I just need more perspective. That said, nothing that I have watched go down in that time reads like an indication that if it could only get bad enough people would wake up and do something.

I mean, I understand the feeling of you fuckers are getting the government you have coming to you. The problem is that so is everyone else, including the rest of a planet that (like it or not) has to deal with the behaviors of the American state & economy. The logical end point of the authoritarian impulse run to extremes isn't a moment of truth and an awakened populace enacting sweeping-but-just reform. It's decades of brutal repression, blood running in the streets, and cities in rubble. We'd do better to check these things as early and as often as we can manage.
posted by brennen at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I live in a blue state, though, and I feel very powerless.

A number of the bill's sponsors are from blue states. Internet censorship isn't particularly divided along R vs. D lines, in my experience. Also, I suspect that it's worth calling your representative even if they're already acting the way you favor; you don't want them to decide, "Hm, none of my constituents really seem to care about this, I'll go with the lobbyists."

(Also, to complement the HR3261 link, here's govtrack's S968 page, for the corresponding Senate bill. AIUI the Senate isn't considering this bill today.)

But, that's the regime we're already under with DMCA takedowns

The DMCA targets the alleged infringer. SOPA/PIPA, on the other hand, targets the network and financial infrastructure. (see the text of the bill, sec 102(c).) That's pretty different: anyone who operates a DNS resolver, ad network, or search engine, or moves money, can be ordered to blacklist/blockade/censor an organization.
posted by hattifattener at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I checked on who the D's sponsoring the bill were and was decidedly unsurprised to find that they represent the districts covering Hollywood and Burbank in LA
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:30 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or the two California Dems anyway.
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:32 PM on December 15, 2011


French President’s Residence ‘Busted’ For BitTorrent Piracy
posted by jeffburdges at 1:34 PM on December 15, 2011


I find this legislation really scary. I've contacted my senator and congresspeople twice, but I feel helpless.
posted by koucha at 1:53 PM on December 15, 2011


@whitehouse: Happy Bill of Rights Day! The US continues to stand with citizens & governments around the world who empower free expression. #FreeToTweet
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I would want to continue to pay for internet at home if this bill becomes law and even a few of the predicted consequences come to pass. I don't know if it would be worth the $$. I already have one cable TV bill, thank you very much.

The potential loss of independently-curated sites like Metafilter, Wikipedia, StackExchange, and my favorite blogs would pretty much make the internet a zero-value proposition for someone like me. I am probably not alone.

Verizon, are you listening?
posted by Currer Belfry at 2:46 PM on December 15, 2011


No one is even answering phones in his DC office.

To be fair to Chuck Schumer (ugh), this is probably not true. It is more likely that they've got more incoming calls than they have the phone lines or staff to handle. When I used to do this, I would sometimes have days where I couldn't do any work other than answer phone call after phone call for 9 hours. And then I would get someone who says, "Why haven't you been answering your phone all day???" and it kind of made me want to jump off the Capitol dome.

On a related note, everyone please do make those calls, but also please be polite to the kids on the other end of the phone.
posted by naoko at 2:52 PM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


so if this passes why not just overwhelm the enforcement with 'takedown requests' if that is how it works

straight up use it to take google down and shit. why not
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:10 PM on December 15, 2011


e.g. uploading copyrighted shit then filing a complaint

just tear that shit down, troll the system, chaos reigns
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:14 PM on December 15, 2011


You forgot the ???? and PROFIT!!! parts of your clever plan.
posted by Aizkolari at 3:54 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


i dont know how clever it is, thats why im posting it, so i know
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:13 PM on December 15, 2011


I'm assuming SOPA is going to fail because it's just so obviously ridiculous. But I think SOPA is going to succeed at it's goal of introducing a slightly less horrific bill that everyone can agree is less horrible than SOPA. That way everyone can claim victory and the media industry can take another step toward... wherever this is all going.
posted by lubujackson at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I totally agree -- they are already admitting that it's unlikely to pass "in its current form."
posted by theredpen at 4:40 PM on December 15, 2011


I think SOPA is going to succeed at it's goal of introducing a slightly less horrific bill that everyone can agree is less horrible than SOPA.

I guess that means that just to stand still in terms of sensible policy, we need to figure out how to lobby for a bill that shortens copyright to 3 years, requires a 2 year review commission for each accusation of infringement (funded by the party bringing the accusation) before it can even go to trial, and minimum six month jail sentence and six figure fines for any plaintiff bringing a case that doesn't stick.

Oh, I forgot the copyright registration fees, paid monthly, starting at $20 like they do now, but doubling each subsequent month. If you're not a day early* in making your payment, the copyright expires (and you still have to pay the fee).

Sure, it's not ideal for copyright holders, but it's a starting point.

*defined recursively, iterated monthly, much like credit card billing cycles.
posted by weston at 5:50 PM on December 15, 2011


>> But, that's the regime we're already under with DMCA takedowns

> The DMCA targets the alleged infringer. SOPA/PIPA, on the other hand, targets the network and financial infrastructure


That's what I said. I was pointing out that the comic strip depicts a character reacting, 6 months after the bill's passage, to his personal account being blocked, not all of Flickr being gone.
posted by morganw at 5:50 PM on December 15, 2011


As an independent, non-copyright-infringing content and art creator, I'm kinda at odds about this. On the one hand, SOPA/PIPA is incredibly horrific. On the other, the more IP from the biggies gets restricted, the more room there is for li'l guys like me.
posted by tspae at 6:36 PM on December 15, 2011


What if all the backbone engineers just shut the shit down. Hey you fuckers, WE control the shit. You wanna make shit laws? We'll co-opt you completely, how do you like THIS?

Or at least all the porn-tube sites could shut off, and all the pervy legislators would see what would happen.
posted by symbioid at 7:11 PM on December 15, 2011


Blacklisting Provisions Remain in Stop Online Piracy Act
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on December 15, 2011


What if all the backbone engineers just shut the shit down.

Jon Postel made this argument back in 1998.
posted by hattifattener at 10:31 PM on December 15, 2011


"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
-- John Gilmore

So ... what's the plan to route around this particular damage if and when it hits?
posted by bryon at 10:54 PM on December 15, 2011


But I think SOPA is going to succeed at it's goal of introducing a slightly less horrific bill that everyone can agree is less horrible than SOPA. That way everyone can claim victory and the media industry can take another step toward... wherever this is all going.

THIS.
posted by JHarris at 7:03 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


> what's the plan to route around this particular damage

The internet is international. In this case, the entire United States' "intranet" will be damage. There are ways to route packets from Taipei to Timbuktu without going through the U.S.

For foreign web hosts, it's time to move off the US-controlled top level domains. Story about rojadirecta.org, hosted in Spain having its domain seized by ICE. Google can point searches for rojadirecta to rojadirecta.es now, but SOPA demands that links to "rogue sites" be removed too.
posted by morganw at 7:11 AM on December 16, 2011


Should Copyright Be Allowed to Override Speech Rights? Congress's latest Internet copyright legislation, if passed, would dangerously limit both user privacy and social networking sites' ability to create open forums for free speech.
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2011


Stop Online Piracy Act Vote Delayed
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deliberate damage to the DNS will only lead to the Internet routing around the deliberate damage.

But I feel assured that Congress will find more simple-minded solutions to complex technical questions. Because that's what most of them are qualified to do.
posted by Twang at 6:30 PM on December 16, 2011


'Internet is for Porn' pops up during House SOPA debate
posted by homunculus at 12:14 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I liked about that, homunculus, was the bizarre bit of legislative judo Rep. Polis appeared to be attempting. (Unfortunately for the lulz, his amendment was rejected.)
posted by hattifattener at 12:37 PM on December 17, 2011


The USA is already a functional oligarchy.
posted by brennen at 2:00 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Megaupload Video Reinstated, Universal Says “You Can’t Touch Us”

In essence, Universal claims they already have censorship powers through a private deal with youtube.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:08 AM on December 18, 2011


Another article by techdirt notes the blacklisting provisions remain in Lamar Smith's version (pdf), basically mirrors the fpp's wired article.

SOPA Markup Day 1: We Don't Understand This Bill, It Might Do Terrible Things, But Dammit, We're Passing It Now.

SOPA Markup Runs Out Of Time; Likely Delayed Until 2012. Or Not...

"Update.... Or not. Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday. This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further."

SOPA Delayed, But Not For Long (Markup continues Wednesday)

We could take this Lamar Smith asshat out in 2012 with enough destroying the internet rhetoric in local media, well wikipedia says he "picked up a significant portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas" in the 2003 Texas redistricting. A primary challenge looks unlikely though.

Btw, TechCruch's sopa tag has several interesting articles too.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2011


SOPA Creator Lamar Smith in MafiAA's pocket

Rep. Lamar Smith, the creator of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has received campaign contributions from the media industry which totaling $90k in 2010, $60k in 2008, $70k in 2006, $68k in 2004, and thus far $60k for his upcoming 2012 campaign.

Video : The Dangers Of SOPA In A Nutshell
posted by jeffburdges at 11:07 AM on December 18, 2011


The RIAA Pirated $9 Million Worth of TV Shows
posted by homunculus at 5:33 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mark Lemley, David Levine, David Post. Don't Break the Internet. Stanford Law Review, December 2011.

SOPA Will Mean The End of Reddit, Says General Manager

RIAA and Homeland Security Caught Downloading Torrents (another take on homunculus' link)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:27 PM on December 19, 2011


There are some links to main stream media discussing SOPA in TechCrunch's note on the Stanford Law Review article too.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:45 PM on December 19, 2011


Adam Savage: SOPA Could Destroy the Internet as We Know It
posted by homunculus at 8:42 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Law—and How to Contact Them
posted by homunculus at 9:24 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


LolCat Kingpin May Pull 1,000+ Domains from GoDaddy in SOPA Protest
posted by homunculus at 4:47 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good for anybody who is pulling domains from GoDaddy.

And to anybody reading this who has domains there:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Transfer Domains Out Of GoDaddy

An AskMe on domain transfers and alternatives to GoDaddy

Please switch away and encourage others to switch/stay away from GoDaddy if you can.
posted by weston at 5:02 PM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


No Go Daddy Pledge
posted by jeffburdges at 8:09 PM on December 22, 2011


How SOPA's 'circumvention' ban could put a target on Tor
posted by homunculus at 9:52 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Erick Ericson of Red State asks for Left-Right cooperation to eliminate all SOPA/PROTECT-IP sponsors.

It's none of my Congresscritters (some of whom I like, others not so much), but it's tempting. A fund to provide money for anti-SOPA candidates for every co-sponsor. If he gets it off the ground, i'll kick something in...
posted by Mad_Carew at 12:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please switch away and encourage others to switch/stay away from GoDaddy if you can.

New thread: Gone Daddy Gone
posted by homunculus at 1:03 AM on December 23, 2011


Erick Ericson of Red State asks for Left-Right cooperation to eliminate all SOPA/PROTECT-IP sponsors.

This almost sounds plausible, wow. +1 to Ericson. I used it years before Google+ did.
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on December 23, 2011


Crowdsourced spreadsheet of companies supporting SOPA
posted by jeffburdges at 6:41 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia leaving GoDaddy:
@jimmy_wales: I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us.
posted by inigo2 at 9:30 AM on December 24, 2011


GoDaddy has NOT withdrawn its official congressional support for SOPA (contrarry to earlier reports)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:48 PM on December 24, 2011


Dutch Parliament: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal
(A similar decision was recently issued by the Swiss parliament)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:57 AM on December 27, 2011


American corporate software can no longer be trusted for anything

Basically, SOPA, ICE's domain seizures, etc. prove how little regard congress, lobbyists, and law enforcement have for "technical stuff working correctly".
posted by jeffburdges at 1:38 PM on December 27, 2011


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