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SOPA - Is it right?

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I think SOPA was unclear as to it requiring a court order or just a take-down notification from the IP holders.

Ok, if it's unclear, let's make it clear. Post the provision in SOPA that would've forced search engines to delist websites, if notified of a copyright infringement on them, by a copyright holder (as opposed to a court of law).

If you post it, then it's gonna be clear that it exists. If you don't, then it becomes clear that it doesn't exist.

Edited by Nicky
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Rogue. Rouge is red powder.

Yes, well, considering the primary international violators of private property in the form of IP are former communist states (Russia and China), maybe rouge is a good identification of them -- since they are still communist pinkos in many respects :)

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Ok, if it's unclear, let's make it clear. Post the provision in SOPA that would've forced search engines to delist websites, if notified of a copyright infringement on them, by a copyright holder (as opposed to a court of law).

If you post it, then it's gonna be clear that it exists. If you don't, then it becomes clear that it doesn't exist.

Actually, you may be right, which makes SOPA different from the DMCA.

SERVICE- A process server on behalf of the Attorney General, with prior approval of the court, may serve a copy of a court order issued pursuant to this section on similarly situated entities within each class described in paragraph (2). Proof of service shall be filed with the court.

So, I don't know. I guess the IP holder would have to contact the courts and get the courts to file a service against the search engine, IP assigner, or domain name registrar in question. Under DMCA, the IP holder can contact the offending site and have the content removed under pain of having to face further court litigation if it is not removed. There is an immunity clause in SOPA regard the voluntary removal of said links that would work similar to DMCA. So maybe it can be done both ways. In other words, if the IP holder contacts, say Google, and asked to have a website delisted from the search results based upon violations of their IP, and Google removes it voluntarily, then no further action would be required on the part of the courts.

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Actually, you may be right, which makes SOPA different from the DMCA.

Yes, things are done by court order under SOPA. It's been such a long time since I read the DMCA that I'm not going to talk about how it works--I read it a year or more after passage, before that point I was against the act. I think you are absolutely correct in your description of the immunity clause. I'd only add that the clause's primary intent is to remove liability for operatiors that police their sites. For example, YouTube, because of the way it conducts its operations, would never be held liable according to SOPA.

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Here's the thing, though, a search engine, IP assigner, or a domain name registrar would get the court order to delist a foreign website, but there are no explicit terms for the Attorney General having to demonstrate or to prove that said alleged foreign transgressor of American owned IP is actually involve in the theft of that IP. You would just get the order and would have to obey it or else; and the or else is not specified, which means they can do anything. While I agree that a foreign agent is not open to American due process, not being an American citizen, certainly domestic services are. So, Google would receive the court order and would have to take down, say, Pirate Bay, but the AG would not have to give much reason for the take-down notice -- unless such reasons are specified in the references to current IP laws. I definitely think this would lead to an abuse of power on the part of the AG, as he doesn't seem to be governed by any rules of presenting evidence; though he is held to the standard of having to post a bond to cover the potential take-down of a non-infringing site. So, I think the law would have to be made much more clear -- for example that Google and the other avenues of delisting websites would not be held legally liable for some sort of denial of service brought about by the actions of the AG.

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Here's the thing, though, a search engine, IP assigner, or a domain name registrar would get the court order to delist a foreign website, but there are no explicit terms for the Attorney General having to demonstrate or to prove that said alleged foreign transgressor of American owned IP is actually involve in the theft of that IP. You would just get the order and would have to obey it or else; and the or else is not specified, which means they can do anything. While I agree that a foreign agent is not open to American due process, not being an American citizen, certainly domestic services are. So, Google would receive the court order and would have to take down, say, Pirate Bay, but the AG would not have to give much reason for the take-down notice -- unless such reasons are specified in the references to current IP laws. I definitely think this would lead to an abuse of power on the part of the AG, as he doesn't seem to be governed by any rules of presenting evidence; though he is held to the standard of having to post a bond to cover the potential take-down of a non-infringing site. So, I think the law would have to be made much more clear -- for example that Google and the other avenues of delisting websites would not be held legally liable for some sort of denial of service brought about by the actions of the AG.

Current intellectual property laws, under US Code, are applied to the foreign infringing sites, which becomes the basis for the court order. I didn't read any of the various laws referenced by SOPA to be used for this purpose, and I don't plan to until it seems likely that congressional activity suggests that they will discuss the legislation again. Additionally, the bill does include text that deals with liability for domestic sites, and even says something about a site's obligation to service agreements with users. I didn't take notes on that topic, and I don't remember what exactly the bill said.

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I've decided to take the original protest of SOPA off my home page, and have added the following comment to my home page:

I've decided to take down my protest regarding SOPA from my home page, due to the fact that I was incorrect about some of the provisions of the bill. After studying it a bit more and doing further research, I am still against the law as written, and so I'm still including my original essay on the topic on this website. I don't think the bill is clear enough, and we need a clear bill since the users of the internet are not intellectual property scholars or lawyers.
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Thanks for the replies, it's good to know that search engines, IP assigners, and domain name registrars would not be held liable for removing a website under the orders of the AG. However, I thought of something else that is not specified in SOPA. Shouldn't there be some sort of lower limit amount of damages before the AG can order the delisting of a specific website? In other words, the way it is written now, *any* violation of US IP law can lead to a delist order -- and if they were going to be that strict about it and then applied the same standards to domestic sites, then 95% of the internet would be erased, because violations of IP are rampant on the internet. I think to make the law more specific and objective, there would have to be a clause in it stating that this law applies to websites that cause a million dollars worth of damage to intellectual property owners. One might disagree with that specific amount -- maybe it should be $100k or even $10k -- but otherwise, they could do something like shutting down a foreign website that violates US IP law even in a minor way. You might think I am overreaching, but the law as written would give them that kind of power over the internet.

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02/04/2012 Note: I have decided to re-write Internet Freedom Versus Online Piracy, retaining the philosophy but omitting the specific references to SOPA and PIPA due to the fact that I am not a lawyer and I do not understand the intricacies of how one law relates to another in the legal code. I am against SOPA and PIPA as written from my brief investigation into them because they do not state the minimal standard of violation that would be prosecuted and because there are no specified legal remedies or punishments for violations of the court orders to delist a foreign website. I think these would set a very bad precedent being non-objective law on the internet.

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Thanks for the replies, it's good to know that search engines, IP assigners, and domain name registrars would not be held liable for removing a website under the orders of the AG. However, I thought of something else that is not specified in SOPA. Shouldn't there be some sort of lower limit amount of damages before the AG can order the delisting of a specific website? In other words, the way it is written now, *any* violation of US IP law can lead to a delist order -- and if they were going to be that strict about it and then applied the same standards to domestic sites, then 95% of the internet would be erased, because violations of IP are rampant on the internet. I think to make the law more specific and objective, there would have to be a clause in it stating that this law applies to websites that cause a million dollars worth of damage to intellectual property owners. One might disagree with that specific amount -- maybe it should be $100k or even $10k -- but otherwise, they could do something like shutting down a foreign website that violates US IP law even in a minor way. You might think I am overreaching, but the law as written would give them that kind of power over the internet.

I think that would be a good idea. With lower limits, everyone would be less at the whims of the AG.

Recently, I've been doing research on the ACTA, which I guess the U.S. has already signed. I'm strapped for time right now, so I haven't read the agreement yet.

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  • 2 months later...

There is another bill in the works that is being compared to SOPA. I recieved an aleert about it that said:

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, would obliterate any semblance of online privacy in the United States.

And CISPA would provide a victory for content owners who were shell-shocked by the unprecedented outpouring of activism in opposition to SOPA and Internet censorship.

I haven't read the bill, and when I tried to look it up, I guess the servers were overloaded due to the opposition and I couldn't access it. But my understanding is that it would eliminate any semblance of privacy on the internet by giving service providers the legal authority to monitor anything you send over their servers. Presumably, the government would have access to this information as a way of rooting out online piracy. As I've said before, they need to take down internet piracy, but not by implicating everyone involved in the internet functionality. Here is my revised statement regarding the issue.

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