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SOPA Hearing is Streaming Live (house.gov)
485 points by bproper on Nov 16, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 253 comments



Zoe Lofgren's statements were really good, and her criticisms of the way the hearing was structured (5 for, 1 against, no engineers) were compelling. Her question of, "How many sites would you want to see taken down?" and the dodging is telling, too.

And Darrell Issa did a phenomenal job calling into question the need for the legislation because of the function of the ITC & usefulness of administrative law solutions already in place.

Wow, Dennis Ross (R-FL) apparently doesn't understand that free speech protections apply to the GOVERNMENT, not to business. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech..." So yes, when Google takes down a site, it's not unconstitutional. When the government does it, in some instances, that is unconstitutional.


I completely agree. Mr. Watts was embarrassing to watch -- his slanted opinion and childish domination of the dialogue was less than coy. I grew sick to my stomach listening to him constantly derail Oyama's statements. He kept demanding terse answers to questions that hardly had any relevance to the matter at hand and only served to make her seem clueluess.

Lofgren came on like a breath of fresh air. Not only did she actually seem INFORMED on the matter, but she did well to reveal that the opposition to this bill is not comprised of greedy tech companies who fear they would lose business, but all walks of Americans who are afraid that this would negatively impact our lives and our economy.

*edits for clarity


I agree on those two, but unfortunately I haven't heard much encouraging come from anyone else. Two people on a 38-member committee is not a strong showing...


Any political action that can restrict the behavior of business is crippled in advance.


Not so. The Republicans have a large majority in the House at present and the SOPA bill was introduced by the chairman of this committee. That's why the hearing is tilted unusually heavily in favor of the proponents. 'Business' includes all the tech companies who are lobbying uphill against SOPA as well.


The tech companies lobbying uphill are copyright consumers in this context. They are users, and the copyright owners' interests are those being prioritized, and whose interests have been favored in the entire SOPA (and before) movement. That the hearings are tilted in favor of copyright owners is simply public evidence of structural bigotry.


Yeah, like at my firm we used to use capital punishment for motivation but then we were told that we couldn't because of the law so I became a libertarian.


Darrell Issa did a phenomenal job calling into question the need for the legislation

That's refreshing; I'm not always a fan of this guy's work, but I fully agree that this is unnecessary regulation intended to violate the rights of individuals to boost the pockets of the corporate state.


Some instances?


Chair: "I came to this meeting undecided on this bill, and hoping to make up my mind during this discussion, but this discussion is bringing up concerns (e.g. interference with DNSSec) that seem highly problematic. Can the panelists comment on whether this bill would dis-incentivize adoption of more secure standards like DNSSec?"

"We disagree." - big content shill

Chair: "If you believe these concerns are unfounded, please submit written responses to that specific question explaining why you believe that."..."I'm very concerned that these [DNSSec] experts are not part of this hearing!"

Yes bro!


To quote tptateck as he has recently enlightened me:

[quote] I just don't think "it breaks DNSSEC" is the most compelling or intellectually honest argument. I think the honest argument is, "because we don't think any one authority will be an adequate steward of the Internet".[/quote]

I think that point is just as salient for SOPA as it is for PROTECT-IP. Don't setup that argument for them to knock down. Keep the focus on holding the copyright infringers accountable, not the service providers in-between.


10:45am mountain time: Ted Poe (R-TX): "This panel or this committee is made up of former prosecutors, defense lawyers and there are even two former judges here."

Consider the conflict of interest that exists when lawyers are making our laws. In this case if this bill passes there will be more laws and legal complexity and consequently more work to go around for everyone on the panel and all their previous and current firms and law school mates.

It's like asking a team of developers to get together and vote on whether a problem is best solved by writing more code or doing nothing.


You’re joking, right? Who would you propose is more qualified to draft the word of the actual laws than lawyers? What lawyers are at their essence are experts in law—the word ‘lawyer’ even has the word ‘law’ in it.

It's like asking a team of developers to get together and vote on whether a problem is best solved by writing more code or doing nothing.

Who would you ask whether code needs to be written, then? The lawyers who aren’t dealing in law? Housewives? Veterinarians?

It’s the same thing with lobbyists—they end up getting hired by government because they are experts in what they are talking about. You’re going to be very hard-pressed to find an expert that doesn’t have some vested interest somewhere in what they’re talking about.

Consider the conflict of interest that exists…

A common tactic I see when people argue about politics is that because someone could be doing something corrupt then it means that they then therefore are doing it. I could certainly go walk outside and push someone in front of a bus right now, but assuming I’m a murderer just because I could is not a good assumption. Conflicts of interest certainly raise the possibility of wrongdoing and should be scrutinized, but the simple existence of a conflict of interest is not proof of wrongdoing; for that you need not aspersions but, well, proof.

I am staunchly against SOPA being enacted without industry input, and I think it’s misguided to try to prop up dying content businesses that aren’t innovating, but spouting conspiracy theories about the politicians passing it for their own benefit isn’t going to help.


Actually this is an established theory. Here's Dr Clifford Winston, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution chatting to Prof. Russ Roberts of George Mason University about the conflict of interest when lawyers make our laws. They also cover the bar system maintaining artificial scarcity among lawyers, thereby inflating legal fees.

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/09/winston_on_lawy.htm...


You could just as easily ask why the bar has been certifying to many law schools when there are so many unemployed lawyers and less than half of JD graduates are able to get jobs practicing law. I'm kind of supportive of Winston's proposals for deregulating the legal services market, but there is definitely not an artificial scarcity.

Of course, you might be wondering why decent legal services still cost upwards of $300/hour, and my answer to that would be that a lawyer who charges $50 an hour has a hard time getting taken seriously. I've seen people come into internet forums asking the most asinine questions before going on to explain that they didn't trust the answers they received from their public defender, because he works for free and therefore he must not be any good.


Certainly the argument abot the bar system is true. The supreme irony I find is how right wing and anti union some lawyers are.


I don't think he is joking. "The word of the law" can be kept separate from the intent of the law. I would prefer to see them as copywriters rather than as policy makers.


Your "pushing someone in front of a bus just because you can" metaphore is flawed: there's no gain in committing murder in public; conversely the whole point of corruption is financial gain.


I'm anti-conspiracy-theory too, but it's hard to argue that levying an enormous unfunded mandate on the most productive, most creative, most vigorously first-amendment-oriented corporate members of our society, which would force them to monitor the speech of each and every anonymous member they serve, is something that a Congress stupid enough to make the statements heard tonight would have concocted of their own accord.

edit: I think the above might be the longest grammatically correct run-on sentence I've ever written.


It's grammatically correct, which means it's not a run-on sentence.


I thought anything with more than one clause and sans conjunctions was a run-on; but a beast like that could still be fair or foul =)


More than one independent clause, specifically. I believe your sentence still only has one of those, no matter how embellished the various parts of that independent clause may be :)


This reminds me of Neil deGrasse Tyson's excellent rant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-gKXlaEExY


That's amazing, it's such a simple but infuriating observation. I'm using infuriating a lot discussing recent events.


Experienced developers will always lean strongly on writing as little code as possible. Every line of code is a liability.


True, but only where "possible" accounts for the need to write some code to ensure you actually have software, and can thus accomplish the task you wish to accomplish. The best way to write no code is to find some code that someone else wrote and distributed under a license amenable to your needs -- it is not to just throw your hands up in the air and say "Well, let's scuttle every project handed to us."


Reps now bitching that Google's senior management is not in the room. FUCK YOU, SENATOR. Those people deliver more value per day than you will deliver in your entire career as a public servant.

Oh god: "Why not hire some whiz kids?"

What a goddamned fool.

"We have the brainpower in this country [to design a machine to distinguish copyrighted works from non-copyrighted works]."

Actually, no, we don't. Fair use is a thing, holmes.


Hire all the whiz kids to monitor this stuff! I'm sure college grads want to be paid to repeatedly search for "free [latest hollywood blockbuster here]". Too bad none of them actually clicked on those youtube results to see that it was just spammers posting 2 minute clips. Much easier to claim you can sit there and watch the entire movie on youtube right now!


And then cutting off the answer when it's exactly what he doesn't want to hear.

Certainly frustrating.


She clearly explained why it was not do-able, and then he goes on to saying that it is. Hire those "wiz kids" I'm sure they can do it!


> "We have the brainpower in this country [to design a machine to distinguish copyrighted works from non-copyrighted works]."

Leaving aside the question of whether such a thing could exist ("return true" works pretty well for a first approximation, but presumably the senator meant "copyrighted and used without permission"), anyone with the brainpower to do that hopefully has the brainpower not to.


Now they have been called pansies.


"We have the brainpower to take this on."

We do? As a non-technical senator, you can make that engineering claim with confidence?


There are so many parallels in this to Atlas Shrugged, it almost makes me think Ayn Rand wasn't a sociopath. Who cares how? Just do it! Let the techies submit their "explanations" in writing and we'll duly ignore them. Godforfuckingbid they actually get a word in edgewise on television.

The woman from Google was brilliantly concise, and her explanations made absolutely perfect sense. They were countered with "horse is out of the barn" type popularisms, volkish garbage from ignorant senators to their totally illiterate constituency.

So much for the last pocket of growth in the American economy; it's gonna be shut down, destroyed. Smarties need to think countermeasures, and let these idiots root around in their own shite for a few years learning that they shouldn't deign to dictate what their betters have the "brainpower" to solve if they themselves can't figure out how.


You realize, I hope, the chief proponent of this bill claims to be a proponent of 'limited government': As the federal government gets bigger and bigger, one wonders if the proponents of government health care and cap and trade have read the Constitution? Upholding his oath to defend the Constitution, Congressman Smith believes that government must be limited so that it never becomes powerful enough to infringe on the rights and liberties of individuals.


Claiming to be a proponent of limited government and actually being a proponent of limited government are two entirely different things.


And yet people keep falling for the rhetoric.


I'm listening currently (11:43a EST) and they're quoting cyber security experts about how it could undermine security. From consumer union groups about how it affects consumer safety, from venture capitalists about how it can stifle innovation. A lady right now is addressing how it's an issue that they don't have any technical expertise on the panel. It's not ALL madness..


I'm so glad to hear that there's a mild representation from a few voices of reason. Trying to drum up any sort of attention from my Facebook/Twitter list is just frustrating and had left me very disheartened.


Talking about the Firefox plugin to workaround site blocking now...popcorn...


FoxyProxy!


No, that only works against blocking traffic. SOPA would remove the DNS entry from the .COM domain. It's an attack at the DNS level so using a proxy won't work. You'd need something like the MAFIAFire plugin to keep a "shadow" DNS going.


That's the extension they must have been discussing, because it's the extension Mozilla was pressured to remove from its listings.


That's not the madness of the legislative process.

You'll witness the madness play out when the legislators, having given the plebes their "voice", ignore every single one of them and proceed with graduating the bill to a full vote. Which will likely pass.


> Which will likely pass.

Pass the House of Representatives. Then a similar bill has to pass in the Senate, which, because of filibuster rules, now effectively requires 60 votes to pass anything significant rather than a simple majority of 51 votes. Once it's passed in both the House and the Senate, the two sides have to reconcile the differences into one bill that both houses then have to pass again. That final bill then has to be signed by the President to become law.

All of this has to happen in an election year, which always makes it harder to pass significant legislation.

There are still lots of places for the bill to die, or at least be weakened significantly, and there's still plenty of time for voters to take action to make their voices heard.


If it does pass, there is still a chance (however small and expensive) that it will be ruled against in the courts. The judiciary seems like the branch least impacted by the influence of big-media.


That requires someone to bring a relevant legal case to an appropriately positioned judicial body, which requires a great deal of money, and two sides willing to take it that far.


I suspect (hope?) that Google has both the cash and the will to force the issue.


Doesn't that just mean YouTube v. Viacom redux?


Viacom v. YouTube. The one who complains is listed first.

But yes, it does mean wasting a lot of money on lawyers to fight a very bad law which Google could instead be using to build computer-driven cars, improve machine translation, and to create more high-paying jobs.

Instead, we're getting the broken window version where they're forced to create more highly-paid lawyers, instead.


Hopefully it won't have to come full circle back to YouTube. The Puerto80/RojaDirecta case seems like it has lawyers who know what they're doing(cough unlike a certain other Harvard-based lawyer cough) - I'm hoping they get a good precedent before SOPA even takes effect


Not entirely. Cf. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.


But how many Little People (i.e. those who can't afford to pay a defense lawyer) will have to roll over and pay up before a court actually gets a chance to strike at the law? That kind of injustice should be stifled before the law ever passes. Should


Sorry for not attributing all these...exchange is between a Rep whose nameplate isn't vieible and multiple witnesses, primarily Ms. Oyama.

"We have harshly criticized governments whose service providers monitor and censor the actions of their users. [...] How would this legislation affect our diplomacy with nations like Iran, for example?"

"When there are realtime events, it's important that content services allow for infrastructure to support realtime public response to those events."

"This bill hurts both large and small content intermediaries severely, but in different ways."

"We've seen Libyan officials trying to take rivals' YouTube channels out of their national internet stream."

"The Justice Department has new responsibilities under SOPA while at the same time we've been talking about downsizing government. Are we creating an unmeetable burden for U.S. Gov as well as content intermediaries?"


"The #1 way to decrease piracy is to increase the number and quality of legitimate content services on the internet."

Preach it, sister.


The shift in focus to movie piracy from music piracy (where there are many mature legit content services) is tell here, imo.


"...protect American jobs..."

"...innocent civilians and American soldiers at risk..."

Who would have thought BitTorrent was such a threat to American civilisation?


...and has been destroying the country for over a decade.


Well yeah, look what it did to the housing market!


I'm not able to watch this while sitting at work, but... did they really make the argument that not having SOPA would put soldiers at risk? I don't see how that... I... what?


So I've been doing every google search these clueless legislators have brought up in defense of the act:

"You can search for 'free harry potter movie' and watch it for free"

"You can go type 'j edgar' into google and piracy links show up above legitimate links"

"You can watch breaking dawn online right now, and it's not even out yet"

etc...

Try them yourself as they bring them up. They're full of bullshit.


I've been doing the same. It's really infuriating listening to these people lie through their teeth, and go mostly unchecked.


Although it's really not that complicated to find a free stream for Harry Potter movies. I found all of them with just a few minutes checking Google-results, although the quality of the stream wasn't too high. Then again I'm pretty sure I'll continue to find ways to stream Harry Potter movies as well in future no matter if this law passes or not (I might have to search a few more minutes then, that's probably about it).


12:19PM central time - The chairman, Rep. Smith, was asking whether this bill would impact our ability to implement DNSSEC. He seemed legitimately concerned that it could weaken security on the internet.

I have no idea whether there's any basis for concern, but I'm sure we have some DNSSEC experts here on HN. Comments?


Yes, he is indeed correct, SOPA/PIPA are direct threats to the DNSSEC implementation. See http://www.circleid.com/pdf/PROTECT-IP-Technical-Whitepaper-...


DNSSEC is a bad idea that will damage the Internet. I think it's irrelevant to the discussion at hand.


Perhaps. But this bill would breaks DNSSEC for the same reasons that it breaks "infringement-inducing sites". It's going to pose the same difficulty to any other organized security features added to DNS.

The result will be chaos.


Totally not arguing for SOPA. But SOPA doesn't break DNS edge security systems like DNScurve, and those are the solutions we actually need.


Skimming the site, it looks to me like DNSCurve is more of a transport protocol for DNS records, almost like running DNS over DTLS. This would certainly be a useful improvement, but I don't see where it talks about how the records are authenticated.

It is pushing off the "do you trust (Versign+USDoJ | greatfirewall.cn) to give you the legitimate answer to your .com query" problem. Which is the kind of problem that the Internet is good at routing around but would be bad for it to do so.

E.g., users will (at best) change to alternative DNS systems or (at worst) toss out this hierarchical authority naming concept entirely. Consider how many users simply wouldn't notice if Google started returning IP addresses or proxy names for search results. Or maybe they set up an alternate with their own naming scheme for Chrome, Android, ChromeOS, and everyone with their search bar. (Oh wait, I just Googled it and they already did that and I didn't notice http://www.infoworld.com/t/dns/google-launches-alternative-d... )

If Google does it, then Microsoft must too. And Amazon, and The Pirate Bay and so then we need a protocol for deciding which DNS system the client will use on a per-request basis, and civil-rights-disrespecting governments try to sabotage that too and round-we-go the Internet we know and love is circling the drain.


The point of DNScurve is not to bother attempting to create a cryptographic chain of custody for all DNS records (which is what DNSSEC does), at least not until after we've set it up so that a browser can make a request of a server that cannot be tampered with.

It is a vastly simpler, tactical solution to the DNS "security problem" (I'm a skeptic about the long term importance of this problem too).


So why would a kernel-level rootkit like TDSS start dropping the DNSChanger trojan on 600K to 1M machines?

Just another pay-per-install malware module?

Hard for AV to detect the settings are wrong?

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Researchers-Discover-Link-...


I can't see any connection between what a kernel-level rootkit does and how we should secure DNS. If you lose your kernel, you're done, full stop.


Google Public DNS isn't some kind of alternative to normal DNS. It's just a set of domain name servers owned by Google that return exactly the same results any other conforming DNS would.

The TOR .onion URL scheme is closer to what you're talking about, I think. It actually does present an alternate domain that isn't available outside of TOR.


Yes, the Google project looks pretty transparent. It could return results different from your ISP's, but they may even be less cooked.

.onion is an alternate root. There's an interesting page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_DNS_root giving the history of them.

A friend was using OpenDNS for a while, until we figured out they were MitMing google.com and intercepting his queries. I wonder if they still do that.

Of course, ICANN has decided to begin selling TLDs for a $200K application fee. There goes the neighborhood.


Interesting position, care to elaborate how DNSSEC is damaging the internet?



Well thought out arguments, thank you!


Various technical experts from the DNSSEC/ICANN communities published a paper about six months ago on the problems the remedies can cause for DNSSEC. See http://s3.amazonaws.com/dmk/PROTECT-IP-Technical-Whitepaper-...

In essence, any measure that involves changing the contents of the DNS (by filtering etc.) is indistinguishable from a man-in-the-middle attack which is what DNSSEC is trying to stop.


"We know right now that a young film-maker starting out today will not be able to have a career because of piracy."

ORLY? We know that? Someone had better tell the market, which continues to fund (and see returns on) indie films.


This is really funny, since Justin Bieber claimed recently that his career would never have existed if this law had been applied to him. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/10/justin-biebe...


"I object to this bill in its current form because I believe it fails to use existing tools [injunctive relief] and does a worse job than those existing tools at solving this problem." - Mr. Issa (for the micro-win)

Unclear whether Mr. Issa's alternative bill (yet to be seen, focused on empowering the FTC to issue injuctions) would allow for DNS-based remedies, whether the injunctions would take more traditional forms like fines/C+D/damages, etc.


Please just stop. The people/bands I download are not ones I'd pay for right out of the gate.

For example: Pink Floyd. I hear a lot about them, but don't know if I'd like them. So I downloaded some of their popular albums for free and gave them a listen.

After recovering from the awesomeness, I've since bought two of those albums on iTunes, and yesterday 3 friends and I each dropped $78 on tickets for a concert with one of the old band members.

If I could only pay for it, which is the record company's ideal world, I would've seen the $16.99 price tag on iTunes and not taken the chance of listening to it.

The people downloading something illegally are, for the most part, not the same people who'd be paying for it.


Honestly, I don't think the biggest threat to the music industry is pirates. I think it's bands leaving to start their own label or move to great indie labels like Vangard. iTunes has truly lowered the barrier of entry for a band.

I'm not going to say any other bands are like this, but a couple years ago I was at a Carbon Leaf concert and the lead singer said "Here's what we want everyone to do: go buy our new CD outside after the concert, then go home and burn a few copies for your friends...just don't tell our record company." Well I did as I was told and I now have several friends who have bought many of their other albums , attended a few concerts, and bought some T-shirts and whatnot all because I shared that one CD with them. I'm sure at least a few hundred other fans were gained with this method. Oh, and I was turned on to the band because my father shared with me a CD his brother burned for him.

The band has since switched to their own private label. I've noticed a few semi-big bands producing their own records lately. By the time piracy gets "stopped" (never) the record companies will have died from natural causes.


Though these days with services like Spotify, Rdio, and Pandora, you have free, legal access to huge libraries of music. It's at least enough to allow for use cases like the one you mention.

Yes, I know these services are not available in many jurisdictions and that's a shame and I believe it will change over time. Point is, the situation is getting better and the so called "need" to pirate music is increasingly gone.


Yes, the need is going down. That's one reason why this law is unnecessary.


[deleted]


> the music industry is hemorrhaging money

[citation required]


Here's a citation arguing that pirated content has no impact on DVD sales "With respect to the impact of piracy on sales, we use the television broadcast as an exogenous demand shock and find that the availability of pirated content at the time of broadcast has no effect on post broadcast DVD sales gains.":

http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/~rtelang/SmithTelang.pdf

These guys say that pre-release pirated movies result in a 15% decline in box office revenue "We estimate that the net effect of pre-release piracy is approximately a 15% reduction in box office sales.":

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1782924


That's what I was going to ask. Many papers I find sifting through looking for evidence supporting this, actually refute this claim. So I'm curious what sources this poster is using.


This is truly a waste of humanity's time.

Edit: Check out the guy in the back on his iphone most likely looking at some form of "infringing content."


It is. I believe heavyweights like Google won't let them get away with this. They have lobbyists too.


There are also heavyweights like Microsoft who are sponsoring the bill. My guess is there are still more money being invested to make this a reality than otherwise.


Can you provide me a link where is says MS supports SOPA. I cant find them listed here in supporters section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act


Do you have a source for that info? A quick Google search turns up nothing on Microsoft's stance on SOPA.


It doesn't look like Microsoft is directly lobbying either way, but the Business Software Alliance has been lobbying heavily in favor, and Microsoft is often considered the dominant player in the BSA.


Microsoft's pro-PROTECT IP [1], though I don't think they've made a statement on SOPA yet. They are, though, as pointed out, a member of the BSA, which is very pro-SOPA.

1: http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2...


It must sucks to be a bright hacker that work for Microsoft.

Don't you think people who ought to know better should be opposing this bill? If we could get Bill Gate on board, that would be great. I mean, he already have billion of dollars, why should he care about making more money?


"Stealin' is stealin' and thieves are people we oughtta deal with!"

"If I had my way I'd lock all three of ya in a room and don't come out until you agree."

"As a consumer I can't tell who's a thief and who's not a thief. What can Google offer this bill that would allow Google to sign on to this bill?"

How is "Google signing on" the key issue here? Is Google the gatekeeper to basic constitutionality in legislation now?

"Google would publicly support a "follow the money" approach."


Seriously, I have the sickest feeling in the pit of my stomach. These congresspeople don't understand what's going on AT ALL, and the deck is already stacked against anti-SOPA activists. They don't seem to be even discussing the constitutionality of what they're suggesting.


Maybe I'm just cynical, but I think that's because discussing constitutionality isn't a winning strategy. Constitutionality hasn't been a primary concern in the legislative process for a while, especially when internet commerce is involved.


Plus, he kept ignoring the part where she said Google would agree to it if it goes through a strong judicial process, which SOPA doesn't currently.


IMO he's funnier than george dubya


Thanks everyone for the stream of comments. This law has global implications for how the internet works, or does not work.

1: The real question we should be asking is the source of the SOPA text. It was pretty clearly written by lobbyists, for their clients, and its just as clear that the committee has no idea about the contents. We should be attacking/ranting at the sponsoring companies while helping the congress people to understand through measured lobbying and public action.

2: Larry Lessig's latest book covers the process of making USA's laws extraordinarily well. Congress people are trying to do the right thing, but it's hard to believe laws are made in an unbiased manner when we look at the flow of cash supporting their elections.

3: New Zealand had a similar moment when copyright legislation was debated earlier this year, and the tech community suddenly saw how laws were made. It was a rush job, not pretty and the major parties suffered for it as they took stances which often lacked logic. We now have an election on, wand while it is not a big issue, I expect we will see a lot more support for the Green party, who were the only ones crying foul.


Did Mr. Ross just equate government censorship with corporate page takedowns? The difference: one is prohibited by the Constitution, one is not.


I think you mean 'equate'; equivocation is a deceptive/evasive form of speech.


Thank you; edited.


http://www.livestream.com/sopaproceedings re stream for anybody who is having trouble viewing it


"From which countries originate the biggest threats of digital piracy?"

"Is China on your list?"

"What might be the total losses due to piracy [...] any studies done on that? Does anyone have a more comprehensive solution [than shutting down websites]?"

What does Mr. King want to hear? Bomb China and Russia and Sweden because OH NOEZ PIRACY? What. The. Fuck?

"Are you aware of state sponsored IP theft? China?"

Good god, man.


"Is it possible under this legislation that [the largest search engines in Russia and China] could be disappeared from the US DNS system? And if so, how should we expect the Russian and Chinese governments to respond to such action?"

- Mr. Cohen


Just watched a guy talk about countries who are using practices like this.

He says "the Internet is working just fine there".

One of these places is Turkey. A guy got arrested there for talking about a Chuck Palahniuk novel there on some sort of forum or similar.


We had to delay the launch of our streaming service in Turkey because our CDN was inexplicably censored by the government without recourse—and having nothing to do with us! So I can point to at least one case of significant material loss for Turkish consumers due to Internet shenanigans.


Yeah, it's insane. This law isn't that extreme yet but it's a push over the ledge towards censorship (it seems...)


Is there a chat room we can go to discuss the stream live so we aren't increasing the signal to noise ratio here?


Freenode: #startups ?

Or could always make a #sopa on freenode.


#sopa on freenode it is.


How unfortunate. Ms. Jackson-Lee seems to have fallen for the fallacious argument that every file that was downloaded would have otherwise been bought if piracy wasn't a viable option. This does not bode well for the future...


"stealing our nation's genius"

FAIL. Genius, like digital bits, are not zero sum. This isn't digital Highlander; a kid pirating a film does not magically soak up (and away) the genius of the auteur.


The solution, of course, is to stifle our nation's genius so that nobody can steal it.

Nice Highlander metaphor, btw.


It's scary hearing some of this. I don't think some of these people use the internet, except to find reasons to censor the internet.


The person speaking now has pointed out that there are 5 people in favor of the bill and only 1 speaking against it. She also lamented the fact that there are zero technical experts speaking.


I would rather download the SOPA Hearing video in 720p HD quality than watch a crappy cheap low quality lowres version. Offer next day 720p/1080p HD version of TV shows and movies and piracy will go down. Even iTunes HD versions are crap, not to mention Netflix 2002-era stream quality.


This is simplistic, but I think the people who make the technology work need to (find ways to) stop providing support -- stop enabling -- the Luddites who seek to monopolize it for their own gain.

Simply/simplistically put: Unplug them. We'd all be better off.


If this goes through, it is doubtful that the US will remain the tech startup mecha for very long afterwards. Just about any revolutionary technology could find itself in hot water with this bill. A sad day if this gets passed.


Mr Rogs(Ross?) statements are ridiculous and he's not giving the female (lawyer?) a chance to respond and fully explain what he's asking -- and then he switches to CP as a defense in eliminating our free speech on the internet


People in the chamber are now comparing search results on their iPads. So that's something.

"Service providers do not have the technical means to do what this bill requires."

^^^^^^^^ more like that. Update: that was Zoe Lofgren again.


Is this the right argument? Should the bill pass once the requirements are there?


I don't understand why they are talking about counterfit medicine. Is that covered under the DMCA? OR SOPA?


SOPA claims to cover counterfeit goods as well, and some of the previous DNS-based censorship targeted sites distributing counterfeit goods.


Was there anyone from an organization like EFF invited? Or just representatives from companies? Because I could see how companies could agree to supporting a bill as long as it's viable for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's something good for the people, too. Who's actually protecting the interests of people there?

All I can see is politicians saying "this SOPA breaking the Internet is nonsense". And yet, they didn't even invite engineers there to testify for that.


Watching the legislative process for people who claim to believe in democracy is sort of like actually reading the bible for people who claim to be christian.


Cohmert just proved the point of piracy

he searched for some obscure song and found it free illegally but not on iTunes. if it was available then he would have bought it.


It pains me that from what he said he took the gigantic leap to "we need to make it more obvious that it's illegal" rather than the tiny one to "we need to find a way to make it easier to get legally".


Final result of this SOPA campaign is going to show how much influence does American internet users actually have in the "Real" world.


If you know what you believe about SOPA (and its Senate equivalent), ignore the stream, call your Congress critters, and tell them what you think. Then after the vote, call them and thank or complain. No, it's not much, but it's almost certainly more efficacious than voting. Especially since you can legally do it many times.


So... Tech companies, feel like moving your base of operations to Europe? We really need some investment right now ;)


I'm interested in which TLDs and server hosting locales would be best bets for protecting against gov sponsored asset seizures. I would like an EU country to step up to the plate as saying "If the U.S. wants a server taken down or a domain revoked, they have to go through our courts...We will provide fairness and due process to the accused". This may be boom times for migrating to non-.com domains.


What does it take to move to Europe and join a tech-based company there..?


temporary move or permanent? If you find a company interested in hiring you, it should be easy to get a working visa. A permanent move may be more difficult.


This seems like an appropriate place to write this.

I'm a self taught programmer. If it wasn't for the internets I would be a pretty poor guy. Spolsky gave a nice answer on SO about teaching a newcomer how to program. He listed SICP, k&R and Code. I read SICP online and I downloaded a version of K&R. Both books had a fundamentally awesome impact on me and I just decided I should buy them along with Code.

All the tech books I've ever read I read online with the exception of The Definitive Guide to Action Script 5, which cost me 50$.

SICP is on sale for 80$ K&R is 50$

If I'm poor (or: a kid) I don't have 50$. Denying me the option to steal this books without harming anyone will just make me less educated.


SICP is full text online by the publisher, you didn't "steal" it. You didn't need to "steal" K&R. It's a classic, but there are a whole lot of successful programmers who've never read it.

I don't know where you are, but everywhere I've lived in the US there's at least one very cheap book on C in every used book sale or public library. Today of course, we have more information about programming and Computer Science free on the web than anyone could ever have time to read.

I do buy relatively expensive computer books today when they fit my budget, but it's a rare book that has information I couldn't find on the web.


No, I didn't need to steal K&R, but it's better than online tutorials. If there's one thing that you should be allowed to steal, it's education.


"Nobody has this old track that I love available to buy online, but people offer it online for free. When we talk about following the money, that's pretty impractical if the business is in (for example) China. [...] Why is it too onerous to block sites after probable cause is met and a federal judge concludes the site meets the description of 'dedicated to infringement'?"

Fair enough question. When the money is all interior to some foreign country, and doesn't touch typical payment hubs (e.g. Visa), how does "follow the money" address the problem effectively?

Well, because putting DNS in the hands of any single government or financial interest is a terrible remedy.


Mr. Ross's "I think simply" folksy routine makes me want to slap a bitch.


Also the random pandering involving child pornography. THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Gah.


Rare well-turned to Mr. Deutch: "Follow the money" leads to Google!

Google's response: "We spent a ton of time and money to create tools to allow rights holders to identify infringing content."


"This isn't to protect the big dogs in Hollywood. This is for [set builders, etc.]"

So are those guys still getting paid, or aren't they? Are movies still making money, or aren't they?


They need to chill with drawing parallels between child porn and copyrighted movies. It's technically distinct and morally distinct. Just...no.


Did anyone record the stream? I couldn't see it live.


"Would you agree that the current piracy landscape makes it much more difficult to start a new fee-based distribution model vs. a free/ad-supported distribution model?"

Good question. Piracy status quo, without some sort of crackdown, already skews the "legitimate" distribution models to those that benefit companies with Google's model (e.g. for YouTube).


I'm not convinced government should be concerned about the effectiveness of different business models.


I'm pretty sure the internet itself favors an ad-supported distribution model. In a fee-based model, in order to make a profit, you have to limit viewing to those who pay. In an ad-based model, you make more money by getting as many people to view the content as possible. The Internet is very good at spreading content to a lot of people. It is not so good at limiting content to a select group of people.


Interesting point about reordering search results to favor known-legit content distribution channels...roughly: "Can we get Google to put Netflix above TPB in search results?"

If this is still a terrible idea, it's not an obviously terrible one.


It's terrible in that a lot of the times smaller organic sites are much more relevant than big-box "trusted" sites. That's why organic search algorithms are good.

Furthermore, there's a terrible burden for startups moving into certain spaces if suddenly you can't get ranked because you're not a Trusted source.

Plus, controlling search engine neutrality or listing position is not the business of the government or rightsholder. Remember, Google is a private entity.


So instead of framing it in terms of "promoting known-legit" sites, what about "demote known-sketchy" sites?

Does that help your concerns about effects on unknowns, startups, etc? All the non-sketchy results should still be organically ranked, right?


Altering results (other than to show you the most relevant pages) ruins Google's perceived neutrality. All of a sudden Google becomes liable for showing you something they shouldn't, instead of being a neutral third-party.


"Google just said that content owners are responsible for rogue websites. That can't be the truth."

Yes, truly, in a free market, seller policies cannot possibly influence the creation of market alternatives.


Finally someone is asking the right question. Thank you Ms. Waters.


Stream is working fine for me. The content makes me wish we could find a way to firewall ourselves from powerful Luddites.


to the UK works via media player, but at work can not test sound.

This is not looking good brothers on the otherside of the sea. What i read today is a 5to1 debate :/ and i got a horriable feeling the nervous looking girl might be the 1 against :/


Got any room on your side of the pond?


You don't need to go that far. Canada! We're not far away and most day-to-day things are the same here.

Also our Supreme Court recently ruled that hyperlinks are like footnotes in a book so publishing a hyperlink to defamatory material doesn't mean you're responsible for the defamatory material (not republication). Sensible ruling. Heading in direction of internet freedom not away from it.


Honestly, I had not heard that, that's awesome. Keep going that way and I'll ditch the Cali sun for your forests (sorry ukgent :)


Should have included case in original post: http://scc.lexum.org/en/2011/2011scc47/2011scc47.html


Well I like england for the tea, the weather and the pretty good nature. However friend i dont recommend coming here, the UK takes alot of the US stuff spins it a little and introduces it here. The problem is the UK has no great start-up industry and very few people who have the technical understanding in political jobs to really evulate anything effectivly.

tl:dr, the UK is going the same way. and the core EU (once they kick out the dead weight will be forced to do the same me thinks) every country running their own internet with great big blacklists, that in turn will turn in to whitelists, and soon it will be "you can only view these pages"


Honestly, you never know about these things.

It may be that everybody in that room knows the thing is not going to pass but is going through the motions of proposing to satisfy their corporate donors. It may also be that someone is proposing a batshit crazy idea like this in order to see it get shot down. Sometimes Congress seems to even pass laws with provisions that they know will be struck down in the Supreme Court.

It's just plain weird.


I can't watch the stream, but the comments here are endlessly interesting.


Quality is unbearable.


Content is, too, I imagine.


Disagree with both of you. Video and audio are both smooth and free of dropouts, and the testimony of this attorney (who is she, btw?) is clear and informative.

Compared to some other hearings, the reps asking questions seem legitimately interested in making the bill suck a lot less. Time will tell, I suppose, and it sucks that this bill made it this far, but I'd highly recommend watching the feed if you care about the outcome.

For example, your next letter to your elected representative could reference specific content of the discussion rather than rehashing something that was talked about. Nothing says "I care" like "I cared enough to sit through the same hearing you did."


> the reps asking questions seem legitimately interested in making the bill suck a lot less

That seems like a large part of the problem; they treat it as a foregone conclusion that the bill will pass, perhaps with a bit of tweaking. This bill needs to die. All bills should have the presumption of failure, with a very high bar to get them to pass, not the other way around.


The problem is the "think of the children" argument will come back to haunt them come next election season.


They really should. Should the 10 year old girl that posted a video on youtube of herself singing along with a Justin Beiber song be considered a felon and put in jail for 5 years?


And should one person doing so cause YouTube to get shut down?


"Think of the children" is the politician's version of buying IBM. Nobody ever lost an election because they thought of the children.


Is there anyone liveblogging the proceedings?


Anyone object to me using this comments thread to do that?


"I know crime when I see it." Do you?


Jesus, the horror, the horror!


stream is broken for me


Works for me, open with VLC. Audio is only in my right ear though.


I think the left audio channel was reported as copyright infringing.


If you use VLC, Audio > Audio Channels > Right to get it in both.


Same here with VLC, although it's in my left ear ;-) Although now that I'm watching it, this is such a train wreck.


Its there in the left too -- just very soft.


The stream worked for a while in VLC, but it was choppy. It doesn't work anymore. I don't think they were expecting too many people to watch this.


Doesn't work for me either. Won't play in VLC or Quicktime.

[Edit] Kept trying and it ended up working


"silicone valley"

Mispronunciation win!


Is that that place near LA producing 80% of the world porn?


[deleted]


The hearing is over.


This is SO OFFENSIVE!!! She gives such great, clear technical answers -- they can detect child porn by a combination of reverse image search analysis and manual checks, but they can't visually tell whether a movie or song is licensed to play. Makes sense. "I'm sure we have the technology, we have the brainpower," responds some congrasshole. What fucking idiots these people are. They don't have a right to dictate terms to people smarter than them.

After watching this incredibly infuriating thing, I hope they pass it. I hope it passes, and the economy of the US tanks, and it eats itself. Fuck these people, and fuck everyone who voted for them.

If you're the only person in the room who has technical expertise, Submit your comments in writing.


His response to her explanation about how they don't have the technology was "Google does have the technology". These people are all idiots.


This makes no sense especially given that even a human observer could not tell instantly just by looking at a piece of content whether the content is properly licensed. As others have said, there no reasonable way to 100% correctly detect and filter restricted or copyrighted content based purely on the content itself.

Just look at the mess that is the patent system... even "experts" in a field or art are making huge mistakes when it comes to judging obviousness and originality. Why do people think a machine will do as well, let alone better when trying to judge legality of a piece of content?

I think what it comes down to is the content industries wanting to force technology companies to fight piracy for them. Technology companies know that trying to fight something like this (past a certain point) just leads to an arms race with huge amounts of collateral damage on either side. Media companies are throwing in the towel, they just want companies like Google to fight for them, and in doing so bear all of the responsibility and cost (while gaining zero benefit).


I like to fantasize about transitioning to a technocratic government. Decisions are made by subject matter experts and those with intellectual capital, not political capital.

The stupid - it hurts.


Whenever someone starts fantasizing about transitioning to a technocratic government, I start fantasizing about hoarding guns in preparation the coming civil war / revolution it would result in.

The very concept of a technocratic government assumes people know and agree what the goals should be and fully understand the consequences. If that was the case, the current political system would "work". Instead people disagree on what the goals should be, and will change their opinion on what the goals should be if the goals the initially chose causes changes they dislike.

E.g. if you present proof that legalizing cannabis would have only positive effects, don't expect most people who are against it to change their mind, expect them to change their argument for why it should remain illegal.

Any technocratic government would necessarily need to be dictatorial and heavily oppressive - one that wasn't wouldn't stay in power for any amount of time.

I keep seeing this idea prop up - especially over on Reddit. And it scares me. I've said there that I'd be first in line to take up arms against a government like that, and I'm serious, as I'd see it as a massive threat against my freedom.


Italy just installed a technocratic government. If they manage to save Italy from completely imploding (which is the course it's democratic government set it on), then you may have reconsider your stance on this.

That they needed to (begrudgingly) install a technocrat at the 11th hour simply to stave off total and utter destruction of their economy (and the wider EU economy) is, in my opinion, proof enough that Technocratic governments are the way to go.

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority. When the majority are idiots, you have a real problem that will always lead to catastrophic results.

I see idiots as a threat against my freedom. And considering their inability to think strategically or consider long term scenarios, I think the civil war war between the intellectuals and the morons you predict would be over very quickly.


> Italy just installed a technocratic government.

In a very, very limited sense. A government in a country with a parliamentary system is subject to support of parliament. As such, its powers are drastically limited compared to the US executive, for example, as it can be overthrown by parliament at any time. In this case they have a very narrow mandate from parliament, and can expect to be forced to resign if they don't consult with parliament very closely on everything they do.

In other words this is a show to give confidence to investors. Nothing would have stopped Berlusconi or another politician from running the government but actually take advice from economists seriously in the first place. If anything, Italy is a demonstration of why a technocracy will not be accepted longer term - it is only begrudgingly tolerated as a stage show even now because they're staring down the abyss and are hoping it will calm things down, while they could have taken advice from the exact same people at any time in the past years.

Why didn't they? Because they didn't like the answers given when they asked for advice, and the voters wouldn't have voted for them if they did follow it.

The moment things looks better, the same squabbling will continue, because the only reason there's anything resembling a truce between the parties in Italy now is that they all agree that for the moment the debt is the controlling issue, and everything up to and including this stage show is better than a default.

Also, look up the history of Italy. The Italian government changes more often than some people changes clothes, because the parliament has generally been extremely quick to replace the sitting government if it makes decisions parliament does not like. Berlusconi's government has been a massive aberration. This is not a culture that will tolerate a government that takes decisions they don't like unless they see it as absolutely impossible to avoid.

> That they needed to (begrudgingly) install a technocrat at the 11th hour simply to stave off total and utter destruction of their economy (and the wider EU economy) is, in my opinion, proof enough that Technocratic governments are the way to go.

This is a ridiculous argument. They chose to install a government lead by an economist as a temporary measure to try to fix a problem. It does not follow that this government will be given free reign - Italy has a parliamentary system, and the government can be voted down at pretty much any time, as mentioned above. Nor does it follow that this government will sit very long - in Italy that would be the exception rather than the rule for any government. Nor does it follow that this government will make good decisions if it tries to make decisions outside of the one area where it has a real mandate from parliament.

Nor does it follow that it will actually solve the problem in a way more beneficial to Italians than a government composed out of politicians. Keep in mind that this government was put in place by politicians out of desperation - the same politicians that participated in creating the mess in the first place.

If you don't trust these politicians to make the right decisions in the first place, why would you trust their decisions in installing this government?

> Democracy is the tyranny of the majority. When the majority are idiots, you have a real problem that will always lead to catastrophic results.

Yes, you will have problems, but you will have even greater problems when someone thinks they have objective measures for what is "right" despite the will of the majority. Quite a lot of despots got started this way - if you don't have popular support, either you won't have a government or you will need to start the oppression.

As much as a lot of things could be a lot better under a lot of minority governments, ultimately the only way for this to come to pass would be oppression. I'll take the government of idiots over an effective oppressive dictator any day.

> I think the civil war war between the intellectuals and the morons you predict would be over very quickly.

It would not be a civil war between intellectuals and morons, but between wannabe dictators (arguable they are the real morons) and everyone else, including most intellectuals. And yes, it probably would be over very, very quickly, as the very people who fantasize about this kind of government tend to do so because they are disgusted about the very type of politics required to gain the popular or military support required to install one.


Yeah, I was broad in my definition of Technocracy when applied to Italy, I'll give you that. But Technocracy isn't defined as well as Democracy because there's no real context from history to draw on, so I stand by it. Italy has a Technocratic government right now.

That said, A Technocracy does not imply dictatorship. Nor does it imply despotism. These are two "aspects" of a Technocracy you've just made up on the spot to support what you believe.

All I ask is that my chancellor be a qualified and learned economist. That my minister for health be qualified in a related field such as medicine or biology. That the scientific/ethical debates in parliament (or congress) be argued between scientific experts and philosophers and economists, not by people who have never actually had a real job outside of politics, or have little to no education in the field they are responsible for. When our leaders can say sincerely "I asked God what to do", and everyone thinks that's ok, we've lost the plot. That's Tyranny.

What I want is to feel confident that the people making the decisions that govern my life know what the hell they're talking about. What I have right now, what we all have right now, are leaders who make decisions based on how much money someone is willing to pay them, what they feel in "their gut" to be right, or what some magical fucking tyrant living in the sky tells them to do.

Democracy my arse. It's a joke.


Maybe he meant that if you hooked up all the meth addicts in his state to a 24/7 feed of pirated movies, clockwork orange style, they'd be able to detect the pirated ones using their special paranoid powers of perception.


YouTube does have automated copyright detection though


"YouTube does have automated copyright detection though"

And it is complete shit. I uploaded a video of my son playing Fur Elise on the piano and got an automated noticed from Google that I had uploaded a video infringing on some company's work. Completely absurd.

When I googled the company's name, I found countless people complaining of the same thing. One guy had a video in which a siren was going off and they claimed that was copyrighted!


Hey would you drop me a note at ryan_singel@wired.com. Would love to talk,


There's no way for Youtube to know whether I have a license for the content. There are cases where hosting companies have taken down the artist's own websites after the labels' automated systems complained about finding "copyrighted" material there. And I've yet to see a supercomputer that can determine fair use.


Again. You stated the problem as clearly as she tried to, repeatedly, in front of the committee. What makes perfect sense to logical people is unsurprisingly nonsensical to the idiots running the country.

People have suggested that there's an anti-intellectual bias ingrained in the American psyche, but I don't think that's actually the problem. It's the assumption that someone else will do the thinking for you that's the real nasty, seedy little heart of the matter.

I really look forward to the gov't expending taxpayer dollars it doesn't have, and endless amounts of energy, chasing down ghosts and persecuting middlemen in defense of trillion-dollar interests. Because the sooner the US becomes the laughingstock of the western world, the sooner it's likely to get its house in order and gag the busybodies, wingnuts, corporate interests and degenerate senators who are creating its current policies.


I like the sentiment, but I believe that (unfortunately) it's not an effective strategy -- because there's no guarantee the US will get its act together if we go down that road. I think a better strategy is to fight this every step of the way, delaying the apparent inevitable until the effective state of affairs (where nobody can really enforce this mercantilistic cultural monopoly crap any longer) becomes the overwhelmingly obvious and undeniable truth in all respects, and the whole point becomes moot.


The Bitcoin community's already gearing up for this to be the end of Visa/MC if it passes. Once they're forced by fiat to shut down their largest clients and put in a squeeze between continuing service or getting sued by the RIAA, capital will go elsewhere. This could be sort of, to the American economy, what the Iran/Iraq war was to authoritarians in the middle east; great way to spend energy while the civilized free world passes you by on the highway.


No. Catastrophic failure does not somehow naturally lead to reform and success. Look at all the catastrophic failures out there that are not in the middle of dazzling recoveries.

In fact success is a rare and fragile confluence of many conditions that is hard to find.


They don't detect _copyright_, as far as I know. Videos are sometimes blocked or muted because a copyright-holder claims a violation, but this is a mass action based on the video or song itself, NOT on the copyright of the song. Because of this, you occasionally see videos that are posted by a legitimate user (for example, the band itself) that are deleted as part of a sweep, then restored later once it becomes clear that it's not supposed to have been deleted.


You mean YouTube has information on all of the photographs I've ever taken and who I've licensed them to? I don't recall making this information public, so I don't see how they could possibly detect copyright infringement of my content.


The copyright infringement detection technology is opt-in. You disclose to YouTube the licensees.


Throw one of your images at tineye.com. It's a reverse image analysis tool; their algorithm is under wraps, but I'm sure a few people around here could speculate on how it works. It works nicely with cropped and scaled images, which is a hint =)


Infringement depends on permission. No third party can possibly know whether or not the use of a given work was authorized or not unless told by the copyright holder.

Now, when told by the copyright holder that no use of some work is authorized, they can flag all copies of it that they are able to find and match it under the assumption that nothing is authorized. But you couldn't add anything if we assume that every user is lying about being authorized.

Moreover, as was demonstrated in the Viacom case, even the copyright holders get it wrong. In particular, Viacom had uploaded copies of their own works and made them appear leaked. Yet these were uploaded by Viacom itself and, thereby, authorized. They even had to go back and have them put up after taking them down by mistake. And they had to remove them from their complaint after being told of their mistakes. Twice. After doing due diligence with expensive lawyers.


I think his point was that you can certainly detect an image in use on other sites but that does not matter because it may or may not be infringement. Nobody could possibly know if he licensed his work to be used by certain sites or not.


The comment you guys are responding to was in jest. I wrote the original post in this subthread. My point about Tineye was that it's obviously capable of picking up duplicates (which is the immediate question I was responding to) and equally incapable of determining which of those duplicates are licensed.


Yes, but that is different than spidering and blocking every site in the search results that hosts copyrighted content.


True. But it can be gotten around by flipping the video or adding a second soundtrack. Even if it detected that, people would find ways. There's no reason that one yahoo --pun intended-- posting pirated material should be able to screw the whole company. Too much power for the yahoo. Also, un-american, as far as I've been led to believe.

Anyway, what about remixes and magazine photos and quotations longer than a paragraph?


This caught me off guard too. He starts with a reasonable question, gets a reasonable answer, then comes up with this "we have the technology" noise?

What's the point of getting an expert opinion if you're just going to completely disregard it?


No, I mean, imagine you're Google and the US senate is a really dumb client. And they're like, "this is a great app, but we think it should be projected holographically in 3d from an iphone" and you're like, "well, that's not really possible, since x, y and z are features of the known universe," and they're like, "we know you have the technology. Don't we? If you're dumb and you think Google's smart and owes their brains to you say YEAH!" And then they get re-elected. I have no hope for America anymore.


Move to Canada?

It's easier than moving to the US. :)


Everyone knows that the American dream can be found in the Scandinavian countries.


Can you expand on that a little?


Who is John Galt?


These hearings are nothing more than democracy theater, and I'm a bit surprised that otherwise smart people, namely most of those posting on HN, actually believe differently. The government has already shown, many times, its willingness and ability to shut down sites, unilaterally, by simply telling ICANN to redirect where a domain points. SOPA is merely a formalization of that power. I surmise that the best way to let a congressman know that you are serious about this issue is to put a bullet in the head of the congressman sitting next to him. If you aren't willing to go that far to protect your freedom, then you are just as full of hot air as the OWS crowd. I don't expect upvotes on this comment, but I am certain that all of the downvotes will come from cowards, the uniformed, idealists, or agents of the government. DNS is broken, and needs either extreme violence to protect its existing fragility, or an awesome technical improvement that will pry the government's grubby fingers off of it for good. Take your pick as to the best route, but wishing for logic and common sense at these hearings is pointless.

EDIT: I should point out the following, for those who think that there really is no need to worry. "Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users: It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook." - http://americancensorship.org A felony is a felony is a felony. Once you are guilty of one, your life changes significantly. It all comes down to which law you are willing to break. Just a couple of decades ago, murder and treason were pretty much the only serious crimes. Now, manipulate certain bits in a particular way, and it's treated as almost the same thing. Think about how much we've already lost through our passivity, and how much more we have to lose.


Let's see, we're ready for another exciting episode of 'Hackers Go to Washington' or 'As The Real World Turns':

Step 1. At a fancy lunch spot on Rodeo Drive a lobbyist gets with someone in Hollywood, and they talk about a Hollywood dream law, e.g., shut down Internet movie sharing or some such, just to pick a hypothetical issue! Wink, wink!

Step 2. The lobbyist sells the Hollywood guy on an effort to get the dream law passed. "Sign your check, and we will get started from our M Street offices." They do get started and draft the Hollywood Dream Act.

Step 3. The lobbyist finds some Dumb-Dumb legislators on Capital Hill who are not very bright, not doing very well, and need some campaign donations, maybe some trips to Vegas, etc. and hands them copies of the Hollywood Dream Act and some campaign donations, trips to Vegas, etc. Maybe if we did some searching we could find a list of the Dumb-Dumbs? Ah, that would assume that Dumb-Dumbs exist! I ask you, are there any Dumb-Dumbs on Capital Hill?

Step 4. The Dumb-Dumbs hold hearings and look like they are about to get the Hollywood Dream Act passed.

Step 5. People who oppose the Hollywood Dream Act, and there is no shortage, get up on their hind legs, write checks to other lobbyists on M Street, and the battle is on. Legislators who oppose the Hollywood Dream Act get campaign donations, trips to Vegas, etc.

Step 6. The Hollywood Dream Act dies in committee or in negotiations between the House and Senate or has some killer amendments added, etc.

Ah, it was always just the 'Hollywood Dumb-Dumb Public Wet Dream Act' or 'Who Gets Screwed As the World Turns' anyway!

Net, M Street gets richer; both the Dumb-Dumbs and all the opposing legislators get campaign donations, which they don't return, and trips to Vegas, but nothing real happens. It's just Hollywood.

Naw, no one would ever do anything so stupid. That would be called a 'scam', and that's SUCH a pejorative locution! We can be SURE that M Street and Capitol Hill would NEVER engage in anything like a scam, can't we?


The idea that they're not seriously pushing for this is flawed. Yes, they've hired expensive lobbyists, but that's not all they're doing. They've put up their own campaigns ("Makers vs. Takers" I believe they called it) and are pushing their own employees into supporting it.

Moreover, they have quite a bit of political support in this administration. They've got everyone from the RIAA lawyers now in top Justice Department spots, the new Copyright Czar, the US Trade Representative (who negotiated ACTA), several members of the House Judiciary Committee (who are sponsors of this bill), and Vice President Biden.

Don't underestimate their ability or willingness to pass crazy laws.


Here's the Makers vs Takers video. Replete with scary music and "The Daily Show has been watched x million times.. illegally" (because Comedy Central doesn't let the whole world watch it on their website? I watch it there and sit through their ads. What's not working about that? Oh, I know. Sometimes my net connection might suck. If I hypothetically can't watch it streaming in RT I might look for other options.)

http://www.viacom.com/news/Pages/anti-piracy.html


Seems like the majority of both sides are happy to see creative content get paid for. It's just this side that wants the power to act as it did pre internet completely on their own terms no matter how it harms other areas.


The problem with this video is no-one mentions the elephant in the room: we can all agree on getting content paid for so put out content in ways that makes economic sense for 21st century distribution methods. Another article that made me furious that is indicative of how deep the epidemic goes:

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/11/gavin-polone-on...


Yeah, I think the thing that they are trying to protect that really has to go are the traditional style distribution deals. No longer can you expect to impose any number of restrictions and break distribution down into regions for virtual goods.


It's a well made video, actually. I felt moved by it, at least a little bit.

I think hackers in tech industry should start making similar videos for our own, arguing against SOPA. For that thing, we indeed do have the technology, and we have the expertise.


I spent a few minutes this morning looking for hollywood celebrities speaking out against SOPA. I wonder if there is a contractual obligation on them not to bite the hand that feeds them..


I was almost moved, but it's so obviously manipulative in other ways that it's kind of sickening. I'm not sure we have the stomach for competing on that level.


It doesn't have to be manipulative. Just informative and moving. Truth doesn't have to be manipulative to move people.


It doesn't have to be, but in this case, it is.

They've made a large part of this about the common working man, when that's clearly not the motivation behind this video. They did it because they're pandering to their audience, who cares about that.

Throw in repeated South Park and other brand cameos for broad based appeal and an instant emotional connection (I have a hard time believing that Matt Stone and Trey Parker support this given their history of railing on people who complain about piracy as the reason they can't make money).

Finally, add in a lot of questionable statistics.

Basically, it's too carefully crafted for maximum impact to be or feel authentic. It's professional work and half truths masquerading as heartfelt interviews. That's why I say it's manipulative.


You're right, it is. What I meant is that the tech industry doesn't have to copy the 'manipulativeness' to make a convincing videos against SOPA.


Oh I see, sorry for misunderstanding you. You're probably right. It can be hard to make a strictly factual video have the same emotional impact, though.


Update:

Here's something for a start (video at the bottom of the article): http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/11/16/silicon...


" The idea that they're not seriously pushing for this is flawed."

Yes. Not everyone has to be 'in' on the scam.

You seem to have some information that the WH will be for some such bill; that's more than I've known.

Biden? Yes, he would get to make a tie breaking vote in the Senate.


There are several senior people in this administration who are in favor of Hollywood generally. They've really been pushing for this on all fronts. I'm not saying it can't be stopped, but I am saying that they have supporters in high places.

If you look at the subtext of the discussion held today, it was arranged to make it appear that this is Google vs. everyone else. Sure, that's because most other opposition was excluded. Some might think that's why the rest were excluded.

Politicians see this largely in economic terms. This would be a good time to point them to the economic studies which show that the costs already outweigh most of the public good and to drive home how this bill would kill our ability to create jobs by hitting startups with ridiculous legal burdens.


The scam works just as well if it does pass, too -- and the monopolistic content industries have deeper pockets than the people paying the opposition lobbyists.

Honestly, though, I think that the most likely case is that a lame duck version of the bill will pass, resulting in an incremental rather than sweeping tightening of the noose around the Internet. That's usually how this crap happens, "As The Real World Turns".


>The scam works just as well if it does pass, too -- and the monopolistic content industries have deeper pockets than the people paying the opposition lobbyists.

RIAA/MPAA with more money than major telecoms? I'm not so sure...


Yes.

I agree that maybe the more likely danger would be something a little bad instead of something horribly bad.

But, consider my (humorous) scenario: First-cut, the worse the Hollywood Dream Act is, the more donations get from people who oppose it!

Yes, there's a danger some such nonsense might pass. But there is also a chance, while some people will take the bills seriously, nearly all the attention is just to a scam. E.g., on the debt limit debate with the threat of no Social Security checks, my assumption all along was that both sides just wanted a lot of free publicity, and that's basically the way it came out. Yes, such scams are dangerous if only because one might get passed.


Sure, but the fact remains that bullshit DOES get passed that then has to be fought in courts for YEARS before it is overturned as unconstitutional. In the meantime people get arrested or heavily fined for bullshit. It might not have happened to someone you personally know but bullshit laws SHATTER LIVES.


Yes. If it passed, it would hurt my startup; all the code I've typed would be thrown away.

I've wanted to understand better what are the chances of passage. So far apparently in the House it is still in committee,

Yesterday I left messages against the bills on the phones of NY20 and the two NY senators. Fred Wilson says that Schumer's for it, and Wilson is "pissed" about that and knows that Schumer knows that.

Still, before I send letters to my three, maybe something should come out of committee and be in line for a floor vote? Else maybe my guy in NY20 might not even know what I am objecting to.


"Silicone Valley." Yep, Waters sure sounds informed.


Or how about "Solidan O'Brien"


"If we could get Google to index those sites [iTunes over the Pirate Bay] in a way that favored legitimacy..."

Hey, duck duck go might get some real legs if they work this one out =)


That sort of intentional favoritism could lead to legal action for search engines. It's happened before.


Is there any silver lining here? Despite the over whelming feeling of disgust I have for these godgie old farts running this country who think they know a damn thing about the Internet, I can't help but wonder if passage of this bill would finally ignite adoption of a better success to the Internet. Something where security and privacy are baked in from the beginning and not an add-on.


Are these hearings that house.gov streams archived somewhere? If not, why?


I can not find an archive of it.. arg!


Some House hearings are archived at judiciary.edgeboss.net. But not this one.

Some House hearings have transcripts at judiciary.house.gov/hearings/transcripts/. But not this one.

I decided to read the bill instead. I highly recommend it. The definitions alone are worth the read.

What if content is not addressed to a "location"?

What if there is no "site"?

What if a network is not accesible to the public?


Did you find any links?


It's up! There's now a .wmv for download. That was pretty quick.

Thanks to the staff who are responsible for this. Much appreciated!

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