Dear all,

DISCLAIMER: I hope I do not bend the forum rules too much by this blog post and would hate to offend the community by starting the discussion of a (at least marginally) political topic. However, since in the past also UAV regulatory developments and issues that relate to the open-source community have been discussed, and since I believe this topic is highly relevant to the diydrones community, I decided to go ahead.

Those of you who have been visiting wikipedia, google, or some of the other sites that participate in the SOPA/PIPA blackout today may have noticed that parts of the private and public web communities have decided to virtually demonstrate against these (sets?) of law proposals. I myself, being located inside Europe, don't think I can completely follow the legislative process and the actual implications of SOPA/PIPA. However, it seems obvious to me that this topic is very relevant to diydrones as a site of open information exchange. I would like to raise awareness here and ask those who actually are located in the US and can influence the vote by contacting their representatives to please inform themselves and consider (as google's picture says) to take action. Please check out:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopa   (the only wikipedia page that seems to work today)



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  • Well, if you mean new DNS features?  Standard bodies like ISO and IEEE will define the standards, with collaboration from all sides.  And usually people who implement the software and design the hardware will do it from those consensus standards.  It's been like that for decades, why should that change now.

    All domains that are currently being served by US based authority servers would presumably stay within US they "belong" to the US.  Domains like ".com", ".org", ".edu", etc.  Any other country or continent, can create their own authority for their own domains, which already happens.  Those who argue against SOPA on technical grounds have no legs to stand on.  Any technical challenge can be overcome with software or hardware.

  • Developer

    But what happens after a while when US servers decides to implement some new features, and the EU ones does not? Having root servers in different countries, managed by multiple organizations with different priorities, is just asking for problems.

  • John, I used to configure DNS servers for a living.  The DNS architecture is hierarchical.  Root servers, can be made to query each other with some proper coordination.  So there can be more than one "root" server, as long as their caches are sync'd there should be no issues.

  • Developer

    Look, it is pretty simple from a technical and practical viewpoint. While the DNS root servers are located in US, they are used internationally as the source DNS for the whole internet. If you start messing with the root servers (for what ever reason legal or not), pretty soon other countries will be forced to built their own root servers (just like EU is now building the Galileo GPS system so that they no longer will be at the mercy of US military operators). And then suddenly you have multiple DNS roots with conflicting information and possible compatibility problems, all in the name of American commercial interests. This is the reason why big names like Google, wiki and many other sites felt it necessary to do the coordinated black-out demonstration (a world's first). Simply because (while not meaning to) SOPA/PIPA are attacking the core functions of the the internet.

  • It seems like the internet is a good place to spread propaganda.  All this talk about censorship and misuse, is simply propaganda spread by those on the internet, who are against any laws limiting their activities.  There's is nothing the the bill that even remotely mentions censorship.  It simply is not a censorship bill.  Having illegal links on your web site is not a freedom of speech issue.  The bill also has no provisions for shutting down entire sites with legal content, the complainant has to file a complaint about each link.  And it's not a free for all that can be excessively abused, court orders must be issued.  The only way that a legal web site can get shut down, is if all its content consists of links to illegal foreign web sites.

    The intent of this bill, from what I've read is simply to prevent pirating web sites from circumventing US laws, by setting up foreign web sites that serve illegal content to US citizens. 

    The argument that content producers will file frivolous lawsuits against a charitable organization can shut it down, is simply scare mongering.  Can you image the bad publicity that would arise if that would really happen?  The argument of abuse of this law is a potential for all laws.  It's like saying that the murder laws should be revoked, because of the potential abuse that can occur when people go around wrongly and malicously accusing others of murder.  Does that make sense?  This abuse does happen, occasionally, but that doesn't mean that the law against murder should be struck down, by the courts.

  • Bally, thanks for your comment! May many follow this first one :) .. and yes, let's hope reason prevails and this nice community keeps growing and stays alive, as it is right now

  • This is my first comment on diy drones.I joined some time ago, but ain't no techie, so i just try to learn from u guys!

    I live in Scotland, a long way from the land where this law is being made. The proposed laws will have an impact on web access everywhere.
    They are sponsored by corporations and benefit corporations, they are the antithesis of everything open-source and free.

    The ability to censor the web based on "alleged" copyright/patent infringement may one day remove even this site (perhaps for a link, product report or even a malicious allegation, maybe even alleged patent infringement).

    Perhaps they will try to take down sites that could aid in terrorism and or are a threat to national security.  Sounds reasonable until you consider what might be on that list, google earth, perhap diy drones!!

    As diy drones is my favouritist opensource and free place to hang out on the net. I think this is very relevant to this site and its community. We should watch very carefully the progress of these and similar threats to our freely available content.
    from the highlands of Scotland I thank you all for being available and being here, cheers ;-)

  • Developer

    It is not the intention of this law that is the problem, but the potential damage if misused. Just look at the DMCA act and how it is regularly misused by companies for reasons outside the intended scope.

  • Based on my (limited) understanding one of the problems with SOPA for example is that the definition of a "search engine" is so vague that any website that provides links as response to queries may fall into this category. I can't imagine that small and middle-sized non-profit organisations will have the budget to hire legal experts that for each link posted carefully examine whether or not this links to protected content. But yeah, I'm no lawyer either and only have read secondary literature on that topic :)

  • In Conclusion

    It is my strong belief that both PROTECT IP and SOPA:

    1. Will not stop the piracy they are targeting
    2. Contain language that is highly ambiguous and extremely broad making them ripe for abuse, and
    3. Introduce regulation and enforce censorship on what should be a free and open internet

    Hmm, this guy claims not be be a lawyer, yet he's able to make these 3 claims, which seem to require a deeper understanding of the law.  Most of the complaints are coming from webmasters, who probably don't like the extra work that these bills will make them have to do.  All laws have the potential to be abused, if the courts allow it.  One should not automatically assume that the courts will allow any abuse.  

    I'm also not a lawyer, so my opinion matters as much or as little as this guy's.

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