• Sunday, December 09th, 2012
New Zealand protestors are speaking out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership while the latest round of negotiations happen there. This pact between countries is labeled a fair trade agreement in where more trade of goods can be made. In such a pact there is normally agreements made to remove or lessen fees, limitations, taxes, and similar. Drama over the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not so much about lifting barriers, but how the negotiation development is secret and what has been leaked are actually limitations on citizens in addition to business. Imagine many of the ideas that corporations and politicians thought of for SOPA and PIPA Internet censorship, but on a global scale without much public information. Governments and Internet service providers will enforce blocking of websites, removal of Internet access for individuals, and filtering to increase copyright restrictions with what has been leaked. Japan is one of the countries for encouraging to join in this agreement.
Flourishing and frequesntly imported self published manga known as doujinshi are a massive part of the animanga scene and has one of the world’s largest comic conventions devoted to it known as Comiket. At this time those creations enjoy the freedom of remixing characters from copyrighted anime and manga. The doujinshi market offers a way to become known to companies that publish manga and a way to develop their skills, but with TPP it will be hindered by enforcement with fines even without the copyright holder’s request. This agreement will perhaps include steps to make Japan’s copyright laws the same or much closer to America’s laws.
Copyright infringement is the norm for much of the anime and manga fan community around the world with illegal downloads, manga readers, and torrents. Greater regulation may happen rather than breaking down of the language, cost, and availability barriers. Voters and citizens may not know to what extent the agreement may go, as it may eliminate sites, blogs, or perhaps user pages from social networks. A link, photo, download, or a fan work may inspire a crack down on the site or the user of a site with vague or poor language.
The next Japanese general election will be held December 16th, 2012 with 63% of election candidate opposition to Japan’s Trans-Pacific Partnership participation. Action and discussion needs to happen instead of a last moment or brief spark of excitement that happened with SOPA and PIPA. It will not be easy with the passing of time for an agreement that has been in development for years, the secret nature of the negotiations, and the challenge of taking actual action.
• Thursday, January 19th, 2012
The American government today took down the file sharing site Megaupload, a site where people can upload and download files for free or with paid subscriptions for better speeds and features. Companies, celebrities, people sharing perfectly legal files, and people who share pirated media there including anime and scanlations of manga used the American hosted site. The Federal government is charging the executives of the site with more than $500 million US dollars of lost revenue of copyrighted content and have been arrested along with several other employees who reside outside the US. Official Department of Justice response can be found on justice.gov which is or was down when writing this along with many other sites by denial of service attacks from Anonymous.
Removal of Megaupload has interesting timing since attention of Internet censorship laws SOPA and PIPA have grown after sites like Wikipedia and thousands others blacked out their sites in protest. It would be pretty easy to suggest that Megaupload isn’t a good example of sites that shouldn’t be protected since majority of its use surely was involving copyright infringement, but perhaps it will create an example of what’s to come. There was no due process for the site’s removal as actions were taken with no way for the company or people behind Megaupload to dispute their case. It could have been a blog, news site, or a small hole in the wall. Perhaps having one larger site taken down before any sort of voting in a governing body will create enough stir to stop SOPA, PIPA, or future laws while showing how this can affect people outside of the US.
With one of the largest file sharing sites gone there’s still the issue of the lack of new licenses for manga, innovative ways of distributing product, and other ways of pirating taking its place. There are currently a lot of sites out there with broken embedded videos and links to manga chapters with many of those links to countless little known anime and manga that were never translated or licensed by Western or even Japanese publishers.
Publishers and distributors of media need to adapt and provide better service to combat piracy as opposed to lashing out against their own consumer base. I cannot argue against the removing of Megaupload, but I know for myself that SOPA, PIPA, and Megaupload’s removal won’t get me to buy more than I do. It instead makes me question the morality and ethics of buying. The next time I tell someone of something wonderful to watch or read, I may just stay silent on how to buy it or if there’s a sale and reluctantly concede to arguments about buying versus pirating when in discussion.
This censorship problem can be seen much larger than what it may appear. It’s the merging of government with corporations and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by Supreme Court of the United States making way for more laws like SOPA and PIPA to come.
• Sunday, December 25th, 2011
Very large book publishers Random House and Hachette Book Group have decided to support and lobby for The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. If SOPA or its backup bill Protect IP Act (PIPA) pass it will greatly change the Internet in many harmful ways for websites all over the web and their users. Random House handles distribution for both Vertical and the American division of Kodansha while Del Rey is a branch of Random House and Yen Press is apart of Hachette Book Group.
The Senate version is PIPA and SOPA is House of Representatives and if either passes it’ll include ways for the government to order American Internet service providers to block domain names of websites, payment services like PayPal to close accounts, search engines to modify their search results to not include sites, and ad services like AdSense from paying out to domains. Under SOPA Internet service providers gain immunity from blocking domains independently without request including if they’re blocking competitors if they themselves deem them as copyright infringing. Both bills would remove the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects web hosts if they make an effort to remove copyright materials upon request. Variations of fee, lawsuit, and prison penalties for unauthorized steaming and downloading of copyrighted materials are there too. All without being under the public eye and without any method to counter or dispute it before actions are taken.
Protecting copyrighted materials for artists is one thing, but this is an extreme and dangerous addition to already existing laws and abilities that can already be used against piracy. Many law professors already have declared the changes unconstitutional as entire sites would mean even protected speech is suppressed, burden of proof is on the accuser, and people are innocent until proven guilty. A blog or user of a site would have to be careful who they’re linking to that the site has original content or permission from copyright holders even if the site just has photos of a vacation, fan art, and screenshots. SOPA also means toying with DNS of domains which could mean a less stable Internet or even less secure, but neither SOPA or its sponsors address this.
Discussion of SOPA and PIPA isn’t enough and along with registering to vote there’s more. Contacting corporations who support these laws, canceling orders with SOPA and PIPA as cancelation reasons, not buying products and services from supporter and their companies, and contacting your politicians are more examples of taking action.
If you see any information as incorrect or have more ways to take action, you may comment here or on the forums and this entry will be edited. Merry Christmas.
Phone & email at AmericanCensorship.Org including email for US State Department if not in US
OpenCongress.org pages for SOPA and PIPA
Contact Publishers & Distributors
Contact page for Random House
Vertical email@example.com and specific employees
Contact page for Hachette Book Group
• Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
You can read the first entry about this here.
Google deleted the thread asking them to contact me for more information. Admittedly, it had turned into a shitstorm of abuse. They have not contacted me, despite the fact that several Google employees have been active in that forum over the period that it was posted.
So, I take this to be a sign that we should accept that our block is not going to be overturned, nor are they willing to communicate why.
So be it, that’s their right. They’re a company, and can do whatever they feel is best for them. I find it to be a slightly impolite way to treat someone, but whatever.
As for where we go from here, I think fighting this in a traditional sense is going to be futile. I don’t even know who or what we’re up against. WordPress seems to have declared support for us in that they haven’t deleted us yet. They’ve surely received a load of complaints over the last few days, but we’re still here. For that I thank them, and urge you to support them if you can.
You can read the full story from its source. There’s even a neat quote from Charlton Heston about civil disobedience. And again, link page is safe, but the rest is mostly not safe for work or school.
Google has also reported them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, even though the site contains none that relates to them. The poster of this announcement lives in Japan and is fairly safe from legal actions, but those who work with him are not. They’re brave enough to continue from this loss and they’ll surely do fine with how wide spread their torrents and fans are. I may not be a fan of lolicon of any sort, but I wish them the best of luck and I’m heavily considering dropping anything Google related. Microsoft’s Bing search engine isn’t too bad, I can easily switch back to Safari from Google Chrome, and I have already found myself using Nico Nico Douga more than Youtube. Such content is purely subjective.
• Monday, April 19th, 2010
Manga news and information site for scanlations and summaries has had their Google Adsense account disabled without being given a specific reason.
In case you haven’t noticed recently, we’ve removed all of the ads supporting this site. We recently received an email from Google stating our account was disabled. Upon appeal, we were rejected. No particular reason was provided, so we are quite surprised as we have funded the site using Adsense for the past 5 years with no issues. If anything, I suppose I feel quite liberated. It was quite daunting living in the environment of fear Google has created with their Publisher system.
As far as funding issues go, we’re not sure where we stand at the moment. Over the next few weeks, I will be experimenting with different ad networks. We’re not in the red yet, but this is something we will try to work out over the next few months. If we cannot find a suitable replacement, we will be forced to ask for donations as it comes time to pay our server bills. I had hoped it would never come to this, but we cannot control everything. I have enjoyed the free ride that Adsense has given us over the years, and only hope that any new network we join is not more intrusive to your experience than Adsense was.
The full announcement can be found here. Interesting timing soon after the lolicon situation with another site no longer showing on Google’s search engine, perhaps. Surely there’ll be an update to how they’re going to manage the costs of such a will visited site. They may see the site’s content as copyright infringement and Google Adsense does not allow linking or hosting of pornography, regardless if it’s legal or in this case hentai.