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SOPA The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act. The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement. Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites. They cite examples such as Google’s $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to illegally import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment, is Internet censorship, will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions. Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and planned service blackouts by English Wikipedia and major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter. The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee was scheduled to continue debate in January 2012, but on January 17 Chairman Smith said that due “to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February. The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of infringing on copyrights, or of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. After delivering a court order, the U.S. Attorney General could require US-directed Internet service providers, ad networks, and payment processors to suspend doing business with sites found to infringe on federal criminal intellectual property laws. The Attorney General could also bar search engines from displaying links to the sites. The bill also establishes a two-step process for intellectual property rights holders to seek relief if they have been harmed by a site dedicated to infringement. The rights holder must first notify, in writing, related payment facilitators and ad networks of the identity of the website, who, in turn, must then forward that notification and suspend services to that identified website, unless that site provides a counter notification explaining how it is not in violation. The rights holder can then sue for limited injunctive relief against the site operator, if such a counter notification is provided, or if the payment or advertising services fail to suspend service in the absence of a counter notification. The bill provides immunity from liability to the ad and payment networks that comply with this Act or that take voluntary action to cut ties to such sites. Any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement would be liable for damages. The second section increases the penalties for streaming video and for selling counterfeit drugs, military materials or consumer goods. The bill would increase the penalties for unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content and other intellectual property offenses. At the end of October co-sponsor Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property sub-panel, told The Hill that SOPA is a rewrite of the Senate’s bill that addresses some tech industry concerns, noting that under the House version of the legislation copyright holders won’t be able to directly sue intermediaries like search engines to block infringing websites and would instead need a court’s approval before taking action against third parties. Read the bill in it’s entirety at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/112%20HR%203261.pdf

PIPA

The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”, especially those registered outside the U.S. The bill was introduced on May 12, 2011, by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 bipartisan co-sponsors. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on it. The PROTECT IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on the legislation for January 24, 2012. The bill defines infringement as distribution of illegal copies, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management technology. Infringement exists if “facts or circumstances suggest [the site] is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described.” The bill says that it does not alter existing substantive trademark or copyright law. The bill provides for “enhancing enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas” and authorizes the United States Department of Justice to seek a court order in rem against websites dedicated to infringing activities, if through due diligence, an individual owner or operator cannot be located. The bill requires the Attorney General to serve notice to the defendant. Once the court issues an order, it could be served on financial transaction providers, Internet advertising services, Internet service providers, and information location tools to require them to stop financial transactions with the rogue site and remove links to it. The term “information location tool” is borrowed from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and is understood to refer to search engines but could cover other sites that link to content. The Protect IP Act says that an “information location tool shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, to remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the order”. In addition, it must delete all hyperlinks to the offending “Internet site”. Nonauthoritative domain name servers would be ordered to take technically feasible and reasonable steps to prevent the domain name from resolving to the IP address of a website that had been found by the court to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” The website could still be reached by its IP address, but links or users that used the website’s domain name would not reach it. Search engines—such as Google—would be ordered to “(i) remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the [court] order; or (ii) not serve a hypertext link to such Internet site.” Trademark and copyright holders who have been harmed by the activities of a website dedicated to infringing activities would be able to apply for a court injunction against the domain name to compel financial transaction providers and Internet advertising services to stop processing transactions to and placing ads on the website but would not be able to obtain the domain name remedies available to the Attorney General. Read the bill in it’s entirety at http://leahy.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/BillText-PROTECTIPAct.pdf  ]]]]> ]]>

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Single vehicle accident on I-20 westbound

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Photo by Thomas Parker

Just after 7 p.m. Sunday, a woman left the roadway and crashed her vehicle near the 14 mile marker on Interstate 20 westbound.

The driver suffered minor injuries and was transported to Merit Health River Region for treatment.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is in charge of the investigation of the crash.

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Two killed and multiple injured in Friday’s six-vehicle crash on Interstate 20

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On Friday, Oct. 16, at around 8:40 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a six-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 eastbound west of the village of Delta.

This crash claimed the lives of two men and involved four commercial motor vehicles (18-wheelers) and two passenger vehicles.

Troopers have been working since yesterday evening to identify victims and determine the events of the crash with many factors remaining under investigation at this time.

Although the exact sequence of events in the crash remains under investigation, the preliminary findings revealed a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer were struck by at least one of the 18-wheelers involved.

The driver of the Silverado, identified as 36-year-old Jose Luis Venegas-Nuno of Dallas, TX, and the driver of the Trailblazer, whose name is being withheld pending notification, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Four additional vehicle occupants from both the passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers were taken to local hospitals with moderate/severe injuries.

Interstate 20 eastbound was closed for approximately eight hours as investigators and vehicle recovery crews worked to clear the roadway. The crash investigation remains active and ongoing.

In 2020, Troop F has investigated 39 fatal crashes resulting in 42 deaths.

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Mangham police officer in critical condition; suspect in custody

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Officer Marshall Waters (courtesy of Mangham Police Department)

Mangham Police Officer Marshall Waters is in critical yet stable condition after being shot during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon.

At approximately 1 p.m., Waters executed a traffic stop heading southbound on LA 425 near the Franklin / Richland parish line. Officer Waters was shot by a subject who fled the scene of the stop southbound on US 425 into Franklin Parish.

Waters was transported to Franklin Medical Center for treatment and later transported to Rapides Hospital via helicopter.

At approximately 2:30 pm, the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office was notified of a crashed vehicle on LA Highway 562 near Fort Necessity that matched the description of the subject’s vehicle.

The suspect, Hermandus Dashanski Semien, of Ville Platte, LA, was apprehended and placed into custody by the Franklin Parish Sheriffs Office.

Hermandus Dashanski Semien (courtesy of Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office).

Mangham Police Chief Perry Fleming expressed his gratitude on Facebook to all who have called, texted and prayed for Officer Marshall Waters and to the many responding officers who assisted.

Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb also took to social media to thank the many law enforcement agencies whom responded and assisted in the ultimate apprehension of Semien and extended his thoughts and prayers to Officer Waters, Chief Perry Fleming, Sheriff Gary Gilley and the law enforcement community of Richland Parish.

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