US Senators Propose Bill To Censor Any Sites The Justice Depatement Declares 'Pirate' Sites, Worldwide

from the like-youtube-and-scribd? dept

The entertainment industry’s favorite two Senators, Patrick Leahy (who keeps proposing stronger copyright laws) and Orin Hatch (who once proposed automatically destroying the computers of anyone caught file sharing) have now proposed a new law that would give the Justice Department the power to shut down websites that are declared as being “dedicated to illegal file sharing.” Other Senators signed on to sponsor the bill are: Sens. Herb Kohl, Arlen Specter, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Evan Bayh and George Voinovich. Perhaps these Senators should brush up on their history.

They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a “pirate” venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right? Things change over time. Remember that YouTube, which is now considered by Hollywood to be mostly “legit,” had been derided as a “site dedicated” to “piracy” in the past. It’s no surprise that the Justice Department — with a bunch of former RIAA/MPAA lawyers on staff — would love to have such powers, but it’s difficult to see how such a law would be Constitutional, let alone reasonable. And finally, we must ask, yet again, why the US federal government is getting involved in what is, clearly, a civil business model issue? The Senators quote the already debunked US Chamber of Commerce reports on the “harm” of intellectual property — which just shows how intellectually dishonest they’re being. They’re willing to base a censorship law on debunked data.

Oh, and even worse, this proposed law is supposed to cover sites worldwide, not just in the US. For a country that just passed a libel tourism law to protect Americans from foreign judgments, it’s a bit ridiculous that we’re now trying to reach beyond our borders to shut down sites that may be perfectly legal elsewhere. The way that the law, called the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” would work is that the Justice Department could ask a court to declare a site as a “pirate” site and then get an injunction that would force the domain registrar or registry to no longer resolve that domain name.

It’s difficult to see how this is anything other than a blatant censorship law. I can’t see how it passes an even simple First Amendment sniff test. It’s really quite sickening to see US Senators propose a law that is nothing less than censorship, designed to favor some of their biggest donors in the entertainment industry, who refuse to update their own business models.

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Comments on “US Senators Propose Bill To Censor Any Sites The Justice Depatement Declares 'Pirate' Sites, Worldwide”

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79 Comments
Jay (profile) says:

Piracy as the new McCarthyism?

Here’s what I’m struggling for with COICA (the shortened version):

It truly gives an incentive to silence a lot more free speech on political grounds. What’s to stop the Justice Department from going after a political site that says… Obama is a Communist? Well, if it has one Youtube link, is it now declared a pirate site and banned from being watched?

It’s ironic that Congress is supposed to be reigned in from just such abuses but more and more people are seeing Congress for bad examples of draconian laws.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Piracy as the new McCarthyism?

Seriously. Finally, we have a situation where you really can’t deride the slippery slope argument here. Censor piracy websites. Then “terrorist” websites. Then anything illegal websites. Then anything questionable websites.

Well, hell, that’s really too complicated. It’d be much easier if websites just had to register for a license from the government, wouldn’t it?

….Oh boy….

Anonymous Coward says:

They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a “pirate” venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right? Things change over time. Remember, that YouTube, which is now considered by Hollywood to be mostly “legit,” had been derided as a “site dedicated” to “piracy” in the past. It’s no surprise that the Justice Department — with a bunch of former RIAA/MPAA lawyers on staff — would love to have such powers, but it’s difficult to see how such a law would be Constitutional, let alone reasonable. And finally, we must ask, yet again, why the US federal government is getting involved in what is, clearly, a civil business model issue? The Senators quote the already debunked US Chamber of Commerce reports on the “harm” of intellectual property — which just shows how intellectually dishonest they’re being. They’re willing to base a censorship law on debunked data.

Like I said… doomed to a lifetime of wondering why “they just don’t get it.” Enjoy!

Anonymous Coward says:

That bill have other consequences, if they do that, every other country will want to do the same thing and if the U.S. doesn’t give it to them, they will form another registrar that could fracture the internet, and of course people will just find other ways to access content IP numbers can’t be blocked by registrar, we don’t actually need them, people can download lists of those mapped to websites and that would make that law useless.

I don’t think those people understand how resilient the internet really is.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“they will form another registrar that could fracture the internet,”

I was thinking the same thing. Think about what will happen when they take down the pirate bay, wikileaks, etc. The unintended consequences are scary. People downloading huge hosts files of banned sites. It will just attract more attention to these sites. Much like the catholic churchs Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“List of Prohibited Books”) did.

Since the internet routes around obstructions, in the end there will be multiple DNS systems with people using the most open one.

me says:

heh

Hi all, when i read this then im happy not to live in the US. Lawyers are attacking ewery day the freedom of individuals, and now this? I loved to watch in last few days the attacks on mpaa and riaa web sites:-) +1 for the good side:-)

and 1 hint for Bin ladin, go and attack this fuckers Lawyers and theyr company and not innocent peaople,and i tell you, you will have many friends:-))

Jack Repenning (profile) says:

follow the money

They say you should follow the money. Here’s a report:

http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/ma/ma100908small_businessmen

of what sounds to me like an *actual* video pirate. Whoever this guy is, he’s certainly at the end of some money trail. Could it be that it’s not so much the studios and other visible money-sinks behind all this, but rather the successful pirates trying to protect their “business” model?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Background on the bill backers:

1. Patrick Leahy: Democrat from Vermont. Huge fan of U2 and Bono. Oddly, given its similarities to this bill, voted against the Patriot Act. Top contributing industries to his funds in order: Legal Firms ($642k), TV/Movies/Music Industries ($354k), Computers/Internet ($311k). Top contributing companies in order: Technet (big patent reformers), Girardi & Keese (Civil Attorneys), Time Warner, Walt Disney Co., Vivendi (Media).

2. Orin Hatch: Republican from Utah. Proposed anti-civil liberties bills even prior to 9/11 limiting habeus corpus in order to fight terrorism. Proposed that copyright owners (not govt. agents) should have the right to destroy machinery of accused “pirates”, despite his own website using an unlicensed Java script. Then attempted to outlaw the entire internet by proposing the INDUCE Act, making any tools capable of aiding in pirating illegal. Top funding industries are generally unrelated, except with regard to patents: Pharmaceuticals/Health Products, Legal Firms, Securities/Investments, Insurance. Top contributing firms is basically all big pharma: Pfizer, GSK, Blue Cross/Shield, Merck.

3. Herb Kohl: Democrat from Wisconsin. Once President of Kohl’s dept. stores. Funding/affiliations generally don’t offer any insight into this issue, nor are the industries this bill would protect largely represented in his state. Overall, it actually makes zero sense for him to have any real interest in this law, meaning that his support is likely a trade for some other consideration.

4. Arlen Specter: Democrat from Pennsylvania. His support for this bill REALLY makes no sense. Not only is there not a great deal of industry to protect in his state, but his funding/affiliations don’t speak to any interest here either, other than perhaps one of his largest contributing entities being Comcast. More confusing, Specter was quoted when commenting on the Lower Merrion School District controversey saying that, “new federal legislation is needed to regulate electronic privacy”. Yet here he wants to censor certain websites?

5. Charles Schumer: Democrat from New York. Influential DNC leader, supposedly prides himself on taking on local issues, but really acts as a DNC leader should in being involved in Nat’l issues. The problem is that Movies/Music/TV and Legal Firms are two of his biggest contributing industries.

6. Dick Durbin: Democrat from Illinois. Has proposed enacting legislation that limits the 1st amendment rights. The ACLU rates him as 71% with regard to supporting civil liberties.

And I’m too tired to write up the rest, but they receive significant money as a group from entertainment media industries and legal groups that represent them. The couple on this list that don’t do not seem to have any legitimate reason to be proponents of this bill, with regard to their constituents….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Background on the bill backers:

Nah. I think the more likely explanation can be found in the other major contributing industries that they all seem to have in common: Legal Firms and Banks.

The lawyers want to sue for civil IP infringement and the banks all sit on the boards of the entertainment/TV firms. Pretty cut and dry, actually….

Anonymous Coward says:

troubling points in the bill

The bill text can be found at:
http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2010/09/CombatingOnlineInfringementAndCounterfeitsAct1.pdf

Here’s a few doozies from the bill:

1)It can be deemed a pirate site if the site has no “demonstrable” non-infringing “commercially significant purpose” other than piracy.

Why limited to commercial purposes? There’s a whole lot of the Internet that is not commercial.

2) For those sites that the AG hasn’t gotten around to serving papers himself on, he has only to publish a list of sites that “upon information and reasonable belief” the DOJ believes to be pirate sites.

Upon information and reasonable belief? That’s got to be a new low in burden-of-proof standards.

3)Any registrar, financial institution, etc, gets instant immunity for any vigilante-like cutting off of services they perform against sites on that list.

4) To get off this list the owners first have to petition the AG, who gets the consider the petition for as long as he likes. It’s not until the AG gives his decision that any judicial appeal may be made.

RD says:

Re: troubling points in the bill

1)It can be deemed a pirate site if the site has no “demonstrable” non-infringing “commercially significant purpose” other than piracy.

So, SourceForge, most of the Linux community, and the entire Android app store would all be illegal? Good luck getting THAT to pass. The rest of your points are great and should fail due to being a) illegal and b) unconstitutional and c) idiotic (but then, this is Congress, so…..)

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: troubling points in the bill

No. First, the Android store charges money for many apps. It’s definitely commercial.

Second, SourceForge and Linux packages are used by many businesses. The software is all copyrighted and the GPL gets its strength from copyright law. The FSF is just like the RIAA and the MPAA when they find an infringer.

Bob (profile) says:

First Amendment?

I can’t see how it passes an even simple First Amendment sniff test.

The First amendment doesn’t protect many kinds of expression. There are already many exceptions to it like libel, slander, incitement to violence, and to a lesser extent pornography especially child pornography.

And I think it’s a mistake to invoke the first amendment here. If the law is applied the way it is written– always a big if– it won’t affect anyone’s ability to create their own content. Remember it’s called a “right to free expression” not a “right to share everything not nailed down.” So go ahead, express yourself. That’s not being restricted in any way.

And don’t hold up the old fair use canard and pretend that the Feds are going after someone who shared one too many paragraph from a long article. They’re going after people who are circulating complete or near complete copies.

RD says:

Re: First Amendment?

“And don’t hold up the old fair use canard and pretend that the Feds are going after someone who shared one too many paragraph from a long article. They’re going after people who are circulating complete or near complete copies.”

Bwahahahahahaha! Good one. Oh wait, you were serious? Erm…you dont live in or know much about America then, do you? Because this is ALREADY happening with DMCA takedowns, 1.92million dollar lawsuits for sharing 26 songs, and other speech-stifling activities. IT would only get WORSE if a bill like this passes. And to think that it would ONLY be used to go after sharing of completed works and on a commercial (ie for profit) scale is either disingenuous, or you are seriously naive.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: First Amendment?

“The First amendment doesn’t protect many kinds of expression. There are already many exceptions to it like libel, slander, incitement to violence, and to a lesser extent pornography especially child pornography.”

Explain how any of those is analogous to banning websites with a link to unauthorised file sharing. The First Amendment protects all kinds of expression with limited exceptions, not the other way around.

“And I think it’s a mistake to invoke the first amendment here. If the law is applied the way it is written– always a big if– it won’t affect anyone’s ability to create their own content.”

Lets look at some examples:
Torrentfreak – news site devoted to reporting on torrent related activities. Regularly gives top lists of unauthorised content.

Fanfiction sites – considered by US courts and many artists to be copyright infringement, see The Catcher in the Rye sequel and Anne Rice vs her fans for examples.

Mashup sites – should be fair use, may be considered infringing.

The Pirate Bay (and co) – presumed targets of this law, often used to publish authorised content. See The Yes Men Fix The World on EZTV for an example.

Add to that the fact infringing content can still be protected speech (especially if it is political) and you will see a strong First Amendment issue at hand. Look at precedent in trying to restrict free speech on the internet for the purpose of ‘protecting’ children and confidence grows that this would be laughed out of court as unconstitutional.

“And don’t hold up the old fair use canard and pretend that the Feds are going after someone who shared one too many paragraph from a long article. They’re going after people who are circulating complete or near complete copies.”

And don’t give me accounts of what the ‘Feds’ may or may not do, considering we only have to look at their past actions to prove you wrong.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: First Amendment?

Look at precedent in trying to restrict free speech on the internet for the purpose of ‘protecting’ children and confidence grows that this would be laughed out of court as unconstitutional.

Once again the people who were constrained by the COPA were people who were actually expressing themselves. They were actors, actresses, writers, directors and other artistic professions. They were actually creating things. They weren’t sitting in the proverbial parents’ basement filling up a hard drive with other people’s work, jamming up the local cable loop.

This law– properly applied– would do nothing to constrain people who are actually doing a bit of work and trying to add something to the world. It would just be focused on the lame morons who don’t contribute or pull their own weight.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: First Amendment?

“This law– properly applied– would do nothing to constrain people who are actually doing a bit of work and trying to add something to the world. It would just be focused on the lame morons who don’t contribute or pull their own weight.”

I dare you find a law never abused.
I dare you find a government that didn’t abuse or got things wrong.

There is no properly applied law, there is less damaging law and this one is not one of them.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 First Amendment?

Bud, the government doesn’t even need this law to shut down websites. Some governments just go into the server room and smash the machine. They don’t bother with details.

If you want to suggest that the potential for abuse is a good reason to not have any law at all, well that pretty much rules out all laws.

Judges can make decisions. Judges override many laws when there’s a compelling first amendment reason. They’re capable of balancing things. You may not always like their answer, but they split hairs and prevent abuse all of the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 First Amendment?

“Judges can make decisions. Judges override many laws when there’s a compelling first amendment reason. They’re capable of balancing things. You may not always like their answer, but they split hairs and prevent abuse all of the time.”

This law allows the government to shut down websites without the infringement claims ever making their way to a judge’s courtroom. The government didn’t need this law to shut down Napster, so why does the Justice Department need the power to shut down websites without the due process of law?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: First Amendment?

Once again the people who were constrained by the COPA were people who were actually expressing themselves. They were actors, actresses, writers, directors and other artistic professions. They were actually creating things. They weren’t sitting in the proverbial parents’ basement filling up a hard drive with other people’s work, jamming up the local cable loop.

Once again, you appear to be confusing those using the service, with those putting the website together.

You should stop doing that.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: First Amendment?

Yeah, it’s prior restraint when the government stops you from expressing your opinions and petitioning for redress of grievances. But tell me how sharing a copy of “Hot Tub Weekend” is somehow expressing yourself?

This is why it’s such a pain to discuss stuff with folks like yourself. This is NOT about stopping an individual from sharing a copy of “Hot Tub Weekend.” What that person does is already copyright infringement and it’s against the law.

What this law is about is choosing to censor websites that, in part, might be used by people to find others who are engaged in such infringement.

Your inability to understand the difference here is a HUGE problem.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 First Amendment?

What this law is about is choosing to censor websites that, in part, might be used by people to find others who are engaged in such infringement.

I know the difference and I think it’s a sophistic invention of people who have no respect for the hard work of others. Sites like ISOHUNT or all of the USENET sharing sites depend almost entirely on providing free access to other people’s work.

Here’s an analogy for you: the cops bust a brothel with under aged girls. When the cops interrogate the bouncer at the door, he said, “Oh, I thought the customers were just going in for cookies and milk.”

As I see it, your argument is for some kind of first amendment protection for bouncers because there might be a political rally at the under aged brothel tonight and the girls might want to vote in six or seven years when they’re old enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 First Amendment?

“I know the difference and I think it’s a sophistic invention of people who have no respect for the hard work of others. Sites like ISOHUNT or all of the USENET sharing sites depend almost entirely on providing free access to other people’s work.”

What is this work you talk about, work that was paid in full and people want to keep milking it?

Who cares about people who want to charge for the privilege to watch or listen to something in the bedroom?

Next they will say they need to install cameras on the homes of everyone so they can keep an eye on everybody for infringement.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 First Amendment?

It’s just the tip of the iceberg. The cops and the courts deal with these lame excuses all of the time. The getaway car driver was just giving a ride to a friend. The drunk driver thought he only had two drinks. The murderer didn’t kill someone, the bullet did it.

Part of being a grownup is making sure your actions don’t hurt others. I was just on a jury panel and we voted to send the guy to jail. Why? His lame excuse was paper thin and we decided that any reasonable human would have known that something evil was afoot.

The USENET access providers, the sites like ISOHUNT, and the others are all complicit. They exist to help people get content for free. If they think otherwise, they’re fools and I don’t think they’re fools.

kinggopher says:

Re: Re: Re:5 First Amendment?

see you are saying that the copyright infringements are hurting the businesses they come from but a lot of recent studies have shown that it isnt hurting them at all that they artificially change their books to make it look like they are losing money many “pirates” like myself download a movie to see if its worth buying the dvd there are alot of games and movies id never even heard of until i stumbled upon them on one of the sites this law would shut down and i went wow this is really good these guys deserve money! and i got out and bought it a lot of people do this and most the things we get online and dont pay for we had no intention of paying for in the first place so how exactly are they losing money

kinggopher says:

Re: Re: Re:5 First Amendment?

see you are saying that the copyright infringements are hurting the businesses they come from but a lot of recent studies have shown that it isnt hurting them at all that they artificially change their books to make it look like they are losing money many “pirates” like myself download a movie to see if its worth buying the dvd there are alot of games and movies id never even heard of until i stumbled upon them on one of the sites this law would shut down and i went wow this is really good these guys deserve money! and i got out and bought it a lot of people do this and most the things we get online and dont pay for we had no intention of paying for in the first place so how exactly are they losing money

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 First Amendment?

Don’t forget Radio and TV they only exist for people to get things for free, nobody pays to watch public TV do they now?

Besides where are the damages you talk about?

Your assumptions is that it must be bad, but I wonder how you will look like if that is proven in the future to be a false assumption and that all that crap you support turns out to be wrong very wrong.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 First Amendment?

I know the difference and I think it’s a sophistic invention of people who have no respect for the hard work of others. Sites like ISOHUNT or all of the USENET sharing sites depend almost entirely on providing free access to other people’s work.

And with that, Bob expresses his disdain for freedom of expression.

I would suggest educating yourself on these issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 First Amendment?

“Sites like ISOHUNT or all of the USENET sharing sites depend almost entirely on providing free access to other people’s work.”

So you’d ban all of USENET just to get rid of unauthorized filesharing? You could try to ban specific groups, but the pirates would simply move on to other groups. You could ban the posting of binaries, but then you’d be banning legal binaries along with the illegal ones, at least until the pirates came up with a new encoding the USENET providers’ systems wouldn’t recognize as binary.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: First Amendment?

The First amendment doesn’t protect many kinds of expression. There are already many exceptions to it like libel, slander, incitement to violence, and to a lesser extent pornography especially child pornography.

The First Amendment protects all kinds of expression. Exceptions are made only where significant, provable harm to the public would occur. The burden of proof in these cases rests with the government. Non-commercial infringement does not do provable harm to the public, so the government doesn’t have a case here.

If the law is applied the way it is written– always a big if– it won’t affect anyone’s ability to create their own content.

Several of the sites that have already been targeted by Homeland Security were in the process of creating their own content, or helping to fund people who were. Left alone, these people would be the main content creators of the future.

Just like Hollywood – an industry founded on “piracy” – was the main content creator in the past.

Remember it’s called a “right to free expression” not a “right to share everything not nailed down.”

There is no requirement anywhere in the First Amendment that “free expression” be original expression.

And don’t hold up the old fair use canard and pretend that the Feds are going after someone who shared one too many paragraph from a long article. They’re going after people who are circulating complete or near complete copies.

The laws about copyright infringement don’t often differentiate between the two, so if one is prosecuted, sooner or later the other will be too. You could try to prove your use was fair use – after the Feds have gone after you. This may not technically be “prior restraint,” but it’s close enough.

More importantly, they’re not going after people who are circulating copies. They’re going after sites where those people (and many others) meet, even though the sites themselves do not circulate anything.

In fact, the Feds would not be legally allowed to go after the people who are circulating copies, because for the most part, those people are not breaking any criminal law. They might be breaking civil laws, sure, but you can’t get arrested for that.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t understand why people get so excited.
The law is stupid and will never work, you can take the domain name away but you can’t stop people from reaching it not even inside the U.S..

This is a King-Kong size FAIL!

You can still access any site using just the IP address, and you can bookmark them so you don’t need to remember them, you can also mapped onto your own DNS file in your OS and you can use proxies to reach any website, not to mention people can create their own TLD system on top of the actual internet and have a system totally outside the control of any entity in the world.

If this is the best they can do those that believe in copyright are screwed ROFL!

Puuuuleeze, even if there where no internet, there is no one stopping me from copying DVD’s and sharing HDD’s.

And I still ain’t buying what they are selling.
It can get like Iran and I still wouldn’t buy.

Someone should do an anonymous P2P TV and radio app, that could stream to any device, that would be checkmate for the industry of liars corrupt thieves.

It would blow Netflix, U-verse and other offerings right out of the water. The industry can’t deliver what people expect and are not realizing that they are destroying any chance of survival in the future, but that is their choice.

With amateurs with the capability to do Transformers level of quality productions maybe it is not a bad thing the industry dies off, this could yeld a new era of creativity, with some refreshing products on the market.

Amateur Russian low-budg Transformers short out-bad-asses Hollywood film
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/09/20/amateur-russian-low-.html

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

Democrats/Republicans: two sides of the same coin. In the end, they both want the same thing: bigger government, more government interference, more spending, more control, less freedom for their constituents, ridiculous intervention in other sovereign nations, more powerful corporations lining their pockets, need I go on?

At a basic level, there is NO significant difference between the parties. They love to get everyone wrapped up in small, insignificant issues (see “Ground Zero Mosque” as a perfect example) in order to blind them to the fact that both parties are perpetrating a power grab of epic proportions. The only positive thing in the whole mess is that all these idiots have build this huge mansion on a foundation of…nothing. Eventually it will all come down, and we will at least have the opportunity to fix it. For starters, most alive today will see the collapse of the US Dollar. It is inevitable. When that happens, all these conversations about allocating trading one infinite good (copies of stuff) for another infinite good (Fed-printed copies of fiat money) will all seem a bit silly, won’t they?

btr1701 (profile) says:

How far will they take it?

I wonder how “expansive” their definition of “dedicated to infringement” will be? Will it be just sites that actually infringe? Or will it be search engines that produce infringing sites in their results? Or will it include sites like TechDirt which don’t infringe at all but just take a political stance on the issue contrary to the interests of Big Content?

Given the ridiculous lengths they’ve gone to elsewhere, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine the RIAA or the MPAA asking a judge to declare TechDirt a site “dedicated to infringement” because the owner constantly advocates for things they don’t like.

hmm says:

In fact, I’ve come up with the perfect “balanced” system:

three strikes and you’re off the net!…it works like this:

same old crappy 3 strikes law as previously EXCEPT, if you file 3 fake takedowns then YOU get kicked off the net, and all your copyrights get erased, along with every single patent you hold……I predict Viacom, Fox and a bunch of others would be patentless and copyrightless within a week!

Of course there’d be an “appeals” process that takes 6months to file etc……….

AustralianGibbon says:

Sovereignty

I have my doubts that this will ever pass because there’s a pretty reasonable precedent that it constitutes an act of war. By censoring beyond it’s borders the US is undermining the sovereignty of other nations, which every nation hates but nations like China, which has the clout to act on it, regard with a pretty much zero tolerance policy. Additionally, interference with communications systems has a long and ugly history of triggering hostility.

In Australia, internet infrastructure and censorship was one of the central issues of last months Federal election so I know here at least it’s an issue unlikely to be ignored, and I hope that remains consistent globally.

All this said though, if you want to embrace a capitalist system you can’t simply lobby the government everytime you find a hole in your business model. If you can’t establish a viable business model in the face of accelerating technology, get out of the business, it’s that simple. That’s what capitalism does, it uses supply and demand to weed out the obsolete. I’m not particularly for or against a capitalist system but I know enough about it to know when it isn’t being adhered to and the current state of, ahem, ‘intellectual property’ is not it.

darryl says:

Hollywood did WHAT because of Edison ?

They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a “pirate” venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right?

What, what ARE you talking about Mike ????

What edison patents were the reason why Hollywood was established?

Another silly claim pulled out of thin air, to try to ‘prove’ Mikes ‘argument’.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Hollywood did WHAT because of Edison ?

What edison patents were the reason why Hollywood was established?

You know, Darryl, Google can be your friend:

Many independent filmmakers, who controlled from one-quarter to one-third of the domestic marketplace, responded to the creation of the MPPC by moving their operations to Hollywood, whose distance from Edison’s home base of New Jersey made it more difficult for the MPPC to enforce its patents.
Motion Picture Patents Company

A newly-formed cartel, the MPPC was created to legally control distribution, production, and exhibition of films, with agents and detectives to enforce its rules. To limit competition from other independent companies and to protect and increase profits, it bought and pooled major patents (on movie machines such as cameras and projectors), and charged anyone (by issuing licenses) who wanted to use their equipment or hire their films. Its goals were to reduce foreign imports, fight movie piracy, protect film copyrights, reduce the power of other emerging distributors, and drive other rivals out of business. […]

From the very beginning, the monopolistic MPPC was fought by the unlicensed independents (dubbed “pirates” or “outlaws”), led by IMP’s founder Carl Laemmle (see below). Others who fought the MPPC included Harry E. Aitken (Majestic Films), William Fox (founder of the Fox Film Corporation), and Adolph Zukor (Famous Players, the precursor to Paramount). […]

In 1912, after being forced out of distribution by the Edison Trust, Laemmle founded the Universal Film Manufacturing Co., or Universal Film Company – the precursor to Universal Pictures in 1915.

The History of Film, Part 3 (emphasis mine)

Yes, Darryl. Fox, Paramount, and Universal all started as “pirates.”

And the reasons that the MPAA is against “piracy” are exactly the same reasons that the MPPC was against “piracy.”

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

James Gotthing says:

Guilty as charged

Let’s face it. Every single person who uses the internet for any reason is a pirate. They steal movies, software, music, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and facts that do not belong to them. All are culpable; all should be blocked.

If you know what’s good for you, then shut-up and get with the new reality. Hollywood owns the world stupid. If you try to make one little squeak to the contrary, your site is shut down, you ISP is shutdown, your domain registrar is shutdown, all relevant DNS servers are shutdown, and all interconnecting networks are shutdown. Shut-up or shutdown. The choice is yours.

Curse you pirates. You have killed the Internet.

Zelix says:

Utter stupidity

I wish i could say i was surprised about seeing something as utterly stupid like this bill even being considered… but sadly, i am not.

The government, senate, congress, etc. Are run by whores.

Simple as that.

They spread their legs to the highest bidder and do whatever it is they are asked to do. They make prostitution illegal and get all high and mighty about it being dirty, sinful… while they themselves are no different, in fact, they are even worse.

At least a whore doesn’t pretend to be righteous.

This bill will pass, believe me, it will pass. The people mean nothing to them; our opinnions, complaints, will, freedom, all just things to write on toilet paper and wipe their asses with.

And no one does anything about it, that’s why it doesn’t end.

We bitch and moan, whine and complain on websites like this one but in the end…. we do nothing, we let someone else do it for us. I think it, the person next to me thinks it, the person next to that person thinks it, etc. and so; we just bitch and moan in the anonymity of the internet.

No wonder we mean nothing to them.

So enjoy this website and internet while it lasts, for in about 3-5 years time, i wouldn’t be surprised if you had to pay a 10 dollar fee just to start up internet explorer or mozilla firefox.

For in the face of those whores with authority and the rich companies that run and own this country, we are insects, hoping we don’t make too much noise so we won’t get squashed.

Universal truth: Human beings, are fucking stupid.

Ian (profile) says:

This is stupid!!!.

First of all this is supposed to be a reaction to multinational companies losing profits right?. Well how much is being wasted on trying to make these stupid laws?, and I bet these people involved make craploads of money them selves so don’t have any perspective of average people out there working all week to earn a living. I think things break down from the obselence of these people to realise that the price of these things which people may want to download “without paying the price” have a significance to many people, especialy if they are expensive, such as much software, and/or are a waste of money, such as som movies, which is the primary things being targeted by these stupid copyright laws. Over here in new zealand one of the larger music retailers “Ecm/sounds” has shut down and this was blamed partly on downloading, although i say it was really because they were such a rip off, they were retailing cd’s at 30+ dolars each, which I have found cost them about $2.70 each, which I would consider a huge mark up!, and rediculous that you could buy music dvd’s for cheaper than the audio albums, um confusing but true. The other factors are that due to the huge mark up other places started selling cd’s for cheaper, so of course people would buy from others as they are cheaper. Now to consider people like myself $30+ is of significance and admitedly, why would I go down the road and spend the effort and hassle, as well as the money, which i couldn’t practically afford to buy what could be a crap album, when i could type it up on the computer and have it on the spot in minutes, and cost closer to 20 cents, all without even getting of the seat i’m sitting on never mind batteling the weather at times as well to go to a store. But realisticaly it is a thing between affordability and value. there are two albums which I am going to buy, which I could download for near nothing, but I think they are worth paying for, both the music and due to the artist(s). one is from serj tankian, who fights for peoples rights. I just wish I could use p2p and pay him directly instead of supporting a large business more than him, who put the effort in and deserves the money most. this is whre it is stupid, because firstly in many cases prices are already to high, such as three people going to the cinemas cost more than the dvd of a movie, so why would you want to pay more for three to watch it once than to legally own it?. Secondly lots of what is being released isn’t really that good anyway, why spend what you have left at the end of the week on something which isn’t any good anyway?. And also in the case of music at least the companies which are just putting it on a shelf, which musicans can (but don’t start with a big name of) put it on the internet for minimal cost themselves so these companies are really ripping the artists off by having a “name” anyway, so why is allright for large/rich companies to profiteer from names, but not for poor people to try to avoid being ripped off by them?. Then when you look at it these pople without much money them selves find it too expensive to pay the big companies what they want, so they download, then the companies complain so they hire lawyers to try to stop these people from bypassing their profits, which costs them alot of money, as well as public when it is going through courts, tying up time of high paid people who could be better using their time for more productive things, and the companies try to comensate for this by incrasing prices, and promoting rubbish, which makes things less affordable, so decreases sales. This then gets blamed on the poor people downloading (just they arn’t poor but rich so they don’t recognise real world finances) which causes a cycle blaming downloading, when in actual fact it is that people can’t easily afford what they want and what is being put out there to try to pick up money for sales isn’t worth it anyway. So as far as I se the best thing is to make it worth the value anyway and even better to be able to guarentee that a prepotion of what is spent on legally purchasing these goes to the people putting the effort in to make them. So I think p2p should be utilised by artists more as the new version of the “multinational business, which is really a name” and what people think it is really worth, and they can afford then credited to them directly, as well as support for these resources putting them out there, which are realistically not a high profit business, but a resource put out there in understanding of our situation and there to help us all out, so MUST NOT BE SHUT OUT!!!. I think this would help those out which really could do with it and is necessary for peoples sake. The effect of privatisation into large companies is allready being seen here in New Zealand is allready being seen with it becoming harder for smaller businesses to exist, then causing more people to be without jobs as they are replaced by large expensive machines which smaller business can’t afford and because intiative is quased by existing in business being too expensive, with licences and compliance costs, which then puts taxes up to pay for the larger number of benificiaries due to lack of work which makes it harder still for smaller businesses and working people, as well as sucking money in general out of the economy, which causes everyone to lose out (except mabey a cople of the larger businesses, which have owners rolling in dough, and too high up to care about the average joe).

l spooner says:

What i dont understand is the willingness of the citizens to accept the paternalistic smothering of their government. as history has repeatedly shown, limiting the rights of anyone is never the right thing to do. whether it be in a religious, ethnic, or economic context we look back and say that was a bad idea. and yet, here we are again with the same wolf in sheep’s clothing pandering to the uninformed, who conveniently are the ones who are most exploited by those well-meaning governments. who do people accept limits to anything?

Dinglehopper says:

WTS our Government to the highest bidder!

“we must ask, yet again, why the US federal government is getting involved in what is, clearly, a civil business model issue?”

Anyone ever ask, how much bribes, er, I mean funding, these particular senators are recieving from these over-glorified lobbyists? Maybe that’s a bigger issue that once cleared up, would save a LOT of stupid laws that clearly hurt the individuals rights in order to protect the faceless corporate entities rights. Cant blame the corporations, tho… If I had the means to buy senators, I mean contribute to their campaigns on the condition that they back the bills I want them to support, then I would.
I digress, though. The systems in place that permit this sort of behaviour is also a dying model. It might seem to gain strength and momentum, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that when the general populace has had enough, heads tend to roll.

Anonymous Coward says:

“And finally, we must ask, yet again, why the US federal government is getting involved in what is, clearly, a civil business model issue?”

Why? It’s because Democrats = Hollywood, and Hollywood is pouring money into the coffers of the crop of Obama loving Democrats. That’s really it. The Bush folks generally stayed away from this area, because many Republicans can’t stand the Hollywood Democrats.

Curtis (profile) says:

A legislation using should words old judges understand?

PORN broadcast by wire has been illegal since the Communications Act of 1934 but is ignored and called the Internet for disguise.

(5:09-cv-05151) will end this.

(10-6091), and (10-6240) demand the FCC begin regulating wire communications called the internet to protect PORN.
See both online 100% for free below.
Writ of Mandamus, Supplemental Brief Supporting Petition for a Writ of Mandamus

The last two above are scheduled to be ignored 10-29-2010 or granted. Most filed at the supreme Court are ignored.

(5:09-cv-05151) goes to a JURY March 28, 2011 and juries do not ignore anything!

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