SITES UNITE TO STOP SOPA

Sites like Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, and Reddit have gone black this morning in protest of The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which threatens Internet independence and free speech as well as a host of other rights. We have long discussed the ever-widening array of criminal and civil penalties pushed through Congress by the powerful radio and television lobby as well as other industry groups. The Obama Administration has been particularly willing to carry the water for these groups over objections from public interest groups. SOPA reflects the power of this lobby and its hold over members of Congress and the Obama Administration. While the Obama Administration has now responded to the outcry by insisting that it will tweak the bill, such promises ring hallow given its past efforts to appease this industry and its dishonest statements recently in other areas like the indefinite detention controversy. Notably, the recent admission from the White House that it has some concerns over the bill did not come until the public rallied against the bill — another indication of the control of an industry group in the drafting of legislation. This lobby is not going to go quietly into the night. It is more likely that it will work with the White House and Congress to achieve the same purposes with an incremental series of laws — if it does not simply win outright.

The radio and movie industry has shown zero concern over free speech and other rights in seeking to protect profits. The bill has sweeping implications in the loss of safe harbor provisions and the right to bar Internet sites under vague provisions. Wikipedia, which has taking a lead in fighting this bill, has a good discussion of these dangers. Not only must this bill be defeated, but advocates should force a review of the current draconian and often abused copyright and trademark laws.

The standard approach of lobbyists when faced with public opposition is to pull back while working privately with the White House and Congress to achieve the same results once the fervor has died down. In the meantime, most of the Hollywood stars and recording artists who claim to support the arts and free speech are conspicuously silent as their lobbyists seek strip the Internet of protections. Just as we saw with the pharmaceutical industry, the entertainment industry has given jobs to congressional staffers who have worked for its interests in Congress. Various sites have documented the millions given to Congress by the industry to pass this law.

Sites like Rawstory have links to contact your representatives. I encourage everyone to join this worthy effort. The Internet is the single most important advance in free speech in a century, if not in the history of humanity. While this industry cannot see beyond its profits, the public needs to protect this resource for creative and political expression.

86 thoughts on “SITES UNITE TO STOP SOPA

  1. It is unwise to pick a fight with the people who actually run the Internet. This is a warning shot, as “going dark” is the least of the weapons available. Woe betide politicians who are still stuck in the Age of Paper. Your doom hangs by a thread, and your beliefs are irrelevant. The death of your idea is at hand.

  2. Carol, Al Franken supports PIPA and Bachmann is against SOPA. I still would vote for Franken and not Bachmann. lol I think something will eventually pass but it won’t be Texas republican Lamar Smith’s SOPA which is a horrendous bill.

  3. The SOPA is another corporation led attempt to throttle the internet and to achieve more corporate profits from it, while restricting the free speech that is exercised every day on it.

  4. Well, Google’s “go dark” is symbolic only. They’ve blacked out their name on their home page but you can still do a search normally. Seems like they wanted to be perceived to be participating without actually doing it. Kinda chicken shit.

  5. Require your Senators in your state and Congresspeople to take a position. Vote against them if they vote for SOAPA.

  6. http://www.salon.com/2012/01/18/chris_dodds_paid_sopa_crusading/singleton/

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Dodd says he still doesn’t know what he’ll do come January 2011, when, for the first time in 36 years, he will no longer be a member of Congress. But he has ruled out one option.

    “No lobbying, no lobbying,” Dodd said in a recent interview. That Dodd would forgo a trip through Washington’s “revolving door,” using his policy and political expertise–and a thick Rolodex–to launch a new career in the influence industry, may come as a surprise.

    Hollywood’s chief lobbyist lashed out at tech companies for mounting Tuesday night’s planned online blackout to protest proposed anti-piracy legislation that has pitted Southern California movie and music distributors against Silicon Valley Internet corporations.

    Motion Picture Assn. of America Chief Executive Chris Dodd, the former Senator from Connecticut, accused technology companies such as Google, Mozilla and Wikipedia of resorting to stunts. . . . (and the article continues)

  7. The comment of Onlooker above: chicken shit– is Right On! Google and smoogle and the others will survive. They will be more insulated from competition. This Lamar Smith guy from Texas is suspicious.

  8. anon nurse,

    Well we all know, if their lips are moving…

    Dodd – just another in a long line of hypocritical, unscrupulous liars.

  9. Onlooker, one does not deploy the entire armament in the first engagement. One keeps one’s capabilities deliberately weak, but only in appearance. If google actually went dark, for even an hour, hundreds of millions of dollars would be lost. Maybe even a billion per hour these days moves through google’s networks. And most of those losses would be inflicted on those unrelated in any way to politics, and may be life/death mission critial. So google has to move with intelligence.

    Any politician who thinks they can take on google, well, good luck with that. And they are but one Titan. And be rest assured: they are already several technologies down the road from SOPA/PIPA having any meaningful effect. A few public arrests using old technology is the perfect smoke screen. It always has and always will.

    As soon a Congress fills with network engineers, this may change….

  10. Elaine,

    Thanks for confirming… I was as certain as I could be that I had posted my comment earlier… I left my computer for a bit and when I came back, my original comment (the salon/Greenwald one) was gone, so I simply reported it.

  11. I’ve signed numerous petitions regarding this. Today’s actions are mostly symbolic, yet meant to remind Congress that Internet Freedom affects many ow important Internet based corporations and they do have the power to control and black out many services on which we all have become dependent. In may ways this is a battle of corporate interests, where unfortunately we the people ad our freedom of information is at stake.

  12. AN,

    You are one bright Nurse…..If all people could care as much…..You and Elaine readily put the extra efforts in to bringing life to what they past with the links attached….Thank you….

    Does this not make Dodd look like a sellout….The way I had heard it yesterday it was Silicon Valley vs Hollywood….They both have vested interests in the outcome of the bill….From Dodd’s perspective it would put many a blue collar workers out of business…..Yeah, like Disney pays the people much to copy them….People need to start reading label origins…

    Then to pit this topic against another of things made in the USA vs Somewhere else….There was an experiment that I read about and folks liked the ideal of Made in the USA…..but there was a point of preferring the USA products and the price of the made Somewhere else….

    I think the Bill is seriously flawed for many reasons….and these are just a few…

  13. Here’s a ProPublica link that I had posted before:

    SOPA Opera
    Where Do Your Members of Congress Stand on SOPA and PIPA?
    http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/

    Excerpt;
    By Dan Nguyen, ProPublica. Updated Jan. 18, 2012

    Well-funded interests on either side of SOPA and PIPA are lining up support among members of Congress. This database keeps track of where members of Congress stand. Findings are based on two factors: whether a member is a sponsor of the proposed bills, and each member’s voting record on the current bills’ precursors and alternatives.

  14. I know quite a few folks that have had other professions and gone on the Law School….I think you’d make one hell of an attorney as well AN….You already know how to deal with neurotic folks….most nurses have had to take psych….I did not go that route…so my learning had to come through the school of hard knocks….

  15. January 18, 2012 2:57 AM
    SOPA, PIPA: What you need to know
    By Stephanie Condon
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57360665-503544/sopa-pipa-what-you-need-to-know/

    Having trouble using Wikipedia today? That’s because the popular crowd-sourced online encyclopedia is participating in an “Internet blackout” in protest of two controversial anti-piracy bills: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

    Pictures: Websites go dark to protest SOPA

    The bills are intended to strengthen protections against copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, but Internet advocates say they would stifle expression on the World Wide Web. In essence, the legislation has pitted content providers — like the music and film industries — against Silicon Valley.

    “It’s not a battle of left versus right,” said progressive activist Adam Green, whose organization Progressive Change Campaign Committee on Tuesday hosted a press conference with opponents of the bills. “Frankly, it’s a battle of old versus new.”

    Here’s a basic look at the actions taking place today and the legislation causing all the fuss.

    What’s going on today?

    The popular link-sharing site Reddit got the ball rolling for today’s 24-hour Internet blackout. In addition to Reddit and Wikipedia, other sites participating include BoingBoing, Mozilla, WordPress, TwitPic, MoveOn.org and the ICanHasCheezBurger network. Search giant Google is showing its solidarity with a protest doodle and message: “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web,” but the site planned no complete blackout.

    Other sites — like Facebook and Twitter — oppose the legislation in question but aren’t participating in today’s blackout.

    In addition to the Internet-based protests, some opponents are physically protesting on Wednesday outside of their congressional representatives’ offices. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian said in Tuesday’s press conference it will “probably be the geekiest, most rational protest ever.”

    What does the legislation do?

    There are already laws that protect copyrighted material, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). But while the DMCA focuses on removing specific, unauthorized content from the Internet, SOPA and PIPA instead target the platform — that is, the site hosting the unauthorized content.

    The bills would give the Justice Department the power to go after foreign websites willfully committing or facilitating intellectual property theft — “rogue” sites like The Pirate Bay. The government would be able to force U.S.-based companies, like Internet service providers, credit card companies and online advertisers, to cut off ties with those sites.

    Why content providers want SOPA and PIPA

    Content groups like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and business representatives like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argue that innovation and jobs in content-creating industries are threatened by growing Internet piracy. Overseas websites, they argue, are a safe haven for Internet pirates profiting off their content.

    According to the Global Intellectual Property Center, which is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, intellectual property-intensive sectors employ more than 19 million people in the U.S. and create $7.7 trillion in gross output. Foreign website operators currently outside the bounds of U.S. law; SOPA and PIPA would help quell illegitimate Internet activity.

    In a statement, former Sen. Chris Dodd, who is now chairman and CEO of the MPAA, called the blackout day a “gimmick.”

    “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,” Dodd said.

    CBS Corporation, which owns CBSNews.com, is a member of the Copyright Alliance — an industry group representing content producers that supports SOPA and PIPA.

    Why Internet companies oppose SOPA and PIPA

    Internet companies and their investors would readily say that they’re holding the “blackout” to protect their corporate interests — and the entire burgeoning Internet-based economy.

    “The success of Reddit… is one of the smaller examples of the success that has happened in our industry — and will continue to unless bills like SOPA or PIPA become law,” Ohanian said Tuesday.

    Under the rules SOPA or PIPA would impose, Ohanian and others argue, start ups wouldn’t be able to handle the costs that come with defending their sites against possible violations. Such sites would not be able to pay the large teams of lawyers that established sites like Google or Facebook can afford.

    The legislation in question targets foreign companies whose primary purpose is to sell stolen or counterfeit goods — but opponents say domestic companies could still be held liable for linking to their content. While sites like Reddit wouldn’t have a legal duty to monitor their sites all the time, “you might have your pants sued off of you” if you don’t, said Jayme White, staff director for the Senate Finance Subcommittee on international trade.

    Brad Burnham, managing partner at the venture capital fund Union Square Ventures, said his company has avoided investing in companies related to the music industry because of the copyright risks — but under the proposed legislation, that risk would hit just about any Internet company. SOPA and PIPA, he said, “takes the risk of frivolous litigation… to the entire Internet.”

    That should be a concern, Burnham said, when the Internet accounts for 21 percent of economic growth among developed nations, according to one study.

    The impacts could go beyond the economy, some argue. Rebecca MacKinnon, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan New America Foundation, argues that if blogging platforms are motivated to monitor their content, that could have “a tremendous chilling effect on people tyring to conduct political discourse and trying to use content in a fair use context.”

    Where does the legislation stand?

    Opponents of SOPA and PIPA celebrated when, earlier this month, authors of both bills decided to set aside the most controversial aspect of them — language that would have let the Justice Department force Internet Service Providers to block the domains of suspected foreign “rogue” sites. Also, over the weekend, the White House suggested it wants to see modifications to the legislation.

    The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote on PIPA on January 24.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who sponsored SOPA, said Tuesday he expects the committee to continue work on the House bill in February.

    Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., meanwhile, is opposed to the legislation and will today officially introduce an alternative — the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. Issa said Tuesday he expects his bill to have more co-sponsors than SOPA has in the House and that “once members of Congress see a viable alternative… I think we can get to a consensus.”

    The OPEN Act would make the International Trade Commission, rather than the Justice Department, responsible for policing U.S. connections to foreign rogue sites. Placing that responsibility in the hands of one entity, rather than the whole court system, would make the process more transparent, Issa argues.

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  18. Interesting post by Eugene Volokh: The Google Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act Statement, Corporate Speech, and the First Amendment

    Following Citizens United, I heard many people argue that the Court was wrong because corporations should not be seen as having First Amendment rights — not just that they do have First Amendment rights but that there’s some special compelling interest that justifies restricting corporate speech about candidates, but that corporations aren’t people and therefore can’t have First Amendment rights at all.

    Today, Google’s U.S. query page features an anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act statement from Google. Say that Congress concludes that it’s unfair for Google to be able to speak so broadly, in a way that ordinary Americans (including ordinary Congressmen) generally can’t. Congress therefore enacts a statute banning all corporations from spending their money — and therefore banning them from speaking — in support of or opposition to any statute. What would you say about such a statute? Again, I limit the question to those who think corporations generally lack First Amendment rights.

  19. Don’t know what happened to the missing comments. They’re not in the Spam folder and they’re not in the Pending folder.

  20. Nal,

    I’d point out to Eugene that Google wouldn’t be facing a threat like PIPA/SOPA if the MPAA/RIAA hadn’t been allowed to essentially tell the candidates they contributed the most toward their various campaigns exactly what legislation they as proxies for the entertainment industry wanted. Corporations, their lobbyists, and their bought off Representatives and Senators created the problem of PIPA/SOPA in the first place. The argument that countervailing corporate interests should be allowed to fight corporate manipulation of the government ignores that the essence of the problem is corporate manipulation of the government period. So what Google’s interests happen to coincide with the interests of civil libertarians and the Constitution this time? Anyone who thinks that Google wouldn’t be on board with a statute that limits your rights if they could profit from it is both fooling themselves and too dumb to understand the problem of corporate political spending in the first place.

  21. I just posted a couple of links which didn’t post… one to a c-net article and another to wired.com… only two… I’ll try posting them individually…

  22. All those entities pushing for SOPA missed the boat years ago when they could have developed their own sites controlling their own property. Their failure to anticipate the markets that were opening up lost them and their clients billions and billions of dollars. Now, like the banks and Wall Street, they are turning to the government for a bailout.

    “Help us … we were too stupid to help ourselves.”

    James in LA is 100% correct when he writes:

    “Any politician who thinks they can take on google, well, good luck with that. And they are but one Titan. And be rest assured: they are already several technologies down the road from SOPA/PIPA having any meaningful effect. A few public arrests using old technology is the perfect smoke screen. It always has and always will.

    As soon a Congress fills with network engineers, this may change….”

    The politicians supporting SOPA have no idea what they’ve signed up for which is what happens when one allows oneself to be led around by the nose by business men/women still living in the past. The blowback has started and I have not one whit of sympathy for the fools.

  23. Gene,
    I agree that the corporate attempts to control and throttle the “internets” is what is behind this bad legislation.
    Elaine and anon nurse,
    very informative links on explaining what SOPA is all about.

  24. Somebody redacted 2 (I think … maybe 1) of anon nurse’s posts … quick, I’ll give you $10 to write a law that fixes it.

  25. “…my original comment (the salon/Greenwald one) was gone, so I simply reported it.”

    “reported it” SB “reposted it”

    (Oh, this isn’t the corrections thread?)

  26. anon nurse,

    I thought the one at 11:40am and 12:01pm were jokes mocking SOPA … now I’ve thoroughly confused myself.

  27. I am appalled by this legislation. Theses people should be very much ashamed of themselves. Some of these service providers can shut down the entire country with one binary duplication. This means that searches can be redirected through no fault of the requester. Now I am question who is insane.

  28. If nothing else, SOPA/PIPA are interesting glimpses into the current state of the art in sausage maki, er, I mean the legislative process.

    SOPA/PIPA are rife with lousiness, but the parts that sought to tinker with the Internet’s Domain Name System functions are so technically problematic as to be a huge red flag. The lobbyists who wrote it were clearly incompetent, and any lawmaker who would have bothered to check with IT/networking people would have been told immediately, in no uncertain terms that it was a complete clusterflock. (And lots of people have been pointing this out for months!) Not only would those provisions NOT impede infringement, but they would actually reduce security on the internet – for example making it easier for criminals to re-direct your browser from, say, “bankofamerica.com” to their impostor site.

    This aspect isn’t a “He said, she said” issue between old media and the tech companies – it’s plain old engineering.

    Here in Chicago, it’s well known that most Aldermen can’t write ordinances or really adequately interpret them – they rely on a few staffers and knowledgeable Aldermen to do the writing and interpreting. It’s a city council, so be it. But the fact that a bunch of Senators (including my own – Dick Durbin) were willing to take the lobbying checks and apparently not bother to consult with anyone who understood the technical implications of the bill is really tragic and shameful.

    We’re looking into the sausage factory and seeing that the sausage makers are tying strings around intestines full of poop, and passing it out the front door.

  29. And I forgot to mention – there’s another steaming pile heading down the conveyor belt: ACTA – the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Think of it as an international SOPA, but at treaty level. For whatever reason, the Obama administration was stupid enough to allow this to be negotiated in secret (I am not making this up) – because of national security! (snort!)

    Completely insane.

  30. “We’re looking into the sausage factory and seeing that the sausage makers are tying strings around intestines full of poop, and passing it out the front door)” …. “Completely insane.” (tomdarch)

    Truth

  31. “All those entities pushing for SOPA missed the boat years ago when they could have developed their own sites controlling their own property.”

    Blouise,

    Well said.

  32. tomdarch:

    “But the fact that a bunch of Senators (including my own – Dick Durbin) were willing to take the lobbying checks and apparently not bother to consult with anyone who understood the technical implications of the bill is really tragic and shameful.”

    That has been going on for years. Most of the transportation bills were written by industry and I know that for a fact. I am sure other industries lobbyists write most of the laws/regulations in this country. The staffers are in on it too.

    Lawyers at these lobbying firms sport woodies writing these codes, it is what they live for, that and the bragging rights.

  33. CHART: Who Is Lobbying For And Against The Protect IP Act
    By Josh Israel on Jan 18, 2012 \http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/01/18/406397/chart-who-is-lobbying-for-and-against-the-protect-ip-act/

    Excerpt:
    Supporter
    Total Reported Spending on ALL Lobbying (over 2011 periods in which it lobbied on S. 968)

    ALLIANCE OF AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS $3,711,300
    AMERICAN APPAREL & FOOTWEAR ASSOCIATION $341,735
    American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers $160,000
    BEACHBODY LLC (FORMERLY PRODUCT PARTNERS LLC) $40,000
    BROADCAST MUSIC INC $700,000
    CBS $150,000
    CENTER FOR INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM $10,000
    CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE U S A $19,050,000
    COMCAST CORPORATION $8,920,000
    COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE $90,000
    Directors Guild of America $120,000
    DISNEY WORLDWIDE SERVICES INC $1,330,000
    Entertainment Software Association $40,000
    ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION (ESA) $110,000
    INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF THEATRICAL STAGE EMPLOYEES $60,000
    INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK ASSOCIATION $60,000
    MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA $890,000
    MOTOR & EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION $78,287
    NATIONAL ACADEMY OF RECORDING ARTS & SCIENCES $256,103
    National Association of Broadcasters $6,620,000
    NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION $8,510,000
    NATIONAL ELECTRICAL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION $580,000
    NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS’ ASSOCIATION $50,000
    NEWS AMERICA INC $3,070,000
    NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC $10,000
    OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION $170,000
    PEARSON EDUCATION (FKA Pearson, Inc) $480,000
    Professional Photographers of America / Alliance of Visual Artists $30,000
    RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA $2,380,133
    REED ELSEVIER INC $760,000
    SOFTWARE & INFORMATION INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION $460,000
    SONGWRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA $20,000
    SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (FORMERLY SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT) $950,000
    SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT $280,000
    SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT MARKET ASSOCIATION $100,000
    Tiffany & Co. $70,000
    TIME WARNER INC $1,646,000
    UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP $1,570,000
    VIACOM INTERNATIONAL SERVICES INC $660,000

    Opponent
    Total Reported Spending on ALL Lobbying (over 2011 periods in which it lobbied on S. 968)

    Ad Network Educational Consortium $150,000
    AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF LAW LIBRARIES $15,000
    AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION $328,218
    American Express Company $950,000
    AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION $49,911
    Business Software Alliance $140,000
    Computer & Communications Industry Association $10,000
    CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION $1,530,000
    eBay Inc. $110,000
    Escape Media Group, Inc. $120,000
    Facebook, Inc. $680,000
    Go Daddy.com $287,000
    GOOGLE INC $4,440,000
    Library Copyright Alliance $10,000
    NetCoalition $90,000
    VALUECLICK INC $30,000
    VISA INC $3,130,000
    YAHOO! Inc. $720,000

  34. No one disputes that piracy is a problem. Were I an author or performer, I would be outraged to see unauthorized reproductions of my work. But this legislation is not the answer. There was recently news of an SAT cheating scandal, but no one proposed that all of the students from all of the schools that had a cheater should be banned from taking the SAT.

    The problem of piracy has to be dealt with in the same manner that most international commercial issues are resolved, through the use of negotiated trade agreements and treaty law. Instead, the industry prefers that private companies become involuntary members of an internet Pinkerton Agency to enforce intellectual property rights. Nonsense.

  35. “CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE U S A $19,050,000″ … that would be $2.00 from America and $19,048,000.00 from foreign investors … ;)

  36. Mike S,

    Back in the mid-90’s an ambitiously, bright, college, grad at his first job approached his boss and suggested the company go on-line to sell their products. His boss thought little of the idea, knew nothing about the internet but decided to give the kid $50,000 and a small office and let him “have at it” for six months.

    In less than a year the kid had organized an e-commerce site, developed an affiliate marketing program and was racking up enough sales to challenge the company’s long standing catalog sales department which was the department the kid was originally hired into.

    One smart kid, $50,000, and 6 months … that was all it took … oh yeah, and a boss who was willing to look outside the box.

    Guess who is not whining or looking to the government for bailouts.

  37. anon nurse,

    I thought the one at 11:40am and 12:01pm were jokes mocking SOPA … now I’ve thoroughly confused myself.

    ———

    Blouise

    You were right…

    I’m not sure who posted the 11:40 comment. I responded at 12:01… I couldn’t let the original go unanswered! (a smile, here, but not the big goofy one…)

  38. The internet anti-piracy laws are already powerful enough that a Dutch citizen living and working in New Zealand had millions of dollars in assets seized for violating a US law. The shutdown of Megaupload.com shows just how deep we are in having one global government, with no sovereign nations.

  39. Yes, I fear you are correct.

    In addition to the political evidence, there is this:

    I would view this video regardless of your religious opinions. I wasn’t looking for religious predictions or information but when i had finished this video and i began to think about what they were actually telling me; and I began to compare the people they are speaking of as the power behind this I saw a frightening comparison. If you strip away all the trimmings and look at the perpitrators I think you will see what I mean. Get back to me here and tell me what you think. Anyone else who wishes to humor me here is welcome as well.

    Religiously; all I can say is that I saw nothing that disagrees with the Bible. You will have to give that as much or little weight as is appropriate for your personal belief system.

    But the religious conotations of this are not why I am showing this to you.

  40. Ah Yes. Perhaps I should stste clearly that I advise comparing these people with the people who we see as the 1%; the power behind our politics; those who conspire to initiate a Fascist Police State etc.

  41. Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure
    BY GLENN GREENWALD
    1/21/12
    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/21/two_lessons_from_the_megaupload_seizure/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    Two events this week produced some serious cognitive dissonance. First, Congressional leaders sheepishly announced that they were withdrawing (at least for the time being) two bills heavily backed by the entertainment industry — the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – in the wake of vocal online citizen protests (and, more significantly, coordinated opposition from the powerful Silicon Valley industry). Critics insisted that these bills were dangerous because they empowered the U.S. Government, based on mere accusations of piracy and copyright infringement, to shut down websites without any real due process. But just as the celebrations began over the saving of Internet Freedom, something else happened: the U.S. Justice Department not only indicted the owners of one of the world’s largest websites, the file-sharing site Megaupload, but also seized and shut down that site, and also seized or froze millions of dollars of its assets — all based on the unproved accusations, set forth in an indictment, that the site deliberately aided copyright infringement.

    In other words, many SOPA opponents were confused and even shocked when they learned that the very power they feared the most in that bill — the power of the U.S. Government to seize and shut down websites based solely on accusations, with no trial — is a power the U.S. Government already possesses and, obviously, is willing and able to exercise even against the world’s largest sites (they have this power thanks to the the 2008 PRO-IP Act pushed by the same industry servants in Congress behind SOPA as well as by forfeiture laws used to seize the property of accused-but-not-convicted drug dealers). This all reminded me quite a bit of the shock and outrage that arose last month over the fact that Barack Obama signed into law a bill (the NDAA) vesting him with the power to militarily detain people without charges, even though, as I pointed out the very first time I wrote about that bill, indefinite detention is already a power the U.S. Government under both Bush and Obama has seized and routinely and aggressively exercises.

    I’m not minimizing the importance of either fight: it’s true that SOPA (like the NDAA) would codify these radical powers further and even expand them beyond what the U.S. Government already wields (regarding SOPA’s unique provisions, see Julian Sanchez’s typically thorough analysis). But the defining power that had everyone so up in arms about SOPA — shutting down websites with no trial — is one that already exists in quite a robust form, as any thwarted visitors to Megaupload will discover.

  42. “Interestingly, Belarussian dictator Lukashenko has just made waves by tightening the government’s control over the internet:
    “Under rules introduced by Lukashenko in 2010, Internet users going online in an Internet cafe or using a shared connection have to identify themselves and a record is to be kept of each user’s surfing history. Authorities also have drawn up a list of Web sites that employees of state-run companies and organizations, as well as cultural and educational institutions, are forbidden to visit. The list includes Web sites belonging to leading opposition groups.”

    […]
    “The new legal amendments now bar Belarusian businessmen from using outside Internet resources such as online stores registered in other countries. The amendments formalize earlier restrictions on Internet use introduced by Lukashenko’s decree, which required Internet service providers to monitor users and report them to authorities if they visit opposition websites blacklisted by the government. “

    This is interesting because the US legislative is about to implement the ‘SOPA’ and ‘PIPA’ acts (the ‘stop online piracy’ and ‘protect intellectual property’ acts), on the behest of industries that want to see their privileges perpetuated.
    As the Daily Bell has often pointed out, the internet is the one channel of communication the elites do not have under their complete control. As long as all information distribution was the sole province of the corporatist mainstream media, it was fairly easy to shape public opinion. The internet is akin to the Gutenberg printing press, in that it has made it possible to share information that was previously suppressed.
    A law that is a first step of returning the control over information to the ruling elites, a law that can be introduced under the pretext of battling criminals, is naturally music to the ears of politicians.”

  43. FBI website crippled in Anonymous-led retaliation to Megaupload raid (AY, for you… The aforementioned blurb goes with the previous link in my last comment)

  44. Wow Elaine; Screwed my Wa for the day.

    This kind of underhamded diversionary tactic is the reason we will never achieve meaningful change with the system we have. Occupy Occupy Occupy. I think it is our one hope.

  45. MPAA Chief Chris Dodd On Defense Over Piracy Bill
    1/24/12
    http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/mpaa-chief-chris-dodd-on-defense-over-piracy-loss-bribery-accusations.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

    Excerpt:
    The battle over anti-piracy legislation in Washington may have cooled following the mass online protests on January 18 and subsequent loss of support in Congress, but former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) remains on the hot seat over his role in the fight.

    Dodd, current president of the MPAA, is the target of an online petition calling for the Obama Administration to “investigate Chris Dodd and the MPAA for bribery after he publicly admited to bribing politicans to pass legislation.”

    There is no evidence that Dodd bribed anyone or violated any laws whatsoever.

    The petition, which on Tuesday exceeded 25,000 online signatures — the threshold required for a response from the Obama Administration according to the White House’s official “We the People” petition site, where any user can submit their own petition — centers arounds comments Dodd made in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, January 19, the day after the mass online protests.

    Dodd’s comments appeared to threaten to cut-off Hollywood donations to President Obama’s re-election effort and the Democratic party writ-large for not supporting the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

    As Fox News quoted Dodd:

    “Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake,” Dodd told Fox News. “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

    The petition against Dodd interprets the former Senator’s remarks as follows: “This is an open admission of bribery and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the ‘above the law’ status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy…We demand justice. Investigate this blatant bribery and indict every person, especially government officials and lawmakers, who is involved.”

    Asked about the accusations, an MPAA spokesperson provided TPM the following statement:

    “Senator Dodd was merely making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support those politicians.”

    Salon’s Justin Elliot provided some helpful context for understanding the MPAA’s and Dodd’s stance: “Hollywood executives like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steve Bing are among the biggest donors to Democratic super PACs. And that money has apparently bought a measure of deep support. It was instructive last week that far more Republican senators than Democrats declared their opposition to PIPA amid the online protests against the bill.”

    Dodd also found himself on the hot seat at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, challenged to explain the MPAA’s position on anti-piracy legislation going forward.

  46. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/watch-out-washington-cispa-replaces-sopa-as-internets-enemy-no-1/

    Watch out, Washington: CISPA replaces SOPA as Internet’s Enemy No. 1

    April 5, 2012
    By Andrew Couts

    Excerpt:

    “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is quickly becoming the Internet’s new most-hated piece of legislation. But is it really “the new SOPA,” as critics are calling it? Here, a comprehensive rundown of what CISPA is, what it does, and why people think it’s dangerous.

    The Internet has a new enemy. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA), also known as H.R. 3523, is a “cybersecurity” bill in the House of Representatives. CISPA is quickly gaining traction as “the new SOPA,” the infamous anti-piracy bill that was forced to crawl back into its hole after thousands of websites and millions of Web users protested with a massive, high-profile “blackout.” While CISPA does not focus primarily on intellectual property (though that’s in there, too), critics say the problems with the bill run just as deep. But what is CISPA, really, and will its presence on Congress’ agenda cause the same type of online revolt that SOPA and PIPA did?
    What is CISPA?

    Unveiled to the House by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) late last year, CISPA is described as a “cybersecurity” bill. It proposes to amend the National Security Act of 1947 to allow for greater sharing of “cyber threat intelligence” between the U.S. government and the private sector, or between private companies. The bill defines “cyber threat intelligence” as any information pertaining to vulnerabilities of, or threats to, networks or systems owned and operated by the U.S. government, or U.S. companies; or efforts to “degrade, disrupt, or destroy” such systems or networks; or the theft or “misappropriation” of any private or government information, including intellectual property.

    CISPA also removes any liability from private companies who collect and share qualified information with the federal government, or with each other. Finally, it directs the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to conduct annual reviews of the sharing and use of the collected information by the U.S. government.”

    Full text of bill at:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3523:

  47. Homeland Security’s Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0

    Published: 25 January, 2013, 21:33

    http://rt.com/usa/news/napolitano-us-cyber-attack-761/

    “In an attempt to scare the public with a looming cyber attack on US infrastructure, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is once again pushing Congress to pass legislation allowing the government to have greater control over the Internet.

    Napolitano issued the warnings Thursday, claiming that inaction could result in a “cyber 9/11” attack that could knock out water, electricity and gas, causing destruction similar to that left behind by Hurricane Sandy.”

  48. Refer to previous comment (Homeland Security’s Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0)

    Activist decries CISPA as ‘a Patriot Act for the Internet’

    By Muriel Kane
    Sunday, April 29, 2012 18:10 EST

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/29/activist-decries-cispa-as-a-patriot-act-for-the-internet/

    According to Internet activist Aaron Swartz, the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House of Representatives this week, is even worse than the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that was sidelined by a public outcry last winter.

    Swartz told Russia Today that whereas SOPA was exclusively “about giving the government the power to censor the Internet,” CISPA has the same kind of censorship provisions but “is more like a Patriot Act for the Internet.”

    “It sort of lets the government run roughshod over privacy protections and share personal data about you,” he explained, “take it from Facebook and Internet providers and use it without the normal privacy protections that are in the law. … It’s an incredibly broad and dangerous bill.”

    “The thing about this bill is it doesn’t really have any protections against cyber threats,” Swartz added. “All it does is make people share their information. But that’s not going to solve the problem. What’s going to solve the problem is actual security measures, protecting the service in the first place, not spying on people after the fact.”

  49. According to Aaron Swartz, CISPA is worse than SOPA:

    http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/napolitano-warns-of-risk-of-major-cyber-attack-1.4506564

    Napolitano warns of risk of major cyber attack

    Published: January 24, 2013 9:22 PM

    WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday warned that a major cyber attack is a looming threat and could have the same sort of impact as superstorm Sandy, which knocked out electricity in a large swath of the Northeast.

    Napolitano said a “cyber- 9/11″ could happen “imminently” and that critical infrastructure — including water, electricity and gas — was very vulnerable to such a strike.

    “We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyberworld. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of damage,” said Napolitano, speaking at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington and referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Napolitano runs the sprawling Homeland Security Department that was created 10 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11 and charged with preventing another such event.

    She urged Congress to pass legislation governing cybersecurity so the government could share information with the private sector to prevent an attack on infrastructure, much of which is privately owned.

    A cybersecurity bill failed in Congress last year after business and privacy groups opposed it.

    The measure would have increased information sharing between private companies and U.S. intelligence agencies and established voluntary standards for businesses that control power grids or water treatment plants.

    Business groups said the legislation was government overreach. Privacy groups feared it might lead to Internet eavesdropping.

    New legislation is being considered, but it is unclear whether it will get through Congress.

    President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order soon that would set up a voluntary system to help protect some critical infrastructure and offer incentives to companies that participate.

    — Reuters

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