New Law Would Force Search Engines to Block "Infringing" Sites

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New Law Would Force Search Engines to Block "Infringing" Sites

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The proposed new PROTECT IP Act will allow private rights holders to seek court action against "rogue" websites that could see them cut off from third-party services and even blocked by search engines.

Introduced in September 2010, the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act would have authorized the Attorney General of the United States to pursue injunctions against websites "dedicated to infringing activities" preventing internet providers, credit card companies and advertising networks from doing business with them and also forcing the registrar of the offending domain name to suspend and possibly lock it. The bill met substantial opposition and ultimately died before it could be passed into law, but it's back again, with a brand new name and even more sweeping powers.

The "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act - that's right, the PROTECT IP Act, and who thinks of these ridiculous names, anyway? - is a direct descendant of COICA with a couple of important changes. First, it allows for "private right of action," which means that not only the Attorney General but also "a rights holder who is the victim of the infringement" can pursue action in the courts against "the owner, registrant or internet site dedicated to infringement, whether domestic or foreign," and second, it will also force search engines to censor such sites out of their lists.

On the upside, the private actions will only apply to "payment processors," which is to say credit card companies, and ad networks, not the service providers or search engines; but on the downside, the law will also strongly encourage online services like ad networks and search engines to self-censor by rendering them immune to damages if they voluntarily take action against sites they believe are violating copyright. In other words, sites that might be seen as infringing on copyright could find themselves cut off from the online services they need to survive. This provision alone could cripple start-ups that might otherwise be destined to become the next big thing; as Ars Technica notes, both YouTube and Veoh have been sued by rightsholders in the past.

The PROTECT IP Act does provide safeguards in the form of appeals but they don't become available until after the court order has been issued and online service providers have been ordered to cut off their services. Furthermore, if a site that falls afoul of PROTECT IP moves to a new domain, the new sites will be subject to the same penalties. And while the new act no longer authorizes the Justice Department to seize U.S.-based domains, that is only because, as the text of the Act notes, the Homeland Security department has been so successful in doing so with laws that are already on the books that such powers are "redundant and may create confusion as to the appropriate mechanism for the Attorney General to target domestic domain names."

A summary of the PROTECT IP Act is available at Techdirt, while the full text can be found at leahy.senate.gov.

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I didn't know the Kids Next Door could propose legislation.
I think Google already does this by request anyway.

Nooooo! Patrick Leahy you were so cool, being in the "Dark Knight" and all! Why are you proposing this bill? That's... uncool!

Not that I'm against what they're going for with this bill. I'm as against piracy as the next guy. I just don't like giving the government the ability to censor the internet. This bill is not the solution, and, as pointed out in the article, could hurt internet start ups.

Oh look, my senator is backing this bill. Well, I'm glad I read this article.

I could get behind an idea like this, but....

I can sense the internet rage coming.

PROTECT IP

Mr. Chalk, you deserve a compliment on your choice of image for this article.

So any website that gets hit by this will just register a new domain name and pick up where they left off.

even just going back a year or two, this probably would have upset me like no other. But nowdays, I get most of my Media free online legally. I buy my games via steam when they go on sale, I watch Hulu or Youtube for most of my shows. I can watch MLP:FiM on the Hubs official website! So..really I don't really care for piracy as much as I used to.

However, I do get nervous anytime a government tries and impose censorship and control over the net. It's not so much the intent but how power hungry dictators will use the law to censor and control things that they don't like.

Adzma:
So any website that gets hit by this will just register a new domain name and pick up where they left off.

Andy Chalk:

Furthermore, if a site that falls afoul of PROTECT IP moves to a new domain, the new sites will be subject to the same penalties.

If I'm reading this right, not so much.

Guvnorium:

Adzma:
So any website that gets hit by this will just register a new domain name and pick up where they left off.

Andy Chalk:

Furthermore, if a site that falls afoul of PROTECT IP moves to a new domain, the new sites will be subject to the same penalties.

If I'm reading this right, not so much.

That provides they get caught. You can't fight people like this on the internet, it just doesn't work.

Edit: Fair enough criticism that I violate Godwin's law.

But let me say this: regardless of how you feel about piracy, this law goes overboard. Sites that depict and encourage real-life heinous sex crimes and violent crimes against people of course should be strictly controlled regardless of their origin.

But this is copyright law. Why should you feel comfortable with the idea of the U.S. suing foreign individuals or foreign independently owned companies, regardless of extradition treaties, over laws about illegally watching Shrek 2 which only extend to its own citizens?

NO, send the RIAA and their lap dogs away with their tails between their legs. Stop trying to force the market into something the people don't want anymore. You can ether keep trying to get laws passed, hurting your customer base or you can change with the times and make some money while getting people what they want the way they want it. Yes making movies/ music will no longer be profitable as before but the internet has brought a revolution of how things are delivered to the consumer. You can't rape your customers anymore, they are not putting up with it.

This screams bad idea to me. Giving government officials the power to essentially control the internet is a bad thing.

I reckon it'd just resort in piracy sites becoming a bit trickier to find at first.

Judging from what we know about the internet. This would probably only stop piracy for a short time then it would get past it and be more difficult to stop than ever. In the end we'd be left with piracy still going and the government having the authority to censor the internet here.

Considering how little the government seems to understand the internet or its culture that strikes me as a very bad idea. In the end some way or another it will be the honest person rather than the pirates getting slammed.

Hmm....this is going to come back and be a really not good thing.
I don't think it'll pass though.

"First, it allows for "private right of action," which means that not only the Attorney General but also "a rights holder who is the victim of the infringement" can pursue action in the courts against "the owner, registrant or internet site dedicated to infringement, whether domestic or foreign," and second, it will also force search engines to censor such sites out of their lists."

whether domestic or foreign
domestic or foreign
or foreign
foreign

Really? Really? You want to try and exert control over not just internet in the US but the rest of the world too? This really needs to get shot down and quickly.

US based. Yeah that's why most of the sites are hosted in the US... failboat.

Centrophy:

Really? Really? You want to try and exert control over not just internet in the US but the rest of the world too? This really needs to get shot down and quickly.

US politicians try this everywhere, should the internet be any different? Someone should tell them that 1. no one will agree to this and 2. good luck trying it in the Ukraine where the extradition treaty to the US doesn't exist.

Sigh, hypocrites. I remember when they took David Hicks hostage and said some random was a terrorist, not releasing him back to his home country. Really? So we can take US citizens prisoners too whenever we want to eh?

Centrophy:
"First, it allows for "private right of action," which means that not only the Attorney General but also "a rights holder who is the victim of the infringement" can pursue action in the courts against "the owner, registrant or internet site dedicated to infringement, whether domestic or foreign," and second, it will also force search engines to censor such sites out of their lists."

whether domestic or foreign
domestic or foreign
or foreign
foreign

Really? Really? You want to try and exert control over not just internet in the US but the rest of the world too? This really needs to get shot down and quickly.

As I've said before, American politicians idolize The Master, Hitler and people like that.

rapidoud:
US based. Yeah that's why most of the sites are hosted in the US... failboat.

You missed the key point, the bill cuts off the money by banning credit cards and paypal from transferring to the sites. Those companies are in US jurisdiction, its exactly the same as they did to the online gambling sites and I didn't hear the chin bears screaming about internet freedom then. Its going to cut the the throat of many of the existing sites because they will no longer be able to afford the infrastructure to support a large numbers of users. Everything from the pirate bay to rapidshears is going to lose huge chunks of its income.

This will do nothing except give private corporations yet another way to silence media they don't like--and if you think copyright hasn't been used to do that before, look up the DMCA and what it's done.

Ugh. Guys, I know The Escapist has been a pretty traditionally pro-copyright expansion haven, but we have to see that this is a terrible idea that could do terrible, terrible damage.

Aureliano:
If you don't mind, I'm just gonna put this right here...

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."
-Martin Niemöller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

What is hilarious about this quote is how popular it is. It was in some Social review notes, and was just on a Right-Wing/Fascism test I wrote earlier today

It won't fly, I think, probably for the same reason that that Psychonauts pic is relevent.

Aww look another attempt at the Government to control the internet, how cute.

The government needs to stop trying to fight piracy and let the porn industry get rid of piracy seeing as how they pretty much do everyting on the internet right anyway.

Just another way for the powerful to stamp down something they don't control.

LoL, lawmakers are so stupid. So easy to get around.

Deadman Walkin:

Aureliano:
snip
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

What is hilarious about this quote is how popular it is. It was in some Social review notes, and was just on a Right-Wing/Fascism test I wrote earlier today

That quote has nothing to do with either fascism or being right wing.

This quote points out a very true state of occurrence that is fairly common. It's all good as long as you are taking away other peoples stuff, but as soon as it happens to you, it won't be.

I will say this though... it's kind of out a place for this particular topic... and when I say kind of... I mean completely. I wouldn't compare a proposed bill to limit IP theft comparable to anything that quote mentions or is about.

IP is self limiting and destructive in nature to peoples natural tendency to spread knowledge to one another. I say, stop people all you want, all you will do is ensure that larger and larger numbers of people will become more and more ignorant.

Honestly, looking over the opening paragraphs of the law, it doesn't look that bad, with the exception of jurisdiction over foreign websites. That's just not going to work.

There are two issues here, one being the public conception that piracy is a good thing, and the other being that copyright expansion is a good thing. Both are wrong; people need to be paid for their work, and people need a legal outlet for sharing culture. Culture should never be stymied by a corporation looking to limit free expression, just as the celebration of culture should never harm the creators of that culture in the first place.

And yes, that means the RIAA can go sod right off.

Yes, why not sign a law essentially allowing corporations to control the internet.

What could possibly go wrong there?

"what we have here is a terrible bill that provides for broad censorship power not just to the government, but potentially to private companies as well, against sites which they accuse of being dedicated to infringement."

With this guy. Fuck this law.

I'm not sure which is more painful: that the gov't thinks it can fight these people on their home turf, or that they actually took the pains to make an acronym that fit the proposed legislation SPECIFICALLY because it fit the topic.

volcanblade:
Judging from what we know about the internet. This would probably only stop piracy for a short time then it would get past it and be more difficult to stop than ever. In the end we'd be left with piracy still going and the government having the authority to censor the internet here.

Considering how little the government seems to understand the internet or its culture that strikes me as a very bad idea. In the end some way or another it will be the honest person rather than the pirates getting slammed.

Not really. The main reason for piracy's prevalence is that it's so damn easy to type into google and go find. If this bill does what they want it to, it will hinder enough people who wouldnt have the effort to put in more work.

Anything that stops the pirates without effecting regular service is good in my eyes.

Yea I saw this a while ago. It's complete bullshit. Censoring search results to exclude certain websites? That's what fucking China does. This can't be legal in the strictest sense.

In theory: Cool! Help stamp out piracy.

In practice: it's just going to result in rogue search engines. Resulting in absolutely no benefits and really just giving Google and other legitimate search engines a headache.

By the way, grade A choice in pic for this article.

Baresark:
LoL, lawmakers are so stupid. So easy to get around.

Deadman Walkin:

Aureliano:
snip
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

What is hilarious about this quote is how popular it is. It was in some Social review notes, and was just on a Right-Wing/Fascism test I wrote earlier today

That quote has nothing to do with either fascism or being right wing.

This quote points out a very true state of occurrence that is fairly common. It's all good as long as you are taking away other peoples stuff, but as soon as it happens to you, it won't be.

I will say this though... it's kind of out a place for this particular topic... and when I say kind of... I mean completely. I wouldn't compare a proposed bill to limit IP theft comparable to anything that quote mentions or is about.

IP is self limiting and destructive in nature to peoples natural tendency to spread knowledge to one another. I say, stop people all you want, all you will do is ensure that larger and larger numbers of people will become more and more ignorant.

It has a ton to do with fascism since it's a political ideology which enables it to happen if the leader chooses to do so.

Baresark:

That quote has nothing to do with either fascism or being right wing.

No it doesn't have anything to do with the right wing, but it DOES parallel with Hitler's Reich, which was what most of the test happened to be about.

It is exactly what Hitler did and I would be surprised if the speaker was speaking about something else. Hitler went after the communists and trade unionists first. Then we all know they went after the Jews.

As 'pebble trying to divert the river' as this law is, I still have to protest against it. Mostly because it is obviously aimed at peer to peer networks(or rather the sites that you use to find torrents), which have many non-infringing uses. Waste time and money fighting piracy if you want, but when you start going all China on anything that even hints at copyright infringement, you're gone from IP protection to old fashioned censorship. And that I will not tolerate. If this goes through, I think someone should set up a symbolic burning of copies of the Bill of Rights in front of the Capitol Building.

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