Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Internet Takeover at Behest of Big Entertainment

After writing that I would be glad to work with the left in fighting corporate welfare, an email from DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas arrived in my inbox about the effort by big entertainment industry to destroy internet freedom to protect their intellectual property.  I am in favor of protecting copyright and intellectual property, but the so called SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) goes way, way too far in allowing bad acting to shut down web sites.  Sadly, tea party favorite Marco Rubio is a cosponsor.  The idea is too force internet search engines and internet service providers to prevent their customers from reaching sites that promote online piracy.  However, the proposed law makes it far too easy to abuse the system.  Just an accusation, without proof, could trigger the death penalty for a blog or web site.  Obviously, the opportunities for abuse are wide open.  Don't like the politics of your opponent's web site?  Find where they quoted some copyrighted material, even if legal under fair use doctrines, and make a complaint. Voila, they are shut down.

The Economist had this to say about the dangers of this bill.
The loose definition of infringement in SOPA could include sites that unwittingly carry comments linking to pirated material. That would make it too easy to launch spurious claims and too onerous for intermediaries to deal with them, and could discourage entrepreneurs from setting up new sites allowing users to post things (which, in the era of social media, is almost all websites). Large firms can cope with the extra hassle, but the fear of lawsuits could stifle smaller companies and start-ups.
A second big drawback is that SOPA obliges ISPs to put filters in place to prevent their customers reaching pirate websites easily. That risks damaging the internet’s vital internal addressing system, which lets people use words instead of numbers to access websites. It also clashes with DNSSEC (don’t ask), a protocol that America has long championed to increase internet security. Messing with DNSSEC could create loopholes for hackers by allowing rogue websites to pose as legitimate ones.
The email from DailyKos said this.
In short, this proposed law would allow corporate copyright holders the ability to cut off funding and compel the government to shut down websites they deem infringing, without the need of a court order
 And Neil Stevens, at the Daily Caller, opposes the bill as well, saying this:
This portion of the bill has little to do with protecting American interests abroad or with punishing lawbreakers. Instead, this portion of SOPA regulates the Internet at home. It is a framework for domestic censorship only tangentially related to intellectual property rights.
Giving government the power to censor the internet seems like a bad idea, to me.  Its bad enough that Google sees fit to use software to shut down blogs in a seemingly random manner.  You can bet that the government won't do so randomly. 

Recommend that you contact your Congresscritter to oppose this legislation.

Note: Since you did ask, DNSSEC stands for Domain Name System Security Extensions, a protocol designed to protect the integrity of the routing of internet traffic against attacks against the servers that translate and authenticate packet routing requests.


  1. Cheers to that one, B-Daddy. I hear google's considering withdrawing from the Chamber of Commerce over this

  2. See we have interests in common. I was going to forward this to you, but you beat me to it.

    Don't take the actions of a local OWS group to reflect the group as a whole.