January 12, 2012
The Pirate Bay is immune to SOPA
Over on Techdirt, Mike Masnick has pointed out the mother of all ironies: The Pirate Bay, one of the largest outlets of copyright infringement, would be immune to the takedown tendrils of the imminently incoming Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). ExtremeTech reports.
Apparently it all comes down to the fact that The Pirate Bay has a .org domain — and according to Masnick, the current version of the SOPA bill working its way through congress excludes American domestic domains from being the target of takedown notices from copyright holders. In this case, a “domestic domain” is any domain that comes from a TLD run by an American registry — and sure enough, .org’s registry is Public Interest Registry, a US non-profit based in Virginia. In other words, thepiratebay.org isn’t eligible for a SOPA-based takedown, even if its servers are based in Sweden or another country outside the US.
Believe it or not, by the same logic, .com and .net domains — both of which are managed by American company VeriSign — would also be immune from the SOPA bill as it currently stands.
Presumably the bill distinguishes between domestic and non-domestic domains for legal or political reasons. SOPA was originally designed to target any “US-directed site” — i.e. any site that is accessible from the US — but a recent amendment narrows the target of SOPA down to “foreign internet sites.” If this is really the case, SOPA, as it stands, is toothless.
It's worth noting the same is true of both RapidShare and Megaupload -- two other sites frequently cited by the MPAA and the US Chamber of Commerce as the types of awful, evil sites that these bills are targeted to take down. In fact, remember that "53 billion visits to rogue websites" claim that the US Chamber of Commerce loves to repeat? Nearly half of that is from RapidShare and Megavideo/Megaupload. And yet, those sites are clearly excluded from SOPA based on the definitions. So why would they still be trotting them out as examples?
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