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US judge orders hundreds of sites "de-indexed" from Google, Facebook (arstechnica.com)
434 points by gigawatt on Nov 29, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 216 comments


I know it's HN and we're all very serious business here.

And I'm not trying to be age-ist – my condemnation is strictly confined to mental state.

But what. the fuck. do we do with these dinosaurs who know nothing of technology policy but have decided to go and make it anyway? What do we do? The strategy of waiting for them to retire or whatever doesn't seem to be paying off.

We need to invent the following things so we can be forever truly free:

1) A secure, peer to peer DNS system with no registrars and a dynamic, heterarchical network of trust.

2) An encrypted version of TCP that we can drop in without anyone noticing.

3) A way of distributing keys for our encrypted transport layer without certificate authorities and again with a dynamic, heterarchical network of trust.

4) A secure, peer to peer, federated social network with all the features that we and the rest of the world want and need.

Then we will at least have some breathing space while we work on that whole planetwide wifi mesh thing.

I wouldn't suggest that we need a social network, but your first suggestion isn't too far from the truth.

The exact thing needed is very boring, very low-level, and very unsexy, and I believe can be summarized thusly:

We need a method for locating hosts on a network graph which does not have a central point of failure and which cannot be easily disabled.

We then need a method for authentically routing messages back and forth between these hosts without fear of man-in-the-middle attacks that can change the contents of the messages.

This is pure transport-layer engineering.

As long as we can locate anyone connected to our network, and communicate with them without interference, we can build whatever else we need to on top of that.

We shouldn't confuse our efforts by trying to make a social network, or new hashcoin lottery, or advanced supergovernment, or whatever else. We shouldn't worry about interception of message contents--that way lies madness; as long as I know my message reached somebody in one piece, and as long as they know that a message signed by me is from me, we can fix the rest later.

This is a pure, straightforward, fucking hard engineering problem.

Why wouldn't government simply ban the whole thing? Consider ham radio: my dad used to be really into it, and it doesn't cost much to get into it. But the government can scare away a lot of people from it, simply with the distant threat of some kind of punishment. So most people do it the legal way, at which point it becomes a big hassle - tests and certificates. And as soon as tests and certificates are needed, most people lose interest.

You can set up an illegal radio station for less than $1,000. My friends and I did so in Virginia, in the USA, back in 2002. We were out in a rural area of Virginia. We had great fun playing our favorite music to whoever would get the signal. The FEC is slow to crack down on stuff like that when you are out in the middle of nowhere. The radio station lasted 2 years, and it only got shut down when we moved on to other things. I have fond memories of it.

Running a radio show is great fun and, if you are an extrovert, it can be addicting. So why don't more people do it? Because it is illegal.

Likewise, if you created a protocol so free that government regulation was impossible, then the government could simply make it illegal. You would be "free" to use it, just like I was "free" to setup an illegal radio station, but most people won't go near it if it is illegal.

There are many things that go through our society, and which flow so freely that the government doesn't have the power to stop it, so instead it increases the penalties. Drugs would be an example. In that case, a lot of people get scared away from drugs simply because the government policies are draconian -- small amounts of drugs, found on your person, can lead to years of pain and legal trouble.

I agree with the other comment where someone says that you can not come up with a technology that will solve a policy problem. The ultimate power of the government is that, in the end, to uphold the legitimacy of the law it has the power to kill people. You can't come up with some cool technology that lets you get around the reality of a punishing government, if the government decides that some technology is too dangerous. All you can do is what the people of Syria are doing now -- organize, resist, protest, possibly even fight. There are only political solutions to political problems.

>Running a radio show is great fun and, if you are an extrovert, it can be addicting. So why don't more people do it? Because it is illegal.

Here in the UK, we don't give a fuck. For half a century, not a fuck has been given. All those pulsing repetitive beats you've heard in your pop music for the last 30 years, that stuff that's made people untold billions of dollars? That's largely a result of us over in the UK not giving a fuck about getting in trouble for pirate radio.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpS0jR6FG1o (this last link says it all)

Just sayin'.

The catch here is what you're talking about is the ultimate power of a government.

The system described wouldn't stop a government from censoring the internet for its own people. No technology can stop that. It would however prevent a government from becoming the government, which the Americans seem to try endlessly to do.

Once the technology was "in the wild" the US could simply "ban the whole thing"... and join North Korea in the nuthouse of closed internet while the rest of the world passed them by with a curious shrug.

Or, more accurately, which the minimally-accountable American government seems to try endlessly to do.

I used to have an Amateur Radio license. I didn't mind the tests, I enjoyed learning the theory, and I even learned Morse code. I went to hamfests, bought a radio, then suddenly realized "I have nothing I wish to say to these people". It was almost entirely old men telling each other the details of their medical conditions.

I was glad when it lapsed. The penalties for emitting RF that falls outside of the rules somehow tended to be significantly higher if you actually had a some kind of a license than if you had none.

RF is a shared resource. So are roads. Requiring proof of competency to operate nontrivial equipment that uses and can cause DoS or physical harm to people on shared resources is perfectly reasonable.

My dad and several of my friends have HAM licenses. It's not inordinately difficult; it's kind of like getting a driver's license. The structure is not designed to prevent ordinary people from using it, just to keep it usable and reasonably civil.

>Why wouldn't government simply ban the whole thing?

If they ban it but it lets people do something they want to do and can't otherwise as conveniently then they will ignore the ban.

>but most people won't go near it if it is illegal.

Really? I think the media industry would beg to differ. Normal, everyday people have stolen more songs than they have time left in their lives to listen to.

You're taking an obscure example that many people don't even know about, much less want to do and using that to say people won't touch it if it's illegal while missing media piracy; something most people do want and most have had no issue just taking it, laws or no laws.

Jurisdiction. The useable rf spectrum is public and limited by physics, so we need regulation.

Private networks hooked to other private networks are not similar. The internet is not a thing.

They can go after parts they have power over, like .com, but the core concept of simply communicating...... O so easy.

It's funny you mention the illegal radio. All of this end of the internet reading I've been doing had me wondering the other night, if things get really bad, will those savvy enough build their own underground network? Pirate Internet could breed some interesting communities.

How far off is that from the deep net? It's all based on tor (and as such is slow as molasses), but it's navigated by passing links to community members - not searching Google.

That's pretty darn underground.

Coding is a lot of fun. Not many people do it. I think you have mistaken lack of interest with government threats.

However, let's suppose that tons of people wanted to set up their own radio station. What would the result be exactly?

Yeah, I edited my list to include a CA-free encrypted replacement for TCP, just before I saw your comment.

To all the super-geniuses reading this: burn your socialmobilelocal startup to the ground tomorrow and do this instead.

Start by watching this Blackhat talk I linked elsewhere in the thread, the guy has the right kind of ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Wl2FW2TcA

ie. if you really want to change the world instead of paying lip service to it and going for the money grab, here's one opportunity.

Indeed. Listen up all you MIT kids: do you want to be cooler than Mark Zuckerberg, or do you want to be cooler than John McCarthy, Tim Berners-Lee and Captain Crunch all rolled into one?

How do you pay for it?

I have a team of capable engineers, and relationships with network/wifi hardware/firmware developers. What I don't have is $2-10M to spend designing open protocols (and building the software), especially with no obvious commercial upside.

No idea, but that doesn't mean it can't be done either non-profit-wise or even with significant upside, it's just your chances of VC-money and selling to a major corporation for fuck-you money are diminished relative to TechCrunch friendly buzzword related startups.

Non-profit might be the best way to go, here. I'm sure you can wrangle up enough in donations and FOSS contributions to make it work. The idea of an Internet free from political and legal malfeasance is one whose time has come, and enough people are realizing that fact that there should be sufficient collective energy to move a well-designed system forward.

Kick-starter? I'll pitch in just to see a decent (and open) white paper come out of it.

Last I heard, Mr "future of authenticity" was just acquired by Twitter. :-)

As I understand it, typing in all-caps or just bashing your face into the keyboard is considered poor form around here, so instead I'll just calmly state that this information displeases me immensely, and evokes a not inconsiderably bitter sense of irony.


I trust Moxie to be doing the right thing.

Twitter didn't buy Moxie Marlinspike. They bought one of his companies, which makes a variety of encrypted solutions for mobile phones. The Convergence project (which is an alternative to certificate authorities) remains independent of Whisper Systems.

This is a pure, straightforward, fucking hard engineering problem.

Yes, in fact it's one of the famous "only two hard problems in Computer Science": locating hosts on a network graph is just a restatement of "naming things".

If only. Unfortunately, it's not like that. With how well the "internet" is established, this is one case of NOT build it and they will come.

You can build it, but it'll never gain the authority to make everyone use it.

You'll need to be a Google or Microsoft to pull this one off.

Just like bittorrent required Microsoft and Google to become popular? I think you're underestimating the value younger generations hold to free as in speech.

TBH I think it's more like free as in beer. Torrent hasn't become popular by passing censored information, it became popular by passing pirated entertainment. Movies, music and software, especially games. And pr0n, of course -- the best way for a service to become popular is to provide free and easy access to it.

There are some people who consider low-level to be sexy.

But then you'd still be subject to existing laws - it's not like they're going away. With the same amount of effort, you could get the governments to stop making stupid decisions/laws or at least consult someone before they do.

But then again, they have tech consultants who never get a say because ruling in favor of those with money is better for the lawmakers' careers or pockets.

I do believe that most people are pretty comfortable with the current situation... when it'll start affecting more individuals, then the "anti-" movements will ramp up - it's always been that way...

> you could get the governments to stop making stupid decisions/laws

I know we live in an age of hitherto unimagined prosperity and wealth and miracles, but you may be reaching a little too far.

It's not governments that make stupid decisions, it's people; take the decision away from government, and someone else will make those stupid decisions, but stupid they will be.

> It's not governments that make stupid decisions, it's people; take the decision away from government, and someone else will make those stupid decisions, but stupid they will be.

Except that only a government can make me care what they decide.

> Except that only a government can make me care what they decide.

Simply not true; it's just that only they can do it legally, but to even say legally, you need a government to enforce legality.

Or just use a registrar and top level domain that won't respond to the take-down requests. .nz domains, for example, are protected by a rigorous process in a domain (New Zealand) that prevents this sort of thing.

Do you know how far that goes? No doubt it works against any schlub who comes along asking for a domain to be shut down, but would they really stand against it if the US put serious pressure on them for hosting thepiratebay.org.nz?

We've already got Namecoin and Diaspora, but neither appear to be catching on.

Namecoin is pretty great, but as with all these things, there's the problem of the network effect.

Diaspora has all sorts of problems.

With the SSL certificate thing, there's Convergence, which basically solves the whole lot at a stroke. See http://convergence.io/ and the guy's Blackhat talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Wl2FW2TcA

"problem of network effect" if you accept the premises that: a) the diaspora's of the world are the solution (or at least a step in the right direction) b) the problem is that of a network effect (translation: the cold start problem)

... then one solution is for a well known, highly trafficked brand, that has nothing to lose, to implement "a".

... a.k.a.... what if someone like yahoo which still has vast reach, but is not a player in social, took something like diaspora and promoted heavily. That would solve the cold start problem.

I was thinking about 1) and it seems like a really cool idea. If you could also query the sites trusted by some person, that would be like a HN with domains only to some extent (and if you can have any domain you want, you'd probably use one per site, rather than making a hierarchy again). Realistically I probably need only 20 or so domains on a typical day anyways, so that would only require trusting 5 or so other developers.

The P2P Yacy search engine seems to have been announced very timely.

Sounds like you know exactly what is needed. Why not start the process of making this happen?

Where would one need to begin to have a secure peer to peer DNS system?

If it were more usable, I'd point towards Freenet. They've been at building a system like this since 2000 -- it's just a shame it runs so slowly.

Sounds like a great project for Mozilla to jump on. I'm slightly surprised they don't appear to have worked on this problem before. Or have they?

1) Namecoin - http://dot-bit.org/

2) Tor

3) I think 1 & 2 should solve this.

4) This probably isn't that difficult to implement on top of Tor.

I think that 1-3 are necessities now. I don't know if 4 is.

You can't invent around policy problems.

Sir or madam, with that attitude, I'm surprised you are here, in a place called Hacker News.

A great many of us make good money working around broken systems and architectures. We live for this shit!

And yet when it comes to government enforcement, there seem to be an awful lot of problems we haven't been able to hack around:

- Brokenness of patents causing anti-competitive behavior

- Absurd copyright laws preventing the building of an untold number of innovative products

- The emergence of true competition in the wireless space.

I could go on. We're very good at making end runs around corporations, big and small, but mostly because they can't kick your door down in the middle of the night.

Yes you can, if you make the invention critical before they realize the consequences.

The Internet has become critical and "they" are beginning to realise the consequences, which is leading to increasingly invasive and ill-informed policy.

Yet they're still nowhere near putting the genie back in the bottle, and the internet is so embedded in the economy that they can't, they can only try to minimize the impact.

It's time for the next leap - making the internet properly fault tolerant.


At least not when the policy is enforced by the people with a willingness to use lethal force, ie government. People invent around policy problems, when the policies are business related all the time.

But I wonder how many of the people complaining about this and SOPA were in favor of Obamacare?


Passive encryption... not the best, it prevents lazy MITM.

Could it be that some or all of these things either already exist or are possible using existing "tools", but are simply not widely known nor in widespread use?

However statements like "all the features that we need or want" are troublesome. How can we possibly agree on those?

What if someone built the low-level, _boring_ "platform", and offered a _simple_ (as little code as possible), _old_, boring but workable conceptual vision, then let all the high-level enthusiasts address (argue about) usability and features?

>However statements like "all the features that we need or want" are troublesome. How can we possibly agree on those?

That last one was the least important and the most flippantly stated (apart from the global mesh network.)

>What if someone built the low-level, _boring_ "platform", and offered a _simple_, _old_, boring but workable conceptual vision, then let all the high-level ethusiasts address usability and features?

That's exactly what's going (think positive!) to happen, having a p2p facebook is just the last piece of the puzzle, the cherry on the cake.

Ah, that's good to know.

Now, sadly, I must ask, is someone going to try to make this proprietary and embedded, contained within hermetically sealed hardware enclosures, complete with convoluted bootloader and behavioural studies rootkit, to try to make billions from it?

To my knowledge the low-level part can happen right now using freely available code. Is it naive to think we could keep this simple and open?

Even the p2p FB piece is possible, assuming you do not need to have 1000's of friends on each of your separate social networks.

  Now, sadly, I must ask, is someone going to try to
  make this proprietary and embedded, contained within
  hermetically sealed hardware enclosures, complete with 
  convoluted bootloader and behavioural studies rootkit,
  to try to make billions from it?
If the problem is submitted to the market, then yes. That's what the market and capital does. So sad.

It'd be great if the world's geeks would stop laboring for the fucking market, increasing the surplus value exacted from their labor, and winding up fucked by their own creations.

EDIT: formatting

"winding up fscked by their own creations"

This would be easier to understand if you could provide an example.

Do you think this is a problem that should be submitted to the market?

As long as we're busy chatting about pet languages, comparing work/life balances, and generally masturbating about startup culture, we (as a collective) aren't going to do a damned thing.

It's time to acknowledge that this behavior of our governments is beginning to violate a reasonable social contract, and if not that, certainly at least realize that our livelihoods are coming under attack.

It may well be time to start getting radical in our evaluation of our culture's place in modern politics--they are clearly not serving our interests (much less those of their own citizens!), and yet equally clearly are dependent on us for a great deal of their soft power.

Folks with more weight and pull in this area: start paying attention.

Agreed. This isn't a tech problem, this is a social problem. There is nothing wrong with the current technology, we don't need more code to solve this.

You're very right but I believe there's an even deeper problem here. There will always be people trying to manipulate the system to serve their needs but I think we can start winning some of these cases by educating the public. A lot of the people deciding on these issues have no clue how the things they're ruling on works. This judge most likely doesn't know that he just opened the floodgates for abuse.

This judge was a guy most likely like my mother who uses google as her browser address bar. First navigate to goof,e type the web address in search then click the first result. He seems to have been thinking about the issue in terms of the physical world. If someone was using the Chanel name and logo to sell fake goods then an order along these lines in the physical world makes some sense.

A lot of people who don't quote get the web think of these issues with physical analogies in mind. The problem is that these physical world analogies just don't apply. They only sound good to the uninformed. So yeah, we need to be protesting but more importantly we need to be educating. There are far more people who make bad judgements based on ignorance of the web than there are that make bad judgements because they need to please their pay masters.

I had a professor last year who used our school's homepage's Yahoo search bar to search for Google, then searched Google for Youtube. And he has two doctorate degrees.

I have an idea. Ignore them. Let them enforce their own edicts, rulings, and laws. If enough people disobey, it becomes impossible to enforce. That's why civil disobedience works. Now, if Google grew a pair and told the judge to get lost ... well ... I'll be mighty impressed and they would earn my respect.

I don't think it is cowardly for Google to obey the law and court orders. At least they publish information about this kind of activity http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/governmentrequests/...

> I don't think it is cowardly for Google to obey the law and court orders.

I do. I would never comply with any government request unless it was preceded by a court order. And if a court order had been obtained, I would use common sense to determine if the request should be granted. Anything less IS cowardly.

If you don't stand up to abuse, the abuse will simply continue.

While I realize that there are defensible reasons to actively reject some government directives the benefits of a lawful society should not be underestimated. Bad laws should be fixed via legislative action. Sometimes this means complying with the bad law in the interim.

Selective enforcement and/or selective non-compliance may be justifiable as a tactical response but if taken too far then we no longer have the rule of law.

Bad laws should be rejected via jury nullification; you can't count on legislators who were the ones to enact the bad law in the first place.

The other clear distinction to make here is that it isn't exactly Google's fight since the content that is being targeted is merely being indexed by Google not created by Google. So logically it is the content owners/creator (website owners) who should be standing up to this kind of action. Unfortunately such fights are often extremely lopsided (small publisher vs. huge corporation), so people expect Google to step in to help because it is tangentially involved, but most of the time it is simply not practical.

Its absolutely Google's fight. Google does nothing but publish links. Linking is absolutely protected speech. Google's entire business is being threatened by a judge ignorant of the law.

You would a good lawyer too.

> I do. I would never comply with any government request unless it was preceded by a court order.

... isn't the article in question about a court order?

The larger you are, the harder it gets to disobey their rulings. Google can fight if the ruling is illegal or obviously unfair, but they can't hide and pretend it's not with them after being mentioned.

> The larger you are, the harder it gets to disobey their rulings.

Imagine Google replacing google.com with a clear statement denouncing a particular government action and naming names? Imagine Google de-indexing the government instead? They have so many more options available quite simply because they have such massive exposure.

Imagine the U.S. government taking google.com from the DNS list and making it a felony to link to not only the domain but the IP addresses that belong to Google as well.

I don't think they can do that just for putting up a message yet. At least I hope to God they can't. For de-listing government sites, they would probably suffer consequences.

Instead? No. Also? Sure!

Voluntarily delisting something is unthinkable. It would violate the most basic principle for a search engine - to present the information without distortion.

Voluntary censorship is a step too far.

A court order is not voluntary. A court order is the step before a judge tells cops to break down your door to do what the order says.

You appeal to a higher court. Courts make mistakes. The system is designed to handle that. Let it work.

Relax, basically. This won't stand. That's not to say you're going to agree with everything the higher courts do (c.f. the Citizens United ruling, yada yada). But you can be sure that smart people will look at the problem. Silliness like this won't stand.

I totally agree with you on letting the courts work, but you're missing an important point; who will pay to fight it through the higher courts?

We already know the court proceedings were "one-sided" so it's safe to assume no one showed up to defend themselves. For the sake of argument, let's assume the seized domains were actually selling copied goods. Whether one considers copied goods to be good or bad is irrelevant; the most we can say is there are laws forbidding the sale of copied goods. Given such laws, the "defendants" are best off hiding rather than coming forward to defend themselves in court and potentially facing further losses.

With this said, why should the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other other for-profit entities bear the costs of a protracted legal battle through the higher courts? Additionally, why should they bear the costs of compliance with the court orders?

It's not that the courts can't work, instead, it's whether or not making the courts work is worth the expense.

With this said, why should the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other other for-profit entities bear the costs of a protracted legal battle through the higher courts?

1. Because they pull down boatloads of money doing business on the internet and it's the right thing to do for them to help defend it.

2. Because they depend on the stable operation of the Internet for their business, in particular: A. the stability of names and URLs, and B. a censorship-free legal envrionment where they don't have to process regular expressions or O(M*N) algorithms serving every page.

I pretty much agree with you on both counts, but as a for-profit entity, it's a matter of financial math rather than "doing the right thing." If it costs "X" to fight it through the courts, and costs "Y" to implement and maintain the censorship/court-orders, then "Y" has to be greater than "X" (plus long term consequences) for the math to work. If "Y" is substantial, the legal fight can be re-framed as an unfair burden, so there is now no need to fight the initial issue through the courts or endure cost "X".

but as a for-profit entity, it's a matter of financial math rather than "doing the right thing."

Yes and No, I think.

Yes, a for-profit company is generally required to act in the service of their "financial math". But nothing says they can only consider the immediate short-term (i.e. next quarter) for this math. That short-term-thinking-only is a relatively new concept and the smarter companies don't buy into it.

Consider all the money companies spend on political contributions, appointing former politicians to their board, and paid lobbying in Washington DC. There's usually not an immediate payoff expected for that. They just know it pays well in the long term to fertilize the field, so to speak.

The costs of a "protracted legal battle" are quite small when viewed from the perspective of Google, Facebook or Twitter. There's an argument there about small entities (which is why SLAPP statutes exist), but not here.

I mean, check revenue numbers on Chanel (Chanel!) vs. any of those giants. I don't think they're worried about being unfairly punished with legal fees.

In practice, you're right, but in theory, the law is supposed to be "fair" rather than based on your net-worth.

With this said, why should the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other other for-profit entities bear the costs of a protracted legal battle through the higher courts? Additionally, why should they bear the costs of compliance with the court orders?

They don't. That task falls upon the new administrators (ICE), just as it would fall upon you if you bought a competitor and wanted to power down their brand. Chanel's obligation to post a $20k bond is to cover the risk of an accidental infringement upon legitimate operations, a possible reversal if any defendants come forward and make a credible case (unlikely, but possible), or expenses incurred by the government in course of administering the shutdown of those internet entities that are infringing upon Chanel's brand.

What is the base for your unsupported assertion that the judge is a "dinosaur who know[s] nothing of technology policy"? If you had read the ruling, you'd have seen there's a lot of technical detail in it.

Plus, the article is probably also incorrect, see my comment below.

There's nothing about a person's willingness to take a meat-clever to the tech industry that inherently indicates he doesn't understand the tech industry. All he's saying is "my marshals can beat your technological imperative". That might be true, especially in the short run.

And talking about these types as ignorant is reassuring. But we shouldn't be reassured. There is no a-prior reason to expect we'll win here.

Your comment below: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3292687

It looks like you're wrong, though. See my response there.

I don't think it's wrong, or at least not for the reason you've mentioned.

What can be done is encouraging more engineers and scientists to run for offices in the United States Government.

The US electoral process is prejudiced against any candidate with skills other than "people skills." Anybody who campaigns on a platform even implying the advantage of intelligence will be cast as an elitist. Boom, campaign-headshot.

Sure, there are exceptions, and that guy is pretty low-level. My point is on the level of Mitt Romney's Mormonism: certain traits do not appear to be compatible with higher office (these days). Look at John Kerry's 2004 campaign for some examples of what I'm talking about.

China's leaders are engineers. It just helps them be more repressive. Rather than engineers, we need leaders who value liberty and want to reduce the size and scope of government.

The problem we have isn't that people in government aren't bright. They are. It's that they want government to solve too many problems.

When you have power, it's tempting to try to solve problems through imposition (by passing laws, e.g., network neutrality) rather than allow people to work out their differences peacefully (through the marketplace).

I like child labor laws. I like food safety laws (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle). I like my bank being separate from investment institutions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass%E2%80%93Steagall_Act). I also like education programs, fire departments, police, roads, etc. I pay a lot in taxes and want to keep all of these things (and really have stricter regulations in the banking system).

Our market isn't free enough, that's true, but having a totally free market tends to crush the lower class. A completely free market, after all, is like a force of nature and nature doesn't give a shit about people. I do give a shit about people and am happy to pay taxes to help those people.

Our system isn't perfect and there are a lot of problems with it, but I don't want it to go away completely.

I'm not sure if this was genuine, joking, or accidentally the result of a lack of study in political science and social relations, but let's be clear on this point:

People do not work out their differences through the marketplace.

The market is a social relation in which people are put to the task of serving the interest of capital—and capital alone.

What Americans call a democratic government is a minority ruling class serving the interests and goals of capital and the market, regardless what it costs the majority. The ruling class doesn't want government to solve too many problems—they want it to solve the problems of capital, allowing brief pauses only where the majority threatens capital's current relations as to necessitate throwing the majority a bone of reform to quiet things back down.

All that to say let's be careful thinking, much less suggesting, people work out differences in the marketplace. It's the wrong forum. Submitting our needs to the market is nothing more than offering those needs up for exploitation in the interest of financial returns.

The market will not solve this problem unless, and only if, it is found to threaten the interests of capital, diminishes surplus value, and then the government will back off. People need to stop believing that a government who exists to protect capital is going to defend the people against the loss of unprofitable or dangerous freedoms.

Want to get the government to make a change? Convince them this harms the market (well, that's the most cynical suggestion given the current state of things). Better yet? Subvert and support eliminating the power of the market itself to control government.

You're right "we need leaders who value liberty and want to reduce the size and scope of government." You're wrong suggesting this has anything at all to do with the marketplace. The market created the enormous edifice of governmental machinery we have today to protect itself. Government isn't the source of the problem. It's the servant, the tool, and the scapegoat.

>we need leaders

it is hardly possible to describe the root cause of the problem in less words than that.

What can be done is to educate people and engage in a discussion on what the proper role of the state should be. For many, the government should have little to no involvement in technological and economic matters and focus merely on the preservation of individual liberties - if this view continues to gain momentum issues such as these will become nonissues.

As somebody who works as an expert (I hate that word by the way, so I apologize) in the legal field, I can say this sentiment is pretty accurate. People think the that evil cabal of lawyers et al conspire against the little man to crush, oppress, and otherwise harm them through litigious means.

This is not the case per se.

There are lawyers filled with the utmost dickery, but that is not all of them. The fact of the matter is aformentioned dickerous individuals can take advantage of a system largely ill equipped to handle technology cases. Whether it be a jury that barely knows the difference between a hard drive to a floppy drive or a doddering, self-indulgent, and masturbatory judge--it's over their heads.

I do my "due diligence" to not contort facts and try to explain things as best as I can. But, despite my best efforts I always know that there will be some basic technical misunderstandings in the judges' opinion/ruling.

People keep trying to shoe-horn computer concepts into ancient, arcane notions they have about law and life in general. When nobody in the court room except the experts know what is going on technically--and admittedly are influenced by those that hire them (despite professional conduct), this essentially means whoever has the best narrative wins. Though, that fact might not be exclusive to computer-based cases.

People expect magic. Either you're talking them down about how these artifacts of X could mean Y but just because Z file i sin /home/bob doesn't necessarily mean it was Bob sitting at the terminal. Or, you get the other extreme, where you're defending yourself from an ignorant, nearly exceptional cavalcade of "How you can really know for sure?" type questions. And, of course, any expert if hired to do so can easily be that dick-for-hire.

I've had cases where I suspected the judge prolonged the costly trial simply to indulgent their whimsy. Oh, how fancy! You can pull up their deleted files and internet records? ENTERTAIN ME MORE!

I've had cases where I suspected the judge prolonged the costly trial simply to indulgent their whimsy. Oh, how fancy! You can pull up their deleted files and internet records? ENTERTAIN ME MORE!


But what. the fuck. do we do with these dinosaurs who know nothing of technology policy but have decided to go and make it anyway?

The same thing as all the folks who know nothing of legal procedure but have decided to go ahead and condemn it anyway? Sorry to be blunt, but I'm with zeteo in thinking that both Ars and the blogger they cite have misinterpreted this ruling, and in being disappointed at the lack of contextual information on how the law works in this area. This is no more an attack on the internet than impounding a criminal's car is an attack on the motor industry.

I disagree. To extend your analogy, it's like taking a sample of 300 cars, finding that 3 of them need impounding and then locking them all up, leaving the onus on the owner to go through the hassle of getting their car out if they weren't infringing.

And where are you getting this 1% number from? Why are you assuming a 99% false positive rate? It's not hard to identify bogus retailers in this case because luxury brands usually have direct contractual relations with retail partners rather than selling though wholesale channels. So if you see cheap stuff.com selling 'Chanel' merchandise and they're not on the list of authorized distributors, then by definition they're selling knockoffs.

> And where are you getting this 1% number from?

I would assume it's from this part of the article:

"How were the sites investigated? For the most recent batch of names, Chanel hired a Nevada investigator to order from three of the 228 sites in question. When the orders arrived, they were reviewed by a Chanel official and declared counterfeit."

It was closer to 1.3% if that makes you feel any better.

That doesn't speak to the point I made about distributor relationships. There's a reasonable presumption here that anyone selling such merchandise actually offering counterfeit goods because Chanel does not sell into the wholesale market.

It's also possible to sell second-hand goods.

That said, as I wrote elsewhere, the contention is not that they were wrong, only that they did not, in fact, check.

You're effectively asking that conviction precede an arrest, albeit in relation to a website rather than a person. That's not how things work; a strong showing of probable cause is sufficient to act, and the complainant is bonded against the possibility of misidentification. That's only $20,000 per claim of infringement, but when you think about it that adds up to a total of over $6 million that Chanel has paid over to the court as surety that it is acting in good faith. In other words, the company is literally putting its money where its mouth is, and will lose some or all of that money to the extent that its allegations are inaccurate.

I don't think that asking for evidence to back up accusations is the same as having conviction precede arrest. And I still don't know how the counterfeit products ordered from three of the sites constitute evidence against the two hundred something others.

Perhaps the only thing that would help me understand would be if there was evidence unknown to me linking all the sites to the same group. Something like that would make the case far more comprehensible.

Faulty logic.

I'm not on the list of authorized distributors.

I can sell a shit ton of Chanel merchandise.

There is no definition of anything at all here that means I am selling knockoffs.

I'm not on the list of authorized distributors. I can sell a shit ton of Chanel merchandise.

How? According to Chanel's corporate website, they only sell through their own boutiques and authorized retail partners. This is known as a selective distribution agreement, and here is a 2008 report on internet sales models (prepared for Chanel) which articulates the differences from normal wholesale-retail models: http://www.crai.com/ecp/assets/Selective_distribution_Caffar...

My whole point is that no, you can't just go into business as a Chanel retailer, and you'll find the same is true for Hermes, LV, and a variety of other luxury brands. A great many high-value manufacturers make use of selective or exclusive distribution agreements to maintain price discrimination and market positioning for their brand across a global market.

Oh, I'm quite familiar with sales models, and they don't really matter much here. Authorized distribution is a glorified honor system.

I can buy Chanel, Hermes, LV, or other luxury products and resell them at any super-low, cheap-as-dirt price I wish. There is no arrangement in which you can determine "by definition" that the products I'm selling at a ridiculously low rate are knockoffs.

I could be a moron business person and lose my ass. I could have decided to violate my retail agreement and do what I wish. I could have received a box of the stuff from a friend & resell it for $20 a pop. I could have stolen a shipment of goods or procured them in some other non-authorized fashion and yet still be selling, by definition, the genuine article.

I was taking issue with the erroneous assertion one could tell, by definition, that a cheap luxury product was a knockoff. There is no way to reliably determine by price alone. A dirt-cheap luxury good can certainly heighten one's suspicions of its authenticity, but the price alone is no defining factor in judging a knockoff from the real thing.

...which is why the manufacturer has had to put up a $20,000 bond for each website it alleges in selling counterfeit goods, lest some of the operators contest this determination and come to court with evidence that they are actually legitimate purveyors of used goods. I have a strong hunch that they won't have to pay out on those bonds.

I could be a moron business person and lose my ass. I could have decided to violate my retail agreement and do what I wish. I could have received a box of the stuff from a friend & resell it for $20 a pop.

Of course you could, but the probability that you actually are is sufficiently remote to be set aside. In the unlikely event that such a claim turns out to be true, you'll be compensated.

I could have stolen a shipment of goods or procured them in some other non-authorized fashion and yet still be selling, by definition, the genuine article.

Insofar as you are marketing and selling to Us customers from a US-registered website, that in itself would be sufficient justification to shut your website down. Convicting someone requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but putting a halt to self-evidently criminal activity does not.

We make clear and take advantage of their position that there is no "right to access" nor "property" as traditionally defined, on the net. We do this by "disconnecting" them. No technical support. Their ISP's free to discontinue service to / their business relationship with them.

Cut them off.

Practically, this probably won't happen -- and there would always be sell-outs raising the question of additional actions/escalation against them. But, fundamentally, this is how I see it. Their own arguments admit our ability to exclude them. And we should -- "route around the damage", and all that.

Mind you, in the above, I'm not advocating anything patently illegal. I'm not talking about "hacking (cracking)" their systems, nor DoS-ing them, etc. Just, don't do business with them, and don't support them. Shun them.

Start over on Mars

Kim Stanley Robinson fan?

the tech/science community is the most able body of people in the country. I'm sure if there coordinated effort was made, it could put technologists in every office in the country.

the most able body of people in the country

Most able at what? Most people who are in elected office, or who have been in elected office, have a certain repertoire of skills in getting along with other people and in keeping track of mutual obligations that helps make the political process work. Some scientists or engineers who become politicians








have had some degree of those skills, and some people with other academic degrees have gained understanding of how science relates to public policy.


But scientists and engineers are still fallible human beings,


and the political process will still come under influence of concentrated interest groups


regardless of which people fill the offices.

Of course, if a technologist tries to get elected on his own, he won't win because he isn't a natural politician. What I'm saying, with all the talent that exists in this the sceience/engineering/programming community, if they organized, built software systems and mathematical models etc, I believe they could get "their man/woman" in every office in the country.

Did you miss tokenadult's list of many technologist politicians? Also, http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Biss

Vote them out.

You would need to vote out the system of government that is implemented in the US. But the US political bureaucracy is itself reinforced by its deep rooted opposition to all other forms of government. Most US political leaders would rather see the US government collapse completely than fall to socialsim.

What we need is competition. There needs to be a viable alternative to the US government. Small policy changes or people changes or party changes will not be sufficient. Big changes will not happen without outside competition.

Someday, some country is going to recognize that supporting free culture can be a huge competitive advantage. I would like to live in that country. I'd take a pay cut to move there. I think many would found businesses there. This will pressure the US (and others) to adopt changes.

However, if I am honest with myself, I don't think reactionary changes - the only improvements that will be made - will satisfy. I think we're all waiting for someone to step up and provide a viable alternative - a place more friendly to the 21st century. I'd love to help, but I'm not certain where to start. Many software companies might thrive in less copyright and patent friendly territories. Perhaps, at some point, one will step up and launch a government competitor. But that's probably not going to happen.

Seems more likely that some countries will recognize this opportunity and there will be a slow immigration of us Internet folks to this new promised land. Anyone else have a vision for how this will end?

There needs to be a viable alternative to the US government

You mean other countries? Yes there is a world outside the USA.

I'm not certain where to start

Move to a country which you like?

somebody smart said that it isn't that new ideas win, it is a new generation accepting the new ideas replaces the old generation. Couple generations later (i'll be in my 70-80ies :) when current teenagers will be the judges, DAs, ... the issue of IP just willn't be an issue anymore.

Sigh, don't panic, the system will work, just legislative time is not internet time. As far as I can tell by reading the order [1] the order is temporary, and as its from a district judge [2] really only holds for Nevada at the moment. If it gets to the appeals process and the circuit court upholds it, it will apply more broadly, up to the supreme court where it will apply to the US as a whole. However what that means with regard to Chanel I'm not sure as it really only means that from within the US are these things outlawed.

But having such cases is useful because it gives the system something on which to chew, and then publish opinions (not all cases get published opinions) which set case law. So the good news might be that it gets to the circuit court which then has a chance to publish an opinion that our courts can't make these kinds of claims, and that gets upheld in the Supreme court and life is better because all the judges have to follow along.

The system is cranky, and obtuse at times, but its remarkably resilient in the face of unexpected challenges.

That being said, for the folks who are complaining about the institutions in the US being subverted, I point out that nearly all the elections in this country are won or lost by at most a 10% difference in votes. Further, in general more than 20% of the registered voters don't even bother to vote. So one could argue that if 20% of the 99% really cared about stuff they could actully vote in whomever they chose to vote in and no amount of money, croniesim, or stupidity on the part of the voters who are being lead around by their noses could stop them. The math says it is impossible (short of fraud) but fraud on that scale is really really hard to cover up.

[1] http://servingnotice.com/sdv/038%20-%20Order%20Granting%20Se...

[2] Federal courts have 89 districts, feeding into 13 circut courts, feeding into the supreme court. http://www.uscourts.gov/Common/FAQS.aspx

It's very unlikely that this article is correct. Here is the legal ruling:


This is a temporary restraining order. Chanel is posting a bond for any damages to the defendants, should the trial prove them innocent.

Regarding de-indexing, there is only one paragraph (10) which says the domains "shall immediately be de-indexed and/or removed", without specifying who will do this action. This is vague, but I don't think it can be interpreted as an order to Google / FB because:

- the list of search engines / social sites is open ended

- the previous paragraphs require actions by the plaintiff or by the defendants (e.g. preserve computer files). Among others, paragraph (8) states that the plaintiff can use Google Webmaster Tools on these domains.

- the (temporary) transfer of DNS records is specified in small technical details (including multiple technical solutions for the redirection involved) in multiple paragraphs, while this arguably much more complex requirement receives minimum treatment.

While the language is indeed a bit vague in paragraph (10), I think consideration of all these factors seems to indicate it is the plaintiff and the defendants who are to take action to see the sites de-indexed (using, e.g., Google Webmaster Tools) and not the indexing companies.

Right, so couldn't this order more resonably be interpreted by saying the web sites need to post no-robots in their meta info to delist themselves rather than Google having to do it?

More like, stop having yourself indexed rather than de-indexing.


The november 14 order mentioned in the article (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/73773870/Chanel-Inc-v-Does-11-Cv-0... ) contains the following text (on page 11):

(10) The Group II Subject Domain Names shall immediately be de-indexed and/or removed from any search result pages of all Internet search engines including, but not limited to, Google, Bing and Yahoo, and all social media websites including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter ...

Looks like Ars got it right.

Umm the date on my link is November 14th. It's the same thing, except I'm linking to the original PDF and you're linking to the Scribd version.

Have you read the details in the post you're replying to? It's exactly about the paragraph (10) that you're quoting.

Did you even read the post you're responding to?

So if I decide to sell my wife's (imaginary) 3 tons of Chanel goods, and open a site called chanel-goods-for-cheap, odds are my site gets lifted and I become a part of this action no matter whether I am selling counterfeit goods or not, right?

I agree with the attorney. Why get upset about SOPA? They can screw you over just the same way today without all the extra laws.

This will eventually reach the point, if left unchecked, where large corporations will completely own all of their internet distribution channels -- resale, wholesale, damaged goods, you name it. If it's got "Brand X" as part of the offering, folks over at Brand X are going to want to control it.

I really hate the fact that so many of these stories remind me of people running around waving their arms with their heads on fire. It's always the end of western civilization as we know it. But damn it, the problem is that there are many separate issues where there are real threats to common sense and to liberty. It's like living in a town where several large buildings are on fire. Being alarmed seems appropriate, but why bother? The whole place is hosed.

Please read the article and stop spreading false information. It doesn't help.

Obviously the court's decision sets an awful precedent. But the third paragraph clearly states that Chanel checked that the sites were actually selling counterfeit goods. So your analogy doesn't work.

As I understood the article, there was an open order that Chanel simply stuffed websites into. I'm not sure exactly what the qualifications of a "anti-counterfeiting specialist" are, but it certainly doesn't involve judicial review. From the article:

The case has been a remarkable one. Concerned about counterfeiting, Chanel has filed a joint suit in Nevada against nearly 700 domain names that appear to have nothing in common. When Chanel finds more names, it simply uses the same case and files new requests for more seizures. (A recent November 14 order went after an additional 228 sites; none had a chance to contest the request until after it was approved and the names had been seized.)

How were the sites investigated? For the most recent batch of names, Chanel hired a Nevada investigator to order from three of the 228 sites in question. When the orders arrived, they were reviewed by a Chanel official and declared counterfeit. The other 225 sites were seized based on a Chanel anti-counterfeiting specialist browsing the Web.

I'm not sure how that can be misconstrued. Chanel pays an expert who puts together a list and they are automatically banned. Each site can then, and only then, try to get some review. Chanel picks and chooses who to take sites away from, then the site owners -- if they have the resources -- can try to get things sorted out. Seems pretty straightforward to me (if completely whacked) Yes, I extrapolate that situation into the future, but that's the purpose of commentary: to use analogy and extrapolation to show facets of the article that aren't immediately apparent to the reader. I never said that brands own the internet now. I simply said that if things keep going this way, this is where we are going to end up.

> But the third paragraph clearly states that Chanel checked that the sites were actually selling counterfeit goods.

For 3 of the 228 sites, yes. That's about 1.3% of them.

They're probably right about them selling knock-offs, but they didn't check most of them. They're also bending the joinder rules in a way similar to certain copyright plaintiffs who had their cases severed for misjoinder. That said, there seem to be quite a few judges willing to bend those rules, too.

Reading this order: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73773870/Chanel-Inc-v-Does-11-Cv-0... I wonder who is responsible for de-indexing and/or removing the domain names?

Other points begin with "Plaintiffs shall...", "Defendants shall...", but in this point there's no party stated that must do the action:

"The Group II Subject Domain Names shall immediately be de-indexed and/or removed from any search results pages of all Internet search engines including, but not limited to, Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and all social media websites including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter until otherwise instructed by this Court or Plaintiff that any such domain name is authorized to be reinstated, at which time it shall be reinstated to its former status within each search engine index from which it was removed."

IANAL, but isn't this outside the court's scope of authority, as many (most?) aren't parties to the case? As I understand the role of judicial review and precedent, I don't see how a party not associated with a case can be compelled to do anything without a due process opportunity.

Do you think they will resist the order in this case? Why or why not?

I'm pretty sure they will do what their lawyers tell them the judge had the authority to do. If the judge does not have this authority, their lawyers will tell them to ignore it. If they judge does, they will tell them to obey it.

Sigh. This is pretty much a classic case of "THE INTERNET IS NEW AND SCARY".

Assuming that Charnel's claims are accurate(that counterfeit goods were being sold), then the standard procedure 20 years ago would have been to work with law enforcement and the courts. If the defendants were found guilty, the counterfeit goods would be seized and profits off of them would be awarded to Charnel. With the invention of the Internet, the exact same thing should have happened. Charnel should have worked with law enforcement and the courts, and if the defendants were found guilty, the goods should have been seized, and the story should have ended. In either case, it would take a while(especially if the shops were in countries that had very lax copyright laws), but there should not have been really any difference between now and 20 years ago.

Only in this case, the judge, in his infinite wisdom, went the "OMG INTERNET IS NEW AND SCARY" route, and decided to just remove the sites from indexes. Aside from the fact that this doesn't actually fix the problem(hello, eBay), this is a pretty new(and dumb) "solution" to a pretty settled problem.

How can a judge possibly be so daft as to put a judgement against companies not even party to the lawsuit?

If we find out these counterfeit goods are also coming over from China, should we tell UPS and FedEx they can no longer fly planes out of there?

So should they still comply with the order? Why or why not?

Why not issue an injunction to US-based ISP's or even IXP's to filter the IP addresses these domains point to, or even whole address blocks? Do you think they would comply?

nitpick: both spellings are accepted

It's counterintuitive, but things like this are actually good. We need more of them to happen, and for it to affect more people more often.

Right now the core of the internet is broken from a security perspective. DNS[1], BGP[2], and SSL[3], despite being key to daily internet function, are all completely inadequate for the important role the internet now plays in the world and society. The thing is: right now they all work, almost all of the time. Any change will be really painful. Even incremental changes like DNSSEC see scant adoption[4] and obviously needed changes like IPv6 are put off until the last possible second[5].

We need things to break before we'll see real change. And by break I mean really break. When enough money is lost because of meddlesome, malicious, or ignorant government and other intervention, we'll finally see real change. But not one second before. After all, if it works, don't fix it[6].

If you really want to see change, exploit these laws to take down legitimate and government websites. Post infringing links, ideas, etc, in the most visible places you can. Try to get major news and other sites that allow user generated content taken down. In the process you'll hopefully break things for enough people that we see change, or you'll at least demonstrate how blatantly inequitable most of these laws are. Both are good steps toward real change.

[1] http://www.dnssec.net/dns-threats

[2] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4272.txt

[3] http://www.darkreading.com/taxonomy/index/printarticle/id/23...

[4] http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110330006919/en/IID-...

[5] http://ripe59.ripe.net/presentations/botterman-v6-survey.pdf

[6] Yes, I know it doesn't technically work in all cases right now, but did you notice when any of these sites went offline? I didn't. I see an increasing frequency of these types of reports, but have yet to be personally affected.

I find Venkat Balasubramani's post linked to at the end of that article worth reading in full: http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/11/court_oks_priva...

Is there really infrastructure available for this yet? Also "All Internet search engines"... Possibly the judge underestimates how many there are out there who will never even hear of this ruling without horrible SOPA legislature and infrastructure in place. Till then they can't seriously expect random search engine in my bedroom to track all legal rulings in this space. This is fantastically impossible.

And it raises the point of how tricky it will be to even suggest enforcing SOPA with out providing massive centralized services listing blocked sites etc.

I'm totally against the idea to begin with, but wouldn't it just be easier to seize the domains and have them redirect to the "proper" site? Why get the search engines involved at all?

On a related note, does it become in the social/search/social search giants' interest to take on the cases and attempt to overturn these decisions at some point? It would provide better results, for one, as well as lessen the technical burden of suppressing these sites.

I expect that the times we live in are ultimately going to be a "trial by fire" for the tech industry. The result, I think, is probably that Google, Facebook, etc. conduct extensive lobbying, and other massive PR operations, to gain the support of both users and government officials. For the companies of the future though, this is probably great: a Congress where the size, economic impact and mindshare of tech is noted, and laws are passed accordingly.

It is possible with Google to de-index websites. Look up Google chilling effects warnings. The judge can take it to mean that any search engines not complying are in contempt.

I'm no lawyer, but to be held in contempt of a court order, don't you actually have to be specifically named in the court order and notified of it?

Which now means with out central infrastructure, it's going to be mighty challenging for any new search start ups to not get sued in the states

Does anyone know how this is handled at Google with their different data centers i.e. are the sites going to be indexed in the UK version?

There is a strong need to keep a very public list of every host that is blocked in this way, so we can keep track of what's being censored. Has anyone set up a wiki or something similar for this purpose yet?

Even if some of these websites sell fake/counterfit goods, they should only be taken out of the ads. Otherwise we are starting a trend of black-listing website once again. This could be another seedpoint for the freedom of speech and firewall-of-america discussion which was raised with SOPA

Facebook? Twitter? De-index? It sounds to me like the judge doesn't know much of what he's talking about. Taking down the companies and their assets I'm all for, but de-indexing them from search results seems a little bit unnecessary, especially since they'll go away on their own once the domains are dead.

Not to be overly political, but:

This is what you get when you support a modern liberal state. It's always going to over-extend and over-regulate, because that's just the way the bureaucracy works - it's preserving itself by always finding new areas of society and the economy that "just have to be regulated for the common good".

It's a matter of basic principles, really. It's just never going to end unless you stand up for individual freedoms and very limited powers of the state.

This is such nonsense.

This is what you get when you support markets and capital over people.

You NEED a government to regulate for the common good, or else your individual freedoms will be happily dispensed with by the market as it seeks to further extract additional surplus value from your labor and profit as much as it can from your existence. The market is a greedy bitch and does not care about your freedom. Limited powers of the state mean you will take on the market yourself. You will lose everything.

Overextend != over-regulate. The former is the action of the ruling class on behalf of the market to protect capital and increase its spheres of influence. The latter is the action of the ruling class attempting to placate the people, sanctioned for a time by the market so as to bide time until the people forget why the regulation was created in the first place (so a couple generatons later, the capitalists can spin a yarn that the regulation should go and nobody knows any longer how royally they fucked things up to necessitate the regulation in the first place).

What if they had regulations limiting the judges oversight? What if there was a regulation that restricted evidence accepted from corporations? What if there was a regulation that allowed for some kind of process of appeal in these situations?

You appear to be forcing your black and white political ideals onto something that is a little more complex that "Regulation Bad! Market Good!"

This is not complex at all. As long as new legislation concerning formerly unregulated areas of life is as easily introduced as today, and politics having as close a connection with money as it has, this is just not going to end, ever.

Good luck fighting the good fight, you're going to need it. The problem is a few meta-levels above.

If it's only a liberal thing, then why was the bill submitted with bipartisan support?

There is no difference between US political parties as far as being in favor of regulating areas of society and life is concerned.

So why the talk of a liberal state? America is far more conservative overall than, for example, most Western European countries.

People who still believe in politics in the US tend to attach themselves to "liberal" or "conservative" and use the other one as a pejorative. Neither term has a very well defined meaning, other than for a few select issues like, say, gay marriage.

> Neither term has a very well defined meaning, other than for a few select issues like, say, gay marriage.

Not really. I'm conservative in that I don't think that being radical will ever help your cause (see the French Revolution). I'm liberal in that I think people should be able to do whatever the hell they want with their lives (i.e., classical liberalism. It follows that I don't support excessive government interference, regulation, or social programs, so I wouldn't go on about being liberal, as that's what the U.S. Democrats have used to describe their platform (which isn't liberal in the traditional sense).

For the record, the government doesn't need to regulate marriage whatsoever. Obviously they want to know for tax purposes, but they shouldn't care about the genders of the people involved. Churches can say whatever they want about marriage, I don't really care, and I don't think gay people do either.

So which label do you want to attach to me?

So which label do you want to attach to me?

Independent thinker.

Note that in each of your uses of the terms L & C, you had to qualify them with a specific context. In each of those contexts, there's someone else who might use the term differently but sensibly. E.g., "radical conservatism", "contemporary liberalism".

My point being that the terms L & C are not by themselves sufficient to communicate intelligently, so when you hear them used without supporting context, the speaker is often not working from a solid logical basis.

Because the progressives won with FDR. Both parties are socialist now. Both are in favor of expanding the reach of the state in the market. We gave away the cake long ago and argue over the crumbs.

> This is what you get when you support a modern liberal state.


"All search engines and social media sites" - hehe, I can imagine the dialog: - But your Honor, they're based in another country! - I don't care if they're from Florida, they will remove the site or else!

But seriously, the Judge may be just as tired of it as we are, and just made a quick ruling to please Chanel, at least for another month or so...

Or he believed there were new laws coming, or the issue as a whole was over his head, he's just punting this up to some higher courts.

I'm curious, how are there not "offshore" domains yet, much in the same fashion there of offshore shell corporations for tax havens? Somebody tether me a server farm in the middle of the Atlantic, and tap on into the cables down below or something. Heck, got your water cooled farm right there. All jesting aside though, does anyone think domains name registration is going to start soaring in other countries because of all this bickering going on lately? I see business models waiting to be found here.

Because ICANN is still governed by US rules, and while it would probably cause a LOT of damage they could seize any domain they wanted since they own the root DNS servers.

To all the people suggesting we approach this and other political problems from a technological/engineering perspective: how do you think it could be pulled off?

Put aside all the technical limitations - they can (have been or will be) solved. The real question is adoption. What's a darknet without Facebook, Google, etc. worth? Who will use it? There are already countless projects implementing parts of suggested darknets, some of them very cleverly. They've been around for literally decades. None of them are perfect, but they're not so fatally flawed either.

The fact of the matter is, the internet is one big, huge de facto standard. No one will use your pet project. No one will look at it. People would far rather shoehorn or build on top of existing infrastructure (thereby being bound to the limitations of the underlying architecture and design requirements).

Just look at IPv6. It's a new technology with the full force of all the giants in the industry.... and it hasn't gone anywhere.

Actually, IPv6 would have been a good place to add the support for decentralized everything, as it is pretty much the only "authoritive" replacement for the current generation of technology. But it doesn't and it's not.

You can build it, they won't come. History proves it.

> Just look at IPv6. It's a new technology with the full force of all the giants in the industry.... and it hasn't gone anywhere.

One of my VPS providers recently started offering IPv6 addresses to all customers. Linode is starting to roll it out too. My residential ISP doesn't offer anything natively, but the router they provided lets me set up a 6to4 tunnel in a couple clicks, which automagically gives all my devices an address starting with 2002::/16. I can even go to ipv6.google.com on my iPad with no extra configuration.

Progress is slow, but it's hardly stagnant. A few months ago, I didn't have any of that. Ancient infrastructure is gradually being replaced by necessity, and then it's just a matter of configuration.

I'm waiting for the day that a 15 year old files a patent on a new style of Capri's and ends up owning Levi, Wrangler, etc. for selling counterfeit products.

Oh wait, that would never happen. (Incidentally in about 98, before capri's got fashionable again, my friend took to folding and stitching her jeans, in a few weeks all the girls were doing it throughout the summer; about 4 years later she was pissed when Levi and Wrangler jeans started selling them, manufactured from regular jeans and stitched almost identically)

I dislike the whole anti-counterfeit programs because companies want you to spend $2000 for a leather bag with their name on it, but the bag is only really worth $20. They're not even complaining that you're not willing to pay for it (like pirating a movie), they're complaining because you're unwilling to spend a massively unreasonable amount on it.

There's no reason to target the counterfeitters as they're not hurting your business model. They're selling to people who know they're getting ripped off, but Gucci and what not are selling it to rich idiots who don't know they're getting ripped off.

"I dislike the whole anti-counterfeit programs because companies want you to spend $2000 for a leather bag with their name on it, but the bag is only really worth $20. They're not even complaining that you're not willing to pay for it (like pirating a movie), they're complaining because you're unwilling to spend a massively unreasonable amount on it."

This just isn't true. Many times, the $20 bag uses inferior materials and doesn't go through the quality checks of the bigger companies. It's also about brand name. Some brands are worth more than others.

"There's no reason to target the counterfeitters as they're not hurting your business model. They're selling to people who know they're getting ripped off, but Gucci and what not are selling it to rich idiots who don't know they're getting ripped off."

It does hurt their business model. There are many people selling counterfeits as the original. If the company does nothing about it, people will not only expect to get it at the cheaper price in the future, but will complain if the quality sucks or it falls apart after a few weeks of use, which will hurt the companies image.

You can't copyright or trademark a fashion pattern, like your friend's jeans.

Fake products using a trademarked name is a different matter-- they are of inferior quality, and widespread distribution seriously damages the legitimate brand.

Yes, the name ripping is their right to enforce, however the big brands also prevent knockoffs and imitations from being sold in major stores for threat of pulling everything with their name on it if the store stocks similar-look products.

The problem here is the judge, not necessarily Chanel. There’s a number of interesting quirks about the fashion industry that may make you more sympathetic of their tactics.

First, fashion designs are not only un-patentable, but they can’t even be copyrighted. Think about that for a second: if you design a piece of clothing, it’s not your design—anybody can simply start creating and selling exact copies and there is nothing you can do legally to stop them. If you write a book, record a piece of music, make a movie, take a photograph, paint a painting, or write a piece of software, your creative expression is protected by copyright and nobody can copy the form of what you’ve done. This is not true for fashion designs.

People routinely criticize luxury goods for being emblazoned with logos, and I often hear geeks put down consumers of luxury goods for being stupid enough to buy things with someone’s logo all over it. But given the complete lack of legal protection afforded to the designers, the logos in part came about so that the products could be protected under trademark law instead: they’ve got logos all over them because there’s no other good, reliable way to protect their work from being knocked off!

Incidentally, another thing I often hear professed snickeringly as proof of the triviality of fashion is the fact that trends change so quickly—new designs are pushed out many times a year and maintaining a highly fashionable wardrobe is like trying to stand on quicksand. This, again, isn’t necessarily for any insidious reason or because consumers are stupid—it’s simply because the good designs are knocked off almost immediately and unless new ones are pushed out constantly it’s difficult to, in the consumer’s mind, differentiate oneself from and stay ahead of the copiers.

But even if the above weren’t true, most luxury goods are qualitatively better products anyways. They’re better made and better designed. I knew someone once who had a Louis Vuitton wallet that their mother had handed down to them, originally purchased in the 60s, that was still in 100% perfect condition after constant use fifty years later. Take a look at your wallet and think about whether you expect it to be in one piece fifty years from now.

A Chanel suit is made with a hell of a lot more than $20 worth of materials and time, but even if it weren’t it’s irrelevant. Everyone here A/B testing their SaaS apps at wildly different price points should know it’s meaningless what the marginal cost of the goods are—what matters is how much you can sell them for to maximize profit.

Second, designing clothes in actuality takes a lot of money and time. Fabric is, relatively speaking, an incredibly expensive raw material in and of itself, but on top of that is the fact that it’s bulky, produced overseas, and needs to be shipped around the world multiple times—from the mills to the factories to the retail floors. It costs a mind boggling amount of money simply to ship samples of fabric from the mills to the design studios alone. Then add in the fact that every piece of clothing you wear is not sewn together by robots, but by human laborers.

Given the inherent difficulties, I really can’t blame luxury goods makers for the very brilliant and successful legal and sales tactics they employ in order to make a business out of it. It’s really no different from what 37signals has done, except that doing it with a physical product is a lot harder. You write software: there is no physical overhead and everything you create belongs to you. Fashion is very different. Given the lack of legal protections for their products the fashion industry makes for an interesting petri dish for what repercussions we might see if software or other patents were abolished.

Its backward decisions like this which make me want to make sure that future ventures are not using a domain with a US registrar. I would go further and say its decisions like this which make we want to avoid dealing with any business in the states at all.

The thing of most concern isn't the seizures themselves. It is the lack of due process. The litigant finds 3 websites from 228 are selling counterfeit goods. The litigant says the other 225 are also selling counterfeit goods.. the judge takes their word. Websites disappear!?

I don't have a problem with counterfeit websites being taken offline. They can ship goods which are dangerous to the public. What I have a problem with is the lack of due process and the ordering of international websites which everyone depends on to press the delete button also.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the lack of influence Silicon Valley apparently has on US law. The western world's internet is dominated by US tech giants. Yet US law seems to be moving against the tech sector. I say its about time Silicon Valley started lobbying Washington.

As the article demonstrates, why wait for SOPA?

When the kindle fire comes out and it's not available in Canada, it drives me crazy. When I had to wait years before Netflix was available in Canada I was really mad. When Apple launched iTunes music, the iPhone, TV shows and Movies in the US only I actually illegally obtained a US itunes account.

It sucks living in Canada. Most days. Not today.

I don't think judges should be able to order unreasonable things like this one. From article it shows that they don't even have proof that some of the sites have done anything illegal. I understand Channel and sympathize with them, but this judge should never be able to order something like this.

Well, at least DuckDuckGo wasn't named in the court order.

I think the appropriate (humorous) response would be to de-index federal government websites, or websites which were pro-SOPA, or refuse to provide services the judge, or those who work with him, use.

After all, it's aiding and abetting someone who's not acting in their interests ...

I liked the use of the "whack a mole" analogy. Here (for those who don't know) is how this industrial-scale counterfeiting scam works:

1. Set up OSCommerce or Magento site with design roughly copied from legit rights owner. 2. Get local 'middleman' to donate paypal account in return for small cut 3. Buy a bucket load of adwords 4. Run massive scale xrumer / scrapebox / etc 'SEO' campaign 5. Repeat thousands of times over

Getting domains de-indexed via the DMCA process on Google, never mind taking after-the-fact legal action, is just treating the symptoms.

Given that Paypal and Google are at the forefront of this issue, they are where the responsibility lies in terms of preventing the sites from transacting: by denying them a payment method and heaps of traffic respectively. I am sure that both companies are working hard on this issue, but having looked at the problem over the past couple of years, it hasn't always seemed to be that much of a priority.

Beyond that it is basically a question of international trade treaties and better local law enforcement in the territories where the offenders operate (predominately China) - i.e. NOT an easy fix.

You can understand the frustration of rights owners who are obviously going to take every opportunity to use legal action domestically. If they get a fairly tech illiterate decision in their favour that has potential dangerous consequences for the internet at large, then this is as much because they are just swinging at everything (back to those moles) than any great desire on their part to restrict legitimate rights and freedoms.

Finally, it is important to realise that this is not a victimless crime. What brought this home to me was a few years back when I overheard a nurse in the neonatal unit my son was being looked after in at the time excitedly talking about a pair of brand name boots she'd bought on the internet.

I realised that she had absolutely no clue they were fake because why should she? She had found the legitimate-looking site on the first page of Google and had paid with Paypal.

This was not a transaction carried out 'out the back of a van', where caveat emptor might more readily apply. A lot (majority?) of consumers don't realise that for all the brand loyality they might have in respect of Google and Paypal, etc^, they are services that are easily misused by unrelated third parties and so should not be taken as any sort of 'trust mark' in they way that shopping in large well-known department store does.

^Amazon and eBay deserve honourable mentions as being popular conduits for counterfeit scams too (although eBay in particular deserves a lot of credit for taking the subject more seriously than most).

Finally, it is important to realise that this is not a victimless crime. What brought this home to me was a few years back when I overheard a nurse [] excitedly talking about a pair of brand name boots she'd bought on the internet.

"Hardworking baby nurse falls for scam on the internet."

ZOMG That's one of the stupidest justifications for fucking up DNS and censoring the Internet that I've ever heard.

A lot (majority?) of consumers don't realise that for all the brand loyality they might have in respect of Google and Paypal, etc^, they are services that are easily misused by unrelated third parties and so should not be taken as any sort of 'trust mark' in they way that shopping in large well-known department store does.

The nurse controlling your preemie's heart rate monitor is too stupid to know the difference between Google and Nordstrom's.

Oh give me a fucking break.

I had a preemie too. Those nurses are all sharp as tacks. She knew exactly what she was doing.

Read the comment again dude. Never suggested that this (or similar) judgements are worth it. Also, I asked her, she didn't. Nor do the hundreds of thousands of other people who fall for these scams. Fact is though, unless the tech companies that are de facto facilitating these scams don't become better at preventing them, these judgements (and the sort of scary legislation that get proposed to deal with it) will become more common.

I asked her, she didn't.

If the cheaper one has nearly all the same physical properties and a vastly better price, she didn't care very much if it was a "genuine" article. Nurses are very utilitarian.

Now you can believe that is a good way or a bad way to think, but it's not a problem that's going to be significantly improved by having the legal system DNS-jacking .com and trying to censor the internet.

tech companies that are de facto facilitating these scams

As if there were no scams before the "tech companies" came along to facilitate them.

Yes, there probably are businesses and business models that are threatened by a post-information-scarcity world. But whole societies are threatened by censorship.

But, more immediately and directly, the security of critical infrastructure like DNS (and our networks that depend on it) is threatened by these attempts to kink around with it.

Just out of curiosity, were Google to simply not comply with this ridiculous abortion of justice, what would be the result? Could Google appeal any sanctions imposed as a result of their non-compliance?

What a mess.

IANAL, but it's unimaginable that Google, Twitter, Facebook, et al. would somehow be compelled by this with no possibility of appeal.

That kind of law hasn't passed yet.

Picketing around the Google search box doesn't seem like the way to fight counterfeiters, but I symphatise with Chanel on this. What would the ideal solution be?

The ideal solution would be to seize the domains/servers/property of counterfeiters where legally allowable (i.e., in the U.S.). Where the U.S. has no jurisdiction (China, where the bags are likely made) they can follow the procedures of China. Unfortunately for Chanel, China doesn't seem to give 2 shits about people making similar-looking bags.

hire more seo's. in the pre-internet days they hire more marketers/distributors, in the internet age they need seo;s

Let me be the devil's advocate here. If the pricing is more for the exclusivity than its utility, you could argue that counterfeiting diminishes the brand. And while it isn't the general opinion, it is a fair argument.

Isn't this case similar to a DMCA takedown notice? IMO DMCA take-down notices make sense; it puts the onus on the content owner to correctly identify infringement and report to the website. (OTOH, SOPA is ridiculous.)

"poshmoda.ws" has a hidden domain owner. But the "toll free" phone number on their shows the obvious +86... Chinese copycat.

While I don't approve the methods they use to go after the Chinese copy industry, I also dislike a lot how China has built a huge industry that just profits of the good names Western companies have built up over decades, sometimes centuries of reliable products.

The Chinise gov't is no help here either. So, what do?

This is why we need more software engineers in the US. If we have people with law AND engineering backgrounds making policy, we would see a system much more rational/practical/just toward new technology. These types of issues only occur because current policy makers have little understanding of the consequences of their own actions (or perhaps they don't care.

Why does Google/Facebook have to de-index? Its their site and they have right to do whatever they want. If Chanel has issues with counterfeits , they have to deal with that themselves ,petition with ICANN but not asking Google to de-index. I dont get why these people take everything for granted and think as if Google is doing some public service.

how it was managed before the Internet? Did they order to blacken specific phone number(s) in all instances of yellow books?

As a non-US-citizen I honestly don't see any major problem with that. com/net/org domains are handled by US companies and it's therefore clear for me that they fall under US jursidiction. If I want a domain that the US cannot take away from me I just get one under a local TLD (which the US does not have access to).

Practically, this ruling won't have much effect. There's a team of people at Google already dedicated to removing results like these from the index, as they aren't that great for users. Any counterfeit goods site with enough SERP already gets on their radar, and gets removed/demoted, without action from Us courts.

No, practically, this ruling has a lot of effect. It establishes precedent for the courts being able to declare a web address illegal to publish. The judge effectively ordered that the website be scrubbed clean from the internet, and failure to do so could be construed as contempt.

He has declared that it is illegal to "say" those words on the internet. Besides being a gross violation of the First Amendment, letting this ruling stand would open the door for people to leverage this precedent against other "undesirables".

Where's the oversight? Where's the appeal process? Who's deciding whether or not the evidence is solid enough to de-index a site? What about outlets that got dodgy handbags from their supplier amongst legitimate merhandise?

The precedent here is terrifying. They're shutting down entire businesses on some private dick's say so.

Why can't these companies simply give a unique ID to each item they sell and allow owners to register them online, just like the DMV with cars. In this way you will know what is fake, who bought what, ownership exchange etc...

That would solve the problem of people accidentally buying fake Chanel products. Is that really what Chanel is concerned about here? When I first read this article, I assumed that Chanel was trying to cut down on the number of people who deliberately purchase fake Chanel products since they cost a fraction of the price and are not easily discernible from the real thing.

I wonder if they are really losing sales here though, I imagine most people buying fake Chanel/Rolex etc wouldn't be able to afford the real thing.

Somewhere right now the world's greatest minds in the network/cryptography space are designing the next version of internet which will be beyond the reach of governments... I hope.

Would anyone be able to recommend a good non-US domain name registrar? I think I'll be looking to switch.

it's not like this stuff even works...most of these counterfeiters make their cash by spamming people

I posted a few sites on my facebook page, I'm waiting for the US to take it down

I am really curious how Google and Facebook will handle this...

☐ Understands how the Internet works.

☑ Renders a (faulty) decision anyway.

Can't they appeal this?

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