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Re: SOPA vs. a free internet

To summarize, SOPA is a draconian bill supported by highly 
paid movie industry lobbyists which will speed the United 
States' post-9/11 slide into Soviet-style government by 
censoring the internet and letting big corporations 
prevent the fair use of copyrighted material as they please. 

Corporations will be able to immediately shut down whole 
websites *simply by accusing them* of hosting copyrighted 
material. No more mucking around with due process in 
courtrooms anymore. Hello, 21st-Century America! 

--- On Wed, 1/18/12, Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:

> From: Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com>
> Subject: SOPA
> To: "Vert Paleo Mailing List" <vrtpaleo@usc.edu>, 
> Dinosaur.Mailing.List@listproc.usc.edu
> Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 5:29 AM
>   So, after that nice little discussion with persons
> regarding ONE United States House of Representatives (HR)
> bill impacting the ability of scientists to share data paid
> for by taxpayers (HR 3699, the Research Works Act), with so
> much extensive campaigning especially by Mike Taylor of the
> UK, I figured I'd share something that has less impact in
> recent days, and that's SOPA, HR 3261 
> (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr3261).
>   This bill, unlike the other, does not seek to overturn a
> law that tells corporations to make publications they
> produce freely available if paid for through grant money
> from the National Institute of Health. Instead, SOPA (the
> Stop Online Piracy Act -- http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/show),
> serves MUCH GREATER support for the purpose of preventing
> websites to actually function if they share any copyrighted
> digital objects, including documents. If found, a court
> order could shut down any website, block other sites from
> accessing it, and level fines against offenders as well as
> prison time. This doesn't prevent a law from working, it
> makes sharing of information criminal.
>   Now, I can say that there is, like the bill Mike Taylor
> opposes, an ostensibly good thing about it, but it is
> facile: Sharing illegally copied or downloaded information
> is piracy, and the internet makes piracy almost impossible
> to prevent. To solve this, the laws have become heavy handed
> in order to close down portions of it to counteract such
> laws. They only work within the United States, but they can
> prevent sites from connecting to US-hosted sites from
> outside. Given the prominence of the US to world-wide
> digital networking, this has foreseeable impacts. It can,
> for instance, allow prosecutors to make plausible arguments
> in a court that any object infringes on a copyright, and
> this occurs without an appeal in court you can make made
> from the so-called "victim" of the infringement. It allows
> the court itself to make the case, and the result is almost
> always censorship.
>   So if you thought being forced to pay $50 for a pdf is
> bad, you would NOT be allowed to legally share this pdf if
> you could not prove you have a legitimate reason to do so.
> It also impact whistle-blowers, a group whose outspokenness
> may be required to overturn what is essentially illegal or
> otherwise unethical actions, because doing so requires them
> to "share protected information."
>   It will affect video and text sharing sites, because
> they may involve copywritten material in text, images,
> documents, or trade secrets. It impairs scientists sharing
> data on protected or otherwise low-key servers or websites,
> prevents them from trading in information and data digitally
> when information is "owned" by a producer or company, etc.
> So this affects you as a scientfic community, and even these
> listservs because we can discuss "copywritten" material
> including the text of documents. Now, there are aspects of
> some papers including the fair-use laws, but this is
> restricted in effect to those who have a reasonable right to
> acquire this information. As an amateur who is currently not
> in a geo or bio-oriented curriculum, this would not include
> me, and I could be reasonably excluded from being granted
> access to this data on that ground alone, regardless of
> whatever reason the requested party may have. But this
> includes any and all other amateurs or interested
> non-professionals. It could even include the media you
> correspond with to share your information with for
> publicity.
>   If you load a Youtube video with someone holding an
> iPhone, or some clear logo or object whose brand is notable,
> you would be in violation of this law. The same is true, in
> fact, of posting such a video or a still of it on your blog,
> in your CV, etc..
>   But that's not all!
>   The legislation would attempt to set up methods by which
> Congress can allow enforcement agencies to trawl
> internet-connected systems, whether servers or personal
> computers, looking for objects that match copywritten
> material, as well as tracking the connections of "flagged"
> IP addresses, in case such objects were found to be traded.
> This becomes an invasion of personal as well as potentially
> company privacy, in case the offending IP is registered with
> a school, as part of a company network system, etc.. It
> doesn't take too much fear-mongering to know that this may
> venture close to spying in broader networks, such as your
> lab's or school's servers and all computers connected.
>   If this doesn't sound like something you can support,
> then there are solutions. If you are a US citizen, you may
> contact your representative or senator and request of them
> to oppose or remove their support from this legislation.
>   Mike Taylor made much ado about the money sponsors of
> the HR 3699 (the Research Works Act) have received from
> companies like Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, etc., but
> dominantly the former. Consider that Rep. Carolyn Maloney
> (D-NY-14) has received just over $30,000 in connection with
> the supporters and lobbyists of the bill. Rep. Eric Cantor
> (R-VA-7) has received over $600,000, more than 200 times
> that of Maloney, from interests supporting this bill, while
> Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has received over $3million. If the
> amount of money spent to support interest in this bills is
> anything to speak of, the value of stopping SOPA would far
> outstrip the value of stopping the Research Works Act.
>   I ask you, the paleontological community -- especially
> if you live in the US -- to appeal to your representatives
> and senators to make sure this law is overturned. It is a
> vital expression of your interest in this community and your
> ability to share and distribute data than the Research Works
> Act that stopping SOPA is substantially important. 
>   Cheers,
> Jaime A. Headden
> The Bite Stuff (site v2)
> http://qilong.wordpress.com/
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B.
> Medawar (1969)
> "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with
> a
> different language and a new way of looking at things, the
> human race
> has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his
> language or
> his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan
> (Beast With a Billion Backs)