Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SOPA, an American-style super Hadopi

A bill currently pays American chronicle. Appointed Stop Online Piracy Act, it is intended as a kind of super Hadopi and take over the concept of firewall Chinese considered any website promoting copyright infringement will be blocked by Internet service providers based the United States. Widely lobbying by content publishers (Motion Picture Association of America, Recording Industry Association of America, but also the Chamber of Commerce US), this project raises naturally the controversy on the web.


Major companies of the new technologies are themselves divided on the issue, as they sometimes competing interests. Thus, the BSA (Business Software Alliance, which includes software such as Microsoft, Adobe or Apple) had initially supported the bill, provoking an internal quarrel that led the publisher to announce its withdrawal Kapersky BSA from 1 January to reconsider before making hand on his blog concerns that require the project to be amended.

However, service companies on the web have almost unanimously rejected the bill: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL and Linkedin have all expressed their disagreement.

The host GoDaddy has meanwhile also changed tack, starting with support of the project prior to reconsider because of threats of boycott by some clients as Wikipedia.

But opponents of the bill are far behind in terms of investment in lobbying by his supporters.

Apple is conspicuously absent from the debates, since it has so far not expressed its position. Ilfaut that it is involved in more ways than one, being the one hand software company likely to be pirated, but also a world leader in offering legal downloads. But his silence speaks volumes, since the Cupertino attract each probably the wrath of its publisher partners if it were to oppose the project, and that his interest would even support it. In general, Apple has instead given preference to a legal offer strong as a struggle against piracy. Caution especially wise attitude that any defense of copyright is immediately on the Internet dedicated to public obloquy, according to arguments often tainted with bad faith characterized, which does not facilitate the holding of a dispassionate debate.

Harm the law SOPA

In this case, there has been much opposition to the project SOPA YouTube could experience the full force of such a blockage, if unfortunately someone published a video example of a birthday ("Happy Birthday to You" is always subject to copyright). The argument is well founded in that video hosts like YouTube and Dailymotion have signed agreements with various rights holders, offering them a percentage of advertising revenues generated by the videos by including their intellectual property. Based on these agreements, the dissemination of works concerned portals in question is not subject to dispute.

It also creates a new precedent, since anyone can make a commercial exploitation of these rights without spending a penny from the moment it is done on one of these sites: broadcasts on television advertising, including a famous song must obtain a license expensive, but it can be done freely on YouTube.

The fact remains that all interested parties have not signed such agreements, and that legal proceedings have been initiated including Viacom or TF1. With Bill SOPA, these procedures could potentially lead to blocking the entire YouTube in the U.S., and therefore completely change the balance of power between rights holders and content hosts by offering former discretion of censorship the seconds.Mais beyond even this, is the arbitrariness of the complaint and the trial in absentia, since the draft SOPA relates primarily to foreign sites "would target the U.S. market" and that would not necessarily means to defend itself against U.S. court. SOPA tries indeed to circumvent a problem inherent in the law and territoriality: you can not sue on the territory in which an offense is committed, not only because it would be impossible to enforce a court outside the jurisdiction of the court concerned, but also that the laws differ from one nation to another. The web, by its intangibility, came to shake up the notion of territoriality, especially as some countries such as Switzerland allow the download works.

Since the birth of the web, illegitimate complaints have flourished as it has often been enough to claim to hold rights to a host site to silence a nuisance. We saw an eloquent illustration recently, since Universal has managed to temporarily remove a YouTube promotional video MegaUpload, although it does not operate any of the intellectual property of Universal. Wikileaks would be an ideal victim SOPA project.

The scope of such a law seems at first limited to U.S. territory, since it would question that the web filter at its borders to expunge the dregs. However, many foreign companies host their domain name from U.S. suppliers, and thus may see their work undermined by the chopper SOPA, together with another bill called Protect IP Act. The latter does not apply to Internet service providers U.S., but the DNS servers (which allow you to associate a domain name as MACYTH.COM to an IP address to connect to a site). Such a measure could therefore have a global reach, and present a serious security flaw in violation of the DNSSEC specification.
PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.
On the other hand, sites affiliated with a domain name could be incriminated wiped off the map without ever having sinned. Brief, problems abound, and the vague wording of the two bills do nothing to fix things. Both documents should be submitted to the legislative vote in early 2012 after several delays, by then the controversy continues to inflate the net.

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