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SOPA Goes Back To the Drawing Board, PIPA Postponed 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the gone-but-not-forgotten dept.
New submitter rivin2e writes "SOPA has been sent back to the drawing board. 'The move came shortly after the Senate postponed a key vote on the companion PIPA bill scheduled for next week and amid calls for consensus before Congress moves forward on any legislation to address the problem of foreign piracy websites,' as written by the Los Angeles Times today. Hopefully the next draft of this bill will create a better foundation to stop piracy and not just assert control over the internet." Support for the bill eroded on Wednesday as several of its co-sponsors withdrew their support. The issue is not over, however; statements were issued by both Senator Patrick Leahy and Rep. Lamar Smith indicating that they still want to find solutions to online piracy, and Smith also wrote an editorial piece for CNN to explain why he thinks such legislation is necessary. The SOPA issue was raised at the recent GOP debate, and all four candidates spoke against it.
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SOPA Goes Back To the Drawing Board, PIPA Postponed

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  • Likely answer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:16PM (#38766710)
    The most likely answer is this: too many people knew what was being planned. We can't have people knowing about the laws that attack their rights and freedoms, can we?
    • by kaellinn18 (707759) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766802) Homepage Journal
      Here's the scariest thing I've read: Lamar Smith is also the sponsor of H.R. 1981 Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (info: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR01981:@@@L&summ2=m& [loc.gov]). What someone on Reddit suggested might happen (and I see as all too plausible) is that they will modify the text of SOPA/PIPA a bit and tack it on to this bill. If that happens, it is going to pass in a landslide because no one wants to be seen as supporting child pornography. They will pass this bill without even reading it. We HAVE to keep on top of this and make sure that they don't try to sneak one by us. This is just the beginning, and it is going to get very ugly.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#38766904)

        This is just the beginning, and it is going to get very ugly.

        Where have you been? Because it's hardly the beginning. But there is a long hard road ahead of us.

        • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:53PM (#38767250)

          The problem is you can't keep people enraged, shocked and surprised by any significant amount of time. So they will vote again, again and again, and once we stop making such a ruckus (because, frankly we have other things to do), it will pass. Even if we never yield, a new generation of internet users will come that, if not supportive, is already used to the idea of internet control, so they will not be shocked enough to voice their concerns so loudly. That's how these things almost always go and how society gradually changes its most ingrained values, for better or for worse.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:32PM (#38767770) Homepage

            Even if we never yield, a new generation of internet users will come that, if not supportive, is already used to the idea of internet control, so they will not be shocked enough to voice their concerns so loudly. That's how these things almost always go and how society gradually changes its most ingrained values, for better or for worse.

            Or maybe it's a new generation that take those freedoms as natural and essential. I'm still in my early 30s and yet when I grew up, we didn't have Internet until in my teens. Up until 1990 Norway had a total of one TV station, unless you had a satellite dish or was close to the Swedish border. I didn't have a cell phone until my late teens and calling out of the country - anything an American would call long distance - was expensive as hell. Yes you might say it was the Computer Age when PCs became common but it was in no way the Information Age that came later. Even if the Internet is a little less wild west than it was in the beginning, there's some 50 years worth of people older than me that never expected there to be an Internet at all. And if we count the voting population then only about 15 years of younger voters. We're very far from reaching a balance so even if those who join now are less radical than before I strongly doubt the Internet population as a whole is growing more conservative. Quite the opposite.

            • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:30PM (#38770696)

              I'd argue the amount of liberals and conservatives tends to always be about the same. The reference point moves, though. Let me try to come up with am example to illustrate what I mean.

              Gay rights: gay marriage is being discussed today. Liberals are for it, conservatives think they should just shut up and have their diabolic gay sex extramaritally. A few decades ago, sodomy laws banning gay sex were common. Liberals were for their abolition, conservatives thought they should shut up and stop wanting legalize perversions. Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in 1778 that demanded castration for homossexual men. Liberals were for it, conservatives wanted them to just shut up and let gays take the already existent penalty, death, like the girlish men they were.

              See? There was always pressure on both sides, but the reference point changed a lot. It's hard to find conservatives today that'd want gay men to be killed by the state. And that's what will happen to the internet, given time. If you doubt it, think about the Patriot Act. It would never fly in the 90s, even most conservatives of the time would find it baffling. I may be a bit too optimistic here, but I think there would be, at least, lots of marches and vocal oppositors. But once 9/11 happened and, in a nationwide panic, it became institutionalized, then the reference point moved. And now you don't see a lot of people trying to repeal it, because they're used to it. The frog has been slowly boiled.

              So, SOPA/PIPA. They will pass it, through either the exploitation of a scary event or sheer insistence, and then the debate will shift from "should we give those companies absolute, instantaneous power over the internet?" to "which companies should wield such absolute, instantaneous power over the internet?".

              • Re:Likely answer... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @09:53AM (#38773524) Homepage

                Well, you can rephrase the same argument I made relative to a reference point, I'd still argue that the new generation is pulling the Internet towards more free exchange of information than where it is today.

                And that's what will happen to the internet, given time. If you doubt it, think about the Patriot Act. It would never fly in the 90s, even most conservatives of the time would find it baffling. I may be a bit too optimistic here, but I think there would be, at least, lots of marches and vocal oppositors. But once 9/11 happened and, in a nationwide panic, it became institutionalized, then the reference point moved. And now you don't see a lot of people trying to repeal it, because they're used to it. The frog has been slowly boiled.

                I think you're very selectively choosing the data to fit your theory. If at any time during the Cold War communist supporters had staged and launched an attack on the leading centers of commerce and government killing 3000 people, you'd see something far, far worse than the Patriot Act. Possibly even a WWIII no matter if it was authorized by the Soviet Union or not, probably internment camps like the US hadn't seen since they put Japanese people in them during WWII and massive new government powers that'd make McCarthyism look like a footnote. The 90s were a period of extreme dominance where the US seemed to have no significant enemies, foreign or domestic. Yes, 9/11 did move the reference point far back towards the US having enemies that they must defend against and that fear may linger a bit even though it's more than a decade ago and Osama bin Laden is dead, but as a slippery slope argument that the US has now taken one big step backwards when it comes to civil liberties so now it is doomed to take all the other steps until it falls into a full blown totalitarian nightmare is a very weak argument.

                Let's face it, the Internet has totally changed the picture of information exchange. We're now moving towards a system where we can mass duplicate and send staggering amounts of data over encrypted, untraceable communication lines that are totally immune to warrants. Pretty much every restriction there has been on speech, be it libel, slander, threats, pump&dump stock scams, copyright, kiddie porn, every balance struck between privacy and rule of law through use of warrants and wiretaps is cracking up. I think in the end it will come down to a showdown that either everything must be traced, recorded and tracked or none of it is. That we're either headed for information anarchy or totalitarianism and technology is imposing that we make a choice. Now I predicted this years ago (really, I did) and it hasn't come down to it yet, but I keep seeing there are skirmishes and battle lines being drawn. Take down MegaUpload, take down TPB (conjecture), force the masses into the deep undercurrents of the Internet and maybe it'll come.

          • defeatist attitudes like yours

            the simple fact is that every single one of your rights and freedoms require maintenance, and are always under threat, and can always erode. forever

            freedom is not fought for once and then that's the end of the story. you must fight for it. forever. this is a basic truth of existence. is that depressing? well someday you will die too. that's depressing. so you stop trying to live your life, you believe in nothing but gloom and doom? no. likewise, just because the powers of plutocracy are always there trying to rob you of your freedoms you will just give up? then you aren't much of a believer in the value of your freedoms anyway. you give up to easily. you're not a coward, you're just weak

            so to counteract your defeatism i submit the the observation that the media dinosaurs sponsoring this bill are losing power and revenue flow and will fade over time. and in a generation, when everyone now who is 20 yo nurtured on an open internet is 50 yo and firmly entrenched in power, and every congresscritter firmly understands the value of a free and open internet, these kinds of attacks on the basic internet functioning by clueless old congresscritters simply won't happen anymore, and will be laughed out of the door

            i await the typical tired response to my comment that boils, yet again, to nothing but empty mindless pessimism. you are no aid to the fight for freedom if you give up easily and beleive your freedoms are doomed no matter what. show some backbone or fuck off, we have no time for you

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#38766906)

        "no one wants to be seen as supporting child pornography"

        Well, there's always 4chan...

        • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Friday January 20, 2012 @08:34PM (#38770040)

          And more seriously, what people SHOULD be willing to do is come out publicly and say, "Yes, I voted against the Prevent Child Porn Act of 2012 because Senator So and So and Rep Wasserface pulled a sleazy move and tacked COMPLETELY UNRELATED legislation on to it. It's regrettable that So and So and Wasserface compromised a good bill like the PCP act by tacking trash onto it. I'll happily vote for a trash free bill."

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Dont' think for a second the internet won't outrage if SOPA/PIPA is attached to *Anything*. In fact, I suspect them doing this as soon as the media stops trying to stifle the issue (as Time Warner owns CNN for example - see the article with Lamar smith that says "Editor's note: Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, is among the industry supporters of the legislation.").

        However, people will absolutely mobilize again.

        • by Creepy (93888) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:57PM (#38768072) Journal

          It's not that SOPA/PIPA is a bad idea in intention, it just is worded so broadly that it can easily be applied to many things it wasn't intended. Lamar Smith says Wikipedia has nothing to fear from SOPA and it will not censor the internet, but he is wrong and he is not listening. In fact, I can prove it will even with his interpretation of it. Take IMSLP [wikipedia.org], a library of musical scores that are in the public domain somewhere, but not necessarily everywhere. Some of these are still copyrighted in the US, some in Europe and Canada, some elsewhere, but all are in the public domain somewhere. This is a foreign site (with a US subsidiary for scores in the public domain in the US but not elsewhere due to differences in law) since it is based in Canada. It holds US copyrighted material that is legally public domain in Canada. By SOPA/PIPA, the US can delist IMSLP from DNS (and it is .org, so managed in the US), force no advertising from the US to go to it, and force Wikipedia (and Google and anyone else) to remove all references to it. While foreign DNS servers can add it back in on download, American DNS servers cannot because circumvention is illegal (though Americans can use a foreign DNS server, which is not illegal...).

            Is it censorship? Yes. Does it stop piracy? No.

          In fact, no part of SOPA/PIPA actually stops piracy, though the counterfeiting measures may hurt counterfeiters (to be honest, I just skimmed that section). US companies can hire foreign companies to do their advertising, and they won't have control over the sites the ads are placed on, so they have no way of shutting them down (ever heard of how spam emails work?). Pirates can still get DNS using foreign servers or just use IPs directly.

          Ergo, all parts of this can easily and legally be circumvented by pirates and we lose legal parts of the internet in the process.

          • I have to disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Lewis Daggart (539805) <jonboze@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:53PM (#38768758) Journal
            I really have to disagree. These laws were made with bad intentions. Hear me out for a moment.

            Murder is wrong. Murder is against the law. Murder still happens. Even assuming the intention was good in broad strokes, which I will dispute in a moment, the idea that we will continue piling laws up against murder until it goes away entirely is inherently abusive toward our liberties and impossible to actually enforce. Murder is illegal and penalized with incarceration or death depending on where you live. Nobody likes murder, but we arent clammoring to make it *more* illegal.

            Likewise, copyright infringement is already illegal under the relevent codes. Making it *more* illegal simply blurs public perception about what crime is being committed. If the law simply made it more illegal, it's already in the wrong, but it does worse than that.

            Imagine if, in order to stop murder, we created a law that said anyone who suspects someone of murdering their family member may hold them prisoner, possibly indefinately, with the burden of proof on the accused to show that he is not guilty. We would be legalizing vigilante enforcement at the hands of the most biased party, with the presumption of guilt until proven innocent.

            This is what SOPA does, and it is incidious. It is not establishing the rule of law. It is using the cloak of law to legitimize lawless percecution. And I don't think for one moment that it's accidental.
        • by bertok (226922)

          What I don't understand is how the US political system has survived this long with this insane ability to throw anything into a proposed bill and go along for the ride, no matter how unrelated to the original topic.

          If I could get elected to a position like where that's possible, I would do nothing other than attach the following clause to every bill that's proposed: "Pay the sum of one million US dollars to annually."

          Of course, I'd add some clauses for avoiding taxes, ensure that upon my death the monies a

      • Re:Likely answer... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:33PM (#38766984)

        Child porn laws themselves aren't the problem, the problem is that they're selectively enforced and don't require any knowledge or intent on the part of the accused to be prosecuted that is the problem.

        What I want to know is why none of the FBI agents working on those cases hasn't been prosecuted. If any of the rest of us were caught with the stuff on our machines for any reason we would be prosecuted.

        • by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:17PM (#38767600) Journal
          Selective enforcement is a major issue for most countries at the moment. The 'policing forces' have too much power, and too much discriminatory use of that power. It results in significant police corruption, and waters down the prosecution of real crime.

          SOPA and PIPA are just part of the ongoing battle between the authoritarians and the libertarians. That battle is not one that will easily go away, and nor should it. It is through this path that our society achieves balance in its legal system.
          • by icebike (68054) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:56PM (#38768050)

            SOPA and PIPA are just part of the ongoing battle between the authoritarians and the libertarians.

            Its not that simple, and never has been much of an ideological battle along traditional party lines. This is a money grab, pure and simple.

            The problem is the copyright laws have been extended to the breaking point, and the breaking is happening before our very eyes.

            Duration of copyright for things written today is 70 years after the death of author. If a work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first. All benefit to society has been lost.

            Society is in general revolt over the current copyright law terms. The man in the street realizes the media giants have gone too far, but some how congress can't see it yet. Maybe they are just starting to see there is a problem.

            But by and large most in congress won't see the real problem. They are blinded by the money. Until we convince enough people to stop voting the same clowns into office each time they stand for election. Term limits puts an end to this nonsense.

            • Society is in general revolt over the current copyright law terms. The man in the street realizes the media giants have gone too far, but some how congress can't see it yet. Maybe they are just starting to see there is a problem.

              In my experience it is completely mixed. A lot of people think that it is the law, so it must be good. The techs where I work first heard about SOPA when I went to a wikipedia page in front of them during the blackout (not deliberately, actually was trying to look something up); they didn't much care, and since I knew about it I believe they thought I used the internet too much. The close relatives I have mentioned it to (once) didn't know what it is either, probably because they are informed by TV news

      • Re:Likely answer... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:00PM (#38767350) Journal
        All we can do is keeping riding our reps as hard as we can and make it clear ANY that vote yes better be ready to find a new job PERIOD. I was surprised i got an actual email back from my senator saying he had taken his name off the bill and promising to vote against it so he must have got enough nasty hate mail to get spooked as you usually just get a standard "Please vote for me!" bullshit chain letter begging for more cash. of course it may be that our senator had run for about a dozen years before finally getting elected this last round and is scared shitless of being a one termer who knows, but i found it surprising to actually get something addressing the complaint instead of the usual "vote for me/cut me a check' bullshit. The fact that they weren't able to simply buy their way through congress though gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, we can use the fear of a massive firing to keep their asses in line on this single issue at least.
        • by jesseck (942036)

          I was surprised i got an actual email back from my senator saying he had taken his name off the bill and promising to vote against it so he must have got enough nasty hate mail to get spooked as you usually just get a standard "Please vote for me!" bullshit chain letter begging for more cash.

          I heard back from my House Representative first, with a form letter reply that didn't address my specific concerns with SOPA. My reaction was to reply to the email, and the message has not been able to clear my outbox. I'm pissed at him, and am seriously considering running against him.

          I heard back from one Senator, with another form letter. He also failed to address my specific concerns, but it took him 3 days to respond and he didn't support PIPA in then end (for now). For him... I'll just vote for so

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:06PM (#38767458)

        no one wants to be seen as supporting child pornography.

        There's really no defense against lies and mischaracterization, other than to honestly explain things, and that doesn't fit in a soundbite.

        But two can play that game. Introduce this bill: The Anti Puppy Shredding Act, which states this:

        1. No person shall shred a conscious, live puppy..
        2. No person shall shred a live, conscious human child between the ages of 2 years ago 16 years
        3. Title 17 Section 1201 of US Code is repealed
        4. No person shall force a human child to suck the penis of a puppy, whether the puppy is live or dead, in front of videocameras

        Are you for shredding puppies, Lamar? Then we can all count on your vote for this bill.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:31PM (#38766962)

      They'll just attach a quiet rider to the next appropriations bill in the middle of the night. Then everyone can pull that phoney Obama "Well, I didn't *want* to support it--but since it was tied to that really important appropriations bill, I felt I *had* to vote for it/not veto it" shit.

    • Re:Likely answer... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:41PM (#38767078)
      That's basically what former senator Chris Dodd (Now MPAA Chairman) said in a statement [theverge.com] he made. My favorite part was "Dodd blames the bills' reduced support on a slow timeline that allowed opposition to mobilize" which translates to "Congress should have just proposed/voted/passed the bill before anybody could get a look at it".
      • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:55PM (#38767282) Homepage Journal

        Fuck Chris Dodd with a baseball bat wrapped in constantine wire.

        Legislature is not a military maneuver, you WANT to give the opposition time to "mobilize"

        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          Fuck Chris Dodd with a baseball bat wrapped in constantine wire.

          Tonight on Pay-Per-View!

          Tomorrow, on P2P!!

      • by swb (14022) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:44PM (#38767882)

        Your translation is right. Dodd is lots of bad things but one thing he is not is an unskilled politician.

        He knows that if you want to pass legislation that might gain opposition, you want to do it quickly and without giving your opposition an opportunity to rally against it.

        You want to introduce a bill, let people know it's simple, keeps jobs in America, protects children from harm and should be passed right away.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Next time the ACTA approach: secret international negotiations, participants to sign non disclosure agreements and once a treaty is signed national parliament only have to ratify and not renegotiate.

  • by Deathnerd (1734374) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:19PM (#38766746)
    We need innovation from the media companies; they need to embrace the digital platform and build distribution systems around it. Piracy will drop drastically if they make the media easy and cheap to buy.
    • by LordNimon (85072) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:29PM (#38766914)

      This isn't just about media. The bill is also meant to target counterfeit manufactured goods, like fake Prada handbags shipped directly from China. Allowing companies to quickly block the Chinese web sites would curtail counterfeiting, but as many have said, the bill is too broad and too easy to abuse.

      It used to be that you had to go to China, or some secret dinky store in Chinatown, to buy fake Chinese-made goods. Thanks to e-commerce, you can do that from the comfort of your own home. Perhaps SOPA needs to apply to credit card companies instead of web sites. Imagine if Prada could just tell Visa to block payments to fake-prada-handbags.cn without going through law enforcement. I bet Visa would hate that, because then Visa would be have to deal with abuses, instead of dozens of small ISPs.

      • This isn't just about media. The bill is also meant to target counterfeit manufactured goods, like fake Prada handbags shipped directly from China. Allowing companies to quickly block the Chinese web sites would curtail counterfeiting, but as many have said, the bill is too broad and too easy to abuse.

        It used to be that you had to go to China, or some secret dinky store in Chinatown, to buy fake Chinese-made goods. Thanks to e-commerce, you can do that from the comfort of your own home. Perhaps SOPA needs to apply to credit card companies instead of web sites. Imagine if Prada could just tell Visa to block payments to fake-prada-handbags.cn without going through law enforcement. I bet Visa would hate that, because then Visa would be have to deal with abuses, instead of dozens of small ISPs .

        I hadn't thought of that. Are you running for office anytime soon?

      • by Nemyst (1383049)

        If they cared so much, they could start by targeting all those street vendors selling fake Prada stuff. Tourists seem to love these things even when they know they're being ripped off.

        As a bonus, it'd clean up the vistas of some of the most beautiful cities in the world.

      • by compro01 (777531) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:26PM (#38767690)

        Perhaps SOPA needs to apply to credit card companies instead of web sites.

        It does. Read section 103 [loc.gov].

        Pertinent part:

        Denying U.S. Financial Support of Sites Dedicated to Theft of U.S. Property-

                        (1) PAYMENT NETWORK PROVIDERS- Except in the case of an effective counter notification pursuant to paragraph (5), a payment network provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within 5 days after delivery of a notification under paragraph (4), that are designed to prevent, prohibit, or suspend its service from completing payment transactions involving customers located within the United States and the Internet site, or portion thereof, that is specified in the notification

      • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:36PM (#38767814)
        Luxury goods providers do not merit the attention of a democratic government, certainly not the intrusive intervention into the affairs of the masses.
    • by swb (14022) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:34PM (#38766994)

      My sense is that what they're fighting for isn't an "end to piracy" but a way to legislate their profit margins.

      It seems obvious to me that for $20 a month for unlimited viewing subscriptions of all titles or $5 per title to own (via download) they could really put a crimp in piracy, but they would have to accept a permanently reduced profit margin.

      That doesn't build beach houses in Malibu, mansions in Bel-Air, private jet airfare or put Bentley Continentals in a lot of driveways.

      By re-defining piracy as "any act of copyrighted content consumption without a license for the specific act of consumption" they will be able to finally achieve per per consumption, legislated in law, which will in turn allow them to guarantee margins by controlling the price.

  • All this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:19PM (#38766758)

    Over movies & music.

    Check this out...

    http://imgur.com/pPDak [imgur.com]

    It's not enough to kill them (the world would be a much better place w/o the riaa & mpaa), but it might roll some heads, the kind that need rolling.

    • This won't work. They'll just spin the decreased sales as a spike in piracy, thus strengthening their case.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Speaking of killing, some food for thought, you'd get a lesser sentence by murdering one of those guys than you would being imprisoned due to their silly laws. (and probably get more done)

      Copying some bits is more punishable than terminating the existence of someone. What a fantastic world we live in, eh?

    • Re:All this... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dissy (172727) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:46PM (#38767922)

      All this... Over movies & music.

      This coincidential yahoo news screen shot shows two facts together that really puts the whole music and movie thing into perspective...

      http://i44.tinypic.com/vpwbht.jpg [tinypic.com]

      The two headlines are:
      - Jury awards $80,000 per download
      - Air France to give $24,000 to families of crash victims

      1 illegal download == 3.3 dead relatives
      Your life is only worth a third of a Metallica song

  • by KiltedKnight (171132) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:21PM (#38766778) Homepage Journal

    So Congress backed out until things cool down and they can try again... whether it's by reintroducing this same stuff or by attaching it, piece by piece, as riders to other bills.

    We cannot turn down the heat. If we do, we will find this legislation passed before we can do anything about it.

    • It sounds like our current congress requires constant pressure to listen to the people.

      I wouldn't put up with an employee that required constant oversight to do what I ask him; why is it tolerated with the public servants of our country - of the people?

      • by smelch (1988698)
        Because we have a strong sense of anti-federalism, it's very hard to get rid of the politicians that do what offends you because they are not in your district and you can not vote them out. Meanwhile everything the government does is at the federal level and applies to everybody.
        • I see your point - although I wanted to point out that censorship goes well beyond 'offending' me - sort of like I would be "offended" if you stabbed me :)

  • Obviously! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Of COURSE all four candidates at the GOP debate spoke against it. It's election season. Don't worry though, their tune will change back to normal as soon as elections are over.

    lol: captcha - citizen. As if citizens have a say in anything.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766794)

    We all know how politics work. We all know that stuff like this will keep coming up. We all know that we can't reasonably turn out with the same show of opposition every time this sort of thing happens. But, at least for a moment, I'm going to enjoy the fact that things went well for once in politics.

    And even if we can't get that level of support every time this sort of thing comes around, I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to worry about the next time, because that's the one that matters right now.

  • by gsaraber (46165) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766806)

    So now is the time to get Smith and Leahy out of office in the next election cycle, I plan to donate to their competitors campaign funds and to let them know why I'm doing so.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good luck, Lamar Smith has been in office since the mid-80's, he hasn't even had to run against anyone in over a decade to keep it.

  • by liquidsin (398151) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766808) Homepage

    if current copyright legislation such as the DMCA isn't performing as expected, perhaps they could take it off the books before piling new laws on top?

    • by Kenja (541830) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#38766968)
      No, you see the DMCA makes it the copyright holders job to go after offenders. That clearly isn't aceptable. So these new bills make it Google and other like serves responsable for blocking entire sections of the internet that have been deemed as naughty. Much less effort on the part of the media conglomerates, even if it is an unreasonable request to make of search engines, forums, etc.

      For example, it would become the responsibility of SlashDot to prevent all posts that link to or mention the Pirate Bay. That's much easier then having to admit that our laws dont have effect in Norway.
    • The current laws are easy to circumvent because the US can't go after foreign websites like the Pirate Bay.

      • by Ilex (261136)

        The current laws are easy to circumvent because the US can't go after foreign websites like the Pirate Bay.

        Tell that to the guys who ran Megaupload.com

        • Megaupload had servers in the US and New Zealand agreed to extradite them.

          The US would love to shut down the Pirate Bay, but they have no way of doing it.

      • Yes and we all know what a travesty it is that US laws do not apply everywhere in the entire world.
    • I've often thought that a good balance for news laws would be to either pass them with a huge majority or "pay for them" by sacrificing a different law, to try and prevent a huge mass of largely ineffective laws from taking place.

      Of course, there is always the consideration that passing laws left and right is just to mkae everyone guilty, and then using selective enforcement as a form of unilateral control while "only punishing lawbreakers".

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:12PM (#38767536)
      The DMCA is performing exactly as expected. You cannot even post a link to a foreign website that provides decss.
  • We all know that when SOPA 2.0 will come out and it will be good for the greedy that paid for it.

    Why can't we get a "bill of rights [on the computer]"?

    Does it have to do with the report that says 20% of Americans should be seeing a shrink?

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      I think it has to do with the fact that in a democracy there is always a big chunk of the population that is just wrong on something basic and important. Capital punishment. Abortion. Gun control/gun rights. I can see copyright/censorship going the same way and becoming a "wedge issue."
    • by Applekid (993327)

      Why can't we get a "bill of rights [on the computer]"?

      Because no one is willing to literally die or kill for it. Compare to the actual Bill of Rights.

    • by Toonol (1057698) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:49PM (#38767186)
      Our current bill of rights doesn't contain an 'except on a computer' clause, so it is sufficient. Specifically, the clauses about free speech and unreasonable search.

      We don't need a new one; we just need to remind our legislators that the bill of rights still exists.
  • by luther349 (645380) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:26PM (#38766862)
    look what they managed to do to megaupload without any bills. all they want to do with these bills is skip the need to acully go threw the normal channels to make that happen. and i think that's what put the death nail in these bills anyways.
  • Small victory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#38766898)
    But now isn't the time to rest, this crap will come back around, always does. Keep watch on any major "must not fail, do it for the Children/Military", type bills. If it can't make it on its own it'll show up as a rider on one of those.
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:29PM (#38766916) Homepage

    Round up all the supporters into camps. Exterminate them, remove the skulls, and bury the other bits in a mass grave.
    On top, build a 100 meter statue of Wikipe-tan dancing on the crushed skulls. Generations from more enlightened times can look back on the the pivotal moment, where internet freedom almost got fucked.

    It's the only way to be sure.

  • by liquidweaver (1988660) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:31PM (#38766956)

    Maybe the problem is having a business model that is incompatible with sharing of information.

    From the inception of the information revolution, information became easy to copy. It will be that way until you take away all computers and networks.

    The real question - is there something we can do to reduce the damages these powerful industries do, while kicking and screaming on their way to irrelevance?

  • I know most people here could find a bazillion problems with SOPA, but in order to prevent a repeat of the bill, shouldn't we find a way to reduce piracy online that doesn't destroy the internet and/or or freedoms? That way only the people benefiting from counterfeit goods/blatant copyright infringement are negatively impacted, which I think most people can agree to a certain degree, probably needed to be cracked down on anyways. I don't think the RIAA/MPAA deliberately wants to destroy our freedoms, th

    • by robot256 (1635039)

      I don't think the RIAA/MPAA deliberately wants to destroy our freedoms, they just don't want to have people profiting from their work.

      Tell me how sharing songs on Kazaa or bittorrent for free constitutes "profiting from their work". If that were the case, then they would ONLY have sued the providers of the services (that get ad revenue when people use them), not the users themselves. But you are right, they don't want to destroy our freedoms per se, they just want to take our money by whatever means possible.

    • The problem is the RIAA/MPAA want complete control over everything.

      I think if the RIAA/MPAA want to increase enforcement of copyright protection, they need to give something up and expand the fair use of copyrighted works. There is a lot of middle ground that can be achieved with the issue.

  • by msauve (701917) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#38766974)
    just put the copyright terms back to the length thought fair by our founding fathers: 28 years after publication.

    Doing so would eliminate a lot of piracy, overnight, and at no cost to the taxpayer.
    • Maybe piracy evolved to be as prevalent as it is today _because_ of market forces balancing out the effect of a general perception of "unfair" copyright terms.

      In economics we speak in terms of equity; i.e. "fairness", and that capitalism, for all it's strneghts, does not gaurantee equity.
      Perhaps the invisible hand of the market does, in fact, cover equity as well, it just manifests itself as piracy.

      • by msauve (701917) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:12PM (#38767524)
        I'd agree with that. If copyright holders don't respect the rights of users (via DRM, validation keys, EULAs, etc. and copyright extensions for existing works), why should users respect the rights of copyright holders?
        • ...or bootlegging albums (like in a famous recent case in Canada), sending DMCA requests for works they don't own, chargin royalties on blank media, etc. It does make me chuckle - in a disgusted sort of way - whenever that industry attempts anything like an ethical argument.

  • by Tha_Big_Guy23 (603419) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:37PM (#38767024)
    the US government to stop thinking they can police the world.

    If overseas pirating operations are what's causing all the ruckus, I don't see what passing stringent laws within the US borders will do to accomplish this task. It could just be me, but it seems that what the plan is with both of these acts is to try and police what happens on the internet worldwide. The United States has no business regulating the internet internationally. If they want to regulate it within their borders, that's the government's realm. Outside of the US, there's not one damn thing the US should be doing other than cooperating with other global governments to begin their own enforcement policies.

    Not that I'm advocating internet regulation here, it just seems that the reasoning behind the acts is flawed, as is most of the data. I, myself, have created several copyrighted works, which found their way stolen and posted here and there. Sure it pissed me off, but as the person who owned the copyrights, it was my job to do the foot work responsible for making sure that either the content was taken down, or I was given appropriate attribution.

    Going back to my primary point in posting, the US government, and US-based corporations needs to stop thinking that the US government is responsible for policing the world on any level.

    That's just my $0.02.
    • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:09PM (#38767488) Homepage Journal

      It's not about the US government trying to police the world. It's about corporations (from any nation or region) trying to use legislation to preserve their businesses, to squash threats, and provide them more and more profitmaking opportunities, be those opportunities the result of monopolies, oligopolies, patents, or copyrights.

      And it's about the relative ease of suppressing content on the Internet. Just get the government to agree with you, and it's moving a few bits around. Done.

      And we need to break the connection between our Legislature and corporations. the connection is money and insider trading. And it's currently legal.

      This must change.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:39PM (#38767056) Homepage

    let the old business model die. With all the free market touting these old farts sure like to prop up failing business models.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:48PM (#38767180)

    The biggest problems with SOPA and PIPA is that they focus heavily on enforcement and punishment measures rather than addressing the causes of piracy.

    If things like "competition" and "capitalism" are supposed to drive supply and demand, it seems to me that the "demand" side of the equation is saying a couple things to media companies:

    1) Your product is too expensive
    2) Your product is too inconvenient to use

    Remember when CDs came out back in the late 80's/early 90s? Duplication costs were said to be lower, so the cost of music was supposed to go down. But it didn't - it went up. Profit margins soared. Consumers noticed.

    eBooks are going through the same thing now. If I buy an eBook for my Nook from B&N, say Lee Child's "Die Trying", I pay as much for the eBook as I do for the paperback. But the paperback actually costs more to produce, with manufacturing costs, shipping costs, etc.

    So a price adjustment is needed - and maybe, just maybe, those writing the laws should look at writing something to address price fixing instead.

    Similarly, if I purchase "Die Trying", it's convenient to download to my device. It's inconvenient to put on my wife's Nook - but if we had the paperback version on our bookshelf, we could each pick it up and read it when we want. B&N allows you to lend a book to an individual exactly *once* for a fixed period of time, and then never again. So if we both liked it and wanted to have it available, we have to pay for it twice.

    Congress needs to address causes, not effects, when they write laws. SOPA and PIPA are bad largely because they address the effects of piracy and focus heavily on punishment and enforcement rather than addressing the underlying causes.

    • Interesting. I think your point is both insightful and brings up a good point, and yet you posted AC. My paradigm just broke.

  • The SOPA issue was raised at the recent GOP debate, and all four candidates spoke against it.

    They are pandering for votes. Why would they admit to being for something that is currently getting a lot of negative press? Especially when he can come up with a "valid rational reason" to reconsider after he is elected. They flip-flopped on every topic so far, why should this one be any different?

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:51PM (#38767236)

    "OK, the bill the industry wrote for us won't pass mustard, so we've got to come up with a new strategy to package this s**t sandwich. Renaming worked for Blackwater. Too bad we already used the name "Patriot Act". Hmmm, can we tie this into child rape and terrorism somehow? Think people, there are billions in campaign donations and post-Congress salaries on the line!"

  • And to think that people are still arguing [slashdot.org] over the fact that government is inherently evil and the primary function of the government that was set up in the USA was to protect people's freedoms and liberties .... from the government itself

    The same [slashdot.org] answer [slashdot.org] applies [slashdot.org] - copyrights and patents must be abolished.

    No business must be in a position to get a subsidy or any other type of preferential treatment from a government (for the people, of the people, by the people, yes?)

    Individuals, citizens, consumers - they

    • Copyrights and Patents are issued to PEOPLE, not corporations. The problem is that corporations are allowed to purchase or establish conditions of employment that automatically transfer ownership of the Patent or Copyright to the corporation.

      This is what needs to be changed.

  • Dear Mr. Merchant,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding Internet piracy legislation. I would like to take this opportunity to address your concerns on this important issue.

    As you may be aware, on May 12, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP/ PIPA, S. 968), which is meant to curb the online theft of intellectual property, much of which is occurring through rogue websites overseas in Chi

  • Time to prepare for War.
  • The SOPA issue was raised at the recent GOP debate, and all four candidates spoke against it.

    Actually, the reason why is the major conservative think-tanks made it a major issue. They realized that all it would take would be a left-wing liberal hippie to go and claim copyright infringement and knock them off the 'net, which to them is quite dangerous.

    So they made it a priority to oppose the bill and told all the GOP candidates that yes, it really does matter to them.

    It's isn't just about piracy, it's about

  • They tried using a bigger knife to widdle down our rights with and everyone noticed.

    But apparently what they failed to notice is the contents of the Declaration of Independence.

  • by El Fantasmo (1057616) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:22PM (#38767650)

    How on god's green earth did megauploads.com get shutdown yesterday without SOPA and PIPA as laws? Seems to me, there are already systems in place to take sites offline in the US when they MAYBE break US copyright laws.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:28PM (#38767728) Homepage Journal

    This is the turning point in the battle between the forces of freedom and subjugation.

    If the mobilized forces of the internet cannot prevent SOPA-style legislation, then it will be unarguably clear that working within the system will not work. It's the final last-ditch effort of the people to try to prevent oppression using lawful means.

    When people tell us that we should "write our congressman", we can point to this incident.

    When people tell us that we should "use the power of the vote", we can point to this incident.

    When people tell us that we should not break the law or otherwise ignore the rules, we can point to this incident.

    This incident will have far-reaching effects on the actions people take in the future. It's our "declaration of independence" moment. The results of this incident will determine whether in the future, people should simply ignore the government and feel good about it.

    It'll be fun to watch.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:45PM (#38767900) Journal

    http://maddox.xmission.com/ [xmission.com]

    Citing Maddox:

    The problem isn't this shitty bill, it's the people who sponsored it. So we protest this bill today, bang enough pots and pans to shame a few backers into not letting this bill pass, then what? Those same dipshits who wrote this legislation still have jobs. They're going to try again, and again, and again until some mutation of this legislation passes. They'll sneak it into an appropriation bill while nobody's looking during recess, because there's too much lobbyist money at stake for them not to. We defeat SOPA today, only to face it again tomorrow. It's like trying to stop a cold by blowing your nose. It's time we go after the virus.

    He's right. All the anti-SOPA/PIPA efforts are defensive and basically flawed. I did a lot to participate in the anti-SOPA activities, but even I can see that it's ultimately futile - until the head of the dragon is severed.

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