Cyberpunk Review » Internet blackened by SOPA.

January 22, 2012

Internet blackened by SOPA.

Source: Here’s some from Yahoo!

Wikipedia blackout

Wikipedia was one site that went dark to protest SOPA and PIPA act now being debated in America’s Congress. If they pass, will the Internet look like this?

In case you missed it, a good part of the Internet went “dark” on 18-Jan-2012 to protest two bills now being considered in US Congress. They are H.R.3261 (aka “Stop Online Piracy Act,” or SOPA) and S.968 (aka “Protect Intellectual Property Act,” or “Protect IP” or PIPA).

These two bills, IF passed and signed into law, are supposed to end… or at least curtail… Internet “piracy.” But, there are major problems with both bills. Problems that can not only hurt legitimate sites and users, but can be exploited and abused to no end. The EFF has a one-page list of problems (PDF).


Rep. Lamar Smith

Meet Rep. Lamar Smith, the asswipe behind SOPA. If I had more time, I would have drawn a dick on his face.

Cowboy politics. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the mastermind behind SOPA, introducing it back in October. It seems, however, that he has been grazing on some “greener” pastures:

(CNET) - As CNET reported in December, Smith, a self-described former ranch manager whose congressional district encompasses the cropland and grazing land stretching between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, has become Hollywood’s favorite Republican. The TV, movie, and music industries are the top donors to his 2012 campaign committee, and he’s been feted by music and movie industry lobbyists at dinners and concerts.

Back-pocket puppet of the MPAA/RIAA cartel, in other words, representing farmers, not tech industries. Little wonder why many believe that SOPA is just bad and wrong, and it would do more harm than good.


What harm could it do? SOPA is worded to make “offending” sites vanish from the Net completely. At least that’s how CNET describes SOPA section 102:

A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order…Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within five days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order.

There’s also a problem of scope: PIPA primarily targets the offender’s DNS providers and finances. SOPA is reportedly broader, going after their ISPs and even requiring them to monitor traffic including using deep packet inspection. Reddit goes into gory detail about what they would need to do if they receive a SOPA notice:

(Reddit SOPA FAQ) - If the Attorney General served reddit with an order to remove links to a domain, we would be required to scrub every post and comment on the site containing the domain and censor the links out, even if the specific link contained no infringing content. We would also need to implement a system to automatically censor the domain from any future posts or comments. This places a measurable burden upon the site’s technical infrastructure. It also damages one of the most important tenets of reddit, and the internet as a whole – free and open discussion about whatever the fuck you want.

This may be why the likes of Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, and others don’t like what SOPA represents. Even now, some companies that originally backed SOPA are now having second thoughts.


“Verizon continues to look at SOPA, and while it’s fair to say that we have concerns about the legislation, we are working with congressional staff to address those concerns,” a representative told us.

Tim McKone, AT&T’s executive vice president of federal relations, said that “we have been supportive of the general framework” of the Senate bill. But when it comes to SOPA, all AT&T would say is that it is “working constructively with Chairman Smith and others toward a similar end in the House.”


Collateral damage. Not all sites went dark to protect freedom of speech; File-sharing website Megaupload was taken offline (or is at least very slow to respond) as seven people associated with it, including the founder, were arrested for copyright infringement.

(Technorati) Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, is the site’s founder and was arrested in New Zealand, according to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Of the six others indicted, three have been arrested. Officially, the seven people were indicted with five counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy, according to authorities. The nearly two-year investigation was unsealed Thursday (19-Jan-2012) and it revealed that the grand jury in Virginia made its decision almost two weeks ago.

The timing of the arrests, done the day after the blackout, is not only suspicious, but also has made life inconvenient for those who had legitimate use of Megaupload:

(TorrentFreak)The feds shut down MegaUpload a few hours ago.

Eight people we charged with criminal copyright infringement charges, and all files hosted on the site were pulled offline.

However, do the feds realize that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people used the site to share research data, work documents, personal video collections and much more?

What will happen to these personal non-infringing files?

People are outraged on Twitter and are demanding access to their files immediately.

The Twitter posts show the virtual FFFFFUUUUU…-fest of people who lost work due to the shutdown. Anonymous managed to exact a measure of revenge by giving the FBI a DDoS attack. They were joined by 9000 hackers in the attack.


Knowing is half the battle. With all the protests and counter-attacks surrounding SOPA/PIPA and the Megaupload shutdown, Congress finally came to its senses and have “shelved” the two bills… for now.

(AFP via Yahoo)Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he was delaying next week’s vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith said he would “revisit” the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act,” Reid announced in a statement two days after a wave of online protests against the bill swept the Internet.

It appears that freedom of speech has won out, but the victory is only temporary. More likely, there may be some tweaking of the bills to make them more palatable (or at least, more confusing) then reintroduced when everyone has forgotten what the bills were about so there would be less opposition to them. This way, there would be less shit hitting the fans.

Stay tuned… this is far from over.


January 22, 2012

R said:

Come on, ‘years’ without posting any “Cyberpunk Review”, and you come here to tell us this?

It’s not that I think it isn’t relevant, but this is a more ‘political’ than ‘cyberpunk-related’ theme.

(sorry for my english, i’m from mexico)


MAdMaN said:

This is completely cyberpunk-related. It involves big business and government trying to control what a country’s citizens have the right to see, hear and say.

virtual reality 91 said:

Hopefully this bill won’t be re-introduced and tweeked when the outrage has died down like you said, but politicians are so honest and trustworthy that I feel we have nothing to worry about :)

also did you read my comment about posting a review for the 1973 film World on a Wire?
Criterion is releasing a DVD of it in america on February 21st this year.

January 23, 2012

R said:

What I meant is that ‘Cyberpunk’ is a sciene-fiction genre.
It would be a mistake if we try to talk about ‘SOPA’ and big business and goverments just looking the surface of the whole thing that involves a lot more than just the “cyberpunk-related” aproximation.

It’s like the news about people who have implants. We’ll need a lot more of knowledge to really got a good point, and discuss about it, than “oh my god, cyborgs are here”.

Anyway, I’m not saying it is not important or something like that. I really have trouble explaining this, sorry.


SSJKamui said:

Well, I think this topic is indeed important to discuss on CyberpunkReview and to bring it on the main page. (Because I think this SOPA is really, really dangerous especially for sites covering media themes like Cyberpunk Review.) So, I think it’s good that Mr.Roboto brought up this topic.

And in past, there were some far more senseless topics on the main page, so, I don’t think there is a huge problem with it.

I agree, because of the low posting frequency of Mr.Roboto, there is a bit of a capacity problem a la “because of this, something else won’t be posted soon”. This is indeed some problem, but I think this could be easily solved if Mr.Roboto would post more.

January 24, 2012

Burnt_Lombard said:

Science fiction or at least good S.F. has always been a mirror to show where we are and where we are going.

I’d say the topic is relevant to the site.

January 26, 2012

sharewareguy said:

I’m glad they shut down Megauplaod and arrested that awful Kim Schmitz.

I also fully support SOPA.

January 27, 2012

Banana said:

I say put a couple well aimed bullets on that Lamar Smith guy.

In a few years from now, when people just barely remember that the Internet was once a free place for free people and free thought, at least we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing the person responsible for the change is dead.

And someone please give me sharewareguy’s IP, I’m doing him too.

January 28, 2012

nateo said:

i bet you’re thinking hard about doing sharewareguy right now, ‘Banana’.

Oh, banana! You can’t stab or shoot your problems away.

February 3, 2012

Sniper said:

Why, the next piece of news says you can! Besides, once they do shut down the good ol’ Net which we all come to know and troll, some real interesting stuff will happen. Like I2P getting a BOOST in speed and content.

February 8, 2012

Wiggett said:

What we need is a black-internet.

Not racist, I just mean like a black market runs alongside real markets… Have an internet that isn’t controlled by anyone, just a series of servers around the world that hold files that no one controls. Or better yet, someone buy a ship and sail to int. waters with servers there (and some sort of self-sufficient power/maintenance) and have it transmit wireless signals all over. Surely we have the technology to do this? I mean we can send a man to the moon and make creamy soda red or brown in colour, WE HAVE TECHNOLOGY.

Instead of a boat they should put servers on dogs. Why? No one ever suspects the dog. Unless said crime involves eating out of the garbage, then it’s almost always the dog.

February 17, 2012

Frank Garret said:

To the intelliegent poster MadMaN

I completely agree with that! I uploaded a post the other day about how Cyberpunk is slowly becoming a reality. We are building the foundations of a dark future with megacorporations and rampant government control. There are no andriods intelligent enough, still few gloomy polluted cities, and too few hackers at the moment but mark my words the cyberpunk world WILL grow to be reality.

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