Some Thoughts on SOPA and PIPA
The whole internet is abuzz with SOPA and, to a lesser extent, PIPA talk. Basically, these two bills in congress, one for the House, one for the Senate. You can get plenty of information through Google or if you’d like, try the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The gist of this bill, is that it would allow media companies, through the government, to block websites with “pirated content” through manipulation of the Internet DNS system. Without proper due process of law. DNS, is essentially the phone book of the internet. You could also compare it to a road map. It’s what computers use to know how to find the websites you look for online. All websites are in fact a series of numbers called an IP address, however remembering 126.96.36.199 is tricky. Remembering “Google.com” is not.
Feel free to use that link, it leads to Google. Which brings up one major flaw with this bill. Pirates will easily circumvent these blocked DNS entries by using IP addresses. If say, the Pirate Bay is blocked, people will just use it’s IP address instead.
Also likely there will simply be “rogue DNS” servers.
I am not endorsing piracy, I am saying the bill will not do anything to stop it. People also may suggest the idea of “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of”.
The problem with this logic, in every situation, is that the question of “what is wrong” is extremely subjective and often changes. Guess what, in a world where SOPA passes and becomes law, it starts off simply as it’s told. Places which host “pirate content” are effectively removed from the internet. Nevermind that there will also be legal content taken off as well when sites like Megaupload are taken offline. The block is not single file or even single subsite specific.
But hey we’re all happier now without The pirate Bay and Megaupload right?
Until people start hosting their content through loopholes on blogger or WordPress. Sure, it’s against the TOS and both companies work to remove them as they are found but hey, guess what, now they need to be blocked. Thousands, probably millions, of independent bloggers are now silenced.
Or perhaps the definition of “piracy” and “copyright infringement” gets pushed out even more. Universal studios puts out a big blockbuster movie, it cost them a shitload of money top make and it gets totally panned by the internet. Nobody wants to see this movie, all this negative press floating around, well hey look, Blogger Bob used the movie poster in his review. Nevermind that this may fall under the fare use clause, that’s infringement, let’s close down BloggerBob.com because his negative reviews may be hurting ticket sales.
Just remember, governments generally don’t start off deciding to become repressive totalitarian regimes. (NOTE: Link will not work 1/18/2012)
I mean hey, we have a precedent now, plus, once a site is “gone” people won’t notice right? Universal killed BloggerBob, why not suppress a few of those “anti government kooks” out there spreading bad spirits through the country while we’re at it. We have the mechanism in place after all. John Q Public doesn’t know what DNS is, he thinks it’s a new sandwich at Subway.
It’s not even that it’s a terribly BAD idea, it’s more that, in an effort to make things “move more quickly” it rejects the idea of due process, and facts, and evidence.
Which also brings up what really is a whole different rant. The world is changing. The world is not the US, or Europe, or China, or the Northern Hemisphere. It’s an entire globe. The internet is even more-so, and it’s the driving force of the world these days. Which is the real problem here. Because despite the best effort to push more crap on what used to be a pretty ignorant and docile public, it’s not working anymore. Any sort of exaggeration or lie in favor of “marketing” is almost instantly debunked. People who used to be made to feel better or pushed aside as isolated cases of problems realize that they are not alone. The internet is the ultimate engine for real democracy. look at the whole election system, when it took days and months to ride a horse across the country, then things like congress or the electoral college etc were a great idea. is it even necessary anymore when people can express their opinion and desires to the world instantly?