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Old January 18, 2012, 12:52 PM   #1
TheWanderingRed
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SOPA, Free Speech and The Firing Line?

Hello All, I’m relatively new to The Firing Line, and I hope I’m not stepping on any toes, or breaching any rules of etiquette. If I am I assure you that it is only because of my ignorance and that I mean no disrespect to any other posters, or to this forum.

I wanted to get your collective opinions of SOPA and PIPA. While this isn’t strictly a firearms question I think it does fall under the civil liberties category (which is what worries me the most). While I generally trust the American system of government giving the courts the ability to order service providers to deny access to sights that have potentially pirated content, or ordering a search engine to delete links to those sites seems more than a little dangerous. What’s to keep the courts from yanking sites just because they don’t like what they say? Shouldn’t it be relatively easy to conjure up a bit of ‘potential piracy’ or copyrighted material? And how would smaller sites which may or may not have a real world physical presence contest this? Are a couple of guys who own and run they’re own server expected to take time off their jobs and out of their lives to go to court against big coporate lawyers?
To mind the internet is the best thing to happen for freedom of speech since the First Amendment, and while I agree the piracy and copyright infringement are a crime and a serious problem I think that the cure here may be worse than the disease.

I was a government major at William and Mary, so I know a little about these things, but I am also young man, and I recognize my lack of perspective and experience. So what are your views The Firing Line? Lend me your years.
Is this a breach of free speech? Could it affect The Firing Line, and if so, how?
Bellow is a link to a Fox News article about SOPA
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/...e-nets-future/
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Old January 18, 2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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Greetings neighbor :P

This is best explanation I've found of what is/will/could happen. It's worth a read and references actual parts of the bill. There is plenty of people yelling and screaming about SOPA/PIPA, but little in the way of facts.
http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/techn...-sopa-and.html
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Old January 18, 2012, 01:27 PM   #3
TheWanderingRed
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Thank you!

Thanks Sir! I'd go if I could, but I'm at work on their computers and well
"Content is Blockled by your organization: Reason:
This Websense category is filtered: Social Networking." Frankly I'm surprised that they let me get here.

I guess alot of my worry is just a knee jerk reaction to potential censorship, but that's why I'm here asking questions.
Thanks again and I'll check it when I get off at 8:00pm
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Old January 18, 2012, 01:52 PM   #4
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Gizmodo has a good summary that you should probably be able to access at work (tech website). I just wish more sites had joined in the blackout. If Google, Facebook, etc had all gone down for the day, there be some serious backlash. Unfortunately, Wikipedia was the largest site to take part.

Edit: Oh, to answer this question:

Quote:
Could it affect The Firing Line, and if so, how?
This example was posted in another forum I frequent, SimHQ.com. Just replace "SimHQ.com" with "TheFiringLine.com" and "Doug" (that site's owner) with "the owners of TFL":

Quote:
If it helps put it into perspective, with the new legislation that was *almost* rushed through without public consultation, I could easily close down SimHQ.com in about 24 hours. If the bills pass, then here's the steps for the evil and curious:

Step 1. Post a link from a website whose domain is not registered in the US, i.e. say this one: http://bit.ly/yplNGn

Step 2. I'm shocked that the content of that link will 'completely destroy poor Hollywood', I raise a complaint with SimHQ's owner. (Hello Doug!)

Step 3. After some due time for process (say 15 seconds, as I am *very* worried about the media companies, and its not specified in the bills) I now inform both bit.ly and SimHQ.net/com's ISP & DNS registers that I have a SOPA/PIPA 'Piracy Complaint'. The internet service providers of dyn.com and register.com respectively, so I can contact them immediately too.

I now have four companies compelled by US legislation, who can either risk waiting for a Justice Department letter (which won't come, as my complaint is spurious) or take down the post and/or change the DNS info. The important bits (and you can see why Wikipedia might be concerned on this) are:

- Doug / SimHQ are now legally responsible for enforcing SOPA/PIPA, i.e. remove the posts that *may* contain IP infringement (no Boeing pictures please!). No more disclaimers on users being nice, it's up to Doug to police now.

- ISPs and DNS companies are now legally responsible for enforcing SOPA/PIPA, i.e. removing the complete offending domain from DNS. This is worth repeating - SimHQ.com would be removed from the Internet's DNS system until my complaint is resolved.

I can see the point of IP protection and how media companies handle piracy in the times we have now, but these proposed laws are/were awful and poorly conceived. If you care about or use any of the sites mentioned then you can see why they compelled to do something *before* they can slowly removed. SimHQ is the very definition of 'user content websites' that this clumsy bill would almost certainly either damage or potentially destroy. At best it's poorly worded and at worst it is an attack on everything that made the internet work in the first place.
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Old January 18, 2012, 01:52 PM   #5
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Well this is a very serious issue, because in effect what these bills are trying to do is legalize what Righthaven already tried to do to us already.

What these guys want is the ability to order entire websites taken offline if there are any "copyright infringements" there - doesn't matter who put them there or whether or not the website in question even knows about them.

The Brady campaign could take some photos, put them on their site, one of them registers here and hot-links them, and the next day they could take down TFL. It's that serious.

A lot of websites have shut down today in protest, such as http://redit.com and http://en.wikipedia.com - and while Google is still up they've self-censored their own name: http://google.com

None of these sites (esp. youtube!) could survive long under most variants of these proposals.

I personally think something else is going on specific to youtube and the other major video/audio sharing sites:

http://zerogov.com/?p=2550 - err...except they've gone dark for the day too! Sigh. Well the gist is, youtube is esp. dangerous to the big movie studios, particularly in combination with iTunes and the like. New artists can post to youtube, develop an audience connection completely separate from "big media" and market to their audience without any of the classic parasites being involved along the way. It's happening first with smaller bands but it's also happening with movies. Freddie Wong for example is making good coin doing 2min-or-so "action shorts", paying a full-time living to multiple people just off of adsense AND financing a full-length feature movie(!) - all completely disconnected from any movie studio which normally "enslaves" new talent same as the pop music biz has new musicians for generations now.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:09 PM   #6
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I'm a conservative and I'm against this legislation. The only laws our legislatures need to enact are term limits and a 10 year moratorium on new laws....while we work on repealing all of the useless laws enacted over the last 20 years.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
If Google, Facebook, etc had all gone down for the day, there be some serious backlash. Unfortunately, Wikipedia was the largest site to take part.
Well I think the whole point is to raise awareness among the non-tech population. You don't necessarily have to shut down your site to do that. Wiki has also left their mobile english site up, so you can still access anything from Wikipedia from your phone or using en.m.wikipedia.com on your computer.

TheWanderingRed:
Since you can't access the site from work, here is the conclusion taken from the link I posted. You can check the details when you get home.

Quote:
In Conclusion

It is my strong belief that both PROTECT IP and SOPA:
-Will not stop the piracy they are targeting
-Contain language that is highly ambiguous and extremely broad making them ripe for abuse, and
-Introduce regulation and enforce censorship on what should be a free and open internet.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:19 PM   #8
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Let's take this to L&CR.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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Mr. Merad, thank you! Gizmodo is a go, though I'm now more worried than before. A "good faith belief" being all that's required to shut some one down? Because no one has ever absued soemthing like that. No Just Couldn't happen. And it plays right in to Mr. March's concerns! I was worried about over zealous government censorship before, but what about just straight malicious internet bickering between opposing groups! And it needn't be for as good of (if massively missguided and just plain wrong) a reason as the Bradey group trying to yank us off line. What about some teenage girl throwing a hissy fit at a friends forum?

Perhaps I'm over-reacting. The temper comes with the red hair.
Thanks to all for your contributions. Discussions like this are why I got into government, and are, after a manner of speaking, love selling cars.
I am going to try and go sell some cars, so I won't be responding too quickly, but I'll try and flash back here through out the day.
Thank you again.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:47 PM   #10
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From what I've read, Congresscritters are getting an earful today. One anonymous staffer reported 100 calls an hour against the bill. And already three or four sponsors of the bill have dropped their support for it and now oppose it - just today. Sen. Mark Rubio is one and Rep. Ben Qualye is another.

From my perspective, it needs to be opposed. Too much potential for mischief as written.
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Old January 18, 2012, 03:14 PM   #11
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If you would rather have a funny explanation:
Check here

http://angryjoeshow.com/2011/12/corp...ders-sopa-psa/


Bottom line: This is bad news for anyone but the business world; if you don't like what someone has to say in a review of your product poof gone.
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Old January 18, 2012, 05:33 PM   #12
TheWanderingRed
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Sorry Mr. Helms, about five minutes after I posted this I scrolled down the forums a little farther and saw the Crime and Civil liberties forum, and I felt like such a dunce, especially after I had read through the rules so carefully, and checked up on the copy right rules for the fox news link and everything.
Thank you for your patience.
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Old January 18, 2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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I sent letters/e-mails to all my elected critters, and posted on my own webforum exhorting my members to do likewise.

Might need a car coming up soon, too
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Old January 18, 2012, 08:05 PM   #14
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Jim March mentioned Righthaven. This company pursued questionable copyright claims against a large number of websites. The Electronic Freedom Frontier has helped in litigation against Righthaven, including filing two briefs in the 9th Circuit recently. https://www.eff.org/press/releases/e...thaven-appeals

In the news release linked above, EFF says:
Quote:
In the course of its work fighting the Righthaven cases, EFF unearthed a document showing the copyright assignment was a sham, and that Righthaven never owned the copyrights it sued over. As a result, many of Righthaven's bogus cases have been dismissed in district court.

While many defendants paid settlements, Righthaven has never won a single case on the merits and has been ordered to pay over $200,000 for defendants' attorneys fees and $5,000 in sanctions. Righthaven's domain name, righthaven.com, was auctioned to help pay these judgments, and founder and CEO, Las Vegas attorney Steven A. Gibson, is currently being investigated by the Nevada State Bar. However, Righthaven is now looking to the Ninth Circuit to salvage its dangerous business model.
Over the years, I have routinely visited EFF's site at www.eff.org and the site of another organization devoted to privacy issues: www.epic.org. While I certainly don't agree on all their views on various topics, forum members interested in these topics may want to take a look at these websites.
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Old January 18, 2012, 08:57 PM   #15
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Lemme think about this, eh?

We're supposed to believe the Justice Department is going to protect copyrights?

Wait. Are we talking about the same Justice Department? The one whose chief is fighting voter ID laws because they prevent people from voting? The same one that deliberately enabled hundreds of criminals to sneak thousands of illegally purchased firearms into Mexico?

Oh, that Justice Department!

Yeah, and it's going to rain silver dollars bright and early tomorrow morning, too.
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Old January 18, 2012, 11:44 PM   #16
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At work tonight, one of my clerks got a question she couldn't answer regarding grip compatibility with 2nd-gen S&W automatics. I was gargling coffee, so she figured she'd look it up on Wikipedia.

I heard a loud "grawwwrgh!" She tracked me down, asked the question, and said, "I'd have looked it up, but stupid Wikipedia's down." The customer looked up at the mention of it and remarked that he was inconvenienced by the outage as well.

That got me thinking: most folks wouldn't care, or even know, about SOPA. Most folks don't get involved. Heck, most folks can't name their congressman. But one web site takes itself down in a one-day protest, and by that, manages to propel the issue into the popular conscience.

We can, and have, harnessed that kind of power to help our cause, but never quite to the massive level that Wikipedia has done in a one-day blackout.
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Old January 18, 2012, 11:48 PM   #17
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Google has a petition up that everyone oppossing this should sign

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy using tapatalk
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:39 AM   #18
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Think a one day Wiki outage got some attention? If Google and Yahoo would black out for 12 hours it would cause internet panic. I had to go look at Wiki to see the nifty blackout logo.
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
If Google and Yahoo would black out for 12 hours it would cause internet panic.
Better yet, Facebook. I don't even use it, but I'm aware of how habit-forming it can be.

Heck, if TFL went down, I'd have to go outdoors or something. Perish the thought.
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Old January 19, 2012, 08:33 AM   #20
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There were wide ranging debates about this on campus. Including several vulgar ones in the fraternity house deriding the United States Congress for causing wikipedia to be down. Rather humourous.

I would like to see this sort of internet grass roots campaign be better harnessed for even Constitutional based issues.
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Old January 19, 2012, 11:55 AM   #21
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While on I do understand the concerns about members and owners of forums like this as well as other networking sites and the folk who decide to use them. The more that I read into this, it gets more into a contest between 2 conflicting ideals. The one side is who thinks that a persons work, whether it be a movie they made, book or article they wrote, etc, should be their own property, as well as having the rights to profit from it. The flip side seems to be that the others want free access to it, and dont want any exceptions. I see it only as 2 different sides competing for money. Bascially should I go to the store and buy the book/DVD so the producer, etc, profits from it? Or do I go to the internet, and get a pirated copy, and only pay my internet bill?

How do I think this will affect TFL? Beyond the minimum effect of maybe paying closer attention to policing any quotes from the media, etc, I dont think it will have a huge long term effect. The first ammendment IS there, and will protect the free speech. It will not and should not protect pirated material used without the owners permission or payment to the owner.

More to the point, lets say I take 2 years of my free time and write a novel on gun owners. I am offered and sign an agreement with a publisher for "MY" work to be published in print. Once published, it gets pirated online, so I basically get a very tiny amount of money in return for my 2 years of labor to support my second ammendment rights. The internet providers, etc, make alot of money without having to reimburse me for my 2 years of labor, they take their profit and support anti-second ammendment causes.

The internet isnt the "free" kingdom people proclaim. There are those that make tons of money, and other people that have money stolen from them on the internet.

I know others will disagree with my views, and you are more then welcome to. I respect where the other side is coming from as well. There is no "perfect" solution to this.
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:06 PM   #22
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Part of what Big Media[tm] wants to do is...well, break down basic internet security upgrades that are in the planning stages now.

They want the US government to be able to mess with some core basics of how the internet works, which in turn makes the security upgrades known as DNSSEC impossible.

Years of effort on making various scams (such as phishing) much harder all go "poof".
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:11 PM   #23
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There are two main reasons why people pirate.

1) Because they can. These people don't really care about the item they're downloading, they do it mainly because it's there. They would never buy the item simply because they don't care if they have/see/hear it. Stopping these people is pointless in a sense because even if they can't pirate something, they still won't buy it.

2) Because it's more convenient. These are the people you can win over as customers. These people want your product in a digital form. Make your product easily available, such as in the Kindle store, Google Music, Amazon digital, etc. If they can buy it and download it instantly, they will. If they can't, then they'll pirate.

The people that don't fall into these two categories, in general, will get around any attempted preventative measures anyway. What they're doing is already illegal, so destroying the internet in an attempt to stop them is somewhat akin to an assault weapon ban, or magazine capacity limits. It only hurts the honest people.
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
There is no "perfect" solution to this.
There is no perfect solution perhaps; but I think we can agree that allowing a website to be shut down even for an unsubstantiated allegation of copyright infringement is such a bad solution that it is worse than the disease. As written, SOPA and PIPA place the burden of copyright enforcement on the website owners and ISPs. If they receive a complaint, they have almost no way to evaluate the merit of it; but they will bear the brunt of penalties for not deleting it if it is an infringement - the default setting in that environment is that any speech that receives a complaint will get deleted in order to protect the website owner/ISP.

That is a system that cannot coexist with free speech.
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Old January 19, 2012, 01:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts Quote
There is no "perfect" solution to this.

There is no perfect solution perhaps; but I think we can agree that allowing a website to be shut down even for an unsubstantiated allegation of copyright infringement is such a bad solution that it is worse than the disease.
That is a system that cannot coexist with free speech.
I do agree that it is wrong, and and at least in my mind unconstitutional to allow a website, etc to be shut down due to an unsubstantiated allegation. This would violate due process.

As currently stands, there isnt a huge amount of enforcement of pirated material. A few huge cases to try to prove a point, but no real, long term, regular enforcement action is there currently. At some point there will "need" to be at some level. What level? I am conflicted on this.

This fight has been fought for years on different levels, even before there was the internet. It comes down to a individualism vs collectivism.

I dont see how pirating knowledge, and a persons work should a proud stance and fight to take on. Perhaps instead those writers, actors, designers, etc, should stop producing so there is nothing new left to pirate? After all, if the person doing the work isnt allowed to profit from their labor, why should others?
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