Government control of the internet

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default Government control of the internet

Post by melodiccolor on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:14 pm

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html


U.S. seizes sites linked to copyright infringement
by Steven Musil Font

Visitors to dozens of Web sites purportedly linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods were greeted by this message.

The U.S. government has launched a major crackdown on online copyright infringement, seizing dozens of Web site domains linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods.

The domains of torrent sites that link to illegal copies of music and movie files and sites that sell counterfeit goods were seized this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. Visitors to such sites as Torrent-finder.com, 2009jerseys.com, and Dvdcollects.com found that their usual sites had been replaced by a message that said, "This domain name has been seized by ICE--Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court."

One domain owner said he was surprised by the action.

"My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!" the owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak, which listed more than 70 domains that were apparently part of the massive seizure.

DHS representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The seizures came after a Senate committee unanimously approved a controversial proposal earlier this month that would allow the government to pull the plug on Web sites accused of aiding piracy. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) allows a Web site's domain to be seized if it "has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than" offering or providing access to unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.

The proposal has garnered support from dozens of the largest content companies, including video game maker Activision, media firms NBC Universal and Viacom, and the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America lobbying groups. However, critics such as engineers and civil liberties groups say the COICA could balkanize the Internet, jeopardize free speech rights, and endanger legitimate Web sites.

The battle against online file sharing has ramped up. Earlier today, a Swedish court upheld the copyright conviction of the founders of The Pirate Bay, a notorious file-sharing site. In October, a U.S. district judge issued an injunction against Lime Wire, the company that operated the popular file-sharing software LimeWire. In May, a judge granted summary judgment in favor of the music industry's claims that Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, committed copyright infringement, engaged in unfair competition, and induced copyright infringement.

.
Steven Musil

Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.



Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html#ixzz16c7FneF3

It looks like Justin Passing and frmthhrt were right; errosion of free speech under the auspices of copyright infrindgement in order to gain control of the internet is proceding rather rapidly. People will find a way around it, they always do. But it will continue to get more difficult as time goes on.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023238-38.html?tag=mncol;txt


November 18, 2010 8:59 AM PST
Senate panel approves domain name seizure bill
by Declan McCullagh Font sizePrintE-mailShare105 comments Yahoo! Buzz
.Share 10638diggsdigg A controversial proposal allowing the government to pull the plug on Web sites accused of aiding piracy is closer to becoming a federal law.

After a flurry of last-minute lobbying from representatives of content providers including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a Senate committee approved the measure today by a unanimous vote.

In the last week, support for the bill known as COICA, for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, broadened beyond groups traditionally active in online copyright disputes to include the Newspaper Association of America, which said the legislation was needed because online piracy "undermines the investments that newspapers make in journalism." Labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, argued that American workers "have suffered significant harm due to theft of copyrighted and trademarked goods."

An ad appeared in a newspaper targeting Capitol Hill yesterday signed by groups including Major League Baseball, the NFL, Nintendo, and Viacom. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pressed Congress to move quickly, and even Rob McKenna, Washington state attorney general, signed on to the effort.

"Those seeking to thwart this bipartisan bill are protecting online thieves and those who gain pleasure and profit from de-valuing American property," Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman, said after today's vote. "We congratulate Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch for their leadership on this bill and to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its action today." (Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, are cosponsors of COICA.)

The sentiment is not universal: Since its introduction in September, COICA has alarmed engineers and civil liberties groups, who say that it could balkanize the Internet, jeopardize free speech rights, and endanger even some legitimate Web sites. Its wording says that any domain name "dedicated to infringing activities" could find itself in the U.S. Department of Justice's prosecutorial crosshairs.

Peter Eckersley, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote earlier this week that the bill will create a 1950-style Hollywood blacklist with the government deciding which Web sites are legitimate or not. The federal government will be forced "into the swamp of trying to decide which websites should be blacklisted and which ones shouldn't," Eckersley said. "And they're going to discover that the line between copyright infringement and free political speech can be awfully murky."

At the same time, a group of law professors wrote an open letter (PDF) to the Senate saying the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment and "would set a dangerous precedent with potentially serious consequences for free expression and global Internet freedom."

Someone who knows the Internet Protocol address--the IP address for cnet.com, for instance, is currently 216.239.113.101--would still be able to connect to the Web site even if the computer that normally translates a domain name into its numeric address pretends not to know it.

If all copyright- and trademark-infringing Web sites were hosted in the United States with their Webmasters living on U.S. soil, Leahy's COICA would be mostly unnecessary. A straightforward copyright lawsuit of the sort that the RIAA and the software industry have spent years perfecting would suffice.

But that's not the case. Sites like the Russia-hosted MP3Sparks.com are accessible around the world, even though they almost certainly violate U.S. copyright law. ThePirateBay.org in Sweden has not only survived what seem like innumerable attempts to shut it down, but its operators take special pains to mock copyright lawyers who write cease-and-desist letters meant to be both earnest and threatening.

A Web site is in danger of having its domain seized (or having U.S. Internet providers encounter a sudden case of amnesia when their customers try to visit it) if it is "primarily designed" and "has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than" offering or providing access to unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Counterfeit trademarks--that's why Chanel, Nike, Tiffany, and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton also signed the letter--are also included.

The wording is significant. Because the phrase "providing access" appears, that would include specialty search engines including The Pirate Bay that provide links to copyrighted works, even if the actual files are available through BitTorrent elsewhere.

If COICA becomes law, domain name registries such as Verisign, which owns the rights to .com, .net, .tv, .cc, and others would find themselves under new and uncomfortable legal pressure. The .org registry has been run by the Public Interest Registry since 2003. (The law professors' letter says: "For the first time, the United States would be requiring Internet Service Providers to block speech because of its content.")

But registries for top-level domains in other countries would remain unaffected, and The Pirate Bay, perhaps as a precautionary measure, already owns thepiratebay.se. Americans interested in free (if illegal) downloads could switch to an offshore domain name service or visit The Pirate Bay's IP address at http://194.71.107.15, which means that this congressional effort might accomplish less than its backers would like.

One open question: whether the lame duck Congress currently in session has time to enact COICA, which would mean votes in the House of Representatives as well. Even with this breadth of support, the odds are against it.

Update 11:30 a.m. PT: I received an e-mail from Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge, which the RIAA said was "protecting online thieves" by opposing the bill. Sohn said: "And they are willing to throw free speech, International cooperation, due process, and the proper functioning of the Internet in the trash in the hope of shutting down a few bad actors. Their goal could be accomplished in a way that doesn't have those consequences, but the media conglomerates aren't interested."

.
Declan McCullagh


Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023238-38.html#ixzz16c9PtbjZ

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default Re: Government control of the internet

Post by frmthhrt on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:35 pm

This is sad. However, I think we will see in the next few days that the battle has only just begun...I expect to see organised boycotts and new ways around this government action in no time. The individuals out there will always be more resourceful than the government people ever could be. In the end I suspect this is going to hurt the "establishment" industries more than ever. I know I am going to go out of my way to avoid buying new CDs and DVDs from the big players, and will either copy or buy used...however, I will continue to support the indie artists by buying their albums as I always have. I always buy CDs and DVDs when I find a good song, artist, or movie clip online. The online content is advertising for me...I have only ever downloaded a handful of individual songs myself, because I believe in the concept of the album, rather than the individual songs.
Maybe we will see something like Netxflix- with CD and DVD owners mailing their discs around the country to share them Wink I know I would take part...
It's the ignorant companies like Microsoft with their "keys" and efforts to prevent transferability and resale of programs that has caused this. If I buy something, I should own it, period, but that's not how companies lke Microsoft want things to operate. No wonder people want to share...
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default Re: Government control of the internet

Post by melodiccolor on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:40 pm

Totally agreed.

This bill is already being challenged in the courts and will likely be overturned. But it will take time for the process to work its way through, perhaps a year or more so the government is moving swiftly while they can. There is an excellent case for the 1st amendment infringement in the vagueness of the bill--it grants far to broad powers to the federal government.

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Post by Justin Passing on Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:48 pm

unanimously approved in the senate. unanimously. unbelievable.
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:05 pm

It rather confirms that the government is not by the people for the people any longer.

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default Re: Government control of the internet

Post by frmthhrt on Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:19 pm

LOL. Did you really ever believe it was?
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:48 pm

No, but the ideal contained our government from the worst exesses for a time....

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Post by frmthhrt on Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:51 pm

...at least as far as the general public knew...yes
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Post by Alethia on Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:24 pm

Ok I have re read this mc.............kerfluffle comes to mind once again......or as the scots would say carfluffle......sometimes these distrubances, rearranging.........whatever one likes to call them...........can bring about some interesting changes and perspectives........mine as always most likely only interests me...lol! seems the scots might have invented that word when someone got a sneak peak up the kilt and discovered something exposed........it possibly disturbed them enough to rearrange their seating postion in regard to their view......doesnt pay to lay on the floor and rest on you laurels........especially when kilt wearing scotsman are in your vicinity.............

I am left wondering what the scottish have to do with this topic.......perhaps they are doing something right in this arena...........maybe we have something to learn from their view of things.......perhaps.. Smile
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default Re: Government control of the internet

Post by Nucky on Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:07 am

It's back:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/opinion/firewall-law-could-infringe-on-free-speech.html

As bills like this get defeated, more keep getting re-introduced in a similar vein.

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Post by Bluedream on Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:45 am

[sigh] It always seems, these days, that the more 'advanced' we may seem to become...the more difficulties we then impose on our 'freedoms'. [if one can still even call them that!] In America, we've already crapped all over our constitution to the point of it not even being recognizable in a few years.
I fear that if we evolve into a nation of 'control'...in a generation or so...we will know nothing else.
The media has dictated their 'directions' to us for years now...shutting down or just not showing any real dissension...if it be deemed 'contrary' to who ever REALLY owns the major networks. It only seems obvious that the internet will follow...if it hasn't already...while we slept and thought we were so 'free' doing so...
All of this gets really old for me...so...I symbolically 'flip em all off' in a kind of hopeless last defense, while I STILL CAN. The ol 'mouse against the eagle' theme again...
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Post by melodiccolor on Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:42 pm

Well, yes, they are always going to try to pass legistlation that is problematic like this...but even if it (or something similar) passed, it is highly likely to be stricken down.

It goes too far. The law that did pass may not hold permanently either. At least I hope not. Just remember, people are battling on the side of freedom as well and times of suppression like these have been overturned throughout our history.

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