"Combating Online Infringement" Bill is Opening the Door for Gov't Control of Internet
[Editor's Note: I'm against pirating web sites, especially those who pirate copyrighted books and post them free on the internet. However, I'm against this bill because it's a backhanded ruse to establish the precedent of unilateral government control to shut down web sites based on an accusation or belief by the Attorney General of the United States. That's NOT good enough in my book and it amounts to dictatorial fiat, which is called TYRANNY in any other country that still has sane people in charge. The Zionist lackeys in Hollywood want this because they can make even more billions in obscene profits, but it's clearly a cute set up to get the ball rolling on internet control. You can bet Hollywood and the media will play this as a good thing; a no-brainer. But don't let them snow you. It's a BAD idea...Ken Adachi]
By Grant Gross (IDG News Service)
November 19, 2010
The bill would allow the Department of Justice to seek court orders requiring U.S. domain-name registrars to shut down domestic websites suspected of hosting infringing materials. The bill would also allow the DOJ, through a court order, to order U.S. Internet service providers to redirect customer traffic away from infringing websites not based in the U.S.
"Rogue websites are essentially digital stores selling illegal and sometimes dangerous products," Senator Patrick Leahy, the main sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. "If they existed in the physical world, the store would be shuttered immediately and the proprietors would be arrested. We cannot excuse the behavior because it happens online and the owners operate overseas. The Internet needs to be free -- not lawless."
Critics of the legislation have said it would censor free speech online and damage the Internet.
"We are disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning chose to disregard the concerns of public-interest groups, Internet engineers, Internet companies, human-rights groups and law professors in approving a bill that could do great harm to the public and to the Internet," Gigi Sohn, president of digital rights group Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the committee next year to craft a more narrowly tailored bill that deals with the question of rogue websites."
The bill, with 17 Senate co-sponsors, is unlikely to pass through the House of Representatives this year, with only a few working days left in the congressional session. After the newly elected Congress meets in January, Sen. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Judiciary Committee chairman, would have to reintroduce it in the Senate.
The bill would allow the DOJ to seek court orders targeting websites that are "primarily designed" for or have "no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose" other than copyright infringement.
Critics, including the Center for Democracy and Technology, have said the bill would block free speech and could lead to a fragmentation of the Internet, as other countries attempt to enforce their censorship and other laws on foreign websites.
But several other groups, including the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, praised the committee's action. The bill would target the "worst of the worst" copyright infringing websites, said Bob Pisano, president and interim CEO at the MPAA.
"These rogue sites exist for one purpose only: to make a profit using the Internet to distribute the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others," Pisano said in a statement. "The economic impact of these activities -- millions of lost jobs and dollars -- is profound."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though doesn’t mean plan to “break the Internet,” place possible “unconstitutional prior restraints on speech,” and set a precedent to the world that any country can block an entire domain if it contains objectionable content is it dead yet, but it will give alleviate concerns that the legislation was being hurried through.
Today critics of the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) received a minor victory, of sorts, with a report that the bill will be put in hold while Congress is in recess until after the November election.
“A markup on SJC Chairman Leahy’s IP infringement bill was postponed late Wednesday, as staffers anticipated the chamber would finish legislative work and adjourn for recess before the hearing could commence,” says Politico. The change in plans should delight some of the bill’s critics, at least, who expressed concern that the legislation was moving forward quickly.”
And delighted they are. Critics have lined up to point out a multitude of flaws with legislation giving the govt the power to shut down “websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods.”
The bill would mean for the US govt will set a precedent that any country can seize or order the blocking of a domain name if some of the content on the domain (even if located elsewhere) violates the country’s local laws
“The effort to protect the rights of Internet users, human rights defenders, and citizen journalists to speak and access lawful content online will be critically harmed,” notes the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Countries like China and Iran can argue that an opposition website contains content that runs afoul of copyright or decency laws, for example, and use it as a pretext to block it entirely.
The CDT also criticizes the bill for placing unconstitutional prior restraints on speech with inadequate process.
A group of 87 prominent engineers who played critical roles in the development of the Internet have also voiced their objections to the COICA in a joint letter submitted to the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
“If enacted, this legislation will risk fragmenting the Internet’s global domain name system (DNS), create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure,” they warn. “In exchange for this, the bill will introduce censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties’ ability to communicate.”
Though the legislation is still not dead, the delay will at least give critics more time to line up and voice their objections. It’s a “real victory,” as the EFF puts it, and means the bill won’t be approved by the by the Senate Judiciary Committee without debate, something proponents in the entertainment industry will surely dread as more and more people learn about what the bill will do.
"My father may not approve, but I am no longer his disciple, I am a master now, an idea transcended into life. And so this is my new path, which is a lot like the old one - only mine. To stay on that path I need to work harder, explore new rituals, evolve. Am I evil? Am I good? I'm done asking those questions, I dont have the answers - does anyone?"
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.