[pp.int.general] FW: [IRP] US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposal

Ian Peter ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Wed Nov 16 00:26:02 CET 2011


Ian Peter

------ Forwarded Message
> From: Cynthia Wong <cynthia at cdt.org>
> Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 16:05:51 -0500
> To: <irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org>
> Subject: [IRP] US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposal

> Dear colleagues,
> As some of you are aware, a new copyright enforcement bill, SOPA (H.R. 3261)
> <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3261>  has been
> introduced in the U.S. that could greatly harm freedom of expression, access
> to knowledge, and privacy globally.
> For a summary of the bill and a list of concerns, see CDT's briefing paper
> here: http://www.cdt.org/paper/sopa-summary
> And blog post here:
> http://www.cdt.org/blogs/david-sohn/2710house-copyright-bill-casts-dangerously
> -broad-net
> I've also copied a shorter summary in text below.
> CDT is compiling all the blog posts and other writing that has been done on
> SOPA, which we are passing onto policymakers in the U.S.  You can see the
> current list here:
> http://cdt.org/report/growing-chorus-opposition-stop-online-piracy-act
> If you have also written about concerns on the potential impact of SOPA on
> human rights, civil liberties, or economic innovation and would like your
> voice added to the list we're sending to Congress, please get in touch with me
> -- we would love to add them to the list.
> In addition, if you want to know more about the proposed law, please feel free
> to get in touch.  CDT believes this bill could have impact far beyond the
> U.S.'s borders.  Two letters signed by a broad range of civil society groups
> will be presented to Congress tomorrow, in time for a hearing being held on
> the bill.  You can read them here
> <https://www.accessnow.org/page/-/docs/SOPAletterfromIntcommunity-final.pdf>
> and here <http://cdt.org/letter/public-interest-letter-against-sopa>
> Best regards,
> Cynthia Wong
> //
> Cynthia M. Wong
> Director, Global Internet Freedom Project
> Center for Democracy & Technology
> CDT  €  1634 I Street NW  €  Suite 1100  €  Washington, DC 20006
> E cynthia at cdt.org P +1-202-407-8835 F +1-202-637-0968
> Keeping the Internet Open, Innovative & Free!
> Follow our work on Twitter @CenDemTech @cynthiamw
> You can read the full text of the bill here
> <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3261> .
> Summary of relevant sections of SOPA:
> Section 102 allows the government to impose new obligations on a range of
> intermediaries to block access to sites that facilitate criminal copyright
> infringement
> * Section 102 defines new actions that may be brought by the U.S. Attorney
> General against a ³foreign infringing site² or portion thereof.  ³Foreign
> infringing sites² are websites that commit or ³facilitate² commission of
> criminal copyright or trademark infringement.
> * The A.G. can bring an action either against the operator of such a website,
> or in rem against the site itself or its domain name. The court can then order
> the site to cease and desist further activity as a foreign infringing site.
> * Once a court has issued an order, the A.G. can serve a copy on any of
> several intermediaries, who must take action specified in the bill within five
> days:
>> * ISPs must comply with an open ended blocking order (whatever is
>> ³technically feasible and reasonable²), including but not limited to DNS
>> blocking; 
>> * search engines must take measures designed to prevent the site (or portion
>> thereof) from being served as links;
>> * payment networks (credit card companies, Paypal, etc.) must take measures
>> designed to prevent transactions between the site and U.S. customers;
>> * ad networks must take measures designed to stop serving ads on the site or
>> for the site, and to stop receiving payments from the site.
> * The A.G. can bring actions against these intermediaries to compel
> compliance.  
> * Finally, the A.G. can bring an action to stop anyone who provides tools to
> circumvent the intermediary measures SOPA requires.
> Section 103 creates a private notice-and-cutoff system that allows private
> parties to target a website¹s financial resources if the website does not
> monitor for infringement
> * Section 103 codifies a private notice-and-cutoff system that allows a
> rightsholder to demand that payment and ad networks stop doing business with
> any site that the rightsholder believes is ³dedicated to theft of U.S.
> property.²  Such websites include any sites that take ³deliberate actions to
> avoid confirming a high probability² of infringing activity.
> * If the intermediary does not cease business with the site, either based on
> its own judgment or because it receives a counter-notice from the site, the
> rightsholder can then initiate a private action similar to the A.G. action
> above.    
> * If an intermediary still does not comply, the court may issue an order to
> show cause why the intermediary should not be ordered by the court to comply
> and possibly to pay ³an appropriate monetary sanction.²
> Our concerns are many, but the most serious include the following:
> * CDT remains opposed to the bill¹s ISP blocking provisions.  The DNS-blocking
> required will be trivial to circumvent, potentially quite overbroad in its
> impact on lawful expression, is inconsistent with key cybersecurity
> initiatives, and sets a dangerous international precedent for Internet
> blocking.  SOPA goes beyond the DNS-filtering proposed in the Protect IP Act,
> imposing a broader, open-ended blocking obligation on ISPs.
> * The definition of the sites that the U.S. government can bring actions
> against sweeps far too broadly.  Even innocent sites may be found to
> "facilitate" infringement and thus find themselves caught up in enforcement
> actions.  A video-sharing site with thousands of innocent users sharing their
> own non-infringing videos, but a small minority using the site to criminally
> infringe, could find its domain blocked by in the U.S.
> * Similarly, the definition of sites that may be subject of private actions is
> dramatically overbroad, in ways that could create de facto monitoring
> obligations for websites.  Any rightsholder could cut off the financial
> lifeblood of user-generated content sites unless those sites actively monitor
> and police user activity to the rightsholder¹s satisfaction.
> * The private action provision risks creating unprecedented incentives for
> user-driven sites to implement elaborate user-monitoring systems to "confirm"
> whether individual users are infringing.  These and other sites have
> flourished under current protections from intermediary liability in U.S. law,
> which expressly reject a general obligation to actively track and police user
> behavior.  Creating incentives to perform such burdensome monitoring (or risk
> losing financial means of support) would be hugely damaging to free expression
> and user privacy.
> _______________________________________________
> IRP mailing list
> IRP at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
> http://lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org/listinfo.cgi/irp-internetrightsan
> dprinciples.org

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