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« Showtime at the Apollo | Main | IFYI »

Jan 20, 2012

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Roch101

Great article. Gets wrong a subtle but important detail, though: the proposed bills would not have taken down illegal foreign content, they would have made American companies block our access to it. That's the point Jon Stewart makes with his cement-in-the-pants simile.

That's why proponents were misleading to say, as Senator Hagan did, that the laws only targeted foreign companies. Target yes, but the obligation to act against those targets would have fallen on the shoulders of American companies.

Ken Hill

Here is another good video.
http://www.jonlowder.com/2012/01/pipasopa-explained.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JonLowder+%28Jon+Lowder%29

justcorbly

Really, not that much expertise is needed to figure out at least some of the problems with this legislation.

For example, a U.S. site could be ordered to take down links to a European pirate site. First, that disadvantages that site's users in other countries where the link is not illegal. Potentially, it could lead to retaliation-in-kind with foreign sites blocking U.S. IP addresses.

Two, what if I run a site with a link to the pirate site? Am I liable to the same SOPA sanctions? If not, why not? And, if I'm not, why is Google?

Third, DNS is one big database that matches names to IP addresses. Not only can people use its IP address to browse to a pirate site that's run afoul of the law, nothing is stopping pirate sites from producing and distributing a little DNS database of their own, mapping names to IP addresses, that runs on the desktops of users, not spread all over the net like the real DNS. I.e., if Congress messes with DNS, pirates and their friends will route around DNS.

(Windows, Macs, etc., include a text file -- hosts -- that already maps names to IP's. It's intended to resolve names in small LAN's, but nothing is keeping you from plugging the IP of your favorite pirate site in there.)

Fourth, nothing is standing in the way of someone standing up a search engine outside the U.S. that limits itself to pirate sites and indexes the files on their servers.

A clever pirate might approach his fellow buccaneers about cooperating on Option 4, and implement Option 3 by modifying one of the existing desktop DNS engines and seeding it with lists of pirate site names and IP addresses and releasing on non-pirate sites. Or, even just explain to people how they can edit their own machine's host file.

Billy Jones

justcorbly, "Third, DNS is one big database that matches names to IP addresses. Not only can people use its IP address to browse to a pirate site that's run afoul of the law, nothing is stopping pirate sites from producing and distributing a little DNS database of their own, mapping names to IP addresses, that runs on the desktops of users, not spread all over the net like the real DNS. I.e., if Congress messes with DNS, pirates and their friends will route around DNS."

This is very doable. The same sort of plan is being tossed around by freedom of speech advocates who fear their governments might unplug the web to prevent online organizing. And with wifi technology being what it is, it could be accomplished without wires altogether.

That would be a burr in the saddle of a whole lot of very profitable Internet related industries and big media companies alike. They would be smart not to push Internet users into adopting an alternate internet.

Sue

I'll believe Congress knows how to stop piracy when ONE of those elected folks says "expert" instead of "nerd" (see: Jon Stewart) and when any ONE of them can explain how DNS works (and what it is). Until they understand, disregarding the input of the 63 Internet Pioneers is both arrogant and stupid, especially when you are listening to the music & film industries. However, whatever they do, I'll wager that the 63 Internet Pioneers have a work-around in less than 2 days. Messing with DNS, seizing domains, shutting down netblocks (see DNS above) and holding ISPs responsible via incredibly vague language in the actual bill is just downright scary.

We know we're running out of IP addresses (this was an 8th grade math problem, computing the total number of possible combinations) just like we're running out of phone numbers and keep adding new area codes. I-3 is just around the corner.

Don't mess with what you (my elected officials) don't understand. And I'm beginning to cringe when I hear "nerd" instead of "expert" or at the worst, "geek."

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