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RIAA: Anonymous, LulzSec Hacks Prove Need for PROTECT IP Act!

RIAA: Anonymous, LulzSec Hacks Prove Need for PROTECT IP Act!

Says hacktivist group’s campaign against public websites like the US Senate, CIA, and more recently, the Arizona Police Dept, prove a “lawless Internet” is not a “good thing,” and that legislation like the PROTECT IP Act that would mandate DNS filtering of “rogue sites” is needed to restore order.

Leave it to the RIAA to rehash the usual bait-and-switch tactics of old when it comes to convincing the public that its own selfish commercial interests are really for the public good.

In a posting on its site it asks that Senators don’t waver on pending legislation that would require ISPs to block copyright infringing websites. Known as DNS filtering, the measure is part of the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011,” or the “PROTECT IP Act.

The RIAA says the legislation is necessary to restore order to a “lawless Internet” where hacktivist groups like LulzSec and Anonymous are able to roam free.

“And in a world where hackers set their sights on new targets every day — most recently the official United States Senate website, allegedly the CIA’s public website and Arizona’s law enforcement database — do we think a lawless Internet defended to the extreme is a good thing?” it said.

Notice how the RIAA is combining two completely different topics? The RIAA is trying to make the case for filtering the Internet on the backs of hacktivist groups that expose the security flaws or misdeeds of others.

The RIAA’s failed business model is solely to blame for its woes, and yet it’s trying to argue that more laws are the panaca. You can’t forcibly turn consumers into paying customers any more that you can dictate who their favorite artists will be. Filtering the Internet won’t fix the music industry’s refusal to give music fans what they want and where they want it.

A group of 87 prominent engineers who played critical roles in the development of the Internet have warned in the past that DNS filtering risks “fragmenting the Internet’s global domain name system (DNS),” and would “create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. ”

The RIAA dismisses this concern and points to other countries that have already implemented DNS filtering as proof the Web has not “broken,” but I’m inclined to believe the experts in their field that it is likely to happen.

Another criticism of the PROTECT-IP Act is that DNS filtering is easily circumventable, rendering the whole process an exercise in futility.

“That’s silly,” it said. “No enforcement program, either in law enforcement or civil litigation, can ever be expected to eradicate a problem.  The perfect cannot be the enemy of the good.  We know that there are dedicated hardcore users will find ways around the law regardless of what legal or technological barriers are erected.  But isn’t it worthwhile to make it harder to find and access illicit sites that no one defends?”

How “dedicated” or “hardcore” do you have to be to use one of the thousands of free proxy servers that exist? Easier still one can simply enter the IP address of the affected site. It’s well known that teenagers are the music industry’s best customers, and yet they’ll be the most adept at bypassing the legislation.

There’s also the pesky fact that 75% of global P2P traffic takes place outside US borders. So if the bill manages to somehow miraculously cut P2P traffic in this country by half (very unlikely) we get down to an even more meager 12.5% of the problem as a whole, making the legislation further questionable.

Filtering the Internet won’t restore order to a “lawless Internet” any more that it will magically turn people into paying customers.

Using LulzSec and Anonymous to seemingly scare Senators into enacting the PROTECT-IP Act has nothing to do with the public interest, and everything to do with the RIAA’s continued reliance on law enforcement to fix a business model ill-suited for a digital world.

Has the RIAA realized that even if P2P were magically eliminated this very moment FREE MUSIC is still plentiful on the likes of YouTube, Pandora, Last.fm, etc.?

Stay tuned.

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