Annotated Bibliography



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Annotated Bibliography
[1] Rabiner, S. (2011, Nov. 16). Google, Facebook, Oppose SOPA Copyright Bill. Technologist. FindLaw. Retrieved from www.findlaw.com

Major companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo, AOL, Zynga and LinkedIn are urging members of the House Judiciary Committee to reconsider the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) on the basis that it will “curb innovation and job-creation.”

Under SOPA law, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and search engines would be required to block access to offending websites. The power would be under the Attorney General to seek a court order for this action. ISPs, advertisers, and credit card companies would be required to stop providing their service to the websites. At the desire of the rights-holder, the company would by law be required to either provide or deny service. The crime would be considered a felony to use unauthorized online streaming of material. Currently, ISPs rely largely on the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to minimize liability for the copyright infringement of their users. Under this safe harbor, companies like YouTube would be weighed down in copyright lawsuits and probably not exist. Google, Inc. refers to DMCA as the "cornerstone of the U.S. Internet and technology industry's growth and success."

The PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) allows intellectual property holders to fight foreign websites that infringe on American intellectual property. This may cause new liabilities and force service providers to engage in censorship. It would require a significant amount of time monitoring user content. Those who supporters SOPA want to encourage users to purchase goods and content from legitimate sites.

[2] Sandoval, G., & McCullagh, D. (2012, Jan. 17). Google Plans to Use Home Page to Protest SOPA. CNet. Retrieved from www.cbsnews.com

Google, Wikipedia, Reddit are against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). The English version of Wikipedia planned a 24-hour blackout. A Google spokeswoman said the bills are a “smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet” and stated the Google logo would not be replaced in for the protest.

A sweep of opposition in Congress occurred the weekend of January 13, 2012. On Friday, both Houses eliminated a requirement for U.S. ISPs to block foreign websites with violations of copyrighted material. Afterwards, Senators who had previously voiced support requested but were denied a delay by vote. The Obama administration later stated they would not support “several cornerstone provisions of the bill.” The entertainment industry labeled the first day of the week following as Black Sunday.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, and a preeminent world media company tycoon, Twittered a startling tantrum to the president for following "Silicon Valley paymasters" and accused Google of being a "piracy leader." The event alarmed copyright owners and culminated to Wednesday’s Blackouts.

[3] Netburn, D. (2012, Jan. 19). Wikipedia: SOPA protest led 8 million to look up reps in Congress. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from www.latimes.com

The response to the Wednesday, January 18th Blackouts were blackened webpages and censored logos in protest against SOPA and PIPA bills. Sue Gardener, executive director of Wikipedia Foundation, praised the blackouts. Wikipedia blocked access for 24 hours and reported 162 million visits. In addition, 8 million US readers contacted their representatives from the Wikipedia site. Google reported 4.5 million people had signed their petition by 1:30 PM PST. Twitter announced 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets by 8 PM. WordPress experienced blog blackouts of a minimum 25,000 WordPress users plus 12,500 that posted a "Stop Censorship" message.

[4] Worth, D. (2012, Jan. 18). Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee slams SOPA and PIPA legislation. V3. Retrieved from www.v3.co.uk

The founder of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, argues SOPA and PIPA are a “threat to the core values of the web” and urged people to make their concerns known. The laws crossed too many lines, threatening the freedom of open space on the internet. In effect, an industry body could turn off a web site without trial using government legalized power. Control over websites and free speech would be damaging to exchange of information before an election.

Berners-Lee supported Google and Wikipedia protests; he did not support similar laws already in the UK saying they disrespected human rights, most likely referring to the DEA (Digital Economy Act). As the W3C website director he addressed V3 English news provider at IBM's Lotusphere event in Florida.
[5] SOPA Blackout Aims To Block Internet Censorship Bill. (2012, Jan. 18). Huffington Post. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com

Web giants like Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, Twitpic and even ICanHazCheezburger.com protested SOPA and PIPA. Google’s page targeted SOPA. Walking protests occurred in New York by the city’s technology industry representatives.

The bills are designed to thwart copyright infringement. SOPA gives major corporations government power to censor websites in violation of copyright infringement without a court hearing or trial. Companies that support the bill are Hollywood movie studios, film studios, record labels, Fox News, NBC-Universal, tech companies, and other news providers. Lobbying for the five major film companies is Motion Picture Association of America.

Critics analyze it would threaten the functionality of the internet. Anti-piracy tactics would induce censorship of legitimate content and require ISPs to remove these websites.

The effects of the SOPA protest caused Senate co-sponsors of the bill to regroup, incited lobbying in Washington, and prompted 2012 campaign contributions. MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, representative of News Corp., Time-Warner, Sony and Disney, opposed the protests calling them “an abuse of power.” Both House and Senate versions have undergone revisions, proposals to alternative versions, and many congressional representatives have switched from their support of the bill. Others planned a filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote.

[6] Karr, T. (2012, Jan. 18). Why We Go Black. Huffington Post. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com

The bills violate basic First Amendment Rights. Protesters are against an internet blacklist. The legislation would take the internet out of the hands of users and place them under the control of corporations and governments. The consequence would be direct violation to everyone’s right to information. The concept of the internet by Sir Tim Berners-Lee was “that anyone could share information with anyone, anywhere.” The First Amendment was written to protect exchange of ideas. James Madison stated that a government should allow the people to “arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” In the digital age, the internet is power of knowledge.
[7] Anderson, C. (Producer/Director). (2012). Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a Bad Idea [Video Streaming]. TEDSalon, NY2012: TEDTalks. www.ted.com

SOPA and PIPA will raise the cost of copyright compliance that will simply force people out of the business. In Brooklyn, New York a Mom and Pop Bakery had to stop offering a free service for children to print their favorite picture on their birthday cakes. The problem was that the photos of Mickey Mouse, the Little Mermaid, and a Smurf that were printed onto a plate of sugar were copyrighted material. The hassle of policing copyright violations forced the College Bakery to stop offering the free service to amateurs. The end result was to sell only pre-fabricated images.

The SOPA and PIPA bills propose to police sites and would target substantial copyright infringement websites. How the method is to be carried out is not specified. The consequence of violators would be removal of the website from the domain name system that would turn names like Google into numerical addresses like 74.125.226.212. The penalty would not solve anything. Removal from the domain name would not be effective because you can type in the numerical address into the browser and still have access to the site.

Congress is trying to pass a bill that purposely does not accomplish its stated goals. To understand why, it’s important to know that SOPA and PIPA were written by media companies. Since the evolution of cassette tapes, video cassette recorders and Xerox machines in the 20th century, media companies have tried to put a stop on copying and sharing. In 1992, Congress passed the Audio Home Recording Act that put a distinction between legal and illegal copying. It was okay to make multiple copies for friends but it was illegal to make multiple high quality copies for sale. In 1998, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) made it legal for media companies to sell “uncopyable” digital material. The facade of this bill was that all digital material can be copied. Bits are copied by computers. To feign the idea of an “uncopyable” bit, the DMCA forced consumers to purchase systems capable of breaking copying functions on devices. The DMCA did not have much of an effect with the advent of internet’s newly discovered unlimited sharing capabilities. People shared video, images, audio, and written messages.

The purpose of SOPA and PIPA is to limit online sharing ability. It would police the biggest producers of content like Google and Yahoo!, or actually the users when we post things on the internet, and threaten our ability to share things with one another. The collateral damage would be removal of the IP addresses and policing.

The effect is the reversal of “innocent until proven guilty.” It would prevent someone from sharing something. Discretion at the will of a by a media company would upheld by the government power and carried out without trial. Then there is the heavy surveillance. People will be treated like thieves every moment they access information. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter would be forced to police its users. The fact that it would affect all activity on the internet makes this a world-wide issue and not just a national concern.

[8] Oyama, K. (2011, Nov. 16). Google. Testimony presented before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act. [2011162011]. Retrieved from www.judiciary.house.gov

The internet industry’s nine leading companies AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Zynga issued a letter with serious concerns about SOPA to the Committee echoing the voices of entrepreneurs, small business owners, librarians, law professors, venture capitalists, human rights advocates, cyber security experts, public interest groups, and tens of thousands of private citizens. In summary, SOPA conflicts with and undermines the DMCA, jeopardizes US companies, imposes uncertain technology mandates, exposes US PNP (Payment Network Providers) and IAS (Internet Advising Services) to private legal action, violates the First Amendment, and authorizes government censorship of the internet.


Google does not support foreign rogue websites. Voluntary, industry-led efforts in collaboration with other companies were launched to solve the issue of copyright infringement and distribution of counterfeit goods.
[9] Hsu, C. (2011, Nov. 16). U.S. Govt. Ranks First in Google Takedown Requests. Technologist. FindLaw. Retrieved from www.findlaw.com

The government can issue non-enforceable requests for takedown of information through police departments or other government agency. Google can choose to agree or turndown requests. Google’s transparency report showed that the U.S. government ranked first in number of these requests. The reasons include defamation to government and law enforcement. Another reason for national security asked that Google remove a YouTube clip showing police brutality. Other takedown requests include the German government’s concerns about Nazi memorabilia videos.

In China, Google services have been blocked completely. From January to June, YouTube was blocked in China and all Google was blocked in Libya. These countries do not rank in takedown requests because they block unwanted service completely.

[10] MacKinnon, R. (2012, Jan. 29). Rebecca MacKinnon: Inside China’s Censorship Machine. FullComment. National Post. Retrieved from www.nationalpost.com

The “great firewall” of China works by blocking hundreds of thousands of websites from the view of the Chinese internet. Error messages appear for blocked material reading “This page cannot be found.” Blocking is accomplished easily by eight “gateways.” Each gateway is filtered by a configured setting to block long lists of website addresses and potentially sensitive keywords. Among the filtered services are all Chinese ISPs and router or devices that transfer information between computer networks.

The Chinese regulation of their internet strives for porn-free, crime-free, and more sinisterly, prevention of any political or social that threats the government. The Chinese government also does not allow access to sites and services overseas. It assumes their citizens have no interest in politics, religion, or human rights issues and instead works to provide social networking platforms, entertainment, and useful services.

The Chinese Internet tries to mimic U.S. free internet activity. Baidu is a polular search engine that locates government-approved websites. RenRen and Kaixinwang substitute for Facebook. Sohu and Sina are blogger platforms. Weibo is a widely-used version of Twitter. QQ run by Tencent provides instant messaging, gaming, and services that work across PCs and cell phones. In 2009, the Internet Society of China awarded Baidu along with 19 other companies the “China Internet Self-Discipline Award.” They were praised for “harmonious and healthy Internet development.”

Companies are under government control and made to follow orders. Penalties progress from warnings to stiff fines, temporary shutdowns, and permanent shutdown. Each company is a tool and enforcer of the government’s objectionable material. Government employees are not hired to carry out censorship because the company is forced to do it. Both computer algorithms and human editors work to heavily monitor activity; content that is blocked is permanently deleted from the Chinese internet. Many thousands of Chinese websites have been deleted. The conditions apply to all mainland China companies as well as foreign investors. This is why Google.cn decided to pull out.

Google suffered from Chinese censorship. In 2006, Google operated outside but was subject to the firewall of China. Its users were frustrated when blank pages appeared after Chinese engineers blocked sensitive content. To accommodate to user demand, Google decided to enter the Chinese Internet and agreed to adjust its algorithms to censorship requirements. Google.cn would not include websites that were blacklisted by the government and instead sanitized its searches. Cities with recent riots, massacres, protests, and human rights or activist websites would not appear.

When Google decided to pull out in 2010, the government took action to shape public opinion. It blocked overseas Chinese-language news reports and required blog-hosting services, micro blogs, platforms, and social networking sites to take down any Google-related information. Authorities only allowed negative posts to remain, with instructions to delete texts, images, audio, sound, and video that attacked the Party, State, and government policy. Sympathizing material was to be cleaned up and manipulated.



In conclusion, Chinese authorities boasted that over 350 million pages of “harmful content” were deleted in 2010. Government control imposes industry self-regulations. In this environment, people are denied access to facts, incidents, or ideas that are not approved by the government. Violators are subject to arrest and workers are under constant aggressive surveillance anywhere they access the internet.

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