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SOPA - Is it right?

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#1
CptnChan

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Currently there is a bill in the works, which the department of justice is attempting to pass. The official purpose of the bill is to "expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods." Which sounds like a good idea.

The controversy with this bill is that while it would stop things like people uploading other's copyrighted material to YouTube and other sources, it would also put a halt to the already large and growing video game culture on the internet.

Here is a brief summary of what happens in the gaming community: There are currently many internet personalities who make all of their content (Such as video game reviews, previews, and partial play throughs) using recordings of whatever video game they are reviewing or playing.

Other personalities such as Sean "Day9" Plott, hosts a daily internet show where he analyzes and gives advice on how to play the popular strategy game "StarCraft 2". Other professional Starcraft players (Yes, professional, they have full professional tournaments with teams, casters, the whole deal) make a significant part of their income live sreaming themselves play the game competitively.

So most people in the gaming community are vehemently against SOPA, since apparently it would mean all of these internet personalities would essentially lose their job, and the viewers would no longer have anything to watch. Granted, the bill states that if someone can get permission of the company which made the game, they can post online content including footage of the game, but many say this will over complicate what is currently a working situation.

Oh and a final argument of the gaming community is that while casters, reviewers, and players are in fact using footage from a copyrighted game, their videos (which garner thousands of views) are essentially free advertising for the game company.

So what is the proper view of SOPA? Should it be fought?

Edit: wikipedia article on SOPA http://en.wikipedia....line_Piracy_Act

Edited by CptnChan, 15 January 2012 - 09:10 PM.


#2
Hairnet

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Day[9] isn't going to have his videos taken down. Nor is any competitive player. Blizzard made the replay function so people could post them on the internet, so I don't think they are violating any laws by doing this. To put it this way, the EULA people sign when they install the game, or install a patch probably states this very thing. So unless this SOPA bill is creating some new laws concerning the matter I do not see anything happening to the gaming community.
Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. - Baruch Spinoza

#3
Grames

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SOPA should be opposed because its mandated takedown of websites based on accusation is a denial of due process, because its interference with the internet's Domain Name System is damaging to the operation and security of the entire internet, and because it is a corrupt neo-fascist subsidy of a declining business sector whose most persuasive "argument" is the bribes it gives to congressmen's reelection committees.

#4
CptnChan

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@grames Very cool precise response.

#5
AlexL

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SOPA should be opposed because its mandated takedown of websites based on accusation is a denial of due process...


How so? What is the procedure mandated by SOPA? Wikipedia says:

The bill provides for "enhancing enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas", and authorizes the United States Department of Justice to seek a court order in rem against ....


..because its interference with the internet's Domain Name System is damaging to the operation and security of the entire internet


Please elaborate (technical details are OK with me).

...and because it is a corrupt neo-fascist subsidy of a declining business ....


Are we throwing the intellectual property rights to the dogs?

Sasha

#6
Gramlich

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SOPA itself is a violation of property rights. It allows the government to shutdown websites, without warning or due process, for having user posted, copyrighted material. Which means: a website that allows user content and actively attempts to stop copyrighted material would be shutdown for the actions of a user on its services.
Aut disce aut discede.

#7
IchorFigure

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Tomorrow (Wednesday) Wikipedia will be blacked out to oppose the SOPA bill.
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#8
Steve D'Ippolito

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Google is planning to do something as well. I don't know what but if I had to guess: Perhaps putting a banner on their home page or something like that.
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#9
Black Wolf

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Are you sure SOPA violates due process? I do understand that it's a 71 page bill, but on the very first page it says that no action by the state can be found to violate the first amendment. It also says that sufficient evidence must be provided that the website owner's primary purpose is to distribute copyright material. Also, it says that criminal action can be taken against anyone who files false SOPA claims. Is there something in the 71 page thing that contradicts this?
Immanuel Kant, not to be confused with "A Man Who, Well.. Can't"

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#10
Dante

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Google is planning to do something as well. I don't know what but if I had to guess: Perhaps putting a banner on their home page or something like that.


Looks like they blacked out the Google label; clicking on it brings one to information on SOPA/PIPA.
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#11
softwareNerd

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Looks like they blacked out the Google label; clicking on it brings one to information on SOPA/PIPA.

In support, David changed the OO.com banner to include a protest too.

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#12
bluecherry

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Are you sure SOPA violates due process? I do understand that it's a 71 page bill, but on the very first page it says that no action by the state can be found to violate the first amendment. It also says that sufficient evidence must be provided that the website owner's primary purpose is to distribute copyright material. Also, it says that criminal action can be taken against anyone who files false SOPA claims. Is there something in the 71 page thing that contradicts this?

I'd be interested in specifics on this too. Is there anywhere with some kind of digest of this thing with quotes and page numbers that are relevant?

#13
Steve D'Ippolito

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In support, David changed the OO.com banner to include a protest too.


That little teeny "CENSORED" all the way over to the right, nowhere near the name? Kind of inconspicuous.
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#14
Greebo

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Being able to effectively shut down a website on the mere accusation of piracy is inflicting punishment before judgement - a most basic violation of due process.

The bill doesn't add any more real protections to IP (which SHOULD be protected, of course), it only adds measures to punish the innocent and ignorant.

#15
freestyle

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A - Does the proposed law specifically protect an individual's rights?

B -Does the proposed law specifically violate any individual's rights?

If the answers are not *clearly* a:Yes / b:No then the law should not be supported and the politicians should go back and try again (and probably in less than 71 pages).

(null)
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#16
Greebo

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Some specific citations listed here:

http://baselinescena...nd-of-the-blog/

To answer freestyle:
A - Not in any way not already protected
B - Yes, in that due process can be bypassed and punishment applied simply by sending a letter

#17
Nicky

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Tomorrow (Wednesday) Wikipedia will be blacked out to oppose the SOPA bill.


That's nice. I'm sure in future appeals to donors, they will add "denying service to customers, in an attempt to make a political statement" to the list of reasons why I should give them money.

#18
Nicky

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Being able to effectively shut down a website on the mere accusation of piracy is inflicting punishment before judgement - a most basic violation of due process.

What do you mean "mere accusation"? Are you saying I could shut down any website on the Internet, merely by accusing them of piracy? Because that sounds like something out of a superhero movie.

I don't think it would work though. Pretty sure I couldn't just e-mail an accusation to the DHS, and have CNN.com shut down. I'm pretty sure they would first check if my accusation is valid or not.

#19
softwareNerd

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Pretty sure I couldn't just e-mail an accusation to the DHS, and have CNN.com shut down. I'm pretty sure they would first check if my accusation is valid or not.

The question is not whether the government would follow some type of process, but whether they must by law. And, more importantly, whether that process itself is just and is designed with individual rights as its guiding principle.

It the government's power is arbitrary and anti-individual right -- as SOPA opponents claim -- then the CNN example does not help. The answer is that the government may not shut down CNN because too many voters will be upset, but they may shut down something that a large number of voters would like to see shut down.

Edited by softwareNerd, 18 January 2012 - 12:02 PM.

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#20
Nicky

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The question is not whether the government would follow some type of process, but whether they must by law.

The claim I was answering in this case was that they would have the power to shut a website down based on mere accusation. Not suspicion, not preliminary evidence, not probable cause, but mere accusation.

As for the process, it involves a court order authorizing any kind of action. Last time I checked, US judges don't even get out of bed based merely on accusations, let alone issue court orders.

So far, out of the arguments made against this bill, the only one I failed to dismiss as either based on false claims or fallacious is that it is ambiguous on what kind of liability companies would be exposed to. If that is true, that's a problem that should be fixed as soon as possible. But it doesn't warrant throwing it all out, or labeling it censorship.

Edited by Nicky, 18 January 2012 - 01:36 PM.


#21
RussK

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I must say, I am fairly disappointed in the responses by the Objectivist community regarding SOPA. For one, I'd like anyone to point out which section in the bill constitutes a violation of due process; the bill makes clear that court orders will and must be issued, particularly persuant to existing (or ammended) US Code. It seems to me that way too many people have gotten on a bandwaggon without being properly informed, or by being heavily against the bill without even taking the time to read it or parts of it. This bill takes approximately a little more than an hour to read; it's time for the advocates to get busy actually reading it.

Another thing that irks me is that there are many good ammendments to prior Code in the bill, particularly in Title II, yet the call is for the whole thing to be scrapped. For example, instead of relying on a transmission timeline of 180 days, a standard of 10 infringments, or a single infringment of heavy monitary worth, would be used.

Edited by RussK, 18 January 2012 - 02:48 PM.


#22
Eiuol

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That's nice. I'm sure in future appeals to donors, they will add "denying service to customers, in an attempt to make a political statement" to the list of reasons why I should give them money.

Actually, you can still access Wikipedia. To get you interested to actually *think* about the bill, this was quite effective. Click the learn more link and you can find this:

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way? Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn't to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it's okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.


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#23
Nicky

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Other personalities such as Sean "Day9" Plott, hosts a daily internet show where he analyzes and gives advice on how to play the popular strategy game "StarCraft 2". Other professional Starcraft players (Yes, professional, they have full professional tournaments with teams, casters, the whole deal) make a significant part of their income live sreaming themselves play the game competitively.


Blizzard wants a share of the profits, from any professional tournament involving Starcraft. Their terms of service state that the game may not be used in a sponsored competition, without written consent from Blizzard.

Why is it wrong for the US government to stop the broadcast of such tournaments without Blizzard's consent, in the US? Shouldn't the company that created the game have the right to sell it under any terms it wishes?

P.S. And no, that wouldn't put an end to the Starcraft pro scene. It would force the people using the game for this purpose to share their profits with Blizzard, that's all. Which in turn will cause Blizzard and other companies to focus on other games that can be played not only recreationally, but as a sport as well.

In fact they already have a signed contract with a Korean tv station, to do just that.

Edited by Nicky, 18 January 2012 - 05:42 PM.


#24
Erik Christensen

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy

#25
Grames

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The text of the SOPA bill H.R. 3261.IH is here

A plain language recitation of the contents of the bill and the objections to it is here:

H.R. 3261, “Stop Online Piracy Act” (“SOPA”) Explanation of Bill and Summary of Concerns

Due process and specifically procedural due process requires a fair opportunity to affect the judgment. When an attorney general or civil plaintiff present their complaint to a judge there is no one present to dispute the facts. A procedure does not become due process merely by being codified in statutory law, and present due process case law is not consistent with the procedure put forth in SOPA. This aspect is simply unconstitutional.

The In rem jurisdiction countenanced in section 102 ( B) (2) takes a page from the asset seizure tactics employed by the U.S. government in the drug war. Inanimate objects do not have rights and so any expectation of due process is conveniently dispensed with. Legal actions should always be between persons or legal persons (corporations or the government) or in the legalese in personam.

The history leading up to this proposed law is that attempts to sue the individual downloaders in their teeming millions by movie and music industry trade groups one at a time or en masse are impractical and result in bad publicity. Foreign countries are outside of the jurisdiction of U.S. law and unmotivated to cooperate with the mercantilist schemes of RIAA and the MPAA because it does not benefit them in the slightest. As a last gasp attempt this law goes after the connection between domestic downloaders and foreign internet hosts by attempting to censor the internet domain name system (DNS). DNS is simply the database that pairs up a domain name using letters such as google.com with an internet protocol address in numbers such as 173.194.34.16. This is completely useless if the destination numerical address is known as you can test for yourself by pasting 173.194.34.16 into your browser as an address (you don't even need http://) . (lookup IP addresses for domains from within a browser at http://ip-lookup.net/domain.php). Not only is it completely and trivially bypassable, entire non-official domain name systems exist which you can access by instructing your browser or computer to use an alternate DNS server so even the trivial inconvenience of the DNS censorship can be cancelled.

The law as written permits user-provided content such as comments, forum posts and videos to justify taking down entire domains and not just the individual comment, posts or media. This means every host has to constantly self-police to keep from being shutdown, which cancels out the "safe harbor" provisions of Title II of the DMCA of 1998. Everything loosely identified as "Web 2.0" would never have existed without the 'safe harbor' provisions of the DMCA, and I am not interested in a legal experiment to see how long inertia can keep them going without that protection.

And then there is still Usenet. I won't even go into that.

Edited by Grames, 18 January 2012 - 06:01 PM.



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