Archive for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bill aimed at online piracy panned by Internet companies, Kansas Congressional delegation

The webpage of the encyclopedia website Wikipedia shows a stark black-and-white page with the message: "Imagine a world without free knowledge", at an office in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The shutdown of one of the Internet's most-visited sites is not sitting well with some of its volunteer editors, who say the protest of anti-piracy legislation could threaten the credibility of their work. (AP Photo/)

The webpage of the encyclopedia website Wikipedia shows a stark black-and-white page with the message: "Imagine a world without free knowledge", at an office in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The shutdown of one of the Internet's most-visited sites is not sitting well with some of its volunteer editors, who say the protest of anti-piracy legislation could threaten the credibility of their work. (AP Photo/)

January 18, 2012, 9:56 a.m. Updated January 18, 2012, 2:56 p.m.


Kansas University graduate Maggie Koerth’s employer, BoingBoing, was one of numerous prominent websites — including Wikipedia and Reddit — that “blacked out” their sites Wednesday in protest of controversial legislation being considered by Congress.

On the street

Have you heard about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?

I know it’s gotten a lot of attention. I heard about it on NPR — Wikipedia, Google and other sites have been down today to protest it. I signed the petition because I feel that it puts unnecessary restrictions on internet use and there shouldn’t be those harsh limitations on speech online.

More responses

The intentional error message that stood in place of BoingBoing&squot;s homepage on Wednesday. Bloggers "blacked out" the site in protest of SOPA and PIPA.

The intentional error message that stood in place of BoingBoing's homepage on Wednesday. Bloggers "blacked out" the site in protest of SOPA and PIPA.

Koerth, who graduated from KU in 2004 with a degree in journalism, is the science editor for BoingBoing and part of a galvanized online community opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and the Protect IP Act, or PIPA.

Koerth said her company went black Wednesday “to demonstrate what could happen if SOPA passed.” Koerth spoke about the potential economic impact the legislation could have on people such as her in the “creative endeavors” field.

“It’s going to hurt my job,” Koerth said.

The legislation has been championed by people in the film and music industry, who often sees their products sold illegally. They say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs. Advocates against SOPA and PIPA, however, argue that the legislation’s language opens the door to a wide range of opportunities for censorship and liability for content aggregator sites and blogs such as BoingBoing.

Nancy Baym, a KU communication studies professor, said the legislation lacks checks and balances, opening the door to silencing dissent.

“You’re guilty until you’re proven innocent,” said Baym, who studies online communication. Baym said the legislation seeks to protect a “dying business model,” and compared it to banning the engine in favor of the interests of horse buggies.

The most controversial provision is in the House bill, which would have enabled federal authorities to “blacklist” sites that are alleged to distribute pirated content. That would essentially cut off portions of the Internet to all U.S. users. But congressional leaders appear to be backing off this provision.

On Wednesday, several lawmakers from Kansas expressed their opposition to SOPA and PIPA.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins called the proposed legislation “censorship.”

“There can be no doubt that the Internet has proven to be one of the greatest harbingers of free speech, free expression, free enterprise and the American Dream the world has ever known,” said Jenkins, a Republican whose district incudes western Lawrence. “Yet today, in the halls of Congress, some are pushing misguided legislation that could crush the Internet with gratuitous regulations, stifle it with censorship, and open the door for rampant legal abuse, all under the guise of stopping online piracy.”

Jenkins was joined in opposition to SOPA and PIPA by U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and by Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, who released statements Wednesday.

The Obama administration has also raised concerns about the legislation and said it will work with Congress on legislation to help battle piracy and counterfeiting while defending free expression, privacy, security and innovation in the Internet.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


The_Original_Bob 6 years, 4 months ago

"and Google blacked out the logo on its home page"

OMG?!?!? They blacked out the logo? Oh, it is on now. That takes some balls, Google.

ljwhirled 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, but Wikipedia is down and so is XBMC and These are all resources I use to do my job every day.

If Google was offline for a day it would cost our economy millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Really.

Google going 100% offline for a day would be to the Internet what Westar going offline for a day would be to Lawrence. Not fatal, but really, really inconvenient.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

What google (I'm no fan of google) should do is purge their search results of anything positive about the bill and make all the worst commentary regarding the bill come up first. The worse the commentary, the higher the listing. After a week of that they should remove all government websites from their search results.

madcow 6 years, 4 months ago

This is probably the first and only time I will agree with Lynn Jenkins

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

+1 I agree. Even a blind pig stumbles onto an acorn now and again.

gudpoynt 6 years, 4 months ago

same here.

You see Teapulicans, how liberals can actually agree with a conservative member of Congress when our views are aligned on a particular issue?

If you could do the likewise, we might stand a chance of getting somewhere.

Bill Lee 6 years, 4 months ago

Me, too. It's even harder to believe that I agree with the entire KS delegation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Never thought I would ever say this, but I agree with Jenkins 100%.

Jake Esau 6 years, 4 months ago

If you read up on this, you'll find the split between who supports and opposes this bill does not fall at all on party lines.

Take a look at the map here: Take a look at this page:

madcow 6 years, 4 months ago

For the most part, the people who support it are being paid to support it.

Everyone else that supports it have no idea how the internet and piracy actually works. (They are idiots)

Aileen Dingus 6 years, 4 months ago

Sorry. That was supposed to be a reply to madcow.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 4 months ago

Pretty sure, I agree with Rep Jenkins, as well, madcow (had to sit down for a moment). Wondering if UNIKU could expound on his/her ever so eloquent disapproval.

Richard Payton 6 years, 4 months ago

If the bill passes piracy will still happen in some other country. Which Journal World banned accounts would be allowed back if censorship wasn't the LJWorld policy.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

We outsource our piracy to... wait for it... Pirate Bay! In the Netherlands.

At least we aren't outsourcing it to china yet.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

And just how exactly would come to find that out, you naughty, naughty boy? OTOH, what is this?

http://torrents.the(thallshaltnotsteal) NUMBERS.TPB.torrent

Note: That URL is neutered to protect the LJW from being accused of piracy, so don't delete my post mr and/or ms moderator.

littlexav 6 years, 4 months ago

"Users can avoid Wikipedia’s block by ...." ... writing to their congressmen!

Liza Pehrson 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow. . . Jenkins and I agree on something. . . I think I just saw a pig fly outside my window. . .

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

People shouldn't have copyright protection for the things they produce? Really? So if you write a book, I should be allowed to copy it and start selling my own copies?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I appreciate copyright laws and I don't believe everything can or should be shared openly and freely. If I wrote The Great Gatsby, I would want to be rewarded for my efforts, not somebody who just copied it.

tolawdjk 6 years, 4 months ago

People should have access to copyright protection and the rule of law.

This legislation does nothing to protect that though. It is literally throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

So I am missing something. Good to know.

madcow 6 years, 4 months ago

Here is an example.

LJWorld allows users like me to post comments like this.

What if I took a video you own and put it on youtube. Then I Posted a link of that here.

Now if SOPA and PIPA were to pass (at least from what I understand), just having me post a link to that on these comments would be enough to make LJworld get shut down at the DNS level.

Now think of Facebook, Google, twitter, every website that allows comments. The entire internet would slow to a crawl and be rather boring.

Every website, would be required to hire people (lots of people they can't afford) to check and approve every post a user submits. It would take anywhere from hours to days for comments you make to show up. No one would be able to have an actual conversation like this.

And that would just be the beginning. If they are already monitoring every post for copyright infringing material, they might as well monitor it for anything else they don't like...

Slippery slope, etc etc....

chzypoof1 6 years, 4 months ago

It has nothing to do with Copyright protection. We already have laws regarding that, which can be used against sites on the internet. This is about censoring access to any content the Government deems destructive to our country.

See Chinese internet censorship...


nouseforaname 6 years, 4 months ago

There are other modes of copyright beyond the heavy-handed uses employed by the MPAA and the RIAA. Things like the GNU license or Creative Commons would be threatened under SOPA since SOPA assumes the traditional copyright standards to all content on the internet. We should be having a discussion about privacy and copyright in the 21st century, but SOPA and PIPA want to ensure that that discussion never even begins. Cut it off at the head, so to speak.

It's okay, though; people take the internet for granted so it is only a matter of time before they acquiesce to this kind of control.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

I think you're missing something here.

This isn't a debate over copyright-pro vs. copyright-con.

All copyright debates are ultimately about money and just how "leak proof" the copyright holder's (copyright holder may or more likely may not be the actual author) revenue stream can be in a free society. Copyright is a monopoly on speech. As such, it is pregnant with quandaries that conflict with the First Amendment.

That's a decision to be mediated primarily by Congress, balancing both of the constitutionally mandated interests of remuneration vs. public access.

Unfortunately, that balancing historically occurs in Romney-esque "quiet rooms" where the public has little say. That's why the 1928 copyright for Mickey Mouse still remains in effect through 2019 ... and probably will be extended even longer if the massive lobbying power of Walt Disney Corporation and politicians' hunger for bribes has anything to say about it.

And why the Supreme Court just this week authorized the retroactive application of copyright to works that have long been copyright-free: the movie classic 'Metropolis', Stravinsky's entire catalogue, Prokoviev's 'Peter and the Wolf', some of Picasso's works, Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'. No copyright protection last week; now? - pony up the moolah.

Ultimately, this is a conflict between legacy players seeking to horde what they've 'got' vs. disruptive technology that insists on 'moving the cheese' to provide the public -- on whose behalf the constitutional allows this limitation on the First Amendment -- with innovative benefit. I've personally heard industry lawyers argue (with straight faces) that when consumers copy music from a CD they own and place the resulting digital copy on something like an Ipod, that the consumer has 'stolen' the music (stolen at least the purchase price of an additional copy) and should not only pay for value but should pay punitive damages to 'send a message' against theft. Ditto, that 'lending' a book to a friend is 'stealing' it.

(Question for Candidate Santorum: should pornography enjoy copyright protection? Should the Justice Department be prosecuting Russian websites giving away "Debbie Does Dallas" and Clarence Thomas' favorite "Long Dong Silver"?)

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

"People shouldn't have copyright protection for the things they produce?"

Should people be forbidden from memorizing a copyrighted song and quietly playing that song to themselves on an acoustic guitar while watching the sun set? Or, should people be prevented from memorizing the 1s and 0s in the audio/video stream and then typing them into notepad so a computer can play it?

You make the call.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 4 months ago

So what is it that you object to the NSTIC?"

This project is to provide a strictly voluntary means of securing online transactions. It does not impact those who do not wish to participate.

chzypoof1 6 years, 4 months ago

Obama was also going to veto the Detention Act...and he didn't. I'm not an Obama hater, I just don't trust him because he lies (like both parties)

progressive_thinker 6 years, 4 months ago

NSTIC is not part of the SOPA legislation. NSTIC is a White House initiative to work collaboratively with the private sector, advocacy groups, public sector agencies, and other organizations to improve the privacy, security, and convenience of sensitive online transactions.

The initiative has the support of many in the technology industry, including IBM, PayPal, and others. The below link may be of interest to you.

Thus far, the NSTIC initiative has enjoyed bipartisan support.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of SOPA: "If you’re like me, you hoped that you wouldn’t be hearing anything more from allegedly corrupt former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) after he decided in 2010 not to seek a sixth Senate term. Unfortunately those hopes were dashed when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) decided it just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hire somebody who allegedly knows exactly what it takes to buy a senator. The MPAA selected Dodd as its new head lobbyist chairman and CEO last year. Now Dodd is taking aim at Wikipedia, Google, and other websites involved in today’s protest against the SOPA/PIPA internet censorship legislation pending in Congress: It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests. Did you get that? The man whom the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) once called one of the most corrupt members of Congress thinks the websites that are protesting SOPA/PIPA today are abusing their power..."

Alexander Smith 6 years, 4 months ago

Well I will say this. Billions of dollars are lost do to fraud, illegal access to copywrited material, scams, you name it. The bill has merit. I love how Google and other start screaming FIRE and get on the consipiracy bandwagon spreadin FEAR when they don't even know what its truely about. PIPA is about protecting the LEGAL standing of business and copy writed material. They are not out to turn us into CHINA. Anyone that says that blocking sites that host and promote illegal activity is 'censorship' are idiots. PEOPLE this is America, its called VOTING! The big reason YouTube, Google and the sort are REALLY fighting it is that if it did happen they would loose a lot of traffic. They depend on this illegal traffic to generate hits and income.

Also, people are drawing fears that if lets say YouTube has let someone post StarWars on a link they will be shut down without warning.. Noooo they won't. Hosting sites are 100 percent responsible for what is on their service. They need to police it. To not police it is a clear sign of greed and lack of values.. nothing to do with 'freedom of speech". If the US Gov has software that scans practically every phone call in the US.. I am sure there is software that will scan a hosting services own website.

Anyway, billions of dollars are being lost, and personall information is being violated. If India wants to put up illegla copies of movies and the country government doesn't care. Then FINE, block the service into our country. Its our country not theirs.

I think England went to banning countries and services that host illegal actions. from what I heard, its working very well and the ANTI people have stopped complaining.

deec 6 years, 4 months ago

Hollywood types have spent $94 million dollars lobbying for SOPA & PIPA. The producers of movies aren't losing billions of dollars. Most people would most likely not buy their products even if their products weren't available online.For example, hypothetically I might watch a free movie online,but I don't go to theatres or buy dvds. So they have lost nothing by me watching their product for free. Why are they not worrying about the bootleg copies of movies you can buy at almost any discount store or chain pharmacy? Most of those dollar store type businesses have a bin of $3-5 movies with bad graphics or bare cases. I don't think it is likely those movies are official copies. Even megalomart sells them from time to time.

madcow 6 years, 4 months ago

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

chzypoof1 6 years, 4 months ago

Mouse, you are completely off base. It's about Freedom on the Net. It's about having access to all forms of information unimpeded by our nanny government. I'm tired of people like yourself thinking that we need the government to hold our hand to accomplish ANYTHING. You will not stop piracy/copyright infringement with any bill. People will go around it no matter what.

The real reasoning behind this bill is to allow the government to block any site they deem a "threat" . Read the bill. They can do it without any type of due process for the owner of the site. That is ridiculous! You should have the right to defend your business.

Again, stop depending on the government and think for yourself. The market will adjust on its own. Corporations will still make their billions, trust me.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Umm, she has no vote on this issue. (not that that means anything to someone like you whose only goal in posting is a gratuitous insult.)

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

The irony meter just bent its needle against the upper peg.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm guessing the number of people not wanting Uncle Sam to control the internet by controlling content approximates those that wanted the government to control the internet through "network neutrality". Sure, they do different things and "protect" different interests, but both legislative misadventures are just different sides of the same penny. NEVER give the government control of the internet, EVER. In fact, lets take away some of their power everywhere else. Vote.

This will be a good thread for spotting our usual hypocrites on the left and on the right. Libertarian philosophy runs counter to both laws.

pavlovs_dog 6 years, 4 months ago

Senator Pat Roberts would have joined his colleagues in opposing this but he was out for a ride in his buggy.

Ken Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

It is rare that such fascist measures get stopped. Only when a big corporation can come in the side of the people, does goes listen and follow the fundementals of the Constitution.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Also, I'd like to remind our activist friends, the weather around LA is nice today ( Leave New York and do some occupying in front of universal studios. Wall street isn't buying laws to fine your mom $1.9 mil for illegally sharing 24 mp3s (

Call it something cool and uber-original... like "Occupy Hollywood".

Nimrods the lot.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.