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RE: SOPA vs. a free internet



I'd hate to say this, because it's almost a fallacy, but the extrapolation of 
the general -- slippery slope -- argument involved with SOPA doesn't stop where 
you might think it does, nor PIPA, the Protect IP Act (which is the US Senate 
version of the House SOPA). As the argument goes, SOPA is a springboard to 
further laws, much how FISA became a springboard for the Patriot Act. This also 
has complications that it might become a model for international laws, and thus 
imperils other laws that guarantee freedoms.

Website owners are not merely responsible for the content _they_ link to, it 
includes comments, quotations, etc. If you draw a likeness from a film (say, 
Indiana Jones) or copy a portion of text in a otherwise copy-written text 
(quoting Twain or Melville), you can be fined/imprisoned. Yes, the burden is 
shifted to YOU, the doer of this _evil_ deed, to prove otherwise. Like the 
Patriot Act's use of FISA, this occurs through what is essentially 
"warrentless" actions taken by the courts. As a further nail to this, the US 
Supreme Court recently ruled that objects in the public domain, which fell out 
of copyright, can be reclaimed or were never out of copyright. This means 
further uses of supposedly "free" information may be protected and thus carry 
punitive protections to ensure their non-use without money.

My argument with Mike Taylor (and David) on the subject of another House bill 
notwithstanding, I firmly think that suppression of sharing is abhorrent, 
although I feel there are ways to work around this with corporate and 
scientific interests, which is where I agree that Elsevier gets pretty 
unethical. As I wrote here: 
http://qilong.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/sopa-the-research-works-act-and-relative-evil/,
 SOPA endangers far, far more than stopping you, I, or anyone else from 
receiving or giving copies of papers to one another, putting up images in our 
papers or blogs of material that has not been perfectly secured through 
copyright, even if it's "available" for scientific purposes, and so forth. 
Elsevier, or any other publisher, can claim they own the images in their works 
(and they do), and that use of them requires they be compensated financially. 
Monetary punishment will be yet another straw on the camel, and enforceable 
through SOPA and PIPA. The RWA is a portion of this, though, and deserves no 
little regard.

Access to Opencongress.com seems to be a server load issue after the blackout 
in observation of the STOP SOPA campaign yesterday, the same thing that set 
Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, and dozens other sites including xkcd.com into 
"black" mode.

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)


----------------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 12:48:34 +0100
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: SOPA vs. a free internet
>
> > Corporations will be able to immediately shut down whole websites
> > *simply by accusing them* of hosting copyrighted material.
>
> Simply accusing them of _linking to copyrighted material_ would be enough.
>
> Website owners would be held responsible for absolutely everything that
> happens on their websites, _and_ the burden of proof would be inverted.
>
> The list of sponsors of SOPA/PIPA is here:
> www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/money Yesterday the site was on
> strike, and today it gives me "502 Proxy Error -- Error reading from
> remote surver", but I'm told that... guess what! Elsevier is on it!
> Hooraaaaay!!!