SOPA and PIPA Explained

SOPA and PIPA are copyright bills that are coming up to a vote soon in US Congress. SOPA – the “Stop Online Piracy Act” – is the House version, and PIPA – the “Protect IP Act” – is the Senate version. You may have heard SOPA and PIPA mentioned in the news recently. You may also have noticed that over 7,000 sites around the Internet were inaccessible yesterday (January 18). Those 7,000 sites were protesting by self-censoring, and yesterday alone over 7 million Americans called their representatives in opposition to the SOPA and PIPA.

Someone asked me to provide a non-technical explanation of these bills, to understand what is at stake.

SOPA and PIPA are intended to protect copyrighted materials and stop piracy (as their names would suggest). However, what they do to combat piracy is to create a national censorship system. On the frontside of the Internet, search engines like Google and Bing would be required to remove listings for any sites accused of containing links to infringing material. On the backside of the Internet, servers known as nameservers would be required to block access to any accused site. A nameserver is the technology that tells your web browser where to go when you type “”. This level of nameserver-level blocking is already prominent in countries like China and Iran.

An earlier copyright law from 1998, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (or DMCA), required copyright owners to request that material be removed from websites and services. In SOPA, that requirement would be directed to the websites themselves. All websites and services would be required to immediately remove links to copyrighted materials, or else their domain would be blacklisted and their site shutdown. Most user-generated content sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr would be forced to shutdown, as it would be technically unfeasible to keep up with enforcement on such high traffic sites. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ would also likely not be able to continue operations, as any post or comment that contained a link to copyrighted material could potentially shut down the entire site.

Protecting copyright is important, but far-reaching censorship isn’t the way.¬†We can take action and prevent these bills from becoming law. Wikipedia has provided a ZIP lookup tool to point you to the online contact forms for all your representatives.

Ultra-Minimalist Political Ad

I’m not endorsing any candidate or party, but I had to post this as it is the cheapest and funniest political ad I’ve ever seen.


Where are the politicians who support peace?

Goodwill? Love? Patience? Kindness? Compassion?

I have no friends nor champions in this Democratic Congress and Republican White House. I’m so disgusted, I’m having trouble sharing the context of this post. Just follow any news source (but if you choose Fox News, try to at least get a second opinion from CNN or better yet, NPR). My personal free-speech-protected opinion, which I’m entitled to (for now), is that we are in a mindless war with Iraq. We have knowingly immersed ourselves in an unwinnable religious civil war.

And now we’d like to take on Iran. Well, gee… that’s great.

And for all you conservatives – remember that I’m NOT a Democrat or Republican. I’d hardly call myself “liberal.” I’m just slowly discovering that pacifism is a passion of mine, deep down inside.

Don’t Criticize the Iraq Occupation

The White House just released this Executive Order:

Read it and then reread it. It’s for real. There are no 5th Amendment rights or Habeas Corpus available for anyone who falls under the specified criteria of posing “a significant risk of committing an act or acts of violence…” in regards to the Iraq occupation, or funding such acts. All property and interests of the “offender” will be possessed. You can also read clearly that this is specifically referring to United States persons (a group that includes United States citizens), not Iraqis and not just “Enemy Combatants” or criminals. Not that I in any way support violent acts, in protest of the Iraq occupation or otherwise. However, if the government deems you to pose a significant risk of committing (meaning prior to even committing) such an act, then this Executive Order immediately and prejudicially removes your rights.

To be fair, the Department of Treasury has responded to questions about the EO – “Tuesday’s broad executive order on freezing Iraq-related financial assets is solely intended to target supporters of the Iraqi insurgency.” But if that were truly the case, the wording in the order would need to reflect it.

Marshal Law is the next logical step. I for one welcome our new fascist NeoCon overlords.

NeoCon Buzzword Bingo

I am not a Terrorist!How to play:
* 1. Tune into CSPAN, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, the Fascist News Netw…errr, FOX, or even one of the traditional three networks.

* 2. Wait for a NeoCon or proxy to appear at a speaking engagement, press conference, interview, or talking head confrontation.

* 3. Mark off squares as buzzwords are used.

* 4. Celebrate any 5 in a row by shouting “I am not a terrorist” loudly enough that the perfectly legal wiretaps can pick it up.

Play now! – NeoCon Buzzword Bingo.

Just in time for the State of the Union Address – you can watch it for free live on CNN Pipeline.

via BoingBoing

Don’t forget to vote!

While you’re out there rubberstamping your favorite politicians, remember this documentary:

HBO SPECIAL: Hacking Democracy

Skip ahead to 1:09:46 for the absolute best part: a “real-world” hack of an electronic voting machine, using only a tampered memory card.

David Nolan

He founded the Libertarian Party. I am baffled as to why he is running in our district (8). Unless of course, he lives here. In that case I’m just surprised that he lives here.

Sorry for the recent onslaught of political posts. That’s what blogs are useful for, though.

O’Reilly on Oprah

Forget Kyl vs. Pederson. Forget Graf vs. Giffords.

Oprah asked Bill O’Reilly on to her own “No Spin Zone” for a little “Town Hall” discussion. Yeah! I’m actually watching as I’m writing this, so we’ll wait and see who “wins.”

It’s getting a little tense. I love a good fight!

Update: To make things clear, I don’t think Republicans are the only idiots in Washington. Democrats are idiots, too.

How to Hack the Vote

“In all this time, I’ve yet to find a good way to convey to the non-technical public how well and truly screwed up we presently are, six years after the Florida recount. So now it’s time to hit the panic button: In this article, I’m going to show you how to steal an election.” from How to steal an election by hacking a vote over at ArsTechnica.

This guy reveals the relatively easy methods of hacking around e-voting machines and stealing elections. A must read for all geeks, conspiracy theorists, and concerned voters.

via Slashdot