In the USA, there is a proposed legislation that at the moment goes under the popular name PROTECT IP that is sort of a follow-up of COICA. You can find the proposal that under the formal name of GRA11400. Among other things the proposal talks about requirement of under some circumstances blocking of resolution of certain domain names registered in registries not based in the US.
Today (May 25, 2011) Steve Crocker, David Dagon, Dan Kaminsky, Danny McPherson and Paul Vixie released a report that explain why the proposal from technical point of view does not make any sense. Or to be more precise:
The authors of this paper take no issue with strong enforcement of intellectual property rights generally. The DNS filtering requirements in the PROTECT IP Act, however, raise serious technical concerns, including:
And then it explains the various issues they see with the proposal.
To me, this shows how badly some legislative proposals in the world solve the problem the proposals are supposed to solve. Something that also comes back in statements from for example many people working with human rights issues. I really look forward to the Human Rights Council that have its 17th session now in June 2011. One interesting document submitted to the council is the report from the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank la Rue that is files as A/HRC/17/27. Among other things the report states:
D. Disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of violations of intellectual property rights law
49. While blocking and filtering measures deny access to certain content on the Internet, States have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely. The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned by discussions regarding a centralized “on/off” control over Internet traffic. In addition, he is alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet access if they violate intellectual property rights. This also includes legislation based on the concept of “graduated response”, which imposes a series of penalties on copyright infringers that could lead to suspension of Internet service, such as the so-called “three- strikes-law” in France and the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom.
50. Beyond the national level, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been proposed as a multilateral agreement to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. While the provisions to disconnect individuals from Internet access for violating the treaty have been removed from the final text of December 2010, the Special Rapporteur remains watchful about the treaty’s eventual implications for intermediary liability and the right to freedom of expression.
I think I can see at the end of the tunnel some light, and it is not the train that is coming. It is the sun rising. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.