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  • Gerrit Eicker 12:19 on 16. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Legislation, , Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Online Piracy and an Open Internet 

    White House: Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet; http://eicker.at/PiracyInternet #SOPA

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 12:20 on 16. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      White House, Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt: “Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support – and what we will not support. … Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. … We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. … Let us be clear – online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. … That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. … This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

      RWW: “In a statement on behalf of the Obama administration this morning, a trio of senior officials including the nation’s Chief Technology Officer made clear that any anti-piracy legislation passing the President’s desk would not create risks of censorship, nor would it condone any alterations to the Internet’s domain name system that could invite security dangers. … That President Obama himself has not made a statement is probably intended to help him preserve his official position as against online piracy. However, this recommendation will very likely be heeded, and this move may slow, if not halt, any legislative activity on this matter for the remainder of this term in the Senate. In the House, which remains under Republican control, the SOPA bill (minus the court order provision that constituted its main enforcement provision) may still be voted on, but the chances of it facing reconciliation with a Senate version of the same bill are now extremely minimal.”

      ATD: “Obama: Don’t Worry Internet, I Got Your Back on That SOPA ThingToday it became clear that SOPA, at least in its current form, will never get that far. Word came from the White House today that the administration, while sympathetic to the cause of curbing online piracy, will support neither the SOPA bill nor its companion bill – known as PIPA – in the Senate. … Piracy is bad, but approaches like SOPA are bad solutions that would potentially hurt the free-flowing, vibrant Internet we’ve all come to rely on for so many things. … Somehow, I find it encouraging that opposing SOPA – or at least calling for changes to it – was the issue on which Obama and Cantor, who can’t seem to agree on anything, found they had some room for common ground. Could this signify a badly needed thaw in bipartisan relations in Washington?

      VB: “In other words, the White House seems intent on striking a balance between two competing constituencies, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Both of them have supported Obama, and they have very opposed interests. Big media companies, including big record companies and Hollywood film studios, want a hardline to protect copyright, so that they can make more money from their content, and have supported both the House and the Senate Bills. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others, however, oppose SOPA legislation, warning in a Nov. 15 letter that it would force new burdensome mandates on law-abiding technology companies…

      TC: “Support in Washington for the SOPA anti-piracy bill in Congress (and its Senate equivalent, PIPA), is waning. After weeks of mounting uproar online, Congressional leaders started backpedaling last week and the Obama Administration weighed in on Saturday in response to online petitions to stop the bills. The White House issued a clear rejection of some of the main principles of SOPA. – While the White House supports the major goal of the bills to stop international online piracy, the growing chorus of complaints about the ham-fisted way the law is going to be implemented may finally be acting a s a counterweight to all the media-company lobbying which is trying to push the bills through. … But it still is not clear how the objectives of the bills can be achieved without causing damage to the Internet. Congress should come up with a different mechanism for going after foreign pirate sites or else kill the bills entirely. – SOPA supporters may be rethinking their positions, but they have not retreated entirely. Online SOPA opponents shouldn’t be doing any victory dances just yet.

      TC: “What is Internet freedom? The United States government has an ‘Internet freedom’ agenda, complete with speeches by the Secretary of State and millions of dollars in program funding. A key United Nations official last year issued a major report emphasizing the right of all individuals freely to use the Internet. Taking a different tack, Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers and ‘Chief Internet Evangelist’ at Google, recently argued in the New York Times that Internet access is not a human right. And Devin Coldewey parsed the debate in TechCrunch, noting that the Internet is an enabler of rights, not a right unto itself. … Government officials and their private sector counterparts have a key role to play in all of this. The United States should be in the lead in formulating acceptable international definitions of Internet freedom, aggression, and cyber security that respect widely-recognized human rights. … Even some of America’s closest democratic friends have views of Internet freedom that are more restrictive than those widely held in the United States. Witness recent attempts by the government of India to have key Internet companies remove objectionable content or restrictions in Europe on online speech that insults population groups. But the effort begins with getting straight precisely what we mean by ‘Internet freedom.’ The idea – and the reality – is too important to muddle.

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:37 on 13. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Legislation, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    We Work For The Internet 

    Wales thinks about a blackout of Wikipedia to protest SOPA. – We Work For The Internet; http://eicker.at/WeWorkForTheInternet

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:38 on 13. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      VB: “Strike! Wikipedia founder floats idea of site blackout to protest SOPA – Wikipedia, the web’s edit-friendly encyclopedia, is considering drastic action to get the government to back down from passing the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), a bill that opponents consider the equivalent of legalizing web censorship. – In a note posted to his personal page Saturday, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales floats the idea of a community strike that would make the entire site blank to U.S., and possibly even global, visitors.

      Wales, Wikipedia: “A few months ago, the Italian Wikipedia community made a decision to blank all of Italian Wikipedia for a short period in order to protest a law which would infringe on their editorial independence. The Italian Parliament backed down immediately. As Wikipedians may or may not be aware, a much worse law going under the misleading title of ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ is working its way through Congress on a bit of a fast track. I may be attending a meeting at the White House on Monday (pending confirmation on a couple of fronts) along with executives from many other top Internet firms, and I thought this would be a good time to take a quick reading of the community feeling on this issue. My own view is that a community strike was very powerful and successful in Italy and could be even more powerful in this case. There are obviously many questions about whether the strike should be geotargetted (US-only), etc. (One possible view is that because the law would seriously impact the functioning of Wikipedia for everyone, a global strike of at least the English Wikipedia would put the maximum pressure on the US government.) At the same time, it’s of course a very very big deal to do something like this, it is unprecedented for English Wikipedia. … So, this is a straw poll. Please vote either ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ with a reason, and try to keep wide-ranging discussion to the section below the poll. – To be clear, this is NOT a vote on whether or not to have a strike. This is merely a straw poll to indicate overall interest. If this poll is firmly ‘opposed’ then I’ll know that now. But even if this poll is firmly in ‘support’ we’d obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing.”

      I Work For The Internet: “We work for the Internet. We know first-hand that the Internet powers the American dream. American innovators have built the world’s most popular sites, selling products and services to every corner of the globe, creating high-paying jobs from Maine to Hawaii. If Congress passes the Stop Online Piracy Act, America’s most promising engine of future jobs and opportunity will be put at risk. Don’t stop us now – we’re just getting started! Tell the world you work for the Internet.

      TC: “Congress is moving ahead with trying to pass SOPA – the so-called ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ that includes all sorts of draconian measures that would stifle free expression as we know it. Here’s a simple action you can take to tell everyone how you feel about that. – A site called ‘I Work For The Internet’ lets you upload a photo and first name, and what you do for a living. … You might not change any votes by sharing your photo, but you’ll get some comfort out of participating if you’ve been feeling that the bill has been incorrectly portrayed as ‘media companies versus tech companies,’ like I have. Browsing the site will also give you a visceral sense of who all those other random internet users are out there.”

      GigaOM: “In contrast to SOPA and PIPA, which many critics said were far too wide-ranging in their definition of what constitutes an ‘infringing site’ – a net some believed could easily have trapped popular media and content sites like YouTube as well as obvious piracy-focused services – OPEN narrows that to concentrate on those ‘dedicated to infringing activity.’ It also requires that the International Trade Commission be the independent arbiter of whether a site qualifies, whereas SOPA gave companies the ability to shut down websites with just a court order. – In a long analysis of OPEN, technology and intellectual-property law expert Eric Goldman said the new proposed law isn’t perfect, but is a ‘useful starting point’ for a conversation about how to implement anti-piracy legislation – and how to do this without caving in to what he called ‘rent seekers’ in the media and entertainment industries, and without breaking the Internet by forcing ISPs to change the domain-name system. … Whether any of these efforts will result in Congress turning away from its support of SOPA and PIPA remains to be seen, but it appears a number of forces both inside the government and outside are determined not to let that happen without a fight.

    • Gerrit Eicker 20:34 on 13. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Zeldman: “THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do today: help STOP SOPA once and for all. – The Stop Online Piracy Act could pass this week. U.S. friends reading this, call your Representatives now to be heard before the bill is finalized and voted on. Fightforthefuture.org makes it easy. Go there and do this. – We thank you.

      VB: “So far, 87% of Wikipedians support an anti-SOPA blackout – Wikipedia might see a blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which goes before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this Thursday, December 15. – Wikimedia chief Jimmy Wales recently started a poll to determine whether Wikipedia’s vast community thought SOPA was worth protesting. He noted that a similar protest conducted on the Italian Wikipedia site had a profound impact and asked users to weigh in on a blackout for the English-language version of the site.”

      RWW: “There is already a well-functioning administrative body for handling intellectual property disputes between U.S.-based companies and parties in foreign countries. It’s the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and if you’ve followed the many disputes brought by Apple against mobile phone makers, by mobile phone makers against Apple, and among IP portfolio holders such as Qualcomm and Broadcom, no doubt you’ve heard of USITC. – So why didn’t Congress consider the Commission as a solution for the burning problem of resolving piracy matters with unknown parties outside U.S. borders? That’s a question being asked, and possibly even answered, by an alternative bill introduced last week to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP bills in the House and Senate, respectively. This morning, a cavalcade of leading tech companies known to oppose SOPA already have signed on as supporters of the USITC-based alternative.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 18. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Civil Rights, COICA, , , Demand Progress, E-Parasite Act, , Fight For the Future, , , , , , , , , H.R.3261, , , , , , , Legislation, , , , , , , , , PPF, PRO-IP Act, , Public Knowledge, , , , S.986, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Internet Censorship: SOPA and PIPA 

    Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:49 on 18. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261 and the E-Parasite (Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation) Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. – The bill’s sponsors and advocates say it’s needed to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online traffic in copyrighted intellectual property and ensuing revenue and job losses. Its opponents say it will ‘break the internet’, cost jobs, and threaten whistleblowers and other free speech. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008. The Senate’s corresponding bill, the Protect IP Act, was prevented from passing in early 2011 with a hold placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). – The bill is divided into two titles with the first focusing on combating ‘foreign rogue sites’, websites outside U.S. jurisdiction that enable or facilitate copyright infringement, and the second focusing on increased penalties to combat intellectual property theft via digital means.

      Wikipedia: “PIPA – Protect IP Act, or (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), is also known as United States Senate Bill S.968. It was introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 initial bipartisan co-sponsors. Its goal is to give the government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to ‘rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods’, especially those registered outside the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on it. – The Protect IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, theStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

      American Censorship: “American Censorship Day: Nov 16, 2011 – Congress holds hearings of the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. Join all of us to stop this bill. … Website Blocking – The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users. … Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users – It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook. … Chaos for the Internet – Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system. … Supporters: Public Knowledge, EFF, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, PPF, Creative Commons, Wikimedia

      Mashable: “Tumblr, Firefox and Reddit drew broad black lines on their websites Wednesday to protest a proposed U.S. law that Internet companies have dubbed ‘censorship’ and entertainment companies ‘piracy protection.’ – Tumblr has blacked out all user-generated content you see when you first log in. When you click on the gray lines to investigate, you’re told: ‘Congress is holding hearings today and will soon pass a bill empowering corporations to censor the Internet unless you tell them no,’ and then have an option to leave a phone number to be connected to your elected representative.”

      TC: “Among numerous other issues, SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, would allow copyright holders to easily obtain court orders to stop US payment and ad providers from doing business with foreign sites, force search engines to block links to allegedly infringing sites, and require domain service providers to block domains of allegedly infringing sites from being accessible. Be sure to check out Devin Coldewey’s excellent teardown of SOPA and PROTECT IP for more details on why we and many (but not all) other internet users are opposed.”

      Guardian: “Stop Sopa now – The Stop Online Piracy Act will kill online innovation and serve the interests not of ordinary web users but a corporate cartel – America is fond of chiding other nations about freedom of speech in the internet age. Leaders including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are constantly reminding their global counterparts, especially in places like China, that internet censorship is a detriment to open government and honest self-rule. Yet, the Obama administration has used tactics that smell of censorship, and Congress is making common cause with a corporate cartel that wants to turn the internet into little more than an enhanced form of cable television. … The damage Sopa would cause to existing services is bad enough. But the longer-range damage is literally incalculable, because the legislation is aimed at preventing innovation – and speech – that the cartel can’t control. … Meanwhile, the major media have been essentially silent on the issue. I’m not surprised. Big Media is an ally and member of the copyright cartel – and there may be more than a few people in traditional news organisations who fear the internet more than they worry about stifling speech.”

      GigaOM: “The Internet isn’t just pipes; it’s a belief system – Draconian new anti-piracy laws that are being pushed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives are about more than just an academic debate over different legislative methods for fighting copyright infringement. … As the Stop Online Piracy Act – and its cousin the E-Parasite Act – have worked their way through the Senate and the House, a loose coalition of technology companies and open-Internet advocates have come together to oppose the legislation – including companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo… The Internet by its nature is – among other things – a giant copyright-infringement machine. Because anyone can grab whatever content they wish and change it, mash it up with other content and instantly republish, it’s hugely frightening and threatening for many media companies and content owners. … That doesn’t mean we should encourage piracy, or deprive content owners of the tools to fight it when it occurs, but the reality is that they have those tools already in the DMCA and other existing legislation. SOPA and the E-Parasite Act aren’t just an expansion of those tools, they would alter the balance of power on the internet in fundamental ways and threaten the openness and freedom that generates a lot of the web’s value, both for businesses and for society as a whole. That’s not a trade we should make lightly, if at all.”

      EFF: “This week the House of Representatives opens hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that EFF – along with a number of prominent organizations and other actors – has opposed loudly and vigorously. – Though the bill would have grave implications on free expression for American Internet users, website owners, and intermediaries, its effects on the international community are even worse. In light of that fact, a coalition of international civil society and human rights groups have penned a letter expressing their opposition to the bill.

      SOPA Letter From Int’l Human Rights Community: “As press freedom and human rights advocates, we write to express our deep concern withH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While this is a domestic bill, there are several provisions within SOPA that would have serious implications for international civil and human rights which raise concerns about how the United States is approaching global internetgovernance. … Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.SOPA puts the interests of rightsholders ahead of the rights of society.Censoring the internet is the wrong approach to protecting any sectoral interest in business. By adopting SOPA, the United States would lose its position as a global leader in supporting a free and open Internet for public good. – The international civil and human rights community urges Congress to reject the Stop Online Privacy Act.

      GigaOM: “What the web is saying about SOPA – We’ve gathered a sample from various sources to help readers get a feel for the comments out there and see the big picture. Happy reading.”

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