Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Great Blackout of 2012

Today if you went to Wikipedia, you discovered it wasn't there. Why? Because they, like tens of thousands of other sites, were protesting copyright bills in Congress that basically would allow anybody to take down any web site at any time (via redirecting their web site's domain name in the global name registry so that you get a FBI warning instead) by making a spurious claim that said web site was "hosting or encouraging the hosting of copyrighted material". No trial. No jury. No recourse to get your domain name back other than suing the person or entity who made the complaint, which isn't practical for most people, since it's generally law firms out to extort money from ordinary civilians that will be engaged in this sort of conduct (that's true in Germany where such a law is already in place, and there's no reason to think it wouldn't be true here too).

In short: We're talking about a law that would be good only for lawyers, not for anybody else on the planet. It wouldn't even be good for the Hollywood studios pushing it, since all that happens if the global domain name service goes black for accused copyright violators is that alternate distributed name services that are much harder to shut down will go into service, much the same way that the shutdown of the centralized Napster service led to the current Bittorrent decentralized system.

Lawyers. That's the only people who will benefit. Bah humbug!

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin


  1. Looks like the strike might have been effective. Support for the legislation seems to be crumbling.


  2. Germany already has legislation like SOPA? What's the story on that? How did that happen without a noisy fuss from regular people and techies generally? Is the law having clear impacts on commerce or social networking yet?


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