Rackspace Hosting CEO Lanham Napier Gives a Reasoned Business Perspective Why SOPA Is a Bad Law

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.

PROTECT-IP Leaves Committee, Put on Hold by Senator Wyden, Filtering DNS Amounts to Censorship

According to the findings of an insightful report by DNS experts [here] and a feature article on Ars Technica:

Senator Ron Wyden D-OR has called the PROTECT IP Act “a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives.” He characterized its predecessor as a “bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile.” The bill would force Domain Name System DNS operators to stop correctly resolving the names of so-called “rogues sites.”

Is this sort of monkeying with the DNS a problem? Yes, say DNS experts in a new report PDF on the practice. In their view, DNS filtering provisions would make the Web less secure—and do little to stop illegal filesharing sites.

via DNS filtering: absolutely the wrong way to defend copyrights.

Earlier today, the Protect-IP act left committee, but Senator Wyden was able to halt its progression before going to the floor of the Senate for a vote. He is correct that the language of Protect-IP would be a too broad approach to protecting intellectual property online. However, the enforcement of this bill should it become law would amount to censorship and still not prevent the kind of illegal distribution of intellectual property that it attempts to curtail.

I have commented on this law before here, and I still think that this is the kind of messy, power-crazy legislation that needs to be stopped dead in its tracks. I am all for the upholding of sensible copyright, but I am against Big Media’s attempts to short circuit the law in their favor.

We, meaning people, need to assert our rights to culture and our rights to freedom of speech online. The Protect-IP act could circumvent both of these things by assigning the decision making process of what constitutes a fair and legal voice outside the bounds of due process AND taking away our right to judge for ourselves what is fair and legal.

As the report linked above argues and Ars Technica discusses, the law’s effect on DNS filtering would be easily circumvented, but the fact is that we should not be making laws that further reduce online communication that would be need circumvention if the law is not equally or fairly applied. If this bill passes, circumvention itself could be further criminalized. Additional criminalization is the not the answer either. This could turn into a stepping stone in that direction if we do not demand that these attempts at death of citizens’ rights by a thousand cuts is not halted.