Support Wikipedia blackout, Greens tell Labor


news The Australian Greens Party has demanded that Australia’s Labor Federal Government support efforts such as Wikipedia’s site blackout initiative to protest the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and associated legislation currently being considered by the US Government.

Wikipedia overnight revealed it would black out the English language version of its website to protest SOPA and the associated PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), following similar announcements by other popular organisations such as Mozilla, Google, the Free Software Foundation and Reddit. Organisations such as Facebook and Twitter have also expressed concerns over the legislation.

SOPA was introduced into the US House of Representatives in late October. The legislation would allow the US Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders such as film and TV studios, to seek extensive court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement, potentially impacting their commercial operations and protecting ISPs. PIPA is an associated piece of legislation which would give the US Government and copyright holders additional powers to target websites allegedly infringing copyright regulations.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Greens called on the Australian Government to “take a stand” in defence of Australian Internet users and protect the viability of the Internet as a medium, highlighting Wikipedia’s stance as “an example of the depth of the campaign to prevent the bill from becoming law”.

“Has the Australian Government made any representation whatsoever to the US Government on this issue?” asked Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam (pictured) in the statement. “Do they recognise that there will be little purpose in investing tens of billions of dollars in the NBN if the US copyright industry cripples the medium itself?”

“As an example of breathtaking overreach by US copyright interests, the SOPA proposal and its cousin PIPA are hard to beat. The bills will institutionalise far-reaching, unaccountable censorship in order to protect the commercial interests of a handful of powerful media companies. The bills risk the broad-scale criminalisation of filesharing, the decimation of the open source community and tactical use of financial blockades against commercial competitors or non-commercial sites.

Ludlam pointed out that under the legislation, US courts could bar online advertising networks and payment companies from doing business with websites which were allegedly infringing copyright law, bar search engines from linking to such sites, and require ISPs to block access to such sites. The legislation would also introduce what Ludlam said were “extreme penalties” for the unauthorised streaming of copyrighted content — such as maximum penalties of five years in prison for ten infringements within six months — and making infringements a criminal offence.

“SOPA would block entire non-US websites in the United States as a response to select infringing material,” he said. “This includes Australian sites, and the online operations of Australian businesses.”

The Greens’ comments follow similar sentiments expressed by the Australian Sex Party in late November.

At the time, the Sex Party’s President Fiona Patten said the enforcement of copyright laws must be balanced with the right to privacy, and the due process of Australia’s legal system was paramount — “to erode it is to ignore the foundation of fairness in our country,” she said.

Referring to controversial meetings held by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department on the issue of online piracy, the Sex Party said the Australian Government had already begun to remove due process from the prosecution of copyright infringement. “This new legislation being considered in the US could signal an expansion of the surveillance and dubious legal tactics already being employed in Australia,” the party’s statement said.

In addition, today the Australian Pirate Party blacked out its web site to join the protest, and issued a statement damning the US legislation.

“Regardless of whether its purpose is legitimate or whether it will work; the legislation is not compatible with democratic values,” the Pirate Party Australia said in a statement. “It promotes censorship by giving the US Government and corporations the power to block access to – and take down – websites that they consider to be infringing on their copyright monopoly, including search engines or blogs which link to such sites.”

“A link placed by a user in the comment section of an article in a regular Internet magazine could result in the magazine going bankrupt and the owners being charged with a crime. This would not only cripple innovation and entrepreneurship, it would be a flagrant violation of the fundamental human right to free speech.”

Image credit: David Howe, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence


  1. Why the hell would our current government support the Wikipedia blackout that supports a proposed bill that most likely mirrors the one our AG Dept would love to implement – and furthermore have recently discussed in secret with copyright holders and other stakeholders without any public consultation whatsoever?

    Our government loves #SOPA and #PIPA and would be extrememly disappointed it is likely dead. It would of been a perfect platform to launch an Aussie equivilent of it and sell it to the public as a precident.

    I can see Roxon and Gillard now “Well the US has made the smart and sensible move in protecting industry jobs and protecting and securing the intellectual property of their great nation. We should do the same.”

    • +1. This is the same government that wanted to filter the entire Australian internet and publicly supported the media groups’ lawsuit against iiNet. If the filter was already in place, this government would be falling over itself to use SOPA/PIPA/OPEN as an excuse to expand its blocking regime and restrict Australians’ access to information.

    • @Danny: I assume SOPA has blocked your intertubes, otherwise you would be aware that the Obama White House has voiced opposition to the bills and will probably veto them if the lobbyist $$$ get them through. The democrat house leader however is a close friend of the MPAA pres and therefore is a little less anti the bills. Even reid will have to back down though, the big boy gougers have finally paid to much to try and bite off more than even they could swallow.

      Gillard may have to get a call from Hillary telling her to smack down her minions on this one though, any independent thought on the issue in either major party here is unimaginable.

  2. In wanting to support Wikipedia with its moves to stop the introduction of the legislation, I am limited. I don’t want to join any of the soshal mediaar that they suggest as means for voicing such support. Possibly email addresses, even with proforma letters to be sent to appropriate sites/politicians/whatever, would be at least as appropriate.

  3. For those wondering what the fuss is all about, here’s a simple example. Assume for a second that Wikipedia is based in, say, England.

    Wikipedia has an entry for The Pirate Bay, a large, well known portal for torrents, regularly used for downloading movies. That entry, due to the nature of Wikipedia, has a link to The Pirate Bay’s website. Most of Wikipedias entries have links to something official by the way. In England, there are no laws preventing this entry from existing, its merely an information service.

    In the US though, the MPAA and RIAA dont like that link to the site being there. They have successfully argued that a link, by itself, is a breach of copyright, and have shut down websites as a result. Not for hosting copyrighted material, but for merely linking to other sources. Imagine being found guilty of starting a fire, just because you pointed at it and yelled “FIRE!”…

    So, back to SOPA. Wikipedia has an entry, perfectly legitimate, that breaks no laws in the country its based in. In the USA though, SOPA disagrees. So the MPAA/RIAA group gets a court order to block the site. Not just the entry, but the entire Wikipedia site. The order is approved, and EVERY US website and ISP has 5 days to stop any linking to Wikipedia.

    Including Google.

    So now, a legitimate site, not based in the US, is no longer easily accessible in countries where it is still perfectly legitimate, because the monopoly player that is Google, has been forced to censor the site.

    This is what the SOPA/PIPA acts are trying to do – shut down legitimate sites, because biased corporations disagree with something on that site. They have allready done this. They have (incorrectly in some cases) shut down US websites without due process just for pointing in a direction they didnt like. Oh, and have had any information on the case blocked so the sites cant even go to court to get their sites reopened.

    They have successfully sued pensioners who dont even own a computer for illegally downloading movies. They have destroyed the lives of teenagers for just doing what their friends do.

    There is no remorse, its purely business, and maintaining their business model as best they can, rather than adapting to a changing world.

    • “The order is approved, and EVERY US website and ISP has 5 days to stop any linking to Wikipedia.
      Including Google.
      So now, a legitimate site, not based in the US, is no longer easily accessible in countries where it is still perfectly legitimate, because the monopoly player that is Google, has been forced to censor the site.”

      Just to clarify what Gav said, it goes a bit further than that. Because the DNS hosting is done (at the very top level) in the US, it means that no one in the entire world can easily access a UK based website, hosting legal material (under UK law) because cashed up conglomerates in the US say so. No due process. Just because they say so.

      However, you could still just type in the websites IP address and get access. Meaning while it’s more difficult, and the non tech savvy may need education, it doesn’t stop piracy in any way, shape, or form.

    • ‘They have successfully argued that a link, by itself, is a breach of copyright’

      Yeahhhhhh .. right. I’m no IP lawyer, but a link, by itself, now consitutes copyright infringement? There’s a whole history of debate (and court tested outcomes) on what consitutes copyright infringement on the web. SOPA doesn’t suddenly change the outcomes of those debates – nowhere will you find any judgement that a link to say, infringes copyright.

      Also, a repeat phrase in the bill is ‘DEDICATED TO THEFT OF U.S. PROPERTY’ .. wikipedia will never be a site dedicated to IP theft.

      I’m all for healthy debate – but this sort of hyperbole is ridiculous.

      • Thats what has happened. The website at the middle of all this, The Pirate Bay, by itself holds no illegal material, yet the entertainment industry has successfully managed to get the site blocked in quite a few countries.

        Its not hyperbole, its FACT. So yes, a link, by itself, constitutes copyright infringement. Go to and look through the history of their stories for numerous examples.

        As for the ‘DEDICATED TO THEFT OF U.S. PROPERTY’ portion, well thats just a matter of opinion. It doesnt take much to connect something to the USA (or anywhere for that matter), and hence become US property.

        An Australian TV show, broadcast in the US, is property for the TV network broadcasting it. If someone downloads that show illegally, there is enough of a link for court action in the US, despite the product being made here.

        It might seem like hyperbole to you, but this is how the MPAA and RIAA have proven to operate. They find the thinnest evidence they can, and sensationalise it as much as they can to get a verdict.

      • @Simon: I’d recommend you check out Information Sheet G057v08 “Websites: an introduction to copyright” at There has already been at least one court case in Australia where the author and host of a website had legal action brought against them due to linking to materials deemed to infringe copyright and were found guilty, despite not physically hosting any of the content. The court found they had authorised copyright infringement.

        Another point to keep in mind is that, under the proposed legislation, websites that contain images of any copyrighted work could potentially be shut down unless they fall under an excemption (such as “review or criticism” in Australian law; this means any fan site could be shut down in its entirety), any website quoting lyrics from a song could be shut down, Facebook could be shut down for hosting a photograph of a copyrighted work and Wikipedia could also be shut down for any images it does not have an express, non-exclusive license for (I doubt an implied license would hold much gravity under the proposed legislation).

        Even Twitter could be shut down if a user tweets an excerpt of a written work deemed to be a “significant portion” of said work – despite the 140 character limit, this can still be an issue if the work is a small piece of written work (such as a short poem) or lyrics from a song deemed to be a “significant portion”.

        And all without due process.

        Also keep in mind that Australia has been migrating its copyright law to mirror that of the US over the last 10 years – look up the DMCA and the revisions to existing copyright law that have come about as a result locally. Past precedent suggests Australia would follow the US’ lead if SOPA/PIPA passes into US law.

      • Gav –

        Yes, it is a fact the pirate bay has been blocked (to some degree or another) in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, China, Sweden and the UK.

        But you’ve isolated one aspect (website links) from their torrent model and clear intent to distribute IP (both in operation and mission statement) and overblown that into a wild scenario of an entire wikipedia takedown. Those dots just don’t connect.

        SOPA states it’s actions will be the same as per currently available Attorney General action against US domestic sites. Has the real Wikipedia with it’s pirate bay article and link been taken down to date? No. In the entire history of copyright action against US domestic sites, wikipedia has not been targetted once. But suddenly SOPA makes an offshore wikipedia a target? I don’t think so.

        Not to mention any SOPA action still goes through a judicial process that requires a judgement on the evidence presented that the IP infringement is real and tangible.

        Now, if I have a website that Google thinks is gaming their search engine, they censor me and drop my site. Instantly. No court involvement. I’m censored. They censor me because I disrupt their business model. But hey – if a site is screwing with someone else’s business? Censor the internet?? How dare you ask me to do that!!!

        Sean –

        You linking to is different to you linking to myavatarrip720p.avi (wherever it is hosted). Linking to source material is a clear IP breach.

        Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia – any UGC site is not going to be shut down based on a few aberrant posters. These sites are already within the Attorney General’s jurisdiction and non have been targeted, yet with SOPA now they’re suddenly they’re under threat?? No. And as far as I know, following the letter of the law is following due process.

        • Hi Simon,

          “The bill targets sites that are “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property.” That seems reasonable at first. Except when you read how they define “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property.” They define such a site (and therefore subject it to being shut down) if it is “primarily designed for the purpose of offering services in a manner that enables copyright violation.”” — (paragraph 6)

          Delimiter is a website designed for the purpose of offering commenting services on current affairs and anything else Renai feels he wants to talk about.
          This manner of service enables copyright violation as I have just proven.

          Renai’s website is now capable of being blocked in the USA if the owner of the copyright for the above posted link so wishes.

          Enjoy your stay, while you protect legislation like this without knowing anything about it.

          • ha!

            again – a wonderfully overblown example. 

            let’s be clear – SOPA does  not redefine or reinvent what constitutes copyright infringement. Any claim of infringement must be supported by evidence which is assessed and arbitrated which will end in a court order or denial of such request. This process exists in the states today and is the process by which any IP case proceeds. 

            There is  no ‘if so wishes’ without court agreement.

            The action you state is no different to what can be taken against US domestic sites by the AG today. With your clear knowledge of the act and the history of IP infringement in the states, Can you point me to any such cases?

          • Looks like someone still hasn’t read the article I provided. How about you come back when you do? And explain to us how the “Day 6” problem isn’t a problem.

          • Well, that is a nice story. Let’s tackle this under PIPA which is a closer fit for the action (no need to jump through hoops trying to direct SOPA to a US domestic site). Here’s my addition:

            Dr NK: You have my case, now can you provide a takedown order on please?
            Judge: Dr NK, do you realise PIPA has clear intent to target sites *dedicated* to infringing activities?
            Dr NK: ok.
            Judge: In your opinion, is dedicated to infringement of IP?
            Dr NK. ummm
            Judge: Request denied

          • You didn’t even address my question or concerns, and countered with straw-man because although the article shows under a hypothetical SOPA situation you countered with a PIPA example. Further it is clear you didn’t read the article in enough detail to get the full jist of the problem.

            So what is the problem I am referring to? Let me highlight it for you:

            The US Courts are not known for speed. It typically take weeks or months for a response to any particular filing. For example, the Eastern district of Pennsylvania says that a defendant has 14 days to respond to a filing. So if I file my complaint with them, then there would be a minimum of 14 days before the court would make any ruling. Yet, SOPA says that whoever I send the complaint to must take action within five days. So if I submit my complaint to the court and to the provider on the same day, then the provider must take action long before the court rules on the merits of my complaint.

            Where the court ruling? There isn’t one, not yet. However, if the court does agree with the plaintiff, then we reach a problem if the service provider failed to respond to the notice within 5 days as required by the law. This is also mentioned in the article:

            By this point, you’re probably thinking that no sane company would act on my SOPA takedown notice. I mean, seriously, who would take down Akamai and most of the Internet over one picture hosted on Lamar Smith’s website?

            The answer is found in SOPA “Title II: Additional Enhancements to Combat Intellectual Property Theft” (beginning on page 54, line 17). Basically, if a court decides that I do have a valid claim, then anyone who doesn’t help with the filtering can face very severe financial penalties. In general, corporate attorneys are very risk adverse — the bigger the company is, the less risk they like to take. If there is a possibility that I have a valid claim, then they will react in order to mitigate their risk from litigation. Besides, Section 104 gives them immunity if they do filter based on the SOPA notification.

            So let’s say that you are a risk adverse attorney at a big company. You have a choice: filter with immunity, or don’t filter and face potentially very large fines — large enough to worry your stockholders. Of course you will filter; you have nothing to lose.

            So, I don’t see how your response addresses these concerns? All you’ve shown is that once it gets to court, there is a very high chance the the hypothetical case created by Dr. Neal Krawetz would be thrown out of the courts as invalid, which everyone here is well aware. But the problem is, Simon, that by then, under SOPA, the service provider has already had to act.

            Now as I haven’t had time to read PIPA in detail I cannot confirm if there is a similar problem with that bill, but that is irrelevant, because when it comes down to it, I do not support any bill that breaks DNS, and neither does the Whitehouse.

          • Well .. it is a little hard to respond to exactly what you mean when you drop a sum total of 3 sentences across two comments.

            FYI – PIPA is the equivalent of SOPA for US domestic action.

            Nothing nefarious there – no difference in either bills intent – which is clearly stated (in both cases) to ‘.. establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringment.’

            My initial comment was to state that way too many examples of why SOPA is a bad bad thing are completely overblown with hyperbole that they make any rational debate impossible. Every example in this thread so far is of that category. And as with your link, it again kicks off with an example that just – doesn’t – fly.

            Ok .. referring now solely to SOPA. A small clarification for you on timelines (from the bill text)
            ‘Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within 5 days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order.’

            .. or ‘within such time as the court may order’. NK forgot to mention that bit did he?
            Ok – so where there are clear timeline problems the court can extend from 5 days to 5 months if the judge so wishes.

            ‘But the problem is, Simon, that by then, under SOPA, the service provider has already had to act.’
            No – NK can’t willy nilly issues his own SOPA takedown order. It has to be court issued. So that particular scenario can’t actually play out.

          • Well .. it is a little hard to respond to exactly what you mean when you drop a sum total of 3 sentences across two comments.

            I provided a link with a position that consists of more than 3 sentences. That link has all the information I have used to make my argument, and in fact, my argument is the same as his, hence why I thought it wasn’t necessary to elaborate in the first place. All you had to do was prove, as I asked, that the Day 6 problem that Dr. Neal Krawetz was referring to doesn’t apply, and why.

            You had enough information. You just didn’t use it correctly. Your reply, as provided, addressed PIPA, not SOPA, and didn’t even address the Day 6 problem as Dr. Neal Krawetz describes it. You didn’t even try to do that until this post, because I had to explicitly explain the problem which Dr. Neal Krawetz was attempting to highlight.

            And since he has clearly made a grave mistake, why don’t you attempt to correct him via his comment system or emailing him? Because it seems clear to me, from his constant references, that he has read the bill, and maybe he found something you didn’t, or has a better understanding of US law than you do.

            I for one am more inclined to trust him. Fortunately for the moment this is irrelevant on my position regarding SOPA/PIPA: which as stated, I do not support any action that will break DNS.

          • ‘I for one am more inclined to trust him.’
            Fair enough. That’s your call. Maybe I misinterpreted. SOPA is a legal document and although I’ve read it, I’m no lawyer. But for reference, I quoted from within section 102c.

            ‘break DNS’
            It looks as though the DNS provisions will be removed. If so, SOPA may still go ahead. Time will tell.

  4. Labor? Stand up for us? Ha! This is the stuff wet dreams are made of, it’s even better than their filter.

  5. These two Bills need to be viewed in conjunction with the changes in Patent and Copyright laws in another bill, this removes the need to prove originality or research , just be the first to patent or copyright and pay the money.

    A major reason for Murdoch’s support is the fact anything they publish is copyrighted. In Australia News Ltd has been guilty of misrepresentation, distortion of facts and it could be construed blatant lying, on being held to account by blogs such as Delimiter these manipulations of public beliefs and Political voting intentions have been moved to Opinion or Blog Items, still copyrighted.

    These Bills if implemented in Aust would prevent downloading these items or referring publicly to them or being even able to challenge them. I have been saving these News items/blogs and opinion pieces as PDF files for years and could be imprisoned for having done so under these laws.. That I suspect is the real reason behind these bills. TRUE CENSORSHIP of the most obscene and deceptive manner

  6. Simon,

    Can you give us some insight on to what went on at the secret government meeting the Attorney General’s Dept had with “industry groups” recently? unfortunately the papers released to the general public under FOI were rather…black.

    Out of curiousity, what rights holder group or legal firm representating them are you employed by?

    • keh? how would I know? Out of curiosity, why don’t you just click on the link all my posts are under? You’ll find I … run a video shop! Yes I’m part of the content industry, so yes I do support content creators.

      • Do you support content creators who have decided to seek alternative distribution and funding models that better within the emerging digital economy, like the community funding program Star Trek: Phoenix? I ask because you can not monetise their efforts.

        Piracy is wrong and bad for your business, yes, but artists adapting to direct distribution models that reduce their cost base is also bad for your business. Would you support community based efforts, like Phoenix, even through you will never see their DVDs come through your door for rental?

        Face it Simon, your company is going to die, one way, or another. Personally, for the good of the artists and our culture as a whole, I hope the death that comes gives birth to a method that doesn’t discourage content creation and enables it. So I’m happy to protect artists, but not middle-men. Which is what you are. You are a necessary evil in the current method of distribution. I hope you learn to embrace this reality, and then find a way to continue to exist when your time comes, which it will. It is only a matter of time.

        • ‘Do you support content creators who have decided to seek alternative distribution’

          Would you support community based efforts, like Phoenix, even through you will never see their DVDs come through your door for rental?

          ‘Face it Simon, your company is going to die, one way, or another.’
          :) Maybe, maybe not. 13 years on from Napsters debut CD still is the dominant media for music sales today. Who woulda thought? Movies are more problematic than music for the download model so don’t expect DVD/Blu-ray to disappear soon. Can that market be serviced with local rental? In one form or another – yes.

          ‘You are a necessary evil in the current method of distribution.’
          That’s a rather one-eyed view of the industry. If it works for you, all power to you.
          But evil? hardly. Perhaps you should ask my customers. There’s this funny thing called service that makes a retail experience more than just the product.

          ‘.. when your time comes, which it will. It is only a matter of time.’
          From my little store I rent about 1.2 terabytes of movies every Saturday (300 movies at about 4 gig average). Theres about 1000 or so vid stores out there – that would be 1.2 petabytes every Saturday in Australia alone. As hi-def becomes the norm, even if the volume drops (and it will), the bandwidth will if anything, grow. So, I’m quite happy with the prospects of packaged media and my future.

          Running a business, finding your niche and achieving a level of sustainability has a number of dimensions that it looks you haven’t quite got your head around. That’s ok. Time is a great leveller and perhaps in 10 years lookup up and see where I’m at.

          • Props to you Simon, I genuinely hope your video store thrives, and the changing world doesnt seriously impact you or your business. Seriously. Its a changing world, and I’m seeing video hire (well… really DVD and blu ray of course) stores shutting down regularly. I hope there is some solution to the service v online issue your whole industry is facing.

            Personally, I am also in favor of content providers. Dont take my above comments to be otherwise. What am against is censorship, draconian self serving laws, and biased control over others, all of which MPAA and RIAA are expecting as their God given right.

            Do a little search around the technology sites and look at the straight up threats to the Obama administration they have made recently. Smells a lot like bribery to me personally, and however you cut it their comments certainly arent in the PUBLICS best interest.

            I support content. If I was to replace my DVD’s and blu rays it would cost upwards of $20,000. Its big enough I’ve had it valued for insurance purposes. So dont think I dont support the industry, I do.

            But again, if you look around there are so many instances of the MPAA and RIAA smashing the small guy with the biggest hammer they can, to get the result they want. They have shut down YouTube accounts because someone had a video of a birthday, that happened to have 13 sec of some music video in the background. Proven.

            Thats the lengths they go to.

            They sue people in Europe through the German courts, because those courts force the defendant to prove their innocence. Its no coincidence. These are proven facts. They show the callousness of their mindsets. Proven.

            If you go further and look at the high profile Rassett and Tennenbaum cases in the USA, they wanted the maximum possible penalty applied, just to send a message. Lets destroy someones entire life for sharing 24 songs. Not 1 or 2 albums, but broken down to the individual tracks to get the maximum result possible. Its that sort of zero tolerance that I disapprove of, and by extension, the zero tolerance abuse of power acts like SOPA and PIPA allow.

            Ask yourself this. If they abuse DMCA powers now (witness Universal abusing powers to take down the Megaupload song), why would you think they wouldnt abuse powers under SOPA or PIPA?

            If you want to stay local to Australia, they were behind the AFACT v iiNet court cases. Proven.

            I’m not against the content makers earning a buck, far from it. As I stated, my personal collection should be testiment to that. But I’m against self serving companies who, rather than adapt their business models to reflect changes in society and technology, legislate the world backwards 40 years.

          • You’re right, it is a changing world and vid stores need to evolve to move with it. I’m all for that. Re abuse of power through the courts – agree that action doesn’t win converts. Here’s an article by a professor of business economics (Craig Pirrong) – – he talks about SOPA as an improvement on current processes partly because its stated intent is to target sites dedicated to IP infringement (I’m guessing that statement doesn’t exist in DMCA), and it’s shift on the burden of proof changes the dynamic of the application of the law.

          • Interesting article. Firstly, remember that a lot of what he says cuts both ways. “Exaggeration and volume are often used to cover up a lack of substance” has been the MPAA/RIAA standard model for years. Jammie Rassett shared 2 albums. That was it. Instead, they went to court claiming damages for 24 songs, claiming each song was a product in its own right. She was found guilty of 24 counts of copyright abuse, and penalised in the millions. Joel Tennenbaum was taken to court for uploading pirated content, and they tried him as responsible for every other persons act as well – he was made guilty of other peoples crimes. Exageration and volume.

            Apart from that, what do you think is the reasons for these laws? They want the accused to have to provide all the evidence. From a system built around innocent until proven guilty, they want to step back to where the accusation itself is enough. THIS is whats wrong with the idea, and the mentality of the self serving corporations behind them.

            Its no coincidence these laws bear a striking resemblance to German laws, where an accused has to prove they didn’t do it. How do you do that? A little granny got a “Pay up or else” letter, and challenged it, on the simple grounds she didn’t even have a computer. Shouldn’t have been hard to prove she didn’t do it, right? She was found guilty.

            That’s the German system for copyright infringements. Because the onus of proof is so hard to show, they’ve made it easy for the copyright owners – the owners accuse, the accused have to demonstrate their innocence. But case law and history make that increasingly hard to do.

            SOPA/PIPA bring that style of justice to the US, and eventually everywhere. Is it designed to shut down the big players? Yes, but it goes so much further than that. Even with the big players, there are already laws there that serve that purpose. Its called the Copyright Act.

            Give the power to these companies, and they WILL abuse them. To the point you may as well shut the internet down, and rewind the world 30 years.

          • ‘They want the accused to have to provide all the evidence. From a system built around innocent until proven guilty … ‘

            But is it?

            A ticket inspector pulls me up on a train. Asks for proof I’m using the train legally. Where is the burden of proof? On me. I present my ticket.

            What if the burden of proof was on the inspector? He’d have to have monitored me to check I had bought a ticket on entry to the station. And then keep a history of my purchases and previous travel incase I had unused travel credit. The cost? thousands of dollars. The penalty? enough to cover his investigation costs.

            See any parallels here?

          • If you didn’t provide the evidence needed, you’d get a ticket. But you would have a chance to argue that ticket, and your evidence would be considered. There is due process. Which for me is a big thing.

            Your scenario has happened to me. I’ve had a ticket, left it at home, and got caught. I provided evidence of my ticket (yearly ticket, registered on their website), and the fine was dropped. Due process. No dramas at any point, all done with a minimum of fuss. I was allowed to continue my journey, as were the other commuters.

            Why do I mention the other commuters? Well, in the scenario of SOPA/PIPA, one person not having a ticket at the time could mean the entire train is stopped while the issue is dealt with. As it can take a couple of weeks for the fine to be issued, then several more weeks for my response, and the investigation, that’s a while for everyone to wait.

            Not their fault, they had a ticket at the time. But the laws are being put in place to punish everyone for the actions of a few. And those few, regardless or not of whether they are innocent, are being treated as criminals before due process can take place.

            I’d paid over $2000 for my ticket, and if the guard had been able to check, would have seen it registered against my name on their website. At the time, I was unable to provide a valid ticket, and the process handled that situation. While I see what your getting at, it’s a little different in reality.

            I had a chance to defend myself. In the case of the granny in Germany, even when she did have a chance, her evidence didn’t satisfy the court. In your ticket example it would be like me having that yearly ticket, but the fact I’d registered that ticket, and the information being readily available on the transport systems own records not being enough because I didn’t have it on me at the time.

            Using a loophole “you must have a valid ticket WHEN YOU TRAVEL” to catch someone clearly innocent. When is that ever right?

            Nice debate by the way. Most of the time it degenerates into a “you’re a poopyhead!” fight and goes nowhere.

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