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The following was an article written by one of the members of the linux reality forums. I thought i might be worth reading.

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COPE - An Internet befitting a Third World dictatorship

« on: May 08, 2006, 08:25:21 AM »

http://action.freepress.net/campaign/savethenet

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits.

- Albert Einstein

Not everyone realizes that the USA invented the Internet. Even fewer people realize that the USA is on the verge of wrecking it. This is not an exaggeration. Some nasty new legislation currently under debate in the US Congress could make the Internet as bland as day-old yogurt.

Those who do not live in the USA should not be smug. There is a famous old saying that when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches pneumonia. The USA has a history of exporting its bad laws. Most geeks are familiar with the notorious DMCA and software patents. Thanks to the DMCA, DVDs are region-coded and it's illegal to buy mod-chips for an Xbox. Thanks to software patents, most Linux distros do not have video codecs or an MP3 player. The fact that this execrable legislation originated in America did not prevent its rottenness from spreading around the world.

To understand what is at stake, you should become familiar with the term net neutrality. The basic concept of net neutrality is that Internet content should be dished out in a non-discriminatory fashion. Thus, your ISP should not be preventing you from accessing DistroWatch, nor should your bandwidth be throttled when you try to use BitTorrent or Skype. In this sense, the network is neutral - it does not play favorites.

http://www.savetheinternet.com/

All this would change (for USA residents) if the US Congress passes the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006. This odious new law is the brainchild of telecom and cable TV companies. Chief ogres include Verizon, Comcast, BellSouth and AT&T. Their incentive for pushing this legal abomination is the opportunity to make a lot of money.

The COPE Act would do away with the requirement for net neutrality, thus turning America's Internet into a "private network." This would permit ISPs and telecom companies to dish out Internet access to the highest bidder. Under such a regime, AOL could, for example, block access to MSN, or Verizon could throttle your Skype bandwidth because it competes with their own voice-over-IP service. Even worse, a wealthy political party could pay ISPs to block access to a rival party's web sites and blogs. Emailing lists could also be throttled. It's not hard to imagine proprietary software companies paying to block access to DistroWatch, or prevent you from downloading the latest Ubuntu or Fedora release.

COPE

"If we fail, the Internet will deteriorate to the point of near uselessness."

If the COPE Act is passed, the USA - which likes to boast of being a "bastion of freedom" - could ironically wind up with an Internet befitting a Third World dictatorship. However, the damage would not be limited to residents of the USA. The fact is that about 50% of the content on the Internet originates in America, even more if you're talking only about English-language content. Do a Google search on almost any topic - from "motorcycle repair" to "allergies" - and see how much of the hits are American-based web sites. The web sites themselves could be hosted on servers outside the USA, but server location is not the issue. Rather, deprived of their US-readership or US-based advertising revenue, many sites would have to fold. Would the Internet be as useful to you if Wikipedia or Google folded? For that matter, it's hard to see how DistroWatch (which is not US-based) could survive if we lost our American audience and advertisers.

There is a lot more I could write about on this topic, but there are others who have already done so (and do it better than me). Some excellent articles about this brewing fiasco appeared recently in The Nation, Raw Story and The Free Press. Sadly, I have seen nothing mentioned on the popular geek web sites that I visit everyday (which is why I'm writing this article).

Can anything to done to prevent this disaster (especially since the COPE Act seems to have the support of the Bush administration)? Fortunately, in this case I believe there is hope, though it's going to be a bitter fight. Although we are up against powerful, well-moneyed lobbyists from the telecom industry, we also have some heavyweight supporters, among them Amazon and Google. Opposition to the COPE Act is being coordinated by Save the Internet. If you are a US resident, you should visit their web site and sign their petition. Even more important, they also have a neat little form for sending a message to your representatives and senators - just type in your message, zip code and address, and it will get sent to the proper person (you needn't even know who your representatives are). All such messages should be short and to the point. Basically, what I said in my message was:

1. I oppose the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006 in its present form.

2. I support the efforts to amend the act by Representatives Markey, Boucher, Eshoo and Inslee, and Senators Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan.

3. I am in favor of Net Neutrality.

The telecom/cable industry is pulling out all stops to polish this turd. Their "coalition" has the Orwellian title Hands Off the Internet

The telecoms have lots of cash, and are handing out campaign contributions (otherwise known as "bribes") by the bucketful in order to get the COPE Act passed. Geeks of the world - especially US-based geeks - need to put down their cups of espresso for a moment and get busy fighting this thing. If we fail, the Internet will deteriorate to the point of near uselessness and we might as well put our computers in storage. In that case, we'll have to all find new hobbies. Possible candidates include knitting and flower arranging.

http://action.freepress.net/campaign/savethenet

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American has to realize there are Limits. If you do not, you will wind up with someone (probably one of your former customers, there's a lot of us) nuking you. Or crashing your economy… well the few bits of it left not making missiles. If you think about history, there have been wars over less.

(please note, I don't hate Americans, I'm a British guy who is genuinely worried about what he see's in his friends behavior...)

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I wonder how many americans today know just how much the outside world distrusts America today.

Or to what extent their economy is being kept afloat by China lending money to the US.

But what do they care, right? As long as they can clog up there arteries with their fast food and murder by polluting the most and driving the most gas-guzzling cars known to man, everything's fine.

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I be an american, and I sadly have to agree with you on all of the subject matter.

But most of the fault is to the big bussiness people and the offical people that is leading the U.S into the hole in the ground, and will eventually kill us all.

So I guess that saying must be true, "Give me liberity or give me death!"

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Or maybe you should consider voting something OTHER than Democrat or Republican. There are other parties out there you know, and if enough people do that at the ballot box, you can be DAMNED sure the powers that be will know it.

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Have another revolution? I mean, that’s what the 2nd amendment was really all about. The Founding Fathers were not stupid, they knew that any long lasting government was inherently corrupt and the best counter to that was a populace that could over throw its government. But they didn't bank on MTV and Ms. Clinton I’m guessing.

So my advice to Americans is, read your Bill of Rights, read your Constitution, read the Declaration of Independence. Your ancestors didn't fight for the freedom and rights it’s famed for so your country could end up as an oppressive military backed theocracy...

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I doubt it will get that bad. There are organizations out there such as the EFF ( www.eff.org ) and the newly formed iPac ( www.ipaction.org ) who are fighting the good fight, and I whole heartedly support them. Problems like this tend to reach the Supreme Court, and it's through case law that precedents are set.

I seriously doubt the internet will deteriorate to nothing, there is simply too much of our economy on the line to warrant something like that. Worst case scenario this problem will reach a critical mass, where the average American realizes what’s going on and it suddenly becomes a big political issue.

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Being an American and one who agrees with all of you, I can't help but state the fact that starting a 'revolution' will certainly end with every member in prison for treason. This country has become so far off track that everyone must tread softly when speaking of politics as people have been 'told on' by others and have been jailed for just speaking their mind (freedom of speech being infringed upon, maybe just a little?) I don't know what the hell is going on in this country but I'm on the verge of moving to England, Spain, Italy, wherever to get away from all of this bullshit.

And to answer a few of your guys' questions: No, the vast majority of Americans don't know that the world distrusts us. It's pathetic when college students are not even aware of the things that are going on in their own country (i.e. the RIAA and this Net Neutrality act).

Additionally, you're correct Cooper, we Americans are ignorant to the world around us and have no idea that we are vulnerable on many fronts to being put in our place. It’s no longer the days where we were the ultimate power in the world but today we still feel as though we are and retaliations to our leaders’ actions will show that. I don’t wish anyone to be hurt but if another attack on American soil is what it would take for the government heads to re-think their strategies and priorities, then so be it.

Yes, I am an American, and I have never before been so ashamed to live here.

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I can't help but state the fact that starting a 'revolution' will certainly end with every member in prison for treason.

They would not be arrested as trators, they would probably be arrested as terrorists.

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True... but isn't one persons terrorist anothers freedom fighter? Only so much space in gitmo... unless they start building concentration camps for those with non-mandated ideologies.

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To say that America regulating the internet would destroy it for the rest of the world is a bit of a stretch. All Non-English speaking areas of the world would likely continue on as if nothing ever happened, as it stands places like Korea have a very independent "area" of the internet with the infrastructure to support itself. Other English speaking countries may take a while to move their assets out of the US though, but there would hardly be a noticable change. The internet wouldn't die, it would morph and adapt itself. We would likely see all the "core" of the internet in the US being replaced by services from Europe and Asia.

A good example to compare this to is when there were the big Bit Torrent raids and all the popular trackers were shut down, it didn't destroy the Torrent scene, people just scattered to other trackers and now trackers are more popular than ever. Say every bit of internet infrastructure in the US shuts down right now, all that will happen is people will go to BBC instead of CNN to look at headlines. We might have a higher ping but we'll still have an internet.

Yes in America you certainly do have a challenge on your hands to retain your freedoms. Fortunately in most other Western Countries there is a horde of liberals to protest about these sorts of things. If you get enough people on the streets then there isn't enough Police and jail cells to stop you all. Not saying that you have to have a revolution, but if you get a massive wave of support then changes will happen. If you do lose all your freedoms then it's a short trip up to Canada, or why not hop on a plane to Europe or come down under? I personally will offer refuge with broadband access to anyone fleeing the tyranny of restricted internet.

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I wonder how many americans today know just how much the outside world distrusts America today.

Or to what extent their economy is being kept afloat by China lending money to the US.

But what do they care, right? As long as they can clog up there arteries with their fast food and murder by polluting the most and driving the most gas-guzzling cars known to man, everything's fine.

First off let me state where I am coming from. Yes, I am an American but I'm not one of these morons who bang their head against a wall waving a flag chanting USA USA USA like they had one too many whiskeys.

Now that is out of the way I want to say that ofcourse alot of people distrust America, some with good reason some with bad, some with no reason at all. Look at any company that is a big player, or rather any organization that is in the spotlight. Its always the prime target to go after the top of the pyramid because they are the easiest to see, the most well known. Shady buisiness tactics or even government tactics are for the most part plain to see and pick apart and ofcourse that isn't counting the stuff we don't know about. I just wish two things, one that people will stop trusting media so blindly just because it isnt "American media". This refers to alot of people in europe taking everything the BBC says as truth without even checking their facts and E V E R Y O N E, even the reporters have bias one way or the other and A L L media has a slant on it, even independent journalism. The other thing I wish is that people will stop trusting our own American media, e.g.-fox news, cbs, msnbc, etc. There is an old saying that those that control the media control the people and for the most part this is true. About China giving the US money, I can actually see that happening but where you read this, did you actually read it and believe it even if it was in multiple sources and trust it blindly or were you actually in the meeting where the check changed hands and witnessed it with your own eyes. Don't believe everything you hear.

And yes, we are all overweight, all polluters, all evil car crazy people that has a SUV in every garage. My god when I go to a parking lot its hard to tell which SUV is mine, they're just SUV's as far as the eye can see. Nope, no economy cars here, nope, no hybrids either, no organizations here trying to get ethenol or other enviroment friendly fuel sources going, nope.. its all a fantasy. Just close your eyes little americans and continue to dream, when you wake up you'll have a brand new SUV in the driveway that utterly fail emission standards. We're also all drunk trailortrash rednecks that give our wives black eyes and we all live in the country. But hey, why we are all into stereotyping and believing whatever we're fed, lets go to the Netherlands, where they always stay out of wars even if hundreds of thousands of people are being innocently slaughtered (*cough* world war 1 *cough*) and where the people, according to Wikipedia are drug addicts, prostitutes, same-sex married and euthanasia loving people in the world.

I'll admit, the US probably is the most dishonest country (govt wise) in the world and there are alot of things our leaders do that are very questionable. But just because our president is a moron (I didn't vote for him) , has a GPA below 2.0, and didn't renew in the Kyoto treaty does NOT mean that we are all idiots who voted for bush, all sucked in school, and all pollute! Next time you say "Americans" be a lil more concious about how you are lumping ALL of us into one group. And yeah we could vote for other parties, but if you would of read further on Wikipedia or spent more than 10 minutes if any at all in the States you would realize taht it is a little more screwed up than that. The Electorial colleges screw it all up, a state in particular can vote even 99% one way and the Electorial College still has the ability to override that majority vote and vote their own way. Oh yeah, we WOULD of voted for a diff president besides Bush or Kerry but omg, there was no one else RUNNING. Now if I'm wrong about no one else running, please let me know the name because I may not have even been aware of it. Not that I believe everything the media says but its pretty hard to see past that big ass umbrella of lies they cast when its completely surrounding you.

and Vako, the "one pesons terrorist is anothers freedom fighter", I think that is the saying by Thomas Jefferson that said "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

But ofcourse distinguishing between patriot or tyrant is all dependent on if you win or lose. As an unknown source said

"History is written by the victor." -- Unknown

So if there is an uprising, the outcome will determine the label.

But back to Cooper, I digress, if you abso-frigen-lutely have to place blame somewhere, place it on big buisiness as another poster already stated. Money = power here and votes = shit.

Just please be a lil more wise and a lil less quick to believe whatever you hear and talk about what you know, not what you hear.

</End Rant>

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"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

http://www.quotedb.com/authors/thomas-jefferson

Very smart guy... Thats why america trains you to be loyal to the flag, and the ideology it represents, not to any goverment or president (and also where the current Bush Admin. differs from the previous ones). Its a nice little insurance mechanism if things go tits-up down the line.

Trouble is TV came along, and America stopped funding its schools properly/letting a theocracy dictate science classes FFS, and now many people to take FOX news & Bill O'Reilly at face value.

I suppose in europe we've had 2000yrs more of being lied to by our goverments, so we're probally a little more jaded when it comes to politics now.

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Don't move to England, it's shit. Don't know about Italy or Spain, although Italy's voting system doesn't seem to work very well (although the one here is shit as well, I wish we had PR).

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Don't move to England, it's shit. Don't know about Italy or Spain, although Italy's voting system doesn't seem to work very well (although the one here is shit as well, I wish we had PR).

Italy sounds great, new goverment every few months due to corruption, lots of sunshine, sexy women and good food.

<sorry horza>

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Well Im from america and im not even capitolizing it. This government is so corrupt that the fuckin pigeons hanging out on capitol hill are corrupt. Honestly, bush and his chronies are gonna drag us into the fuckin ground. If this bill passes bad things will happen. Every hacker in america will bring this economy to a standstill.

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Well Im from america and im not even capitolizing it. This government is so corrupt that the fuckin pigeons hanging out on capitol hill are corrupt. Honestly, bush and his chronies are gonna drag us into the fuckin ground. If this bill passes bad things will happen. Every hacker in america will bring this economy to a standstill.

A SWAT van is on it's way to your house...

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Every hacker in america will bring this economy to a standstill.

And we shall stand together. You can stop one, but you cannot stop us all.

And why not move to England? The fact that you guys speak English is good enough for me, that way I don’t have to put my Spanish to the test and the only Italian I know is how to say thank-you.

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A SWAT van is on it's way to your house...

I dont even fucking care anymore.

Agreed. If I can take down a few 'Gibsons' (haha, shitty movie though) before they bust through my door, I'm glad to go to jail. If everyone can see what I'm trying to do and follow suit, there arn't enough jail cells to hold all of us.

Change must take place, and my apprehension will be just the beginning.

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And why not move to England? The fact that you guys speak English is good enough for me, that way I don’t have to put my Spanish to the test and the only Italian I know is how to say thank-you.

There are plenty of other countries where they speak English: NZ, Oz, ROI, Canada, South Africa. Of course those aren't all great places to live either, but I would go with NZ or Canada or somewhere before England (or anywhere else in the UK). I don't know anything about New Zealand but I haven't heard about them doing anything bad like starting wars so they can't be that bad.

Why not England? Well it's just crap. That TIA database they are building under the guide of ID cards is one reason. Ridiculous anti-terror laws. No freedom of speech. So much apathy and stupidity (of course every country has apathy, but in other places people care a lot more about privacy).

Every hacker in america will bring this economy to a standstill.

Wishful thinking I think. What do you even mean by that? How will they go about bringing the economy to a stand still?

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Agreed. If I can take down a few 'Gibsons' (haha, shitty movie though) before they bust through my door

Think of the movie man, "with my help we can do it in 5 minutes" etc, if we all pitch in then we can be taking down Gibsons every 10 seconds. Theres no way The Plague err... Government could stop everyone. God that movie was bad...

I don't know anything about New Zealand but I haven't heard about them doing anything bad like starting wars so they can't be that bad.

Yeah it's a bit of a mixed bag down here, we have quite a large amount of liberals and lefties that make sure our government doesn't do anything too drastic. But we still have quite alot of people in the government who would like to put a uniform on every man here and send them off to support Commander Bush. Althought most of the time we're too busy squabbling over petty domestic issues to worry about anything else.

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Do you want to know what would change, if all the "hackers" in the world joined forces against the US?

Absolutely nothing.

Not a jot.

Not one microscopic detain would change in the grand scheme of things.

Throughout history, there have been idiots in positions of power. There have been wars fought over pointless landfills, with the excuse of overthrowing an evil ruler, and yet it still happens today.

Human nature doesn't change just because a few people decide to change the world, it all goes back the way it was before, and everything moves on in a state of constant stagnation, before a new force emerges, wiping out the old way with it's remarkable ideas, before it too stagnates.

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"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

http://www.quotedb.com/authors/thomas-jefferson

Very smart guy... Thats why america trains you to be loyal to the flag, and the ideology it represents, not to any goverment or president (and also where the current Bush Admin. differs from the previous ones). Its a nice little insurance mechanism if things go tits-up down the line.

"A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration." by Abraham Lincoln

He said it best :)

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