Posts Tagged: ‘PROTECT IP’

Why Is Our Logo Censored?

November 29, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

You may have noticed that our logo is censored with a link pointing to American Censorship. You will see the same thing at Divine Knight Gaming, Random Tower and Mormon Libertarian.There is an interesting story about it.

What is happening is the US government at the behest of a number of media companies such as the RIAA, MPAA and the ESA are working to pass some of the worst copyright legislation in US history. These two bills are titled “Stop Online Piracy Act” in the House and “Protect Intellectual Property Act” in the Senate. What these bills hope to accomplish is a reduction in movie, music, game and software piracy as well as reduce counterfeit goods from entering the US.

They hope to achieve these goals by giving sweeping power to the US Attorney General and copyright holders the ability to prevent ad providers, credit card processing firms and DNS providers from working with websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities”. These bills would also make it illegal to stream or upload any video or song that is covered by copyright that you do not have rights to.

Sadly, these bills will be used to censor a lot more than copyright infringement. Under these bills, sites like YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook  and any other site that allows users to upload content will be liable if anyone uploads copyrighted materials without permission. That means that if someone uploads a video to YouTube that infringes a copyright, movie studios would be able to have all of YouTubes services cut off and whole swaths of legal content will be censored as a result.

That isn’t even the worst of it. Currently under the DMCA, copyright holders can only ask for certain content to be removed. If the site owner removes said content they maintain what is called “safe harbor” protections. This prevents the site owner from being sued for copyright infringement for something a user of the site did. This is a good thing for sites like YouTube because safe harbors have allowed it to continue to operate and be a vessel of free speech for millions of people.

Under SOPA, all that goes away. Now, it doesn’t matter what the site owner does, they will have no safe harbor to protect them. If only one person uploads a copyrighted song or video, the whole site is gone even if the rest of the millions of videos are perfectly legal.

Additionally, SOPA and PROTECT-IP have no punishment for false accusations. A copyright holder can have a site removed and if it turns out to be a completely legal site, there is no punishment for the false takedown. Nothing happens to that copyright holder. That is beyond bad. There should be some kind of punishment such as a fine of $150,000 per false takedown. But no. They can get away with it.

One last thing I would like to share is that under these laws there is also no court involved. Copyright holders can just fire off letters at will to ISPs, DNS providers, Credit card companies and ad companies and those companies have to follow the law or they can be prosecuted for copyright infringement that had ZERO to do with them. This is absurd on a major level. These companies are completely neutral in all this but they run the risk of being prosecuted themselves if they don’t comply. Not with a court order, but with a letter from some random person or company. If a court were involved, these copyright holders would have to prove that the site is actually infringing before anything could happen, but the content industries don’t want to have to get a court order. They feel it is too much work.

In the end, these laws are not about stopping piracy. These laws are about unloading the burden of policing the content of copyright holders like those under the RIAA, MPAA and ESA onto third parties that have absolutely no power to control what users of the internet do. They don’t want to have to do the work themselves.

These bills need to stop now before they can be voted into law. Using the link provided at the beginning of this post and that can be found by clicking the black bar over our logo, you can contact your Senators and Congressman and tell them not to vote for this legislation. Tell them that you like our internet as it is.

You can also Contact those in Congress and support an organization that is dedicated to gamers by visiting the ECA:

Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet

You can find more information about these bills at the following location:

The Definitive Post On Why SOPA And Protect IP Are Bad, Bad Ideas
Congress considers anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries

Open Letter On E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP

October 27, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Dear ‘Representative’,

I know you really don’t care about looking after the interests of the people of this nation. You continue to pass regulations that kill jobs, destroy our Constitutional rights and slaughter our economy. I have already expressed my frustration to you by sending a letter explaining why I will not vote for you and will actively campaign for those who truly wish to uphold their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and defend our rights. You do not deserve another term in office and will not get one.

The actions of you and many of your colleagues in office have shown further proof that you are corrupt and beyond repair. Recently, you voted to extend the PATRIOT Act to continue the erosion of our Constitutional rights. Most recently, you have shown a disregard for the public by ignoring the protests throughout the nation and failing to put a stop to the abuses by the state and local governments who continue to target citizens of this nation for exercising their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.

But most recently, your colleagues in Congress have put together a bill proposal that seeks to implement one of the most Fascist laws to date. This bill is known as PROTECT IP and/or PIPA in the Senate and is now known as E-PARASITE and/or SOPA in the House. This bill seeks to implement a China/Iran/Syrria style internet firewall around the US. Not under some grand scheme to protect our national ideals or interests, but to prop up the failing business models of legacy copyright middlemen and protect them from international competition. Do you really want the US to be compared to those nations or do you want the US to be the standard bearer of freedom that we once were?

For as long as copyright has existed, those who build their business around the monopoly control of the same have railed against new advances in technology that threaten that same control. The earliest known examples are the scribes who made a living off hand writing copies of documents and books when Gutenberg introduces the printing press. Other examples include the gramophone, the player piano, the radio, film, television, the VCR and now the internet. PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE is nothing more than the death throws of a legacy industry whose business is built around 100% of the production and distribution chain of entertainment, has been threatened by advances in internet technology. Entertainment itself is not threatened. There is more movies, music, games and books being produced today than ever before. But if you only listen to legacy gatekeepers you would not believe such.

The internet has led a revolution of content production that we never would have dreamed of 30 years ago. More people can produce today and get instant access to an audience because of the way the internet currently functions. This is what has the legacy industry scrambling to pass E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP. This ability for music/movie/game/book creators to self publish through a myriad of internet services both US based and internationally based is costing the legacy gatekeepers money. Regardless of their rhetoric, they are not seeking to do anything that benefits the creators of entertainment, they are seeking to prop up their gatekeeper status for a few more years.

If this bill passes, we will see a destruction of the growth in entertainment as the tools and services that self published entertainers rely on are blocked for US consumers. Those who want to connect directly with fans without having to rely on legacy gatekeepers will be shut off from many of the most popular means of distribution all because you as our ‘Representative’ want to continue the failed policies of crony capitalism rather than let the free markets work as intended. The Free Market has already all but disappeared in the physical realm and now you are seeking to do the same in the digital realm.

If you value your position in Congress in any way, you will vote down this latest attempt to trample to rights of US citizens and cull yourself of all traces of crony capitalism. You are beyond redemption in my eyes at this time, but every effort you take to make the job of cleaning up your mess from the true patriot who is elected in your place will be greatly appreciated.

Once again enjoy the time you have left in office.

Zachary Knight

Sent to Senators Tom Coburn, James Inhofe and Representative Tom Cole

For more information on just how bad PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE is check out these articles on the topic at Techdirt.

Coburn Fails to Understand Technology

May 26, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Senator Coburn today voted to move the PROTECT IP act out of committee and into a floor vote. This move shows just how little he understand technology and his unwillingness to listen to those who do. He shows that all he cares about is listening to and propping up failing industries rather than letting innovation thrive in the US.

The following is the letter I wrote to him in response to this vote:

I wrote to you just the other day about the PROTECT IP bill and the current state of copyright in general.

Today I learn that once again the Senate, and you sepcifically, have voted to move forward with PROTECT IP (formally known as COICA).

This legislation is a horrible mess. The powers it grants the government and private interests is enough to destroy the stability of the internet and move the US to China like censorship.

I am disappointed that you did not listen to those from the technology industry who voiced their concerns about this bill and instead listened to those in an industry whose only goal with legislation like this is to prop up failing business models.

It was my impression that Republicans were not in favor of propping up failing businesses as shown by many Republicans displeasure about the TARP bailouts and other government bailouts of failing industries.

I would hope that you would change your mind and look at the issues and details more closely before making your final vote on this bill. I hope that as you actually look at it and listen to both sides to the debate equally, that you will see just how damaging this will be to information technology and free speech in the US. I hope that your final vote will reflect that and you will vote NO.

With this move and your recent vote on the PATRIOT ACT, I am looking less and less likely to vote for you when you are next up for election.

Copyright is Out of Control

May 23, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Google CensoredThis is a letter I sent to my US Congressman Tom Cole and my US Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe. Interestingly enough, Senator Coburn was the only one who had “Intellectual Property” as one the possible issues. Representative Cole was the only one with an editable subject line.

I am writing to you today about the “PROTECT IP” act and ACTA that is currently circulating the capital these days.This bill would grant sweeping power to the government and private interests to suppress speech and destroy innovation in the information technology sector. To this I must ask the following:

What benefit does the average person get from expanding upon the already bloated Copyright laws in this nation? What benefit does a small time musician, writer, independent film producer or independent game developer get from these expanded “protections”?

As an independent game developer and an independent writer, I see no benefit to being granted sweeping authority to suppress speech, especially when I do not have the resources to exercise the authority granted to me. As an independent creator, I do not even have the resources available to exercise the authority granted to me under the DMCA. So again I ask, what benefit do I get out of these expanded “rights”? (more…)