RIAA Claims That If COICA Isn't Passed, Americans Are 'Put At Risk'

from the um,-who-exactly? dept

With the Senate trying to rush through COICA, the online censorship bill that ignores history and appears to violate both the principles of the First Amendment and due process, a bunch of concerned citizens have been speaking out against the bill, and asking the Senate not to rush it through without at least holding hearings about the massive problems with the bill.

Considering the serious concerns raised by the bill, you would think that everyone would be fine with holding such hearings. But, of course, when you know damn well that the bill almost certainly isn’t Consitutional and its sole purpose is to censor upstart competitors and technologies that threaten your business model, you probably are less thrilled about hearings. And, so, it should come as no surprise that, at the end of this National Journal article about the request for hearings, the RIAA makes one of its more ridiculous statements in a while (and that takes some doing):

“The answer from these self-styled public interest groups can’t always be ‘no.’ Congressional and administration leaders have made it clear that doing nothing is no longer an option. If these groups have a better idea than the meaningful, bipartisan approach like the one put forward by Chairman Leahy, we welcome their ideas on how to insure that the Internet is a civilized medium instead of a lawless one where foreign sites that put Americans at risk are allowed to flourish.”

Of course, the answer isn’t always “no,” but the answer absolutely can and should be “no,” when the proposal involves censoring websites, removing due process, and favoring certain legacy industries over new technologies.

But the really ridiculous part is the claim that, without this law, “foreign sites that put Americans at risk are allowed to flourish.” Just what are these sites, and which Americans are “at risk” from them? So, let’s see if the RIAA can tell us which Americans are put at risk by which site — and I’m sorry, but your inability to adapt your business model to a changing market does not put you “at risk.” So, once again, it’s time for the RIAA to answer a straight question: which sites are putting Americans at risk, and how will this law protect them?

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Comments on “RIAA Claims That If COICA Isn't Passed, Americans Are 'Put At Risk'”

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MrWilson says:

Re: Re:

I don’t understand why we still have the right to vote.

After all, it seems like the classic (misogynist) argument against suffrage for women applies to modern voters. It was argued that women didn’t need to vote because their husbands already voted for them (and only married women count of course – the rest are just hussies and spinsters). Now we shouldn’t have to vote because our corporate employers can vote for us.

Small businesses what? Oh, those are just hobbyists and enthusiasts. If your quarterly profits don’t rival a small nation’s GDP, you can’ be a serious business. You’re obviously not greedy enough to play this game. Here, buy this computer game. It simulates building a business without the rest of us having to worry about you competing in the market or making ethical decisions that make the rest of us look bad.

RD says:

more BS

“and I’m sorry, but your inability to adapt your business model to a changing market does not put you “at risk.”

Actually, it DOES in fact put them at risk. What it doesnt do is put US (we, the people, the citizen) at risk. For them to try to ride the coattails of fearmongering and blatant misrepresentation like that shows just how weak their argument, and this bill, really is.

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If left unresolved, these issues could harm consumers, educational institutions, innovative technologies, economic growth and global Internet freedom.

Just to be clear, this quote comes from the public interest groups the American Library Association, Center for Democracy and Technology, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Consumer Electronics Association, the NetCoalition, and Public Knowledge regarding the possible passage of COICA. Not from the RIAA, just to be clear.

Anonymous Coward says:

I emailed both Texas senators and the President opposing COICA… I’m sure there’s an intern somewhere in Austin struggling to match my inquiry to one of the canned responses they have in file. I wonder if I’ll get the exact same generic intellectual property reply from KBH that her office sent me after I wrote her about the fashion copyright bill she co-sponsored.

My messages of course will never reach any of these people and will probably be deleted without fanfare.

Peter (Seattle) (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your senators use actual human beings to review their emails? I’m convinced that mine use a software package to analyze incoming constituent emails and generate replies:



I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of [YOUR STATE] and hope you will contact me again should you need further information or assistance.

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

Re: Uh, what?

From the EFF on behalf of 87 internet engineers:

We, the undersigned, have played various parts in building a network called the Internet. We wrote and debugged the software; we defined the standards and protocols that talk over that network. Many of us invented parts of it. We’re just a little proud of the social and economic benefits that our project, the Internet, has brought with it.

We are writing to oppose the Committee’s proposed new Internet censorship and copyright bill. 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. In exchange for this, the bill will introduce censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties’ ability to communicate.

All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but this bill will be particularly egregious in that regard because it causes entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under this bill. These problems will be enough to ensure that alternative name-lookup infrastructures will come into widespread use, outside the control of US service providers but easily used by American citizens. Errors and divergences will appear between these new services and the current global DNS, and contradictory addresses will confuse browsers and frustrate the people using them. These problems will be widespread and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.

The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We can’t have a free and open Internet without a global domain name system that sits above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry. To date, the leading role the US has played in this infrastructure has been fairly uncontroversial because America is seen as a trustworthy arbiter and a neutral bastion of free expression. If the US suddenly begins to use its central position in the DNS for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive.

Senators, we believe the Internet is too important and too valuable to be endangered in this way, and implore you to put this bill aside.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Uh, what?

Simple… the bill will give the media companies and drug companies and I’m sure anyone else who can buy in the authority to Geo-Block websites from the USA merely by getting approve from a judge. So a foreign website wont the shut down it will just be considered illegal to allow it’s content in the USA and that country will be blocked off from viewers in the USA just like China and Iran do in their countries.

Anonymous Coward says:

“If these groups have a better idea than the meaningful, bipartisan approach like the one put forward by Chairman Leahy […]”

I’m sure that other comments will cover the absurdity of the bill and the RIAA’s position, but I’d like to say that “bipartisan,” in and of itself doesn’t mean “good.” In most cases, it just means that the parties have found an agreeable way for everyone to fleece the public.

rangda (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The names on the campaign contribution checks change slightly depending on which party you are talking about. Other than that there is no real difference.

Earlier on techdirt someone had the idea of forcing politicians to wear sponsor iron-ons like NASCAR drivers. It’s a brilliant idea; it wouldn’t change anything but at least we’d know which of our corporate overlords we were voting for.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Their paid by different big businesses. The Democrats tend to be funded in large part by Hollywood, Unions, Lawyers, and Investments groups to name a few. Republicans get much of their funding from large privately held corporations. But even those differences aren’t that much. Most large businesses in the US donate heavily to both parties to buy^H^H^H hedge their bets.

cc (profile) says:

After this passes, how long will it be before China starts sounding like the “land of the free”?

Seriously, aren’t Americans really pissed off by something like this? Will people really stop at sending emails to their senators (and getting canned replies) when something like this is passed?

Not that the rest of the west will be any better, mind you. As soon as the US introduces full-on censorship, the rest of the world will follow shortly, because obviously we have no brains of our own. Oh, I do so look forward to “Her Majesty’s Great Firewall”…

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Americans can’t do more than send angry messages to their representatives because they keep us poor enough that we can spend the time and money to go directly to congress and complain in person. Even if we did, would they actually take us seriously? Let’s face it, if you don’t have the money to buy a politician, you don’t matter. Otherwise, we are all stuck screaming at a brick wall.

Christopher Gizzi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m not sure most Americans know this bill exists outside of a few tech-knowledgeable people. I also bet that most Americans don’t equate speech on the internet to “free speech” at all – its that scary.

Most parents fear the internet. “Think of the children!” they say. They don’t realize how much we rely on the internet and they don’t understand how much speech traverses it. And they certainly don’t worry about losing something they take for granted.


JH says:

Only RIAA gets to say no?

The answer from the RIAA has always been ‘no’ to allowing reasonable use to items I’ve purchased, but heaven forbid the people say no to them. And yes, the answer can always be ‘no’ when your proposal is terrible. If you keep making outlandish requests you don’t get to complain when one of them isn’t accepted. Just because you’ve paid off members of both political parties doesn’t make your proposal ‘bipartisan.’ Once you work with the people opposing you and gain some of their support you can call your plan bipartisan.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:


Im not sure why the RIAA feels that its now expert at protecting Americans from “risk”.

It’s already been said that US laws don’t have any real impact on foreign sites. If these foreign sites are being used so much that Congress has to act on it because Americans are at risk, then what exactly is this risk and why haven’t we heard about it in the news?

WTF is wrong in this country? All anyone has to do is say terrorism, national security, or harming Americans, and suddenly the ridiculous should become law.

For everyone that is worried about Terrorism, you should take heed to the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I agree with what was said in the article. We as Americans should not allow our right to free speech to be infringed upon in any way. This act would only be enforceable in the US only. How does that stop some scam scum from Nigeria or any where else from defrauding us? In closing I would like to add a quote from Ben Franklin, ‘Those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither liberty nor security!’

Anonymous Coward says:

“RIAA Claims That If COICA Isn’t Passed, Americans Are ‘Put At Risk'”

The RIAA’s promotion of the bill is more evidence that it shouldn’t be passed. The RIAA’s support of this bill is equivalent to George Bush’s support of McCain. If the RIAA wants the bill to pass they should publicly shut their mouths. They would probably do better to oppose it publicly and tell congress in private that they want it passed.

“we welcome their ideas on how to insure that the Internet is a civilized medium instead of a lawless one where foreign sites that put Americans at risk are allowed to flourish.”

These people don’t even know the difference between insure and ensure. What a joke.

Edwar says:

Re: Re:

Amen to that! I can’t stand supposedly intelligent people who cannot put together a sentence coherently, or spell correctly without spellcheck. But that says something for the people who voted to put them in office in the first place (see example 1- Bush supporters example 2- Palin supporters.)

PS: The amen was just reflex from a misspent youth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and seriously, when has it been the RIAA’s job to worry about public safety and how are they even in a position to protect the public. We already have the incompetent and bought Department of Homeland Security for that along with the DOD, we don’t need more incompetent organizations to worry about national security. Especially incompetent organizations that are not elected and are not appointed by an elected official.

Anonymous Coward says:

Surely the answer can always be no, when it’s the answer to the same proposals over and over again albeit occasionally phrased differently.
Just as 2 is the answer to 1+1 3-1 4-2 0+2 100/50 2*1 etc.

“Honestly, we have put forward so many proposals on how to save buggy whip manufacturers from ruin, from banning cars, buggy whip taxes, requiring that every car owner must purchase a buggy whip yearly, we’ve even offered to rent buggy whips to people who want to travel in motorised vehicles, plus the other hundred very similar proposals we’ve put forward.
We’ve really bent over backwards here but those self styled public interest groups still keep saying no.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Surely the answer can always be no, when it’s the answer to the same proposals over and over again albeit occasionally phrased differently.”

Exactly. Our bought politicians have said yes for way too long and it’s resulted in absurdly unacceptable laws (ie: 95 year copy protection length). The laws already in place are an outrage and everyone should oppose any new restrictive laws at least until the current laws get fixed.

Edwar says:

After reading the article and others comments, the only thing I can add is that no one has addressed the BIG issue here. This is a multinational corporate issue. Big media doesn’t want anyone to be able to transmit info. that they don’t control. Yes it’s a 1st Amendment issue, but until we all realize that the US government is controlled by big money, there is no solution.

To tie everything together, you are all right! It is not just one entity or another. It’s all in collusion. Only a concerted effort on the part of everyone can change things.

I propose that come election time, all voters vote to elect
NEW congress people. Thomas Jefferson said, ‘When the government fails to meet the needs of the people, it is the right, nay the DUTY, of the people, to overthrow that government, and establish a new one, that does serve the needs of the people.’ People need to be able to express ideas and information, even though some may not like their ideas, no one is forcing it down their throat- YET!

I will leave you all with one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin, ‘Those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither liberty nor security!’ In other words, liberties come with responsibilities, and it is up to each person to be aware of what goes on in their life, and not leave it up to the government to protect you from things you should already be on guard against e.g. computer fraud, theft, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

” …. we are all stuck screaming at a brick wall.”

When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could
by pouring their derision upon anything we did
exposing every weakness however carefully hidden by the kids.

But in the town it was well known that when they got home at night
their fat and psychopathic wives
Would thrash them within inches of their lives!

The R.I.A.A. Needs to be blackholed!

bikey says:

at risk

Always-at-risk Americans – It must be clear to everyone now that the terror people (KRB, Xe, arms manufacturers, neocons and the like) and the IP people have the same strategies and the same advisors. Surveillance, criminal sanctions, limiting human/civil rights – it all works terribly well for them, especially for dealing with a population so willing to be afraid of everything that moves.

Tony says:

One entity to rule them all...

Hi. Sitting here in Sweden, feeling the noose tighten for every day since 9/11. The effin terrorists started everything the bastards…


I’m pretty damn effin tired of these companies saying they’re loosing money. Bitches! They’re lying their effin teeth off!
They’ve never earned as much money as they do now, and, guess what? It’s all thanks to the Internet!
China’s afraid that their ppl. will get the notion of freedom like the rest of the world, and also they’re afraid their market will plunge due to competition from the outside world. Hence their extreme censor-ship.

U.S.A. is only concerned about money, and money alone.
A good country takes care of their own, and not when it’s suitable. If they did, there wouldn’t be as many homeless ppl. or so effin expensive to get medical treatment (Many emigrate to Canada just because of it!!!) – 20 bucks for an asperine??? -Get real!!!

It’s more important to make money than to STFU and stay on-track and don’t interfere.
Ppl. think just because it’s “theft”, (Which, per definition it’s not!), they’re loosing money.

If I don’t see a movie in the theaters they’ve lost money, sure. I can “buy” that. It’s going to end up showing on TV in the end anyways… Even long after the Copyright’s been absolved.

If I download that movie I’m suddenly stealing it.
If the choice had been between buying “to watch” or “not”, most likely the choice would’ve been “not”. Either way, they’re not really loosing money (As in I’m stealing their money) since they’d be oblivious to this “theft”…

If, however I do this with every movie, including the one’s that I would’ve paid for, it’s another matter. But, who’s the one to tell which movie I like to pay for, and which one’s I don’t!!?

Some don’t see this, some are just to effin blinded by money so they don’t care about the logic behind it, and just feel that everyone must pay…


Censor-ship never did anyone any good. Take a look at the Arab-countries… Enter the street and yell “Allah is a douche-bag” and see how long you’ll live!

Freedom of the press? In the Arab-countries – Forget it!
China – Not a chance!
Europe – Right now we do, but if they money-caring poop-bags are allows themselves to be bought we won’t have any…
U.S. – Seems to become just as bad, if not even worse than in Europe!

I like this quote: “Don’t touch my internet”

If I had the money I’d print large effin posters and other stickers and distribute throughout the country!

Grizz says:


Instead of the government assigning people who have the knowledge to catch the current people who are breaking these laws and prosecute them. They remove the very places that these activities “could be” taking place in?

What about drug dealers, or other offenders? Why can’t we just remove ghettos or put a big plastic bubble around them so no one can get in or out? I mean it would be safer…Wouldn’t it?

Very sad logic indeed. I’m going to try my damnedest to make sure this bill NEVER gets passed.

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