Home > Uncategorized > Reply to Doug Benson re: SOPA

Reply to Doug Benson re: SOPA

Firstly, let me give you a little background on myself. I’m a veteran Windows / Unix administrator that has been working professionally in IT since graduating high school in 1990 but have been ear deep in the world of computers since grammar school. I’ve worked in all-kinds of roles through my career, everything from video game development to most recently, a 6 year stint as a technology director for a large private investigation firm. Having worked in such positions and being and enormous film buff, I am acutely aware how Internet policy affects intellectual property.

My initial tweet to you stemmed from the discussion between yourself and Redban during the last IceHouse podcast. Both of you made some valid points but I felt the discussion did not touch upon the real problems with the proposed legislation which I feel is nothing more than a mechanism to censor free speech on the Internet.

Glaring problems with SOPA

SOPA is a piece of legislation that if passed, will allow the US government and a handful of private sector ‘entities’ to halt traffic to any given Internet domain by blocking the DNS record that resolves the website name to the specific address of the hosting server… without any form of due process or legal procedure. The most obvious problem with policing the Internet in this fashion is that it can be instantly negated by simply using a non-US DNS server to resolve the sites address. In fact, there is already a Firefox plug-in that will toggle the ability for you.

Once you realize the system is inherently flawed, you have to ask yourself why the government would continue to push such a bill forward?

With the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the US government placed the issue of Internet piracy under the jurisdiction of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of Homeland Security which we all know provides zero transparency to the public and consistently hides all of it’s activities behind the curtain of “national security”. If the TRUE goal of SOPA was indeed to protect intellectual property, why would it’s regulation not be placed under the Department of Commerce?

Another interesting note is that if you look at the list of supposed SOPA supporters, you will find that it has nearly no backing from software or technology companies that were in reality, the first industries affected by piracy and have the most experience dealing with the issue. Furthermore, there have been several companies on that list that have now stated they have never endorsed the policy and are demanding they be removed from the list.

While I do whole-heartedly support anything that helps protect intellectual property and provides income to those who create such content, I believe that the most effective way for this to happen is to allow the industry to evolve… Podcasts and other content that can be marketed directly from the creator to the viewer as Louis CK just demonstrated are a perfect example of this evolution and I feel that it will allow for the purest form of artistic expression.

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