Anyone with an interest in using pirate sites will simply switch to alternate DNS providers, there will always be a way, and legitimate users will be subject to rampant and arbitrary censorship in the name of "stopping piracy".
You can't stop piracy. It's a supply and demand problem. It's a perception problem.
How can you convince someone that the TV show that is broadcast for free over the air is legal, but downloading exactly the same show at a later time is illegal?
Companies have all the tools they need to reduce piracy but they refuse to use them, instead trying to extort money from people through more conventional means. They'd rather have ten sales at $20 than thousands at $1.
Remember - SOPA is not designed to stop piracy - there are hundreds (thousands) of mechanisms for file sharing that your average government policy will have no impact on. What it will do, is make it burdensome for 99% of the non-nerd population.
As long as the 99% are impacted, the entertainment industry really don't care about that final 1% trading files to their hearts galore. This isn't about principal - it's pure economics.
That myth that "this will make it hard for the 99%" thing has been trotted out during every single anti-piracy failure ever. (There have been no lasting successes.) Once the "smart cow" opens the barn door for everyone else, it's open. Every single cow can just walk right out and it will be too late when you go to close it. It's like we're playing a game where we flip a fair coin. Heads, I win. Tails, we flip it again. And yet people still think that maybe next time it will work.
Think we can make it up with even harsher punishments? Well, the Great Firewall of China leaks like a sieve. Incidentally, they also use a form of DNS blocking, as I understand it (something like spoofed NXDOMAIN replies).
I would call the dramatic decline in the relative size of the peer-to-peer music "sharing" world to the iTunes world a lasting success. Steve was right that 99¢/track was a winning proposition, but it's easy to forget how effective the RIAA's legal and technical jamming efforts were at pushing Napster and friends out of the mainstream.
Yet even now, there are still people who will screw the fans in a futile attempt to stop piracy. And even when iTunes opened, it was trivial to download anything in the catalog for free. Yet we can see how popular it is for people to do things legitimately in spite of this.
Not so sure. I've tried explaining bittorent to several non nerd friends and they all say "oh I'll just watch it streaming".
Things like this spread fast, especially among young people. The reason people stick with streams today is because they have no motivation to learn anything else.
The RIAA/MPA and friends are concerned about the 247.5 million people - less concerned about the 2.5 million people.
It's why Usenet basically contains every single media property of interest - the decent search engines for it are pretty much buried in the blacknet, and will stay there, out of sight of the 99%.
Try and purchase Game of Thrones. I spent 20 minutes looking for a mechanism I could purchase it - no luck.
All this will take is a Facebook post of "Hey, install this plug-in and you can access all the things!" and suddenly the 99% are on board.
That said, if you don't think there's going to be an installer/.reg file/some easy fire and forget way to switch a computer's DNS to an uncensored one for techies to send to their friends, you're being shortsighted.
Look how easy it is to download stuff off bandcamp or Amazon's mp3 store. People still use iTunes even though AAC is a PITA.
Direct Connect uses IPs for connecting to hubs. There are no web interfaces either. Instead you have to download and install the DC++ client.
Lots of people that aren't in the "99% of the non-nerd population" are using it - in fact by my estimates there aren't a lot of nerds as the nerds have moved on to torrents.
I know people who are closer to computer neophyte than computer nerd using DC++ successfully.
Reason? Network effects and availability of content not available on torrents.
Moving to static IP addresses puts the owner of that RIR block in jeopardy.
Napster was sued out of existence, went bankrupt, and shut down.
If SOPA passes, it will be a multi-billion dollar wealth transfer from the Internet Industry, and our personal freedoms, to the Entertainment industry. It will be effective in at at least two (Negatively impacting our freedoms, and the Internet Industry) - remains to be seen if it will benefit the Entertainment Industry.
"Oh, they'll just block those searches" you'll say, and then maybe they will, but then they'll re-phrase it. They'll ask around and, lo and behold, someone they know will know someone that can "fix" it. Maybe even for a price!
Napster tried to crack down on pirated music one time and people switched from literal spellings to Pig-Latin in a heartbeat. You wanted "Metallica" and you'd search for "Etallicamay". Word travels fast. How are you proposing to subvert that? People can adapt faster than laws.
What it will affect is site operators simply trying to make a living and having to deal with being DNS blocked all the time. Startups will fail. People will lose their digital possessions because one of the users on the site where they chose to store them was flagged for a copyright violation.
Legitimate users and businesses want a consistent, predicable identity. Shady ones could not care less how often they have to switch domains, IPs, service providers, nor how hard they are to find by the average user. They're underground. It's all word of mouth and word of mouth doesn't care about DNS filters.
It is simply not possible to block something on the internet. There is always a way around it. Look at how locked down some corporate networks are and people have found ways to bust out using HTTP or DNS tunnelling.
Torrents are attractive because it's easy to download content. If you go shut down the search engines for torrents - people will move onto the next easiest option - iTunes, Amazon, etc...
I would go further; it is a greed/exploitative problem.
You have every type of good in the world manufactured/produced/farmed/coded/filmed/etc. for far less than what the retail cost is. (the initial arguement is supply and demand) -- but that is simply false. Look at profits and margins.
Apple and every oil company in the world is the perfect example of why this is true.
Their supply is NOT in concordance with demand. Their profits and margins show this.
Other business models have proven this out; make things cost less - and more people will buy.
Actually, to Apples credit - this is an area where they are showing this; Apps that cost ~.99 are seen to be a value to the user at that cost thus paid apps make tons. (However, if you look at margins, again Apple fails. Their margin on paid apps is between 100% and ~5% (if you try to figure in the cost of the overall infrastructure to supply the apps (i*Device development etc. though the mobile market has a lot of outlying factors which refudiate the margin cost to apple, whereas the iPad is a device wholly dependent on the app market)
As to iPad's many people buy tablets and never load a single app on them. Unlike consoles where the device is subsidized by the software sold apple treats it's app store as revenue neutral. They have income but they poor it back into iOS development, because long term the OS with the best software wins and they can still make fat margins on the devices themselves.
People know that copyright infringement is not lawful though, don't they. They just don't care.
Same way people know the speed limit but don't care to abide by it
People know that copyright infringement is not lawful though, don't they. Generally, they just don't care.
Like speed limits on roads. People don't care enough to strictly abide by the law, or moralise their non-compliance in some other way - late at night, good conditions, law is silly, nobody around, etc..
Actually, the thinking seems to be, you don't have to convince them, you just throw them to jail or fine them.
Step 1: Media companies need to understand the Internet. I honestly don't think they're actively trying to take freedoms from us. I think they just still don't "get" the web and haven't come up with a business model that takes advantage of it yet.
Step 2: once they "get it" they could use the tools they already have more effectively and attempt to use the web to their advantage without SOPA.
Put yourself in the shoes of the people at the media companies who are behind this for a minute. You're an old, probably conservative, wealthy person who is most likely hyper aware of anything going on that's entertainment related. To you it seems like theres far more of your company's content online than there should be and because you're in the media business you perceive the web to be an entertainment medium and nothing more. It dawns on you that since you're in control of content distributed through TV, the movies, and other conventional platforms (like DVD and BluRay) you should also be able to have control over this new entertainment medium too! It doesn't occur to you that the web is of, for, and by the people because the media has really never worked that way.
As hackers we're easily able to see the big picture and understand that the web isn't just one big On-Demand entertainment network. To us it's about entertainment as much as it is about communicating, working, sharing knowledge, education, art, and so on. But these people are viewing it from an outdated perspective.
I think that if we really want to make a change here we need to quit assuming that this is only about power and control for the sake of power and control. This isn't good vs. evil here, it's just two competing world views. If we understood why they believe they should be able to implement SOPA-like initiatives then we'd be better equipped to stop the problem at its root.
This is what the SOPA debate feels like to me, except there are no reasoned arguments disproving its opponents' worst fears, just pat dismissals of the opposition.
reddit uses akamai for page content but not for any authentication, there are no security benefits to using https://reddit instead of http://reddit
That did not stop me from removing the 's' instead of clicking three times in Firefox.
Scary stuff - I never heard of this Akamai entity before.
Of course, the key phrase here is "if they were held to the same standard as everybody else". Though I think the second-order effects of SOPA would be more bizarre on something like Facebook than you'd think at first blush. The mere fact that they could still be legally shut down in a heartbeat still can't help but have a profound effect on their world even if the trigger is never actually pulled for fear of generating an uproar.
Since the congress critters are lining their pockets left and right from the lobbyists for this bill, it's not in their personal interest to turn it down, even if they know it won't stand up in court.
And if it passes, it's almost guaranteed to be tested (and overturned) in court - as it's been mentioned many many times, Youtube, Google, Bing, etc etc have way too much to lose to let it go unchallenged.
Seems like it's just status quo here in the States with the new "pay-n-pass" government.
Hence Gingrinch's desire to kick judges he disagrees with out of office.
My other worry is the possibility of a hostile party successfully preventing a case concerning an obviously unconstitutional law from ever getting to a civilian court. The latest NDAA is designed to do just that.
In other words: the courts may no longer be available to fall back on when congress goes wacko. Doom and gloom, indeed.
This is not true. It is law until it's overturned.
Like the government website, record labels, etc, on the very frivolous grounds they are trying to ignore right now to get it approved.
I wonder how quickly it would be changed then?
Maybe the time has come for those who are pushing for this act to be fully exposed, and subject directly to public outrage. A handful of Big Content execs should be a lot easier to influence, than 485 members of Congress.
And of course other countries will probably decide to follow the US's lead.
I think ICANN still has the power to censor .es domains. Can anyone please either confirm or correct me?
> Perhaps there'd be a transition period where international name servers stop trusting US mirrors of international TLDs and US root name servers, but if you stop using those it should still work. Right?
BlockAid DNS and Telecomix DNS don't remove domains taken down by ICE. But how long until port 53 to BlockAid and Telecomix is blocked in the US?
Anyway, most people won't change their nameservers and Reddit would loose most of its revenue if the domain reddit.com was taken down, and to prevent it they would need to monitor/censor the user-generated content, and they can't afford it.
Bottom line: SOPA would make Reddit too expensive to run to be profitable.
Technically this is true, but it would cause a revolt that would just end up destroying ICANN.
Yes, because American's are so rebellious that any attempt to suppress their liberties coughpatriotactcough results in a revolt...
Actually, 99% of American rebelliousness is in merely quoting the constitution and the 4 amendments in a world and a political and law system that has render most of those obsolete in practice...
For example, the "right to bear arms" meant something WHEN people could use those to overturn their government --now, it's just an excuse for people to get guns to "protect their property" against robberies and such.
At least that is how the "Zugangserschwerungsgesetz" in Germany works and I think SOPA will be similar in this respect, but I might be wrong..
At least that is how the "Zugangserschwerungsgesetz" in Germany works and I think SOPA
will be similar in this respect, but I might be wrong..
Edit: ok, it turns out I'm misinformed. The law passed somehow after it was already dead, so it was never applied.
Germany was lucky that somehow it was achieved to make this law subject of public debate. Maybe Americans should copy the strategies that were used by German activists back in 2008 :) But on the other hand, I think that it would be a lot more difficult to achieve this in the American media environment. America's media was asleep when the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq, it will also be asleep this time.
Worked. It was never really applied and it's been repealed since.
Not an absolute majority, but it is by far their largest market.
Generally countries do not strip its citizens of so many civil liberties unless there is a clear goal ahead. We will probably find out in the next few years.
Not sure about that. I think the natural tendency is for any institution to try to grab more power, no matter what the situation is - since 9/11, congress has found doing so unusually easy, and has responded by taking advantage of the opportunity.
That's not to say the abuses aren't only a few years away, but I don't think these power-grabs have been done with those abuses as a perceived goal. They're just power-grabs.
Even if you believe that these were genuine "accidents", do you believe that it is acceptable to allow these interests to have such power? Do you think it is just about "unimportant" things like copying music?
The US is still the worlds largest superpower, but compared to 20 years ago it has vastly less power. Its power has declined and continues to do so. Any student of history will tell you that this is exactly when states transform from free nations to fascist states.
No, absolutely not, that's not how it happens. Go back and read your history books. Also, Godwin is not on your side.
"From the prosperity of the empire during the Wilhelmine era (1890-1914), Germany plunged into World War I, a war it was to lose and one that spawned many of the economic crises that would destroy the successor Weimar Republic."
"During the Hitler era (1933-45), the economy developed a hothouse prosperity, supported with high government subsidies to those sectors that tended to give Germany military power and economic autarky"
Economic crises inducing a transition from democracy to plutocracy/fascism, and massive military spending, ending in wars on multiple fronts.
I suppose I should also qualify my statement as "dominant states". Since the most common way for small states to be converted to fascism is by the dominant state (i.e. USA) installing fascist/authoritarian governments for them. So I concede that, in general, you may be right.
There is one major thing missing from your description; it's so glaring and obvious that I'm amazed that you don't notice it. Nazis rose to power through a populist platform which promoted ethnic/racial hatred and reappropriation of resources from those perceived as morally "corrupt" (the Jewish people) or "too powerful" (the British empire). The Nazi leaders did not come to power first and then all of a sudden decided to exterminate the Jews out of the blue; the they went along with what was a populist sentiment at the time (while adding fuel to the fire by the means of propaganda and mass media which was relatively new at the time), and exploited that precisely that popular, hateful sentiment to guarantee their rise to power. I recommend watching a documentary called "The Goebbels Experiment" for a look from the inside on how it happened.
N.B. By going with what you're suggesting, any possible "empire" is fascist, which is blatantly wrong. Plutocracy is bad for various reasons, but plutocracy =/= fascism and genocide. I find it hilarious when people blame plutocracy for causing fascism because it is precisely the supposed "plutocracy" of the time (which was actually a codeword for rich Jews) which drove (indirectly of course) ignorant/resentful Germans in the 1930s to support Hitler and his clique.
Sounds about right.
SOPA sucks, but it isn't driven by an ideology of the nation's renewal through purges of some undesirable class, return to cultural and religious fundamentals of the nation, pressing need to defeat communism and prove the nation's glory with war and occupations...
Whether or not the US is moving toward fascism in some way, SOPA is incidental to that - SOPA is nothing more than a big present to certain industries
Yeah -- it's like an elephant in the room and no one among those who are the first to bring up comparisons between the U.S. and fascist states talks about it. I wonder why.
> SOPA is nothing more than a big present to certain industries
That is the best way to think about it -- it's akin to government pork in a way.
PS: It's a slippery term, but originally it had nothing to do with Germany.
I seriously doubt all of them have the manpower or money to properly collect sales tax.
Passing on an address and a total to an API will do the trick 99% of the time, but technically, some of the businesses using that API are going to fail to collect sales tax in some cases where they should.
I am hopeful that if enough state legislatures get serious about taxing internet sales, they'll band together to do some nationwide standardization. That kind of thing can't come down from the federal government; congress has no authority to tell a local municipality it can't levy its own sales tax, but state governments can. Kind of like how they all agreed (is it all? I think one or two didn't) to the Uniform Commercial Code so that the basic laws of sale contracts are the same in every state.
Isn't this usually when someone pipes in and says "seems like a good opportunity for a startup"? It's a complex but well-defined domain - perfect for building a paid service. Input to the API is billing zip code, the type of good/service being sold, the date of transaction, and the pretax amount. The lawyers will point out other factors I don't know about. The output is the tax to charge.
Charge by the API call, with different tiers/bulk pricing options for those who need to process many microtransactions versus those who are selling more expensive, shipped goods.
Or do people believe that once a credit card number is used on the internet instead of in a point of sale reader, the transactions really should be exempt from any taxes? I agree it's a lot harder problem to solve, don't get me wrong, but doo people really believe the "correct" solution is to just say "we should never have sales tax on the internet because it's different"?
Edit: If this law passes, such a service would also be an awesome competitive advantage for some of those startup payment processor companies that I see sprouting up.
But I asked if people actually expect that it reasonably should stay that way. I see many people indignant about the idea of collecting sales tax for internet purchases. I'm not sure if that's because of the undue burden on the collector (a solvable problem) or if they really think interstate transactions on the internet should be exempt from taxation forever.
I guess SOPA will spawn some good ideas for startups too. Companies that will scan your website for "violations" and others that are started by lawyers to protect you.
You can rationally be displeased what you expect the outcome of the case to be (e.g. increased ability for corporate financing of election campaigns), but I don't think there's a coherent defense of the sections of BCRA that the court struck down.
ETA: The government argued that BCRA would allow them to ban, for example, a 500 page book that contained a single sentence endorsing a candidate (http://reason.com/archives/2010/06/29/will-elena-kagan-allow...). If you think SOPA is heavy-handed, just think what BCRA could have led to.
Of course, I'd say the people they serve are are quite happy to ignore them when it's convenient for the court aristocracy, but I can't see them as guilty of any obvious inconsistencies.
I see a big distinction between putting out an original movie that mentions a candidate (the issue in Citizens United) and building a website to distribute other people's movies (the issue in SOPA).
Edit to clarify: distribute other people's movies without their permission.
Guys, the Internet isn't going to shut off is SOPA passes so please chill out and try to be rational. All anyone is doing is talking about a workaround to a Gret Firewall that doesn't even exist and pissng their pants over the US becoming fascist.
Panic never helps anyone. While everyone is busy hiding under the bed waiting for SOPA to be over I wonder what else isnt being talked about? I'm sure it's far more important than this distraction.
There are way too many submissions about SOPA that are repeats and the discussion is literally exactly the same. It's all about DNS workarounds or using OpenDNS then some guy says "no, use DownDNS" and it's just the same.
I know SOPA is awful but I think we can take a break from it for a minute and enjoy Christmas. There doesn't seem to be anything new to say about it so let's let it go for a sec, get away from the computer, and stop literally panicking.
If more people actually read the text they'd see precisely how bad it is, without any exaggeration being necessary.
"Enjoy Christmas" is a terrible argument for why I shouldn't care about legislation that creates vast new liabilities for the entire internet industry - one of the few industries doing at all well since this recession began.
But SOPA would open these sites up to problems that would be enforced by law, and which would cause them much harm, quite possibly to the extent of them shutting down.
The politicians either don't understand these problems, or don't care about them - you can be the judge on that.
The politicians simply know SOPA will never be invoked against those sites because they play nice (as an example. see google giving UMC a private way to remove youtube videos). It will be invoked on thepiratebay, etc. and any other site someone decides they don't like or doesn't play nice.
Now, the criteria is that the site is "dedicated to the theft of US property", but advertising agencies and payment processors are held immune to liability for actions they take under the law, so they have no reason to verify that the site is, in fact, dedicated to theft before shutting it down.
There does not need to be an active government conspiracy for this to harm websites.
There were never claims that the DMCA would literally shutdown sites like youtube and reddit. But the criticisms of it certainly seem justified in hindsight.
The conspiracy theory is that the unintended consequences are in fact intended by the MPAA/RIAA. Given their past and present behavior, it's not a stretch.
Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Youtube, because it had so many of its videos posted by users. Also, other sponsors of SOPA, such as NBC, would've wanted Youtube dead, too. After all, the only reason they started Hulu was to fend off Youtube, even though they didn't like having Hulu at all, since it undermines their real cash cow, the old traditional business model.
One thing that has been confusing me during the course of the proceedings is that it has been repeatedly suggested that SOPA will be only affecting foreign websites. Is this not actually the case? Or are people more concerned with the precedent that will be established?
So any question that starts with "Do you really think they intend…" is a red herring.
The law - as it is written - can be used to shutdown sites like Reddit. There is nothing stopping someone using it in that way, even if it isn't the governments intention.
The Government doesn't care, and the sites will go because it will be too expensive or impossible for them to monitor user-generated content.
> One thing that has been confusing me during the course of the proceedings is that it has been repeatedly suggested that SOPA will be only affecting foreign websites. Is this not actually the case?
Wrong. It will also affect foreign websites because ICANN controls the DNS system.
See title I sec 102. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c112:1:./temp/~c1124uh...:
Is this only a piece of the larger picture?
edit: On further inspection, it appears as though title 2 does in fact grant powers for combatting domestic sites as well.
Or at least the language isn't explicitly speaking to foreign websites.