14 May 2011

PROTECT IP: new US website blocking bill

The PROTECT IP act, a new US law proposal, will greatly extend last year's COICA internet censorship proposal:

  • PROTECT IP is targeted at infringement of rights, so it is targeted at distribution of copyrighted material and counterfeited articles.
    • As such there does not seem to be a problem with that, but it remains to be seen how easily this can be stretched. It might be sufficient to find one non compliant item on a site to take action against the entire site. In the past single clips have caused actions against the entire YouTube site.
  • PROTECT IP will no longer try to seize domain names, instead it will target intermediate, servicing sites.
    • This makes it easier to target sites outside the US.
  • Plaintiffs can by simple court order, take direct against revenue sources for these sites (payment clearing and advertisers).
    • The site does not have to be notified to be able to defend itself.
    • The site is notified when action is taken against them starts, if they have an address in the US.
    • There is a procedure to fight the order afterwards.
  • If plaintiff completes a procedure at the Department Of Justice that declares that a site is infringing rights, it can also order the site to be removed from search engine results and ISP hosting.
    • This is a tactic that is copied from the Great Chinese Firewall.
  • PROTECT IP encourages intermediate sites to do self censorship. If Google or Visa stop doing business with a site because they think it is not kosher, they are protected by law
Full text and petition against the act.