WTF is happening with SOPA now?


98 Responses to “WTF is happening with SOPA now?”

  1. tehsusenoh says:

    I don’t want to live in this country anymore.

  2. thuntnet says:

    We always get the best laws for Christmas:  After months of hearings, amendments, and debates the Federal Reserve Act passed Congress on a Sunday two days before Christmas when most of Congress was on vacation.

  3. I’m trying to find the positive side.  Like how loud our collective “WE TOLD YOU SO” will be when this begins blowing up in some smug, ignorant faces.

  4. If you ever need a reason to know why your individual vote counts, this is it. There must be enough of us, of reasonable and knowledgeable mind, to band together and vote out these reprehensible excuses for legislators. 2012 is a bell-weather year, now; the many and varied elections are our opportunity to re-take control of our government and our nation, if we have the courage and the conviction. We have to remove a Congress riddled with ideas from the past and smug self-importance, and fill it with new ideas and fresh approaches. We must do this. If we back down, if we shrug our shoulders, we will find ourselves in a nation and a world we do not recognize, and it will be too late to do anything about it except burn it to the ground.

    • percysowner says:

      Well, I’m in a tough spot here.  My Senator, Sherrod Brown,  is a good progressive legislator 90% of the time; but he is a co-sponsor on this thing.  He’s up for reelection and if I vote him out I’ll get a Republican who will do worse damage with civil rights and will go against everything I believe in.  My other Senator is Rob Portman who will do whatever big business and big media want him to do. I can’t vote against him for four more years.

      I hate having to weigh my options, but I may have to eat the fact that I have to weigh the entirety of Senator Brown’s votes against this bill that I hate.  And yes I have called, I have emailed. I have talked to both my Senators, my Representative and Harry Reid.  I have done all that I can on this bill.  Now all I can do is hope that they actually listen.

    • somnambulist says:

      This has nothing to do with voting. You’d just vote out one person who has been purchased by corporate intersts to vote in another. If you want change, don’t bother voting – help to start an actual revolution. You should have learned by this point that voting the 2 different parties in or out does nothing. Neither has the interests of you or me or even of this country in mind – this bill they are ramming through is one of many examples of this.

      • I’m not asking anyone to vote in parties; I want Americans to vote in people. Capable people. Reasonable people. Knowledgeable people. Political parties poison our nation with their power-seeking. The revolution starts before the ballot box, with people who care about the nation, want to do their part to nurture it and make it grow, and are willing to represent our bests interests, and ends at the ballot box, when we vote those people into office.

      • JProffitt71 says:

        Voting should be another tool we employ mercilessly while instigating changes our own way. Don’t let up in any possible way, if you can make a slight difference along the way with a simple ballot, make it!

    • foobar says:

      Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

  5. Damien says:

    Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but I’m reading this latest twist as “Let’s wait a bit until everyone’s attention is elsewhere, then quietly ram the bill through Congress while nobody’s watching.”
    Whatever happened to Listening To Experts? Seems that these days in politics, it’s all about being seen to represent the citizenry, even if the price paid is making dumb decisions — because it’s all about the politician being The Decider. And, with egos and corporate backers of such gigantic proportions, their “reasoning” goes like this: “I don’t understand it, therefore it must be wrong!”…for values of “it”, in this instance, equalling internet security, free speech, maybe that little thing they call the First Amendment.

    • cleek says:

      “Whatever happened to Listening To Experts?”

      for every bill, you can find hundreds of “experts” who will talk about the bill in any way you want; they’re also called “lobbyists”.  there are also professionally-organized groups of perpetually-outraged citizens who are ready and eager to scream about every bill that comes up.

      if you are a legislator, odds are good there’s a list of a dozen ‘experts’ waiting to talk to you about every matter on your agenda. it probably gets old. you probably get a little cynical about the opinions of experts.

      • Damien says:

        I agree with your analysis. furthermore, the consequences of this course of action are horrifying for Democracy. To extrapolate from the position you describe, I think an increasing number of politicians (particularly since 9/11) have been banking on that cynicism. It’s their ticket to bypass experts, and at the same time to get vast numbers of voters disengage and become disenfranchised. That is utterly repugnant.

      • Rks1157 says:

        They never get tired of lobbyists with money.

  6. moatman says:

    Has anyone asked him for permission to use it, or to rerelease it under CC?

  7. DyingAtheist says:

    So wait, are they still having a secret meeting with DoD etc to hear their thoughts on the bill? Are they still having the open meeting with impartial experts? Am I still asking questions even though I know the answers are “no” and “hell no we just said that to shut you up”? Also, is there any way to force voting on the amendments to be carried out online? I can just imagine the screams of “the tubes must be blocked!” and “this magic internet box is a demon! Burn it lest it turn me homosexual!” while the amendments are voted through swiftly and painlessly.

  8. md1500 says:

    This is just like the Digital Economy Act in the UK – rushed through during the “wash up” process on the last day of Parliament when most MPs were elsewhere..

  9. ericmonse says:

    As I try to explain to people the problem with SOPA, I find myself at a lost for words. I can provide very few concrete examples of how SOPA will be abused by corporations.

    A few questions:

    How does this amount to censorship if there is a judge presiding over the decision to take down offending sites?

    How does this affect internet security? I have yet to see an explanation about this.

    If you were going to send one article to your friend about the evils of SOPA, what would it be?

    It’s great that the ‘architects of the internet’ and all the big players (Google, Facebook, etc) have come out against this, but the average non-technical person still does not understand how this legislation will affect them on a day-to-day level. They assume our congressmen have our best interest at heart and it will all work out in the end.

    • The information you’re looking for is readily available, and Cory has kindly linked you to quite a bit of it.  So I don’t understand your lack of understanding.

      EDIT: my apologies for coming across as rude. Not intentional.

      • ericmonse says:

        “I don’t understand your lack of understanding.”

        Is that the way you respond to friends when they ask you a question about SOPA? And then you complain that only techies are up in arms about this issue.

        I would challenge anyone on here to answer my first two questions in a concise fashion. If you can’t, then maybe you don’t understand this issue as well as you think you do.

        In that case, we can blame ourselves instead of getting angry at the ignorant masses for not doing anything about this issue.

        • I won’t even attempt to act as filter between you and original sources.  That’s why I pointed out Cory’s links.  Like the one he just now added above.

          Sorry for not trying harder to be nice.

          • Hobozombie says:

            Whilst you probably feel better, from the point of view of an outside observer you’re the one who comes off like a bit of a dick here.

            Notice I said “a bit of”. 

          • Sorry, not intentional.  Just exasperated by people who ignore info right in front of them.  Cory has gone out of his way to gather and present sources on this subject so again, I don’t understand the reason for the original post to which I responded.

          • Cowicide says:

            These people are hopeless, Randall.

            After reading Cory’s mind-numbing quotes from the corporatist lackey scum in congress and watching you struggle with these inane commenters in this thread; I think I’ve finally found the very sad answer to this question:

            Conservatives.  Are they purposefully obtuse or just dense?

            The answer:  The conservative leaders are purposefully obtuse and the followers are just dense.

            Go ahead, conservative pawns… call me names.  I feed off your dumb monkey anger like sweet nectar and it only makes me feel more powerful and fills my soul with joy.

            More pep to my step, if you will?

          • jhertzli says:

            To Cowicide: Conservatives? SOPA looks like just another government regulation to me.

            As far as I can tell, this crosses the usual ideological lines. The Cato Institute is against it and the AFL-CIO is for it.

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      This roundup from EFF has explained it all pretty well:

      There’s also this great piece on DNSSEC:

      • Cowicide says:

        A noble try, Cory.  I’m not sure they are really attempting to understand anything as opposed to acting obtuse and trying to muddle and confuse the issue.

        Let’s see if it sticks.

      • Ito Kagehisa says:

        I think of myself as fairly knowledgeable in the ways of DNS and bind, but I found that Volokh piece incomprehensible.  What is s/he talking about with that “Faced with silence from that server, the browser will go into fraud-prevention mode, casting about to find another DNS server that can give it the address.  Eventually, it will find a server in, say, Canada.” bit?  That’s not how client resolvers work… they don’t “cast about” unless I’m completely misunderstanding what Volokh meant by that.

        Not in favor of SOPA, not against DNSSEC necessarily (although I think CAs are a bunch of swindlers) but just puzzled.

        Maybe browsers are now being designed to be independent of local DNS sources? I’m pretty far out of the loop on browser design these days.

    • Matthew Harrison says:

      I’m neither an expert nor a (tech) nerd, but it’s an interesting challenge.

      To take a stab at one reason for (1): the voluntary immunity provisions are a mess.  As I understand, they operate before a court order, so companies are deeply incentivized to react quickly to allegations, with no proviso at all for redress when those allegations are false.

      Many of us are also concerned that whenever you grant ill-defined and overly broad powers to the government, they threaten to be misused.

      Re: your below post, the problem is that this reads as concern trolling, even though you’re almost certainly not.

    • Yes a judge will be presiding… a judge who most likely barely uses this newfangled thing we call ‘internet’

    • joat_mon says:

      The way the bill is written if one person posts copyrighted material on youtube ALL of youtube can be shut down.  If one person posts copyrighted material on facebook ALL of facebook can be shut down.

      With this type of threat hanging over their heads corperations or government officials can easily blackmail web sites to delete any content they find objectional, even it it does not violate copyright.

      Does this sound like a good idea?

      • taras says:

        Not if it’s hosted in another country, right?

        • Yes, even if it’s in another country as long as the content originates from an American corporation.  THAT is why the greater Internet is worried.  It means every major internet site can be shut off the way Wikileaks has been with only a very small amount of recourse through American legal channels which some will not be able to afford.

      • ericmonse says:

        My understanding is that this can be done anyway already, no? Youtube already takes down offending content as does Facebook. If Youtube refused to take down offending content, then they could be shut down under current laws.

  10. Sam T says:

    LET EVERYONE KNOW: Lamar’s twitter is @LamarSmithTX21, other contact info here: HINT: Zip code 78028 (Providing that zip code bc apparently you have to be from his area if you want to speak to him at all.)

  11. Daniel Smith says:

    So, how’s that representative democracy working out?

  12. Mordicai says:

    Mel Watt (D) should have that quote engraved on his campaign’s tombstone.  Ugh.  More reasons to condemn the two party system, corporate control of the government, & seek out alternatives like third party & hardcore campaign finance reformers.

  13. Guest says:

    It was pretty clear that the hearing would continue on the 21st. Also, the 21st is not Christmas, that’s on the 25th.

  14. senorglory says:

    OP:  “gorilla who’s staring quizzically down the rifle barrel”  
    I think this would be a perfect metaphor for congress in this scenario if instead of merely staring down the barrel of the rifle, the gorilla is enthusiastically gorging on the end of the the rifle barrel, slobberingly trying to force more and more of the rifle barrel down his gagging throat with successive thrusts, eagerly awaiting a big pay-off, as if the rifle barrel, instead of bullets, contains MONEY, and will, after enough vigorous application of the gorilla’s hungry mouth, spew MONEY all over the exhausted gorilla’s face, in a final dramatic MONEY shot.If anyone out there has a good, high-resolution photo of that, please post in comments.

  15. Toffer99 says:

    God help you, friends in USA, with these people making your laws. Wait a minute, I don’t believe in god.
    Hitchens help you. (But don’t bother saying any prayers to him.

  16. Kerri Ebright says:

    In the state where I live, a few years ago, they passed a major ban on smoking.  No smoking in restaurants, bars, private clubs; specific distances for smokers to be “corralled” away from doors and windows; specifics on the type of “enclosures” where smokers could congregate.  It was incredibly strict, and fines and penalties were assigned for those businesses found to be in violation of the ban.  Soon enough, restaurants and bars were closing because they no longer had clientele to support the business, and realized that smokers would rather drink at home than be forced to stand out in the rain, snow, and freezing temperatures (or the extreme heat and humidity in summer).  What the state did NOT do was assign enough people to “police” the reports of violations, and many bars and restaurants refused to pay the fines levied against them.  As of a few months ago, over $1,000,000 in fines were unpaid, with no one to enforce the law.

    I have a feeling that this — like the smoking ban — is going to go down the same road.  I fail to see how they will be able to enforce or monitor sites with millions of members posting on the average of every few seconds.  I can’t imagine that there will be a branch of government large enough to focus strictly on enforcing this issue, and it will end up being a half-hearted attempt to do something sensible that fails miserably, because the “but if you pass it, it means that…” problems are being steadfastly ignored by the very people who are entrusted to study all sides of the issue prior to passage of the legislation.

    • Adron says:

      That’s a pretty bad corollary. In many places the smoking ban has increased the number of people going out to places. Remember, only about 10% of the population smokes, and the other 90% generally doesn’t want to be around that nasty nonsense. It’s in the numbers, the studies, and the economic results.

      I’m not for telling people where to smoke, I don’t like those laws. But economically speaking, it was a boost for almost every city & state that has passed them.

      Maybe if you compared it to “Prohibition” or the forced 21 and over drinking age. In Louisiana as recently as the late 90s, when the state was black mailed with highway money by the Feds, they gave in and raised the state mandated drinking age from 18 to 21. It might have saved 10-20 people’s lives per year, but it ruined thousands, put about 20k people out of work, and shuttered thousands of small bars and restaurants all over the state. That action had huge repurcusions (again, thanks to the Federal man-handling of the states) for the state of Louisiana.

      This bill will most likely, if pushed through, result in a very similar but much larger situation.

      People will go more underground (more like the mid-90s) and warez/bootleggers will just disappear from the obvious realms – if, as you pointed out Kerri, they can even remotely enforce the stupid bill.

      • Very well put.  I can’t compare them either, because I’ve seen the same result with restaurants banning smoking outright.  Around here they’re full!

        That said, I don’t agree with outright bans.  I’d prefer enclosed smoking areas.  That doesn’t translate to support for an “enclosed internet” though.  ;)

    • DyingAtheist says:

      Unfortunately in the case of internet control none of the barriers to policing are present. In fact it can help those who wish to censor sites, as it’s easier for ISPs to block then do any investigation. Smoking bans require physical attendance by officials to inspect and catch offenders. Your comparison would only be accurate if bars could be closed instantly, and as the result of a muttered accusation by the owner of a much larger bar down the street.  Plus the smoking ban would have to cripple citywide bar security,  close a 4000 occupancy bar because of one guy smoking in the alley out back, and completly fail to actually stop anyone smoking.  

  17. Deidzoeb says:

    Leave it to Cory. In the middle of a discussion of congressional hearings: ‘
    there’s a scene in the Disneyland Jungle Boat Cruise where you pass the “gorilla camp,” …’ — and still he makes it work.

  18. So the moral of the story is that despite a big internet campaign and widespread outrage.. the powers that be don’t care and do what they want anyway. So much for “call your congress critter”. Apparently even the expert testimony is pointless.
    Wanted: Reason not to feel complete apathy over the political process.

    • Apathy over the process is precisely what you should feel — just not apathy over the outcome.

    • elix says:

      The problem is that unless you make $500,000+ a year, when you speak, all they hear is the woh-wuh-woh-wah-woh of Charlie Brown’s teacher. 

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      Wanted: Reason not to feel complete apathy over the political process.

      Well, since the goal is to keep you fat and apathetic, maybe you could use sheer contrarian cussedness as a reason to keep fighting?

      Works for me, although not for everyone…

  19. chortick says:

    I think Lawrence Lessig has the right perspective on this.  As with copyright, there is little or no point in fighting one single issue.  The real problem is money in politics and the attendant corruption.  It’s not that politicians are so stupid that they don’t understand *your issue here*, it’s that the people that enable politicians to continue functioning have a specific outcome that they are buying.

  20. Transor_Z says:

    Cory, here in the US we have a very simple test to determine whether a politician is lying. You just look to see whether their lips are moving.

  21. spejic says:

    In general I’m in favor of letting people look down the barrel of their loaded shotgun while figuring out how it works. But the problem is that Congress is trying to figure out the gun while pointing it away from themselves and at everyone else.

    We’ve already seen how this works in other countries. The media corporations will get lists of violators and they won’t go after anyone important. Congress and their family and friends won’t be held to the same rules as everyone else.

  22. Guest says:

    I think it is time to begin campaigning the White House to urge Obama to veto this POS if it is passed.

  23. Krishna says:

    I am surprised that none of you stupids can see any upside of SOPA.
    After SOPA is passed, you can go back to dial-up internet and also remove data plan from cell phone. This will save you some money.

  24. Rks1157 says:

    If we fuck up our domain name system in an effort to prevent piracy because legislators make decisions they are wholly unqualified to make, the Internet will survive.

    The deep web or darknet is a seldom traveled neighborhood but I suspect it will see more tourists. TOR or similar technologies will become commonplace and onion sites will become easier to find an navigate. People will not sit idly by and have technology taken away from them. If experience teaches us anything it is that technology evolves to suit our needs no matter what.

    The result? Piracy (or much worse) will flourish as never before.

    Your move congress. We have checkmate in our sights.

    • I don’t know the ins and outs of the act, just the big-picture repercussions, but if all they’re able to do is meddle with DNS then surely someone can just set up a private DNS that ignores SOPA?

      Simplistic I know, but imagine the fancy version of what I said.

  25. Cowicide says:

    If anyone out there has a good, high-resolution photo of the gorilla camp (especially the gorilla who’s staring quizzically down the rifle barrel), I’d be much obliged if you could upload it somewhere under a Creative Commons Attribution license, so that we could use it as a meme during Wednesday’s upcoming markup session.

    All with creative commons stuff  (attribution/details at flickr link)

    Can someone help me pick the right CC license? I don’t care about attribution for myself, so how do I remove that “restriction” and just make it freely accessible to anyone without having to give me credit?

  26. Lawrence Mark says:

    If progress means moving forward, what does Congress mean?

    Maybe we can break it down:

    Definition:     trick
    Synonyms:     bluff, cheat, crime, deception, double-cross, dupe, fraud, gold brick, graft, mockery, swindle, take in.

    Antonyms:     honesty, truthfulness


    gress: meaning step, degree & walk.

    So, why are we supporting Congress?

    The pathetic believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
    Three wolves and a lamb, voting on what’s for dinner.
    Controlled mob rule.
    …when will we learn?

  27. The apparent stupidity of those defending SOPA in government reminds me of something quite different.

    ‘The one thing any politician must do, no matter how powerful, is stay bought.’
    – Spider Robinson

  28. Kathy L says:

    You already have several choices, but you can use my Jungle Cruise photo if you like.

    It is set to a creative commons license that should work for this situation.

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