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" From what I've already read, this would mean the end of the Internet as we know it " -Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has already put a hold on PROTECT IP once. What will happen next time?

"They could bring it to the floor but I'll have a chance to, essentially, under the rules of the Senate, walk the country through what's at stake. I'll be able to point out, for example, why so many experts in the architecture of the Internet are opposed to this. They've made a very good case that some of what is going to be done under the PROTECT IP Act would actually hinder cybersecurity.

And in the U.S. House?

+Declan McCullagh, SAN FRANCISCO: "Lofgren, whose congressional district includes the high-tech center of San Jose, will be a key ally for Google, Yahoo, and other tech companies who are already working with advocacy groups through trade associations to figure out how to defeat SOPA (PDF), also known as the E-Parasite Act.

Prospects for the Stop Online Privacy Act and PROTECT IP Act?

Again, +Declan McCullagh: "So far, at least, they're outnumbered, outspent, and outgunned. SOPA's backers include the Republican or Democratic heads of all the relevant House and Senate committees, and groups as far afield as the Teamsters have embraced the measure on the theory that it will protect and create U.S. jobs. SOPA is so controversial -- the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it "disastrous" -- because it would force changes to the Domain Name System and effectively create a blacklist of Internet domains suspected of intellectual property violations."

Who opposes these bills?

David Sohn, Center for Democracy and Technology: "CDT has argued for some time that the domain-name filtering provisions of the Senate's PROTECT IP Act raise serious problems. Domain-name filtering is a blunt instrument; it is trivial to evade and hence won't be effective; it carries risks for cybersecurity; and it sets a bad international precedent; and it can inadvertently affect lawful speech. Infringement is a real problem, but trying to tackle it via the domain name system is a mistake."

Dozens of law professors believe the PROTECT IP Act is unconstitutional.
More perspectives from VCs, analysts and tech journalists who understand how the Internet works:

+Corynne McSherry, EFF

+Mike Masnick of TechDirt is tracking the issue closely, including a lobbying trip last week:

+Jodie Graham , Public Knowledge

+Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

+Brad Feld, Foundry Group

+Molly Wood, CNET

+Mathew Ingram, GigaOm

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

+Gautham Ganesh, The Hill

+Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CEA

+Kathy Gill curated many more stories, resources and links to the bills, donations and more:
Cathy Cook's profile photoWalt French's profile photoAlexander Howard's profile photoSteve Peck's profile photo
Wow. So much for the free flow of information online. I am sympathetic to the piracy issue but there's got to be a better way than blocking sites. Why doesn't the USG use its diplomats and trade negotiators (and all that lobbying money) to lean on the foreign governments in whose countries the piraters operate? I see other government blocking US websites all too soon.
Big Media might be snoozing on this because “techie” sites like this are doing a TERRIBLE job of identifying specific facts, interests, issues and alternatives.
Let's have a clear-cut statement of provisions and their positive + negative impacts; a statement of how/whether negatives could be ameliorated or “the claimed positives are actually not good for society.” A who's-who of groups supporting individual aspects, maybe even something like the voter guides' debate format short pieces.

Right now, just “trust ME, this is bad; rally behind me — get off your duff about something you don't understand — to defeat it.” No discussion of vested interests that Google, ISPs or others might have. No surprise that doesn't work.

+Walt French With respect, I don't think that's fair. What's a "techie" site? Google+? It's not the SITE's fault. It's the people on it! If you think I did a terrible job, than say so! Don't blame a social network for that. If you want a clear explanation of the stakes, go read +Fred Wilson or +Molly Wood, whose piece is the most clear that I've read to date: The "vested interest" that Google and ISPs have is not coming under significant regulatory compliance burdens from these laws. That adds up to real time and money. Some people within these companies, like +Eric Schmidt or Vint Cerf, also understand that the technical mechanisms proposed around using the DNS systems are problematic for some very good reasons, including online security. The white paper linked explains why, if you want do dig into it.
Respectfully, +Walt French, despite what you may have read in certain parts of the media, G+ is not simply a "techie site". It really does depend on who you have in your circles. And please don't disparage the tech participants here on G+. I've found them extremely interested in learning about things outside the tech world, especially when it impacts them. Those of us who have been here since mid-year like to participate in conversations which add value - sharing ideas and enlightening us - no matter what the topic.

I believe it's well known that Google lobbies on, supports and works actively towards assuring the free flow of information online around the world. They don't hide it.

I see that you haven't filled out your G+ profile so most people won't know that you work in the financial industry. Relevant? Perhaps. Especially if you could share with G+ers your thoughts on the broader economic implications of enacting this legislation. That would definitely value add to this conversation. At present, most of us believe that any type of censorship here in the US is unconstitutional and should be actively fought against. The economic impact to US and foreign companies of blocking foreign sites is something that I haven't yet seen talked about here and I for one would love to hear the dollars and cents facts from someone in the financial industry.

And, as for transparency, I am anything but a techie. I have a background in international public policy and communications. Oh and I'm a shareholder of the company for whom you work. Floor's yours and we're listening.
Apologies to +Cathy Cook &@Alexander Howard about mistaking this for a techie “site” (I lifted “techie” straight from the original entry.) Yes, I also have Google+, although have barely used it.

I went to the referenced post by Molly Wood. Her frustration, if I read he correctly, is largely aimed at the provision that utterly strip away Americans' rights to due process—an unsupported charge, without any opportunity to effectively respond, is grounds for a takedown. I'll jump on board and say, that should never pass. A simple constitutional rights argument with the bill on the wrong side.

But of course the bill is much broader than that, and I'm still not clear on actual copyrights that would be preserved if no action is taken. While there's an active debate about a whole spectrum of IP in the US, it's not clear that the US Congress would EVER strip away effective copyright provisions; I don't see that the opposition to this bill acknowledges that we now have the technology to completely undermine them via links to various offshore or ephemeral sites.

In a completely different realm, I read Republican opposition to the jobs creation act because one clause supposedly would allow suits against employers if a person felt discriminated against on basis of current job status. An ugly ramification, not something that should survive, is used as justification for taking down the entire enterprise. And you see a lot of these things on the intertubes: warts are amplified into mountains in order to disguise dogmatic opposition to the bigger purpose.

So I'll reiterate my call for legitimate opposition to frame debates where citizens can make informed, pro or con decisions about the bills. I think opponents here and elsewhere will be ineffective until they manage to communicate that way, and that the isolation of NOT communicating with the broader populace will only further increase alienation and future ineffectiveness.
+Walt French That's not an apology for your comment nor aspersion. It's only an acknowledgement of ignorance, and as such does not speak to your slam aout this post being "sad." In its absence, I'll take some gloves off: I linked to coverage from multiple outlets, white papers, non-partisan think tanks, an original video with an senator and to the legislation itself. I challenge you to find another writer on the Internet that provided readers with as many resources to inform themselves about the issue. With respect to your comments regarding "not communicating with the broader populace," they strike me as relevant to the lack of mainstream media coverage on TV or in print, not to a public post online. Head over to the bill pages on for their aggregation of news sources and access to drafts for a more formalized take. The means for citizens to make informed "pro or con decisions" are out there, if they choose to access them.
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