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01/15/2012

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SlashMorgath

Sir, your comments on SOPA are way off, and show that you don't have a full understanding of the impact SOPA would have if implemented. A mere alegation of a link to copyrighted material can get a site or an entire domain blocked. There is no due process. Ultimately some kind of legislation will be neccessary. SOPA and it's evil twin Protect IP are not it. Your statement that there would be no impact to SL is laughable. Are you saying that there are no copyrighted images uploaded to SL? I guarentee that there are many uploaded by a myriad of people. If anything SL will be one of the first sites shut down. All someone has to do is make an allegation.

Prokofy Neva

No, that's not true. You are merely spouting crap you got shovelled at you on Youtube by propagagndists. Read the law, and do find a line in that law that actually would do what you say. There isn't anything remotely like that. You just read that on Reddit and regurgitated it like a robot. Can't you think for yourself? Read the damn law.

No, these laws ARE it. Anyone who claims that they are against piracy but just want to put it off to a better day when perfection is achieved aren't really against it. The time to start is now.

Read the law. There are fine definitions and LL already stops piracy. This will strengthen its hippie spine.

It's not true that an allegation is enough to shut a site down. That's hysterical insanity. The allegation has to be investigated in good faith; the law-enforcer has to make his case; the platform has to invoke first its own remedies. Allegations alone do not shut down sites; legal cases do.

What's confused in your geeky youtubed mind is that you think that if someone pirates or uploads illegal content, that they are a subject of this law. They aren't. You would have to:

o do so for commercial gain
o deliberately
o in large amounts
o in a certain monetary amount
o repeatedly over time

AND

o fail to invoke a defense, that it is too costly
o fail to invoke a defense, that it is too hard technically (LL can't police the entire grid)

So like now, you need a case. A researched case. A case that will hold. And that will fit all these criteria.

Prokofy Neva

Here's a good article to read on DNSSEC. I'd love to get a good discussion going on that. Second Lifers reading these details, even if they're not tekkies, will understand the same "lessons learned" from the problems of the third-party viewers. We were all told how "impossible" it is really to prevent rogue viewers from logging on and the problem of the man-in-the-middle, spoofing, etc.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/20/sopa_breaks_dnssec/

I'm skeptical of the magic of DNSSEC, especially coming from the same people who told us encryption didn't work on content all these years. They can't have their cake and eat it too. I'd like to hear them jump over that. I never do.

Micha Sass

The real SL breaker that could come about after the SOPA legislation is 'vetted uploads'. If LL decide to limit their liabilities they could stop un-moderated uploads. I cannot see that SL in its current mode could afford the human cost of moderating the many 1000's of uploads SL accepts each day. We will see. Maybe SL will just carry on as before, but without some sort of safe harbour clause like the DMCA currently has, SL will expose itself to many potential lawsuits.

VR worlds will be unlikely to venture into the world of free-form creativity that SL has embraced following SOPA. Thank the stars for OpenSimulator.

Ann Otoole InSL

The best thing about SOPA is it proved beyond any doubt the rotting old zombie legislators routinely sell their votes for stuff they don't have any capability to comprehend. Should be a banner year for voting out old stupid crooks and getting some people with brains in to eradicate the damage the corrupt congress has done over the last decade.

Interestingly your article shows the DMCA does work and Google does what is required as does LL already. There is no need for SOPA. If EMI and their bought and paid for congress wants to attack piratebay then they can send a seal team to kill the people that run it. End of issue. Much cheaper and no lawyer vampires needed.

Marx Dudek

I liked it better when you were a photo blog.

Prokofy Neva

The law does not require them to pre-monitor, read the bill.

They would have to respond in good faith to complaints as they already do now.

Actually, the 25 percent Google wouldn't take down shows that DMCA doesn't work because I suspect among them are poor people without the means to hire lawyers. And people shouldn't have to chase after millions of individual pieces of content, especially repetitively. Millions of these come from record companies. Google will have to find a way to license the content and pay for it.

It would be interesting to get more facts on these 5 million. How many involved an initial request without a formal DMCA for something obviously lifted?

What percent were hard judgement calls? etc.

I don't see that Congress is the bought and paid for thing you claim, but even if it is, so what? I'm all for lobbyists, who are legal and are now covered obsessively on all kinds of sites.

Again, watch my friend Gillibrand and see whether she votes with her money or her prog politics.

cube inada


people dont read... and worse they cant see.....

they can only take from the other and now call it sharing.

MIPS has now become mainstream... anti SOPA propaganda has shown it... next i here slavery will be in vogue. then of course, trains to the pods....

freedom of speech...swallowed by the need to consume.

Ann Otoole InSL

Maybe the millions of takedowns were automatic youtube removals based on the automatic detection of unlicensed music in videos.

Micha Sass

'Tis all but a fleeting bill placed on the back burner by Mr Obama. The money has already been taken from the large media lobbyists and banked, thank you very much for the election campaign assistance. PIPA will be along shortly to tease you, please place your one hundred dollar bills in her bikini.

Ahab Qvetcher

It is time to lay down some fundamental principles that somehow got lost in the transition from the world of printed material to the world of the internet:

1. Ideas and creations are a sort of property, even though they are intangible.

2. An author, artist, or inventor has a right to own his or her original idea or creation or invention.

3. Implicit in the concept of property is that its owner can sell it, profit from it if possible, or give it away on such terms or conditions as seem appropriate.

4. It is wrong to deprive someone of their property without their consent. When you take my money from me, it is theft, and when you take my idea from me without my consent, it is plagiarism.

5. In many ways, the theft of the idea is worse than the theft of the money. I can always go earn more money, but I am not such a clever fellow that I can be assured of an unlimited supply of ideas.

6. One of the principal functions of government is, in fact, to protect individuals from the wrongful loss of property, be it through theft or plagiarism.

7. The size of the entity losing the property and the size of the entity taking the property does not matter. The movie studio that made a highly successful movie has just as much right to be protected in its profit as I do in mine for writing a small newspaper article and selling it. The fact that Google is taking and allowing clips to be posted without consent and without royalties being paid does not make it right.

Somehow these principles managed to survive through the invention of print media, the widespread distribution of music through phonographs, and radio, they were not appreciably challenged by the appearance of film, or television. The development of the VCR, the widespread introduction of the computer, and the appearance of the internet have allowed, however, extraordinary challenges. That does not change the fundamental morality of the issue:

The artist owns the art. Period.
Any deviation from that is deeply and fundamentally wrong.

cube republic

This is so last century and really only protects the rights of the few. It's about the entertainment industry making money, nothing more. They were too short sighted and rested on their laurels, expecting their business model (that of physical media sales) to last for ever. Now they're thrashing around like bugs on their backs. The end result if this bill becomes law, will be more musicians and content makers going indy' as we're seeing already.

Magnet Homewood

Interestingly, Wikipedia has decided to protest against SOPA and PIPA by blackingout its English language section:

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/English_Wikipedia_anti-SOPA_blackout

Ann Otoole InSL

There is a huge protest planned for tomorrow but the state controlled national broadcast news media has obviously been ordered by fuhrer Obama to suppress. Senator Dodd exposed his oligarchy/nazi hand by describing US Citizens as dangerous. The armed revolution draws near.

Prokofy Neva

So, Cube, you missed the part where Google steals other people's content and makes ad revenue from it and you have to sue to get back its money-making capacity yourself. Google is the one thrashing, that's why they bombarded Congress over this.

Google is evil.

Prokofy Neva

Yes, Ann, and that's a good thing!

I thought you supported copyright.

bean brody

agree with you prok

I see the dimwits over at SLU have gone dark LMAO OMG what will they do for 24hrs

Agree

i agree. sopa is important. LL should charge more for mainland to pay for it to stop copbotters and also griefing or they could tax in lindens sence land owners have more than anyone, duh.

sopa apponents are stupid.

cube inada

cube republic- bad

cube-good- original non copybot cube

Quanmer Wylie

"I'm skeptical of the magic of DNSSEC, especially coming from the same people who told us encryption didn't work on content all these years. They can't have their cake and eat it too. I'd like to hear them jump over that. I never do."

You speak as if cryptographic signing and data encryption are the same thing. You could not give a more convincing demonstration of why you're not qualified to comment.

You're a statist's dream. You don't understand what's going on, and you shout down the people who do.

Thank God you're in the minority.

rex cronon

@ Quanmer:
why do u think is called "cryptographic/digital signature"? in case u didn't know is because existing encryption algorithms are used to authenticate that the data u get wasn't faked. in case of DNSSEC, the main thing they want is to make sure that the site name and address that your browser receives are not faked. since current encryption algorithms used are not impossible to be broken, that means that it is possible to fake these digital signatures. the strength of the digital signature depends on the strength of the cryptographic algorithm(s) used. it does look like what prokofy says is true:) doesn't it?
p.s.
maybe you should read carefully the wikipedia article about DNSSEC:)

Quanmer Wylie

Rex, read what Prokofy wrote. Establishing trust between a server and a client is not the same as creating a trusted computing environment on a remote host. Authenticating endpoints is not the same as processing encrypted data while obscuring it from the operator. One of these is a solved problem. The other is not.

Yes, cryptographic signing and data shrouding both employ encryption. They both employ math, memory management and a thousand other incidentals. No, that does not mean that these two very different problems get solved in tandem. What Prokofy said made zero sense.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

All right, I *did* read the bill, as you suggested. But one thing is reading it, the other is having a legal training to understand it. For instance, we both come to different conclusions.

I see that you claim "profiting in large amounts (over $1000)" as the reason for invoking SOPA. Where on the bill is that amount stipulated?

Because if you're referring to the Amendments to section 506(a) of title 17, United States Code, then the "over US$1000 amount" is defined as being part of *criminal* activity. However, one thing is a civil lawsuit; the other is criminal activity. In either case, the Attorney General is granted the power to at least prevent a site which is claimed to have copyrighted content (or points to it — "facilitates access") to be up. In the case that it's also proven that content with the value of "over US$1000" has been pirated, then the case becomes a criminal case. These are two different consequences, even though what matters is the blocking ability, which comes first...

But I agree that it takes a jurist to understand this better. However, this is not the issue. It's not the direct application (or not) of the modified section 506(a) of title 17, United States Code that is a problem. No, it's the cascading effect which may happen as operators will start to block content of their users by fearing to be blocked upstream (ie. by operators who provide service to them) if they happen to "miss" a copyright violation. At some point, operators might simply block everything they want and forget about "free speech", because, that way, they diminish the probability of being blocked in turn by upstream providers. And worse than that: this bill will grant them immunity if they happen to make a mistake (i.e. deleting a site/comment/video that does NOT violate ANY copyright), so they can afford to be careless — or over-enforcing.

It's true that the bill states Internet operators are not *required* to monitor their users. However, they're not liable if they *voluntarily* do so; this is quite clear on the bill (sec. 104). This is what allows the Internet operators to pre-emptively shut down sites in the conviction that they might be infringing someone's copyright, somewhere, and not being liable for making a mistake.

Suppose that I quote you on my site but ask no permission to quote you. There are copyright provisions to allow me, under my freedom of expression, to quote you — even make money from quoting you. However, let's postulate that my hosting provider, afraid of reprisals due to SOPA — because they might be forced to shut my site down, and if they don't do it in 5 days, the ISP providing service to them are forced to shut *them* down, and so forth, cascading to the top. So they will pre-emptively shut me down — effectively cancelling my freedom of speech, even though I could (with an expensive lawyer) prove that I did nothing wrong. But — here's the catch! — I cannot file a lawsuit against my hosting provider. They're immune, because they acted in good faith. They THOUGHT I was violating your copyright and so decided to shut me down. So I could not even sue them for acting in bad faith — they not only could prove otherwise, but they're actually immune from lawsuits, thanks to this bill!

You're right that people like Google/YouTube and Facebook will lose a lot of money with this bill. Because they face the threat of not being able to comply — imagine they get served millions and millions of requests — they might very well have no other option than to delete pretty much everything that has the slightest suspicion of violating a copyright somewhere. Thanks to the bill, they can do that with immunity (and impunity!), but even if they don't *want* to do so, they might have no choice but to do it, in order to make sure they never face the threat of being shut down by their own upstream providers.

But, again, this can cascade to the top. Imagine what YouTube's Internet provider is thinking right now. YouTube is full of pirated content. So they might get a court order to remove YouTube from the 'net, and if they fail to do so, their address range might be removed by the ICANN via a court order. So they might get in touch with Google and say, "look, guys, either you remove everything from YouTube, and do it now, or we'll cancel your service. We know that you cannot prevent YouTube from having stolen content. So we know that sooner or later you'll have to take action. If you don't, we will. But because we fear, in good faith, that you won't do it without a fight, and we face losing our own IP range, we're severing your contract and shutting you down, as effective from now. Too bad that you're going to lose 42 billion dollars in 2012 because of that; we're immune to lawsuits from you, so we're not going to risk it and shut you down, now."

This is obviously an extreme case and it's hardly likely that it will actually happen. But I'm pretty sure that people at Google are sweating now. On the other hand, SOPA allows Google now to remove all content that vaguely looks like copyright theft, and just get over with it (since they're safe if they commit any mistakes anyway). What is the simpler choice? Fight for the right of people to express themselves — and face the very possible reality that this "expression" will violate a copyright somewhere — and risk being blacked out of the Internet, or just go the easy route and start actively monitoring the content in a far more aggressive way, deleting anything that is remotely suspicious first, and don't worry about the consequences?

That's the major problem I have with this bill: it allows a long chain of providers, from the very bottom to the top, to remove content with impunity. All they need to claim is that they thought, in good faith, that people were violating a copyright somewhere.

DMCA, by contrast, has its limitations, but it requires both sides to agree first on what has been violated and by whom, and making mistakes is punishable by law — and deliberate falsities are criminal charges. At the very least, someone involved in a DMCA claim is always allowed to sue the other party (or the Internet provider) if they feel there has been some sort of abuse. SOPA removes the notion that Internet providers are "abusing" if they cancel service, based on whatever reasons they might find to believe that some sort of copyright has been violated.

The other issue is that it places law enforcement in the hands of techies inside companies and grants them immunity if they make mistakes. It's interesting that you, speaking for so many years against giving techies the power to enforce law, are now such a strong supporter of SOPA which will do exactly that, but with a catch: so far, techies-acting-enforcers were subject to lawsuits if they overstepped their alleged "powers". With SOPA, they will be granted immunity.

Now I should say that I'm not against the *whole* bill. The theory that copyrights should be protected is open to debate, of course, but until we find a better model that actually works (which we haven't), protecting intellectual property is more than "a nice thing to have": it's a crucial element of our societies. Without copyrights we wouldn't have any kind of art. There are alternative models, of course, but none — so far — have really shown to be feasible. Anti-copyright proponents only like to quote edge cases and anedoctal evidence of artists able to survive by giving away content. Of course this is possible; of course there are excellent examples, and they number in the hundreds or thousands. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of artists cannot survive without copyrights. It's also true that even in spite of a strong copyright law, artists get the thinnest slice of the profits from their content. But it's better than getting zero.

A weaker form of SOPA is the OPEN Act: http://keepthewebopen.com/ The main principles are the same, but the actual application is different: there is a Commission that analyses the issue, and serves a cease and desist order, not unlike DMCA. It's only when people fail to comply that the Commission is able to serve the order to the upstream provider. If that fails as well, then, well they have no chance to prosecute — and this implies a normal procedure in court, where both parties are able to discuss if a copyright was violated or not. I personally still think that the Open Act is too powerful (it also grants immunity to providers who pre-emptively delete their users' content) but at least the extra step outside the courts might be not so dramatic.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

On the other hand, I just read about the system used in France to deal with content piracy over the Internet. It's rather clever. In terms of enforcement, it's perhaps even more brutal than the SOPA bill. But there is a simple way out: if you, as a consumer, wish to see copyrighted content at home, you just pay a small monthly fee. That fee gets pooled together and is distributed among all copyright holders. Simple! Of course, if you refuse to pay that fee, well, then the French authorities have the meanest and most brutal ways of denying you access and kicking you out of the 'net, if you merely dare to think of accessing a site with pirated content, not to mention actually doing that heinous act.

This method mimics the usual way copyright holders for music and videos are paid in countries using the Continental model of copyrights (used in most central European countries, but not UK & Ireland, which use the Anglo-Saxon model, widespread across most of the world). Imagine you're opening a new club and invite DJs to play. All music played there is obviously copyrighted content. So in the past, clubs were required to list all musics played and pay a fee for each music. But with invited DJs and the plethora of music available, well, it was simply too hard to track it down, so the solution was just to charge a nominal monthly fee, and allow clubs to play what they wished. By statistical analysis, the collecting agency — representing copyright holders world-wide — would then distribute the collected fees among the other agencies around the world. For example, if, on average, 70% of all music was US, 25% UK, 5% German, then this would be split among those agencies using those percentages. The agencies, in turn, would have a list of their more popular artists, also listed in percentages, and distribute the money accordingly. Now of course this means there is no one-to-one relationship between a work of art being performed and who actually gets the payment (as opposed to what happens, for example, with books). Nothing prevents a club to do a "Lady Gaga Night" and *only* play Lady Gaga's music, and, for that night, Lady Gaga would get far less per music played than on average. But these are extreme cases — on average, copyright holders will get *some* money, in proportion to the perceived audience they have, and that's far better than dealing with clubs that would send fake lists, or claim they didn't open that specific night, etc. to avoid paying their licensing fees.

This is rather similar to what hulu.com is doing in the US, where content companies like FOX, NBCUniversal, ABC, Criterion, A&E Networks, Lionsgate, Endemol, MGM, MTV Networks, Comedy Central, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., TED and more joined forces, and for US$7.99 monthly you can watch all their shows, legally, for just a small fee. It's not actually important if a consumer is watching *only* things from FOX — although I might guess that it's far easier to track down who is actually owed some money. But the principle is pretty much the same: just charge a small fee per month and allow people access to copyrighted content.

Instead of proposing the SOPA bill, the industry giants should instead suggest that consumers pay a small monthly fee to get access to copyrighted content, or — like in France — be blocked from sites with pirated content. Because if some consumer pays for access to that content, it's not "pirated" any more. And if the problem is actually with Google, who makes revenue from ads on pirated content (of which Google is not aware), things are simple: enact a bill where Google has to pay a small percentage of the ad revenue to pay for licensing costs. Google, in turn, will push that extra fee to their own ad buyers, and will not lose money for it.

That way, everybody would win. Sure, consumers will grumble that they would have to pay, say, some extra $7.99 per month for getting access to content that they could pirate for free. That's perhaps some 10-20 billion US$ per year in extra license fees. That's not much, but it's a far better system than going all the way to an extreme that might curb freedom of expression and totally change the way the Internet works...

Marx Dudek

SOPA would solve nothing, and would damage a lot of things. You don't use a thermonuclear weapon to swat a fly, and that's exactly what SOPA does.

The entertainment media industry can not legislate itself out of extinction. It's had almost two decades now to learn how to adapt to the new digital economy. They tried to cram DRM down our throats and finally had to concede to market forces who wanted DRM-free, fully-transportable MP3 files.

And now the publishing industry needs to look at all the mistakes that the MPAA and RIAA have made and ... well, not make them again.

Blockbuster owned the retail video rental industry because of innovation. And it lost to Netflix because of a failure to continue to innovate. Let's not forget that the RIAA tried to legislate the MP3 player out of existence.

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