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Ask Slashdot: How To Inform a Non-Techie About Proposed Copyright Laws 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-the-facts-mam dept.
First time accepted submitter skywiseguy writes "I know someone who continues to argue that the takedown of MegaUpload shows that the existing laws are not adequate and that we *need* SOPA/PIPA to protect the movie/music industries from offshore (non-US) piracy. I keep trying to inform him of the history the *AA's have brought to bear on the copyright laws and how these bills are something that will continue the abuse of copyright instead of ending piracy as they are claiming. He has no grasp on how DNS works, much less the internet in general. What can I do to show him how destructive these bills actually are, preferably with something that is as unbiased as possible?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Inform a Non-Techie About Proposed Copyright Laws

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  • ... SOPA/PIPA to protect the movie/music industries from offshore (non-US) piracy.

    SOPA/PIPA were US legislation and would have had only been able to be used to prosecute inside the United States. I think what you and your friend are looking to debate in that respect is ACTA [wikipedia.org] and even that's looking limited.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:46AM (#38877015)

      SOPA/PIPA were US legislation and would have had only been able to be used to prosecute inside the United States.

      SOPA/PIPA were US legislation that were sold largely on their utility in fighting foreign-origin piracy by (among other things) requiring ISPs in the US to block access to foreign sites that were (accused of) providing pirated materials.

      • by wwphx (225607) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @05:19PM (#38882029) Homepage
        I find this whole SOPA/PIPA/ACTA thing amusing in that the United States were major copyright violators in the 18th and 19th centuries, rampantly stealing European copyrighted works. Gilbert & Sullivan premiered Pirates of Penzance in New York City largely to establish American copyright to prevent piracy and were only partially successful. I believe Charles Dickens also had major issues with not getting royalties from American publishers, and in the 20th century French filmmaker Georges Mileas also had problems with American piracy.
        • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @05:30PM (#38882193)

          It is simple really.

          When your country is growing copyright, patents, etc are often ignored by governement because there is always new ideas.

          However once you start going down you keep extending and expanding your "Intellectual property" rights because you don't want people to do you want you do to others.

          Therefore if you want to grow you need to cut copyright and patents back to short terms. I suggest the life of the author for copyright, and 10 years for patents without products and 15 years for patents with shipping products.

    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:51AM (#38877073)
      SOPA/PIPA were US legislation and would have had only been able to be used to prosecute inside the United States.

      Absolutely backwards.
      SOPA, specifically [wikipedia.org] -
      " Rep. Goodlatte, "Intellectual property is one of America's chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws."
      "They say it protects the intellectual-property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites"
      Claiming flaws in present laws that do not cover foreign owned and operated sites, and citing examples of "active promotion of rogue websites" by U.S. search engines, proponents say stronger enforcement tools are needed.

      SOPA is designed to American citizens from accessing foreign sites that are deemed (implied) to be infringing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's a good rule of thumb that any that uses the words 'job creators' is full of shit. That's enough reason for me to be against SOPA.
    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:10AM (#38877291) Homepage

      No need to get into that. Tell him/her that:

      Facts:
      1. Information flows freely between people. There is no way around that. It's been like that since humans were first able to communicate.
      2. This didn't mean much back in the days since information was tied to physical media (books, tapes...), so it was essentially not free except what you could say/listen to, which was naturally limited by our brains.
      3. Information is now infinite and fast and without borders (for all intents and purposes pertaining to copyrights)
      4. You can encrypt and obfuscate communications with the help of computers, beyond the reach of anyone, including the law enforcement. Hence, with little overhead, nobody can tell what you transmit over the internet, except the guy at the other end with the key/password.

      Conclusion:
      0. Anyone can communicate freely with everyone else, MEANS:
      1. Copyrights of information transferable by the internet are not enforceable anymore. Period. Unless you disconnect everyone from the internet.
      2. Any law trying to prevent this will just harm lawful activities on the web by making it more and more cumbersome and risky to operate a legitimate website.
      3. Piracy will not be reduced or stopped by anything else that global extinction of the internet. It is detectable for some part right now because people don't bother hiding themselves. This will change quickly and without pain from the pirates.

      Ah... One last thing: It doesn't mean the end of music/films/books artists, but it surely means the end of movie/films/books distributors.

      • ...that entertainment is not "information," nor should it be free, whether or not it has been "digitized," and to be certain to compensate the writers/musicians/artists/designers/videographers and other creators whose work he/she enjoys.

        • Indeed. Both the questioner and especially the poster to whom you replied have taken the stance that "education" is merely a synonym/thin disguise for propaganda and spin of a very particular and very narrow viewpoint.

          One which, as you so ably illustrate, is not a universal one among "techies". (Making the shaky assumption that "Slashdot reader/poster"=="techie".)

          • Indeed. Both the questioner and especially the poster to whom you replied have taken the stance that "education" is merely a synonym/thin disguise for propaganda and spin of a very particular and very narrow viewpoint.

            And it appears that that even applies to the very poster you replied to.

        • by Wain13001 (1119071) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:35PM (#38878377)

          ...that entertainment is not "information,"...

          you are simply wrong...at it's base level it is all information, and what and how it communicates is different to different observers. As a composer I listen to a lot of music as research, that is damn important information. Even if I am simply being entertained, I am only able to be entertained by being communicated to, it is all information, it is all data.

        • Care to elucidate, then, on how you plan to protect said "digitized" goods?

          Don't forget that everyone agrees that writers/musicians/artists/designers/videographers and other creators ought to be compensated. Unfortunately, that compensation is rapidly changing.

          Look at it this way: their compensation is commensurate with what the market will bear. For digital goods, the value on the *free* market (I say free in the sense of free of regulation) is pretty dang low.

          Sometimes, the truth hurts. But, as the earli

          • Don't forget that everyone agrees that writers/musicians/artists/designers/videographers and other creators ought to be compensated.

            "Everyone"? How can you be sure of that?

        • by aztracker1 (702135) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:43PM (#38878505) Homepage
          So people should have to pay to sing Christmas Carols, or join in campfire songs? Or kids going outside and playing "tag" should pay who? That's entertainment. Those dirty thieves should have to pay, huh? How dare people entertain themselves without compensation. How dare someone stop and look at a public performance, or piece of art without paying the original artist (dead for over a century).

          And to what end does your perpetual view of copyright end? Disney has been dead for far longer than original copyright was, with renewal. IMHO businesses should not be able to own copyright, or patents.. and if they are permitted, it should be considered the after death portion of copyright, since it would be owned by a non-living entity.

          Here is a fact for you... Nobody is owed anything. I can write a song that nobody ever hears, that doesn't mean I am owed anything. If someone hums the melody on a public bus does *NOT* mean they should have to pay me (or ascap, or bmi) a performance fee. When I'm dead, I won't be making any more, so copyright protection does not incentivise my corpse to create crap. The only thing that extending copyright past death + 5 years (max) does is protect an industry that actually creates produces nothing. Especially with distribution channels with nearly zero cost.
      • 1. Copyrights of information transferable by the internet are not enforceable anymore. Period. Unless you disconnect everyone from the internet.

        I would tend to disagree. Commercial use is always going to be enforceable since there's money being moved around.

        Personal use is now not enforceable...or at least at a scale that makes it uneconomical to enforce. A million websites created on a million different servers...in under a day. You simply can't kill that type of scale with laws.

        But a commercial entity using a copyrighted work won't have that type of scale, they are able to be targeted fairly easily.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:36AM (#38876873)

    Find a Good Car Analogy

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I find the basic concept of DNS pretty easy to explain using a phonebook analogy. You know a name and you need a number.

      Although with all this fancy cell phone shit, that may be an out of date concept as well.

    • by jimbolauski (882977) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:48AM (#38877047) Journal
      Your car is a TCP packets, the DNS is your gps, when one person in the town breaks a law the whole town is removed from the gps. Now anyone driving buy looking for a gas/hotel/restaurants will not find one in that town, even though the owners did not break the law their business are hurt, all because one person broke the law in the town.
      • A better analogy would be giving everyone in town a reprimand for one person breaking the law.
        • Except outsiders would still be able to find the town, and with DNS removal only people that know the actual location (IP address) would be able to find it.
      • by azalin (67640) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:24PM (#38878221)

        when one person in the town breaks a law the whole town is removed from the gps.

        Actually someone saying there is a guy breaking the law in this city can be enough for the whole town to be removed. The town will have to prove there is no illegal activity going on inside it's borders and making false claims would not be illegal or punishable.
        Small towns would disappear first from the gps/maps then completely because no one could do business there anymore. Bigger towns would have to closely monitor their citizens seriously limit what people there could do. Otherwise they would risked being cleared from the map.

        • by azalin (67640)
          As for the effect on illegal activities, everyone knows where to turn from the interstate to the unnamed 10 lanes highway that leads to Anything-Goes-Town.
    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:12AM (#38877315)

      I read a good analogy on another thread concerning megaupload...

      Imagine you own a storage unit in a large complex. Now, a few other people are storing illegal contraband in their storage unit, but that's just a few out of hundreds, and most people are perfectly law-abiding. The police get wind that there's contraband in one of the units. They react by putting police tape up across the front of the entire storage unit complex, confiscate everything, legal and illegal alike, and torch it all...just to be sure they got all the contraband.

      Another good one I heard: Imagine a full parking garage. One of the cars in the parking garage was used in the commission of a bank robbery. The cops don't want to be bothered trying to figure out which car it was specifically, so instead they impound the entire garage full of cars permanently and tell all the owners they have no recourse. They get the car they were after, but in the process infringe upon the rights of everyone else.

      Both of those do a good job of explaining how law abiding citizens will be totally screwed by shit like SOPA/PIPA. At Megaupload, there were millions of legitimate users doing nothing wrong, but all their shit is taken, too, no trial, no recourse, no chance to ever get their totally legal content back, just because other people broke the law. If it were a physical structure, like the storage unit or garage in the above analogies, nobody would argue that the public would go apeshit, but because it's a web site and a bunch of 1's and 0's people don't conceptualize it like that, but that's what it is.

    • by Ucklak (755284)

      If one person speeds on your street, they take the street away.

    • by next_ghost (1868792) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:35AM (#38877517)

      Better yet - ACTA, SOPA and PIPA are the digital equivalent of trying to legislate water to flow uphill. You can try as hard as you want but it just won't happen.

      Those laws will have no effect whatsoever on the actual copyright monopoly infringements. Pirates will simply abandon sharing technologies vulnerable to enforcement and take better care of covering their tracks. Technology and will of individuals to break stupid laws always beat the law. Communists in Central and Eastern Europe tried to crush rock music by force in 1960s and 1970 and they failed miserably despite much harsher penalties for live performance and distribution of records. They failed miserably.

      What makes you think that the almighty US of A can win the very same war on culture? Because that's what it is. Sharing is what creates culture out of individual works of art.

    • Amputation Analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by invid (163714) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:45AM (#38877641) Homepage
      I prefer the amputation analogy. Stealing is bad. Chopping off the thief's hand is even worse. Chopping off the thief's hand and the hand of anyone who bought stolen goods from the thief is even worse than that. Chopping off the thief's hand, the hand of anyone who bought stolen goods, and anyone who might or might not have bought stolen goods is SOPA.
    • Let's say you own a car dealership. You sell new and used cars, do service, and sell accessories. In the accessory department, some employee mistakenly purchases and stocks some knock-off Pioneer stereos. It is a very minor part of your business, and you actually never sold any.

      The federal government can now come in, shut down your business, seize all of your stock, and seize your building.
  • Give up (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:37AM (#38876891)

    "He has no grasp on how DNS works, much less the internet in general. What can I do to show him how destructive these bills actually are..."

    Sounds like he's beyond hope, but probably has a bright future in politics.

    • Find out his personal domain names. Then file a frivolous DMCA takedown complaint on something he's linked. Or just send him a trumped up takedown notice.

      (All in jest of course, but one wonders whether a campaign of emails claiming "your domain will be revoked in 3 days" then letting them off the hook by explaining how that was just to get their attention about legislative wranglings... might be effective.)

    • Re:Give up (Score:5, Informative)

      by next_ghost (1868792) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:02PM (#38877909)
      Not really, Cory Doctorow had a brilliant talk on the subject [youtube.com] recently. Even a non-techie should be able to understand the most important points.
  • by ikedasquid (1177957) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:39AM (#38876905)
    ..and randomly "blacklist" Google, FB, Yahoo, YouTube, etc. on it with some notice of copyright infringement.
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:40AM (#38876911)

    You don't need to explain copyright. You just need to use logic.

    If existing laws are inadequate, the FBI would not have been able to take down MegaUpload. MegaUpload has been taken down, thus existing laws must be adequate. QED.

    • by Xacid (560407)

      I was actually writing the same exact thing until I caught your post. I'm pretty sure if the OP's friend doesn't understand this logic then they might as well leave him glued to the tv on fox and go about their life elsewhere.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      If existing laws are inadequate, the FBI would not have been able to take down MegaUpload.

      You are making the unwarranted assumption that the FBI acts legally, when there is evidence that in many cases they do not. For instance, they bugged Martin Luther King's hotel room, and then tried to blackmail him with the sounds of him getting it on.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      That would imply that MegaUpload was the whole problem, and the problem was now resolved. Yes, they were able to take down MegaUpload using paragraphs designed for the Mafia and things like that (RICO) but that is usually just the tip of the iceberg. If you're talking to a person that argues that piracy must be stomped out, then I'm not going to argue that the existing laws still stop piracy because they won't. Neither would SOPA/PIPA/ACTA and all the king's horses and all the king's men, but it would put e

  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:40AM (#38876915)

    ...for their analogies.

    Take his hard disk drive full of his downloaded music, movies, porn, etc, and say, "This is all of the stuff provided through the Internet". Take a hammer, say, "This is the new laws that they're planning on passing". Then say, "This is the result of those new laws" and smash the hard disk drive to bits.

    Granted, you'll lose a friend, but you might gain an ally...

  • Easily done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:41AM (#38876925) Homepage Journal

    Easy.

    Take their lunch.

    Then steal their wallet.

    And tell them it's because you THINK they pirated a movie or music CD and they "owe" you.

    Smashing their laptop or other portable computing device is optional.

    That's SOPA, ACTA, and a host of others in action: no due process.

    • Good one
    • +1mod of that's a good way of putting it.
      This is the good side of it. Please go one step more.
      If they don't like it. Tell them it for protection against terrorist or paedophiles. They must want protection against those.
      If they have a relative outside the USA. Get cousin Julian extradited. He didn't break the law in his own land - It doesn't matter.
    • Re:Easily done (Score:5, Interesting)

      by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:45AM (#38877647) Homepage Journal

      If you are trying to convince a conservative that SOPA/PIPA is bad, it's very easy:

      Explain to a conservative that SOPA == "Fairness Doctrine - part 2"

      The Fairness Doctrine was an attempt to use the government to stop Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Like the show or not, it was too successful, and Congress felt like it was their duty to stop it. Because of 1st amendment, they couldn't just make the show illegal, so instead, they tried to give the FCC the ability to withdraw licenses from stations whose programming was too biased.

      Now, the government sees the internet as another huge industry that cannot be controlled. The least-controlled part of the internet is forums (like Slashdot). People can, and do, say anything.

      Once again, the first amendment gets in the way. But, Congress is creative. Is it possible for them to get the power to shutdown entire sites based only on the content posted to the site?

      The answer is obvious ... copyrighted material. Find a site that you don't like, submit copyrighted material (as a plant), and then if they don't clean it up completely, have them shut down at the DNS level.

      The only obstacles were technical (no current method to force DNS servers to drop records), and political (DMCA guarantees safe harbor privileges to ISPs and websites from the actions of users). SOPA/PIPA are designed to clear both obstacles.

      ~~~~~
      Liberals are a little different.

      Usually liberals respond well to stories of corporate greed. Explain to them that the MPAA and Disney are big business, and that they are the only ones pushing for this legislation. I'd like to see a liberal respond with the best methods of persuading other liberals.

      • I think your timeline is a little off here. The so-called Fairness Doctrine was started up in the late 1940's, which is before Rush Limbaugh was even born! The FCC stopped enforcing it in the 1980's which I think is a just after Rush started in radio.

  • They've been perfectly able to take down Megaupload without SOPA/PIPA.

    So how could a sane person logically argue we'd need them to bring down similar criminal sites. (Considering megaupload criminal for the sake of the argument only. Everything else: Innocent until proven guilty)

    • by OakDragon (885217)
      Also a good argument against 99% of new legislation.
    • Taking down megaupload took a lot of work, international cooperation, the use of political capital and no doubt all sorts of slow playing of games. For what? Taking down a single site, when there are about twenty more still running. With SOPA/PIPA, copyright organisations could kill ten of them with a single letter - the only way to whack the moles quickly enough.
      • I doubt that US local laws can take down sites in other countries without the same

        lot of work, international cooperation, the use of political capital and no doubt all sorts of slow playing of games

      • Sorry, "We the police want to do less, if possible zero, actual work" is not an acceptable reason for passing national and international copyright legislation.

      • With SOPA/PIPA, copyright organisations could kill ten of them with a single letter - the only way to whack the moles quickly enough.

        Justice is not a game of Whac-A-Mole.

        • Depends whose side you are on. There are plenty of situations where something is illegal yet still commonplace: Piracy, littering, the less-harmful narcotics. When you reach a point where something is illegal yet common, there really are only two options: Either give up enforcing the law, or get out the giant mallet and start whacking.
  • Wait a minute... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:42AM (#38876945)

    Wouldn't the takedown of MegaUpload show that existing laws are already adequate? After all, the site was taken down...

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:42AM (#38876957)

    I know someone who continues to argue that the takedown of MegaUpload shows that the existing laws are not adequate and that we *need* SOPA/PIPA to protect the movie/music industries from offshore (non-US) piracy.

    I don't think you need to appeal to any particular technical expertise to explain that the takedown of MegaUpload shows that existing laws are more than adequate, since MegaUpload was offshore (non-US) piracy and it was taken down under existing laws.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:43AM (#38876973) Journal

    They are gonna start putting to death any copyright violators. That the copyright industry doesn't need buyers, they can have it all for themselves.

    Pointg is, when someone has made up their mind, right or wrong, telling them they are wrong will not work, So you have to use the same sort of irrational logic to get them to tell you that you are wrong... so that they will see for themselves their own errors.

  • If you are against PIPA/SOPA, then you are not unbiased. Do you mean as "truthfully as possible"?

    Both side of this argument have used puffery to describe the law. But the clearest argument against it I've seen is the one that Wordpress linked to [wordpress.com].
  • by twitcher101 (1712418) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:46AM (#38877005)
    A good infographic that explains dollars and sense! http://matadornetwork.com/change/infographic-why-the-movie-industry-is-so-wrong-about-sopa/ [matadornetwork.com]
  • by Prod_Deity (686460) <666...redneck...666@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:46AM (#38877009)
    As in other articles, people have pointed out that the general public doesn't care.
    I know I've done what I can to let people know about the issues, but they seem to just shrug it off like it is no big deal to them. Some people are too blind to see the tree they're driving into, until it's too late to swerve out of the way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:46AM (#38877019)

    Don't forget to point out that SOPA andACTA are not about combatting piracy.

    They are about decreasing the cost and risk for the copyright holders. Using this legislation they can issue orders without any oversight or liability, and without any costs to them.

    Find an analogy to that (you peddle X, but want to put the cost of peddling X on the general public via a 3rd party (ISP))

    • by HappyHead (11389) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:23AM (#38877405)

      Don't forget to point out that SOPA andACTA are not about combatting piracy.

      They are about decreasing the cost and risk for the copyright holders. Using this legislation they can issue orders without any oversight or liability, and without any costs to them.

      Find an analogy to that (you peddle X, but want to put the cost of peddling X on the general public via a 3rd party (ISP))

      THIS! This exactly!

      The whole point of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, is that the corporations want to escape the last few shreds of oversight and responsibility they currently have to deal with under existing laws. These laws were NEVER about combatting piracy - they are entirely about making sure that the copyright industry companies don't have to worry about little things like actually telling the truth when they say they own the copyright for something and are shutting you down.

      Under current laws, if you post a video of yourself doing something, like say, a college professor posting videos online of his lectures so that his students can view them, and the MPAA files a takedown notice claiming they own that video and the prof is a dirty stinking pirate for stealing it from them (even though it's a false accusation), the prof has (supposedly) the recourse that he can file a counter-notice, and have the videos restored, (note: this is an actual example from the real world - they really did this.) and then the MPAA would to take him to actual court to sue for damages (which they didn't, because they didn't have any evidence, and it was obvious that they didn't actually own the material) instead of just having him thrown in jail and his property seized without having to show any evidence that he actually did what they claim. Under the combination of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, the MPAA would not have had to go through any legal procedures, or have any evidence that the prof's lectures belonged to them (which they didn't), but instead would be allowed to just say "BAD! YOU ARE THIEF!", and automatically be correct under the law, because they said so, and thus be allowed to take his domain, and shut him down with no recourse, no right to a trial, and no way to do anything about it.

      Considering how little responsibility the MPAA and RIAA have demonstrated when applying the current copyright laws, is it any wonder that people who are paying attention don't trust them to behave with laws that take away what little responsibility and oversight they currently have?

      Even worse, these laws are so poorly put together that any nutjob with a grudge can do the same thing to anyone they don't like, and have anything that person has put online shut down (the whole website), with little to no proof that their claims are true. Did you accidentally mention that you like eating bacon on your website? Look out - when the crazy person who has decided that all bacon-loving people are actually aliens trying to hypnotize the human race into complacency, they can fulfill their personal mission of silencing your bacon-promoting alien agenda by falsely using SOPA/PIPA/ACTA to shut down your website. Before you even know it has happened, you're gone, and if you are very lucky, you might even find out why, some day.

  • I know it's quite simplistic, but I would simply equate it to highways and car travel. Basically, the government would have the right to shut down certain exits on the highway or even whole highways themselves because someone at one point sped on that stretch of road, regardless of what is at that exit.
  • by mepperpint (790350) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:49AM (#38877057)

    DNS is a lot like a phone book, which is something many people understand. If we blacklist someone from DNS it's like removing them from the phone book. Their phone number still works and anyone can call them. Removing an illicit phone number from the phone book will not prevent people from dialing the number. A phone number would still be passed around in forums, between friends, etc.

    Regularly removing phone numbers from the phone book may create many alternative phone books which is likely to create a big headache for all users in figuring out which phone book they need to use to find a particular website and in figuring out which phone books contain legitimate information and which ones will give you the real phone number for your bank and which ones will give you fake books. This is particularly concerning because the legislation proposed doesn't apply due process to removing a phone number from the phone book, but instead allows for arbitrary removals.

    • by heypete (60671)

      That is an excellent analogy. If you don't mind, I'm going to use that description to explain things to others.

  • by trongey (21550) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:49AM (#38877061) Homepage

    The simplest solution is usually the best.
    Just shoot him.

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Nah... Accuse him of being a pirate(copyright violations are identified as piracy these days) and let the cops shoot him!
      OH... Wait! Make him walk the plank! Arghhh...

      Do you know how? The Christmas song 12 Days has an add-on in the form of a copyrighted line about the ring... Remind him of that!(If he celebrates Christmas)
  • Seriously.

    Here we have an example of a Hong Kong based company with German and Dutch executives living in New Zealand. It was completely shutdown under the existing rules.

    And somehow that means they need new powers? Because the existing ones aren't enough?!?

  • DNS, while a very technical description, can be described in a very non-technical way so that people can get it. If you have an old phone book around (probably unlikely), a good way to describe it would be to flip through the phone book, find a number, and cross it out with a marker. Cross out several more names and numbers, and explain that that's what the trade organizations (RIAA/MPAA) can do if the laws pass, without giving the affected party a day in court, first. You can explain that if you know so
  • by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:52AM (#38877081) Homepage
    Even with all of the useful suggestions posted here, you may not succeed.

    Back in the day, when SCO started their ill fated lawsuit against IBM (but actually against Linux), I had a co worker who I discussed this with. He didn't know much about what was going on, but read the various industry rags and loudmouths, and thus believed that (his words) "SCO has a strong case".

    Rewind about three years. I was talking to him about open source and Linux. His reaction about a free high quality OS always came back to "but how do they make their money?". After explaining about open source more, he finally understood it was not about money. I'll never forget his reaction. His words caused my jaw to drop to the floor: "They can't be allowed to do that!"

    From that point on, we always were at odds over a lot of fundamental viewpoints. He tended to take the view that anything big business did that was profitable was therefore morally right. Yes, I kid you not.

    My point? You may not be able to convince your non techie friend.

    Oh, and when you say "unbiased" I think you might have meant "reasonable". There's nothing wrong with being biased because you have a particular viewpoint that you advocate.
  • That is, assume your neighbor had a stolen car. Would that mean the city could take possession of not just the car, but their house AND every car and house on the same block? Because that is what blocking an entire domain is equivalent to.
  • Is to enforce it.

    For example, today I get to tell a History teacher that he cannot show MLK's 'I have a dream' speech in a lesson because it's under copyright still, and the copyright holder (A relative of King's who inherited the rights) enforces it quite strictly.
    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      For example, today I get to tell a History teacher that he cannot show MLK's 'I have a dream' speech in a lesson because it's under copyright still ...

      You might want to read Section 110 of the U.S. Copyright Code [copyright.gov] before you actually say something that stupid.

      • Firstly, I'm British. Secondly, I spent a good part of the morning going through the CDPA 1988 looking for a loophole. There is one that states that showing a work in an educational setting isn't public performance, but it still requires we buy an officially authorised DVD - all the teacher in question had was a file that looks like they recorded it off of a TV program. If they want to show it, they need to buy the DVD... and then they won't show it, because searching through a department to determine where
  • by jesseck (942036) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @10:58AM (#38877173)

    I think a good analogy for DNS is the phone book: suppose your friend is gay or lesbian, and use the Yellow Book to find services that cater to their needs. However, the local churches petition Yellow Book to stop advertising such establishments. Unless your friend knows where to find a different phone book, they won't be able to find said services. However, the services didn't cease to exist or move.

    That is what the law's DNS provisions did- they didn't stop anyone who knew of alternate DNS servers to access.

    As for the destructiveness of the other parts of the law- point to the cell phone manufacturer sue-party going on right now, the "John Doe" mass suing pursued by the *IAAs, and Righthaven's actions. If your friend still feels that Righthaven was right to take down content used under the "Fair Use" provisions, then they will never learn (until it's too late). When that happens, I'm sure they'll ask you about alternate DNS and Tor.

  • SOPA/PIPA bill to freedom of internet is exactly what is NDAA bill to the freedom of people. Explain him how the existing laws are working perfectly fine, and there is no need of a monster like NDAA, and that SOPA/PIPA is all the same, we already have the required legislation to fight piracy.
    BONUS: Tell your non-techie that with the NDAA bill, USA becomes USSR. Read my lips: ANYONE could be arrested at ANYTIME, without ANY reason, and put in Siberia....i mean somewhere in USA, for UNKNOWN period of time,
  • Mess up his PCs DNS for some sites. It is really easy.

    Find his most frequently used web sites. (I bet www.google.com is one of them, and you may enjoy including the DNS name for his mail provider as well...
    Find the "hosts" file on his PC.
    Enter the sites DNS names and let them point to 127.0.0.1

    Now he knows what may happen.
  • by samjam (256347) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:09AM (#38877279) Homepage Journal

    The *AA and related music publishers are government sponsored pirates.
    They raid the public domain, the prevent their own work from being in the public domain.
    They sell music to which they do not have the rights.
    They rob their own artists with dodgy accounting.
    They falsely inflate damages by infringers in order to punish them way beyond worse offenders
    They use other peoples materials without rights because they (like everyone else) can't be bothered to follow the laws they sponsor
    They issue false take-down notices to material that they do not own (some of which they or their artists use illegally).
    They interfere with the politics of other nations in order to further their own interest.
    They attempt to make a criminal out of every man woman and child in the world in order to increase revenue.

    These are all behaviours observed over the last few years.
    Will other slashdot readers please provide citations for each type of behaviour or add new behaviours.

    We then ask why elected officials pay more attention to this group of pirates than individuals who have the democratic right to vote.

  • When I try to explain how bad these laws are, I describe what the internet would be like if these laws had been passed circa 1996. No google. No youtube. Go on from there. Thus, the laws are bad because they make our life suck. For economy-minded types I point out that the music and movie industries would not have hired more people had these laws been on the books, but the laws would have squashed thousands of highly paying tech jobs from being created. Thus, the laws are bad because they are anti-job.
  • I'd like to say there is some hope for educating people like this person you know, but I'm afraid the PR machine is massive, and the rabbit hole goes much deeper than anyone suspects. Think for a minute about the SOPA/PIPA timing and the seizure of MegaUpload. Think it's coincidence? I don't. The only thing I think didn't work out right was the unexpected response to black-out day, which got the SOPA vote delayed. It would have been better marketing if the bill had passed and the arrests used to justif

    • Think for a minute about the SOPA/PIPA timing and the seizure of MegaUpload. Think it's coincidence? I don't.

      I don't believe for a minute that this is anything but a well-orchestrated PR stunt.

      I am a crackpot

      Yes, it's a coincidence... The grand jury indictment was more than a month earlier. Do you really think that the government can coordinate an international seizure operation involving authorities in New Zealand and Virginia in the space of 12 hours?

      • Do you really think that the government can coordinate an international seizure operation involving authorities in New Zealand and Virginia in the space of 12 hours?

        What do you mean 12 hours? The investigation, and the planning / writing / introduction of SOPA has been going on for years. That's why it couldn't be stopped like the vote on SOPA was - it was already laid out. SOPA didn't pass, but they couldn't stop the bust.

  • Find his favorite porn site, news site, and/or gaming site. Tell him it will vanish wrongly if bills like these pass, especially the porn site.
  • The debate is not about DNS or filesharing or freedom of speech or right to privacy or US law being enforced beyond its borders.

    The basic discussion should be about whether a business model that benefits a few should be protected against the interests of they many AND on whether society needs commercial art.

    When cars were first introduced, the horse industry did not just accept it, this led to the extreme that in England a car had to be preceded by a man on foot carrying a red flag. Because cars were so dan

  • Without casting any doubt on you, personally, Submitter, most people arguing on either side of the SOPA/PIPA/ACTA debate don't know very much about the bills and have never read them, and are just parroting information from others. You should read them together, and discuss what the different paragraphs mean.

    ACTA: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/assets/pdfs/acta-crc_apr15-2011_eng.pdf [international.gc.ca].
    SOPA: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261: [loc.gov].
    PIPA: http://www.govtrack. [govtrack.us]

  • Set up a dns server or proxy that blocks halv of whar he does and repale the sitea with takedown notices. Route him through it secretly and see how he responds. (on mobile and do not feel lile scrolling, so.sorry if thia has been said)
  • I've found that in discussions like this, it's a bad idea to ever think of someone as a non-techie.

    If the person truly has no interest in tech, then your discussion is not going to be productive. But, most everyone (even self-proclaimed Luddites) actually do have an interest in tech.

    So, instead, separate people into "techies" and "techies-in-training". Look at your friend as a person who wants to learn about how the tech works, and then explain it to them, bringing in the SOPA discussion at the appropriat

  • No one is going to understand a lesson on technology.

    Just talk about the websites that will be affected like Youtube, Google, Facebook and Wikipedia. Most people will agree that they are legitimate websites, and will think it will be stupid if they are blocked or censored because of some user generated content.

  • What can I do to show him how destructive these bills actually are

    Install a hosts file on his machine that redirects everything which might be affected by SOPA to localhost.

    See how long it is before he complains that he can't do anything.

  • What I, at least try to do, with some modicum of success, is to keep things at a fairly high level, and not drill down into what the specific technologies are, and what they do.

    What I usually do is provide a very brief history of the 'net; that it is an inherently open and distributed framework, due to the original DARPA and MILNET requirements that it be a network that survive a nuclear attack, and also, due to the fact that the other primary original component, BITNET, grew in an disorderly and... ah... b

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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