• Blog Stats

    • 76,905 hits
  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 157 other followers

  • Copyright notice

    This blog entry and all other text on this blog is copyrighted, you are free to read it, discuss it with friends, co-workers and anyone else who will pay attention.

    If you want to cite this blog article or quote from it in a not for profit website or blog then please feel free to do so as long as you provide a link back to this blog article.

    If as a school teacher or university teacher you wish to use content from my blog for the education of students then you may do so as long as the teaching materials produced from my blogged writings are not distributed for profit to others. Also at University level I ask that you provide a link to my blog to the students.

    If you want to quote from this blog in an academic paper published in an academic journal then please contact me before you submit your paper to enable us to discuss the matter.

    If you wish to reuse my text in a way where you will be making a profit (however small) please contact me before you do so, and we can discuss the licensing of the content.

    If you want to contact me then please do so by e-mailing me at Chalmers University of Technology, I am quite easy to find there as I am the only person with the surname “foreman” working at Chalmers. An alternative method of contacting me is to leave a comment on a blog article. If you do not know which one to comment on then just pick one at random, please include your email in the comment so I can contact you.

SOPA a bad law ?

Dear Reader,

To be frank with you I do not like the idea of people being able to steal the copyrighted works of others. When I was a university teacher in the UK I once had to deal with a plagiarism case, it was horrible. I view plagiarism as the intellectual version of stealing milk bottles from the house next door because you are too lazy to order or buy your own milk, it is deeply wrong.

However sometimes the cure for a disease is worse than the disease, for example how about a dose of a potent anticancer drug associated with hair loss to cure unsightly hair on the back of your hands !? My answer to such a cure for hairy backs of hands would be to say “no thank you, what a stupid idea !”.

Sadly in the US a bill is being debated which might well be a dire cure which will cause more harm than the disease. The bill is PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. You read one point of view about it and you can see a film about it here.

While I have nothing against a court order being obtained to close down a site if the site is based in the same state / country as the court. I do have a problem with the idea of a law which allows the creation of a censorship wall or a law which allows a US court to demand that search engines (or the DNS) block access to sites. I suspect that no real due process will exist and that as well as blocking the sites of a range of wrongdoers many innocent sites will be blocked in error.

I would suggest that the law should be improved in the following way, any person / company who can show that their site has been unfairly blocked or affected should be offered a remedy.  The person / company which filed the wrongful case against them should be required to pay for all costs, expenses and loss of earnings plus large punitive damages. The standard of proof for this counter claim should be no higher than that required for the original blocking order or the standard balance of probabilities (normal civil case) which ever is a lower standard of proof.

Advertisements

Go on, Have your say !

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: