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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.

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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'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.

Comments

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Also, I'd like to remind our activist friends, the weather around LA is nice today (http://www.wunderground.com/US/CA/Los_Angeles.html). 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 (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-5097090-504083.html).

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

Nimrods the lot.

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Ken Lewis 2 years, 2 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.

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pavlovs_dog 2 years, 2 months ago

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

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Liberty275 2 years, 2 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.

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consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

I see that GUTLESS MARCI FRANCISCO is not voting either way...

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Alexander Smith 2 years, 3 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.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 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..." http://www.unitedliberty.org/articles/9410-chris-dodd-thinks-anti-sopapipa-websites-are-abusing-their-power

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Just more evidence of the progressive cabal in DC trying to take over our lives. Obama wanted to put in place a gov't. issued internet ID. Nothing from this socialist and his devotees would surprise me-----nothing.

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beatrice 2 years, 3 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.

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rbs 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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littlexav 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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Richard Payton 2 years, 3 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.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 3 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.

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billybob1 2 years, 3 months ago

She probably misread what her fearless leaders told her to say.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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madcow 2 years, 3 months ago

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

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The_Original_Bob 2 years, 3 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.

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