Casey SOPA Late Response

Casey SOPA Late Response — Better a month late than never one supposes.

Sen. Bob Casey (D) finally got back to us on the request we made Jan. 18 that he oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Both bills were put on hold that day after massive protests.

He never really did do much to stop them.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R) responded almost immediately and announced his opposition to the bills later that day.

Anyway, here is Sen. Casey’s response:

Dear Mr. Lawrence:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011, and H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

S. 968 was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont on May 12, 2011. The PROTECT IP Act would allow the Attorney General and property rights holders to take legal action against only foreign-based websites strictly dedicated to copyright infringement and intellectual property theft.  After legal action is taken and a judge finds the particular foreign-based website guilty of being dedicated to intellectual property theft, payment processors such as credit card companies and other payment systems would no longer be allowed to process payments to that illegal foreign site. It would also allow the Attorney General and intellectual property holders to seek a court order to shut down websites engaging in piracy.

S. 968 was voted out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary unanimously on May 26, 2011. A version of this bill, H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Lamar Smith of Texas on October 26, 2011. It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where hearings were held.

Over the past several months, I have heard from numerous groups and individuals concerned that internet piracy destroys American jobs, threatens public safety—for example, through the sales of counterfeit pharmaceuticals—and violates the intellectual property rights of creative and innovative American artists, inventors and entrepreneurs. These diverse groups strongly supported the bill as a means to shut down foreign rogue websites that are dedicated exclusively to intellectual property theft.

More recently, I have heard from individuals who are concerned that these bills violate their right to freedom of speech, as well as from constituents concerned that they would shut down sites like Google, Wikipedia, Facebook and YouTube. I take very seriously concerns about censorship and infringing freedom of speech. Accordingly, I was pleased that the bills were removed from the Senate calendar so that further consideration could be given to these concerns.

At this point, I think it is important for all interested parties—including Internet users, technology companies and intellectual property holders—to take a step back and begin a dialogue on how to protect the legitimate rights of innovators and creative artists, and protect public safety in the face of counterfeit products, while at the same time assuring that First Amendment rights are not infringed and the further development of robust internet is not inhibited. I also look forward to new legislation being developed that appropriately balances all of these objectives. Please be assured that as this process advances, I will have your views in mind.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

I encourage you to visit my website, I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office, or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Bob Casey
United States Senator


Casey SOPA Late Response

Casey SOPA Late Response

Men Like Mobile Ads

Men Like Mobile Ads — Sixty-nine percent of millennial men — who are defined as being those between the ages of 18 and 29 — recall seeing a mobile ad on their cell phone according to eMarketer.Com and 40 percent of them enjoy the ads.

Of millennial women, however, only 46 percent of them recall seeing such ads with a mere 12 percent liking them even just a teeny tiny bit.

Mobile ads are The Three Stooges of marketing.

Men Like Mobile Ads

Internet Addicting As Cocaine

Internet Addicting As Cocaine — Chinese researchers have found indications that internet addiction produces similar changes to the brain as addiction to alcohol and cocaine

Scientists at the Shanghai Mental Health Center scanned the brains of 17 adolescents diagnosed   with “internet addiction disorder” who had been referred to the, and compared the results with scans from 16 of their peers.

They found impairment of white matter fibers in the brain connecting regions involved in emotional processing, attention, decision making and cognitive control, which were similar to that for alcoholics and cocaine addicts.

It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of internet users — mostly gamers — are addicted.

How does one know if one is an addict? One example used was if one spends 14 hours playing games nightly online, and find oneself unable to quit despite the damage it may be doing in one’s life, then one is an addict.

Internet Addicting As Cocaine BillLawrenceOnline Pope Says Redistribute Wealth

Internet Addicting As Cocaine

Senator Toomey Nixes SOPA

Senator Toomey Nixes SOPA — Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) tweeted 20 minutes ago (about 8:25 p.m., Jan. 18) that he will not support either the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in their present forms.

“Piracy of intellectual property is a legitimate concern that should be addressed. However, the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Internet Piracy Act are flawed, and I cannot support them in their current form. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on this issue and finding a better legislative approach for tackling online piracy,” Sen. Toomey said Several major websites including Wikipedia went off-line today to protest the intrusive legislation.

In related news President Obama’s major Hollywood supporters said they were cutting off donations to him because he was against the legislation.


Senator Toomey Nixes SOPA

Toomey Response Regarding SOPA, PIPA

Toomey Response Regarding SOPA, PIPA — Here is the response I received from Sen. Toomey, regarding my communication regarding SOPA and PIPA:

Dear Bill,
Thank you for contacting me about S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. I appreciate hearing from you.
I understand your concerns about expanding intellectual property protection and value your input on S. 968. As you may know, Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) introduced this bill on May 12, 2011. Among its provisions, this measure would allow the U.S. Attorney General or qualifying plaintiffs to pursue legal action against registrants, owners, or operators of nondomestic Internet sites that infringe upon intellectual property rights. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, of which I am not a member, favorably reported S. 968 on May 26, 2011. The legislation currently awaits consideration by the full Senate. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as this measure awaits further consideration.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

I have yet to hear from Sen. Casey.

FYI, Pat: Joe Sestak is coming on strong against SOPA/PIPA.

Wiki Shrugs — Off The Net Jan. 18 2012

Wiki Shrugs — The ever-useful Wikipedia along with several other websites are pulling themselves off the net today, Jan. 18, to protest two extremely stupid and intrusive laws being debated in Congress.

The laws are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Why are these laws bad? They would give a copyright holder the power to cut off  all American access to any foreign Web site by merely  accusing it of violating his copyright.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor noted that
“an entire Web site containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement.”

Tribe also states that  SOPA would violate the First Amendment because “it delegates to a private party the power to suppress speech without prior notice and a judicial hearing. This provision of the bill would give complaining parties the power to stop online advertisers and credit card processors from doing business with a website, merely by filing a unilateral notice accusing the site of being ‘dedicated to theft of U.S. property’- -even if no court has actually found any infringement.”


Wiki has left a page on which you can contact your servants in Washington, albeit Pat Meehan’s link did not seem to be working.


Here’s what I sent to senators Toomey and Casey:


Sen. Toomey

Trying to protect Hollywood and the music industry is like trying to protect horse buggy makers.

It’s not like I have anything against horse buggy makers — I mean it’s not like they ever tried to undermine the national social fabric or anything — but protecting them would have given us an automobile industry on par with a place like Turkey or Saudi Arabia, and certainly  made our transportation system far less egalitarian. I’m sure the Gore family would have access to automobiles albeit I’m not so sure about mine.

You know the reasons not to vote for these bills. If not, you can find it on Wikipedia as they still have left that page up.

The internet is working fine. Let whatever is going to happen to Hollywood, happen to Hollywood.


(I added the Bush family in the one to Casey)

Wiki Shrugs — Off The Net Jan. 18 2012

Honey Badger Don’t Care

We’ve been honey badgered judging by some our latest comments.

The phrase “honey badger don’t care” has become a bit an internet meme and stems from this video about the honey badger.

It very well might be the funniest thing on the entire web. If you should click on it, be warned that the language does get a bit foul.

Bipartisanly Bad Bill Is HR 3261

Bipartisanly Bad Bill Is HR 3261 — The Stop Online Privacy Act or HR 3261 is a bipartisanly bad bill which will fill with sand the oil pan of the internet and the gas tank with water.

It was introduced, Oct. 26, by  Lamar Smith (R-Corporate America) and co-sponsored by 31 smarter-than-thou establishmentarians including corporate-beholden Democrats Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (who chairs the Democrat National Committee) and John Conyers, and Pennsylvania hacks Tim Holden of the 17th District and Tom Marino of the 10th District.

The bill, as described in Wikipedia, would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of  enabling or facilitating copyright infringement and allow the U.S. Attorney General to order US-directed Internet service providers, ad networks, and payment processors to suspend doing business with sites found to infringe on federal criminal intellectual property laws. The Attorney General could also bar search engines from displaying links to the sites.

Sounds nice and all but as some point out the definitions are so broad, punishments  so draconian and the unaccountability of the law’s enforcers so glaring that such a law would basically be  an invitation to harass innocent, productive persons providing a socially useful service.

Copyright law actually has a reputation for being a venue for this sort of thing.

Oppose this legislation.

Bipartisanly Bad Bill Is HR 3261

Comcast Customers Surprised By Lost Channels

Comcast without any real warning has begun encrypting the channels that they had led owners of digital-ready TVs to believe would remain accessible to them sans the cheap digital adapter boxes with the even cheaper remotes.

It happened in the Windsor Circle area of Springfield, Pa on Wednesday. Other areas of the town were still getting channels without encryption as of Saturday but don’t expect it to last.

Comcast  had given away the digital adapters for free without an increase in cost but many owners of new TVs declined to hook them up because of the low quality remotes, unnecessary complexity and wire snarls, poorer picture quality and loss of functionality.

Others never bothered ordering them because they had been led by Comcast to believe they were unnecessary for owners of digital-ready TVs.

An explanation for the unexpected action that appeared on Wednesday appears to have been removed. It basically said the new policy was in regard to Comcast concerns about theft of services.

And of course, the tech support people were unable to tell you what had happened and not just due to the language barriers. Comcast apparently didn’t tell them what they did.

People are angry.

Verizon, btw, is offering an equivalent service to Comcast for $50 per month less.


Comcast Building Lobby Comcast Customers Surprised By Lost Channels

Comcast Customers Surprised By Lost Channels

Lower Merion Spied On Students Via Laptop

Lower Merion Spied On Students Via Laptop
Blake Robbins being watched at home.

Lower Merion Spied On Students Via Laptop — A federal class action lawsuit was filed Feb. 16  alleging that Lower Merion School District used the webcams in the laptops distributed to students to spy on them in their homes.

The case, Robbins v Lower Merion School District,  is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The suit was filed by Michael E. and Holly S. Robbins on behalf of their son Blake, a student at Harriton High School, and the 1,800 or so other students at Harriton and  Lower Merion, the district’s other high school.

The suit  seeks damages caused by school district’s alleged invasion of privacy, theft of private information, and unlawful interception of electronic communications, and alleges the district broke numerous  state and federal laws including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, along with the defendants’ Fourth Amendment Rights.

Lower Merion distributed the laptops to each high school student. Unbeknown to the students and the parents, the school district had the ability to remotely, and at anytime, activate the embedded webcam capturing the images in front of the camera.

The Robbins learned about this ability Nov. 9  when Harriton Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko told them that Blake was engaged in improper behavior in his home and presented as evidence a photograph taken via the webcam from the laptop the school gave Blake.

The suit doesn’t say what exactly Blake was doing but whatever it was it was not as bad as public officials stomping over duly passed laws.

The case is being handled by the law firm of Lamm Rubenstone LLC of Trevose, Pa. They can be reached at 1-215-638-9330. They were contacted and confirmed the filing of the suit.


Lower Merion Spied On Students Via Laptop