1. 2012

    Why is PROTECT-IP so bad?

    As I recently posted, SOPA and PIPA, the bills that represent the next step in the media industries’ war on piracy (or, to be fair, what they call piracy), have been getting increasing amounts of attention. And it’s bringing results: just yesterday, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was pulled from consideration in the House of Representatives.

    While this is a big win for the internet, it’s only part of the battle, because the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA), a nearly identical bill, is still scheduled for a vote in the Senate on January 24, a week from today. So it’s still not too late to contact your senators and ask them to oppose the bill! Wikipedia has also joined the cause, pledging to black out its site tomorrow to raise awareness.

    The Problem with PIPA

    A friend of mine recently made a post about SOPA on the FreshySites blog which I think shows how some of the information about what these bills do has been distorted as it’s traveled around the web. With the blackouts of Wikipedia, Reddit, and other sites poised to draw a lot of public attention to the bills, I thought this would be …

  2. 2012

    Update on the fight against SOPA and PIPA

    I’ve written a couple of posts about SOPA and PIPA, the copyright legislation currently making its way through Congress, and the widespread efforts to stop it. There’s some good news on that front: these pieces of legislation have been attracting increasing amounts of media attention lately, and Congress is beginning to respond. The DNS blocking provisions of the bill have been pulled (for now, at least), removing a threat to one of the foundations of the internet, and over in the Senate, influential senators are asking for a vote on PIPA (the PROTECT-IP Act) to be postponed so the bill can be further reviewed and possibly amended. Additionally, the White House has issued an official response to two petitions calling for President Obama to veto any of this legislation that does pass through Congress, and while he hasn’t promised to do so, it does show that the administration is at least thinking about the implications this legislation would have for free expression online.

    But the war against SOPA and PIPA is not over yet, in part because a lot of people just don’t know all this is happening. To raise awareness, Reddit will be proceeding with …

  3. 2011

    Mozilla's Call the Senate day

    The Mozilla Foundation, the group behind Firefox, is organizing another campaign against the PROTECT-IP Act. This time, they’re asking voters to call the Senate next Tuesday (they don’t give a date, but I’m guessing this is tomorrow) to register their opposition to the act.

    As I’ve previously written, PROTECT-IP is a bill designed to discourage distribution of copyrighted material online. It would greatly expand the actions that the government is allowed to take with respect to websites or online services that are suspected of being involved in this distribution. There is a widespread concern that the powers granted by this bill are too easily abused, and that they will be ineffective. If you believe, as I do, that this is going too far, please consider contacting your representatives in Congress to let them know.

  4. 2011

    Internet censorship in the US

    Thanks to campaigns like last week’s American Censorship day, computer users around the United States (and beyond) have been sitting up and paying attention to two bills regarding online copyright infringement that are now working their way through Congress: SOPA and PROTECT-IP. There is a lot of hype about how the law represented by these bills would be a terrible affront to free speech, and it may or may not be right, but as usual when it comes to legal matters, many people don’t have the knowledge to judge for themselves. With this blog post and possibly others like it, I’m trying to get relevant information out there so we can all make more informed decisions.

    (Full disclosure: I am personally opposed to the passage of SOPA/PROTECT-IP, but I’ve tried not to let that bias come through too strongly.)

    A brief history of information exchange

    Back in the days before internet use was so widespread, media redistribution was not a major problem. If you wanted to share a song or a video with someone, you had to physically lend them a tape, CD, or DVD. Yes, it was possible to make copies of media, but …