Pin Eight is on strike

The Internet is striking against censorship.

Senate Bill 968, the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011". If enacted into law, it would require Internet service providers to block access to the site and require payment processors and advertisers to stop doing business with the site, solely on an accusation that something on that web site facilitates infringement of a copyright.

Some copyright owners, notably including the major publishers of films and recorded music, have been known to make such accusations even against web sites that make perfectly legal uses of copyrighted works. U.S. copyright law contains an exception called fair use, which allows people to use excerpts from a work in a comment on that work without permission from the work's copyright owner. Without fair use, copyright would violate the constitutional protection of freedom of the press. And in other cases, copyright owners have made complaints based solely on the title of a work posted online without even attempting to verify that the works are infringing. The most notable of these is probably the "Usher" case, in which a record label confused a college professor's recorded lectures with studio recordings of a recording artist who happened to have the same name.

Despite its name, PROTECTIP would do the exact opposite of protecting the Internet protocols. The Internet is intended to be a means of sending messages from any computer to another, yet PROTECTIP would require Internet service providers to intrude into it. For example, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates human-readable addresses (such as or into the numeric addresses that the network uses internally. If a DNS server lies about these numbers, you could be handing your information to miscreants who would use your identity to steal from you. A recently implemented extension to DNS called DNSSEC helps ensure that your DNS server is not lying, but PROTECTIP forces ISPs to make their DNS servers lie, breaking DNSSEC. This method of censorship of the Internet by making DNS servers lie follows in the footsteps of censorship of the Internet in China, Sudan, and Syria.

PROTECTIP would kill American jobs. Fewer people would think of starting a company whose web site depends on submissions from its users, such as YouTube, Reddit, or Twitter, for fear that they might get shut down should one of their users appear to infringe a copyright.

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