19 January 2012

SOPA for non-Americans

Yesterday was the strike day against SOPA and PIPA and I tried to do my part: blacked-out my blogs, put related content on various places, shared link, informing. Many people seemed to understand the issue, but not everybody. Below is an excerpt from a comment (translation is mine) by someone in Romania, a person with IT and FOSS background, this make the quote even more relevant (I saw similar reaction on other tech sites):

I don't understand... SOPA is an American law, right? passed by their shitty Congress, right? how it affect me? how will affect Europe an American law? we aren't Americans so we don't have to obey their laws... what's the deal with this shit? Google and others can move their servers in Asia or Europe and... done... as Obama failed with Google and HP which moved to Ireland for lower taxes...[...]
Back to the initial question... SOPA is an American law, it will affect them.... not me... I am not American... and I don't ever want to be... European countries don't need to obey American laws... as they, in fact do... they don't obey... If the big companies want to keep up any site with piracy of any kind... they only have to host it in Russia :))... SOPA filters will be made in USA, not in our country...
You will say our routes pass there... so what? it takes 30 seconds to change some server routes on your workstation... and 1-2 hours for them to propagate... If USA want to do that, they can do it...

Some points from my reply:

  • US corporations won't move, they will stay and obey the law and even if they move servers elsewhere, they still have to obey the law, since they want to make business in the US
  • the case about moving in Ireland is different: it was for taxes, not to produce illegal things
  • SOPA filters will fork in such way that an European website may get blocked for people in USA
  • the American government has control over the root DNS filters and there the blocking will happen, the world would have to switch to an alternate DNS system
  • once it happens, other countries will follow with their own censorship laws, European countries are eager to do it, as demonstrated with TPB
  • "free Dmitry": you may get arrested even if you do something legal in your country.

fedora and sopa

For such reasons the Romanian Fedora community participated in the campaign with a notice about the Fedora's stance against censorship (not a full blackout as with my personal blogs, since neither the international project went for a total blackout). From my part, I would have preferred Fedora to go to a full blackout, like Mozilla, Wikipedia or openSUSE, I am disappointed by Red Hat having a stance so weak, it was not even mentioned on their own opensource.com and I am unhappy with Fedora stuck in bureaucracy and not being able to produce in due time an official statement I can link to in the news item.

Hopefully I will make your day better with shining examples from TheOatmeal, Playboy and FightingInternet.


  1. i have linked to that, maybe i was unclear: any official statement Red Hat made (i think it was a mere blog post) wasn't deemed worthy to be posted on the opensource.com article (which is owned by Red Hat themselves)

  2. Yes, but still, what's even more disappointing is that Fedora and OpenSUSE were the _only_ two major distros participating in the protest. Most other distros didn't even bother to take a stand.

  3. i suspect many of them have fallen in the same trap as my friend in the article: "we are outside of USA, why would we care?"