First, DNS takedowns are already happening under existing law. For example, the American FBI has been taking down DNS names for poker websites in advance of a trial. SOPA and PROTECT-IP merely extend the tendrils rather than starting something new.
Today I read news that indeed, the FBI has taken down the DNS name for Megaupload.com. I'm not sure the American public is in tune with precisely what its federal government is doing.
The news has other sad aspects than the use of DNS takedowns. A few other aspects lept out for me:
- There has been not yet been a trial. If I ask most Americans about how their legal system works, I expect one of the first things people would say is that, in America, people are innocent until proven guilty.
- There is twenty years of jail time associated with the charges. Isn't that a little harsh for copyright violations? I think of jail as how you penalize murderers, arsonists, and others who are going to be a threat to the public if they are left loose. Intellectual property violations somehow seem to not make the cut.
- It's an American law, but New Zealand police arrested some of the defendants.
- The overall demeanor of the authorities comes off as rather thuggish. For example, they seized all manner of unrelated assets of the defendants, including their cars.