People Across Political Spectrum Come Out Against COICA Censorship Bill

from the good-for-them dept

We've mentioned before that one of the things we like about intellectual property issues is that they're truly a non-partisan issue. Unfortunately, traditionally that's meant that elected officials from both major political parties have been more than happy to ratchet up the protectionism attempts by the entertainment industry. However, it also means that arguments against such efforts do not (and should not) fall along political lines. That's why it's nice to see a group of "progressive" activists and "conservative" bloggers (I hate both labels, but both of those groups seem to embrace them) team up to protest the reintroduction of the COICA censorship-for-Hollywood bill.
The progressive activist organization Demand Progress and a group of conservative bloggers lead by Republican National Committee Internet Director Patrick Ruffini are staunchly opposed to the bill and the administration's recent moves to seize and shut down domains linking to pirated content.

"The core conservative principles of small government and basic individual freedoms should not be abandoned on the Internet," Ruffini said. "COICA represents a dangerous new encroachment of the government into our digital lives."

"In their attempts to reign in online file-sharing, Hollywood moguls are once again willing to risk massive censorship," said Demand Progress and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz.

"COICA's passage would be a tremendous blow to free speech on the Internet –– and likely a first step towards much broader online censorship."
It's definitely nice to see a broad spectrum of folks recognizing that this involves core American principles of free speech and due process.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    johnny canada, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    You know something is really bad when you have to agree with the Conservative Republicans.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 4:33pm

    Sorry I'm a cynic, you can have everyone come out against this but until you start paying them as much as the Media Corps do, its still going to pass. They will slide it into a bill that protects orphans from being sold to Walmart, it will get passed, and then they will let Walmart off the hook.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:20pm

    For those of you who think that the censorship card has no merit, consider the fact that censorship is already real.

    Outside the Internet, over the years the government (FCC et al) has restricted out rights to broadcast content and free speech on public airwaves and have granted exclusive monopoly privileges over public airwave and cableco infrastructure use to specific entities (ie: private corporations). This has resulted in mass censorship over these communication channels and these communication channels are only used to communicate pro-IP propaganda. The public wasn't being told about how long copy'right' lasts and about proposed copy'right' expansion bills, they weren't being told about all the harm that patents and copy'rights' have caused to our society over the years, they were only fed pro-IP propaganda and this has resulted in 95+ year copy'right' lengths and has been a huge determent to our culture and society and our ability to attain knowledge. Censorship is already real, its reality has been a huge burden and detriment on everyone except for the monopolists, and it is a real concern.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

    Re:

    (for example, consider the fact that the MSM would never allow MM to discuss his copy'right' criticisms on any MSM television station. IP criticisms are generally not allowed, censorship is real and the government, and the information distribution monopolies it grants, is responsible for it).

     

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  5.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    "and the administration's recent moves to seize and shut down domains linking to [allegedly] pirated content"

    FTFY

     

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  6.  
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    Ken (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Censorship and IP Maximilism is un-American and a threat to our freedom

    Copyright holders are by far the most protected class in the nation. Cross them and you will receive penalties so onerous and is reminiscent of indentured servitude.

    Copyright laws are unconstitutional in so many levels and neither party nor judges are willing to face that. $140,000 for posting an image on a blog is a crime against humanity. Copyrights are being allowed to trump our most cherished rights such as freedom of speech. Our Constitution gives very little weight to copyrights and mainly because of the social benefit but laws have made copyrights king and it is destroying those rights we hold dear.

    IP Maximalism is a threat to our liberty, a threat to our freedom, and a threat to all Constitutional principle. Those who espouse it do not believe in freedom and are un-American authoritarians.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 6:05pm

    Using "censorship" is a headline may gain an associated article the attention of readers, but it tends to pre-ordain the types of comments that will be made concerning the article. As a consequence, it does little to stimulate debate among those holding competing views.

    Just as there are individuals and groups that are allied against COICA, there are also individuals and groups (and not just the RIAA, MPAA, and a host of other "A's") who support the legislation.

    While written as counsel for an industry group that supports COICA, Floyd Abrams, a well-respected expert in First Amendment issues (he represented the NYT in the "Pentagon Papers" litigation), has penned his views concerning the constitutionality of COICA vis a vis the First Amendment. His views can be found at:

    http://www.mediainstitute.org/new_site/PDFs/Abrams%20COICA%20Cmts.%202-11-11.pdf

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 6:09pm

    Re:

    I knew we were screwed when I was watching PBS and hit on a hard hitting investigation into the REAL costs of piracy hosted by Peter Coyote and funded entirely by - The US Chamber of Commerce.

    While the fake drugs were the most scary, trying to convince someone that buying a fake LV bag on the streets of NY would then cause a terrorist to get a dirty bomb into the country really moves beyond the pale.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Ken (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 6:21pm

    Counterfeiting costs is grossly overstated.

    Even though counterfeit products are bad and it shouldn't be done and those doing the counterfeiting should be prosecuted the actual costs associated with counterfeiting products is grossly overstated.

    Producers assume that whenever a counterfeit product is made and sole that it accounts for money out of their pockets. In a very small percentage this might be true however very few people who buy counterfeited products did so in lue of buying the genuine article. Most people who buy genuine products will not buy counterfeit items and the inverse most people who buy counterfeit do not by the real product even if there was no counterfeit so the actual cost of counterfeiting is actually very low.

    The real costs of counterfeiting is actually the crime that generally goes along with it which is born by society, not the copyright holder.

     

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  10.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:17pm

    Well Democrats and Repubs have to work together

    They have to work together to take your money and spend it on their pay raises. I thought you people knew that!

     

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  11.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:17pm

    Well Democrats and Repubs have to work together

    They have to work together to take your money and spend it on their pay raises. I thought you people knew that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Chilly8, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:18pm

    VPNs

    All they will do is make more money for offshore VPNs, which people will use as a means to circumvent any filtering

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Re:

    exactly... such a sad state our republic is in. Just remember, corporations don't think like people do. They think like money does.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, I saw that... It was a real "Don't copy that floppy" moment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    While written as counsel for an industry group that supports COICA, Floyd Abrams, a well-respected expert in First Amendment issues (he represented the NYT in the "Pentagon Papers" litigation), has penned his views concerning the constitutionality of COICA vis a vis the First Amendment. His views can be found at:

    Man. You COICA supporters have a *single* go to guy, and that's Floyd Abrams. Sorry, but Abrams lost a lot of credibility when he attacked Wikileaks and got almost all of his facts wrong. His defense of COICA, paid for *by the industry* is not particularly compelling and full of really quite surprising mistakes for someone so esteemed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re:

    I do not recall saying I am a COICA supporter. I have my views on the legislation, but I did not share it in my comment.

    The reason I linked to his letter was to help inform people that there are multiple views concerning the legislation, and perhaps by reading his some insight might be gained to facilitate discussions.

    BTW, I mentioned the context in which the letter was prepared in the interest of full disclosure. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assume that because one is expressing an opinion at the request of a client that the opinion is necessarily tainted.

    Rather than dismissing its contents with the wave of a hand, I suggest you read it for substance, and then note points of disagreement on Supreme Court decisions regarding the First Amendment if you deem them significant.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re:

    As an addendum to my above comment, it is noteworthy that few who practice in the area of constitutional law are viewed as Mr. Abrams' peers when it comes to the First Amendment.

    Merely FYI, I did go back and read your article concerning Mr. Abrams and the Wikileaks matter. I also read various accounts from other sources. In my view his comments were much more nuanced than you seem to believe.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    -Silicon Valley Is Gonna Burn-, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 12:07am

    Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    Mike Masnick will not stand to live in a world where creative people are fairly compensated for their work.

    Mike Masnick does not understand the fundamentals of copyright law.

    Mike Masnick is a copyleft propagandist.

    COICA is not designed to "censor free speech" in any way, shape or form.

    -Silicon Valley Is Gonna Burn-

     

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  19.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 12:55am

    Re: Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    And you're doing a pretty good impression of Hitler, too, but I'm not gonna call you out on it.

    People do not deserve to earn money for doing nothing. IF you do not get promoted, you do not deserve to own your own money.

    Mike may not understand the fundamentals of copyright law, but netither do just about anyone who doersn't pay millions to write laws in their favour.

    Mike approves of the copyleft message as part of a larger business model.

    Silicon Valley is gonna burn, like the rest of America.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:01am

    Re: Well Democrats and Repubs have to work together

    The political spectrum is well explained by XKCD

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:14am

    Re: Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    Be fairwarned, the statement above is pure defamation. It is a flat out lie. I have never stolen from anyone as claimed above. I do not infringe on works. I buy all my music and movies and have never downloaded anything.

    To claim otherwise is defamation.

    I find it odd that you would stoop to defamation like that, exposing you to a lawsuit.

    Mike Masnick will not stand to live in a world where creative people are fairly compensated for their work.


    Huh? I spend a ridiculous amount of time working to help creative people MAKE MORE money for their work.

    Why do you lie?

    Mike Masnick does not understand the fundamentals of copyright law.


    I understand it quite well, and have regularly been told that by some of the most well known experts in the field.

    Mike Masnick is a copyleft propagandist.


    I don't even know what that means.

    COICA is not designed to "censor free speech" in any way, shape or form.


    Then you don't understand COICA.

    -Silicon Valley Is Gonna Burn-


    Um. Ok.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    How about you reading Mike's previous posts and comments on this first rahter than dismissing his dismissal with the wave of a hand?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:52am

    Re: Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    Dumb troll is dumb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 5:04am

    Re: Censorship and IP Maximilism is un-American and a threat to our freedom

    I wonder why statutory damages which primarily are punishment tools are not a percentage of ones anual income.

    Then you have something that is effective or as effective as it can be and just since it would be not based on arbitrary fixed values.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 5:19am

    Re: Counterfeiting costs is grossly overstated.

    Exactly what is bad about counterfeiting a DVD, a bag or cloth?

    Dangerous they are not, increases exposure and maintain the brand on peoples heads it creates a bottom up demand for it.

    One of the preferred tactics of industries everywhere and I saw this happening many times is just to let people bootleg your product when you can't enforce it until the time comes that you can go there and get rid of the bootleggers and sell your stuff the bootleggers work as placeholders for the real thing and almost guarantee there will be no other competitors, that was when I realized that bootlegs helps grow local markets and produce wealth, it doesn't matter who does only that work is being done.

    On the other hand I can understand drugs, medical equipment, vehicular parts can be dangerous if no supervised production is available, but for luxury goods?

    What is bad about it? really?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 5:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quote:
    Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assume that because one is expressing an opinion at the request of a client that the opinion is necessarily tainted.


    Why?

    It is tainted, if it was and independent source that would be more credible, but paid shills are rarely objective or honest about what they write.

    Why then should people pay attention to it? Every time people fall for those types, they are mislead, lied to and duped, why should people pay attention to someone that has no interests in real working solutions but only in a paycheck?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re: Mike Masnick Really Really Loves Stealing From Actors, Musicians, Producers, Directors, Engineers, "Big Evil Studios", And Their Families

    I agree with everything you said, except for everything you said.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Nigel, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Very Telling

    It's very telling that it's both the far left and far right that find this bill threatening. The far left thinks that the first amendment protects thievery, and the tea baggers - well they don't really like anything so it's not suprising that they're against it.

    Bottom line is the first amendment doesn't protect thievery. If a man was selling stolen watches on the streets of New York he would be arrested immediately and his property confiscated. It's the same concept here. Compensate the artists that enrich your lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 5th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    Shills: Mission

    Shills, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to push any discussion about COICA away from the obvious censorship issues.

    You may use lines such as:
    "Well, the progressives are against it, and the conservatives are against it, but the moderates are for it! (Please refer back to the discussion on business models working for big or small artists, but not those in the middle for inspiration!)

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    From Floyd's pdf:

    "The Constitution itself authorizes Congress to adopt copyright legislation and the first such legislation was enacted a year before the First Amendment was approved by Congress"

    I'm not sure what point he's trying to make here. Is he somehow hinting that copyright is more important because it came before the first amendment?

    Now I'm no expert, but my understanding is that amendments revise and take precedent over what was previously in the constitution. Nothing in the constitution (besides later amendments) should be deemed more legally binding than the first amendment.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I find it impossible to equate Mr. Abrams with the appellation "shill". You did however leave open the possiblility that lawyers could be objective and honest about what they write, even "shills". Let me suggest to you that this is the case here. His expertise with regard to the First Amendment is unquestioned.

    You ask why people should pay attention to it. In my opinion the reason is not a reader will be necessarily persuaded, but that the reader will certainly become better informed on the salient issues.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    "COICA ...strengthen[s] the measures the Attorney General may pursue, with court approval, to address infringing content"

    It also strengthens the measures he can pursue without court approval. For instance, COICA grants immunity to ISPs, and financial service providers, if they take part in extra-judicial vigilante service termination. Now nothing in COICA prevents an attorney general from strongly encouraging these businesses from "taking the law into their own hands".


    "COICA ... does not limit the defenses that may be offered including ... fair use."

    However, it does limit a wronged party from seeking damages against those that may have cost them their livelihood.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    I find his discussion of "Rule 65" interesting. He says that the take downs require a notice to the adverse party. Has this been followed in any of the recent ICE takedowns? He goes on to say that takedown without notice can only be temporary and aggrieved parties (has that been the case?).
    He says that rule 65 prevents overbreadth of COICA. But rule 65 deals only with civil takedowns. The government has creatively been taking down sites for 'criminal' copyright infringement. How does rule 65 help here?

    "Any website devoted to legal activities, such as commentary, socializing or commerce, cannot be pursued under COICA if it occasionally or even repeatedly practices infringement"

    I can't imagine how Floyd can honestly believe that in light of the recent ICE history.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    It is my understanding that pre-seizure notices were provided to the registrar's of each site.

    Re FRCP Rule 65, the seizures pursued by the DOJ and DHS (ICE) were "in rem" actions, which by definition are civil actions. Hence, the customary federal rules of civil procedure associated with civil actions in federal court pertain.

    Obviously, "in personam" actions would be preferrable...but this cannot be pursued when the wrongdoer is beyond the reach of the jurisdiction of US courts.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    This bill is never going to pass nor is it worth the time everyone is fretting over it. The 1st bill got killed before it even got to a senate vote and that will happen over and over. The people opposing it are larger and more powerful than those supporting it. Not to mention hollywood and the music industry might be whiny but they have little power in washington.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 4:37am

    the rule of thumb is if the elitists (progressives) are against it, it must be good for the people.

    here the exception that proves the rule.
    stopped clock, blind pig, etc.

    of course, the progressives may merely be disappointed in the details, since it seems unlikely lefties would be upset about anybody's loss of liberty.

    fear the rewrite!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    404 Chaos, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Yo, it got smacked back once already. People still have more power than we think the government's stripped from us, we just need a collective force to fight with a spear-heading goal. Conservative, Liberal, whatever, this country was made for the people. The government can only overpower us if we let them. After all, we are the ones who essentially sign their paychecks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Aaron, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Censorship and IP Maximilism is un-American and a threat to our freedom

    Honestly I think there is an even bigger violation of constitutional rights mixed in with all this that people are overlooking because it's been there forever. I'm talking about the actual FCC fines for copyright infringment. It's not the first amendment that is being violated here, but the eigth.

    "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

    That second one is the one that should be tripping up the FCC; $100,000 fines for making a copy of a $5 dvd?
    I don't think so.

    Maybe I'm wrong but that seems like an excessive fine to me. Why is no one using that defense when they get fined ridiculous sums of money for downloading a song or a movie? Am I missing something?

    First amendment arguments are still valid though, obviously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:51pm

    Re:

    I hate how right you are about that. We may get lucky here but that crap happens all the time, in fact it's common practice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:57pm

    Re:

    You realize that this post says nothing about the issue at hand, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:34pm

    “The theft of intellectual property threatens our prosperity,” Leahy said.

    By definition, "Prosperity often encompasses wealth".

    There you have it. No need to search further. He admitted it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    RAY, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

    ASCAP

    This shuld be an ASCAP & BMI Issue

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    AllNamesTaken, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re:

    best reply yet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Walter, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Congress did disgraced already itself having made
    United States of America by Greece number two.
    Now they are going to go further.
    Maybe to make equal American well-being to Russian one.
    Who knows?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    I do not know if it possible to stop this because there is so much lobby money behind it and that my friend is indeed a real issue. Lobbist should be against the law. It is just one more example of corrupt government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    kai vellacott, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 4:10am

    i dont understand how the us government can do this they have no right to dictate what other people see,hear or speak about why dont they just fuck off and get on with their patetic little lives if the bill passes i say riot and show the government there not in control

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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