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Hate SOPA: Check Out The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); The US Has Already Signed It

January 25th, 2012 Comments off

Forbes.com just covered the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ) (ACTA) which is an Agreement or treaty if you will, which contains some provisions “which are similar to – and more expansive than – anything we saw in SOPA.”

The ACTA is being treated as by the US as an Executive Agreement rather than a treaty.  A treaty would have to be approved by the Senate, while an Executive Agreement can just be signed by the President.

President Obama signed the ACTA a few months ago.

According to Thejournal.ie,  Ireland and the EU are suppose to sign the Agreement tomorrow as well.

Other countries that have signed or are considering signing it are include;  Japan, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland.

“”The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes between governments with little or no public input. The Bush administration started the process, but the Obama administration has aggressively pursued it.”

This is what the Electron Frontier Foundation (EFF) says about the ACTA:

“”ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet legitimate commerce and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development.”"

“”ACTA is being negotiated by a select group of industrialized countries outside of existing international multilateral venues for creating new IP norms such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and (since TRIPs) the World Trade Organization. Both civil society and developing countries are intentionally being excluded from these negotiations. While the existing international fora provide (at least to some extent) room for a range of views to be heard and addressed no such checks and balances will influence the outcome of the ACTA negotiations”".

“”The Fact Sheet published by the USTR together with the USTR’s 2008 “Special 301″ report make it clear that the goal is to create a new standard of intellectual property enforcement above the current internationally-agreed standards in the TRIPs Agreement and increased international cooperation including sharing of information between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

“”"While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA a document recently leaked to the public entitled “Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement” from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for – including new legal regimes to “encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders in the removal of infringing material” criminal measures and increased border search powers.…

Categories: ACTA, External Articles, Legal, SOPA Tags:

A Visual Gallery: Which Sites Protested SOPA & PIPA on January 18th?

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

As most are aware, today, Wednesday, January 18th, thousands of websites went dark to protest SOPA & PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and (Protect IP Act) similar to sites like Wired.comWired.com, as seen in the image.

DomainTools provisioned its historic thumbnailing service on a new site called Screenshots.com, as announced in December.  Today, we customized that service to capture the homepages of websites that are protesting SOPA & PIPA so you can see how their content and message has changed in light of the protest.

To memorialize this historic event in Internet history, we also created a specific page to feature and archive a sampling of many of the sites as they existed today.

If you would like to learn more, here are a few good sources regarding the acts and protest:

It should be noted that a number of companies in the domain space have joined the fight, including our friends at Tucows and NameCheap.

If you visit Screenshots.com, you can queue other sites for screen capture by using the link on the right side of the search results page.  If we do not yet have any screenshots for your site, by searching for the site on Screenshots.comScreenshots.com you have automatically queued it for capture.

PIPA co-sponsor Richard “Dick” Durbin Wrote Me. . . Little Old Me !

January 18th, 2012 Comments off
SOPA and PIPA are the hot topic today but according to Digital Trends writer Andrew Couts PIPA may be closer to passing as time for a vote draws near.

PIPA, on the other hand, is still very much alive. It has already passed through committee hearings — a step further than SOPA ever took. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has so far stood firm on bringing PIPA up for a vote before the full Senate on January 24.

While another sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy seems to have given a little ground with proposing “that the positive and negative effects of this provision be studied before implemented, so that we can focus on the other important provisions in this bill”
It’s my understanding that the bills differ in the powers and process that the Justice Department is given when  taking down a site and also the requirement that sites linking to that content would have to police the content of where those links go.  However, both bills create a whole host of other problems, no matter that one fixes a problem that the other contains.  A simple read over at the EFF site explains most of this in much greater detail than I care to go in to or bore you with.  The entire PIPA legislation can also be viewed  here
I emailed my Senator (Richard Durbin, Democrat, from Illinois) to express my concerns and this is the form letter I received.
Dear Mr. Strong:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011 and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I appreciate hearing from you.
The bipartisan PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), which was based on last year’s Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, would authorize the Department of Justice to pursue court orders to take action against websites that are dedicated to selling pirated and counterfeit goods. I am a cosponsor of S. 968.
It is important to note that this legislation seeks to address a serious problem without inappropriately restricting Internet freedom. The Justice Department currently lacks tools to effectively enforce anti-piracy and counterfeiting laws against websites that are dedicated to distributing material in violation of these laws.
This legislation seeks to address this problem by enabling the Justice Department to target these websites through court orders, while also providing the websites with the opportunity to petition a court to lift an order. The bill is narrowly tailored so as not to include legitimate websites and it includes important procedural protections to prevent misuse of this authority. For a court order to be issued, the Justice Department must show that the website in question is directed at customers in the United States and that it harms holders of U.S. intellectual property. In addition, the Department is required to promptly serve notice of the action after the filing.
S. 968 provides a narrower definition of a website “dedicated to infringing activities” than the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. In addition, while the PROTECT IP Act would authorize the Attorney General and rights holders to bring actions against online infringers operating a rogue website or domain, the remedies are limited to blocking financial gains of the site but not blocking access. Also, this bill ensures that third-parties (e.g. internet service providers, payment processors, advertising networks) are not overly burdened to comply with an order beyond what is feasible and reasonable.
In May 2011, this bill was approved unanimously by a voice vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate will vote on whether to bring debate to a close on PROTECT IP Act in January 2012.
In the House of Representatives, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261. This bill has many of the same provisions as the PROTECT IP Act, such as providing the Justice Department with legal tools to prevent foreign websites from selling copyrighted material to American consumers. However, H.R. 3261 has more stringent requirements for third-parties to comply with court orders. This bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Effective enforcement of intellectual property laws is critical to the encouragement of innovation and the creation of jobs. In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of Internet websites that are devoted to the unauthorized distribution and sale of pirated and counterfeit goods. These websites deprive innovators and businesses of revenue and result in the loss of American jobs. In addition, these websites present a public health concern when they sell counterfeit, adulterated, or misbranded pharmaceutical products.
I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers this issue in the coming months.
Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

(c) 2011 DomainNameNews.com (6)


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Categories: dick durbin, eff, External Articles, News, PIPA, SOPA Tags:

Domain Registrars “Blackout” in Opposition of SOPA and PIPA legislation

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the online protest with sites like Wikipedia, Reddit.com and thousands of other sites going “dark” to protest the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation. Even Google blacked out their logo today in protest.

If you haven’t noticed this maybe you noticed that your favorite registrar also joined in the protest. Domain name registrars such as NameCheap.com, Name.com, Hover.com (and likely some others I’m not aware of) jumped on the protest bandwagon today as well. Name.com blacked out their sites name similar to what Google.com did. Hover.com, whose parent company Tucows shut down their software downloading site for the day, ran a simple header across the top of their site in protest.  Namecheap.com took it the furthest with a complete “overlay” of their home page turning it in to a virtual blackout in protest of the US legislation.

Godaddy.com which had previously been blasted for supporting the bill also did their best to protest their new stance with a pip-squeak banner ad “below the fold/babes” on their homepage. With all the bells and whistle distractions on the Godaddy homepage, I’m sure this caused mass confusion for their customer base :)

Many before me have pointed out the concern with the SOPA and PIPA legislation and why it is dangerous. Hopefully the US legislators begin to hear from the people that are opposed to this and start to change their stance or reconsider the way to fix the problem without creating more problems.

  Here’s a video that explains things

(c) 2011 DomainNameNews.com (5)


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While Thousands Of Sites Blackout To Fight SOPA, Marchex Owned Pirate.com Tries To Monetize Piracy

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

Today is of course the day that a lot of thousands of sites have blacked themselves out in protect of the SOPA bill, including mainstream sites like Wikipedia.org, WordPress.org, and some inside the domain industry like Tucows.com and NameCheap.com .

However one site that looks alive and well is Pirate.com owned by Marchex.

Not only is the site live, but its full of keywords to exactly the type of sites the SOPA bill and its supporters are trying to outlaw.

Keywords on the parked page are all about free download sites for music, movies, games, torrent sites, and even to arguably the number one target of the law, The Pirate Bay, are displayed all over the PPC page.

Not the smartest use of the domain, especially with SOPA, PIPA and opposition to them in the news everyday.

No Bueno

 

 

Categories: External Articles, SOPA Tags:

WhiteHouse Issues 1st Statement On SOPA & PIPA: “We Will Not Support Legislation That Reduces Freedom of Expression”

January 14th, 2012 Comments off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

 

Today The Whitehouse for the 1st time has issued a statement regarding SOPA and PIPA saying that;

“”We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

Here is the full statement:

“Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support.”

“Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.”

“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

“Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity. Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing.
We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.
Let us be clear—online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs.  It harms everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response.  We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.
This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.
So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don’t limit your opinion to what’s the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what’s right. Already, many of members of Congress are asking for public input around the issue. We are paying close attention to those opportunities, as well as to public input to the Administration. The organizer of this petition and a random sample of the signers will be invited to a conference call to discuss this issue further with Administration officials and soon after that, we will host an online event to get more input and answer your questions. Details on that will follow in the coming days.

Washington needs to hear your best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue websites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders. We should all be committed to working with all interested constituencies to develop new legal tools to protect global intellectual property rights without jeopardizing the openness of the Internet. Our hope is that you will bring enthusiasm and know-how to this important challenge.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis on legislation that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation. Again, thank you for taking the time to participate in this important process. We hope you’ll continue to be part of it:

 

Categories: External Articles, Leahy Bill, Legal, SOPA Tags:

Issa: Flawed SOPA Bill Not Headed to House Floor: SOPA Hearing For Wednesday Cancelled

January 14th, 2012 Comments off

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, which was to examine the impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on the Internet, has been postponed following assurances that anti-piracy legislation will not move to the House floor this Congress without a consensus.

“While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House.”

“Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote,” said Chairman Issa.

“The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal.”

“Earlier tonight, Chairman Smith announced that he will remove the DNS blocking provision from his legislation.”

“Although SOPA, despite the removal of this provision, is still a fundamentally flawed bill, I have decided that postponing the scheduled hearing on DNS blocking with technical experts is the best course of action at this time. Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks.”

“Chairman Issa intends to continue to push for Congress to heed the advice of Internet experts on anti-piracy legislation and to push for the consideration and passage of the bipartisan OPEN Act, which provides an alternative means for protecting intellectual property rights without undermining the structure and entrepreneurialism of the Internet. “

Categories: External Articles, SOPA Tags:

Tucows: Why We Don’t Like SOPA & Joins Reddit Blackout On January 18th

January 12th, 2012 Comments off

Tucows.com just published a post its site entitled “Why We Don’t Like SOPA and promises to follow Reddit lead and blackout its site on January 18th

The story is written by Elliot Noss the CEO of Tucows.com

Tucows.com is the 3rd largest registrar in the world with almost 9 Million domains under management according to registrarStats.com

We congratulate Tucows for taking a strong stance on this and joining the black out which will cost them a day of revenue.

Here is the full post:

“”The proposed SOPA (and equally odious “Protect IP Act“) legislation is fundamentally flawed in how it works and the damage it is likely to do to the Internet, which has been the greatest platform for innovation the world has ever seen.”

“For that reason we will be joining the blackout organized by our friends at Reddit by blacking out the Tucows Software Download site on January 18th from 8am to 8pm EST (1300-0100 UTC).”

“The Internet is a global creature. A “Made in the USA” solution will no more work to stop the problems talked of than would one made in any other single nation state. Worse, the US has been at the forefront of ensuring that the Internet has remained free and a platform for innovation for the last fifteen years. With SOPA, or ProtectIP, that leadership will effectively end and Syria, China, Iran and others will not only use the US as a role model, they will also use these actions as further evidence of US control of the Internet and justification for trying to turn it over to the UN/ITU. This is best described by Susan Crawford.”

“Worse, the legislation itself is fundamentally corrupt. It is bought and paid for by big media, trying vainly to protect anachronistic business models. This has been demonstrated clearly in all of the hearings and the very conduct of the debate. Listening to how deeply uninformed those being asked to legislate this issue are has been nothing short of scary. Watching how support and opposition has lined up has been disheartening. This is the worst example of the kind of fundamental corruption that is at the heart of the US political system currently and is well defined by Professor Larry Lessig. If you have ten minutes please watch this video on the subject.”

“If you have an hour please watch this one.”

“The Internet is not a corpus, it is not a thing. It is a series of protocols, which are really agreements on how computers will behave when connected to the Internet. Treating the Internet like a thing to be legislated and controlled is as ill-conceived as treating “Intellectual Property” like physical property and leads to even greater perversions. ”

“If governments squeeze too tightly, the Internet as we know it will simply get up and walk away. It will fracture and split with a “clean” Internet and a much larger Darknet. than there is today, but not one used mainly for file sharing. Instead the Darknet will become the real Internet. Brands will sell things and Media will offer content on the “Cleannet”, but the Darknet will be where ideas are shared, plans are made, memes are propagated and where most of the cool people, including most of our children, will be.

Prohibitions have never worked to change behaviours. They simply make people who fear things feel good and create a new mini-industry for fear mongers to make money off of.

They do not change behaviours.”"

House Committe Chariman Issa Calls For Hearing On DNS & Search Engine Blocking On Jan 18th

January 9th, 2012 Comments off

The Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced that the Full Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to examine the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking system like that proposed in SOPA will have on American cyber-security, jobs and the Internet community.

In light of policy proposals affecting the way taxpayers access the Internet, the hearing will also explore federal government strategies to protect American intellectual property without adversely affecting economic growth.

The Committee will hear testimony from top cyber-security experts and technology job creators.
“An open Internet is crucial to American job creation, government operations, and the daily routines of Americans from all walks of life,” said Issa. “The public deserves a full discussion about the consequences of changing the way Americans access information and communicate on the Internet today.”

The witness list includes strong opponents of SOPA and will lay out a powerful case that it will be ineffective at stemming piracy while discouraging Internet investment and innovation,undermining cybersecurity and promoting Internet censorship.

Among the witnesses, Stewart Baker is former General Counsel to the National Security Agency as well as Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security; Dan Kaminsky is one of the most respected Internet security experts in the world, and Alexis Ohanian’s Reddit.com is the Internet news aggregator where the campaign against Go Daddy was initiated that led to the reversal of its support for SOPA.

Here is the full witness list:

Mr. Stewart Baker: Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventures

Mr. Daniel Kaminsky: Security Researcher and Fortune 500 Advisor

Mr. Michael Macleod-Ball: Chief of Staff/First Amendment Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union

Mr. Lanham Napier: Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace Hosting

Dr. Leonard Napolitano: Director, Center for Computer Sciences & Information Technology Sandia National Laboratories

Mr. Alexis Ohanian: Co-Founder, Reddit.com, and Web Entrepreneur

As the January 18th hearing approaches, more information will be made available at http://oversight.house.gov.

Categories: External Articles, Legal, SOPA Tags:

2 Weeks Of SOPA: The Actual Godaddy Numbers: 100K Domains Transferred Out, 117K Domains Transferred In

January 6th, 2012 Comments off

When the story first broke about the Godaddy boycott or “move your domain away” movement to protest Godaddy’s support of SOPA, it was two weeks ago on December 22nd.

A few days later, we released numbers based off of DailyChanges.com which we acknowledged were only a best guess based on changes made to Godaddy’s default servers of DomainControl.com and promised as soon as we had actual numbers we would report them.

Well we have been tracking the daily incoming and outgoing domain name transfers for Godaddy ever since through RegistrarStats.com, and now exactly two weeks to the day we have “Real Numbers” of completed transfers into and out of Godaddy.

The final tally:

100,000 domain names were transferred away from Godaddy

117,000 domain names were transferred into Godaddy.com

Since RegistrarStats.com is a paid service we can’t share exact and detailed numbers, but of those registrars that got the most domain names from Godaddy transferred to it, Enom.com led the way.

NameCheap.com was one of the registrars that jumped on the Boycott or “move your domain away” and issued special discount codes and promised to contribute money to he EFF if it met certain transfer in goals.

NameCheap is a Enom reseller so all of those incoming transfers into NameCheap show up under Enom.

After Enom the other registrars getting the most incoming transfers from Godaddy during this two week period were, Tucows, Name.com, and KeySystems.com.

However during the same two week period 117,000 domain names were transferred into Godaddy.com

The registrars that lost the most domain names to Godaddy in that time frame were, Moniker.com, Enom.com and Tucows.com

In the last 30 days, once again according to RegistrarStats.com, of the top 25 domain name registrars, 14 of them lost more domains through transfers out and deletions than they gained from transfers in and new registrations.

Meaning only 11 of the top 25 domain name registrars gained domains under management in the last 30 days.

The biggest gainer?

Godaddy.com

Godaddy.com had by far the largest gain of domain names adding over 200,000 in the last 30 days.

The biggest loser?

Moniker.com which lost around 80,000 domain names in the last 30 days.

For some disclaimers.

The numbers contained herein only include completed domain transfers.

Transfers that are in the process but not yet completed or transfers that failed for some reason are not included.

Also RegistrarStats.com has its own series of disclaimers you can read here.

We also discarded any transfer from or to BlueRazor and WildWest, two other registrar under Godaddy ownership.

If your very interested in stats from the registrars there really is no better source than RegistrarStats.com although you would like I had to pay for the service to have access to it.

So we will schedule a final update on the number for two weeks.

I have read some stories that suggest that the Godady “Boycott” was some how unsuccessful.

However clearly the company changed its position and not only no longer supports SOPA, but is now against the bill.

So customers spoke and the company listened I don’t know how much more you can ask for.

The battle over SOPA is far from over, and hearing are scheduled again in Congress this month.

We will keep you updated.

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