We’ve been seeing more questions about SOPA and what it means for our Canadian Web Hosting customers. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is an U.S. bill that, if passed, would give law enforcement and copyright holders a new level of recourse whenever it appears that their intellectual property has been infringed. In short, it gives law enforcement the ability to target third parties that have helped “facilitate” or “enable” copyright infringement and gives the copyright holders a more active role in the process where alleged copyright violations have occurred.
What does this have to do with us, we’re Canadians not Americans?
As a matter of fact, a whole lot. As an example, do you use Google? YouTube? Facebook? If you do, you better think twice because these service providers (and many others) will become responsible for their users actions. If you want to show a video to your friends of you playing a Beatles song, then you would be subject to these new regulations and because the service provider has to comply with these new requirements, they would be forced to restrict you/your account including surrendering the video, verifying your identity, etc. In reading various blogs around the web, it is easy to see that there is a lot of concern and it isn’t hard to see the severity of the situation.
A company offering backup solutions recently sent out an email to its users, which (in part) discusses SOPA:
What is SOPA? This act allows content owners - movie companies, music labels, etc. - to obtain court orders requiring search providers such as Google to filter their search results to exclude websites that host allegedly infringing material, and requiring the net registrars to block DNS servers from providing the correct IP address for such sites. The act also makes site owners civilly liable for the availability of copyright material on their sites. In addition, it makes the posting of a link to a third party website that has copyright material on it the same as hosting the material on your own site.
Again, think about the sites that we all use everyday and the impact that it could potentially have on us. There is one other very impact aspect that we will keeping our eyes on as this discussion continues.
Because of the broad manner by which SOPA sets up “censorship” safe guards, it could have a very real impact on how IP addresses are used within this law:
It defines “domestic Internet Protocol addresses” — the numeric strings that constitute the actual address of a website or Internet connection — as “an Internet Protocol address for which the corresponding Internet Protocol allocation entity is located within a judicial district of the United States.” Yet IP addresses are allocated by regional organizations, not national ones. The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada and 20 Caribbean nations. This bill treats all IP addresses in this region as domestic for U.S. law purposes. To put this in context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes.
For the purposes of SOPA, it would essentially “pretend” that all foreign sites and providers are domestic potentially including Canadian web sites. While we don’t think our Canadian customers will be directly impacted by this, it does create a scenario where future iterations of this law could impact us directly through the creation of cross-border agreements or access to entities that control distribution and access to the internet. What do you think?
Back in March 3, 2009, we published a press release announcing that our company (www.canadianwebhosting.com) donated $5,000 to the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and over two years later, we’re still supporting this wonderful, local, non profit organization. In this article, we take a step back as the year comes to a close. It’s now December and the weather has significantly gotten colder over the past few weeks recently. When the weather drops, it becomes harder and harder for those less fortunate individuals who are on the streets to make it through the winter. We feel fortunate that we have the basic necessities here at home, however, our minds turn towards those who lack those basic needs. UGM is a terrific, resourceful non profit to get involved with. You can also connect with them via Twitter at @ugm, their Facebook page or YouTube.
UGM is an urban relief organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM is positioned to help those who need it most. The heart of the Mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside.
What is the mission of UGM?
Union Gospel Mission is determined to restore the God-given dignity of people by sharing and demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ, providing without discrimination:
- Meals, shelter, outreach and chaplaincy services that relieve suffering and renew hope
- Life recovery programs that offer freedom from addictive lifestyles
- Education and job preparation that equip for successful living
- Affordable housing that fosters community and personal contribution
- Preventative programs that build healthy families
Their slogan is: "Feeding hope. Changing lives."
The other week, we had the opportunity to visit their new facility, have lunch with one of their staff members and learn more about their programs. It's amazing what they do. They start serving meals as early as 6:30 am throughout the day, serving hundreds of meals daily. They have many regular volunteers and also, drop in volunteers. We learned that if you want to volunteer on a longer commitment basis, you'd have to attend a volunteer session. We also had the chance to tour some of their offices, classrooms, their computer labs, and some of their lodging facilities.
Here are some photos from our visit:
Finally, they just celebrated their 71st Annual Christmas Celebration and you can watch their video:
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