whoa, this is serious

I’m not sure I can handle 24 hours without Wikipedia.  I’m sold on their cause now . . .

Knowing little to no details about the proposed legislation that is being described as threatening internet freedom, I cannot really make a firm judgment, but in theory, as it is being currently described, I’m against.  How’s that for a stand?  Perhaps, I’ll educate myself on the topic right now.

By way of NPR, I found the following quote from Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt:

“Intended to combat the trade in pirated movies and music, the two bills would give copyright holders and law enforcement officials added powers to cut off websites and require search engines, payment collectors and others to block access. The legislation Schmidt opposed is called the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House.

“‘The solutions are draconian,’ Schmidt said during an appearance at the MIT Sloan School of Management. ‘There’s a bill that would require (Internet service providers) to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.’

And indeed, a quick scan of the proposed legislation appears to do just that:

(B) INTERNET SEARCH ENGINES– A provider of an Internet search engine shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within 5 days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order, designed to prevent the foreign infringing site that is subject to the order, or a portion of such site specified in the order, from being served as a direct hypertext link.  (emphasis added).

That’s just an example of the type of language in the bill.  The Washington Post summarizes thusly:

[It] would impose restrictions forcing U.S. companies to stop selling online ads to suspected pirates, processing payments for illegal online sales and refusing to list Web sites suspected of piracy in search-engine results.

While the entertainment industry hopes the bill will put an end to sites of yore like thepiratebay.com and all of those Asian sites streaming American TV shows, the tech industry characterizes the proposed bill as

a dangerous overreach, objecting because, they say, the laws would add burdensome costs and news rules that would destroy the freewheeling soul of the Internet. (washington post)

Apparently, this infographic is a little dated because the DNS blocking provisions have been eliminated from the bill.  But apparently, the core ideas are still correct.

The most controversial provision is in the House bill, which would have enabled federal authorities to “blacklist” sites that are alleged to distribute pirated content. That would essentially cut off portions of the Internet to all U.S. users. But congressional leaders appear to be backing off this provision.

It appears that congressional members are slowly backing down from at least the most controversial sections of the bill, but in light of the actions of many websites, such as Wikipedia, Reddit, and Tumblr, they aren’t backing down fast enough.  Perhaps I will write/call/email/etc my congressman.

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1 Comment

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One response to “whoa, this is serious

  1. We need to save our internet freedoms or we’ll lose them.

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