Congress reconvenes in January and will take up the Internet censorship
bills SOPA and PIPA again.
The House only deferred SOPA because of widespread public outcry.
Proponents of SOPA, funded by big corporate money,
are probably just hoping opponents will be distracted by the holidays.
Adam Savage reminds us why we need to be vigilant and keep
flooding Congress with calls to vote down those bills
or anything like them.
Right now Congress is considering two bills—the Protect IP Act,
and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)—that would be laughable
if they weren't in fact real. Honestly, if a friend wrote these into a
piece of fiction about government oversight gone amok, I'd have to tell
them that they were too one-dimensional, too obviously anticonstitutional.
Make no mistake: These bills aren't simply unconstitutional, they are
anticonstitutional. They would allow for the wholesale elimination of
entire websites, domain names, and chunks of the DNS (the underlying
structure of the whole Internet), based on nothing more than the "good
faith" assertion by a single party that the website is infringing on
a copyright of the complainant. The accused doesn't even have to be
aware that the complaint has been made.
I'm not kidding.
He goes on to correctly compare SOPA and PIPA unfavorably
to the already bad Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998.
You remember, the DMCA that big copyright holders used to sue
pre-teen video and audio "pirates" and to take down websites on suspicion.
Savage cites a case where somebody with no copyright still got
YouTube vidoes taken down under DMCA.
Yes, SOPA and PIPA are even worse.
But the reality is that nowadays, one can choose between a game costing £40 that will last weeks, or a £10 CD with two great tracks and eight dud ones. I think a lot of people are choosing the game - and downloading the two tracks. That's real discretion in spending. It's hurting the music industry, sure. But let's not cloud the argument with false claims about downloads.
Or keep making such claims and keep electing Pirate Party members the the EU Parliament.
Either way such claims have a limited life span.
Here's another view of what the telcos and cablecos have in mind for us,
or, rather, what they want in our minds:
This is substantially different from the Internet freedom we have today
to look at whatever we want to and to publish our own content.
EDUCAUSE is up in arms about a proposed
Higher Education Reauthorization Act that the Senate is supposed
to be considering today.
It basically makes the Secretary of Education an arm of the MPAA
and requires institutions of higher education to police file sharing.
I think this is the most interesting part of the amendment,
where it's saying it will:
(1) the 25 institutions of higher education participating in programs
under this title, which have received during the previous calendar year
the highest number of written notices fromm copyright owners,
or persons authorized to act on behalf of copyright holders,
alleging infringement of copyright by users of the institution's
information technology systems, where such notices identify
with specificity the works alleged to the infringed,
or a representative list of works alleged to be infringed,
the date and time of the alleged infringing conduct together with
information sufficient to identify the infringing user, and information
sufficient to contact the copyright owner or its authorized representative; and
So universities are supposed to keep lists of allegations against
their students (or staff or faculty) and those lists can be used
to determine their funding.
Allegations, mind you, not convictions.
This is once again the entertainment industry tail wagging the dog,
in this case higher education.
Hm, I suppose that's a bad analogy, since the entertainment industry
seems to only understand the big head, not the long tail....
And as if to demonstrate Republicans have no monopoly on horribly
bad ideas, this amendment is proposed by the Senate Majority Leader,
Democrat Harry Reid.
Is the Internet really that hard to understand?
In the end the ISPs are going to win this battle, you know. The only
thing that will keep them from doing that is competition, something
it is difficult to see coming along anytime soon, rather like that
lemonade-powered sports car.
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in
trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network
— the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.
As AT&T has begun selling pay-television services, the company has
realized that its interests are more closely aligned with Hollywood,
Cicconi said in an interview Tuesday. The company's top leaders recently
decided to help Hollywood protect the digital copyrights to that content.
"We do recognize that a lot of our future business depends on exciting
and interesting content," he said.
Now it's for Internet video.
Which is what "James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president,"
meant by "exciting and interesting content."
Nevermind participatory customer-generated content,
or that customers might not want AT&T monitoring their content.