RIAA, Chamber Of Commerce: Censorship Via COICA Is Okay, Because Other Countries Censor Too

from the you-must-censor! dept

While the COICA bill introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy and Orin Hatch was initially designed to be rushed through Congress, after people pointed out that it pretty clearly violated due process and prohibitions against prior restraint, the Senators realized they needed to hold off for a bit. Everyone has expected that it will be back on the agenda after the midterm elections, and now a bunch of companies and organizations, including the RIAA and the Chamber of Commerce have asked Leahy to move forward with the bill, immediately following the elections.

But most amusing of all is how they brush off the concerns about First Amendment violations and blatant censorship by the US government, at the same time as the US government is putting political pressure on countries that censor the web:

“some foreign countries have engaged in political censorship long before this bill was introduced and they will continue to do so regardless of whether this legislation is enacted.”

Say what?!? So it’s okay for the US government to censor the web, because other countries censor as well? I recognize that their argument is that this won’t change how other countries view censorship, but even that’s wrong. The US is pressuring other countries not to censor the web by claiming a moral high ground. It seems particularly hypocritical to undermine that moral high ground by blatantly censoring the web as well, and then saying “but it’s okay for us, because it’s about protecting these companies.” That just makes it easy for those other countries to respond, “well, then it’s okay for us, because it’s about protecting our government/way of life/etc.”

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Companies: chamber of commerce, riaa

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Comments on “RIAA, Chamber Of Commerce: Censorship Via COICA Is Okay, Because Other Countries Censor Too”

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theskyrider says:

already worked around

as CNet has already noted in this article:

This bill would be a massive waste of time in any case. If you know the IP address of the site you are connecting to, then you can still connect. I’ve already queried DNS and all my favorite sites (including Techdirt) are backed up.

Also, since most sites hosting ‘naughty things’ are located outside the US, all one would have to do is add a domain name with the country code instead. Instead of ‘www.mytorrentsite.com’ one could go with ‘www.mytorrentsite.ca.’

The following might be right or wrong:

One bad thing about this that the government might not appreciate. If the US passes this law, the DNS system is going to get thrown into an uproar.

The DNS system is designed for changes to propagate throughout the network. If this law is passed, I am assuming that the so-called domain name seizures will be handled on a DNS-server level. IE – http://www.piratesite.com will be forwarded to http://www.doj.gov.

If there are some countries that don’t want to implement this US LAW (which there might be in the beginning.) then they will have to shut down/disable/hand-sort DNS updates that are supposed to propagate automatically.

So, lets say that Renraw Brothers Pictures is getting ready to release this HOT NEW MOVIE and they set up a website for it. “HOTNEWMOVIE.COM” gets put together and put out to all the social networking sites, etc. “HOTNEWMOVIE.COM” is supposed to point to, but for some reason it don’t work outside the US.

That’s because some DNS Gateway Updater (new position that had to be created in other countries to make sure that crappy American law didn’t affect domain names outside the US.) went on vacation a day early and the “HOTNEWMOVIE.COM” update didn’t get pushed out to the international DNS Servers.

That is, if I’m correct about how this law works. I might be wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: already worked around

I don’t think it would be worthless even if it specifies something that is technically inept. If the bill is passed it would solidify intent. Then later, when someone explains to them that dns blocking isn’t very effective, they’ll start blocking in other ways by clarifying what is already in place, either by specifying a more effective technical measure, or simply imposing massive fines on any provider who doesn’t block effectively, shifting the burden of implementation onto them.

out_of_the_blue says:

It's a formula: "so long as X is worse, we're great".

A favorite of US politicians. Goes right along with US exceptionalism, as in “WE torture only BAD people for the RIGHT reasons, therefore it’s perfectly moral”.

And you fall prey to the relativist trend, Mike, with what I hope is merely misguided attempt at irony: “most amusing of all”. If you’re disgusted or outraged, at least don’t undermine the meaning of words. I’m sure you think that’s OKAY because YOU do it, and you’re a good person, or at least are sure of your motives, but when communicating, it’s hazardous.

Anonymous Coward says:

“including the RIAA and the Chamber of Commerce have asked Leahy to move forward with the bill, immediately following the elections. “

This is almost an admission that congress isn’t expected to follow the will of the people, but instead, only the will of corporate interests. Since this bill is against the will of the people it will make it more difficult for congressmen pushing for it to get (re)elected. So drop it for now and after the election you should continue it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s true, but it’s also a worry that the new Congress may be less friendly to the bill. Opposition to a previous version of the bill, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, came primarily from Republicans (See Declan here.)

The current bill is sponsored by Sens. Hatch and the retiring Voinovich on the GOP side, and Sens. Leahy and Whitehouse, Schumer, Kohl, Specter, Durbin, Feinstein, and the retiring Bayh on the Democratic side.

Nothing to say that the newly elected Republicans will be against the bill, but the side pushing it wants to act now rather than take that chance.

Ziro_Opinion says:


we should start a rumor that all of the other elected officials, lobbyists, and special interest groups are jumping off the Brooklyn bridge and maybe these enema bags will follow suit! What I don’t understand is why every big tech company including Google is not lobbying AGAINST COICA. They stand a lot to lose with the current level of legal activity being slung around between them. How does one go about forming a public lobbying group to fight this thing? Tea partiers, where you at?

SLK8ne says:

Re: Re: Maybe...

You think the Libertarians haven’t been compromised?

The problem is that any group that rises up to challenge the major parties in the US is going to need money (which is why we’ve had only two parties for so long) and money is why any group challenging the system can be suborned long before they become a threat.

Don’t look to the parties, look to the internet and social networking. Until the majority of people understand that all the parties are the problem and band together informally, outside the party system, nothing will change.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Maybe...

Until the majority of people understand that all the parties are the problem and band together informally, outside the party system, nothing will change.

A lot of people think we are on the verge of a major international overhaul. The financial meltdown has pointed up some flaws in capitalism, and the rise of China as a economic power is changing power structures. And dependence on oil has skewed political alliances.

Who would have thought a few years ago that what Detroit would become the innovative center of urban gardens? Talk about localism of food supply. It doesn’t get more local than growing your own on abandoned urban lots.

rich56 (profile) says:

Didn't we already do this?!

Funny… or TRAGIC! Didn’t we already go down this road already with TORTURE?! Other countries torture, so it’s OK if we do it?! Where did that get us? Haven’t we brought America down to everyone else’s level enough? It’s time to take the high ground — it used to be when I travelled outside the US, I was proud of my country! We have to get that feeling back!

SLK8ne says:

Holy sheep dip Batty-girl

Good night! Well, guess what other countries have denied their citizens civil rights in the past. Other countries have perpetrated pogroms and genocide on their own population. So, I guess we’d better get ready for the gas chambers for anyone who breaks the law. If this is their attitude RIAA should be listed as a hate group.

Anonymous Coward says:

The status of the legislation (as I understand it) is that one problematic provision (the “blacklist”) was being removed, leaving just the provisions pertaining to actions in rem, actions that have long been an integral part of US jurisprudence.

The legislation is quite limited in scope, and to call it “censorship” is to give a new and expansive meaning to “hyperbole”.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

It's keeping big media afloat

There’s a tidy loop that allows more corporations to fund political ads which go to keep the newspapers and TV stations afloat. If you want to change the country you really need to look at political funding. And maybe it’s time to start looking at governing more via consensus and interactive planning that clearly lays out all the options and lets everyone try out various scenarios via computer first, to see what the consequences will be.

John Roberts’ America – NYTimes.com: “Colorado is ground zero for what?s happening in John Roberts?s America, competing for the dubious distinction of being the top state in the nation for spending by shadowy outside groups telling people how to vote.”

DrClue (profile) says:

COICA vs WikiLeaks

Try this one on for size. DOJ decides that materials leaked to whistle blower sites like WikiLeaks are IP, and so entitle the government to remove the DNS entry for any site that references evidence of wrong doing because the evidence is the governments intellectual property.

“Fear is easy to sell, with the price of purchase being but your FREEDOM” –DrClue

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