Originally Posted by Reptil
I did, of course, the thing is, when there is no more Rule of Law, as upheld by independent courts in the most powerful economy on the planet, any law curtailing the internet must also be met by a deeper examination of those that are granted the power to judge, regardless what's worded within the Bill itself.
I.o.w. there's a real danger that the US Justice Dept. will use this Bill, without recourse, without oversight of a neutral party (such as an independent Court), to further it's own agenda, and deal a severe blow to it's enemies.
Such is the reality of the world we live in, a Macchiavellian place, and far removed from the paper constructs, however right they may seem from the point of view of rightfully protecting intellectual property. I don't dispute that point of view, I'm just calling it unrealistic, and dangerous.
It WILL be used for political purposes.
My question to you, and the ones that support it, is: How do you safeguard it won't be?
the law as it sits is primarily directed at offshore sites which are presently outside the reach of prosecution-
The DMCA does allow for prosecution, even the shutdown of domestic- US based sites- there are no changes positive or negative on that front- I want that to be clear, because the law itself is quite clear on the matter-
The law grants no powers to the government beyond what are presently in use. The DOJ has no authority to shut down a foreign site.
on the IP front- which includes any commercial, or work intended for commercial sale-
what it does do is with a complaint, it can investigate an offshore site to determine if it is principally- and that means that most of its purpose is to provide illegal, under US law access to infringed material. If it is found to be correctly targeted, the DOJ can do the following-
It can block that site from ISP's serving US customers.
It can restrict monies the site might generate through membership or ad revenues coming from the US to be denied those monies.
It can notify the offshore sites host country of that sites infringements and request action. (this it can already do, but it is somewhat involved, and the host country has no obligation to comply)
It also has very specific coverage of false accusation- if a claim of infringement is judged to be frivolous or anti-competitive, it can demand that all legal fees in the case be shouldered by the accusing party. This is new, and is very good- as at present, it is not a boilerplate component of current law.
there are also protections for physical goods- namely pharmaceuticals which are marketed by countries outside the US selling goods that do not have US FDA approval for sale in the US- this also extends to goods which might be bootlegged and shipped into the country- which at present, would already be illegal.
As to protections in the immunity clauses-
there is no expectation for ISP's or search engines to self police. period. it is absolutely specified in the present language in the bill-
A freind of mine, who owns a real newspaper, was concerned that he could have his site shut down due to a posting of a link directing his readers to an illegal site under the act- here is what happens as far as the chain of reaction-
1- a person posts a link to a comment on his site-
his responsibilty beyond his present discretion- nothing. he has no responsibilty for that posting in the bill-
if a company files a takedown request- he can look at the claim and the evidence and do one of two things-
1- he can comply in a reasonable timeframe- if this occurs- he has no further liability.
2- he can not comply if he sees the charge as baseless- he files his appeal.
If he sees the charge as being frivilous he can report it to DOJ- and they will investigate and determine the outcome. If they rule that his site is compelled against the law to act, this basically moves to the realm of the DCMA's statutes. THose have been in effect since the Clinton Administration.
If DOJ agrees that the charges are frivilous or anti-competitive, they can request a court order for the accuser to be required to pay the costs he incurred in defending himself.
free speech is by its nature and intention not commercial. nor is political dissent, nor whistleblowing- which are covered by existing law with rich legal precident protecting them. There is certainly danger of corrupt government meddling here- but no more than they might be able without the act.
If he feels the government is not acting in good faith (which again, has little to do with the act since prtections against are already in place via other standing law, he can file suit against the government, and request injunctions against any actions the government might take- if the judge agrees with his defense, the government would be required to drop their case and may be required to pay damages as they do now without the act even existing.
Whats in it for the Search Engines?
they generate their income via advertisements- they do not have a requirement to vette these under any law- if they choose to allow say, Prison Planet to advertise on their sites, Alex Jones is free to claim whatever he might- which tends to be very anti-government and he enjoys full first amendment liberty to say what he see fit. However, if the advertiser benefits from illegal acts- then the Government may request any ad revenues the advertiser pays, or monies for site membership to an entity dedicated to distributing copyright infringiing products to be denied revenue from US based payment processors.
that is what its about.
As far as it being political? I am not sure how- Is it defending industries with spotty histories of breaking other laws- well. in some cases it may actually- But that is not its fault- if a company engages in anticompetitive behaviors it is nto in the realm of law SOPA impacts. Can the government misuse it? Yes, it might, but it already has laws it can misuse to greater effect.... so that argument is functionally baseless. there are abuses without SOPA, and that will likely not be changed- so again, it is an irrelevent point that is being hammered- and I mean propagandized by those who stand to lose the most.... the Search Engines. They are the one who will lose the most revenue, due to it affecting their advertising market.
Its a classic case of following the money. Those who stand to lose the most, tend to want to fight hardest. and the search engines stand to lose far more than the copyright holders.
I would also say you should view the video Chris posted regarding the pervasiveness of Google. They seem to be a much larger threat to civil liberties due to their own private sector filtering of data than any government on the face of the earth.