Tom’s Hardware posted the following message today on their website (click the link to read all of the reasons why a hardware and software review site would be against the Stop Online Piracy Act):
Here at Tom’s Hardware, you know we don’t typically get political because with the heated debates between AMD vs. Intel who needs Donkeys vs. Elephants?
We’ve got no agenda beyond providing the best hardware news and reviews we can dig up. But here at Year’s end, there’s a subject we want to share with you that may come to affect how you experience us and the rest of the internet. It’s called SOPA, or the “Stop Online Piracy Act”, and it is headed through U.S. Congress with its sister bill PROTECT-IP in the Senate. SOPA threatens to fundamentally change the way information is presented online by placing massive restrictions on user-generated content like posts to forums, video uploads, podcasts or images.
via Save Tom’s, Stop SOPA.
We have to work together to stop this terrible legislation. Go here to find out how you can help by alerting your elected representatives to the problems that this kind of over broad and misguided legislation.
Declan McCullagh reports on CNET News that the big Internet companies could launch simultaneous anti-censorship protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012:
The Internet’s most popular destinations, including eBay, Google, Facebook, and Twitter seem to view Hollywood-backed copyright legislation as an existential threat.
It was Google co-founder Sergey Brin who warned that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act “would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.” Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman argue that the bills give the Feds unacceptable “power to censor the Web.”
But these companies have yet to roll out the heavy artillery.
When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you’ll know they’re finally serious.
via SOPA opponents may go nuclear and other 2012 predictions | Privacy Inc. – CNET News.
Lanham Napier, CEO of cloud hosting provider Rackspace, argues on the official Rackspace Hosting blog that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is not the right solution to intellectual property theft:
The authors of the bill say their goal is to crack down on websites that traffic in stolen movies, music, software, and other intellectual property. That’s a goal that we at Rackspace share. But we’ve studied the SOPA bill closely and conferred with experts in our company and elsewhere in the technology industry, and we believe that it would not achieve its stated purpose. Foreign IP thieves, in particular, could find ways to evade the law.
Meanwhile, SOPA would require that Rackspace and other Internet service providers censor their customers with little in the way of due process, trumping the protections present in the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act. What’s more, the SOPA bill would seriously disrupt the Domain Name Service that is crucial to the smooth operation of the web.
via Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting.
Make your voice heard by contacting your elected representatives in Congress. The Stop American Censorship website can help you.
Mike Masnick writes on TechDirt that the adjournment of the Judiciary committee marking up SOPA might be pulling a fast one to get this bill on the floor as soon as the congressional recess is over:
Update…. Or not. Despite the fact that Congress was supposed to be out of session until the end of January, the Judiciary Committee has just announced plans to come back to continue the markup this coming Wednesday. This is rather unusual and totally unnecessary. But it shows just how desperate Hollywood is to pass this bill as quickly as possible, before the momentum of opposition builds up even further.
via SOPA Markup Runs Out Of Time; Likely Delayed Until 2012 [Update: Or Not...] | Techdirt.
Cory Doctorow adds on BoingBoing:
If you followed my tweets from the markup session for SOPA in the House of Representatives, you know how frustrating it was to watch: you had these lawmakers blithely dismissing the security concerns of the likes of Vint Cerf, saying things like, “I’m no technology nerd, but I don’t believe it.” In other words: “I’m a perfect ignoramus, but I find it convenient to disregard the world’s foremost experts.” Another congressman from Florida kept saying things like “No one can explain to me how this bill harms political debate or academic freedom.”
The markup hearing ended early yesterday, surprising many who concluded that the early adjournment meant that SOPA was off the table until Congress reconvened in 2012. But committee chair Lamar Smith quietly announced that there would be a special session on the 21st of December (when the press and opponents of the bill are likely to be distracted by the impending holiday) to finish up the bill’s markup.
via WTF is Happening with SOPA now? | BoingBoing.net
I call this political maneuvering the rhetoric of refusal and it frustrates me beyond belief. It is kind of like someone stands outside a burning building with a fire hose turned off. They look at the burning building and they say, “I don’t see a burning building.” Bystanders yell at the person, “turn on the fire hose! Put water on the burning building.” The person with the hose replies to no one, “I don’t hear anyone telling me that a building is burning.”
I suppose the rhetoric of refusal arises from the deep seated anti-intellectualism that has hijacked the political discourse, or I should say that anti-intellectualism that isn’t financed by deep pockets. It is almost if an intelligent individual won’t be heard unless there is corporate sponsorship. It increasingly seems as if American politics is a new form of NASCAR, and this is bad. I like NASCAR, but I don’t like my government and the political process to be like NASCAR.
Even if you have already contacted your representative about SOPA, you have to do it again. We can’t stop voicing our concerns about this until it disappears again. And then when it comes back, we will fight once more.
Joshua Kopstein on Motherboard.tv has a very good analysis of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) debate in committee yesterday. He argues that politicans can no longer feign ignorance of the things that they want to legislate. Congressional knuckleheads should not try to legislate something that they know nothing about. The consequences of SOPA, if passed, will royally screwup the way the Internet works. What do I mean by screwup? Well, it will lead to erroneous shuttering of allegedly copyright infringing websites in toto rather than the parts of those sites that might be infringing, and its proposed methods of censorship will introduce new security risks into the way network traffic is routed through DNS, which will likely be a boon to criminals who find ways to exploit this. This isn’t how laws should be made. They should be carefully considered and effected to address specific, identifiable problems with surgically specific solutions. SOPA bucks how laws should work with a scorched earth approach that will create new opportunities for *real* criminals who do *real* harm. Let’s not pretend that the “copyright piracy data” SOPA supporters flaunt points to *real* offenses–it clearly has been shown to lead to additional sales.
First spied on Slashdot here.
I was happy to read here that the committee meeting convened to markup SOPA today didn’t go as well as the big media supporters had wanted. Apparently, things got off to a great start when:
The session is likely to be a long one. Early in the hearing, Chairman Smith asked for unanimous consent to skip reading the bill aloud. But Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a fierce opponent of the proposal, insisted that a clerk read the whole thing—a process that took about an hour. With that kind of acrimony, the Committee is likely to be working late into the night.
The political cartoonist David Rees got pissed off about SOPA enough that he came out of retirement to create new anti-SOPA comics above and here (there’s a lot more censorship yuck-it-ups there than the one that I posted above). Today’s the day–tell your congressional representatives that this kind of big-business-wants-to-rule-the-internet crap is unacceptable!
As I mentioned yesterday, please let your representatives know that you do not want the Internet censored using a system similar to that used in China, Iran, and Syria. This is what the Internet Blacklisting legislation known as SOPA and Protect-IP would do. We should respect support copyright, but we should not support copyright to the detriment of all other speech, including fair use, online. The Internet is still in its infancy and it is developing in new and unexpected ways. SOPA and similarly restrictive laws will stifle that development and the empowering possibilities that might have been. Read the coverage below to learn more about what SOPA and Protect-IP mean for American citizens and the Internet. Then, go here to send a message to your representatives.
Stop the Great Firewall of America [New York Times op-ed]
SOPA Won’t Stop Online Piracy, Would Censor Everyone Else [Time]
Thoughts On The House Judiciary Committee’s Hearings On SOPA [TechDirt]
At Web censorship hearing, Congress guns for “pro-pirate” Google [ArsTechnica]
A Look At Three Popular Sites That May Be In Trouble Under SOPA [TechDirt]
More And More People Speak Up Against SOPA [TechDirt]
New Study From Booz & Co. Shows That SOPA/PROTECT IP Will Chill Investment In Innovation [TechDirt]
Sweet sanity: 75% of Americans say infringement fines should be under $100 [ArsTechnica]
Today is the ad hoc American Censorship Day. Why? A committee in the House of Representatives has stacked their deck of experts 5 to 1 in favor of the SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act. Even though this law could radically change the way the Internet works in the US (so that it can be restricted in the same way that it is restricted in China, Iran, and Syria), many congressional members support this law and they do not want public dissenting voices to be heard during committee. Techdirt has coverage of the hearing today here.
SOPA and Protect-IP are intended to put the thumbscrews on online discussion, fair use, and entrepreneurship. This infographic explains the potential effects of the bill if made law.
This is another example of our elected officials catering to outmoded big business. Big media wants to consolidate its control over the Internet, because those companies are unwilling to adjust their business models to the here-and-now. Instead, they want to flex their money-muscle and reconfigure the Internet so that they remain on top. I suppose this is the logic of capital. Increased regulation helps diversify the market, which leads to benefits for consumers. Conglomerates and virtual monopolies do not want this. Instead, they want to solidify their own position by hijacking the democratic process and putting laws in place that not only gives them added control over the primary medium of discourse but also further criminalizes previously non-criminal acts.
Go to the American Censorship Day website here, and send an email (or even better–call them!) letting your representatives know that you are against SOPA/Protect-IP.