Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet on strike!

Why this matters in Canada : Michael Geist :
Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and BoingBoing, will go dark tomorrow to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
My blog will join the protest by going dark tomorrow. While there is little that Canadians can do to influence U.S. legislation, there are many reasons why I think it is important for Canadians to participate.
First, the SOPA provisions are designed to have an extra-territorial effect that manifests itself particularly strongly in Canada. As I discussed in a column last year, SOPA treats all dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org domain as domestic domain names for U.S. law purposes. Moreover, it defines "domestic Internet protocol addresses" - the numeric strings that constitute the actual address of a website or Internet connection - as "an Internet Protocol address for which the corresponding Internet Protocol allocation entity is located within a judicial district of the United States." Yet IP addresses are allocated by regional organizations, not national ones. The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada, and 20 Caribbean nations. This bill treats all IP addresses in this region as domestic for U.S. law purposes. To put this is context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes.

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