I’m for the fight to protect copyrighted works, and for government playing a key role in protecting people. But it seems like its going too far if there’s no due process before something is shut down. Especially if sites are targeted that just link to other sites who violate laws. Can they not shut down the actual sites hosting copyright violations? If they are hosted foreign then get the foreign government to do it or pass a law here not allowing Internet services to connect to sites from that country anymore.

But you can’t control how the content changes on sites you don’t own and only link to, the site this story was published on and that I’m linking to could break the law somehow, then I could liable. The World Wide Web is not so worldly when access to sites is arbitrarily blocked at any time by governments. When it comes to technology governments often don’t even follow their own laws. Ever since the “war on terrorism” started and you can wiretap anyone’s phone without a warrant, I guess websites being shut down are nothing. I don’t see how people can be expected to do everything a certain way, if the government doesn’t also have to stick to its own rules.

US Government Censors 70 Websites

posted by Thom Holwerda on Sat 27th Nov 2010 10:46 UTC
The US is really ramping up its war on intellectual property infringement, a war which I’m sure will be just as successful, cheap and supported by the people as the wars on drugs and terrorism. The US has started seizing the domain names of various websites through ICANN – not because owners of these sites were convicted of anything, but merely because complaints have been filed against them. Anyone want to take a guess how long it will be before the US government blocks WikiLeaks?The current seizures of domains did not even use the proposed bill which recently passed the US Senate Judiciary Committee. The seizures come from the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and cover about 70 websites relating to potential copyright infringement and counterfeit goods, among which is Torrent-Finder.com, a mere torrent search engine which does not host or even link to torrents; it displays content hosted elsewhere through embedded iframes.

“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the owner of Torrent-Finder explained TorrentFreak, “I firstly had DNS downtime. While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed. Godaddy had no idea what was going on and until now they do not understand the situation and they say it was totally from ICANN.”

This is equivalent to having your house seized for pointing out to someone you can buy weed in the college district. The craziness goes even further – ordinary search engines are really effective at finding unauthorised copyrighted content as well. You can use Google to find the latest Parenthood episode in 720p, and Bing, too, is pretty good at it. Why aren’t we seeing notices for these domains as well?

Body scanners, sexual assault patdowns, censorship laws, seizure of property without even a notice (let alone a court order or conviction), even without doing or having done anything illegal. Welcome to the police state. It won’t be long now until the US government – and other government will surely follow – will start blocking websites that do not fall within the government’s favour. I’m sure WikiLeaks is being put on censorship lists as we speak.

If anyone mods their consoles, don’t be dumb enough to turn it into a business.

Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online
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Judge Bars ‘Fair Use’ Defense in Xbox Modding Trial

* By Kevin Poulsen Email Author
* November 23, 2010 |
* 9:19 pm |
* Categories: Copyrights and Patents, intellectual property

A California man charged with violating the DMCA by installing mod chips in Xbox 360 consoles won’t be allowed to claim “fair use” at his scheduled jury trial next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday — a decision potentially devastating to the defense, and not particularly favorable to anyone who thinks they have the right to tinker with hardware that they’ve bought and paid for.

Matthew Crippen, 28, faces three years in prison on two allegations of violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for financial gain. Crippen, who’s from Anaheim, allegedly had a business modding Xbox 360s for between $60 and $80 a pop, allowing the consoles to run pirated games or unapproved homebrew software. He was indicted after allegedly performing the silicon surgery for an undercover corporate security investigator with the Entertainment Software Association, then again for an undercover federal agent.

His trial is set to begin on November 30 in Los Angeles, and would be the first federal criminal prosecution for console-modding to reach a jury.

Crippen’s lawyer hoped to convince that jury that Crippen’s alleged modifications weren’t intended to enable piracy, but to allow Xbox owners to make lawful “fair use” of copyrighted material, or for other non-infringing purposes. The lawyer compared installing a mod chip to jail breaking an iPhone, an activity explicitly permitted under a recent DMCA exception approved by the U.S. Copyright Office.

“The Copyright Office cited the fact that the only way for consumers to exercise their fair-use rights by running non-Apple endorsed applications was through circumvention of access controls,” wrote Callie Glanton Steele, a Los Angeles federal deputy public defender, in a court filing.

But U.S. District Judge Philip shot down that argument Tuesday, noting that the DMCA makes it a crime to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access” to copyrighted material, even if there’s no proof that the circumvention was intended to facilitate piracy. The iPhone exemption is irrelevant, he wrote, because the Copyright Office did not extend that exemption to game consoles — just phones.

“[A]lthough the government will have to establish that the technological measure that Mr. Crippen allegedly circumvented was used to control access to copyrighted work, the Government need not show that the modified Xbox’s were actually used for infringing purposes,” (.pdf) wrote Gutierrez.

The decision isn’t a surprise, but it highlights the troubling conflict created by the 1998 DMCA. Copyright law still allows for the fair use of protected material — for example, an educator might be allowed to copy a brief scene from a DVD movie for classroom instruction. But if a hardware-maker deploys technology that prevents that fair use, bypassing that technology for any reason is unlawful.

Other pre-trial issues remain to be decided in the case, including the admissibility of a covert video recording of Crippen allegedly performing the modification, and whether or not the jury can hear the testimony of hardware hacking guru Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, who’s agreed to testify for the defense.

Huang told Threat Level last month that he’s prepared to offer expert testimony that installing a mod chip doesn’t circumvent a copy control mechanism within the meaning of the DMCA. The government has asked Gutierrez to block his testimony.