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← PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet

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Showing Revision 6 created 01/21/2012 by emailklient.

  1. The Internet is one of the United States' most robust and growing industries.

  2. It enables free and open communication among billions,
  3. and it's been the backbone for protests around the world.
  4. But a new bill proposes to give the power to censor the Internet
  5. to the entertainment industry.
  6. It's called PROTECT IP, and here's how it works.
  7. Private corporations want the ability to shut down unauthorized sites
  8. where people download movies, TV shows, and music.
  9. Since most of these sites are outside US jurisdiction,
  10. PROTECT IP uses a couple different tactics within American borders.
  11. Firstly, it gives the government the power to make
  12. US Internet providers block access to infringing domain names.
  13. They can also sue US-based search engines,
  14. directories, or even blogs and forums,
  15. to have links to these sites removed.
  16. Secondly, PROTECT IP gives corporations and
  17. the government the ability to cut off funds to
  18. infringing websites by having US-based advertisers
  19. and payment services cancel those accounts.
  20. In a nutshell, that's what PROTECT IP will try to do.
  21. But in all likelihood, it'll do something else altogether.
  22. For starters, it won't stop downloaders.
  23. You'll still be able to access a blocked site
  24. just by entering its IP address instead of its name.
  25. What PROTECT IP will do is cripple new startups
  26. because it also lets companies sue any site
  27. they feel isn't doing their filtering well enough.
  28. These lawsuits could easily bankrupt new search engines
  29. and social media sites.
  30. And PROTECT IP's wording is ambiguous enough
  31. that important social media sites could become
  32. targets.
  33. Lots of trailblazing websites could look like
  34. piracy heavens to the wrong judge.
  35. Tumblr, SoundCloud, an early YouTube,
  36. wherever people express themselves, make art,
  37. broadcast news or organize protests,
  38. there's plenty of TV footage, movie clips,
  39. and copyrighted music mixed in.
  40. And even if you trust the US government
  41. not to abuse their new power to censor the Net,
  42. what about the countries that follow in our path
  43. and pass similar laws?
  44. People around the world will have very different
  45. Internets, and unscrupulous governments will have
  46. powerful tools to hinder free expression.
  47. But perhaps most dangerously, PROTECT IP will
  48. meddle with the inner workings of the Net.
  49. Experts believe by fiddling with the web's registry
  50. of domain names, the result will be less security,
  51. and less stability.
  52. In short, PROTECT IP won't stop piracy, but it will
  53. introduce vast potential for censorship and abuse,
  54. while making the web less safe and less reliable.
  55. This is the Internet we're talking about!
  56. It's a vital and vibrant medium.
  57. And our government is tampering with its
  58. basic structure, so people will maybe buy more
  59. Hollywood movies.
  60. But Hollywood movies don't get grassroots candidates
  61. elected. They don't overthrow corrupt regimes,
  62. and the entire entertainment industry doesn't even
  63. contribute that much to our economy.
  64. The Internet does all these, and more.
  65. Corporations already have tools to fight piracy.
  66. They have the power to take down specific content,
  67. to sue peer-to-peer software companies out of existence,
  68. and to sue journalists just for talking about how to
  69. copy a DVD.
  70. They have a history of stretching and abusing
  71. their powers. They tried to take a baby video
  72. off YouTube, just for the music playing in
  73. the background. They've used legal penalties
  74. written for large-scale commercial piracy
  75. to go after families and children.
  76. They even sued to ban the VCR and the first
  77. MP3 players.
  78. So the question is, "How far will they take all this?"
  79. The answer at this point, is obvious.
  80. As far as we'll let them.