An onrush of condemnation and criticism kept the SOPA and PIPA acts from passing earlier this year, but US lawmakers have already authored another authoritarian bill that could give them free reign to creep the Web in the name of cybersecurity.
As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing.
H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short), has been created under the guise of being a necessary implement in America’s war against cyberattacks. But the vague verbiage contained within the pages of the paper could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.
Now this is how piracy should be viewed! Thank you, Joss Stone!
Joss Stone, who won a Grammy last year, loves music, but hates the the music industry. In a recent interview she said that – unlike herself – most artists are brainwashed by the industry, and she encouraged people to share her music.
After the show a reporter asked her what she thinks of piracy, and people who download her songs off the Internet. Her response baffled the reporter, as she simply told him: “I think it’s great…” There was an awkward silence for a few seconds, the reporter probably expected to hear something else from her. “Great?,” he said.
“Yeah, I love it. I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why,” Stone continued. “Music should be shared. […] The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music. So, I like it, I think that we should share.”
“It’s ok, if one person buys it, it’s totally cool, burn it up, share it with your friends, I don’t care. I don’t care how you hear it as long as you hear it. As long as you come to my show, and have a great time listening to the live show it’s totally cool. I don’t mind. I’m happy that they hear it.”
Stone went on to say that most artists have probably been “brainwashed” by the record labels, when they discourage their fans from downloading music. Of course, Stone is not the only artist who actually wants people to share their work. Last year rapper 50 Cent made some positive remarks about filesharing, and Nine Inch Nails takes it even further, as they upload their music onto BitTorrent sites themselves.
Internet arms race
The redundancy of so much online content and of connectivity routes makes the Internet resilient to physical attacks, but a much more serious threat to its status quo existence is government regulation or censorship. In the early days of Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising, the government of Hosni Mubarak attempted to shut down the country’s Internet in order to cripple protesters’ ability to organize; it did this by ordering the state-controlled Internet Service Provider (ISP), which grants Internet access to customers, to cut service.
Sorry I’m not sorry, Lamar Smith.
While that’s not a total death blow to the idea, it seems that us Internet types led the two bills to get a nice, long vacation. Adios, mofo.
Nona Willis Aronowitz for GOOD magazine. Read up before it’s too late, friends.
What would a post-SOPA internet look like? Here’s a glimpse of a dystopian future.
- Let’s start with the personal: Your Tumblr, Twitter feed, or Facebook page could be “executed” at any time. A fair number of us have online homes these days, whether it’s a Wordpress blog with half a dozen readers or a Twitter page with half a million followers. If you happen to post copyrighted material on one of these sites—and you almost certainly do, especially if it’s not monetized—your domain could be blocked, just like that. In the past, the copyright holder could invoke the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which would warn the site to take the material down. There are no such warnings with SOPA.
- Google searches would never be the same. Search engines are slanted as it is, burying certain sites they deem inappropriate or irrelevant. SOPA would put this bias on steroids. Any site that may contain copyright-infringing material wouldn’t appear in the search results. Even direct searches for domain names may turn up blank pages. Worst of all, the decision to block content is at the discretion of the internet service provider, leaving little recourse if a site owner believes he’s been blocked unfairly.
- It could create sneaky company wars, and ideological ones, too. Not everybody would post copyrighted content on a site accidentally. Rival companies could try to snuff out each other’s sites by posting illegal content in their comments and on their forums. And what about political or religious crusaders? Anti-abortion activists could write a copyright-violating comment on Planned Parenthood’s blog to shut the site down. Creationists could write a letter to the editor of an online science magazine that’s riddled with plagiarized content. President Obama’s staff could post copyrighted paragraphs on Mitt Romney’s site. And so on.
- Wikis and photo sites would be things of the past. Who would risk exposing a site to literally billions of users who could accidentally or deliberately post copyrighted content? Wikipedia, Wikileaks, even Flickr and other photo sites would be too much of a liability for site proprietors.
- And more.
SOPA Blackout Aims To Block Internet Censorship Bill
“Thousands of websites, including some of the most popular, are going dark today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which is designed to thwart copyright infringement but that Web experts warn could threaten the functionality of the Internet.
Encyclopedia giant Wikipedia, popular news-sharing site reddit, browser pioneer Mozilla, photo-sharing favorite Twitpic and even ICanHazCheezburger.com are blocking access to content throughout Wednesday, symbolizing what the bill may allow content creators to do to sites they accuse of copyright infringement. Other websites, including Google, are expressing solidarity with the protests by featuring anti-SOPA content on home pages.
The online protests are being joined by a physical demonstration in New York City, where thousands of representatives from the city’s tech industry plan to demonstrate outside the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.),co-sponsors of the Senate version of SOPA, beginning at 12:30 p.m. As pressure has mounted, both have expressed willingness to compromise.
SOPA would give both the government and major corporations the power to shut down entire websites accused of copyright infringement with neither a trial nor a traditional court hearing. The legislation is aggressively backed by Hollywood movie studios and major record labels, along with several major news providers, including Fox News and NBC-Universal, which have largely shied away from coverage of the bill.
The burst of opposition to SOPA and its Senate companion, Protect IP (or PIPA, for short), has caught many lawmakers, who thought they were endorsing a fairly non-controversial anti-piracy bill with strong corporate support, off guard. Senate co-sponsors of the bill regrouped on Tuesday, huddling in the Capitol with major industry backers of the bill.
In December, HuffPost reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a Protect IP co-sponsor with deep ties to both Hollywood and the technology industry, thought disputes between two of her most prominent corporate constituencies had been worked out. After that story ran, Feinstein attempted to broker a compromise, calling both tech companies and film studios…”
(via huffingtonpost, CNN, BCC)
The Obama Administration says “No to SOPA.”
“A developer who calls himself T Rizk doesn’t have much faith in Congress making the right decision on anti-piracy legislation, so he’s built a work around for the impending censorship measures being considered: DeSOPA. The Firefox add-on is stunningly simple as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would block specific domain names (e.g. www.thepiratebay.com) of allegedly infringing sites, T Rizk’s lightweight tool allows you to revert to the bare internet protocol (IP) address (e.g. 188.8.131.52) which takes you to the same place.”
Read the full story on the Atlantic Wire.
The Atlantic also has another article which looks at Project Madison, a crowd-sourced project by Rep. Darrell Issa, which Fast Company’s Gregory Ferenstein explains as, “a stripped-down interactive blogging platform, which allows citizens to select individual passages of legislation, and strike or add their own language, with comments for each suggestion.”
Want more background on what SOPA is and how it may affect you? Read our background post.
Activist site of the night: Defendtheinter.net does a great job of using visuals to tell the story of how damaging SOPA could be to the Web. Great site. You gain much more from this one visual than you might from any long screed.
In the wake of that 1000+ note post linking this engadget article:
Net Neutrality and the SOPA/ProtectIP Bills are different entities.
Net Neutrality deals with the issue of several large companies - namely Comcast and Verizon wanting to become “gatekeepers” of the Internet; slowing traffic to sites they (as Internet Service Providers) don’t like. And creating a “Fast Lane” for sites that pay them money.
Net Neutrality is important because, without it, the Internet as a free market is dead. Small start-up siites will not be able to survive, because they can’t pay the “toll” to get into this “fast lane.”
The SOPA/ProtectIP Bills are the bills that create an Internet censorship power within the Government.
The Net Neutrality debates have been raging for months now, and they’ve finally come to a conclusion. This is good. But it’s NOT a decision on SOPA and ProtectIP. They are different. Completely.
Please reblog this to spread the word and inform everyone.
Keep posts like THESE going-not that link.