Until recently, I thought Pipa was one of the participants of a recent royal wedding that I didn’t care much about. But as sinister as that Pipa might be, the more sinister PIPA is the Protect IP Act being considered by congress.
Apparently, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which made it easy for copyright holders to ban websites and other services at the domain name level, is dead in the water due to overwhelming opposition by the technical community due to censorship concerns. I think those concerns were quite valid.
Apparently, while everyone is paying attention to SOPA, PIPA is working its way through the Senate and has a higher chance to succeed. It is scheduled for a vote on January 24.
PIPA includes a provision that a court order could mandate that URL’s be omitted form DNS servers in the United States if found to be infringing on copyrights. This is a bad idea and an example of what happens when politicians start trying to legislate technical implementations. Also, this kind of political control of the Internet is very close to what occurs in China, which is routinely admonished by the same politicians that are promoting PIPA.
The White House issued a couple of statements which hopefully will convert Senators previously in favor of PIPA to vote against it.
The White House statements read:
- “Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small.”
- “We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.”
Opposition to this DNS filtering part of the PIPA legislation is starting to have an effect, as Senator Patrick Leahy has stated “I’ve authorized my staff to tell … the other senators that I’m willing to hold that back in the final piece of legislation.” Therefore, I think it’s helpful that all of us against it write our Senators with our opinion ahead of the vote.
I think large entertainment corporations won’t stop trying to legislate censorship until the thread of piracy is eliminated. I don’t know of the perfect solution for piracy, but I sure hope it doesn’t involve legislation.
If you agree with me, please sign this petition:
SOPA PIPA Petition