Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Government The Internet United States Politics Your Rights Online

US Senate Committee Passes PROTECT IP Act 338

angry tapir writes "A US Senate committee has unanimously approved a controversial bill that would allow the US Department of Justice to seek court orders requiring search engines and Internet service providers to stop sending traffic to websites accused of infringing copyright."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Senate Committee Passes PROTECT IP Act

Comments Filter:
  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) * on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:00AM (#36261730) Journal

    1) How do we route around this damage?

    2) How do we protect our natural rights from a majority that votes them away?

    Let's stop focusing on the distractions of greed and corruption and the psychopaths in positions of power and get to finding real solutions to render all of that irrelevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The Rules say that the only thing you can do is to ceaselessly lobby your Senator and get your friends, relatives, and that weird guy who asks you for change for a dollar every time you go into Dunkin' Donuts to do the same.

      See my comment below, as the damage has been halted by the same person that halted a similar bill last year, a Senator from Oregon. The only way to stop this is the raise money to buy off enough Senators to keep the bill stopped.

    • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:10AM (#36261822)

      Bye bye Google, hello search engines based outside of the US.

    • by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:10AM (#36261826)

      1) How do we route around this damage?

      The same way we always have: proxies, tor, etc.

      2) How do we protect our natural rights from a majority that votes them away?

      That's the multimillion dollar question. Quite literally, since you need a huge amount of money to either lobby your representatives, or run against them. Otherwise, they just send you a nice boilerplate response letter to any of your inquiries, concerns, and so on.

      • 2) How do we protect our natural rights from a majority that votes them away?

        That's the multimillion dollar question. Quite literally, since you need a huge amount of money to either lobby your representatives, or run against them. Otherwise, they just send you a nice boilerplate response letter to any of your inquiries, concerns, and so on.

        So why didn't Google "make it rain"? It's not like they don't have resources to start a massive lobbying campaign of their own?

        Maybe they were just too late to the ball?

        • Perhaps Google has some vested interest in this that we don't know about. Perhaps Google fears being investigated by the government if they started actively fighting a "piracy prevention" bill. Perhaps Google just doesn't care (they didn't with the whole "China" censorship thing a few years back).

          Google is a company first and foremost, and their own interests will always be the first priority. If opposing this would've been damaging to their business, they'll keep quiet.
        • So why didn't Google "make it rain"? It's not like they don't have resources to start a massive lobbying campaign of their own?

          There are lots of possibilities. Shall we play this game?

          1. Google wants this legislation.
          2. Google doesn't want this legislation, but knew it was a fait accompli and elected not to waste time fighting it.
          3. Google believes this legislation will prove to be unworkable, and that it will crash and burn, leading to a backlash which they can use.
          4. Google has some other goal it considers to be more important, and lobbying against PROTECT IP would compromise it.
            1. any more credible options?

          • Googe did. They have been opposed to this the whole way.

            People don't want to believe that because it goes against their incorrect belief that corporation can buy any legislatation they want.

            Had that been true, this would never have been passed.

            "Several large corporations such as Google, Yahoo!, Ebay, American Express and Paypal have all opposed the bill. At an earlier hearing on the act, Google opposed the act saying that it will have very negative ramifications.'


            • Oh, no. It's a correct belief. It's just that corporate interests with better lobbyists (RIAA, MPAA, et al) won the day here.

      • by thej1nx ( 763573 )

        I wonder. Will it be illegal to start a group like Anonymous, near election time?

        I mean declaring that we have had enough of this government and that come election, ALL of the group members vote for the specific list of guys(and against certain guys). The lobbyists have subverted the democracy anyways, so why not jump aboard? Get everyone, their grandma, cousins and who not to jump in. I mean mob flash events do work, don't they? So if we basically decided to collaborate over punishing certain guys at elect

        • such a group would be a blip on the radar compared to the general mass of voters voting the same way they always do.

    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:12AM (#36261838) Journal

      1) How do we route around this damage?

      Although it's been some time since I last looked at the project, Freenet [] still seems like a good bet.

    • YaCy []
    • Well, search engines would need a list of sites known for copyright violation. So if you really wanted to go to one of those sites, just check the list. It would have to be public for all search engines to be able to comply. If only the large search engines are allowed access to the list, you can use lesser known search engines that still include those sites.

      I don't mind so much them trying to block sites that intentionally infringe copyright, but the "accused of copyright infringement" bit is what worries

      • Guess I missed the "internet service providers" bit. For that, you use something like TOR or some other encrypted proxy.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 ) []

    • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:54AM (#36262258) Journal
      Search engine over HTTPS without logs of any kind (like Duckduckgo []). This way they can't prove the search engine sent the user to the "worst of the worst" site... You still need alternate DNS and/or proxy/VPN to get to the site, but at least sites can still be found with search engines.

      What surprises me here is that they want to block the "worst of the worst" and they haven't even mentioned the tired old kiddie porn angle... that is certainly worse than anything! The only way they could surprise me more is by being so honest as naming the future targets: all sites opposing corporations in any way and all sites that spread generic 'anti-american' messages (a.k.a. terrorists). Wikileaks will be one of the first of the sites we know that will be blocked like this... all such sites after that will not even be known to anyone when they are blocked, not listed in searches and not mentioned in media.

      Doubleplus goodmove Minitrue!!!
    • 2) How do we protect our natural rights from a majority that votes them away?

      We do it economically. How many times yesterday did you give your money to the corporations that are behind this assault on our freedom? (Hint: it's a much bigger number than you think.)

      We can absolutely "route around this damage" but it means changing our consumption habits, and reviewing the things which we consider "cool, must have, must see".

      When you buy music at iTunes (or anywhere but directly from the musician), when you p

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Well, if it's just DNS then make another - when Denmark blocked it and if they'd tried a game of whack-a-mole just use a URL redirection service to the IP. Want to take down Or perhaps starting to /dev/null traffic going to those IPs? This is like firing a pellet gun and declaring war on a fleet of battleships, good luck with that.

    • by f8l_0e ( 775982 )
      Perhaps it's time for someone to develop a p2p spidering/indexing system. Maybe use geolocation to determine which nodes index which ip ranges?
    • 1. Create a "pirate search engine," hosted outside the US and create/use an alternate DNS system.

      2. Move away from the offending jurisdiction to a more desirable one.

    • Develop a decentralized P2P app for BT links? The way this is supposed to "work" is by blocking websites with P2P links (but of course as any government power I'm sure they'll abuse the shit out of it to say try to kill wikileaks and other whistleblowers) by the thought that if you can't get the link you can't get the torrent.

      So the way to go around it, at least with regards to torrents, is to simply use a decentralized P2P app to distribute torrent links. A specialized P2P app designed to give you JUST to

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:03AM (#36261752) Journal
    Unlike the Nefarious 'Great Firewall of China', a hated symbol of communist repression, the "PROTECT-IP" act will be entirely in English, and promises to be a tool of crony-capitalist repression!
  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:04AM (#36261764)

    Well, at least it requires a COURT ORDER, instead of just letting some department do whatever the hell they want.

    But it still sounds ripe for abuse, and confusion, and possibly being expensive to implement and maintain.

    • Re:Rubber stamp (Score:5, Insightful)

      by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:20AM (#36261928) Homepage

      It should require MORE than a court order. It should require a conviction in the traffic of copyrighted material in violation of the copyright act before a site can be black listed. Being accused of such should NOT be enough.

      • Exactly, otherwise you've set aside the entire premises of "innocent until proven guilty."

        Although there do have to be provisions to prevent harm while the decision is made by the courts (the whole idea behind setting bail or denying bail). The courts have decided that in the event that you'll do a runner or whack off another person, they can keep you in jail ("presumed innocent" of course...) until the jury hears the case out.

        In the case of IP on the 'net: if you've got a new artist who's just had somethi

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

      Well, at least it requires a COURT ORDER, instead of just letting some department do whatever the hell they want.

      But it still sounds ripe for abuse, and confusion, and possibly being expensive to implement and maintain.

      "Requires a court order" You're funny.

    • Well, at least it requires a COURT ORDER, instead of just letting some department do whatever the hell they want.

      Care to guess what the ratio of requested to granted is on those "court orders"? 100%. Well, guess we can finally add the Judicial Branch to the Executive and Legislative to the "bought off" list...sad.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      The corporations will just find a sympathetic (i.e. bribed) federal judge, and all their subsequent block requests will go to him--which he'll rubber stamp without even reading.

  • by beringreenbear ( 949867 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:05AM (#36261766) Journal
    The damage has been halted for now. [] Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon put a hold on the bill, meaning that the Senate leadership is on notice that he will filibusterer it if the bill moves to full debate and vote.
    • by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:16AM (#36261892)

      A politician who acts based on common sense???

      I get the feeling this 2012 armageddon stuff isn't completely bogus after all.

      • He'll wait till he gets enough concessions from the opposition on other topics and then endorse a more broadly powered act.
      • A politician who acts based on common sense???

        Hahahahaha. Good joke. Wyden supports something similar to what this bill does just in a more limited scope. If you thought he did this because he was against the whole idea you are sadly mistaken.

    • by CriminalNerd ( 882826 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:22AM (#36261940)

      Sadly, it'll probably just get paperclipped with a budget-related bill to bypass the filibuster like they did with the Patriot Act extensions.

      It'd be nice if the rest of the Senate decides that it's actually a terrible bill and vote to kill it.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Wow, a Congressman doing the right thing. Have a good look kids, you're seeing something rarer than Haley's Comet.

    • Where can I donate to this guy's... Whatever I can donate to to support this guy?

      I'm not even American. I still want to give this man money and support.
    • When is Ron Wyden up for reelection? I can't vote for him (I'm on the opposite coast) but we should let Slashdotters in Oregon know when they should vote to keep this guy in.

      Also, who voted *FOR* this bill and when are they up for reelection so we can vote them out?

      • S.968 via Thomas []

        Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT]

        Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN]
        Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT]
        Sen Blunt, Roy [MO]
        Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE]
        Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA]
        Sen Franken, Al [MN] (Say it ain't so, Franky!)
        Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY]
        Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC]
        Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA]
        Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT]
        Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN]
        Sen Kohl, Herb [WI]
        Sen Rubio, Marco [FL]
        Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY]
        Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI]

        However, the vote was merely t
    • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @10:43AM (#36262956)
      Wyden has also publicly criticized what he calls the US government's secret interpretation of the "Patriot Act". []
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:05AM (#36261770)

    I've said for a long time that a U.S. great firewall was coming. I'm frankly just surprised it took so long. Sadly, this will now begin a big chase game of "change our IP" "IP blocked, change it again" for all the torrent/controversial sites that the government doesn't like. No more typing "" into our browsers' URL field. Now we have to find a (hopefully) updated IP address from some site that will probably itself be blocked shortly after it starts offering a list.

    • by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:10AM (#36261818)

      There's a reason why we have addons like [] to automate that process.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        Considering the government has essentially turned over control of this to the corporations (they're the ones who get the right to petition for removal), it wouldn't surprise me if Sony runs to a judge and demands that they block

        • Easy. Just adapt this addon for Chrome, wait until they try to do the same to Google and don't forget to keep plenty of popcorn within reach.

    • by cob666 ( 656740 )
      Or, it's back to ftp and gopher. I also wonder how this would impact something like newsgroups.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        Shit, now I have to remember how to use all those damned Archie characters again for searching. Anyone remember which one was for searching gopher?

    • by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:28AM (#36261998)
      This may also explain why Google and Mozilla plan on removing the browser URL field. It prevents more people from being able to go anywhere where the mighty Google or it's countries junta doesn's point us to.
      • by forand ( 530402 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @10:02AM (#36262358) Homepage
        Interesting? Really? The changes to Chrome's UI do remove the URL bar but do not remove the URL field. When the user highlights the tab they see the URL field, when they don't they get more screen real estate for content. By and large this is a great UI design change. I don't need to see the huge URL telling me Nth directory the site I am visiting stores their HTML in (look at Slashdot do you type in the link to this story?). But good on you for making it sound like some nefarious plan between Google and oppressive regimes to not let people browse to non approved sites, don't let reality stand in your way.
      • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        Aren't they just replacing the URL bar with another bar that handles URLs & other things besides URLs. Also, they are both open source so if it's a problem, they will get forked & life will go on.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:07AM (#36261788) Journal

    The sites merely have to be ACCUSED of being copyright infringers. Remember when Homeland Security yanked thousands of websites off the net, including several that were merely personal blogs or news sites?

    This is no good. We have courts for a reason - to protect the citizenry from overzealous leaders assuming guilt and enacting punishment against innocent persons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:10AM (#36261816)

    The internet was better off before the legal and judicial systems were even aware of it.

    The boffins at DARPA came up with it, and for decades, all was well - from the 70's up until the mid 90's at least. It succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams *because* no one was in control of it. It was an anarchy. If you don't want to see something, don't look, and if you do, then do.

    It will die in practice because of people who, for one reason or another, think they have the right to tell other people what they can and cannot do.

  • by Gannimo ( 919171 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:12AM (#36261842) Homepage
    Well, this calls for decentralized DNS and some tor like network overlay...
  • Prohibition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KillaGouge ( 973562 ) <> on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:14AM (#36261856)
    Does the government not remember how well prohibition went? Have they not learned that by making something illegal they are only going to push more people to to figure out ways around it.
  • Possible missuse (Score:4, Informative)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:15AM (#36261868)
    So if I hack the republicans website to host copyrighted material then the entire republican party gets banned from the internet?
    • Oh the irony if a major political party's web servers were used to host a torrent tracker without their knowledge.

      That'd be unlikely though, as someone would easily notice the sudden spike in traffic a tracker brings.

  • Only accused??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grand Facade ( 35180 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:19AM (#36261918)

    What happened to innocent til proven guilty?

    Who will be doing the accusing?

    No I did not read the article, but this is a fair reaction to the OP

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:22AM (#36261946) Journal

    Hopefully anonymous will DDOS these senators re-election sites off the web!

    • Indirect actions that do not materially affect these guys' quest for power will be ignored.

      • As if DDoSing their websites would have any effect on their election. Put up a bunch of attack ads on TV and you have something. Buy some ads in meatspace, and people will notice. Make phone calls. Pass out signs and bumper stickers. These things will make people notice. The loss of a website would affect only a small percentage of voters, and even so, it certainly wouldn't make those affected switch their vote in any way. After all, there are so many other avenues of "information" out there about their fav

  • Ridiculous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I sense a Streisand effect in the making here...

    How long will it be before we see bumper stickers and tshirts with open DNS ip addresses on them?

    Not to mention the explosion in Eastern European based search engines?

    Our elected officials are so freaking stupid...

  • Not a problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by troll -1 ( 956834 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:34AM (#36262056)

    The bill would create a list of blocked Internet sites, added Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group.

    . Users who want content will find a way around this. There's already a firefox add-on [] to circumvent Department of Homeland Security seized domains like []. Thanks to Streisand effect of government domain seizures I found some great torrent sites I never before knew existed [chrome].

  • What if CNN had a single link to a page with some content alleged to be pirated IP, would Google block all access to CNN? If I spot someone has infringed my copyright by quoting more than the legally-allowed fair use amounts of something I wrote, can I just get them dumped off Google? Cool! Where's the site that lists the sites that Google isn't allowed to link to? Can Google link to that site? I wish the US Govt the best of luck with this whole 'legislate your way out of a changing market' thing. Inter
  • This would definitely hurt the traffic of Google, Bing, and Yahoo to name a few.
    Being based off of advertisements, I would think that Google would most definitely lobby against this, and quite heavily.

    I'm not one for corporate lobbyists, but then again, 99/100 times it is something to screw over Joe Consumer. This may be the 1/100...

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @10:23AM (#36262636) Homepage

    Here is what we have seen of the oil industry. We have seen the oil industry defended, protected, supported and subsidized in every way imaginable (including militarily) by the US government. We have known for a very long time that world oil supplies are not limitless and that the demand for it is still rising and the price of it is also ratcheting upwards. Although the efforts for alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels are only now seemingly becoming more aggressive (I'm not yet convinced that there is any effort that I would call a serious commitment on the part of the government) it is generally agreed that it is long over due and most would even say it is too late in coming as many actions have resulted in directly or indirectly suppressing any competing technologies to the use of fossil fuels for energy.

    But the US recognizes that in a fairly short time [* in relative terms], the oil business will be dead. But how is this like intellectual property?

    The US's shift in production economy has been shifting from agriculture to manufacturing to services and now to intellectual property. The US was a leader in each of these things in their day and over time, all of these have been reduced, minimalized and concentrated in ways that make these activities profitable for only a small group of companies and individuals where many of these things are actually sent over-seas. Intellectual property is just about the last thing the US has to export and in order to maintain its profitability, we have to ensure that all other world players honor our IP by adopting laws and policies which support the US desire to remain dominant.

    Over the years, we have witnessed all sorts of measures and activities pushed by the US such as the DMCA, copyright police proposals, pressuring [bullying] other countries into creating draconian law [which doesn't yet exist here in the US because it would be amazingly unpopular] and even influencing other nations into violating their own laws and procedures to satisfy the agenda of the IP business interests here in the U.S. (You know, like the illegal seizure and take down of the piratebay.)

    I expect to see much worse in the near future INCLUDING military action. Sure, it's hard to justify military action for copying music, music and more, but it's not hard to imagine... you know "funding terrorism," "being run by terrorists," or even "harboring known terrorists" as cause for sending in a SEAL team or something like that. But what is "wrong" with this?

    Turns out that media wants to be free and increasingly, we are seeing independent artists and groups pushing their way to the front lines of popularity thanks to emerging technologies and media. This is resulting in "old media" and other IP industry struggling for ways to compete and they are resorting to bribing... err, I mean, influencing government into defending, protecting, supporting and subsidizing their business models in every way imaginable. In the end, it is easy to see how and why "old media" and other IP industry are going away and their their days are numbered. But since the rest of the US has essentially been sold out, it is the second to the last massive resource the US has going for it.

    Yes, I said "second to the last." What's that last? In case you didn't guess, it's PEOPLE. Already we have seen massive privatization of the prison industry. It's not widely spoken of or even cared about because "criminals are bad people" and we don't care about them right? In these privatized prisons, there are massive labor and services being performed by prisoners at wages below "minimum wage" and under conditions which rival the sweatshops of the 18th and 19th century. And with the massive criminalization of just about everything imaginable, it's easy to see what's coming and for whom it comes... the non-citizens, ex-citizens and non-voting-felons of the US... a class of people which is accelerating and growing in ways that are simply being ignored by the media and others at the moment.

    I kn

  • The best parts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Friday May 27, 2011 @12:41PM (#36264466) Homepage Journal
    The best parts of the bill seem to be subsections d and e of the bill []. (IANAL and encourage correction or confirmation of my interpretation) :
    • No matter what harm is caused in pursuing action under this legislation, the companies and individuals initiating the action are completely immune from suit. So damages cannot be recovered (possibly even if it's later proven that the original action was erroneous.)
    • Section e: Unlike DMCA, there is no defense permitted prior to compliance. The site first must be taken offline, then and only then can the owner/registrar/operator file to modify/suspend/vacate the order. No provision is made for the timeliness of any related follow up, so it could get stuck in the court system for as long as any other request.

    We can all sit and complain about it here, or we can contact the offices of our senators; and try to spread the word for others to do the same. (No, e-petitions don't count and form letters seem rarely to be effective. Take five minutes and at least compose an original email.) If you want this to get some more mainstream coverage that's in your power too - you will find that "letters to the editor" of your local newspaper still has a surprisingly high readership.

  • by Repossessed ( 1117929 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @03:28PM (#36266294)

    At least they'll need a freaking court order with this bill.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.