Internet Laws are foolish. Internet Laws are nonsensical agreements by nations on an anarchist medium. Internet Laws should not exist.
Now, I will justify these statements, but I must first say that these views are mine and mine alone; these statements don’t necessarily reflect the views of Zysys.
I will be discussing: SOPA, PIPA, and PCIPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, and the Protect Children from Internet Pornographers Act
Note: I am not touching on ACTA because I do not know much about it. Please do research on it, I will be doing it as well. Also, most of my commentary will apply to anything similar and, if ACTA is on par with SOPA, PIPA, and PCIPA, this should all be relevant.
I’m not sure where to start, so I will start with SOPA. The Stop Online Piracy Act was, for the most part, stopped by the blackout of thousands of websites including Wikipedia, Zysys, Craigslist, and others (along with a symbolic blackout by Google). The following is from the sponsor of SOPA, Lamar Smith:
“‘It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act,’ Smith said in a statement on Tuesday[, the 17th of January]. ‘The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.'”
1) Wikipedia doesn’t need publicity.
2) I’m not sure he understands the idea of the internet.
3) You might be able to find 3 sites on the entire internet supporting SOPA.
SOPA’s problem is that there are 1.97 billion users of the internet with over 202 million websites (source: http://royal.pingdom.com/2011/01/12/internet-2010-in-numbers/) There are hundreds of thousands of websites that don’t support SOPA. What would we do if we couldn’t use the products of AOL, Google, Vimeo, Tumblr, Twitter, Paypal, Mozilla, Pastebin.com, WordPress, and Microsoft? Nothing. That’s what. The internet would temporarily crumble.
PIPA is similar. PIPA allows for the government to disable and remove access to your website via its domain name. This means that they can effectively shut down your site (excluding access via its ip address). This was the other bill that many sites were protesting. There are many problems with PIPA and it has been, for the most part, coupled with SOPA.
“‘It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on [these sites] for information and use their services,’ Dodd[, former Connecticut senator and current the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America,] wrote. ‘It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today.'”
The problem with this idea is that it isn’t an abuse of power; it’s their websites, they can do what they want with them. I disagree that it is irresponsible, I, in fact, believe it to be the opposite case; I find it responsible to alert the public of something that can effect them which the government was trying to squeeze through unnoticed. Another problem with his statement is that he believe that they are part of the marketplace. NEWSFLASH!! THEY ARE ON THE INTERNET, THEY ARE ONLY BITS AND BYTES! Goodness, they aren’t part of a marketplace…they barely exist. These websites exist strictly because people want them to stay afloat. Would Wikipedia still be in existence if no one wanted it to be? Absolutely not. The “Market Place” of which Dodd speaks is called the Free Market and his argument is that: You people are doing something that frustrates me and you are already receiving so many benefits from the Free Market, the fact that you don’t listen to the government and accept what is given to you, shows that you abuse your status as popular sites.
In fact, the idea that they are popular is because they do good work. If they didn’t do good work, they would not be popular. By saying that these websites did a disservice to their constituents because they decided to take a stand against the government, Dodd shows his frustration with the status quo, but nothing more. These sites did a service to alert the public that there are bills going through the system that will directly effect the internet as we know it, but aren’t being publicized. If not for the blackout, SOPA and PIPA would have passed.
“Requires a provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service to retain for at least 18 months a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the service assigns to each subscriber account unless that address is transmitted by radio communication. Bars any cause of action against a provider for retaining records as required.”
So, they can start retaining logs of everything we do. All Internet Service Providers are required by law to retain your IP address and identifying information for 18 months and you can’t take action against them. If your internet service provider does this now, you can switch to another one, but if you like privacy…to bad. I don’t need any information about me to get out unless I put it out there. I take very careful control about what I put online and I don’t want any accidents where someone hacks into a database of these IP addresses and they are linked back to everything you do online (banking, shopping, research, perusing, reading, writing, etc.). I don’t care what your stance is on Child Pornography…this is the most ridiculous thing I have heard since SOPA and ACTA.
What I do for some internet privacy is use a VPN service like ProXPN, GPass, CyberGhost, AnchorFree Hotspot Shield, Its Hidden, and SecurityKiss (source: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-completely-free-vpn-services-protect-privacy/)…you probably want a paid service so they fight to keep your data anonymous and don’t just hand it over without a fight.
So, these laws are all useless. After what happened to MegaUpload (where the U.S. government arrested key people in MegaUpload and shut down the site (even though it is a Hong Kong based Company…odd, when did we get jurisdiction in Hong Kong)), we can see that the government doesn’t need laws to arrest you for whatever reason.
I thought we were a country that, instead of getting arrested for intellectual property infringement, you were sued for everything you had [and that is the incentive not to do it]. I guess I was wrong. You might say that Intellectual Property Infringement is the same as theft. Frankly, it isn’t. Theft has two components. Theft is:
1) taking a product in which has a price you did not pay
2) preventing someone else from buying the product you stole thereby preventing an individual from making money.
Intellectual Property Infringement is when you do only the first half. It is the second half with constitutes theft, a product was taken and you can’t make money. Here is a parallel. Lets say you are in a public library. Let’s say that you make a copy of a page of a book because you like what it says. Did you, by making a copy of the page, steal that page? No, of course not, but if you ripped the page out, did you steal that page? I believe it is theft when you prevent anyone else from obtaining that material. I would define theft as the transfer (not replication) of goods from one person to another without consent. This is not the same as Intellectual Property Infringement. If you have a problem with someone doing this, tell them. If they don’t stop, sue them. If they don’t stop, sue them again.
There is no government of the internet; the internet is an anarchist medium (there is no government). The fact that the government wants to impose itself upon the free members of the society, makes people angry.
My opinion is that the government needs to not interfere in matters where it is not wanted. If the government wants to interfere, it will probably experience an overthrow like that of Egypt’s government. They should let people who have problems, deal with it themselves. So it’s up to you. Here’s how I see it:
Option 1) Allow the government into the internet and give them power and force over what people say and do…in exchange for privacy and freedom.
Option 2) Prevent the government from interfering in the freedom of the internet and let people who have problems deal with it themselves.
I like the second option, but that’s me. What do you want?
Once again, the rant above is the work of me, Zachary A. Bornheimer, and mine alone. If you share some of the same opinions as I do, comment on this post and let me know. If not, let me know in the comments 🙂 and don’t get mad at Zysys, because these opinions don’t necessarily represent it’s views, but strictly mine.