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Save Tom's, Stop SOPA

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 189 comments

Here at Tom’s Hardware, you know we don’t typically get political because with the heated debates between AMD vs. Intel who needs Donkeys vs. Elephants?

We’ve got no agenda beyond providing the best hardware news and reviews we can dig up.  But here at Year’s end, there’s a subject we want to share with you that may come to affect how you experience us and the rest of the internet.  It’s called SOPA, or the “Stop Online Piracy Act”, and it is headed through U.S. Congress with its sister bill PROTECT-IP in the Senate.  SOPA threatens to fundamentally change the way information is presented online by placing massive restrictions on user-generated content like posts to forums, video uploads, podcasts or images.  In a nutshell, here’s what the law would do:

  • Assign liability to site owners for everything users post, without consideration for whether or not the user posted without permission.  Site owners could face jail time or heavy fines, and DNS blacklisting.
  • It would require web services like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor and aggressively filter everything all users upload.
  • It would deny site owners due process of law, by initiating a DNS blacklisting based solely on a good faith assertion by an individual copyright or intellectual property owner.
  • It would give the U.S. government the power to selectively censor the web using techniques similar to those used in China, Malaysia and Iran.  The Great Firewall of China is an example of this type of embedded, infrastructural internet censorship.

As an example, imagine a user posts a video clip to the Tom’s Community of a step-by-step guide on how to set up water cooling on an overclocked i7 CPU.  Playing in the background behind the voiceover is “Derezzed” by Daft Punk.  The studio representing Daft Punk could issue a complaint, without being required to notify us or request a take-down.  Tom’s Hardware would be liable and prosecuted solely on a good faith assertion of the copyright owner, without notification, with the site operators subject to possible jail time for not preventing the video from being posted.  In short order, the domain in the United States would no longer resolve to our servers and visitors attempting to come to Tom’s Hardware would be redirected to a “This site under review for piracy/copyright violations” page.
To conform to these new restrictions would mean that Tom’s Hardware would have to switch to a review/approval process for any and all new posts to our forums and articles.  Our community team would have to approve every single news comment, every new thread, and every new response before it went live and filter them for potentially infringing material.  Even so, we would still possibly be under threat from violations not caught – a user posting a paragraph from “Unix for Dummies” as an example or a snippet of software news from another website in excess of a certain summary threshold.  That’s just here on Tom’s.  The effect on sites like YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of the internet would be devastating, and progress and innovation would grind to a halt under the cumbersome new restrictions.
The intent of the legislation is to stop piracy, which isn’t affected in the least by this approach.  The DNS censoring method is circumvented by navigating to the IP directly, and many have already installed Anti-SOPA browser extensions that do this automatically.  Unfortunately the legislation in the House and Senate has a wide margin of bi-partisan support and looks likely to pass after the holidays.  We strongly oppose the censorship of the internet and strongly encourage you to contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators to voice your opposition.  Believe it or not, your Congress-critters do count the number of calls and emails they get on a particular issue, and most of the time only the people in their jurisdiction (read- you) can sway their opinion on something – so your action on this is important.
Please take a moment to contact your representative and tell them you oppose the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House.  Here’s a link that can give you more information and provide you with contact info for your elected official.  Your action on this matters.
The Tom’s Hardware Team
p.s. – Be sure to hit the Share buttons below to tell your friends about this on Facebook and Twitter… while you still can.

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Top Comments
  • 52 Hide
    Jerky_san , December 29, 2011 12:39 PM
    GO TOMS GO!!!
  • 50 Hide
    beppomarx , December 29, 2011 12:39 PM
    My vote against this is in, keep 'em coming.
  • 47 Hide
    cngledad , December 29, 2011 12:44 PM
    Is the US progressing backwards?
Other Comments
    Display all 189 comments.
  • 52 Hide
    Jerky_san , December 29, 2011 12:39 PM
    GO TOMS GO!!!
  • 50 Hide
    beppomarx , December 29, 2011 12:39 PM
    My vote against this is in, keep 'em coming.
  • 30 Hide
    rebel1280 , December 29, 2011 12:41 PM
    Man, China was the first thing that came to mind before you put it in there. I have many strong words and statements that could be said here but I will hold my tongue and contact my local rep. As all of us should! This is utter nonsense and idiocy. Although this is expected, great empires crumble from within.... When you try to control the people like this, they only fight back. We are not China, we aren't descendants of a people crushed by their own government. The US was founded by rebels, what do they expect the descendants of these same rebels to do once they start being controlled against their will again? Look to history congress, you may learn a few things.
  • 47 Hide
    cngledad , December 29, 2011 12:44 PM
    Is the US progressing backwards?
  • -8 Hide
    830hobbes , December 29, 2011 12:46 PM
    Occupy the Internet! Post copyright material to the sites of anyone who has sway in DC. Find a forum on an Exxon website. Post to Youtube. Post to Amazon! We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the landing grounds, we will never surrender!
  • 21 Hide
    katfishgr , December 29, 2011 12:48 PM
    tooooo many regulations already exist in this country!
  • 41 Hide
    jlats26 , December 29, 2011 12:49 PM
    This SOPA really has nothing to do with the control of piracy at all. It's simply a way for the government to gain more CONTROL of the internet. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN
  • 36 Hide
    jojesa , December 29, 2011 12:50 PM
    cngledadIs the US progressing backwards?

    Some morons with their heads up their ass do.
    My vote is in.
  • 25 Hide
    srgess , December 29, 2011 12:55 PM
    damn U.S is coming like hitler dictaturship and korea ! Doesnt seem U.S is a free country anymore. All this because music label want to make more money and artist will get less, we should all rebel like else where against stupid people like that, that always need to get more money even if they are already rich.
  • 24 Hide
    cryogenic , December 29, 2011 12:55 PM
    Come on USA!
    What are you doing?

    The world hasn't event completely ditched "communism" with it's censorship, control, manipulation and the we know best what's good for you mentality and you're trying to recreate something similar ?

    If this passes, I'll be deeply disappointed for the failure of the human race !
  • 28 Hide
    Engima , December 29, 2011 12:57 PM
    If uneducated politicians can pass bills like this which hold an enormous impact for our future, why do we keep electing them? Why don't they broadcast something like this instead of passing it while hoping no one notices? I wish I could have 30 minutes to debate with these "elected" officials....
  • 26 Hide
    WR2 , December 29, 2011 12:57 PM
    Excellent summary guys. Thanks for putting this together.
    It helped change my basic uncomfortable feelings about SOPA into certainty. It's a very bad thing, indeed.
    I will be giving my elected representatives a call.
  • 11 Hide
    custodian-1 , December 29, 2011 1:01 PM
    It didn't work in china. Private DNS server will fix the blacklisting problem. But please send emails and call your senators and representatives and complain or we will be reduced to using the internet like all the pirates do. I know a server in a far far away place. No George you can't claim it.
  • 20 Hide
    bobusboy , December 29, 2011 1:01 PM
    cngledadIs the US progressing backwards?

    The united states has been going in the wrong direction for a long time; for a country that preaches that everyone should have all these personal freedoms. They sure do have a lot of rules restricting what you can and can not do.

    ps: If the united states did this; couldn't websites move out of the united states to...Canada? or Mexico? or anywhere else?
  • 21 Hide
    cookoy , December 29, 2011 1:03 PM
    It's like someone got bitten by a pesky mosquito and he called 911 for help and they nuke the city to kill that mosquito. Bye bye information superhighway.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2011 1:05 PM
    It could be worse than Daft Punk, suppose Intel didn't want instruction on how to OC without burning the chip in the public. They could also aks for a takedown of the url.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2011 1:05 PM
    "To conform to these new restrictions would mean that Tom’s Hardware would have to switch to a review/approval process for any and all new posts to our forums and articles. Our community team would have to approve every single news comment, every new thread, and every new response before it went live and filter them for potentially infringing material. "

    One goal is that it stunts online debate of all issues, including political issues. When you have a government as corrupted as ours, this is a big benefit. Corrupt incumbents want to stay in business, and they are all corrupt. Through their corruption, in fact, the average person in Congress has doubled their wealth in relation to the rest of the American population merely over the last 20 years. This demonstrates, in and of itself, profound corruption at a time where recent census data now shows 1/2 of Americans are poor of close to it.
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2011 1:10 PM

    The SOPA gives the bill power to shut down anyone in any country
  • 7 Hide
    Rock_n_Rolla , December 29, 2011 1:10 PM
    SOPA is saying to the PEOPLE...

    We SOPA, an organization where we have nothing to do and we're so bored with our lives
    that we love to trip and mess with companies, other non government organizations, private
    groups and private individuals in walks of life whom we think violates our so called "EGOTISTICAL
    SELF-PROCLAIMED INTERNET LAW" and sue them just for our SELFISH CAUSE and at the
    same time make our government recognize us and make profits by doing it over and over again"

    -- Well, as far as censorship is concerned, perhaps these PEOPLE doesnt know the meaning of
    FREEDOM and they want to implement a ONE-SIDE UNFAIR LAW where it only favors the FEW
    and not for a greater GOOD of the many (Obviously).

    In addition, these people perhaps are illitirate and want to implement (again) ONE-SIDE UNFAIR |
    LAW in the wrong place where it doesnt need to be implemented.

    -- It is like you're driving in a car and listening to an mp3 you play in your IPOD then suddenly
    you were stoped by a private citizen then ask where to downloaded your MP3 you're currently
    listening to then disturbs and forced you to come in front of a federal judge and accusing you
    of music piracy!

    If you're on your way to work then this happens to you what would you do?...
    that private CITIZEN is like the SOPA!.. Likes to mess with things that are functioning properly.

    If some SOPA peeps are reading this, one thing i can say to you...
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2011 1:14 PM
    Computer-illiterate congressman and senators should not be voting on something they don't understand. This bill has gotten so far because of the brainwashing done by the big media publishing companies to persuade our government officials to vote on crap like this. They'll do anything for the benefit of themselves, even if it completely destroys innovation and grinds new web development to a halt.
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