Upcoming proposal and discussion on content moderation

[This post was unnecessarily inflammatory so I’ve re-edited it to be more productive, it was a bit of a flameout but there was actual thought behind it. I’ve answered rebuttals in this post as well so bear in mind that subsequent responses were made to very different text]

In this post on the cycle_dao blog I recently discussed the cultural dominance of this forum.

I am claiming that neither is there a universal morality that can be applied to IP, nor is there practical value to the affected parties that we might be protecting on the IC. Also that these forums are predisposed to certain perspectives that we know differ from much of the world and that we need to actively look to non-participants in these discussions to get an accurate view of the most representative path forward.

The Chinese market largely supports the counterfeit wine industry because Chinese consumers are not overly interested in whether the item they are buying is genuine or not. Chinese authorities are not highly interested in pursuing breaches of wine IP either. This article about the first prosecution in 10 years of a counterfeiter caught with 10,000 fake bottles resulting in an 18 month suspended sentence gives an indication of how minor the crime is considered.
The New Zealand horticulture sector is learning to accept its intellectual property will be appropriated by the Chinese sector because there is a growing practical understanding that IP has a shelf life. Regardless of law it decays and you have to develop a business model that is based on that reality. This is a pretty good article on the Kiwifruit industry that provides some background.
In the article, the point is made that the Kiwifruit itself was originally taken from China by New Zealand growers. Another example is much of the Australian and New Zealand wine industries were built on genetic IP taken illegally from Europe in exactly the same way as the Chinese/NZ horticulture example. [I can’t find a citation for this but it’s a mirthful in-joke in the Australian wine industry that “all the Viognier in Heathcote, Victoria was grown from cuttings taken from Chateau Grillet in France” and I bet new Zealand growers stole it from them in turn].

After 5 years the USA withdrew from the negotiation of the TPPA free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore & Vietnam. The remaining participants signed an agreement called the CPTPP one year later.
The agreement was negotiated behind closed doors, but this article suggests the reason it became possible to come to an agreement in the absence of the USA was likely IP terms that were then able to be removed from the agreement.

Patent law allows for different time horizons in different jurisdictions. In practical reality, IP can decay much more quickly than that. for example, in the Kiwifruit example above, New Zealand’s exclusivity advantage for developing a new kiwifruit decayed in China by 50% in 9 years.

In the case of Mario64, anyone with a computer can play it for free on the traditional web as pointed out by llbrunoll here. We might say that Nintendo’s exclusivity over Mario64 has decayed by 100%. The same can be said for every song, movie, image and TV episode streaming for free at any number of websites. Or any piece of software currently available for illegal download. What practical benefit is there to the IP rights holders to have these removed from the IC?

ililic’s point below with the big green map showing the whole world has IP legislation is solid. However, Hopefully, the above examples indicate that, at least on the ground in horticulture & Viniculture, these intellectual property rights are often ignored at industrial scale and this is tolerated by governing bodies. One might imagine that few of the countries who sign onto international property agreements actually intend to fully honour those terms. They do it to gain access to new markets and IP is treated differently in different industries under identical legislation.

The term used in this post before, a-legal, is pretty stupid. Neutrality is a better one. We should aim to be as neutral as the current internet. IP can be policed at higher levels. It cannot be managed at the protocol level.
*’’… in the first half of 2020, Twitter reported receiving 1.6 million takedown notices for copyright infringement.’’**
Algorithmic policing has been widely criticised as ruining YouTube and ignoring “fair use” so if we want our contribution to Web3 to be any better we have to do better than that.

Anecdotally, members of the Chinese community I’ve spoken to have been very upset as have been members of the European community and the Blockchain-native community.

The fact the foundation put the takedown proposal forward immediately was wrong:
A) This tacitly opinionates the Foundation in favour of US IP legislation.
B) An NNS proposal had at the time 24 hours voting time, while a DMCA request has 7 days to be honoured.

These forums are already an opinionated arena for discussion of IC governance. They are English language, as pointed out before, sequential in nature with debate subjects interposed with one another. It’s hard for a non-English speaker or person with lower reading & comprehension skills to participate or consume the discussion. These are also highly technical and populated largely by developers, primarily American. Given that the product of developers work is itself intellectual property there is an additional subject matter sympathy.

Take a member of the Chinese community, trying to participate in this debate. They are someone for whom English is at best a second language with a different script and they are attempting to absorb the nuances of a culturally alien subject that they are probably going to vote against. Then introduce ideas of a “Constitution” - a permanent set of laws supposed to govern a global system, or a “Moderation Committee” - a group composed of community representatives to care for the content on the IC. This is pretty intense conceptual depth to expect a global audience to engage with in this format.

The point here is not to say the forum cant serve a valuable purpose. Even a primary role in IC governance. Rather that we have to acknowledge that a large group of people are excluded from this discussion and we have to go to them and ask them what they think before we come to conclusions here. Consider this point in the context of the 24 hour wait for quiet period in the NNS proposal. The necessary consultation is impossible in such a time frame. (This has obviously since changed)

There are practical considerations that will be addressed in a cycle_dao post sometime in the next week. There is a lot of research that needs to be done in the interim. The most important consideration while we figure this out is to not be like me and post wild rhetoric on developer forums :sweat_smile:

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As always this is a really good post. I agree with many of your points.

But I’m surprised to see you say the debate is not worthwhile. Anyone who scrolls up can I see that I openly stated I was going to vote to adopt this proposal, but since then I’ve read all of these discussions and learned a lot. Especially from @Ciaran. But I need time to adjust my thinking for many of the reasons you point out.

I guess what I’m saying is how would newcomers to blockchain learn if not for these types of forum debates?

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There is a ton of good thought here and debate is good. I don’t mean to gatekeep but I want the severity of my wording to stand because this is a moment of existential threat.

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by capture debate, I mean 150 posts in a list is too hard to read through

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Understood. This makes sense. Thanks

Without having to make a decision on whether or not censorship should be allowed at all on the IC, I hope we can all agree that node operators should not be placed in the position of deciding which canisters they should run or drop.

That decision should be moved to either the NNS, the canister owner, or parties external to the network…or possibly no decision should be possible.

I propose we move forward with endowing node operators with plausible deniability. Please join the discussion here: Plausible deniability for node operators

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The Internet Computer is the first blockchain in the world that’s fast, cheap, scalable, and user-friendly enough to host the mass market open internet services of the Web 3.0 future.

It’s an absolute marvel of engineering, and surely one of the most significant developments in the history of computing.

Nothing that happened here takes away from that.

We are discussing this problem because an interactive, web-based video game was hosted on the Internet Computer. That’s not possible on any other blockchain right now. We were merely ahead of the curve, so we hit this roadblock first.


In my opinion, the first order of business is to brainstorm and implement protections for node providers. Node providers supply the hardware that make the Internet Computer possible.

Realistically, how should a node provider respond to a DMCA request? Can they say “sorry, I can’t enforce this”? What kind of evidence can they provide to back up their lack of enforceability? Should we as the Internet Computer community “insure” node providers against possible losses in the event something like this happens to them?

We need to make sure that node providers never have to deal with an issue like this again.

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Agreed. We’re at a pretty damn big fork in the road here. One path leads to a globally trusted web 3.0 platform, the other to Lord of the Flies oblivion.

I’m glad you and others like @LefterisJP and @MisterSignal have spoken out against this madness.

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I would like to see all governance proposal announcements made right here in the Governance category of the forum. It also seems appropriate for at least 1 week of deliberation before a proposal is made. However, on something sensitive or controversial like this proposal, there is nothing like a short deadline to motivate people into action. This is why I think we are better off with a 24 hour voting period with wait for quiet for proposals as we have now instead of extending the voting period. It would be nice to have advanced notice of when the proposal is going to be formally submitted to the NNS, but short voting window FOMO motivates governance participation.

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I get that emotions are high on this topic; but there’s plenty of false statements here that can be refuted by a simple google search.

Intellectual property is a super American thing.

No. Actually it’s not. Intellectual Copyright laws originated in Gregorian Britain and have been around for over three centuries.

It is not something the whole world accepts.

False. Below is a graphic of WTO members where The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) resides.

It’s worth pointing out that after 5 years of negotiation, New Zealand, Australia and many Pacific and South-East Asian nations didn’t sign the TPPA free trade agreement

This is blatantly false lol. The TPPA didn’t enter into effect because Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and it therefore never entered force. The subsequent Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership came into force on December 30, 2018 and has both New Zealand and Australia as Signatories.

Mario64 is a significant cultural artefact and is over 25 years old. Both things could be used as an argument for placing it in the public domain.

You can’t just pick an arbitrary date and hope that it applies for copyright. There are real world governance mechanisms in place that supercede your desires. In Japan, all works are protected for seventy years following publication. That includes our friendly 64 bit mustached Italian plumber.

Blockchain is supposed to be a-legal and exists outside jurisdiction.

Then explain why the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services just had a session on Digital Assets and the future of Finance. A-legal is a myth. Ask Ross Ulbricht or better yet Peter Sunde.

Arthur, you and I go way back and I respect the hell out of you - but your post is pure FUD, designed to elicit an emotional reaction and not fact based at all. I’m a huge proponent of copyright reform - and I think blockchain has a ton to offer in the venue of copyright moving forward. But it doesn’t change the fact that existing works are protected - pretty much globally - under existing copyright regimes.

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This is a lot of respect and submission to the status quo for someone who’s participating in disruptive and paradigm shifting tech.

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The HFSC having a session on digital assets means blockchains aren’t a-legal? If Congress had a session on aliens would that mean it’d have jurisdicion over them too?

In practice Bitcoin and Ethereum are quite clearly a-legal. If they weren’t miners, nodes and devs would be arrested under a RICO for running violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other number of laws centralised entities have to adhere to.

Ross Ulbricht was the sole administrator of a website. He’s not a relevant example at all.

Adjective.
alegal
Not within the framework or concept of the law; unrelated to concerns of legality.

No, Bitcoin and Ethereum are quite clearly the opposite of a-legal. For instance, one of Bitcoin’s massive leaps forward was when the IRS declared it a commodity. This gave legal clarity for how BTC behaves under US tax law. With that clarity BTC began a huge bullrun that arguably hasn’t stopped.

Don’t confuse alegality with front-running the legal system. Bitcoin was alegal for a few moments after Nakamoto published the white paper; but it certainly isn’t alegal today, otherwise it wouldn’t be the legal tender of El Salvador.

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I’m sorry but you’re the one confusing alegality. Gold is deemed a commodity too. It doesn’t mean the government has jurisdiction over its elements (in other words the properties of gold are not within a national legal framework). States are of course free to decide that gold is legal tender but that bears no consequence to gold’s alegality.

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You can say Bitcoin and Ethereum are not alegal in the sense they have their own native legal (consensus) systems but that would be bending the meaning of alegal which is commonly understood to refer to nation state rules.

Yeah, I’ve been using Dapp interchangeably with canister more or less. You’re right.

The NNS can still vote to take these down though, no?

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Uh… so what are we going to do?

When a future ICP game developer spends thousands of hours on creating a great game and then someone else duplicates their code and starts giving it away for free we’re just going to say, “too bad, canisters are unstoppable, you don’t get any rights to your creative output.”

Property rights, copyrights, and intellectual property have a place, at least until we can find a better mechanism.

I’m hopeful, for example, that there are alternative mechanisms to enable patents and copyrights in an era of crypto. But that doesn’t mean that we can just ignore their importance in the meantime.

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You’re facts aren’t wrong, but your interpretation of them is. For example, The TPPA was under negotiation for 5 years primarily because of American intellectual property enforcement requirements. The fact Trump canned was just what put it to bed. It’s the US putting intellectual property enforcement into trade deals that has created that green map.

I could analyse your critique of my other points but I need to go to bed.

I am out here flying around, canvassing the community, speaking to people directly, regularly running online surveys to understand sentiment. I’m not paid to do it, I just do it so I can provide the best support and guidance to this community possible. I’m not an ideologue - but I am a salesperson and this is really hard to sell.

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Quadratic funding is the solution you’re looking for.

Just found out that Mario 64 is widely hosted in web2.0:

e.g. 1) Super Mario 64 - Play now online! | Kiz10.com

e.g. 2) Play Super Mario 64 Online – Nintendo 64(N64) – Emulator Games Online

e.g. 3) Super Mario 64 - Play Game Online

e.g. 4) SUPER MARIO 64 free online game on Miniplay.com

e.g. infinity) play Mario 64 online at DuckDuckGo

Places where Mario 64 is down: 1) The IC: web3.0 : https://culg2-qyaaa-aaaai-qa7sa-cai.raw.ic0.app/

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