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back to article The Register to publish other sites' blacked-out content in SOPA protest

As many Register readers will be aware, websites across the internet have pledged to black out all or part of their content as a protest against the proposed US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). We at the Register applaud these noble acts of self-sacrifice, in which we will see the English-language Wikipedia sort-of blacked out ( …

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid protests

These stupid protests just like the occupy protests are a waste of time. Governments will continue to crack down on priacy so the pirates might as well face reality. SOPA may have been a poorly written attempt to stop piracy but there will be more legislation and the laws and punishment will get tougher. The socially challneged pirates seem to only understand prison sentences so they'll get their chance to participate in the game of life, soon.

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74

Does not compute

1. "These stupid protests just like the occupy protests are a waste of time."

2. "Governments will continue to crack down on priacy so the pirates might as well face reality."

3. "SOPA may have been a poorly written attempt to stop piracy..."

You have acknoweleged the problem that the protests are aiming to highlight (3). We are talking about it so (1) is clearly false; without the protests we would not be talking about it.

(2) is your opinion but it's largely irrelevant to the issue here. The protests are not about piracy per se, they're about US.gov using sledgehammer legislation to crack piracy nuts and destroying everything else while they're hammering.

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regular guy right here

I agree wholeheartedly old chum. I was just talking to me mates down that boozer and we all agree that the fight against evil pirates is noble indeed. They also expressed a strong opinion that public protests are stupid and we should stop doing them. Toodle pip.

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3

Stupid ?

If it's so stupid then why has three congressmen back out of this bill.

From the LA TIMES

"

Three co-sponsors of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills have publicly withdrawn their support as Wikipedia and thousands of other websites blacked out their pages Wednesday to protest the legislation.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) withdrew as a co-sponsor of the Protect IP Act in the Senate, while Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) said they were pulling their names from the companion House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Opponents of the legislation, led by large Internet companies, say its broad definitions could lead to censorship of online content and force some websites to shut down."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2012/01/sopa-blackout-sopa-and-pipa-lose-three-co-sponsors-in-congress.html

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Silver badge

"Dear Ascio Technologies Inc [registrars of theregister.co.uk domain name]

I declare under penalty of perjury that I own the trademark for headings with white text on a red background. El-Reg is infringing on my trademark, and I demand that you take down their website domain name immediately.

That is the sort of thing we will see a lot more of if this law goes through, and yes, people claiming damages etc for infringement of works where they don't own the copyright is a big problem. It happens in this country as well, as reported a few days ago on this very website http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/16/crossley_banned_for_two_years/

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Anonymous Coward

"If it's so stupid then why has three congressmen back out of this bill."

Probably because it suits them to. I doubt it's because they think the bills are bad, more that they might look bad.

I take your point though, the negative publicity wouldn't have come about if people didn't protest the bills.

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Stop

Go back...

...to The Inquirer* "Morris D"

"These foolish blackouts are a waste of tiem. They will be as ineffective as the "occupy" protests were. The world ain't going to allow piracy to go unpunished so the pirates might as well get in touch with reality. It's very simple: pirate and be punished."

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/comment/2139716/mpaa-opposes-sopa-blackouts

No point hiding behind Anon Coward now is there?

*I only went there to check out their take on SOPA/PIPA, I don't make a habit of it. Please don't cancel my subscription El Reg! ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Oh Andrew

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M.A
Alert

Is that rag still going?

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Devil

@ AC Wednesday 18th January 2012 20:19 GMT

"Oh Andrew"

Tee hee heee!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid protests??????????

I'd hate to be close enough to you to smell your breath with all the cr*p that is spouting out of it.

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

@ Anonymous coward - Simplistic and wrong!

1. Good protests work! Stupid or not, governments throughout history have always been frightened of protests--especially when they take to the streets. The quickest way to have bad law changed is a big, decent street demo--today, our commons is the Internet. If you were alive during the Vietnam War you'd not even question this axiom. El Reg is right; we need even stronger action over SOPA, if that means more protests then so be it.

2. Laws usually come into existence through pressure from lobbyists. Effective lobbying is often difficult and expensive, thus many laws reflect the wishes of the powerful rather than the citizenry as a whole. The Internet has given us significant power to redress this imbalance, now SOPA seriously threatens to take it away. It's why we must do all we can to stop it becoming law. Moreover, we should take this fortuitous opportunity to unite the many disparate opponents of SOPA so that we've a future focal point from which to counterbalance lobbying from the powerful copyright industry and others--those who advocate punitive laws such as SOPA and PIPA.

3. Copyright law just isn't working right, it never has. Any law that gives exclusive/total rights to a person/entity to control access to information when that person/entity has had to stand on the shoulders of someone who has gone before to produce that information simply will not work on the grounds of fairness. Copyright law endows exclusive rights, trouble is that earlier information--usually in the public domain--is prerequisite (or implied), hence it's incorporated within the copyrighted material. Copyright, in essence, allows 'legal' theft from the public domain. It's why so many treat copyright as either wrong or a joke.

4. Nevertheless, we do need some form of recompense for those who add incremental changes to our knowledge. How to do this fairly in the current climate (of 126 years of the Berne Convention) will be difficult but it is now the big challenge. SOPA has highlighted this problem par excellence.

5. Before the Internet and computers the movie industry, publishers, et al had copyright exclusively to themselves as copying was technically difficult. For them SOPA is another and desperate attempt in a long line to retain total control. The trouble is that SOPA, if passed into law, would significantly erode our democratic rights. Essentially, passing SOPA would mean that we would all have to lose rights to protect the rights of a greedy few. Many of us consider this totally unacceptable and thus worth fighting to stop.

6. "The socially challenged pirates seem to only understand prison sentences". Unfortunately, this sort of simplistic and authoritarian rhetoric will only achieve more conflict--so too would SOPA. My reaction to your comment is best summed up in the words of that great wordsmith and social commentator, H.L. Mencken:

'For every difficult and complex problem there is a solution that's simple, neat - and WRONG!'

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Flame

Glad people are fighting this

Until we have people in the decision-making chairs who understand how the Internet actually works (and can look at the problem through clear eyes instead of campaign contributions and lobbyist) we need to stay way from this kind of legislation. The courts and Congress need to catch up to the technology before making decisions about how everyon needs to act with it.

Hey! I just got a great idea! Maybe we could impose term limits on Congress and get the 80 year old, wrinkly, power hungry, blind ghouls out of there and get some people who are paying attention and have a clue about the current state of things in. (of course if half of this country paid attention and voted out these idiots we wouldn't need term limits. Oh well)

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Wikipedia down?

No-one here using Noscript even noticed, did ya?

Some of the #factswithoutwikipedia were pretty good today though.

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Wikipedia down?

> No-one here using Noscript even noticed, did ya?

I *did* notice, in that I was *expecting* an outage, just never got it.

Their main page had an additional line of text at the top stating that it was blocked for the english version, and I was certainly reading english. Unless Australia doesn't count as english. Aside from that, it worked perfectly normally.

No idea if NoScript had anything to do with it (I never bothered testing that) but my first thoughts were, if you're going to block your site, at least you could ACTUALLY block it like you said you would. Adding a bit of java to disable things is a piss-poor effort IMO (if that's what they did).

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Pint

For Wikipedia, search on Google then click the cached copy. Easy Peesey.

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Facepalm

Wired.com

Doh! You don't need to use search engines to remove the censorship on Wired.com. There's an 'Uncensor this page" button at the bottom-left of the page that does just that...

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WTF?

WTF?!

What sort of censorship is that?

That's like playing hide and seek with a three year old where they put their hands over their eyes so that you can't see them.

Are these internet companies just pretending perhaps?

Making it easy to circumvent the censorship in order to maintain their presence and not lose too many page hits?

Cop-out

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Or perhaps

Just maybe, the aim could be to raise awareness not to completely piss users off by making everything unavailable for the day!

Think about if there's a protest outside your workplace. The protestors are allowed to be there, they are allowed to do anything _reasonable_ to raise awareness. What they are _not_ allowed to do is prevent people from entering/exiting. At that point it becomes a blockade.

Rules on the internet haven't exactly been set, but I'd assume that most are observing the basic principles that apply in meatspace

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if Jon Kelly was being paid by the word for that BBC article. He did well to pad "disable Javascript" out to over 800 words.

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Anonymous Coward

a useful explanation of what the act actually means

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/01/20121169929629872.html

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FAIL

Yes, lets all let Google, Wiki, facebook etc.. run our lives

I think the yankies need to take a look at their constitution. It only stops the govt from impeding free speech, nothing about big corps.

so google and wiki et al throw the toys out of the pram about this. What about if the govt tries to pass something that actually protects us from the prying eye of big corps? They will jus throw the toys out of the pram again and get their way. People are very quick to point out the RIAA and MPAA have the US politicians in their pocket. Well these big internet corps have you over an even bigger barrel. Its all a big con.

As for free speech, you've never had that on wikipedia. Their editors see to that ;)

Anyway, back to altavista and all the other pages on the internet.

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"As for free speech, you've never had that on wikipedia. Their editors see to that ;)"

We (as in, anyone who wishes to get involved) ARE the editors of wikipedia, genius..

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Big Brother

The Almighty USA - Again...

Time to claw the DNS Top Level Domains away from the USA I think. More distributed root servers.

This is the only way to make them realise that they are only players in the Internet, not its owners.

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Devil

Right, because heaven knows no other nation would ever abuse the privilege.

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Anonymous Coward

@Armando 123

I like the way you are admitting the US is abusing the privilege but seriously, and with no disrespect to the US of A, I would like to see a legally (and realistically) enforceable contract, at a peppercorn rent, for the exercise of the privilege. Failing that - find a different way.

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Megaphone

Not even the USA

As has been pointed out in a few places, this whole tech-vs.-RIAA/MPAA thing isn't even a proper intra-US dispute-- it's northern California vs. southern California....

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Unhappy

Very True

And to confuse things further, it's an All-Star Team of Lawyers on both sides.

Hollywood wants to exercise prior restraint on any creative activity. Give us your IP and after a while we will tell you how we thought of it first, or maybe, if it's junk let you put it out under your own name.

Google and Facebook take your personal information, add it to the web-at-large. This is a different problem. This creates a Crowd Source of 25 Million Armenian-Texans who drive Pick-ups, like hot chili and screw up Crowdsourcing in Armenia. Twitter is up but supports because, except for prior restraint, neither "Fair Use" nor "Copyright Violations" are possible in 140 characters.

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Holmes

LOLling aside

LOLing aside, there is a serious point here (from El Reg, really? I hear you ask!). The passing of this act is pointless, and will just result in Large websites being copied and put back on the (intricate system of tubes that connects the internets) within a few hours.

This act will really harm the individual (or small) content providers who unknowingly infringe copyright (and thus do not have the resources to get another website online)

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Stop

Censorship

When we've been silenced, our silence will imply consent. What evils come then?

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@Mikel

On the nail +1 to you Sir.

Unfortunately that's what the politicians, pockets jangling with cash from lobbyists, fail to take in to account.

We're doomed.

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Anonymous Coward

@Neil Greatorex

"...That's exactly what the politicians, pockets jangling with cash from lobbyists, want to happen, sooner rather than later."

There, fixed it for you.

We're still doomed though.

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Holmes

Another way

The BBC article was written by Jon Kelly

At work today, I couldn't hit the cached pages either via Google cache or the Way Back machine. I think it's a work restriction.

Another way around it was to go to Wikipedias home screen where you can access other languages (that wasn't blocked) type in what you're looking for and as the progress gets towards the end as the page loads, hit the escape key. Wallop! You're in.

This appeared to work ok in Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Couldn't get to a PC today so I dunno about IE.

You do have to get the timing spot on though.

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Anonymous Coward

Just to clarify, I meant a Windows machine

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WTF?

> a work restriction

Quite likely: there's not a lot of point in blocking the sorts of sites that you don't want to see in the list if you cop a FOI request without also blocking acces via cache.

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed

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Anonymous Coward

The writing's on the wall

IF SOPA doesnt pass this time, the MAFIAA will still find a way of passing a similar bill with devious wordings and clauses and eventually they will come with the sledgehammer. Remember the Mandybill? How it was rushed thru the dying days or labour?

Better start archiving all the (so called pirated) resources on the web and move the servers away from US grasp. There is no other way. US is on a downhill path already. Lets hasten the descent and show them what bullies they are.

Mines the bulletproof one (with Kevlar lining).

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Sly

Don't forget about the small guys

xkcd is also blacked out. http://www.xkcd.com/

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Megaphone

The problem with the protests...

Is they seem chorus backed by fanatical Chicken Little screaming and screeching that the sky is falling. There are things to be concerned about with the acts but hysterical hyperbole doesn't do their cause any favour.

There's a big difference between 'stop these acts' and 'get the mechanisms of these acts right' yet many protesting don't seem to understand the difference or are poorly vocalising their position if they do. The first makes it sound like a bunch of freetards complaining they'll have access to pirated or illegal material restricted rather than protecting free speech. Not the best way to communicate with Joe Public or sway opinion.

Shouty Icon because that seems to be the flavour of the day.

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WTF?

The lie

"The advocates of SOPA say they will shut down any website guilty of online content piracy". This is an absolute lie. The bill, as it stands will shut down any website AND prevent any other to link to it on an ACCUSATION. Only once proven innocent will the site be allowed back up.

Hey, due process is just too tedious and well, PIRACY!.

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Go

This is why I was so enthusiastic about SOPA

Imagine how easy it would make it to wipe all trace of every politician and their sponsors completely off the 'net. I can guarentee every single site belonging to these clowns has something somewhere that could be vaguely construed as infringing on someone's IP. And it isn't as if you need more proof than that!

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In theory that would be cool, but in reality it would only be the claims of big corps which would be taken seriously.

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Facepalm

Online Piracy?

What is most ironic in all of this, is the fact that they are trying to stop something that really has no negative affect on my counties GDP or overall well being of our economy. This act, yes, is freaking absurd but what my government really needs to focus on is trying to stop internet cyber warfare from other Countries. It is bad enough that many young Yanks have no idea how to open a CMD prompt, let alone know any basic defensive ethical hacking abilities. They stick to their Ip00ds and cry when it doesn't work.

My personal take on this SOPA is really something to stand up for; we will not allow our government with NO experience in networking/computing to make decisions for us. I know they have appointed technical advisers and all that jazz, but sometimes they scare the hell out of me. I am all for protecting copyright laws; as I know those business deserve 100 percent protection from theft. As any other US or other foreign citizen should. However these companies are multi-billion dollar companies; why not come up with your OWN privatized security integration system? You obviously have the money to develop some serious ass kicking software. Don't cry to the government about your own personal property being abused, when some of you have more money than the entire US Government. The Government is to help protect the small guy/companies. Yes big corporate companies do deserve just as much right as the small guy; but really, they should try and utilize other resources that are available to them first; not just crying to big daddy about lil Joey the pirate. Seems the lazy American way has spilled even into the huge corporations.

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Unhappy

Bunch of scumbags

I don't think that piracy has anything to do with this. What they want is power and money.

They would be able to shill my site with a link to something they accuse me of being copyright and then for a fee drop the case. See title.

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Coat

guide to whatnow?

suddenly h2g2 sees a massive spike

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Sim
Happy

no script

I visited Wikipedia today and did not notice anything different than usual because I use Noscript.

I only realized when I came to the Register that there was supposed to be a blackout.

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Alert

Surprised

I thought 'el reg' was pro SOPA or did I misunderstand Andrew's article saying if we didn't do SOPA we would get something much worse.

Seems we're DOOMED because big business isn't making enough money on the internet.

But anyway I have this idea to put speed bumps on every road in the world to stop speeding.

Who's with me?

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Gold badge

El Reg has a diverse group of writers, and they do allow us some leeway. I've been writing here just under two years, and I haven't been told "what to think" once yet. Good folk, them.

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