Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The United States develop a more repressive law against pirate sites

To fight more effectively against piracy of works protected by copyright or patent, the U.S. will perhaps adopt a law without precedent. The text, if it is voted by Congress, will attack websites located abroad, regardless of the sovereignty of the states concerned. In late May, a Senate committee approved a text called PIPA (IP Act), to give the federal Department of Justice unprecedented powers.

Federal officials could identify foreign sites distributing pirated works, and then require that large public and private U.S. Net render these sites inaccessible and partially invisible. ISPs would not have the right to carry their traffic, search engines to index them, portals to advertise their links, credit card companies to conduct their transactions.

The U.S. State could force the records and name servers (DNS), which manages the global system of addressing, to disable the addresses of sites. The law would allow private organizations to file complaints against the owner of an address, and ask a judge whether preventively placed on a blacklist, before trial.

For other countries, such an undertaking would be unrealistic, but given their central role in the architecture of the Internet and international banking networks, the U.S. could afford to carry it out, at least in part. The PIPA project is supported by industry of show business, companies of entitlement, pharmaceutical companies wanting to protect their patents, telecommunications companies, and even Microsoft, whose software is pirated on a large scale.

The majority of elected Democrats and Republicans seem willing to vote, and the White House would not oppose its enactment. In fact, this initiative is part of a broader policy: the United States, who regard themselves as the "cradle" of the Web as the engine of development, pursue an active policy aimed at strengthening their unilateral control over the network world, both in its operation and its contents.

That said, PIPA has enemies: the American associations of civil liberties and freedom of expression but also the credit card companies and Internet giants like Yahoo, eBay and Google. Companies that find themselves at the forefront of applying punitive measures could cause collateral damage cascades affecting the operation of the network.

"Bad precedent" Moreover, as private companies under American law, they are questioning their legitimacy to act against foreign nationals residing outside the United States. During a speech in London in May, Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, has been very clear: "If a law requires that the DNS do something with which we disagree, and if this law is passed by Congress, and even if the President of the United States sign, we will continue to fight.

" Mr. Schmidt goes to look for PIPA repressive measures taken by dictatorial governments against freedom of expression: "Come on, prune parts DNS (...), but it will set a bad precedent, because another country will be able to say "I do not like free speech, so I'll cut this or that DNS" - and this country would be China.

" His comments have provoked indignant reactions from the Hollywood majors, who accuse Google of becoming a law-breakers. Article published in the edition of 09.06.11

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