edit: On second (third?) thought, why just Wikipedia? SOPA threatens youtube, facebook, and just about every other site with user-generated content. Why not a Universal Blackout Day, with every site that could be threatened by SOPA displaying the same message warning about its dangers and directing users to contact congress and the white house?
All we need is committment from a few of the major web properties to get this issue some momentum in the mainstream media. Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube.. Where are you when we need you?
I posted a story on it yesterday but it didn't get momentum:
We have an explanatory blog post too for whoever cares to read: http://blog.glos.si/post/12868376174/american-censorship-day
I admire your stance last month against the Italian wiretapping
law when you shut down the Italian Wikipedia.
I encourage you to please consider a similar protest against the
SOPA legislation which threatens many websites, including
Wikipedia. I believe raising awareness will do a lot of good,
and Wikipedia has tremendous reach.
Thanks for your time!
We, too, feel that civil liberties are crucial, and by spreading knowledge, the Wikimedia Foundation strives to liberate minds. However, we cannot get involved in matters that do not directly affect our ability to spread such
knowledge, as we need to keep an unbiased stance, both within our encyclopedias and in our interaction with society at large. Also, please be aware that Wikimedia is a global endeavour and the English version of Wikipedia is only one of many, and the United States is just of many countries where it is published. As a matter of fact, less than half of the contributions on Wikipedia originate in the US.
I've written the address a similar please. Good work!
But you could try to start a discussion about it on Wikipedia's village pump, though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump
I'd like to put a small overlay on PadMapper to point people to this. Does anyone know of a really good, engaging, layman's summary of the issues with Protect IP and broadly applicable, actionable advice that I could link to?
Perhaps someone more skilled in visual design than I could put together a common banner that people can drop on their sites/blogs to raise awareness.
EDIT: The source of that video ( http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/ ) seems like a decent option, so I've put that up on PadMapper. Any others?
"I'm a voter in Congressman Rush's district, and I'm calling to ask the Congressman to vote against SOPA, HR. 3261. As the owner of an internet business in Chicago, I fear that I'll be forced to close shop if SOPA passes. SOPA would make it easy for anyone to have my websites shut down, without having to prove that we've violated any law. Our only recourse would be an expensive legal process that we simply can't afford. Thus, if SOPA passes, my company and others like it will be out of business, and many people will be out of work."
Also, EFF makes it dead-simple to email the right politicians based on your address. They even have a template email for you. You can be done in under a minute:
BTW, if you're afraid to call in because you think you'll sound silly/scripted/unimportant, don't be! The people who answer phones at political offices get lots of calls, and they're used to hearing all kinds of weird stuff. Believe me, even if you read your script in a Ben Stein monotone, you'll still sound twice as smart and engaging as a lot of what they hear. So don't be afraid to call your politicians.
Seriously, there is nothing more powerful than a switchboard full of angry constituents.
And the sad reality is that there are not nearly enough of us angry about this to fill the switchboard.
I depressed myself and wanted to add something constructive:
Lobbyists exist because groups often want more political clout than their members could achieve simply by voting.
With lobbying it is possible for a small group to achieve an out-sized influence on politics. I think the most effective thing we can do is organize a lobby group.
The first thing I would look for is how do industry lobbying groups form. Is there another industry which was threatened by government action and organized to defend itself? How did competitors come to agree on shared goals to lobby for? What was the first step?
Why are there some industries where one lobbying body represents all very effectively, and other industries where, even on shared goals, individual companies have more lobbying power than an industry wide lobby? Here I'm specifically thinking of the EFF vs Google and Microsoft and IBM and some others.
There already is one, http://publicknowledge.org
- if you have money, donate to the organizations opposing it: EFF, Public Knowledge, etc.
- if you have time, call your Representative. get your friends to call their representatives.
- in any case, help get the word out: share links on social networks and email, vote stories up, bring it up with your family over Thanksgiving, tell people about EFF's action alert at https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?... and other feedback mechanisms
The problem isn't just free speech issues, but rather due process issues, since the takedown orders can occur without any adversarial hearings. In other words, the prosecutor goes to the judge, presents evidence, and the judge, without hearing from the defence, decides to issue the order.
The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution states in part that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. This seems to fly in the face of that. How fast can you say "Star Chamber?"
I would certainly hope that should this pass the first time a prosecutor goes to a judge with a request for this, the prosecutor strikes down this provision of the law on these grounds. I would certainly hope that such a ruling would be upheld on appeal.
and there is some precedent for this. The Third Circuit recently had a magistrate judge refuse to sign a subpoena for cell site location data holding that the request might constitute a 4th Amendment search and as such a warrant was required instead. When appealed, the 3rd Circuit sided with the magistrate, much to Prof. Orin Kerr's surprise (on whose blog I followed this story).
I wonder how feasible it would be for private citizens to wire up an alternative U.S.-wide internet out of above-ground fibre and ethernet.
I bet we could get Cambridge/Somerville MA pretty well hooked together, at least. Comms to the Bay Area may involve flying backpacks of DVDs back and forth, though. Get ready for some latency.
Something in the line of recently mentioned darknet maybe http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2011/11/the-darknet-...
Supplemented, perhaps, with low-baud HF links.
2) Mail it to your elected pimp
3) Beg for freedom of speech
2) Send your opinion in
3) Share and repeat
Be smart, be motivated, and figure out how things actually work. Then apply the maximum amount of force to the place it can do the most good.
I'm not sure that place is actually phone calls, but there's a reason phone calls are suggested so often. They do work. You might be able to find something better though and if you do let us know.
Edit: Well that was dumb. I replied from memory without reading the thread again. I totally agree about email.
No, they won't.
News of this law makes me ill, yet I see nothing I can do to help.
But you are, apparently, not really convinced. Otherwise you'd see what's at stake here and a ten-second google search wouldn't stop you from donating, to say the least.
I'm surprised that there isn't a huge rally on sites like 4chan and reddit which would be hit the most..
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1939572,00.htm...
While you might be right, I still read into it as a huge U-turn in thoughts and policy. I hope it will not affect the UK, but inevitably it will in some form or other.. probably as an extension to ACTA :(
And if the administration's actions now don't reflect what was said before, it's just coincidence.
Did he actually take action at any time to defend internet freedom, or did he merely speak?
The administration today, and congress, are opposing internet freedom by their actions. An example for the administration is their defense of the law that says any email on an internet server older than six months is considered abandoned, and they therefore have a right to look at it without a warrant.
The only thing that counts for me is action, and that only lasts until the next hostile act.
I do find it ironic though that the US argues that the great firewall of China makes doing business with US companies difficult while supporting this bill that will do the same with local/national companies. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Internet-China-Great-Firewa...
"Opponents of the bill include tech giants such as Google, Yahoo!, and eBay, as well as human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Human Rights Watch." 
I've lost respect for the companies in the first paragraph, and have gained some for the companies in the second.
I can see where there coming from, but cannot take the same stance as them.
Just like there are no laws regulating the sale of illegal drugs (and the market is flourishing), soon we will have an Internet that the government can't censor. Illegal is the new legal.
And I don't get your drug analogy. Buying drugs legally means you know what you're buying, you can easily track the quality and strength like you would for your favorite brand of coffee. You can know where it comes from, who worked on it, if it is sustainable. You can use drugs legitimately, you don't need to hide. You can be open about it with people, and share how it has a place in your life. Illegal drugs on the other hand have none of this. The only thing you can do is build a relationship with a good dealer and cross fingers that the quality will stay the same most of the time. And there's obviously no way it hell you will trace the product back to its production. You can even go to jail for using it. And the unreliability of the product makes the experience unsafe, unpredictable, unhealthy, and dangerous. How is that "freedom"?
Edit: Seeing how popular the parent comment is, I urge readers to think twice about it. The parent comment's "looking at the bright side" stance is a coward and lazy attitude. Sorry for being harsh but it's true. It's much easier to invent yourself a wicked reason why it would work for your own individual best, put your mind at ease and just sit back instead of going through the mental effort of worrying about this and putting the energy to stand up for everybody's rights.
Yes, if this passes it will wreck lives and businesses, but it might also just be bad enough to get ordinary people to start waking up to how damaging the copyright lobby is.
Now copyright and patent issues are mainly relevant to business and a small subset of people being pursued for torrenting etc. The pain point for average people have not been reached in any way - they don't notice.
But push far enough, and the backlash the copyright lobby will face may lay waste all of them.
Whether or not SOPA constitutes pushing far enough remains to be seen.
I kept an eye on this because its popularity is unsettling to me. I don't usually miss the vote counters but in situations like this one I really do.
We all break the law. Whether it is Jay Walking, smoking a joint, or being drunk in public. With the number of laws that exist today, it's hard NOT to break one every once in a while.
The only true law that is enforced is to fit in with society.
I drive like a maniac, but I am a young clean cut white male who dresses like the rest of us and drives a yaris (no tinting). I have been doing 30% over the speed limit, noticed a police cruiser directly behind me (for a few minutes), and casually moved out of his way. Didn't get much more than a glance. (No sirens, they were highway police so they were fully within their jurisdiction, should have gotten a ticket basically..)
A friend of mine who drives incredibly cautiously (because he is driving around a brand new Escalade, you know the cars all the rappers used to talk about) has been pulled over (and harassed) no less than 10 times in the past 3 years. It doesn't help that he "looks too young" for the car he drives.
Anyways... that sure is one hell of a utopia like mquander suggests.
However, what is really scary is the prospect of the government having this ability, but only exercising their power to silence dissent in secret, low-profile cases. Then, people who use TOR or similar will continue to be viewed as paranoid/criminals/conspiracy-theorists.
Teh startup can take a small %age and ensure that people can quickly swarm together and effectively beat shit bills like this.
Is there a problem with this idea?
I have often wondered why someone doesn't just set up Republican and Democratic versions of the same service, with appropriate color schemes and so on.
And this would lead to them getting the money and having to prove what they are doing with the money.
So its like a marketplace connecting lobbyists to constituents.
Personally, I'd say that the the best way to move forward on this is to publicly write large checks to the EFF (with whom I am not affiliated, btw). Inventing a new market mechanism for this purpose is equivalent to saying that you don't understand how the existing marketplace works. This isn't something you can simply automate away, for the same reason that government by plebiscite is not historically effective.
That said, feel free to replace him in the next election, if possible.
EDIT: Here's the TOC:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Savings and severability clauses.
TITLE I—COMBATING ONLINE PIRACY
Sec. 102. Action by Attorney General to protect U.S.
customers and prevent U.S. support of foreign infringing sites.
Sec. 103. Market-based system to protect U.S. customers and prevent U.S. funding of sites dedicated to theft of U.S. property.
Sec. 104. Immunity for taking voluntary action against sites dedicated to theft of U.S. property.
Sec. 105. Immunity for taking voluntary action against sites that endanger public health.
Sec. 106. Guidelines and study.
Sec. 107. Denying U.S. capital to notorious foreign infringers.
TITLE II—ADDITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS TO COMBAT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT
Sec. 202. Trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services.
Sec. 203. Protecting U.S. businesses from foreign and economic espionage.
Sec. 204. Amendments to sentencing guidelines.
Sec. 205. Defending intellectual property rights abroad.
1) To what extent am I really going to get affected by such a bill?
2) Is there anything I can do to prevent it?
1) Links to any blacklisted site will get removed from US search engines, directories, and maybe even blogs through lawsuits. Google, Twitter, maybe even HackerNews.
2) Your non-US site can get blocked to all US users (ouch) and lose most of its search / social traffic (see #1)
3) Non-US sites can get cut off from US-based payment processors and advertisers. This will push sites you use into bankruptcy, and discourage others from starting.
4) Hollywood and (I'm ashamed to say it) US trade representatives and embassies will be busy convincing other countries to pass similar laws. If this law passes, that process goes better.
5) Countries that want cover for their own internet censorship regimes will be able to say "The US does it". Russian politics in particular loves these (sometimes false, sometimes not) equivalencies as excuses for anti-democratic measures.
As for how you can prevent it, if your run a site or product with content in English, your site has American visitors, potentially lots of them. Same goes for just spreading the word on social networks.
Participate in American Censorship Day and direct them to call their reps!
This is what I am most worried about. (America says "Jump", Australia asks "How high?")
It doesn't work that way anymore. Google, fb , twitter etc operates across the world. Assuming the worst case, US residents will face the some error page like "This website is blocked" etc .. but rest of the world will be OK.
If even that is restricted, then this will raise a opportunity for clone solutions across the world. Like china has its own search, social software, blogs etc , now rest of the world will have a new opportunity. Many in HN would mint gold if this happens!
All in all this looks like the familiar path to take for US politician. (remember how the created the platform for screwing up the economy.
> Non-US sites can get cut off from US-based payment processors and advertisers. This will push sites you use into bankruptcy, and discourage others from starting.
Its the competition from US sites that is restricting clone solutions in local markets. US is not the target market for many-many businesses !( is it so difficult to understand)
The problem is you need a critical mass of customers with cards handled by someone other than Visa and Mastercard. This is not currently the case in most countries.
Doesn't help if you're not targeting US consumers if a large portion of your customer base will go elsewhere if they can't use their existing credit cards.
2) This I don't know, but I do think it's time that we as consumers started boycotting the copyright bullies. Stop buying, watching, listening, reading and yes absolutely downloading (legally or otherwise) their stuff. It's time to take away their power. If you consume only copyleft materials then it won't matter how draconian they get on using copyrighted material* they will just further restrict who will consume it.
(*I understand the issue with SOPA is to do with censorship and freedom of speech)
At the risk of dragging this off-topic: I think it's becoming increasingly obvious that politicians are just using the ACL as an excuse to do whatever they want.
On the flip side, foreign nations may benefit from this legislation, as it will indicate the US is relinquishing their leadership role as custodian of core internet features such as DNS, and may open up opportunities abroad.
First of all - yes, they do check, and they have no obligation to listen to you if you are not a constituent.
Second, calling someone who isn't your elected official is legal, but calling and pretending to be a constituent is not.
And regarding the legality remember that this would be a foreign national contacting a US representative. It's not like they're going to go to the trouble of finding out who you really are and extraditing you for such a small matter.
Much more likely: the major provisions will be added as riders to a bill that passes in haste, to get a few congressional votes.
Think of how fast that will accelerate the solution!
Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue, and sincerely regret the delayed response.
On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. Under current federal law, U.S. law enforcement officials and holders of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, have limited legal remedies available to combat internet websites that are registered in foreign countries but operate in the United States by selling products, services, and/or content that violates U.S. intellectual property law. If enacted, the proposed legislation would create an expedited process for the Department of Justice and intellectual property rights holders to shut down through a court order these websites by targeting, the owners and operators of the Internet site, if known, or the domain name registrant associated with the Internet site.
The proposed legislation would require the Department of Justice to demonstrate to the Court that the Internet site accessed by the domain name is "dedicated to infringing activities." Such a website would have no other significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating infringing activities. Once a court order is issued, domestic operators of domain name servers would be required to effectively prevent online users from accessing the infringing Internet site. Providers of online information location tools would be required to take technically feasible and reasonable measures to remove or disable access to such an Internet site, including not providing a hypertext link. Finally, financial institutions involved in online transactions and Internet advertising companies would be prohibited from doing business with any Internet site subject to a Court order under the legislation. Intellectual property rights holders can take Internet payment and advertising companies to court if they believe these companies are not complying with the law. This legislation was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on July 22, 2011, and is awaiting action by the full Senate.
While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will hurt innovation and threaten online speech. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this or similar legislation regarding intellectual property rights.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
I am Irish, with a .com site hosted on servers in the UK. How does this affect me? I'm sure the US still claims a lot of influence over .com so it probably does some way.
Google 'ICE domain seizures'.
What is the WH position?
What are the chances of passage and signing?