Here’s the Bill.
Here’s an article in Wired about it.
The issue of “rogue” websites arose at the recent Fordham conference. I asked a question along the following lines that raised a lot of eyebrows:
Q: What would you call a website that allows one to instantly find thousands of free unauthorized files of a specified type (such as “torrent”) of Lady Gaga, Pirates of the Caribbean or whatever else may be of interest?
A: The answer, of course, is Google.
Here are official instructions from Google itself on how to do precisely the above.
So, if you are doing legal research and want to find anything I’ve written or that refers to me and want it to be in PDF format, simply do a Google search for:
filetype:pdf Howard Knopf
Likewise, if you want to find lots of free and likely illegal torrent files of music or movies, simply enter:
filetype:torrent Name of singer, song, movie, etc.
Is Google a rogue or pirate website or “dedicated” to such activity? Hardly.
Can it be used to find illegal copies of music, videos, etc.? Yes - easily.
Should this feature of Google be disabled? Absolutely not because there are countless perfectly legal and useful torrent files out there waiting to be searched and downloaded.
“Torrent” is simply a type of filename extension for a file specification that is no more inherently connected to piracy than paper is to pornography.
Should Google be taken down because it can be used to get pirated content? Of course not.
The Bill is arousing great concern amongst very respected academics and corporate interests up to and including Google itself because it threatens the very architecture of the internet through its scheme to force ISPs to refuse recognize IP addresses of piratical sites that somebody has been to convince a judge to enter an order against. For geeks, see this.
The lesson is that the difference between a rogue website on the one hand and an indispensable and highly praised one on the other hand may entail more a matter of degree than any obvious and clear bright line.
Maybe it’s a bit like the definition of "hard-core pornography" so famously stated by former US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart - “I know it when I see it.”
The whole passage bears quotation:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.That would be a very dangerous approach to apply to the internet.