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« Deep pockets | Main | Secular space »

Jan 14, 2012

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James

Thanks for posting this. The argument reveals a familiar flaw in legislation ... a flaw that applies to Pat McCrory's Voter ID pandering: the scheme won't produce the desired results.

So there you have it. If you want to argue against SOPA, there are plenty of good reasons. For one, it won’t stop digital piracy at all.

Roch101

Do you agree with the source of your link, Ed, that "The laws clearly apply only to foreign companies"?

Ed Cone

That seems like a narrow reading to me, Roch -- could a US company using a foreign domain still be prosecuted?

justcorbly

Good piece. Over-the-top wacky opposition to SOPA allows its proponents to paint the opposition as over-the-top wacky people.

Roch101

According to internet law expert Jonathan Zittrain (who i beleive you've cited here) the law could make US organizations foreign entities simply because they utilize a foreign domain name registrar (a common practice).

Additionaly, and just as important, the legally required remidies ensnare US companies, under threat of legal penalty if they don't cooperate. The provisions that demand withdrawal of access and financial support from an offending entity will ensnare ad networks, search engines, carriers, service providers, web hosts, etc.

Roch101

Justcorbly, it's wrong on one of its two points.

Ed Cone

Roch, got a link to the Zittrain cite?

Sue

Roch wrote importantly, "Additionaly, and just as important, the legally required remidies ensnare US companies, under threat of legal penalty if they don't cooperate. The provisions that demand withdrawal of access and financial support from an offending entity will ensnare ad networks, search engines, carriers, service providers, web hosts, etc."

(and no, I'm not going to crit a typing mistake, we need to stop doing that)

This is critical stuff. As a web hosting company owner (albeit small), our TOS and AUP clearly state you can't do anything illegal on our servers (in nice legal language). So am I supposed to monitor 24/7/365 every website, blog post or comment? I'd shut down the hosting service first and move it to one of the big guys and stop spending (significant) money in Greensboro and lose a fairly lucrative (but at times sleeplessness inducing) source of business.

So, if one person on a server does an illegal thing, they're going to redirect DNS on shared virtual machines? That shuts down an entire server (at GoDaddy or RackSpace, for example, there could be thousands of sites on a single server) and worse, it could redirect the DNS to an entire netblock that would effectively shut down an entire server farm, at least from my non-legal reading of the bill.

Do you know what that would cost in legal fees and how much we'd have to charge just to include legal fees and the documentation that would be required for anyone to host on our servers? (IT-smart lawyer over my shoulder grimacing. "They have no idea what they're talking about. They don't know what DNS is. It's a Hollywood law.")

Last, there's no one alive in DC politics I'd trust to screw around with DNS. They don't even know what it is or what it does; they're taking direction from Hollywood/TV/Movies/Music and they're refusing to listen to the folks who really did invent the Internet.

More from Cory Doctorow and the infamous Lamar Smith who says the 83 Internet Pioneers just don't matter.

Billy Jones

How else are they going to quieten opposing voices?

Roch101

Ed, I posted a link to Zittrain, but it didn't appear. I'll try again below, but if it doesn't show, please check your spam flagged comments.

Roch101

Sue, I noted the spelling/grammatical error in Senator Kay Hagan's official reply because it seemed an indication of the degree of attention being paid by the senator to justifying her position on this issue. A blog comment is one thing, a Senator formally explaining that her desire is to stop entities who illegaly "sale" copyrighted works reflects on the importance she gives to explaining her position on this issue to voters.

Roch101

"Hollywood law." I think your lawyer friend nailed it, Sue.

Ishmael

"How else are they going to quieten opposing voices?"

BINGO. If the internet has accomplished one thing, it has allowed the flourishing of free speech and that irritates the hell out of some people.
Free speech is a messy thing and requires lazy people to keep on their toes.

Roch101

Hard to see how this is about quieting dissent, unless one is cautioning against a slippery slope.

Sue

@Roch, that wasn't directed at you personally; it was a timing thing. I know that historically we bloggers (me included, look for a not-so-secret-if-do-Twitter new blog soon) have nit-picked spelling/grammar and lost the point. I think we (me included) can and should stop doing that.

As for the email from Sen. Hagan's staff, in the light of day, I'm less critical of your crit. She does have to set a higher standard and what you noted is important.

Aside: the nit-picking is one reason I stopped blogging (it was a small reason; the bigger was simply lack of time). I hereby classify a Senator's email as nit-pickable, applicable only to my tiny part of the pond. I just didn't want to move the conversation from my anti-SOPA stance to one of spelling, but both *do* count.

Roch101

BREAKING: White House agin' it. Stopping short of saying will veto, but momentum seems to be shifting.

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