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  (Source: PetMD)
Even as hardliners entrench, internet protest pushes many Congress people to choose self preservation

Today was a remarkable day on the internet.  Indeed, a massive protest that consisted of editorials on some sites, full blackouts on others, a deluge of social media/microblog complaints, and even some good old fashioned phone calling (to the extent that some phone lines went down today) appears to be on the verge of bringing the controversial Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) in the House and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968) in the Senate to their true death.

SOPA had few friends -- particularly due to outlandish provisions like lengthy prison sentences for petty streaming, takedowns of sites whose users post URLs to infringing content (note: not even posting the content itself), and DNS takedowns of all sites hosted in the same block as an infringer.

But SOPA did have one powerful friend -- big media.  Media powerhouses like News Corp. (NWS) poured tens of millions into funding the campaign.  Our summary of analysis by Maplight indicated that 10 percent of the election costs of (all) active Senators were paid by big media companies lobbying for SOPA and similar laws.  Another helpful breakdown of the numerous payouts is given here by Propublica.

Some thought SOPA was dead when top House Republican, House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted the bill, and President Obama's advisors hinted at the threat of veto.  But PIPA's proponents hardly flinched and SOPA's backers agreed vowed to revive it in February, anyways, and force the President's hand.

That was the position of those backers, at least, until they got smacked with one of the most focused demonstrations of populist anger that American has seen in the internet era.

Soon the Representatives and Senators who sponsored the bill were dropping their support.

The original list of supporters was:

SOPA Supporters -- original
[Image Source: Propublica]

But after today at least four Senators and two Representatives have abandoned their support, likely out of fear of what it might do to their election prospects.  The critters fleeing the sinking SOPA/PIPA ship are:
SOPA/PIPA supporters -- post protest

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of those looking to belated retract his sponsorship comments:

After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the PROTECT IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward. Despite the concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation, the Senate remains on a path to consider this bill next week. Rushing something with such potential for far-reaching consequences is something I cannot support and that's why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill.

Add'l Sources: [1][2][3][4][5]

While it might be tempting to chastise these individuals while they're down, a better thought is to head over to their Facebooks or Twitters to thank them for make a decision (albeit forced) to put the American people and economic prosperity above a small coalition of well-heeled special interests.  After all, as you can see there's plenty of SOPA/PIPA supporters digging in their heels and entrenching for the fight ahead.

That said, one can only expect this is the start and more of their fellow Congressional creatures will follow in suit, panickedly abandoning the bills, now that the American public has smelled a rat.

We will endeavor to keep this list and the numbers who have abandoned SOPA/PIPA up to date.

It appears to be Wikipedia that was the straw that broke the camel's back, possibly.  While readers at DailyTech and elsewhere are well versed in the issues with SOPA/PIPA, the blackout of the ubiquitous Wikipedia crossed over into the "People Magazine" crowd -- members of the American public who typically show little interest in politics.

Note some brave souls in Congress were even inspired to join the list of opposers to the bill -- including Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) who boldly writes on Facebook:

On Wednesday, January 18, I will join others across the Internet in a 24-hour “blackout” to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. These bills give the federal government unprecedented power to censor Internet content and will stifle the free flow of information and ideas. In protest, I have changed my profile picture and will temporarily disable your ability to post independent content on my Wall (although you still may comment under this post). Demand that Congress and the President keep the Internet open and free. Please borrow my profile pic, share this message, and contact your Representatives and Senators in Congress to urge them to protect your right to free speech by opposing SOPA and PIPA.

Here is a list of those who previously opposed the bill:

SOPA/PIPA opponents
 
Note the opposition of (R) Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

SOPA/PIPA aren't dead yet, so opponents will need to keep up the heat until the bills are fully removed from the Congressional dockets.  And even if that happens, people should take this as a wake up call, both at their own power and at the importance of keeping an eye on these shifty individuals who accept hundreds of millions in campaign donations yearly from biased sources to gain their office.


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RE: Boycott?
By bjacobson on 1/18/2012 6:04:45 PM , Rating: 5
To what end? To have their opponents get elected? If that's all we ever do, then they'll figure out, just like Oligopolies do, that they can still do whatever they want and eventually the customer will have to come back. No, we need a 3rd party (and 4th...but a truly fiscally conservative 3rd party is enough for now).


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/18/2012 6:21:17 PM , Rating: 4
I have a hard time believing, given the current climate in Washington, that nobody in a "3'rd party" would ever support something like this. I doubt anyone is that much of an idealist anymore.

The problem isn't parties. The problem is the Government is no longer the one created by the Constitution. The SYSTEM is broken, not necessarily the people.

That's the beauty of the Constitution. If we stuck to it, it wouldn't matter if we elected people like these, they simply wouldn't have the power to do things like this.


RE: Boycott?
By FaaR on 1/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Boycott?
By Ringold on 1/19/2012 12:18:44 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
If you wanna live like they did in the effing 1700s, then yeah. Sure, by all means, roll back time and re-create the original, constitutionally limited government of that era when there was no global market, no modern industry, banking, trade, communications and so on, when sending a message from Moscow to New York would take several months if it got there at all, when the human population of the entire world was less than one billion people and science and medicine as we know it scarcely existed at all.


^ That, folks, is the state of government education in this nation.

First of all, there was a global economy. The East India company got its charter, for example, in 1599. People living off the land in the virtually unpopulated vast stretches of Canada sold animal skins to the European public. Early America imported, well, just about everything, until we had a manufacturing base. Further, the theories that underpin current economic thought existed then and greatly influenced the founding fathers.

Banking, also, has largely been unchanged in a strict sense since.. well.. A long ass time ago. Only things that have changed is the details in how deposits are converted in to earnings by way of lending. The recent crisis is very similar to countless ones before in history.

Second, so what if a letter took months to travel from New York to Moscow then but milliseconds now? Does that at all impact the right of an American in New York to say whatever he wants to whoever he wants via the contemporary method of mass communication?

Third, what does population have to do with it? Some states were more populated then others at the time. Worked then. And so science has advanced. Obviously. It advances every day. Maybe we need a new constitution, say, every 4 years? Maybe every 10?

No, absolutely nothing about what it means to be a human being in a civilized society has changed, and you present no intellectual evidence contrary regarding a document that lays down broad guidelines for stable, eternal government and individual liberty and freedom from state oppression and violence and leaves the details of law to Congress to change over time. What has changed is what people want from government. People have forgot, in the West, what ultimately happens when governments accumulate power, and instead wish largesse from the public treasury to make their own lives easier.

Indeed, the framers actually saw you coming over 200 years ago, and predicted once government educated trolls such as yourself figured out that the ballot box and a mob majority can vote themselves benefits from the treasury that democracy would fall apart.

Wait, no, maybe that was Tocqueville. Whatever.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 10:00:01 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
^ That, folks, is the state of government education in this nation.


Great post. What the hell ARE they teaching kids these days? That the Constitution is some old document so it can't possibly be relevant today or else we'd have to revert to "1700's" society? What the hell...

quote:
Indeed, the framers actually saw you coming over 200 years ago, and predicted once government educated trolls such as yourself figured out that the ballot box and a mob majority can vote themselves benefits from the treasury that democracy would fall apart.


It's really scary how accurate Tocqville was, isn't it?

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."

Man if that isn't EXACTLY what's happening today, I don't know what is.


RE: Boycott?
By twhittet on 1/19/2012 11:44:39 AM , Rating: 1
So, your point is that democracy doesn't work. Time for a monarchy? Socialism? Communism?


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 12:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Umm no, that's NOT the point....

Jesus Christ /facepalm


RE: Boycott?
By wempa on 1/19/2012 12:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
== STANDING OVATION ==


RE: Boycott?
By woody1 on 1/21/2012 12:52:50 PM , Rating: 1
Damn that government education! Let's can government education and just hope that people somehow learn to read and write on their own! Works great in those 3rd world countries that aren't plagued with "big government"!


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/18/2012 9:48:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's the beauty of the Constitution. If we stuck to it, it wouldn't matter if we elected people like these, they simply wouldn't have the power to do things like this.


Protecting copyrights is an enumerated power in the US Constitution and enforcement of the protection is permissible under the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution. So even if we did stick to the Constitution, as vague as it is, they would still be able to enact this law.

Please tell me if I am misunderstanding you in this regard.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 12:38:21 AM , Rating: 2
I believe one of the main tenants of the Constitution is a limited government. Maybe instead of saying "Constitution" I should have just said "limited Government", but the point still stands.

I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, however I seriously doubt SOPA and it's lack of due process and it's ability to arbitrarily shut down web commerce, would fall under a "limited Government". Copyright protection is an enumerated power, sure. But SOPA goes FAR beyond that scope.

Control of the web was never meant to be handed over to the Feds- I KNOW this, because it was not one of the enumerated powers. Aside from the 35 or so aspects of existence that the Feds are tasked with in the constitution- everything and I mean EVERYTHING else in the day to day lives of We the People are to be handled BY We the People in our respective states, in different ways appropriate for each.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/19/2012 2:45:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, however I seriously doubt SOPA and it's lack of due process and it's ability to arbitrarily shut down web commerce, would fall under a "limited Government". Copyright protection is an enumerated power, sure. But SOPA goes FAR beyond that scope.


Granted, I'm not a Constitutional Law attorney either. However, from what I have read of the law (SOPA), there is due process because to shut down a website, an injunction or temporary restraining order must be issued by the court either prior to or after a hearing on the merits of the case. It's not really anymore arbitrary than the injunctions issued in all of the patent cases that are flying around these days or products liability cases.

The whole idea behind the law is to prevent advertisers from making money advertising illegal product, advertising on sites conducting illegal activity, or advocating illegal actions under US law. It is also meant to prevent owners of infringing websites from profiting of the illegal activity. Am I saying that I agree with what is written in the SOPA or PIPA, no, but it is not as though the Federal government is shredding the US Constitution as people are suggesting. They are technically within the Constitutional parameters in this case.

quote:
Control of the web was never meant to be handed over to the Feds- I KNOW this, because it was not one of the enumerated powers. Aside from the 35 or so aspects of existence that the Feds are tasked with in the constitution- everything and I mean EVERYTHING else in the day to day lives of We the People are to be handled BY We the People in our respective states, in different ways appropriate for each.


Normally, I would agree with you on this, but without federal regulation, states could easily become safe harbors for copyright infringement. Furthermore, the state has no place engaging in copyright enforcement anyways and for a state to do so would be violating the US Constitution's federalism clause. I understand that you are for limited government. However, giving copyright enforcement to the states would be equivalent to shredding the US Constitution, but for the opposite reasons that people are claiming SOPA does.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 4:12:22 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Granted, I'm not a Constitutional Law attorney either.


Sounds like you're making a go at it :P I hit the old Google and found this. What do you think?

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe - one of the top constitutional experts in the country - wrote a letter to Congress last month stating that SOPA is unconstitutional. On the grounds that it violates the First Amendment in it's enforcement.

I believe he makes several solid points as to it's Unconstitutional nature. Tribe argues the bill amounts to illegal “prior restraint” because it would suppress speech without a judicial hearing.

Additionally, the law’s definition of a rogue website is unconstitutionally vague.

“Conceivably, an entire website containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement,” Tribe writes. “Such an approach would create severe practical problems for sites with substantial user-generated content, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and for blogs that allow users to post videos, photos, and other materials.”

Sourced: http://www.williams-firm.com/CM/Custom/Custom18.as...


RE: Boycott?
By mcnabney on 1/19/2012 9:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure you want to stake your opinion on a hard-left professor?


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 9:53:09 AM , Rating: 2
I stated my opinion on this before I even read his letter. However the fact that a hard-left professor is supporting the Constitution against SOPA, in my mind, lends even more credibility to his opinions.

Again, I'm not a lawyer/expert and he is. But I'm not blindly appealing to authority here. His arguments are solid, well reasoned, and strike the chord of someone who critically thought his way to the conclusion.


RE: Boycott?
By The Raven on 1/19/2012 11:41:32 AM , Rating: 3
No, I'd stake my opinion on everything else we have allowed the gov't to do. Give them an inch and they want to go all the way. Not just in our country, but in countless examples throughout world history.

The federal gov't already has more than enough power to uphold the laws that have been passed.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 3:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Give them an inch and they want to go all the way.


Exactly. This is why I'm so against Federal Net Neutrality legislation. The belief that the FCC ie. Government won't expand this into being all-encompassing control over the Internet is, in my opinion, misguided and unfounded. Like you said, if you give an inch, they'll take the whole thing.

In fact I would not be surprised one bit if they tried ramming through some Net Neutrality bill with this SOPA nonsense earmarked onto it.


RE: Boycott?
By Solandri on 1/19/2012 12:38:00 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
However, from what I have read of the law (SOPA), there is due process because to shut down a website, an injunction or temporary restraining order must be issued by the court either prior to or after a hearing on the merits of the case.

The complaints about lack of due process come from the way the whole thing is structured. Normally the alleged copyright infringer is liable, so it is a case between the copyright holder and infringer. Since s/he is only an alleged infringer, s/he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Any action taken against the infringer which materially impacts his/her business or finances needs to be done through court.

SOPA changes it so that the infringer's service provider is also liable. The service provider has no idea if any infringement actually occurred, and (assuming they have lots of customers) little interest in preserving the infringer's business or financial integrity. They just want to cover their own butts to make sure they aren't sued for something someone else did without their knowledge.

So the copyright holder sends a claim of infringement to the service provider. The service provider acts in self-interest and immediately shuts down the alleged infringer's website. The alleged infringer is then put into a position where they have to prove that they didn't infringe in order to restore service. No court, no injunction, no hearing, no due process.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 2:30:05 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
SOPA changes it so that the infringer's service provider is also liable. The service provider has no idea if any infringement actually occurred, and (assuming they have lots of customers) little interest in preserving the infringer's business or financial integrity. They just want to cover their own butts to make sure they aren't sued for something someone else did without their knowledge.


I saw nothing in Sec 103 about internet service providers. There is a reference to them shutting down the website in Sec 102 after the Attorney General files a complaint and obtains a court order. An ISP isn't going to shut down a website every time one of their customers gets served with a complaint. The ISP is only going to do so after receiving a court order. There is no added punishment for ISP.

quote:
So the copyright holder sends a claim of infringement to the service provider. The service provider acts in self-interest and immediately shuts down the alleged infringer's website. The alleged infringer is then put into a position where they have to prove that they didn't infringe in order to restore service. No court, no injunction, no hearing, no due process.


That's not how it works. The copyright holder gets a court order after a hearing on the merits or has the website shut down through a TRO or injunction. The only time an ISP is involved is after the case is decided on the merits or a TRO/injunction is issued and they are told to shut it down.

I think you are getting the payment network provider mixed up with an ISP. A payment network provider is like Paypal while we all know what an ISP is. This just makes it so that a copyright holder can sue Paypal to obtain the money they are holding, through transactions, for the infringing website. The same applies to advertisers like Google who makes tons of money off these websites and gives some of it to the infringer. The immunity from suit comes from the payment network provider or internet advertiser willfully handing over the money they are holding for the infringer.

Now the only complaint I can see you having is withholding the money, that a payment network provider has, from the infringer under 103(b). A company can do that if they have a reasonable belief that the person is infringing. That may be done without due process, but once the adjudication is complete, they must either pay the non-infringer or turn the money over to the copyright holder. Now this may cause harm to the website creator, and I am not fond of the provision, but think of this akin to the Post Office holding 2 kilos of cocaine addressed to a drug dealer. Would we still have such outrage if we were dealing with drugs and drug dealers?

This is the main reason why I can't stand a lot of this hysteria over the SOPA bill. A lot of people haven't read or don't understand the bill, legislators included, many of which have a legal degree. Instead, people are throwing around how it is unconstitutional simply because it doesn't allow Google to profit as much from advertising on illegal websites. Most people aren't even railing against it because it might chill speech. Instead they are railing against it because of these supposed Due Process and First Amendment violations that aren't really there.

Chills speech? Yes. Violates the Constitution? Highly Unlikely.

Oh, and sorry for not responding earlier. I didn't notice your post until just a little bit ago.


RE: Boycott?
By Invane on 1/19/2012 1:20:48 AM , Rating: 4
Sure. And copyright is not a bad thing when it's done properly. When not done properly, it becomes what we have today: an oppressive cloud of legal barbed wire that serves the interests of content pushing corporations.

That's not even the biggest problem with the SOPA/PIPA bills. The constitution also guarantees free speech. The constitution also guarantees due process. Both of these constitutionally guaranteed rights are being trampled under corporate interests with this legislation.

They need to find a way to enforce their rights without trampling the American public's rights. And they're obviously managing to feed their families considering the profits they're currently raking in, so I've very inclined to say they already have what they need to defend their rights. The DMCA has been accomplishing this in a far more balanced manner (despite some very poor provisions wedged in by these same corporations).

We do NOT need more legislation that will further increase the number of people in our jails over petty streaming violations. A felony? You have got to be kidding me. Someone streams some content and now the public has to support them for years to come, they become a drain on our economy, and all the while we also have to support the big media company with tax breaks as well? This is lunacy.

They have their constitutionally protected right to safeguard their IP. Where the hell are my rights?


RE: Boycott?
By someguy123 on 1/19/2012 1:36:25 AM , Rating: 3
There's nothing stopping any copyright holder from suing for violation as the law stands right now. SOPA goes past copyright enforcement and forces shutdown and/or blocking of content BEFORE due process. The defendant is essentially guilty before proven innocent. It is very unconstitutional and shocking that something like this would even be considered, much less debated amongst congress.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/19/2012 3:02:31 AM , Rating: 1
As I noted in my response to Reclaimer, a court order is necessary to shutdown or block content. Therefore, the bill does not take away the due process rights of any individual. This bill also is not one of attainder or anything like that. An individual still has to be convicted or found in violation of the law in a court after a hearing on the merits.

That being said, as I mentioned above in my response to Reclaimer, I'm not fond of this bill at all, but my reasons are more focused on the unintended effects that may accompany the passage and enforcement of this law, as opposed to the irrational hysteria over the supposed Constitutional violations that everyone magically sees in this bill.

Copyright laws do need to change and they need to become more sensible with regard to content creators as Invane's post suggests. However, copyright laws will still be geared to content publishers and maintaining their economic interests, especially as media organizations continue to grow. If people really wanted copyright laws to change for the better and to avoid fits like this one, then we should be looking to campaign funding first and eliminating corporate influence in Congress.

It's funny because no one complained about the National Defense Authorization Act and that had a much more troubling provision which would lead to a deprivation of due process rights than this bill. However, since that bill doesn't affect Google's economic interests, no one cares to rally the troops against that bill.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 10:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
as opposed to the irrational hysteria over the supposed Constitutional violations that everyone magically sees in this bill.


Excuse me?

quote:
Therefore, the bill does not take away the due process rights of any individual.


You're right, it only takes away the rights of the thousands or millions who might visit the offending website, only to find it shut down because of ONE offender/offense. Not to mention the website could be one that people depend on for their livelihood.

Your logic is the same as saying because a TV executive is caught for tax evasion, the Federal Government is within it's rights to shut the ENTIRE network down. Regardless of how many people rely on it or work there.

Not to mention all the First Amendment issues this bill brings up. But I guess that's more 'hysteria' too...

You say you don't support the bill, yet constantly cook up ways to interpret it as being legitimate and legal. It's NOT.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/19/2012 3:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're right, it only takes away the rights of the thousands or millions who might visit the offending website, only to find it shut down because of ONE offender/offense. Not to mention the website could be one that people depend on for their livelihood.


It almost sounds like your adding rights to the Constitution that are not there, and I know how you rail against the government for adding these supposed rights that aren't in the Constitution, like healthcare and home ownership. There is no right to visit a specific website in the Constitution, not in the First Amendment nor in the penumbra of rights stemming from Griswold v. Connecticut.

As for your argument that a whole site could be shut down for one offense is rather unreasonable. Furthermore, your attempt to portray my logic is also based upon false assumptions. No court would issue a TRO or injunction against an entire website for a single infringement. If anything, a court would order the offending website to deny access to that specific file, image, or textual excerpt.

It's no different than when someone infringes on the Pepsi logo and the court orders the offender to stop doing so. If that is an individuals entire business then, yeah the court will cripple the business through an injunction.

Furthermore, if people rely on a website that is dedicated to selling or providing copyrighted works that they do not have rights to, then they need to find a new job. Any website that offers such a service is illegal, even under current copyright laws.

quote:
Not to mention all the First Amendment issues this bill brings up. But I guess that's more 'hysteria' too...


There are few, if any, First Amendment issues raised by such a law. Having a chilling effect on speech does not amount to a Constitutional violation. If we wanted it to, then there would be no laws against libel, slander, or offensive speech on television and radio. Just because a law would make individuals think twice about making expressing themselves does not mean that the law prohibits such expression.

quote:
You say you don't support the bill, yet constantly cook up ways to interpret it as being legitimate and legal. It's NOT.


I don't support the bill because of the chilling effect that I mentioned before. I think the unintended effects of the bill could stifle expression through self-censorship. Furthermore, the amount of paperwork clogging up the courts and the increase in infringement punishments will only hurt the government economically. That is why I don't like the bill.

However, I can remove myself from the fray and look at the law objectively and say that, according to my knowledge, it doesn't infringe on any Constitutional rights as it is written. Now, not liking a bill and finding it unconstitutional are not mutually exclusive, but neither are they intertwined as so many people think they are.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 6:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is no right to visit a specific website in the Constitution,


And this is where you prove you don't understand the Constitution at all. At all! Whatsoever.

quote:
However, I can remove myself from the fray and look at the law objectively and say that, according to my knowledge, it doesn't infringe on any Constitutional rights as it is written.


Excuse me but I've already provided links, and I can find more, of experts who have FORGOTTEN more about the Constitution than you or I will ever know, who soundly disagree with you.

You're being deliberately obtuse to the point of ignorance, sad to say.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/19/2012 10:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And this is where you prove you don't understand the Constitution at all. At all! Whatsoever.


You know, the funny thing is that I understand it better than you do and I love seeing your continuing analysis of Constitutional law that is completely out of touch with the Supreme Court, except for maybe Justice Thomas. As I noted above, there is no Constitutional right to visit a website and I highly doubt the Supreme Court will ever say that there is. We aren't talking about the fundamental right to travel, associate, right to privacy (which came about through Roe and Griswold and is probably the closest), or any property right. Now I can't prove a negative, so if I am wrong (which I am not), please prove it to me with real evidence (specifically a Supreme Court or Circuit Court of Appeals case) as opposed to the Constitution according to Reclaimer.

quote:
Excuse me but I've already provided links, and I can find more, of experts who have FORGOTTEN more about the Constitution than you or I will ever know, who soundly disagree with you.


I'll see your copyright attorney quoting a Harvard Law professor, that apparently did not read the bill completely and assumes voluntary private compliance is equal to state action, and raise you a practicing constitutional attorney (yes, I know it is an attorney hired by the MPAA, but he is still bound by ethics): http://www.mpaa.org/Resources/1227ef12-e209-4edf-b...

I am well aware that Mr. Tribe disagrees with me, but what Mr. Tribe proposes is that individuals, in their own capacity, are equivalent to states and the federal government, and they can run afoul of the First Amendment. There has been no case where the Supreme Court has ever stated this to be true. Mr. Tribe's whole argument is based on the grounds that an individual filing suit and notifying a service provider or advertiser on the website is tantamount to the government telling individuals they cannot leaflet in the public square. That is where Mr. Tribe's analysis fails - equating personal private action with state action.

quote:
You're being deliberately obtuse to the point of ignorance, sad to say.


As I noted above, this law does have a chilling effect on speech, but there is no prohibition in the Constitution regarding laws that chill speech. This is why we have lawyers. Two lawyers can come to opposite conclusions about the Constitutionality of a law and ultimately, a court has to decide the issue.

Constitutional law is so amorphous because the Constitution was made intentionally vague to avoid situations where Congress would be unintentionally denied a power necessary to govern. Same thing was done to avoid unintentional denials of necessary rights for individuals that were inconceivable at the time of writing.

Ultimately, you just don't like what I have to say because it doesn't comport to your version of reality. Whenever you feel like someone is gaining the upper hand over you, you resort to ad hominem attacks in your replies.

Furthermore, I noted above that I don't like the law because of the possible inadvertent effects that it could have, including chilling speech and self-censorship. However, this doesn't make the law unconstitutional. You for some reason equate every law that you don't like as one that is unconstitutional, which is inaccurate.

Now if you bring me a link to Erwin Chemerinsky, Kathleen Sullivan, or Gerald Gunther saying the law is unconstitutional then I might be more inclined to believe that the law is unconstitutional. I would especially believe it, and post that you are correct, if you got Gerald Gunther to say it was unconstitutional, but I don't think he will be weighing in on the issue.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 12:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am well aware that Mr. Tribe disagrees with me, but what Mr. Tribe proposes is that individuals, in their own capacity, are equivalent to states and the federal government, and they can run afoul of the First Amendment. There has been no case where the Supreme Court has ever stated this to be true.


One thing I do want to correct before someone addresses it, is that the Court has said individual actions in denying African Americans the right to frequent establishments was in violation of the Civil Rights Act which was supported by the 14th Amendment, and enforced under the Commerce Clause (Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US 379 US 241 (1964)). A minor splitting of hairs, but I also don't want to be accused misleading people. So the government has, in effect, made the 14th Amendment apply to individuals' actions. However, it still stands that the Court has not imposed the observance of 1st Amendment protections on actions taken between private individuals.


RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/20/2012 9:28:40 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
As I noted above, there is no Constitutional right to visit a website and I highly doubt the Supreme Court will ever say that there is.


That's like saying because the Constitution doesn't specifically say I have a right to walk and chew bubble gum, that Congress can pass a law saying I can't. Again, you prove you just do NOT understand the Constitution and enumerated powers.

quote:
Constitutional law is so amorphous because the Constitution was made intentionally vague to avoid situations where Congress would be unintentionally denied a power necessary to govern.


Again, proving your ignorance. The Constitution is not vague at all. Not even close.

And in those situations where a specific power "needed to govern" isn't granted, they allowed for that. It's called an AMENDMENT'S system, maybe you've heard of it? If you want to change or add something, you're supposed to pass Amendments, not simply throw our hands up and say "oh well, it's vague, so we need to ram this law through".

Basically your supporting the same mindset that has lead up to the mess we have now. Interpreting the Constitution so the commerce clause, for example, can be cited as to allow the Government to do everything and anything. Even things specifically NOT granted to them in this document you call "vague".

quote:
(yes, I know it is an attorney hired by the MPAA, but he is still bound by ethics)


That's bullshit and you know it. He's bought and paid for, I'm not even reading this tainted drivel.

quote:
Now if you bring me a link to Erwin Chemerinsky, Kathleen Sullivan, or Gerald Gunther saying the law is unconstitutional


All of those people are JUST as respected and accredited and qualified as Tribe. Yet because they haven't spoken out on SOPA yet, and Tribe has, that automatically makes him wrong and my source not count? Man that's a terrific debate tactic you're using. I'll have to remember to try that sometime...

And Sullivan? Jesus Christ, could you possibly find someone MORE Liberal than her? I'm sure she thinks SOPA is a great idea, and clearly "Constitutional". This is someone who thinks it's "Constitutional" for Obamacare to force citizens into buying federally ran health insurance for christ sake.

quote:
Furthermore, I noted above that I don't like the law


No. If you're against me on this, then you ARE supporting the law.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 3:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's like saying because the Constitution doesn't specifically say I have a right to walk and chew bubble gum, that Congress can pass a law saying I can't. Again, you prove you just do NOT understand the Constitution and enumerated powers.


I never said that they could pass such a law. Great straw man argument by the way. Once again, there is NO Constitutional right to visit a specific website. If you think there is, then by your thinking: healthcare is a right, internet access is a right, being rich is a right, etc. NONE of these are rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. Please find me a case, US Supreme Court or Federal Circuit Court of Appeals case where it says that accessing a website is a right, or for that matter, any of the "rights" listed above.

Oh and by the way, the Constitution does say you have a right to walk on a public road. It's part of the fundamental right to travel.

quote:
Again, proving your ignorance. The Constitution is not vague at all. Not even close.


You just astound me. Look at Article I, Section 8 and look at the 1th Amendment and tell me that those are not intentionally vague. The Constitution is only 4440 words long. It has to be vague! I could write a short story that length. Compare the US Constitution to any state constitution and you will see that the state constitutions are much more specific and much longer. The states can throw away their constitution and start anew, but we don't have that luxury with the US Constitution.

quote:
Basically your supporting the same mindset that has lead up to the mess we have now. Interpreting the Constitution so the commerce clause, for example, can be cited as to allow the Government to do everything and anything. Even things specifically NOT granted to them in this document you call "vague".


Basically, I am supporting what the Supreme Court has stated regarding the US Constitution. The commerce clause is restricted in that it has to deal with the channels or instrumentalities of commerce or the activity must have a substantial effect on interestate commerce. Laws have been struck down because they've been pushed through under the commerce clause. Read up on the gun prohibition in school zone case and the violence against women act case. Both lost a constitutional challenge even though they were enacted under the commerce clause.

Oh and by the way, the vagueness comes from the wording of the constitutional provisions. For example, what does it mean to regulate commerce among the several states? Or, how does the government provide and maintain the navy? Do they build the ships themselves, buy them, or give out letters of marque to privateers? You might want to go back and read the Constitution again because even Supreme Court Justices have said the document is vague.

quote:
All of those people are JUST as respected and accredited and qualified as Tribe. Yet because they haven't spoken out on SOPA yet, and Tribe has, that automatically makes him wrong and my source not count? Man that's a terrific debate tactic you're using. I'll have to remember to try that sometime...


You already have used a form of it and it's better than ad hominem attacks, but let's not digress. I cannot honestly say that I have ever read any of Mr. Tribe's work, except for the piece that your copyright lawyer's post quoted. I've seen and read numerous articles and treatises written by the three I have listed, not to mention personally attending a lecture by Chemerinsky. Forgive me if I prefer that specific group of individuals' opinions over a different individual who I have never read prior to yesterday. Now we aren't dealing in the absolutes of physics, it's law and it is open to interpretation in many different ways.

quote:
This is someone who thinks it's "Constitutional" for Obamacare to force citizens into buying federally ran health insurance for christ sake.


And who is to say it is not? I already know that you don't like the Affordable Health Care for America Act, so therefore, you think it is unconstitutional. However, there is a split as to it's Constitutionality of the individual mandate, which taxes individuals extra to encourage them to buy health insurance (which is not the same as forcing). With half the courts saying it's constitutional, who's to say that she won't be found to be correct in her assessment?

quote:
No. If you're against me on this, then you ARE supporting the law.


This is just stupid. If I am against your misinformed view of the constitutionality and nature of the law (not to mention your skewed view of the Constitution itself), then I'm automatically for the law itself? No, you're wrong. As I said before, I don't support the law, but it is Constitutionally permissible, as I have read it.

Now Supreme Court Justices have time and again found laws constitutional that they have not supported and vice versa. That is why judges are considered neutral arbiters. They have the ability to look at a law dispassionately to determine its constitutional legitimacy. Are you saying that others cannot do the same? Or are you saying judges can't do it either?


RE: Boycott?
By someguy123 on 1/19/2012 4:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
The issue here is that the court orders can be obtained by accusation. This is not proof that any violations have occurred, just enough to sway a judge. With this court order you can force the website shut down, block content, or pull advertising. It also stipulates that you'd be able to force search engines to immediately drop results.

They're looking for the power to damage these websites well before they've been proven guilty. Even if they are innocent they need to prove their innocence in court before they can reopen their website, and would've lost quite a bit of income, or at the very least usercount from the simple act of arbitrarily suspending the website. I can't see this as anything but guilty until proven innocent, which is unconstitutional.


RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 3:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The issue here is that the court orders can be obtained by accusation. This is not proof that any violations have occurred, just enough to sway a judge.


Court orders for injunctions and TROs are pretty hard to get. They are only issued if a judge believes that the plaintiff will win on the merits of the case and that the defendant will continue to harm the plaintiff. "Just enough to sway a judge" is quite a bit, if he is following the law.

quote:
They're looking for the power to damage these websites well before they've been proven guilty. Even if they are innocent they need to prove their innocence in court before they can reopen their website, and would've lost quite a bit of income, or at the very least usercount from the simple act of arbitrarily suspending the website. I can't see this as anything but guilty until proven innocent, which is unconstitutional.


You must absolutely hate intellectual property law in general. We have been doing this for decades. Apple did it to HTC, Samsung to Apple, etc. Furthermore, there is no arbitrary nature to a TRO or injunction. They are also not saying he is guilty before they even go to trial. They are simply saying that they have enough evidence, which a judge has seen and agrees with, to win a case and rather than allow someone to steal from them for another couple of years, they want it to stop immediately.

It's no different that telling a shoplifter that he can't go back into the same store to shoplift again when an eyewitness saw him taking things from the store. If a court let him go back, the shoplifter would just steal and steal again until he was convicted and thrown in jail.


RE: Boycott?
By zzeoss on 1/19/2012 4:34:09 AM , Rating: 3
Quote from techdirt:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120118/09090217...

quote:
First it claims that there's little fight between copyright and the First Amendment because the two things were put in place at about the same time. That's a specious argument for a variety of reasons. First, the original copyright law was significantly limited in a way that it was unlikely to really come into conflict with the First Amendment. It was limited to just a few specific areas, and for a very short period of time. It's only now that (1) copyright law has been totally flipped to make just about everything you create covered by copyright, (2) the law has been massively expanded in time and (3) changes in technology make us all create tons of "copyrighted" material all the time -- things have changed an entirely. It's hard to see how the Court can reasonably argue that the traditional contours of copyright law have not changed... but that's exactly what it does.


RE: Boycott?
By bug77 on 1/19/2012 10:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
At least they'd know for any stupid law they support, something bad will happen to them.
If were an American, I'd just send a short letter to my congressman: "Should I find your vote in favor of SOPA/PIPA, you will not get my vote next time."


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