Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Objections to ProtectIP Act - Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Kids!

Oh, those law professors, living in their ivory towers and thinking their reality is the real world. Like Neo, their reality is so far removed from the real world that they know not of which they speak!

Engadget is reporting (here) that 100 or so lawyers have written members of Congress, as Engadget writes "under the bill being advocated for by the RIAA the MPAA, a judge can issue a temporary restraining order that will essentially shutdown a site based only on evidence presented by the government. " And, as such, the lawyers believe that when a site is shut down, even temporarily, it restricts free speech.

Au contrare. It restricts people from profiting from the theft of intellectual property of another.

There are many examples of property being restricted when its use is related to an alleged crime. Take the, ahem, John, who gets busted allegedly soliciting prostitution - in many jurisdictions, the punishment begins with the impounding of his car. It doesn't matter that he had other personal property in the car, the car and it's contents are impounded.

When a house gets raided, say, looking for drugs, things can get damaged, or impounded, during the course of that investigation, and, in some cases, the house may be sealed for a period of time.

Or, take the white collar (alleged) criminal, who may have committed a crime online, or have used his computer(s) to commit the crime. When the government raids his home, they impound his computer to look for evidence, and that evidence isn't often returned until after the trial, yet the accused loses the ability to use the computer, and likely access to all the other documents on it. What if the accused was a small business owner who has Quickbooks on it and couldn't run the business without it?

Of course, Google is opposed to it, because it could be used to shut down, or limit, vast swaths of Google, who, oh, that's right - sells advertising alongside everything, including illegal stuff.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Aaron Shetland said...

The main argument against the Protect IP Act is that it actually bypasses due process which is the main reason it suppresses speech. The alleged offender is not allowed to defend his/her position before action is taken. The supreme court has held that it is unconstitutional to suppress speech without an adversarial proceeding.

Furthermore, the act would seriously undermine the security of the internet. Domain redirects are a massive security risk.

I have no problem with protecting IP and copyrights (I'm an artist), but this is, sadly, a misguided proposal that will create more problems than it solves.

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