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Censorship United States Science

How SOPA & PIPA Could Hurt Scientific Debate 100

mwolfam writes with this pointed excerpt from a piece at the Huffington Post by Los Alamos National Laboratories post-doc researcher Michael Ham, who makes a slightly different case than most for the reasons that SOPA and PIPA should be stopped: "Simply put, The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) currently under development in Congress will provide a rapid way to sentence websites to death without the need for pesky things like trials and juries. Much to the surprise of nobody who understands how the Internet works, these two Acts will have absolutely no effect on digital piracy, but they will create an environment where freedom of speech could be severely curtailed, large companies can execute competitors, and scientific data can be hidden from the public."
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How SOPA & PIPA Could Hurt Scientific Debate

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  • Re:An idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:13AM (#38696492)

    Thy tried that with the "recordable media tax" that applied to things like CD-R and DVD-R media, and to mp3 players in some countries. It was lobbied for by the music industry because "obviously" people buying recordable media would be burning illegally obtained songs so to compensate them for their "obvious" losses they got a cut of all CD-R sales via a price hike.

    Of course this didn't stop them suing people anyway...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:13AM (#38696494)

    Let's apply the SOPA logic to other things to... if someone asks you for directions to a bank and they rob it then you should be liable. Farewell GPS and maps, we barely knew thee.

    SOPA is a very silly piece of legislation but we already have the US attempting to extradite someone from the UK for hosting links. SOPA just codifies such gross stupidity in US law.

  • Because they understand it so well.

    Take a look at "Dear Congress, It's No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works" []

    Senator Ted Stevens described the internet as “a series of tubes;” Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina "seemed particularly comfortable about his own lack of understanding;" and Rep. Maxine Waters of California stated "any discussion of security concerns is 'wasting time' and that the bill should move forward without question."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:56AM (#38696632)

    I think you forgot ACTA. SOPA and PIPA are just the US instances of the ACTA virus.
    They expect the EU (and actually the whole world) to have them too. If not... well you saw how they managed to get a UK citizen extradited to the use over this shit, and how they got Spain, Finland and Belgium already infected.

    Of course they will never manage to reach their goal. Since that is physically impossible. (Unless they put DRM chips in every human's head, we can still e.g. have one person read the information, tell it to somebody else, who then types it in.)
    And of course we will still not be affected in the slightest, since we already have countries that have such total censorship (China, UAE, etc), and they use VPNs at $5 a month to circumvent *everything*. (Hell, there are cops who will pay you to tell them how to get porn. They are humans too, and if it's about porn, their side is clear. ^^)

    So they have no chance of ever succeeding.

    But for the cattle majority, they don't have to. Since those are passive life-forms. Who don't have their own perception of reality, but instead get it from their opinion makers. So all that is needed, is for the dumb masses to believe the lies and delusions, and they will have control over most. (Some say: Unless the masses feel the need for porn. Then the revolution will start. ;)
    Same as those people in North Korea, who honestly believe that when they touch an American flag, their hands will rot off. (Remember the Daily Show interview about the guy who gets people out of NK.)

    It's all about assumed reality nowadays. Not actually sensed reality.

    And the problem is, that apparently, we, the good people, are not secure in ourselves to get the masses' perception to change. Maybe because other than the media industry, we don't live off of cocaine. (I've worked in the EU music industry, and I swear on my dick and my mothers' life, that there is no such thing as a business deal without cocaine and preferably hookers and booze in there. It's an old boys network on drugs.)

    So let's kick the Dunning Kruger effect []'s ass, and fix the mindset of the masses!

  • Re:An idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlecC ( 512609 ) <> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:57AM (#38696636)

    I think this wouldn't work because it would "normalise" piracy. People who do not currently pirate would reckon that that they had paid for anything they wanted to download. so that they were free to do so. This would mean that piracy, instead of being 90% by people who would not by the media if they had to pay, would be done by everybody.

    Example from a childcare business who had problems with parents being late to pick up their children after work. They tried charging for overtime, and found that the problem went up, not down: people reckoned it was OK to be late if they were paying for it. (from Freaconomics, I think).

  • by Demonoid-Penguin ( 1669014 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:00AM (#38696644) Homepage

    A fair suggestion, but some issues.

    Aside from the technical issues - the real problem is that the US will just declare war on cyber terrorism - a phrase that can take on any meaning. And any country not on their side....

    Don't forget where ICAAN is - or do you think it's an independent organisation like the UN? If Microsoft can go on license raids with Russian police how long before Disney goes on door kicking adventures in Spain. Already ICE has declared war on counterfeit copies of goods that are not made in the US. And a UK citizen is being extradited for something that's not illegal in the UK.

  • by IronHalik ( 1568993 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:12AM (#38696716)

    ...but won't SOPA/PIPA work both ways? Won't MAFIAA online distribution channels be affected as well? I could place my copyrighted work somewhere in comment/review section of their sitesand then cite PIPA to take the online store offline.

    I'm assuming that according to SOPA/PIPA, site owner is still accountable for what user posts.

  • What about arXiv? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paxinum ( 1204260 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @12:16PM (#38697976) Homepage
    A few of my math colleges and I are a bit worried that arXiv, (a huge database where mathematicians put their results before sending them to journals), will be shut down. It is most probable that some material in that database coincide with material published in journals, and most journals have the requirement that you sign over the copyright to them, thus making the arxiv version an infringement. However, arxiv is the main source for mathematicians to quickly discover results that might be needed, or to avoid working on a problem which has already been solved. On a side note, there are a few extreme religious groups that oppose almost all form of science, so some might get tempted to shut down theoretical physics or other alternatives to "god did it all".

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.