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[ih] [IP] EFF calls for signatures from Internet Engineers against censorship

On 12/21/2011 3:11 PM, John Curran wrote:
>   The parties are not seeking to "guaranteeing their profit" by
> stopping the 
>   clock of history.  They are seeking effective enforcement of
> existing laws 
>   which make it illegal for US citizens to download copyrighted
> material from
>   non-authorized sources.

john, while i don't believe that the internet is or should be a law-free
zone, i worry that you are mischaracterizing the proponents of SOPA.
they are not pushing for new enforcement powers for existing law, but
rather new law. that new law anticipates that internet-connected devices
can be closed by default, like a tivo or an iPhone, and where the device
will not be generally configurable or programmable unless it is first
"jail broken". there is no other way to enforce a mandated DNS filtering
law. and in that sense, SOPA is a turn-back-the-clock statute. to be
sure, there would be less theft and less fraud if the Internet were more
like Minitel. but i think there would also be less economic growth for
the world if all logic had to be licensed before it could create any
internet traffic flows.

we could have fun and perhaps learn a lot by estimating the relative
potential losses and gains from a theoretical "less open" Internet where
circumvention of content protection law was somehow nontrivial. but the
issue is moot; we have the Internet we have, and there is no possible
way to enforce a turn-back-the-clock law.

as you know i've long worked for a more accountable Internet, and for a
world where existing laws against fraud and theft can be enforced even
when the Internet is between a given criminal and that day's victims.
this leads me to support the OPEN Act...


...which urges a traditional follow-the-money approach to this problem,
using existing FTC methods.

>   Do you think that there is support in Congress (the legislative body
> duly 
>   elected by the people) to decriminalize copying and distribution of
> digital
>   content?  Unless that's the case, their requests are keeping with public
>   interest that's historically been expressed in copyright law.
>   As you are aware, I'm dead set against SOPA.  I just want to be very
> clear
>   that there is an intellectually honest argument for why better
> mechanisms
>   for copyright enforcement over the Internet are needed.

there is no such support in congress. and i am not suggesting that
content and brand owners simply give up and let the Internet ruin them.
the OPEN Act (see above) is not a turn-back-the-clock proposal and i
think it meets the standard you're setting ("better mechanisms for
copyright enforcement over the Internet"). it does so by adding new
disincentives for the criminals themselves, without being in any way
preventive or proscriptive against end users nor burdensome on

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