Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sink SOPA. Pop PIPA.

The topic of this month and the next month...the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act.

A lot of people are "blacking" their sites in protest.  Personally, I wrote my representative and senators regarding this matter.  As far as "blacking" the sites goes, isn't this preparing for compliance with these rather draconic (and frankly unconstitutional) dictates?

To however many few of you actually watch my site, I would prefer to protest with the facts.  And this person lays them out quite well.  In fact, I post this video not only with his blessing, but his explicit request.  Until I am sure SOPA and PIPA are dead where they should be, I am also putting it up on my featured tab on YouTube.

We already have copyright laws, which in practice are a double-edged sword.  In fact, in practice, particularly with the music industry, the artists are making MORE profits with the file sharing and piracy in place.  I would like to refer to a post by one of my acquaintances, Simon James:

Especially where the RIAA is concerned, they can all burn.  Frankly, I have heard that I could be sued simply for ripping a CD so I can use it on my iPhone.  No file sharing involved...a legitimate transaction to purchase the disc, with transfer to an appropriate format for playing.

Furthermore, I have a prediction, if SOPA and/or PIPA pass...PIRACY WILL EXPLODE.

Cutting off the revenue streams to the major sites may stop them, but distributed file sharing will spread out.  What if someone writes a tracker-free version of BitTorrent?  You can't shut down the torrents by stopping the tracker servers then.  Or, suppose we have another hacker attack on the US by foreign-based independent groups?  It wouldn't take much to slip a brand new malware or spyware bot through (even US advertisers get away with this, gathering consumer information without prosecution) which bypasses a firewall or tricks firewall programs into allowing information traffic to this software.  The program could then host a few hundred megabytes worth of packets.  Expanded over a few hundred computers with redundancy, you effectively turn unwitting users into servers for pirated software.  As virus checkers update to stop this malware, new malware is written to seek out the old stuff and patch it, making it different enough to fool the countermeasures.

With some more devious coding, you could even bait law enforcement into collaring people as software/media pirates, when in truth their only crime was plugging their computer into the internet.

Meanwhile, the legitimate users are tied up behind walls.  Whenever you add a layer of protection, there is a cost in processing power and a cost in configuration.  With one broad-reaching system, you end up with configuration problems simply because no two people are alike.  Intellectual property debates will hamper expression.  Unscrupulous and litigious parties will have grounds to throw lawsuits and criminal accusations around simply to secure more content rights just because the other guy's content is similar enough to have a case.  And in the meantime, the real criminals, including the pirates and the RIAA, run unchecked.

You want to talk about lost jobs and lost profits then?  How about an infrastructure that's turned against itself?

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