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SOPA and The-RiotACT?

Jethro 19 January 2012 37

So I just read an opinion piece in the SMH regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act that is currently working its way through the legislative process in America.

I’m by no means an expert on things like piracy law, or even really how the internet functions at a structural level, so I don’t really have any idea how this law might affect  the websites I use, such as The-RiotACT.

According to a source quoted in the article, “A link placed by a user in the comment section of an article in a regular internet magazine could result in the magazine going bankrupt and the owners being charged with a crime.”

So, my questions are:

– How do people think this law might apply to a site like this one? Would it simply being a case of the moderators having to more carefully vet the links that people place in their comments?

– Even if people did post links to websites where people can access pirated material, does anyone seriously think that the authorities would shut the site down and arrest our fearless leader?

– Does anyone think this law could be used as a back-door way of shutting down opinion sites that put forward opinions that those in power do not like?

– Is the negative press about this law justified? (ie. does it really pose a threat to the internet as we know it?)


What’s Your opinion?


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SOPA and The-RiotACT?
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Pandy 8:45 am 20 Jan 12

harvyk1 said :

Also don’t feel that because you’re not in the US you’re safe, the US has recently extradited a UK resident on piracy charges that didn’t host any illegal material, but simply linked to it. Now this person who lives in the UK, and has never been to the US, has to answer for breaking US laws (because his site was accessible in the US). Now here is the kicker, he broke no UK laws in his actions.

t.

No. Mr Richard O’Dwyer will be appealing to the High Court in England on a decision from only a few days ago. Just Google it folks.

Grail 5:57 pm 19 Jan 12

The RiotACT is small enough to not be noticed, should someone want to flex their legal muscles in a test case. Being small is not a defence against stupid americans.

harvyk1 5:22 pm 19 Jan 12

Erg0 said :

If (Bob forbid) the law actually passes, it wouldn’t be the RIAA, MPAA, etc taking on Google in court, it would be the US Government, and the Government doesn’t have the option of ignoring infringers because they have deep pockets. Based on the above description of the law, Google would be the world’s biggest infringer, and it would only take one complaint to the relevant regulatory body to kick things off. I daresay that there’d be more than a few copyright holders willing to make a complaint just for the sake of getting the matter into a court, where the legislation can be properly tested.

Yes and no, the laws give provision for a complaint to be made to the gov’t and let them handle it. They also give private entities (so companies \ business \ persons) to take action against the offending website themselves.

Waiting For Godot 5:02 pm 19 Jan 12

I’m worried about the effect on sites like YouTube. I’ve posted videos which have been red-lighted – ie: taken down altogether for copyright infringement. Others have been amber-lighted – infringing copyright but allowed to stay up surrounded by advertising and a link to iTunes where you can buy the video or soundtrack.

Will SOPA completely criminalise any copyright infringements? At the moment the record companies, TV stations and movie houses police all this on YouTube and have a degree of flexibility and latitude, but what will happen when bureaucrats in Washington DC take control?

I think we should be concerned at the ramifications of SOPA and it could be the start of what governments have wanted to do ever since the Internet started – regulation, censorship and the tailoring of the Net to conform with narrow minded, parochial and legalistic local attitudes.

Erg0 4:12 pm 19 Jan 12

qbngeek said :

Taking on Google would be suicide and mean the deth of the legislation. As rich as the RIAA, MPAA and others are, I can’t see them wanting to take on that particular giant. Google have demonstrated that they wilol fight legal challenges to the bitter end and will just keep driving them until the plaintiff no longer has the resources or the will to fight. I dare say Google would get a great deal of support from others in the industry.

That is why Apple have not launched any serious actions against Google in regards to Android. They will take on the handset manufacturers instead. As rich as Apple are, they are in no position to bring the fight to Google.

If (Bob forbid) the law actually passes, it wouldn’t be the RIAA, MPAA, etc taking on Google in court, it would be the US Government, and the Government doesn’t have the option of ignoring infringers because they have deep pockets. Based on the above description of the law, Google would be the world’s biggest infringer, and it would only take one complaint to the relevant regulatory body to kick things off. I daresay that there’d be more than a few copyright holders willing to make a complaint just for the sake of getting the matter into a court, where the legislation can be properly tested.

Deref 3:58 pm 19 Jan 12

RedDogInCan said :

The real danger to us is that if it becomes law in the US then, as part of the next free trade negotiations, they will then insist that we implement a similar law in order to ‘protect’ US economic interests – just the same way they have inflicted us with their copyright laws.

I don’t think we need to wait. As I understand it, the current “free trade” agreement already requires us to do that.

Signing away your national sovereignty used to be called treason.

Still, I doubt that RA would be on the radar. And it looks as if the power of Silicone Valley may have successfully screwed SOPA. And a very good thing, too.

qbngeek 3:35 pm 19 Jan 12

harvyk1 said :

Erg0 said :

harvyk1 said :

Ultimately very few individuals and small companies has the resources to fight a large company on the war path. It won’t be until they target someone with bigger pockets than the large company was expecting that how unworkable these laws really are will come to light.

I’d imagine that Google would be pretty keen to take a crack at it, and if they don’t try to enforce the legislation against Google then there’s really no point in having it in the first place.

My money is on them not taking a crack at Google in the first instance. If this gets through my money

is on them taking a shot at some blogger with a large following, but making little money from their site.

They will want to establish a few precedents against people who can’t really fight them first, as if nothing else it makes the film \ music industries position stronger when they do go after larger guys.

+1

Taking on Google would be suicide and mean the deth of the legislation. As rich as the RIAA, MPAA and others are, I can’t see them wanting to take on that particular giant. Google have demonstrated that they wilol fight legal challenges to the bitter end and will just keep driving them until the plaintiff no longer has the resources or the will to fight. I dare say Google would get a great deal of support from others in the industry.

That is why Apple have not launched any serious actions against Google in regards to Android. They will take on the handset manufacturers instead. As rich as Apple are, they are in no position to bring the fight to Google.

harvyk1 3:19 pm 19 Jan 12

Erg0 said :

harvyk1 said :

Ultimately very few individuals and small companies has the resources to fight a large company on the war path. It won’t be until they target someone with bigger pockets than the large company was expecting that how unworkable these laws really are will come to light.

I’d imagine that Google would be pretty keen to take a crack at it, and if they don’t try to enforce the legislation against Google then there’s really no point in having it in the first place.

My money is on them not taking a crack at Google in the first instance. If this gets through my money is on them taking a shot at some blogger with a large following, but making little money from their site.

They will want to establish a few precedents against people who can’t really fight them first, as if nothing else it makes the film \ music industries position stronger when they do go after larger guys.

Erg0 3:01 pm 19 Jan 12

harvyk1 said :

Ultimately very few individuals and small companies has the resources to fight a large company on the war path. It won’t be until they target someone with bigger pockets than the large company was expecting that how unworkable these laws really are will come to light.

I’d imagine that Google would be pretty keen to take a crack at it, and if they don’t try to enforce the legislation against Google then there’s really no point in having it in the first place.

Erg0 2:54 pm 19 Jan 12

EvanJames said :

I was going to mention this but you got in first. Although bloody firefox doesn’t seem fast enough (using right mouse). Works in Explorer though, with that nice fat red cross up top.

Just hit the Escape key to stop.

harvyk1 2:39 pm 19 Jan 12

Jazz said :

All the comments above only support my own assessment that the SOPA legislation as currently presented in the US would be basically unworkable and unmanageable, even if I did support what its proposing. I do wonder if in the US it would be seen as a contravention of their constitutional right to free speech in linking to something else for the purpose of commentary.

Not really, whilst the intent of the laws according to the press releases is to remove illegal material off the web it will fail at that purpose, however I expect it will be used quite successfully as a very big stick by large companies to take down small fish as they see fit.

Ultimately very few individuals and small companies has the resources to fight a large company on the war path. It won’t be until they target someone with bigger pockets than the large company was expecting that how unworkable these laws really are will come to light.

Your right, as funny as it seems, it will probably be a first amendment argument which will be these laws undoing.

EvanJames 2:32 pm 19 Jan 12

qbngeek said :

And if youwant to veiw Wikipedia, just hit stop between the page you want loading and the javascript pushing the blackout page through, or switch off your javascript.

I was going to mention this but you got in first. Although bloody firefox doesn’t seem fast enough (using right mouse). Works in Explorer though, with that nice fat red cross up top.

qbngeek 2:10 pm 19 Jan 12

Of course we all need to remember that the president has the power of veto and he doesn’t support SOPA. Unfortunately he will be gone soon and then they can try it all over again.

I note from the ongoing commentary on Gizmodo that PIPA (the Senate bill) is bleeding supporters like crazy. SO far 3 or 4 of the senators that were co-sponsoring it have bailed since the blackout began.

And if youwant to veiw Wikipedia, just hit stop between the page you want loading and the javascript pushing the blackout page through, or switch off your javascript.

Mshell 2:03 pm 19 Jan 12

Am I the only who thinks that even if it passes we may still be able to do everything normally as the first time something iffy is blocked then there will be a suprime court case over it and the legislation could be deemed unconstitutional due to freedom of speech?

Jazz 1:50 pm 19 Jan 12

All the comments above only support my own assessment that the SOPA legislation as currently presented in the US would be basically unworkable and unmanageable, even if I did support what its proposing. I do wonder if in the US it would be seen as a contravention of their constitutional right to free speech in linking to something else for the purpose of commentary.

p1 1:39 pm 19 Jan 12

Henry82 said :

Myles Peterson said :

remove DNS control from the Americans.

this is what is required

+1000000

Although the obvious problem is who to give it too? Sen Conroy?

harvyk1 1:37 pm 19 Jan 12

watto23 said :

My thoughts will all this piracy business is the fact that many industries are not sitting on their own self controlled cash cows any more. They are too stubborn to change their business practise, or don’t want to take a loss of income now to make greater gains in the future.

That’s pretty much the crux of it…

Realistically the film and music industries are scared of the internet full stop (not just with piracy). They are going to use any sort of big stick they can to kill it. Consider this, 20 years ago, if you wanted music you had to go to a record store. If you where a musician and you wanted to release music you had to go to the record companies, and they where taking a large percentage of the pie. These days musicians can simply post their music up online, I can then download that music, and if the artist asked for money I can pay them directly. At no point in time did a record company see a single cent and it’s not just small time musicians which are doing this.

This is why they want the internet to be unworkable, and this is why the SOPA has been written with such fuzzy language.

Also reading the link from adamthebastard has posted up, they are using the word site, not page, which makes it worse.

From that if that language is used then a the offending material \ links don’t even need to be available on the linked page. It just needs to be hiding somewhere on the site.

This means that if I wanted to create a link to another site, I would need to consistently look over every page in that site to ensure that at no point in time do they link to illegal material.

steveu 1:08 pm 19 Jan 12

Henry82 said :

Myles Peterson said :

remove DNS control from the Americans.

this is what is required

+1

The international community should use this opportunity and stand up for this.

RedDogInCan 1:06 pm 19 Jan 12

harvyk1 said :

Actually it’s believe the laws will be misused as a competitor take down.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new ‘business model’ appear similar to patent trolling

1.Acquire some popular content and use automated tools to find every site that links to it.
2. Send the owners of those sites a letter requiring the payment of a licensing fee or ‘bad things will happen’.
3. Profit

Stage two of the plan is:
1. Acquire a portfolio of content – or just sign up content owners as their ‘IP enforcement agent’
2. Send a letter to every site offering a ‘protective’ licence for all past and future links, with a warning that unlicensed links will result in ‘very bad things happening’
3. Profit even more.

HenryBG 12:56 pm 19 Jan 12

qbngeek said :

Nah-ah, if these laws are passed the trick will be to do what I intend to do with the sites I control and my blog. IP block the USA from visiting your site. .

Exactly.

If these laws pass unmodified, then any competent risk assessment should result in you arriving in that conclusion.

In effect, what the Yanks are building is their own Great Wall, only it will be built from the other direction to the Chinese one, but still facing in.

And as other commenters have already noted above, the biggest realworld effect will be an increase in anti-competetive vexatious litigation, and countries outside the US already have some pretty good mechanisms for ensuring that crap doesn’t spill too much out of the US. (ie, see the raft of recent Sony court decisions here and elsewhere).

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