Last Updated: Nov 29, 2011
We’ve been telling you about the MPAA and RIAA attempting to blacklist and block all things they deem copyright infringing on the internet. They even were successful earlier this year when a British magistrate ordered an ISP to remove a Usenet search index from their DNS resolution list. But this time the good news we have for you isn’t that another method of circumventing the blockade, but that the entire European Union has joined forces with the opposition to the proposed U.S. law Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
Earlier this month the European Parliament elected to adopt a stance of condemnation on the proposed legislation. If this law is passed it will give U.S. agencies the power to remove, block, and seize domain names that the determine to be actively or knowingly aiding in copyright infringement. The language contained in the proposal would allow the U.S. authorities to remove a site if it is determined that the site is in any way connected or associated to anything, company or individual, inside a U.S. jurisdiction…this almost encompasses every website on the internet.
Earlier this year there was a round of take-downs that followed the rules of this legislation, and National borders weren’t a deterrent to the blocks. Due to the muddied language in the bill, the criteria for determining if a site can be removed by the U.S. authority is wide sweeping, and almost all of the internet falls under their jurisdiction. This included the website Rojadirecta, a site based in Spain that had been determined by Spanish courts to be in compliance with existing laws.
Once signed into law, this would put at risk websites like Flikr, Etsy, and even Youtube. Already the MPAA and RIAA have made public statements as to their intent on going after the websites Vkontakt, and Xunlei. Vkontakt is a Russian social networking website, and Xunlei is a Chinese media website. Both of which had been considering throwing their hats into the U.S. stock exchange. The financial losses would be massive, as the lawsuit brought forward by the owner of Rojadirecta is beginning to show.
The law places the onus of policing potential pirate material on website owners, hosting services, and even the ISP’s. A huge job to be sure, one that many in the industry are calling impossible. It also orders that financial institutions that are doing business with the blocked websites stop. The losses would be massive, and many jobs would go out the window. This, during one of the worst global recessions in history, and a U.S. jobless rate of at least 9% for the last 3 years…
The U.S has used the fact that the majority of the internet infrastructure and business is connected to U.S. jurisdictions in some way. And they would be using their power as global leaders to influence, stifle, and inhibit companies that aren’t based anywhere in a U.S. jurisdiction. It’s no wonder that the entire European community supported the resolution of condemnation…we wonder how many more countries will jump on the band wagon for this ride.