SOPA Blackout – Wikipedia shuts down to highlight SOPA issues:
You will more than likely have now heard about the US governments attempt to bring in a bill that would apparently help stop US internet users gaining access to pirate copies of digital assets such as films and music…and in theory help stop piracy in its tracks.
Cue the SOPA Blackout:
The SOPA bill is seen by many to be an amazingly draconian way of attempting to control online piracy from foreign sources such as ThePirateBay.
In a good article on the proposals over at Toms hardware, a list of the SOPA issues that seem to present themselves aims to highlight how dangerous this bill could be for all site owners and ultimately could help turn the US into another highly regulated China, Iran or similar state, and we know how much Americans would detest to be in that club.
- Assign liability to site owners for everything users post, without consideration for whether or not the user posted without permission. Site owners could face jail time or heavy fines, and DNS blacklisting.
- It would require web services like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor and aggressively filter everything all users upload.
- It would deny site owners due process of law, by initiating a DNS blacklisting based solely on a good faith assertion by an individual copyright or intellectual property owner.
- It would give the U.S. government the power to selectively censor the web using techniques similar to those used in China, Malaysia and Iran.
The scarier side to SOPA:
The fact is that the bill will give far reaching powers to the US government to take control of US ISP’s and demand “infringing” foreign websites are taken down from the internet in the US and potentially elsewhere.
The problem is there seems to be very little detail as to where this would stop as a measure to reduce piracy.
And for this reason, many who champion free speech and less governmental control for the sake of control are showing solidarity by taking their sites down today to highlight just how much of an issue a site like Wikipedia being taken down or indeed Google, Facebook, Twitter etc would cause the world…all of which so easily fit into qualifying sites that could be taken down by this bill at the drop of a hat.
The bill states that any site that links, hosts or has relationships in any way to pirated/copyrighted content could effectively be taken down in the US without any serious due process in place that would allow the owner of the site to actually address any issues flagged, prior to a site being taken down, guilty before charged.
This is too much control in the hands of people who do not fully understand the internet, and is could be used to stifle genuine innovation and honest errors on sites that the US really should have no proper control over, it is your internet freedom that is coming under threat, not your jobs.
Indeed it would be very easy to use a hacker(s) to add dodgy links to any website (as Anonymous are rumored to be doing to Sony) which would essentially result in this bill having the power to then shut that site down if they choose.
But you would not need to do this under the bill as site owners will be responsible for EVERYTHING that is posted or contained on your site, background music on videos uploaded, links in comments….the list goes on.
Silicon valley v’s Hollywood:
Of course this is all hidden behind “saving jobs”, and only affecting “certain” sites, but these bills always start small and eventually end up strangling the very areas they aim to champion.
For this reason, Wikipedia have done the good thing and actually stood up for the average Joe, of course we all understand that piracy is tantamount to theft, but in the same manner, we do not ban the use of cars globally just because some vehicles are used in bank robberies, or the sale of blank DVD’s, what on earth are we giving far reaching powers to US government to police the global internet with rules that are so unbelievably flimsy as to be ridiculous.
Devil in the detail:
I will be looking more closely at the bill in an article due today or tomorrow and will highlight how the devil is indeed in the detail as so many legal documents are made this way, and the vagueness in language is indeed the very weapon that this bill can and would use to inflict damage to sites that are “facilitating” copyright infringements and such like.
Scary indeed…so please spread this news far and wide and go join this petition here to stop this crazy bill getting passed.Anthony Munns