PROTECT-IP Act Becomes E-PARASITE (And Gets Much Worse)

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News Posted: Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:23 PM
The Senate's version of the PROTECT-IP bill was written to resemble a wish list of capabilities the content industry wishes it had, including the ability to silence and censor anyone it deemed to infringe its own property without needing to deal with the pesky notion of fair use or the legal rights of the accused. The House flavor has finally been unveiled—and it's even worse. Luckily, the name is unintentionally brilliant. Dubbed the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act" or the E-PARASITE Act, it's a perfect title for its backers.

One of the things the House version of the bill effectively does away with is the DMCA's 'Safe Harbor' provision. Under the DMCA, an ISP is essentially shielded from being forced to act as a copyright enforcer through the safe harbor provision, which prevents them from being held accountable for a users' actions. The safe harbor provision is primarily quoted as it applies to things like copyright infringement, and the entertainment industry collectively hates it. The E-PARASITE Act states:

service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order, including measures designed to prevent the domain name of the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) from resolving to that domain name’s Internet Protocol address. 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.

Under the new bill, ISPs could be ordered to block access through the Attorney General and there's no provision for how a website accused of infringement would challenge that ruling before access is terminated. While the Senate version of the PROTECT-IP act only applied to sites "dedicated to infringing activities", the House flavor includes websites with "only limited purpose other than infringement" and those which "induce infringement." Since induction is broadly defined as "to introduce," the definition is broad enough to include a vast range of legal software--and the content industry is notoriously terrible at defining such behavior.

Historically, the movie and music industries have railed against inventions like radio, the ability to record musical performances, home video, movie rentals, and MP3 players. Onetime MPAA president Jack Valenti famously predicted that VCR's would utterly destroy the movie industry if viewers were allowed to tape TV broadcasts. The new law would also allow the Attorney General to take legal action against anyone who provides services or creates a product designed to bypass such blocks—the anonymous browsing service Tor would almost certainly be illegal, as would nearly any software product that includes DVD ripping.

The House version of the bill has been criticized as an attempt to create the Great Firewall of America, but the Big Content industries insist there's no other way they can possibly protect America from the impact of evil foreign file-sharing websites.
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AKwyn replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:37 PM

OMG, It's even worse than before. Now the government has the ability to block and censor websites they may find infringing, no wait, limited purposing... I don't know what limited purpose websites have (all websites have a purpose) and their definition of limited purpose is definitely vague. I mean what does the house consider definitely vague?

This bill makes the PROTECT-IP act look like a haven by comparison. I swear people are going to protest this if the house somehow uses it's connections to pass this instead of PROTECT-IP (even though both bills are bad news.), I mean why should we become like China and firewall ourselves off from the world?


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RTietjens replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 5:10 PM

Welcome to Communist China. Oh, wait, this is America? Well, you wouldn't know it from the censorship laws. The law is PURPOSELY vague to allow which Party is in power to shut down any signs of opposition on the Internet.

This law has NOTHING to do with piracy, and EVERYTHING to do with censorship.

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MMaddox replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 10:02 PM

This is going way too far. Way to strip away our rights congress. -.-

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omegadraco replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 10:14 PM

Really since when is the U.S. into censorship because that is what this is at best. The senators and congress really need to get their heads out of their ass and off the payroll of all these special interest groups.

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SWilga replied on Fri, Oct 28 2011 8:50 AM

This can't happen... are they really trying to kill the internet? This is just ridiculous...

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DMahady replied on Fri, Oct 28 2011 5:01 PM

Seems like the government sides with the fools. When will they stay out of our personal lives!

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Preihoofd replied on Mon, Oct 31 2011 2:38 PM

Don't worry this will be pushed. And when the censoring is in place the true shift of power and the suppression coming with it will be censored away. Any media reporting on such a thing is an infringer and will be shut down.

Your current government is bought, there's no way around that and it's part of the 'culture'. But once people will protest more and more and the 99% might cause a change of rule by government. Thèn ALL your freedoms will fall away under a loud applause of the 99% who will notice what they have done when it's alrdy too late..

I call it a 99% danger of losing 99% of your current freedoms when 99% is being deceived. The red regime will come led by 99%, once in place it will suppress 99%.

It's a tradition for 'free regimes' / democracy to go down in applause of it's own deceived people.

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