The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

from the free-speech-isn't-free dept

This is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill — despite a bunch of law professors explaining to them how this law is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What’s really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it here because it’s seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy. There’s very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we figured it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet this morning:

  • Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont
  • Herb Kohl — Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions — Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein — California
  • Orrin G. Hatch — Utah
  • Russ Feingold — Wisconsin
  • Chuck Grassley — Iowa
  • Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania
  • Jon Kyl — Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer — New York
  • Lindsey Graham — South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin — Illinois
  • John Cornyn — Texas
  • Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland
  • Tom Coburn — Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota
  • Al Franken — Minnesota
  • Chris Coons — Delaware

This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like (in this case, content some of its largest campaign contributors do not like). We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don’t buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement. This law takes down entire websites based on the government’s say-so. First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It’s really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.

Update: Some people in the comments are claiming this is not about censorship, so I’ve put up a new post explaining in detail why this bill is all about censorship.

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Comments on “The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet”

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433 Comments
Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Seriously, what are they putting in the Washington air? Al Franken still on his website today, at the top of the dang page in a huge font – “stop corporate takeover of the media”. So, pushing for a bill to increase corporate control of the new media (the internet) is the obvious first step to improving the situation. Duh.

Anonymous Coward says:

The sad part is that it doesn’t even take down the websites. It just takes away the domain name. The server is still online and can be connected to by IP address.

In other words, not only is the bill an overreaching bill by the government, it’s also a stupid ineffective one.

Also, I’m ashamed to be a part of a state that voted for this bill (California).

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Re: Re:

I likewise sent an email to senator Feinstein. I chose not to attack her supporting of the bill, but to simply highlight the many ways in which it could (read will) be abused.

I doubt she’ll ever read it, but I did try and if it looks like she will continue to support it, I’ll just have to give her a follow up call or two to make sure she understands that people will always abuse power that they are given. Not ever single person, but people in general.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

i live in california and i can tell you first hand that the eco-fascist granola nazis here would love to limit your free speech and kill jobs. but what do i know, i’m a right leaning libertarian. 😛 people on our side have been trying to tell you guys this for years. you only listen when they try to take away your rights i guess.

Anonymous Coward says:

SAIC strikes again! It's amazing what a few thousand can buy.

Remember The SAIC company that makes the backscatter X-Ray machines and gave tons of money in this last election…?

Well, they were also the company that owned Network Solutions, the original domain registrar in 1995 before spinning it off to Verisign. Additionally, it looks like they maybe had their hands in the cookie jar with the AT&T wiretapping case, by working on the Trailblazer Project. I bet they have a shiny solution that they plan to install on the internet.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Another Lame Duck

You can add the retiring Sen. Voinovich of Ohio to that list. He co-authored this bill and in his response to my letter seemed proud that the “process would be made fair by industry representatives interfacing with the DOJ”.

He also “looks forward to working with Rob Portman”, who will take over his seat, to move this bill forward.

So you can probably add incoming Sen. Portman of Ohio too.

I also wrote to the other Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown, who, while citing industry statistics, at least made mentioned the 1st amendment concerns in his response.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: ?

Are you people really that dense?

It’s like you’re pretending piracy isn’t illegal and a massive problem.

Hilarious.

And how many Senators do you think give a damn about young people that rip off music and movies? They probably believe that if you’re that lame and/or broke that you more than likely don’t vote.

JX says:

Re: Re: ?

You misunderstand. We don’t honestly care about “The Pirate Bay”. Firstly, the ones who use trackers also understand IP addresses, and most of them are comfortable with returning to the FTP/Courier/Usenet/0day model, if they wish to pirate things. They also won’t hesitate to evangelize to others how this is done, and create alternative, equally effective methods. The URL is convenient, sure, but critical, no.

The real problem here is that it prevents people from having a website that is free and open and allows people to post what they want in a manner that truly exemplifies free speech. If you want to punish the guy that uses those sites to post copies of video games, you can get his information and prosecute that one guy, individually, for his crime.

There’s no need to pass a law that makes it difficult or impossible to create a forum for the exchange of ideas and data, and allows a very small group of people to decree that a website should no longer be accessible to the general public because some portion of the community of that website decided to infringe someone else’s copyright.

Furthermore, virtually zero expertise or knowledge of copyrights are required for this kind of action. If a court isn’t involved and copyright law isn’t properly cited amongst LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, you have someone making claims of wrongdoing against someone else, and people WHO DID NOTHING WRONG having a service denied to them that they may have been using 100% legitimately.

Example… rapidshare shows up on this list because someone posts a copy of Duke Nukem 3d on it (because you know, people still pay big bucks for games from 1995 )… Now Joe the teacher from Detroit who used Rapidshare to copy his student’s work back and forth on occasion, or used it to make his life easier in other, non-harmful ways just lost access to a very valuable online resource.

It’s plain stupidity. There are far more elegant ways to prevent piracy… and honestly, a large portion of piracy can simply be ignored.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re: ?

In the real world, stores have to police themselves. They can’t just allow fenced goods to be sold and then claim “censorship!” when they get closed down.

The idea that the internet should somehow be exempt from the same laws that exist in the real world is delusional.

It’s why all the whining being done by the piracy apologists isn’t going to mean squat.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ?

In the real world, malls, flea markets, open air markets, etc… are not responsible if one of their stores engages in illegal activity. In the real world, state and federal governments are not responsible for their roads being used for illegal activity. In the real world, you are a shilling twat.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ?

In the real world, stores have to police themselves. They can’t just allow fenced goods to be sold and then claim “censorship!” when they get closed down.

Indeed. But that’s a case where stores have control over what’s being sold and pick and choose what’s being sold. When it’s an open platform — such as eBay, we don’t blame the store.

That’s just common sense.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 ?

Ebay polices itself. So does YouTube now, after the Viacom appeal.

Um. No. In both cases they will take down content if the rightsholder makes a request, but they do not “police themselves” as you claim.

So will every other site on the internet. Just like in the real world. Because the internet is now the same as the real world.

Cool. So, then every time you visit a foreign website, you get a visa, right?

sehlat (profile) says:

We Were Warned

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100 (1954)

I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy . . . censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

DogBreath says:

Don't the Senators understand?

If they block and/or remove the alleged infringing sites, there will be no more illegal downloading, and no one for the RIAA / MPAA / IP lawsuit trolls to sue (with the exception of each other). Come On Senators! Think of the children! (and all the lost future “extra” campaign contributions from the RIAA / MPAA / etc…)

Yogi says:

Problem

The problem with the democratic system is that no normal, honest, decent person would ever want to go through the process of getting elected.

Politicians are people who crave power – and they are exactly the type of people who should be nowhere near any position of authority.

I am all for democracy, it is the least evil system of government, but it is definitely flawed.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Problem

And how about electing your representative whenever you want (with some limits)? Why have professional politicians? Assign your individual vote to an organization you trust and then change it when you lose trust or specifically want a different vote for a particular bill. The idea is that you pick your exact vote if you want on a per bill basis, but to the degree you don’t care, you effectively leave your proxy (your rep) in place.

We manage large numbers because on average the proxies are reset very infrequently. We wouldn’t need to secure online voting. We could instead do the assignments and re-assignments via snail mail, on the web with a follow-up confirmation, through phone call, or, safest of all, at a local government office using picture ID or something similar.

The Constitution would have to be changed to do this at the federal level, but it would be nice to see this democracy in action locally.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Problem

Coburn isn’t. Pretty sure he just got reelected to his second or third term. Absolutely certain though that I’ll be placing a call or twenty to him on the subject of this bill. If he votes for it if and when it comes up for a full Senate vote, I’ll also be giving any Tea Party candidates my vote in his next primary too.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Problem

Some definitions that disagree with you:

# the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives

# a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

Indirect democracy is a broad term describing a means of governance by the people through elected representatives.

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.

Looks to me like the US is both a democracy and a republic, by most definitions.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Problem

This is a really old argument over semantics and should never again be brought up. Likewise, the term democracy should never be chosen over the term republic to be applied to the US. Yes, both are technically correct but very little power actually rests in the hands of the people, so it’s an extremely misleading statement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lots of people will be installing BIND if this goes through.

So what it seems they’re going to do is require authentication of each website’s purpose. If it’s not legitimate, this governing authority will have the ability to re-route the DNS entry.

If you ask me, this is a complete waste of taxpayer money because it only adds administrative costs and does nothing to ask business to better leverage internet distribution capability, which is the core issue in play.

Anonymous Coward says:

Glad to see that this bill passed out of the committee by unanimous vote.

Of course, this is only the first step in the legislative process. It still has to pass the full Senate, the House Judiciary Committee, the full House, and then the President. At every step along the way there are opportunities presented for the introduction of amendments.

The professors referenced above would be well advised to stop their “academic ranting”, focus on what amendments they believe should be made, and then find a sponsor for such amendments.

Contrary to much of the FUD that has been made about COCIA, there is much more to this bill than the perception by many that the bill is directed almost exclusively to stemming the tide of illegal downloading.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The professors referenced above would be well advised to stop their “academic ranting”, focus on what amendments they believe should be made, and then find a sponsor for such amendments.

I find it amusing that these distinguished professors raising very serious and legitimate concerns are reduced to “academic ranting” in your book. But when your beloved friends in Hollywood rant ridiculously about “piracy” and “theft” you rush to their support.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I find the thought that this will stem “the tide of illegal downloading” amusing.

In college dorm rooms across the country:
“Oh no! I have to use an IP address to look up my torrentz? That’s just too hard for me…I should go find an engineer or comp sci major…”
5 minutes later…
“So just don’t change any of the settings, and click that link on your desktop and you should be fine to download whatever you want”

Wait a minute…after my college put in place their blocks on certain piracy sites they stopped checking for illegal downloads. The IT team explained it to me as “since we can now say that we’re blocking the sites, we aren’t required to watch the traffic. Less work for us, and you can still download”. If this bill means that they will stop worrying about piracy and trying to stop it, I hope it passes.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You are speaking in generalities that I believe are incorrect. Do you have any specific example that I can address?

It is impossible to go back through your previous statements on this site since you choose (for no clear reason) to post anonymously — even though you make clear who you are via your tone and statements. I now recognize part of that is to make it impossible for us to call you on your blatant contradictions.

You regularly commented in favor of the MPAA and RIAA positions in various lawsuits and when they called infringement “theft.” You also regularly mocked defendants in cases when the RIAA and MPAA threw “hissy fits” falsely suggesting they were costing the industry millions.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would amend it to read like so:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ??Combating Online In5
fringement and Counterfeits Act??.”

That’s it. I wouldn’t have a problem with that bill if that were the whole thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

As hard as I tried to think of a constructive and useful comment, I could not. My heart is so full of anger at politicians, certain corporations, and the American people in general for accepting the loss of more freedoms, I am without an insightful comment.
The last several days have clearly shown that fear and greed are the choice America has made for the future.
I know most people think politics are boring and stupid. While in many respects, they are correct, ignoring that which places restraints on upon you, even a little, causes the democracy to die in equal parts.
I want corporations to get their fair due. However, the solutions that have been put in place, demanded to be in place, seem shortsighted and ultimately evil.
In the short term, those with money and power may get their way, reaping the rewards they so viciously desire. I’m just glad that their children and grandchildren will have to live with these various affronts to liberty, as my own will.

Cynyr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

by who’s definition of “dedicated to infringing activities”?

Is youtube? how about 4chan? techdirt? slashdot? digg? bbc.co.uk? foxnews.com? the sundance film festivals page?

This is the issue, it’s not that we disagree that “illegal”(criminally) sites should be shut down, but in almost all cases there are already ways to do this, injunctions, court orders, etc.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

by who’s definition of “dedicated to infringing activities”?

Exactly. Remember, according to the entertainment industry, radio, YouTube, cable television, the photocopier, the DVR and the MP3 player were all “dedicated to infringing activity.”

What’s amazing is I have yet to see a single one of COICA’s supporters explain that issue away. The entertainment industry *ALWAYS* insists new offerings are dedicated to infringing activities when they first show up.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, like the non-crediting of the AP image of Obama. Or the Warner Bros. flagrant copying of Kurosawa’s ideas. Or the deliberate misappropriation of Cinderella to Disney. Or Fox news’s flagrant bullshittery in the name of ‘hot news’.

Yes, I’m bored. Deal with it.

Also, you’ve not seent he Creative accounting habits of the RIAA, have you? OR of a funny little company called soundexchange who couldn’t find Kanye West. OR of the trillions (I shit you not, THAT was what was said) ‘lost’ to infringement. This, in spite of the fact that more money has been spent on music in the past five years year-on-year, even accounting for inflation. And that’s the RIAA figures talking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Furthermore

They voted on an amended version of the bill that was not published until today (you can see a link to it on the bottom of the http://judiciary.senate.gov/ site). It’s kind of them to not let us see the bill until after they’ve voted on it. It’s still not on thomas.loc.gov. I’m sick of this back-room legislation.

The new version removes the public blacklist, but it keeps the immunity for ‘voluntary’ (non-judicial) service termination. And there’s no process to get service re-instated. Now the government and/or entertainment industries won’t have to bother going through those pesky courts that require evidence and what-not. They can just apply carrot/stick techniques to get service terminated.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Furthermore

Now the government and/or entertainment industries won’t have to bother going through those pesky courts that require evidence and what-not. They can just apply carrot/stick techniques to get service terminated.

By service termination, I wonder if they will mean physical termination (your phone company disconnects you,) or logical termination (as in, your ISP removes access to their network.)

I figure, if it is the later, what stops us from just starting Internet 2.0 and just not invite the government (or at least the part that kowtows to the entertainment industry,) and the entertainment industry to our new one? Of course, I am all for moving backwards to the internet we had pre-1994, where no commercial organizations were allowed to join. Seems like we came off the rail around that point.

Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

Mike, your tone harms your credibility.

“It’s really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.”

Hmmm … so no one that voted for the DMCA (or any other laws now abused for widespread censorship like that) counts as “voting in favor of censoring speech”?

Look, I totally agree with the content of your message (especially in this case), but you’re making the argument against this look bad by making emotionally extreme statements like that. It might even be technically true by the definition you set up in the preceding sentence, but you’re inciting an emotional argument that doesn’t even need to exist.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Losing the young vote (for the Democrats) is a good point. These people are opening themselves up to attacks.

There is too little competition for representatives of citizens (partly due to high costs to make yourself known and defend against attacks), and worse is that you have to pick one person to make a decision on hundreds or thousands of bills. That is very coarse-grained.

out_of_the_blue says:

SO, Mike, how will COICA and ACTA affect your "free" economy?

First a couple quibbles:

“many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries” — Doing the opposite of words is a main feature of today’s pols.

“these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America” — WW1 censorship was pretty severe. And we are “at war”, right?

But seriously, whatta y’all gonna do about it? … No, the IP # work-around won’t last long, that’s just a minor technical point: masking off any specific address requires only a large bitmap at most, though presumably would slow down servers; besides that, they’ll soon just physically raid the premises, as most of these measures are for *domestic* use. — Anyway, they’ve *crossed* the Rubicon of tyranny so many times that they’ve built a bridge.

So that’s why I say we’re doomed. This being Thursday, I lean toward chuckling over it, cause over the last couple of decades y’all wouldn’t even look up from your empty entertainments to notice you’re being caged in, step by step, not longer than to mutter “conspiracy theorist”…

Rich says:

Re: SO, Mike, how will COICA and ACTA affect your "free" economy?

The IP workaround? It’s not a workaround. It’s how the Internet works! No, it will not be a simple job of “masking” off specific addresses. They would have to control all routes and they don’t. That’s the whole point of the Internet and its design. It was meant to function, even if a large swath got nuked.

LW1 says:

COICA is not Censoring the internet

“COICA targets websites ?primarily designed? as pirating sites which are ?dedicated to infringing activities,? with ?no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use? besides distributing pirated or counterfeited files.”

I think that concept of the law does not hurt free speech, the right to give away one’s intellectual property, or true one on one sharing. – it should just prevent a massive downloading of your art without your permission. read about it here:
http://tinyurl.com/2a93hoc

No doubt the language should be specific to not allow Censorship of anything other than the description I copied above.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

The provision in question calls for a partnership between industry representatives and the blessed DOJ. In other words: a big corporation points out a target, and the DOJ “kills” it. There is no provision for due process before the “kill”, it must be disputed in appeals/motion to quash once the block (censor) goes into place.

Tell me, how long do you think the ideal of supporting creators and promoting innovation last if this bill passes?

The ideal will not even be attempted.

This bill needs to go down in flames if they refuse to cut the crap.

Terry Hart (profile) says:

Re: Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

There is due process. The AG has to serve notice to the person who registered the site and serve notice by publication when it initiates the in rem proceeding. Then, it has to go through court, where anyone with an interest in the domain name can make an appearance. The bill also provides for an administrative appeal procedure.

Only after a judicial determination can the domain name be seized or an injunction be issued.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

There is due process. The AG has to serve notice to the person who registered the site and serve notice by publication when it initiates the in rem proceeding. Then, it has to go through court, where anyone with an interest in the domain name can make an appearance. The bill also provides for an administrative appeal procedure.

There is due process *for some* parts of the bill, not for all. Furthermore, even the process you describe above almost certainly violates the First Amendment and the concept of “prior restraint” in that it takes down an entire website, rather than narrowly targeting specifically infringing works.

Only after a judicial determination can the domain name be seized or an injunction be issued.

Determination, not trial. I know you know that, but it’s not clear from the way you stated it.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:3 COICA is not Censoring the internet

He can’t elaborate because what he’s saying is bullshit.

There’s no “prior restraint” happening there. Even that Law Prof doc couldn’t explain it.

The sites are already violating the law. No prior restraint is occurring.

If a grocery store sells weed, they don’t get to stay open simply because everything else they sell is legal.

I’d love to see your local grocer try to scream “prior resraint!” when he was shut down. LOL

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 COICA is not Censoring the internet

“The sites are already violating the law.”

WRONG – So far only the sites’ users are being accused of violating the law, and often with useless evidence of any wrongdoing at that. This bill is using a Tsar Bomba nuke to kill a fly in the middle of Tokyo: everyone who could be there before, now can not. The intent of lawfully assigned liability is to assign said liability to the proper party before considering claims against said liable party. Taken to farcical extremes [ie. COICA included], this line of reasoning is sufficient for a me to be able to sue the US government for someone humming a tune to which I “own” the copyright; or better yet, to sue the RIAA. The simple fact of the matter is that this law allows for blatant censorship via failure to produce evidence for any actual unlawful activity otherwise.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:5 COICA is not Censoring the internet

LOL

You’re losing it. Sorry, but yes, they’re already violating the law. Go read up on copyright and IP.

BTW, none of what Mike is trying to do is going to work. A book store in 1986 already tried Masnick’s tact, and the Supreme Court laughed at them:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=478&invol=697

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 COICA is not Censoring the internet

BTW, none of what Mike is trying to do is going to work. A book store in 1986 already tried Masnick’s tact, and the Supreme Court laughed at them:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=478&in vol=697

I already responded to this in another thread, but I’ll repeat it here, since it’s so laughably wrong:

‘m glad you pointed out the Arcara v. Cloud Books case, because it actually demonstrates why you are wrong. In that case, the bookstore was shut down for prostitution — which had nothing to do with expression at all. As is noted:


The closure statute is directed at unlawful conduct having nothing to do with books or other expressive activity.

Copyright law, on the other hand, *is* about expressive activity, which is why the First Amendment applies, and any effort to take down speech must be narrowly tailored to take down the infringing speech only.

And, of course, we have cases that are much closer to the situation here. The CDT v. Pappert case involved a law that required ISPs to block URLs named by the state (sound familiar…) and was rejected as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech due to prior restraint.

More importantly, the Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota is again quite similar. It was about a law that tried to shut down “scandalous” or “malicious” newspapers (sort of like “dedicated to infringement,” right?) But it was struck down as a violation of the First Amendment.

Of course, I pointed these cases (and a few more) out to you in the past. Funny that you would ignore them.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:7 COICA is not Censoring the internet

I did respond to them, Mike. They’re still there (hopefully).

Neither of your examples works with regard to COICA.

And the Arcara case is exactly what will be used. Infringement isn’t “expression”.

You’re trying exactly what they did: cloak yourself with the 1st Amendment to excuse illegal behavior.

And it won’t work. Sorry. 🙂

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 COICA is not Censoring the internet

And the Arcara case is exactly what will be used. Infringement isn’t “expression”.

Again, you are falsely focused on the infringement. I’m talking about the non-infringing content. Why do you ignore that?

Anyway, we shall see which the courts actually rely on, won’t we?

How about this: if it turns out we are right, you will (a) reveal who you are and (b) publicly admit that you were wrong.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:9 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Are you resorting to ‘kill the messenger’, Mike? No surprise.

Since I won’t expect people to go look up previous responses, I’ll address them again here.

CDT v Pappert required ISPs to filter child porn websites. It failed for two reasons:

1. It was a lawsuit brought on by the state of Pennsylvania; since the filter might have an effect on other states that the ISPs served, the lawsuit failed due to interstate commerce laws.

2. Because of the random nature of the filtering used by the ISPs, they claimed that both legal and illegal sites might be affected. Legitimate websites were blocked.

The PA AG’s case was a clumsy one, and deserved to fail.

COICA, with due process, looks to block the DNS names used by sites that are “dedicated to infringing” practices.

The second case Masnick cites, Near v Minnesota is a classic example of prior restraint. I suspect that’s why he uses it, but the problem is that there aren’t any parallels with it and any of the current situations discussed here on Techdirt. Especially the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court based their decision in Near v Minnesota on the 14th Amendment, and how freedom of the press was being impugned. Rightfully so. Besides, libel laws are already in place to take care of such matters should someone care to dispute something written in scenarios like the above.

But there was no illegal activity already occurring in the above case, and obviously, there is no freedom of the press issue involved with intellectual property theft. Fear-mongers like to bring up wikileaks, however that site is protected by the above ruling, just as the Pentagon Papers were in 1971.

As the internet has evolved, it has become quite clear that it is about more than the exchange of information and opinions. Goods, both tangible and intangible, are now bought and sold. Legally and illegally.

The closest case to what you all are discussing is Arcara v. Cloud Books.

The Supreme Court, with my adds:

“The First Amendment does not bar enforcement of the closure statute against respondents’ bookstore (website). United States v. O’Brien, supra, has no relevance to a statute directed at imposing sanctions on nonexpressive activity (infringement), and the sexual activities (infringement) carried on in this case manifest absolutely no element of protected expression. The closure statute is directed at unlawful conduct having nothing to do with books (non-infringing files) or other expressive activity. Bookselling (legal files) on premises used for prostitution (infringement) does not confer First Amendment coverage to defeat a statute aimed at penalizing and terminating illegal uses of premises.”

An entity can not engage in illegal activity and expect to excuse themselves for such behavior because they also engage in legal activity and free expression.

I suggest you all get familiar with this case.

http://supreme.justia.com/us/478/697/

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 COICA is not Censoring the internet

I don’t know why I bother, but I’ll just note that JPJ carefully misinterprets the Pappert case (gee… wonder why…).

He points out that it was rejected for two reasons, but does not note that the second reason was due to First Amendment violations. He’s right that it’s for blocking legitimate content, but does not seem to recognize (even though we’ve already pointed it out) that this is exactly what we’re concerned about here. The issue is not about blocking infringing content, for which laws already exist, but how COICA does not just target infringing content, but entire sites that have much more than just infringing content.

That’s why Pappert is absolutely relevant, despite JPJ’s confusion about it.

As for the Near case, there are actually quite a lot of parallels to COICA, despite JPJ’s confusion. It involved a state law blocking newspapers deemed “malicious.” Basically the same thing as being deemed “dedicated to infringing,” rather than focusing on the actual infringing content.

As for Acara, I’ve already pointed out why JPJ is (again) wrong. Note that he ignores what’s actually in the quote there, in which the court specifically says Acara only applies to *NON-EXPRESSIVE ACTIVITY*. Yet, in the case of websites — which are recognized as speech — it is, quite clearly expressive activity. JPJs willful ignorance on this is pretty funny if it weren’t so sad.

An entity can not engage in illegal activity and expect to excuse themselves for such behavior because they also engage in legal activity and free expression.

Again, no one has argued otherwise, which is what makes JPJ’s complaining so funny. No one is saying that these sites are not liable for any infringement they actually do (the problem, of course, being that most of them don’t actually do any infringing). The problem is how this law blocks the non-infringing stuff.

In the meantime, funny (and amazingly TELLING) that you refuse to even respond to the offer I made. Apparently JPJ knows his side on this is weak. I’ll ask again, though, just for kicks: will you reveal who you are and admit you were wrong (and, apologize for bogus attacks on me) if the court agrees with me?

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:11 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Mike, why do you want to play kill the messenger? Is it because the flaws in your agenda are now so apparent?

Funny, you pretend to be such an advocate for individual rights, especially on the internet, yet all of the sudden you’re obsessed with who I am…

You know you’re diving headfirst into the trap I’ve set for you, don’t you? Exposing you for the hypocrite that you so genuinely are?

Tsk, tsk, Mike.

Anyway, while I’m sure anyone can see the holes in your lame rebuttal, I’ll just go ahead and point them out for those that need some guidance. 🙂

Regarding Pappert- indeed I purposely pointed out the blocking of sites; it’s fait accompli that there would be a 1st amendment issue there. I respected the intelligence of your readers when I wrote that. Too bad you didn’t.

And with regard to sites “that have much more than just infringing content”, did you not understand what I wrote about Arcara v. Cloud Books?

a state law blocking newspapers deemed “malicious.” Basically the same thing as being deemed “dedicated to infringing,”

hmm, except it’s not the same thing, Mike. First of all, once again, Near v MN was a freedom of the press decision. Music piracy isn’t. : )

Being deemed malicious is an opinion or accusation open to interpretation, for which there are libel laws.
COICA addresses sites which are already clearly illegally infringing. It’s right out there in the open at this very moment. Go look some up. The evidence is conveniently already displayed for us. You already know this. And so does everyone else. You’re not fooling anyone with this approach.

You keep referring to websites as being speech. As I noted, the internet has matured and websites are no longer just speech. Let me know what speech I am supposed to derive from the Bed, Bath and Beyond website.

I’m not quite sure if you’re being pedantic when you try to equate infringement with expression. At this point all I can do is reiterate that infringement isn’t expression. You really should stop trying to link the two. For real. It’s not working.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 COICA is not Censoring the internet

“Being deemed malicious is an opinion or accusation open to interpretation, for which there are libel laws.
COICA addresses sites which are already clearly illegally infringing. It’s right out there in the open at this very moment. Go look some up. The evidence is conveniently already displayed for us. You already know this. And so does everyone else. You’re not fooling anyone with this approach.”

And there you’re wrong… by whose estimation are those sites “clearly illegally infringing”? The main problem that Mike has been pointing out is that this law will allow the ‘powers that be’ to shut down whole websites without the due process of accusation and defense. All a ‘wronged party’ has to do is point the DOJ at the offending website and it’s shut down in its entirety.

To show why this is bad, look at a political site… one that says something the political majority doesn’t like. All they have to do is abuse the COICA (just like many entities do with DMCA) and accuse that site of infringement. It’s removed from the internet. And while this site is jumping through the hoops and cutting the red tape to get their legal and legitimate contact back online, their opponents have successfully (and illegally) silenced them. But since there’s a law in place that allows this process, it’s cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of law.

And here’s another problem… you tried a grocery store selling illegal substances as a parallel to a website who is hosting content. And that analogy is flawed in one major point… a grocery store selling goods is not expression. A website’s legitimate content IS. So by removing a website in whole is blocking the free expression of that legitimate content.

You make a lot of noise to debunk what Mike is trying to say, but you don’t seem to listen to what he’s saying the first place. You take side points and misquotes and ignore the main point just to sound right… as though you being right automatically makes Mike wrong. There’s a logical fallacy for that, but I’m too lazy at the moment to Google it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14 COICA is not Censoring the internet

In the eyes of the law there is no difference between a brick and mortar store and an online web store. I don’t know who misinformed you about that – I’ll assume Masnick, but they were wrong. Sorry.

As per usual JPJ is pretty good at demonstrating ignorance of the law.

The law is actually pretty clear on this subject: if you are a *platform* provider (as many of the sites targeted by COICA are) the situation is *VERY* different than if you were a store proprietor. JPJ is either totally misinformed or just lying. I’m not sure which is worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Read the part of the bill regarding Immunity for those voluntarily cutting off services to bad sites (search for the phrase VOLUNTARY ACTIONS) – and then imagine all the ways that government and media industries could ‘encourage’ providers to volunteer to take down sites they don’t like.

Terry Hart (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 COICA is not Censoring the internet

There is due process *for some* parts of the bill, not for all.

What parts are lacking due process?

Furthermore, even the process you describe above almost certainly violates the First Amendment and the concept of “prior restraint” in that it takes down an entire website, rather than narrowly targeting specifically infringing works.

You may want to look up the meaning of “prior.” A “prior restraint” stops speech before it is made. And copyright infringement is not protected by the First Amendment. This bill is limited to domains where the entire site is dedicated to infringement.

Determination, not trial. I know you know that, but it’s not clear from the way you stated it.

A determination as a result of a trial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Perhaps it would help to beat the drum that an In Rem action is a full-fledged lawsuit that may proceed to a trial on the merits, with the only substantive difference between it and the more conventional lawsuits being the named defendant.

By the tenor of the article and most comments, it seems most here labor under the impression that an In Rem action is more akin to Traffic Court where the word of the police officer is almost universally accepted as the “Gospel Truth”.

It also seems that most here have very little, if any, appreciation of the extent to which judges insist upon exercising independent judgment and authority, as by law they are required to do. It is disheartening to read comment after comment that fundamentally misapprehend the role of the judiciary.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 COICA is not Censoring the internet

The thing is, even if the due process in the law is perfect, there is NO REASON for COICA to exist! Copyright infringement is already illegal. The DMCA already provides means to rapidly take down infringing material (with its own due process problems). Why should the AG have the responsibility of carrying out civil copyright infringement proceedings, when those are more appropriately handled by the copyright holders? Why should taxpayer money be spent to help the “content industries” police their copyrights? What benefit does the public receive in turn?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 COICA is not Censoring the internet

What parts are lacking due process?

In the initial bill there was a plan for a list to put together a “recommended” list.

In the current bill ISPs and other service providers are encouraged to block sites without judicial review.

You may want to look up the meaning of “prior.” A “prior restraint” stops speech before it is made. And copyright infringement is not protected by the First Amendment. This bill is limited to domains where the entire site is dedicated to infringement.

You may want to look up the case law on prior restraint. And this is absolutely a situation of prior restraint. The issue is not the past content, but the future content that is blocked due to the takedown. By your ridiculous argument above, Near v. Minnesota would have gone the other way because it was all about newspapers that were already published, rather than those that weren’t yet published.

Separately, surely you’re aware of the Bantam Books ruling, which found prior restraint in already published works.

And, yes, infringement is not protected by the First Amendment (though, there’s some debate there — you should be fair on that). But we’re not talking about infringement. Don’t play semantic games. The point is that many of these sites do not have infringing content directly on them, but merely links and discussion forums, some of which may be infringing, much of which may not be. That’s the concern. When you are taking down non-infringing speech.

There are existing laws to deal with infringing speech.

A determination as a result of a trial.

Um. No. The content is taken down *PRIOR* to an adversarial trial. You know that. It does not require the owner of the website be informed of the action or give them a meaningful chance to be notified of the hearing.

Terry Hart (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Um. No. The content is taken down *PRIOR* to an adversarial trial. You know that. It does not require the owner of the website be informed of the action or give them a meaningful chance to be notified of the hearing.

Huh? There certainly are notice provisions in the bill: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-3804&version=is&nid=t0:is:29

Adrian Lopez says:

Re: Re: Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

The AG has to serve notice to the person who registered the site and serve notice by publication when it initiates the in rem proceeding. Then, it has to go through court, where anyone with an interest in the domain name can make an appearance. The bill also provides for an administrative appeal procedure.

All this due process and not a single trial.

You’d think before taking down an entire website for copyright infringement the state would first have to prove that the website’s owners are in fact guilty of copyright infringement, but not under COICA. Under COICA, if the US Attorney General thinks it’s infringement and can find the support of a judge, the website is taken down exactly as if it were infringing. Even with the opportunity for an administrative appeal, whatever due process is granted doesn’t make up for the lack of a trial.

Indeed, what you call due process is a joke compared to what it ought to be like. If a website is truly infringing the government should have no problem proving it in court so it can then have the website taken down. Too bad you COICA supporters have your heads stuck so far up your asses that you’re unable to see that.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:2 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Too bad you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.

Are you aware of the duties the AG is charged with?

Do you know what a judge is? Or what due process is?

They could send every instance to the Supreme Court and you would still bitch about it.

It’s hilarious how you people actually think you’re fooling anybody with all this “censorship” BS.

Any Mouse says:

Re: Re: Re:3 COICA is not Censoring the internet

Judge =/= Court. A court requires at least three bodies present, one of which is the adjudicator (Judge). The others, of course, being the Plaintiff and the Defendant. When a motion is taken to a judge, and no one is there to speak on behalf of the defendant, then it isn’t a court.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

“COICA targets websites ?primarily designed? as pirating sites which are ?dedicated to infringing activities,? with ?no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use? besides distributing pirated or counterfeited files.”

Of course, it should be noted that the MPAA argued that the VCR, YouTube and many other similar technologies in the past were “primarily designed” for pirating, “dedicated to infringing activities” and had “no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use besides distributing pirated or counterfeited files.”

The music industry said the same thing about radio and MP3 players.

I think that concept of the law does not hurt free speech, the right to give away one’s intellectual property, or true one on one sharing. – it should just prevent a massive downloading of your art without your permission.

And by that argument there would be no VCRs, photocopiers, radio, MP3 players or DVRs — all of which were declared “pirate tools” by various industries.

read about it here:

The link you sent is to a letter generation engine set up by Universal Music — a company that clearly would stand to benefit from less competition in terms of alternative distribution.

I find it quite telling that the form that Universal set up DOES NOT ALLOW those who use it to edit the message at all.

No doubt the language should be specific to not allow Censorship of anything other than the description I copied above.

But the language is not that specific. It takes down *entire web sites* rather than specific infringing content (for which we already have laws that allow takedowns).

That’s the big problem here. The law targets entire websites, most of which don’t actually have *any* infringing content at all.

John Paul Jones says:

Re: Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

“The law targets entire websites, most of which don’t actually have *any* infringing content at all.”

ah, more disingenuous BS from Mike Masnick.

Sites “dedicated to infringing activities”.

IOW, not just servers with content, but those that exist to skirt the law and direct and enable people to break the law.

And you support that Mike. What an upstanding person you are.

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: COICA is not Censoring the internet

So we already have laws that make certain activities illegal and have processes to deal with them, which already includes the ability to take down or attempt to block a site if ICE’s work is any indication. What we really need to deal with these threats though is more laws for an already illegal activity that allows arbitrary determination of infringing activities that’s even more open to abuse and where similar laws have already been struck down as unconstitutional in the past.

That’s what you’re saying?

Kyle Simpson (user link) says:

shame

How long until the government tries to use the law to take down anti-TSA sites. Think I’m crazy? What about saying the sites are illegally linking to images of TSA equipment and staff? Not as far fetched as you might thing.

We need to stop censorship like this bill as it’s anti-American. We also need to stop TSAbuse as it’s also anti-American. The government is really batting 1000 these days. 🙁

JefPrice (user link) says:

Liberals at work.

These guys have been pushing for more Government control for a long time, with the internet being so cast and powerful it was only a matter of time before policing the internet became censoring it. I’m not surprised that ever name I recognized is that of a hard lined left winger.

Does it really surprise ANYONE that guys like Spector and Franklin who think that we’re to dumb to even take care of ourselves, think that we need to have a babysitter for our internet ramblings as well? These are the guys who think that we need to all let them tell us what to do, how to live, and what is right for us, because we can’t decide for ourselves. Not to mention that this gives them more power over the information at hand.

DF says:

Re: How come party affiliation

Here ya go & divided up by party affiliation

?Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont (D)
?Herb Kohl — Wisconsin (D)
?Dianne Feinstein — California (D)
?Russ Feingold — Wisconsin (D)
?Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania (D)
?Chuck Schumer — New York (D)
?Dick Durbin — Illinois (D)
?Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland (D)
?Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island (D)
?Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota (D)
?Al Franken — Minnesota (D)
?Chris Coons — Delaware (D)

?Tom Coburn — Oklahoma (R)
?John Cornyn — Texas (R)
?Lindsey Graham — South Carolina (R)
?Jon Kyl — Arizona (R)
?Chuck Grassley — Iowa (R)
?Orrin G. Hatch — Utah (R)
?Jeff Sessions — Alabama (R)

J. Gray (profile) says:

As I wrote to Sherod and Voinovich with the government taking away so many rights that were given to us by the constitution we are quickly becoming a modified dictatorship. The very type of governments our government condems because of how they rule their citizens. Didn’t our government just raise major issues with China because of their censorship of the internet?

It’s not the artists who have an issue with these sites, it’s the industry that labels them. It’s easy to go online and find artists who are balking at the greedy recording industry because they readily make their music available to download. Even they are rebelling against the greedy music executives.

RT Cunningham (profile) says:

How about a huge belly laugh?

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid the leftists hanging out around here are, or in the world for that matter. Every retarded bill that’s passed in the US filters out to the developing countries (like where I live) because of the strings attached to things like “financial aid”.

As your constitutional rights get voted out of existence, don’t say you weren’t warned by sites like this. I do not care what you think about infringement cases against the moneychangers and the gatekeepers. The only infringement I care about are the infringements against the Bill of Rights. And who is protecting them? It certainly isn’t the US government at this point.

Boris says:

sickening

reading the comments here… when will you stand up and say you’ve had enough of the current washington game?? as long as you guys joke about politics instead of actually doing something or saying something to change it instead of accepting and joking about it, it will never change. Dems AND Repubs got us in the mess we’re in… by extension, if you supported them, you did too.

Glen Bradley (profile) says:

All the ususal suspects

No surprise here, really. If you have been following these guys over the last 5 years or so, these are about the top 19 anti-liberty members of the Senate as demonstrated by their history and voting records. Frankly not one single name on this list is a surprise to me. Hopefully everyone on this list gets sent home in their next election.

Ceric Lasentri (profile) says:

Internet Censor Bill.

Let me explain the game of chess. This way you will understand the out come of this bill. IN the game of chess, in the order to beat your opponent you have to be able to think 5 – 7 moves ahead. With several contingency plans. So with that being said, and the idea of the new internet censorship bill “which could be passed” which will fail in the eyes of the supreme court. This will be a key to the door that will open up a slough loop holes for the government to abuse. First comes the restriction of information flow, thus properly relaying concerns and topics between one another and than the restriction and banning of information or software that is crucial to our society. Thus restricting us from being active voters, contributors, open source developers and the list goes on endlessly. So when I make a profound statement that the greedy corporate money dogs slipping the green back to our spongepocket senators to push their ideas of market on can kiss my ass. I literally mean, good luck trying to pass this bill. Because it is a clear cut violation of the 1st amendment. Guess what, Violating that will only end up with you (Mr Greedy Spongepocket Corporate Rubberneck) holding the slit moneybag. (I admit this is pretty general and doesnt target anyone, other than referring to the many companies out there who are out to protect every penny they can, even though they will lose more in the end. But what can one do, with out having an actual senator in front of you to punch in the nose for being an idiot)

BeachN says:

Morals

Could this be in any way shape of form an attempt to try to relocate MORALS in this Country again?? We are living in the pits of hell where sex has become a sport of sorts …. I can do without having photos of bestiality and whatever floating around the net…There are some boundaries in life that one should possess in order to have character and be considered a level above animalistic behavior..What is acceptable in society these days is unreal…and I am no old prude…

Benjamin Burkhardt (user link) says:

Really! It's really our leaders working together on something for a change...

A bipartisan bunch of Freedom Stompers!

Isn’t it sad that the only thing we can get out of two parties is Statism?
VOTE LIBERTARIAN IN 2012.

And if you’re a registered Republican, vote for Gary Johnson in the primary, them vote for the libertarian nominee if he doesn’t win.

Anonymous Coward says:

STUPID STUPID the republicans keep saying less government control but what is this more government control. I think it is time to fire everyone in congress and start over with people that actually understand what being poor or what it is like to have the government run our very lives. Today I announce my candidacy for President of the United States even if I can’t spell everything just right

Anonymous Coward says:

What a terribly written article. Shame on you for publishing it. I’m against COICA, too, but this article does nothing to explain what it is or why it was proposed. Simply listing the names of Congresspersons who voted for it without context is nothing but rabble-rousing. Such poorly written articles give conservatives the ammunition they need to completely denigrate The Huff Post. Mr. Masnik has done a better job of making The Huff Post look bad than closed-minded conservatives do.

clarkster says:

IT IS TIME TO HUNT AND CUT HEADS OFF FRENCH STYLE

How much more outrage do the ignorant Americans take from the corrupt legislators, senate , Banksters, greedy elite circle of rich, I SAY DECLARE WAR AND CHOP THE FRICKEN HEADS OFF THESE DIRT BAGS , THEY ARE NOT ELECTED OFFICALS , WHO REPRESENT ANY VALUES , WHAT SO EVER, MAY THEY ALL ROT FROM A PLAGUE !

clarkster says:

IS THIS WHOLE WORLD THIS STUPID,IGNORANT , UN EDUCATED

How much more is the out of work sector, the under employed, Americans, going to take:

1 illegals have a voice to and is destroying our rights ,not their rights, they are criminals working for legislators etc.

2 Regulations have stopped any and all business of manufacturing in Most states, hmmmm , HINT FUK ED UP CALIFORMEXICO, LAND OF FREE LOADERS OF TAX PAYER MONEY

3 Rigged voting on candidates who can never loose their stinking seats for the wills of them, not FOR our benifts !

4 Does anyone remember the BILL OF RIGHTS , CONSTITUTION, IF NOT READ THE DAMN THING AMERICANS !

5 YOU know it is time for declaring war on government , the question is not why but when they take your rights away to protect against the SCUM SOMEONE , NOT ME , ELECTED !

6 If the FREELOADERS KEEP THINKING ALL IS WELL, give me freebee’s THINK AGAIN !

7 LAST RANT FROM ME ! WENT TO COLLEGE: DIPLOMACY :

DEFINITON : DIPLOMACY, to work out in a compromise , give on both sides, come to mutual agreement, both sides agree and balance issues, NOT LET DUMB AZZ GOVERNMENT , GREEDY , IGNORANT , OLD BASTARDS DEAL WITH CORPORATIONS TO MAKE MONEY ELSEWHERE AND KEEP ALL THE PROFITS, EXEMPTING TAXES OWED, TAKE OUR JOBS OVERSEA’S DUE TO EPA, AQMD, REGULATION , THE GOVERNMENT CREATED !

WAKE UP AMERICA, WAR IS COMING , I JUST HOPE TO HELL YOU KNOW WHO IS THE CORRUPT PROBLEMS, HELP EACH OTHER , THROUGHT CHURCH , GODLY NEIGHBOR FRIENDSHIP, WHATEVER, BUT WHEN THE DAY COMES , DON’T WAIT , GET THE ADDRESSES OF ELECTED OFFICIALS WHILE YOU CAN , AND EXTERMINATE THEM ALL !

DON’T WAIT, TEACHERS ARE TOO CORRUPT, GOV. TELLS THESE EDUCATED BABOONS WHAT TO TEACH YOU , IGNORANCE IS ONE OF THEIR HIGHLIGHTED PROGRAMS

GOD HELP US ALL, CAUSE THE RATS IN CONGRESS SUCK TO HIGH HELL

just lil old me. says:

It just looks like another part of their New World Order plan to me..they control all the media to brainwash everybody with lies because they want us to be slaves to them.
Your amendments and constitution are falling apart and will cease to exsist when they join your country to Canada and Mexico and take down your borders,no more dollar either,they have a new currency planned the almero.Soon the armed forces will be knocking on your door to collect your firearms, when you hand in your guns its game over. Illuminate win.

Andy says:

This is only a committee vote

This isn’t exactly what it appears to be. Any vote out of a committee is just a vote that it should be sent to the entire Senate for debate. This is something that probably should be debated because I would like to hear why those that are for this bill are for it. Maybe I’m being short sighted but any bill that goes to the Senate should be thoroughly debated by the Senate. The Senators should go on record as what their positions are, and why they hold those positions.

clarkster says:

Re:

ARM YOURSELF LADY : You wait and yes the game is over, you read up on HITLER, Osama obama , pelosi, reid , bacus, they are the grim reapers of NATZI ISM ALL OVER AGAIN !

LIVE IN FEAR OR ARM AND FIGHT BACK WHEN THE TIME COMES!

YOU THINK I AM KIDDING , GUNS AND AMMO IS YOUR ONLY DEFENSE, DIPLOMACY IS A JOKE , A WORD ,

ANARCHY IS UNFORTUNATE, IT WILL COME AND HELL IS GONNA RUN IN THE STREETS, EUROPE HAS JUST STARTED !

WAIT TILL YOU SEE THE TAX AGENDA THEY ARE GONNA SMACK ALL US WITH, VAT , CALL IT CONSUPTION TAX, WHATEVER, WE HAVE A UNSUSTAINABLE SYSTEM AND THE VIRUS IS BIG GOVERNMENT !

YOU VOTED FOR CHANGE, SUCK IT UP AND EAT THE SHIT YOU ASKED FOR !

REMEMBER: WHO THE LITTLE HITLER’S ARE NOW !

THEY LIVE HERE IN AMERICA NOW AND UNTIL EXTERMINATED , COCKROACHES IN WASHINGTON !

clarkster says:

It's about piracy, not censoring the internet u dolts

U R THE SHEEP U DUMB ASS !

U VOTED FOR CHANGE, GO COMMUNISM, HITLER’S REICH , YOU BABLING FUK N FOOL, FREE SPEECH MEANS FREE SPEECH, YOU GIVE IN YOU TOO MUST ME A VIRUS NEEDING ERADICATED !

WHAT COLLEGE DID YOU GO TO MIT, YALE , HARVARD, YEA YOU FUKED UP OUR SYSTEM AND HERE IS YOUR GO PAST GO, AND GET YOUR STAY OUT OF JAIL CARD, YOU MUST BE PART OF THE BIG PROBLEM ! WHAT A STUPID, ILLITERATE DICK HED YOU ARE!

SENSOR, MEANS YOU CAN’T GET INFORMATION , AND THAT IS WHAT OUR FOR FATHERS FOUGHT FOR , DUH DUMB ASS READ HISTORY AND HOW GOVERNMENT TAXED AND LAWED US TOO DEATH!

SENSOR, SENSOR YOUR IGNORANT SORRY ASS FOOL!

SE

FREE CARD

Sue Merriner says:

Internet Censoring

The politicians who voted for this don’t care what the first amendment says. They are the liberal crowd that wants to destroy America and everything it is suppose to stand for. All they want to do is make it into some unbearable socialistic type society. They believe they have something to gain by it when they’re really nothing more than useful idiots. Once “We the People” are out of the way these useful idiots will also be killed.

gary mcclendon says:

Censor

Aren’t these the people that HID the illegal wiretapping program and ILLEGAL torture programs from Americans? They have proven they aren’t the least bit prudish or squeamish. Keep it UNCENSORED. Its the only FREE SPEECH FORUM LEFT. The media turned into a PAY TO PLAY Industry where you simply BUY YOUR TRUTH. We had a potus get a blowjob in the WH, we had a potus walk on insider trading, war crimes, outing an undercover CIA agent and walk away scott free. We don’t need anything to be censored anymore. Let each person censor himself. STAY OUT OF MY BEDROOM/HOUSE NANNY.

Anonymous Coward says:

COICA is not Censoring the internet

Thing is, this process is a lawsuit between a plaintiff and a defendant that like any other lawsuit can proceed to trial if there are issues of fact that cannot be resolved otherwise.

Hate to break the news, but most lawsuits never make it to trial. They are either settled beforehand, or they are decided during the pre-trial phase, based upon either the pleadings or what turns up during discovery. This is why we have things like “judgment on the pleadings” and “summary judgment”.

Anonymous Coward says:

COICA is not Censoring the internet

Thing is, this process is a lawsuit between a plaintiff and a defendant that like any other lawsuit can proceed to trial if there are issues of fact that cannot be resolved otherwise.

Hate to break the news, but most lawsuits never make it to trial. They are either settled beforehand, or they are decided during the pre-trial phase, based upon either the pleadings or what turns up during discovery. This is why we have things like “judgment on the pleadings” and “summary judgment”.

Ernest Partridge (user link) says:

Cesnorship

Something here just doesn’t make sense.

That list contains an honor roll of liberal senators: Leahy, Feingold, Franken, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar.

So what was their objection? Not a word here of explanation.

Was this “censorship” a restriction of depictions of explicit sex to young children? Or child porn? Or “snuff films”?

I’d vote for that. Who wouldn’t?

Maybe the alleged “censorhip” was bundled in legislation with a bunch of essential items.

Again, no explanation in this clip.

Unlike most respondents to this note, I choose to withhold judgment until I get more information.

gadfly

Kevi says:

Vote to report

This is completely irresponsible journalism. This vote wasn’t *for* or *against* the bill; it was to report the bill to the full Senate, where everyone knew it would be defeated. Pretending that this means that the bill had the full support of someone like Al Franken is ridiculous. You may as well say “he voted for it, before he voted against it.” It’s a distortion of a procedural process that apparently no one here understands or has taken the thirty seconds it would require to investigate.

nasch says:

Vote to report

Did they vote to kill the bill, or did they vote to send it to the Senate? If they think it’s a horrible idea, they should kill it as soon as possible and not waste the Senate’s time. If they think it’s a horrible idea and vote for it anyway, they’re corrupt*. If they think it’s a great idea, they could be any number of things, from stupid to power-hungry. But above all, they’re wrong.

* I don’t care if it “happens all the time” or is “the way things are done”, it’s still corrupt.

kk10 says:

?

The vote was in the Senate Judiciary Committee at its weekly executive meeting on Thursday. The bill was voted unanimously out of committee, but it will not go anywhere since the 111th Congress is coming to a close. To consider it in the next Congress, it will have to be reintroduced and will have to go through the Judiciary Committee again and then be considered by the full Senate. I doubt that will ever happen.

nasch says:

Cesnorship

Here is the text, see for yourself.

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2010/09/CombatingOnlineInfringementAndCounterfeitsAct1.pdf

It’s not about child porn (amazingly), showing porn to children, snuff films, or puppies. It’s a standalone bill that isn’t included with a bunch of other stuff like fixing bridges or sending body armor to Afghanistan.

E says:

Wow, hyperbole much?

All of you do realize this is an anti-piracy messure right?

What it is designed to prevent is people who host relays or otherwise sell access to paid for content. Had any of you actually read the CNN article or even bothered to read the Bill you would have seen this

“`(i) goods or services in violation of title 17, United States Code, or enable or facilitate a violation of title 17, United States Code, including by offering or providing access to, without the authorization of the copyright owner or otherwise by operation of law, copies of, or public performance or display of, works protected by title 17, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, transmission, or otherwise, including the provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining such copies for accessing such performance or displays; or

`(ii) to sell or distribute goods, services, or materials bearing a counterfeit mark, as that term is defined in section 34(d) of the Act entitled `An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes’, approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the `Trademark Act of 1946′ or the `Lanham Act’; 15 U.S.C. 1116(d)); and”

Congradulations you got taken in by a “ground zero mosque” scam to have you object to something that had you actually learned the truth about it, you would be ok with.

nasch says:

Wow, hyperbole much?

I read the bill, and I still think it’s a terrible unecessary idea that will probably fail a 1st Amendment challenge if it passes. What is the purpose of this bill when laws like the DMCA already protect copyrighted works and provide sanctions and takedown procedures? Seriously, can anyone answer that? All I can think of is, “the DMCA provides too much due process and not enough arbitrary power to copyright holders.” And that is pretty scary, because the DMCA already goes too far IMO.

nasch says:

Pay attention to real story

I read the bill, and I still think it’s a terrible unecessary idea that will probably fail a 1st Amendment challenge if it passes. What is the purpose of this bill when laws like the DMCA already protect copyrighted works and provide sanctions and takedown procedures? Seriously, can anyone answer that? All I can think of is, “the DMCA provides too much due process and not enough arbitrary power to copyright holders.” And that is pretty scary, because the DMCA already goes too far IMO.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let's look at what this vote was about, before condemning it!

“Those seeking to thwart this bipartisan bill are protecting online thieves and those who gain pleasure and profit from de-valuing American property,” Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman, said after today’s vote. “We congratulate Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch for their leadership on this bill and to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its action today.”

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023238-38.html#ixzz15sV4Ra00

susan Hall (user link) says:

Freedom to dissent or Freedom to do what we are told?

We need to stop thinking of the US as a free country since we went to war in Iraq because our leader & his HIT men lied to us and made millions afraid of not being “patriotic” enough, like the Dixie Chicks.

Now when they say they have picked up bad guys that deserve to be tortured the UK may need to go to war to get them back. This time they were complicit and as of this week they were considering paying millions of dollars for their part in the UK citizens who were kidnaped by US to secret prisons & Guantanamo then tortured. Though the UK had to made a deal to get them home and even though their Foreign Secretary Hague has BEGGED Hilary Clinton yesterday for the last UK father, SHAKER AAMER, TO BE RETURNED FROM Guantanamo after being kept in solitaire for a year & incarcerated at Guantanamo for now almost 10 yrs. without a sgl charge & in-fact he has been confirmed along with his friend who has already been returned to the UK as innocent, which may be part of the reason the US wants to block the internet.

We need the internet to know who is being targeted just like during the American Revolution, because the 14 secret service agencies & the 185,000 secret servicemen, the pentagon, and the Blackwater or Xe & other Hit gang organizations now work for the Pres. & over half(more than 250) of the legislators who are now millionaires connected to corporations.

Most of us need to fire (if possible impeach the legislators. In Colo. I would love to see the Green Candidate Bob Kinsey and a peace activist Carolyn Bninski be our Senators.

Liberalinsc1 says:

READ the BILL!

I love it when an inflamiroty Headlines has Yaa Hoos jumping through their asses!

From the link in the article :

In the last week, support for the bill known as COICA, for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, broadened beyond groups traditionally active in online copyright disputes to include the Newspaper Association of America, which said the legislation was needed because online piracy “undermines the investments that newspapers make in journalism.” Labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, argued that American workers “have suffered significant harm due to theft of copyrighted and trademarked goods.”

An ad appeared in a newspaper targeting Capitol Hill yesterday signed by groups including Major League Baseball, the NFL, Nintendo, and Viacom. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pressed Congress to move quickly, and even Rob McKenna, Washington state attorney general, signed on to the effort.”

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023238-38.html#ixzz15tDJwRYk

BrianR says:

I was not aware that the 1st Amendment gave us the right to steal peoples property and give it to others by distributing it on their websites!

So, if I were to go steal people’s cars and built a website to market and sell those cars you are saying that the Gov would be censoring the internet by going after those who own the website?

I don’t really see how the text in the law shown below is in any way a violation of the 1st Amendment.

any domain name “dedicated to infringing activities” could find itself in the U.S. Department of Justice’s prosecutorial crosshairs

I haven’t read the rest of the law but this doesn’t equal censorship!

evesin0207 (profile) says:

censorship of internet

I don’t know why people are so surprised — they were warned and yet they voted these same idiots back into office, didn’t they? What did they expect from these lefties, an about face….get real. They are dedicated to taking away ALL our rights and these fools who vote for them should be sent to Siberia.

I expected nothing less from Chuck Schumer. He is a two-faced politician and unfortunatelyI live in New York State. This state is, and has always been for as long as I can remember, a heavily left liberal state. Once in a blue moon we get to put a Republican Governor in office and he turns out as bad as the Dem.

We in Western New York financially support Metropolitan New York and all her surroundings. They heavily tax us and Buffalo is slowly becoming a “GHOST TOWN”.

AOL has already been censoring us in their comments and mine rarely get through. They did censor one of my e-mails sending me a notice that it was too controversial to allow. It was about OBAMA. My friends will attest to this since I sent them each a copy of the e-mail warning me to be more careful in the future what I send.

So these politicians are an excuse for what they are already doing on the internet….watching everything we do and eventually you will get a notice like I did and if you continue to p*ss them off, they will take away your e-mail privileges.

WriterRighter (profile) says:

Crappy "journalism"

OK, this piece was written without knowing ANY of the facts, and look how riled up it got you all. The writer should be most ashamed, but the rest of you who said things like “wow, I’m sorry I voted for _______” should also feel pretty stupid right now. Here’s the REAL story:
http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=45b5a544-0f49-46d8-9782-ab7a3fe43a1f

nasch says:

censorship of internet

They are dedicated to taking away ALL our rights and these fools who vote for them should be sent to Siberia.

The irony is strong with this one. Or is it cognitive dissonance?

Once in a blue moon we get to put a Republican Governor in office and he turns out as bad as the Dem.

And yet… you still believe the Democrats are worse. Yeah, cognitive dissonance. Or troll maybe.

AOL has already been censoring us in their comments and mine rarely get through. They did censor one of my e-mails sending me a notice that it was too controversial to allow.

This is very hard to believe, but if this actually happened, why in the name of all that’s holy are you still using AOL?? You choose to use a service provider that you know will censor you, rather than finding a different one? Do you just need something to complain about, or what?

Marsha Scribner says:

Internet Censorship

First of all where in this Bill does the word “censor or censordhip” come up? Insinuating that this Bill infringes on the First Amendement is your personal interpretation of what this Bill is not attempting to do! Doesn’t pornographic websites, pedophiles accessing your teenage children’s blog sites or Al Queda have any of your concerns? Our Bill of Rights implys our right to freedom from harrassment and predation ie: accessive debauchary & life threatening behaviors that come from some of the worst intentioned internet users & websites. You have mistaken this Bill as some fantasy Orwellian theft of our grand American rights to have what ever, when ever, & always at your whim. Well guess what? The faucet isn’t always in the on position nor should it be as long as there are people out there who will take advantage of these open uncontrolled sites. Maybe you should read the newpaper more often as it can explain what is going on in the nation & the world better than I can.

Mike Lazarus (profile) says:

So nutty...

While, when being the Devil’s Advocate, I can see a viable thought behind this … that is, while there is legislation that allows action against illegal material, the proponents of this legislation are attempting to take early action and prevent such material getting posted.

This is a nice theory, but to think it can be implemented in this way is simply retarded.

1. Blacklisting of words prevents the legitimate study of content including those terms
2. Removing the DNS entry only removes the domain name. The servers are still available if you know the IP address
3. Removing the DNS entries implies that the US owns the internet … so much for the global internet
4. The technology isn’t there to do it in a way that can’t be bypassed easily.

Dooley P. says:

congrats

China sucked eighteen minutes of internet traffic and the USA responds by passing legislation against 4Chan.
Seriously though… how did this manage to happen?

Why is it that there are so many sites like TechDirt, but do ANY of you companies actually do anything?
No, you twitter and prattle like it matters, publishing articles, taking comments, trafficking information, and selling ads.
Never once did I hear of a TechDirt or Gizmodo lobbyist, or writer acting as lobbyist.
Never once did I hear of a voice making a stand against the senate.
But hey, I’m sure Jay-Z is just as important as anything, right?

Disgusting.