Toomey Response Regarding SOPA, PIPA — Here is the response I received from Sen. Toomey, regarding my communication regarding SOPA and PIPA:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 Comcast.net 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.
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 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.
Kristina Clair Subpoena Withdrawn By Feds — A federal subpoena given to the Philadelphia woman providing free server space to Indymedia.us was withdrawn after Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston pointed out several problems with it, according to this report from CBSNews — via DrudgeReport.com.
U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded that Kristina Clair, 34, provide details of all reader visits on June 25, 2008, which would “include IP addresses, times, and any otheridentifying information.”
She was also ordered “not to disclose the existence of this request”.
Thank you, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Indymedia may be a hard left site but federal attorneys have to follow the rules.
“First they came for the loons but I was not a loon,” is something I hope to never have to say.