COICA. PIPA. SOPA. ACTA. TPP. Stop.

 Posted by on February 10, 2012
Feb 102012
 

You know how in the movies the good guys have an initial victory, then the bad guys come back worse than ever, but though the odds are outrageous the heroes come back in the end with some insane plan to save the day?  Well, that’s what is happening this Saturday, February 11th.  Where?  Everywhere!


View ACTA Protests Worldwide – Brought to you by stoppacta-protest.info in a larger map

Who are the good guys and bad guys again?  To translate from above, the internet had an initial victory with the PIPA & SOPA copyright bills in the United States, but now there’s all kind of secret shenanigans going on internationally to push through trade agreements with the same absurdly overreaching copyright and intellectual property provisions as SOPA, just this time on a global scale.  For this round, the response is being led in Europe as the EU has not yet ratified ACTA.  The action, however, will be happening worldwide, with over 200 cities planning protest events.

In case you haven’t been keeping score, this is how the saga has progressed:

1 – COICA, Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act – S.3804 – [Wikipedia|Bill Text]
2 – PIPA, or Protect-IP, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act – S.968 – [Wikipedia|Bill Text]
3 – SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act – H.R.3261 – [Wikipedia|Bill Text]
4 – ACTA, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – [Wikipedia|Text]
5 – TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership – [Wikipedia|Text]

The timeline is the most shocking part.  COICA was introduced in September of 2010.  In 17 months, the entertainment industry and its faithful servant, the United States government, have managed to get three pieces of legislation shot down by overwhelming public opposition, yet still had the time and the nerve to try to get their way by bypassing every democracy on Earth.

In the U.S., Obama has already signed us on to ACTA, although that doesn’t mean it will stick.  As Digital Commons explains it, “The problem is that the President lacks constitutional authority to bind the U.S. to the agreement without congressional consent; but that lack of authority may not prevent the U.S. from being bound to the agreement under international law.”  Then again, Obama might be left holding the bag on this one, as Poland and the Czech Republic have now suspended their ratification of ACTA and the European Parliament is about to get an earful encouraging them to not even bother.

Now back to the movies.  Yes, you’ve already had to hear and do a lot about this crap, you’re tired, it’s Friday and you want to go home, but we can’t walk away yet.  There would be no entertainment industry if the heroes never finished the job.  Go ask a focus group.  We’ve got to see this through and it is going to require a little more effort.

What can you do?  Once again, Fight for the Future has everything you need at KillACTA.org.  Join in one of the events mapped above, sign the TPP petition and don’t hang up your spurs until you write your representatives about ACTA, which you can take care of right here, in Brainerd…

From KillACTA.org:

Stop ACTA & TPP: Tell your country’s officials: NEVER use secretive trade agreements to meddle with the Internet. Our freedoms depend on it!



For European users, this form will email every MEP with a known email address.
Fight For The Future may contact you about future campaigns. We will never share your email with anyone. Privacy Policy

Here’s to happy endings!

Jan 172012
 

Whether you are just tuning in or have been following the saga from the start, The Super PIPA-SOPA Action/Info Flowchart Reference Guide is ready to get you up to speed and lay the whole thing out.

SOPA getting shelved might be a move in the right direction, but the companies supporting it aren’t just going to forget about the internet.  It isn’t over and we shouldn’t let this momentum go…

(click to enlarge)

And don’t forget, January 18th is Internet Blackout Day!  Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and a host of other sites will be joining in to get the word out.  Find out more and get blackout code for your site at SopaStrike.  It is sure to be an interesting day.

#MoveYourDomain Day

 Posted by on December 29, 2011
Dec 292011
 

We’ve talked about SOPA, one of the Internet Blacklist Bills currently simmering in Congress, and the actions against it.  We’ve also talked about the need to do business with the companies we want to see thrive, as opposed to just the ones who make it convenient.  Now, the two are coming together.

Today, Go Daddy customers have been called on to transfer their domains as part of the #MoveYourDomain Day of action in protest of Go Daddy’s support of SOPA.  As such, at midnight on this December 29th, 2011, Ape Con Myth initiated the transfer of the following domains:

ApeConMyth.com
SandwichCorp.com
TheShutUpSociety.com
TheParty.us
YellowTreeGranfalloon.org

They will now be residing with ACM’s hosting company, Dreamhost.

If you have a domain with Go Daddy, want to get out, but don’t know where to go with it, a few registrars are offering discounts along with donations to EFF for each transfer.  And for those happy enough with Go Daddy’s reversal on SOPA, what are your feelings on elephants?

A Terabyte of Illegal Downloads

 Posted by on December 6, 2011
Dec 062011
 

What is this tiny monolith and why is it worth 5 million dollars?

It’s a terabyte drive filled with illegal downloads.  There’s a bunch of software and games on it, but surprisingly(?) the bulk of the monetary value comes from books. By skipping the circus that likely would have followed if it were filled with Hollywood blockbusters, the piece clears the way for us to consider the question of Intellectual Property in an age where $5 million of it can fit on a $99 drive.

The twist here is that “5 Million Dollars 1 Terabyte” is on display at the online portal, Art404.   And since the artist, Manuel Palou, includes a full list of the files on the drive along with download links for them all, what you don’t see in the exhibit is the conceptually lurid cord hanging out the back.

Should money be the measure of who is granted access to tools, knowledge and culture that could be so easily shared?  No one is going to read 76 gigs of science text books, but what if they were all just online coming up in our search results instead of some blog?  Is there a business model that could avoid excluding so many from so much?

With SOPA in Congress, this is timely work inviting sorely needed questions.

[Wired UK via Hacker News]

Nov 162011
 

This one is pretty simple.  If you like the internet, whether it be Facebook, Ape Con Myth or anything in-between, you’ve got a little work to do.  Today, Congress begins hearings on PROTECT-IP, a bill that will allow for widespread and systematic censorship of the internet.  And today, the internet is fighting back.

Fight for the Future sums up the situation here:

The word is Congress might try to push this through by the end of the month.  There is no time to waste if you have any interest in wasting more time on the internet in the future.  Write your representatives, sign a petition, and if you’ve got the time and gumption, call your representatives to follow up.

This is not a joke.  This is not a drill.  If you’re getting tired of having to do this kind of stuff, let your representative know that too.

Nov 012011
 

You almost have to admire the tenacity of the Copyright Crusaders.  They do not let up.  If it wasn’t for the vague and obnoxious legislation they produce, they could be role models for us all.

Let’s start with the obnoxious.  You know how you break the law every time you sing “Happy Birthday”?  That’s about the level S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, is working on.  Consider for a moment what you think the punishment should be for, say, posting a video of yourself singing along to a song on YouTube.  Where ridicule from our peers would have once sufficed, now the Senate might raise the penalty to five years in jail, which should sound familiar.

(The Original Overkill)

It’s important to note that the actual bill stipulates the streaming be for commercial purposes because that’s where the vague side of their equation comes into play.  While they always mean to be going after the bad guys, the language of these bills always leaves it open such that it could be applied to any (enormous) number of innocent cases.

In response to S.978, Fight for the Future has taken the most obvious (and seemingly) innocent case in the book.  They started the Free Bieber campaign to point out how American’s young singing sensation got his start by streaming his own renditions of popular music on YouTube and therefore would be guilty.  And though his lawyers aren’t too happy about the campaign, the Bieber himself has chimed in, suggesting that the sponsor of this bill, Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-MN), be “locked up”.  Meanwhile, Demand Progress has a petition for you to sign if you think a five year sentence might be a little too much.  While it would be nice to think the federal government has better things to do, their record says they do not.

Sadly that was just the appetizer of this story.  Now we get to the real mouthfuls.  S.968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT-IP) and the crazier House version, H.R. 3261, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), lay out an incredible expansion of power enabling the government and private parties to effectively create a blacklist of websites found to offend the very broad language used to qualify an infraction.

The entertainment unions have endorsed SOPA and offered a window to the problem along the way.  From their statement:

“Left unchecked, these rogue websites threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by stealing the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.”

If you’ve ever navigated the pathetic selection of movies available legally online, you might question the movie industries’ understanding of the online marketplace.  Change a couple of words and you get the other side of the story:

‘Left unchecked, these rogue bills threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by censoring the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.’

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a petition against PROTECT IP going, but after you sign it, we need to start thinking bigger.  Last year  it was S.3804, Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and this year it’s back, repackaged and pushing for more than it was already denied.  They’ll keep coming back with this until they get what they want or what they want is taken off the table.  Perhaps a constitutional amendment is in order, or maybe a counteroffer.  All we need is a representative crazy enough to sponsor a bill for rolling back copyright duration to 15 minutes.  That might get them to consider something in the middle.

There are sensible solutions to these problems.  All they have to do is accept them and we can all move on.

P.S. Heads-up Europe, they’re coming for you too.