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Thread: PROTECT-IP Act to Extend Government Powers for Internet Censorship

  1. #1
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    PROTECT-IP Act to Extend Government Powers for Internet Censorship

    An excerpt from "Leahy’s Protect IP Act: Why Internet content wars will never end" -

    Quote Originally Posted by Forbes Magazine
    Last week, the media industries unveiled a relatively modest new weapons system: the Protect IP Act of 2011. Introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill is aimed specifically at controlling “pirate” and “rogue” websites, especially those registered outside the U.S., which traffic in unauthorized distribution of licensed content or counterfeit goods.

    Protect IP’s targets include the shadowy web of BitTorrent search engines (many supported by adware) that help users find and assemble digital copies of movies and television programs still under copyright protection, as well as sites that sell trademarked consumer goods and patented pharmaceuticals that are either gray market, counterfeit, or somewhere in between.

    In an article I wrote last Friday for CNET, I described some of the differences between the new bill and its predecessor, known as COICA. (COICA was introduced in the last Congress but never made it to a floor vote.) I also describe new features of Protect IP which in many ways make it more dangerous than COICA—more dangerous in the sense of having unintended consequences that both threaten basic civil rights and which could undermine the technical and social underpinnings of the Internet.

    But most reports of Protect IP missed a key feature of the bill that greatly limits its potential reach. The bill is largely focused—and unleashes its most dangerous ammunition—only on non-U.S. registered websites, specifically those that are “dedicated to infringing activities.” (The definition, not surprisingly, isn’t entire clear.)

    The bill’s supporters believe that some of the most brazen sites offering illegal content operate off-shore, largely out of reach of American prosecutors and private legal action. Protect IP hopes to eliminate that advantage for Russian, Chinese, and other “pirates.” The Internet, of course, is inherently global, while legal systems are decidedly local.

    Why only focus on non-U.S. sites? For one thing, law enforcement agents and media companies already have an extensive battery of weapons to use against domestically-registered websites which traffic in illegal or counterfeit goods. These include the “notice and takedown” provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows copyright and trademark holders to quickly and efficiently remove infringing content from any website or network.

    More recently, the relatively focused enforcement techniques of the DMCA have been enhanced by the comparatively bludgeon-like tool of civil forfeiture, added to the arsenal by the 2008 PRO IP Act. Civil forfeiture, popular with law enforcement agencies prosecuting drug crimes, allows the government to seize and condemn property associated with a criminal enterprise, based on a much lower evidentiary showing than the probable cause needed for a criminal conviction of the perpetrators themselves.
    Below is a petition against PROTECT-IP, if you care to sign it:

    http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/protectip_docs/

    I highly recommend it. This bill threatens to set a very dangerous precedent. I'm not always in agreement with the folks at Demand Progress, but there's no good to come of a law like this. Restricting internet service providers in what content they route to customers would fundamentally undermine the internet's architecture, utility, and underlying principles. Prosecution and removal of pirate websites should be the left to their home legal jurisdictions and relevant diplomatic channels, and not made the responsibility of private ISPs. If this becomes law, how much longer is it until domain seizure and ISP blacklisting is extended to nebulous categories like anti-government speech? Please be informed - this is very important.
    Thank you for your time.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  2. #2
    Never Knows Best gill_za's Avatar
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    Signed it when I first got an e-mail from demandprogress

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    dashman's Avatar
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    Same story different freedom... In order to protect you and keep you safe, you have to give up your liberties and freedom.

    To that I say nuts!

    They'll use future cyber security attacks and fear mongering as the reason it is needed. Cyber attacks happen on a daily basis, nothing new, just no reported frequently.

    EDIT: Opps. I was commenting on the wrong bill. Thought this was the internet kill switch they are working to implement. Gotta be able to shut down communication in times of uprsing you know.
    Last edited by dashman; 05-22-2011 at 03:22 PM.

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    JRFxtreme's Avatar
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    Perhaps the entertainment industry should quit wasting money on something they can't control and spend it on their products, new technology or marketing. Last time I checked, record sales were still being broken despite "Oh no, some penny-less kid in the middle of nowhere is watching our movie without paying!!! Something must be done!"

    Greed, power lust and their inability to move the industry forward by embracing the potential of the internet is the issue. Not a couple thousand illegal downloads.

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    Kyle's Avatar
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    Signed and Facebook'd.

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    Monkey's Avatar
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    Did the same as Gill.
    Growlist
    IN HOC

  7. #7
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRFxtreme View Post
    Perhaps the entertainment industry should quit wasting money on something they can't control and spend it on their products, new technology or marketing. Last time I checked, record sales were still being broken despite "Oh no, some penny-less kid in the middle of nowhere is watching our movie without paying!!! Something must be done!"

    Greed, power lust and their inability to move the industry forward by embracing the potential of the internet is the issue. Not a couple thousand illegal downloads.
    You forgot about the part where like 90% of the payroll goes to people who contribute nothing to the production or distribution of the media in question.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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