Two Firefox add-ons already bypass SOPA's domain censorship

By on December 22, 2011, 9:30 AM

As resistance grows against the Stop Online Piracy Act, some activists are getting creative. If passed, the legislation would allow US Internet service providers to block access to offending domain names at the behest of Hollywood -- that's the gist of it, anyway. Two new browser extensions demonstrate how this process can be automatically circumvented, making SOPA-like regulations an exercise in futility.

First up, "DeSopa" allows Firefox users to click a button and resolve a blocked domain through foreign DNS servers, sidestepping domestic restrictions. DeSopa can't currently resolve subdomains and it can only resolve one tab at a time along with other limitations, but developer Tamer Rizk hopes his add-on will prove to Congress that will "help them err on the side of reason and vote SOPA down."

A group known as MAFIAAFire has created a similar extension called "The Pirate Bay Dancing" (a play on the film Dirty Dancing). The plugin automatically routes your website request through a random proxy, again bypassing your ISP's blockade. An earlier version of this add-on was released in April after the US Department of Justice along with Immigration and Customs seized domain names.

"This is just a start, now that we have opened this can of worms people can expect many add-ons, extensions and plug-ins from us," the group told TorrentFreak at the time. "Our goal is to reverse governments attempts to censor the Internet, and nearly anything the anti-piracy people put up to protect their dinosaur business models." "We really are tired of the corruption...Enough is enough."

It seems that passion still burns strong. "DNS and IP blocking is probably the most dangerous part of SOPA/PIPA in terms of 'breaking the Internet,' so we tackled that first. We will be going after the other parts of SOPA in later releases but probably not in 'our usual plugin form' -- the other parts require different solutions that we have already started work on," MAFIAAFire said late last month.

The group described Internet censorship as an overwhelming game of whack-a-mole, and that's proven accurate thus far. SOPA has been outwitted on many levels before even becoming law. More than being a technological proof of concept, the add-ons have given "good guys" an opportunity to flex a little muscle. The US demanded that Mozilla remove the MAFIAAFire add-on in May. It refused.

After two days of heated debates, the House Judiciary Committee adjourned its markup session on SOPA until after Congress' winter recess (despite attempts by committee chairman Lamar Smith to reconvene this week). When discussions resume 2012, Congress is expected to enlist the aid of some experts, as few members have a firm understanding of the technology they're trying to regulate.




User Comments: 22

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Guest said:

wow, some people REALLY REALLY want their pirated movies! :)

fimbles fimbles said:

You cant stop the interwebs!!

Even if isps block acces people will conect to each other through phones, toasters, sky boxs ect

Guest said:

<3 you firefox

peperonikiller peperonikiller said:

i don't know what i would do without access to icefilms

Guest said:

*Waits for Anonymous to falcon punch SOPA*

lelelellele

Guest said:

Have you always been so easy to control?

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This makes me laugh. Before the law is even passed, its circumvented.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Thanks pirates, you happy now? Now the govt is trying to stick it's dirty paws in our internet because you think it's your 'right' to take others' intellectual property.

Like this fool..."Our goal is to reverse [..] nearly anything the anti-piracy people put up to protect their dinosaur business models." So HE gets to decide what's ok to steal because he thinks Hollywood has an old business model?!

The end of this is NOT going to be free stuff for all the freeloader pirates out there... and it won't be Hollywood deciding to stop putting out music and movies. It'll be govt regulation for everyone. And the govt will screw it up because "few members have a firm understanding of the technology they're trying to regulate".

You know the Somalian priates are tolerated because they hijack so few ships and it would cost so much to stop them that piracy is just considered a cost of doing business now.

But you music and movie priates... you gotta go nuts, steal everything you can get your hands on, hide behind 'they have old business models' and ' iwouldnt' steal if they put out good stuff' nonsense. Now we all suffer.

Thanks, D!ckheads.

Guest said:

Can't view Hulu unless you're in the US, but soon you can't view IceFilms unless you're outside of the US. Seems like a good trade for me (not being in the US).

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

This isn't just about piracy, the biggest loss is internet freedom and free speech in general. I think the government is more concerned about people thinking for themselves and seeking alternative news.

treetops treetops said:

Somalian pirates are tolerated because they run back to there country and we have treaties with somalia. They actually kill and rape people in reality. I think they are far far worse then someone downloading a movie.

By the way in the 80s we had these things called blank tapes we would record music and movies with but no one seemed to care then and I still don't care. Maybe if the music industry didn't waste money ruining music by paying radio stations to play there contracted music they have record profits.

I don't care what it is if any law is passed simply because people lobby for it I'm probably against it. Lobbying is legal bribes. Politicians should make decisions on whats best for humanity. They should not make decisions because they are bribed to make a new law and or rule in one direction or another. If you don't know about lobbying and interest groups its a simple google search away, America should not be for sale!

Guest said:

@MilwaukeeMike

You need to do more research, do a google search for "Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music.'" I'll save you from reading it--almost 50% more. Also the UK already tried to pass the same sort of censorship on a user level. Anyone can listen to music on youtube for free, it's not as hard to access music as it once was. The corporate media conglomerates don't want to change their operating model in this growing and changing market so they push for censorship. The same thing happened in '82 when the VCR was invented by JVC, they said that it would be the end of the industry. The music industry still lives on. The cost to distribute music on the internet is miniscule, pennies to send to other people. Just how you would borrow a dvd from a friend the same can be done on the internet to thousands. The real threat to big media isn't pirates, it's the independent people that don't sign contracts to big media. The fact is that there is such opportunity to create, distribute and profit from independent music and movies apart from big media that scares them.

Yes we will circumvent, yes we will disrupt, yes we will win.

treetops treetops said:

@MilwaukeeMike

You need to do more research, do a google search for "Illegal downloaders 'spend the most on music.'" I'll save you from reading it--almost 50% more. Also the UK already tried to pass the same sort of censorship on a user level. Anyone can listen to music on youtube for free, it's not as hard to access music as it once was. The corporate media conglomerates don't want to change their operating model in this growing and changing market so they push for censorship. The same thing happened in '82 when the VCR was invented by JVC, they said that it would be the end of the industry. The music industry still lives on. The cost to distribute music on the internet is miniscule, pennies to send to other people. Just how you would borrow a dvd from a friend the same can be done on the internet to thousands. The real threat to big media isn't pirates, it's the independent people that don't sign contracts to big media. The fact is that there is such opportunity to create, distribute and profit from independent music and movies apart from big media that scares them.

Yes we will circumvent, yes we will disrupt, yes we will win.

True for music. Can be true for movies but way way way way way way harder. CGI is expensive as well as decent cameras. Not to say its must but yar.

Guest said:

Well, while I don't disagree that some Pirates just do it because they can or because they don't want to pay, that still doesn't change the fact most business models for companies that have services on the web (or products that can be moved via web) are outdated and il-suited for the environment which they now inhabit.

Take Valve and Steam for example - they have a business model that is up-to-date and applicable for doing business on the web. Micro-transactions in Free-to-play games, subtle in-game advertisements, strong support of indie developers (who then make their real money with DLC - Coffee Stain Studios and their game "Sanctum" come to mind) and massive sales of a studio's entire collection (effectively taking old games that were no longer generating income and giving them away with the company's latest game at a slight discount). Valve knows how to run a web-based business - and they recognize that as soon as you piss of your supporters, you're dead ("reputation is everything, protect it with your life" - and they certainly have done this).

Record Companies were conceived as middle-men to find and farm talent into profit generating super-stars (the revenues from which were used to support new bands). Record companies gave bands all their money upfront and access to an expense account upon signing - in exchange, the company keeps all the profits from record sales and the bands then get to keep whatever comes from merchandise (which they are usually responsible for managing - however, record companies, in their panic are trying to take a larger cut of ticket sales and large portion of merchandise sales) and a large portion of ticket sales. But the linchpin of this entire model is the Record Company being necessary to get discovered and make it big. Youtube, SoundCloud and the internet in general has made them irrelevant in this regard (Justin Beiber is a example of this - as painful as that is to say, he's just the only one who signed with a company instead of taking himself more seriously as an independent artist). Now, with bands able to record, edit, produce and release entirely on their own - at the same quality they would get in a professional recording studio with a little preparation and investment - bands no longer need the Record Company. At the same time, the internet has made it impossible (not difficult, impossible) for them to protect their records.

If they want to survive they must adapt to their new environment, rather than try to change their environment to suit them. They could release the band's music for free, push radio-play, release their own internet radio stations, all as advertisement for their bands. They then make their money on live performances, leaving the artists with larger signing bonuses, a small stream of the revenue and profits of merchandise sales. They need to move to more of a micro-transaction-based form of a business model - something that people don't want to try to pirate, because they don't see it as worth the effort.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

@MilwaukeeMike

While piracy is being touted as the main and focused goal of this legislation, reading over it clearly shows that's far from the truth. SOPA is so broad it has major consumer electronic companies like Monster Cable calling sites like Craigslist and Ebay 'rogue', and others doing the same to whatever they perceive as a threat. These guys are demonstrating that even a focused and narrow legislation to target certain sites would be useless and bills such as this will have huge unintentional consequences.

For anyone interested here's a good article regarding SOPA from Techdirt.

Guest said:

I'm not a pirate and do not believe in stealing or the justification of stealing however I am against SOPA mainly because there isn't any due process and the blocking is too broad. A domain is deemed to be involved in pirating activities and is blocked, and then they have to prove they are not. This goes against many freedoms we have in the U.S. which I don't want to lose. I agree that business models need to change in this new era because society is changing and the way we access and communicate with each other is changing. Companies need to look at new ways that work for them and their customers instead of pushing Congress to make new laws to subjugate everyone.

Guest said:

this post:

"By the way in the 80s we had these things called blank tapes we would record music and movies with but no one seemed to care then and I still don't care. Maybe if the music industry didn't waste money ruining music by paying radio stations to play there contracted music they have record profits.

I don't care what it is if any law is passed simply because people lobby for it I'm probably against it. Lobbying is legal bribes. Politicians should make decisions on whats best for humanity. They should not make decisions because they are bribed to make a new law and or rule in one direction or another. If you don't know about lobbying and interest groups its a simple google search away, America should not be for sale!"

Guest said:

Why thank firefox?

They've done nothing for this at all.

jlpearce said:

I don't download music or movies illegally (I tend to believe that if someone has produced something, and desires for users or consumers of that product to pay them, then, if I use that product or service, I should pay - if I don't think that it is worth what they want me to pay, I shouldn't use the product!), but I do have a problem with SOPA and the breadth of powers it gives the government to interfere with my access to information and web sites. I don't trust my government, with leaders who do not understand the technology they are seeking to regulate, to restrict their regulatory activities to genuinely offending sites. We have seen too much of an attitude of "arrest, then don't bother verifying whether the individual or business was actually offending," to believe that innocent sites will not be caught up in the very big net that SOPA provides. SOPA is too imprecise of a tool to be allowed to our law enforcement groups.

Guest said:

It isn't just about people wanting to "pirate" and steal - there are vastly broader implications of such censorship - so before you get all self-righteous and pissed at "pirates". Get the facts before you shoot off your mouth in ignorance. SOPA must die! And Homeland Security has no business enforcing copyright law - period!

scarhcqc said:

Thanks pirates,:)

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