EU Parliament Warns The US To Stop Censoring The Internet

from the don't-censor-the-internet dept

What a world we live in… when foreign countries are speaking out publicly against American censorship. For a country whose identity has been built around its strong support of the First Amendment and free speech rights, to reach the level where others are condemning our own failings on free speech is really sad. The EU Parliament has adopted, “by a large majority,” a statement warning the US to refrain “from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names” due to the “need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communications.” This resolution highlights both the practices prescribed in SOPA/PIPA… but also the actions of Homeland Security and ICE in seizing domain names. At what point is the federal government going to realize that these practices are completely undermining any claim the US has to a moral high ground against internet censorship elsewhere?

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Comments on “EU Parliament Warns The US To Stop Censoring The Internet”

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69 Comments
Nick says:

Re: 'Moral High Ground'

What are you talking about ‘moral high-ground’? Who cares. So long as nations are watching each others actions carefully, to preserve the freedoms of the internet and more. It’s not about having a moral high ground at all. Defending America in their disgusting act of censorship isn’t going to do any good, and the same goes for the UK etc. WHEN the time comes to warn them too.

Anonymous Coward says:

The EU is famous for creating such strict privacy policies that it is almost impossible to operate a website within their rules.

The UK, Denmark, Germany, and many others actively pursue blocking of websites.

Many EU countries are safe havens for pirate sites, and permit many things which are not legally acceptable in the US.

I don’t think they have a lot of high ground to stand on.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re:

The EU is famous for creating such strict privacy policies that it is almost impossible to operate a website within their rules.

Many EU countries are safe havens for pirate sites, and permit many things which are not legally acceptable in the US.

Ummm…which is it? If it’s damn near impossible to run a website in the EU, than how are there so many of these so called pirate sites?

The UK, Denmark, Germany, and many others actively pursue blocking of websites.

Basically your saying that since three other countries that do not hold the Constitution as the highest law in the land do it, so we should too. Sad.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re:

The largest problem with the EU is the fact that it is about as cohesive as the original 13 colonies under the Articles of Confederation. This can lead to some dissonance between the “federal” and “sovereign states” level where the individual states have too much power and render any federal control illusory at best.

So what you tend to get is idealism in Brussels and pragmatism in Berlin, Paris, etc. It is more often the case that pragmatism wins out and the edicts from Brussels get a “that’s nice, thanks for your opinion son” pat on the head while they go on about governing their territories.

Anonymous Coward says:

SOPA is going to make sites do what they should have been doing all along – police themselves. There should have been ways for users to report illegal content all along – something akin to your “report” button should exist on every site that allows user comments or user content submissions.

Just as the community can police the contents of Wikipedia, I have no doubt that the community of users can police other sites. Remove the pirated content or be shut down.

out_of_the_blue says:

The EU is a bunch of fascists too, though.

NO gov’t is EVER any good except when kept firmly caged — and that mainly means limiting The Rich too, who are always in control of gov’ts. Now and then the People revolt and pull down The Rich; those are the ONLY periods in human history that are ever free. But people never learn, so we’re doomed to these cycles of letting The Rich do as they please until they begin to destroy the system itself. In the interim, The Rich foment wars — how many is the US in right now? — and in the patriotic fervor, complete their control over the People with an internal army. — Anyone with sense saw this coming by September 12, 2001. So why are you people surprised? An empire that literally steals countries isn’t going to allow you free speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Gwiz, it is difficult to run a website within their rules, but not impossible to run a website.

Not sure if I mis-phrased it, but sorry if that is all you took from my post.

“Basically your saying that since three other countries that do not hold the Constitution as the highest law in the land do it, so we should too. Sad.”

Actually, I think they all hold their respective constitutions highly – I also think they understand that the internet presents new challenges, and creates difficult legal situations, where people can get away with things online that the law does not allow in the real world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

i still dont get why other people should police the “property” of other people , i mean i i want to really police my house i go and with my own money contract an alarm system, with a car i go to any place where again with may own money intall the alarm so why the artist or should i say the content owner want every other person to pay for what they should be doing

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

WHOA NOW… “your content industry” ?

Last I checked, these content industries you speak of are multi-national. People in the U.K. are buying their goods and supporting them just the same.

Don’t pretend that just because Hollywood exists in the United States that the companies going after consumers are also solely based in the U.S.

This is a worldwide problem – not something you can solely blame on the U.S…. Now granted, the U.S. government has certainly catered to lobbyists and is being used as a lever to manipulate the governments of other nations – I’ll grant you that, but the governments in these other nations are still accountable to their constituents to produce proper laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Now granted, the U.S. government has certainly catered to lobbyists and is being used as a lever to manipulate the governments of other nations – I’ll grant you that”

They’ve gone as far as actually blackmailing other countries into passing legislation that suits American industries.
Oh, and before you ask for a citation, check Wikileaks.

Thomas Jefferson says:

liberty

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

SOPA does more than let the internet police itself, it grants Federal agencies and even private business the ability to censor sites at their whim. It won’t even stop pirated content because it simply removes the DNS record for the site, this is easy to circumvent for anyone who still wants to pirate. Your logic is flawed, this will simply make it harder for small sites to get off the ground by making so much red tape to cut through, it essentially does to the internet what corporate monopolies over broadband infrastructure have done to small time ISP’s. Granting more power to the Feds is never really the answer…

pelouze (profile) says:

Dealing with websites that primarily exist to profit from others creations isn’t censorship (which is SOPA’s aim).

If a real world business openly traded in stolen goods on the high street, you’d want it shut down. Even moreso if some of the goods they sold for profit were yours. You’d be effing livid if it were continuously ignored or giant loopholes allowed them to continue while you lost money.

Piracy of digital goods is no different, regardless of the weak arguments of pirates.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re:

Repeat after me:
Copyright infringement is not theft.

One is a civil matter, the other is a criminal matter.

Don’t conflate the two.

And there are no sites that solely exist to profit from other’s creations. (nope, not even the Pirate Bay, as there is also loads of stuff on there, that’s legal, such as albums uploaded by bands themselves, and Linux torrents, and archive.org files)

Besides, as long as a website offers the general public to upload their own works, chances are illegally acquired copyrighted material could show up there. Youtube could be taken off the net with SOPA, that’s a clear violation of freedom of speech, as a lot of people use the Youtube platform to showcase their own works. To vent their own opinions.

Also, how do you distinguish the illegally uploaded copyrighted material from the legally uploaded copyrighted material? Anyone can call themselves “Universal_Music”, who is to say that they are the real one?

These are all issues and hooks hanging on this badly written law, that have severe real world implications and problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Nope, illegal speech (such as operating a pirate site) isn’t protected by the first amendment in the US, and therefore cannot be “censored” – it’s illegal and not protected.

Further, the courts have already ruled that some protected speech may be harmed when illegal speech is dealt with,and that is disappointing but acceptable. The courts did not want protected speech to be used as a “human shield” for illegal activities.

So no, it’s not censorship, not matter how many times Mike repeats it.

Wig says:

Re:

No that’s not the issue. The issue is that SOPA opens the floodgates for censorship. And the domain seizures by ICE and Homeland Security are censorship.

If you allow anyone, private party or federal agency, to block and put out of business an entire site without any adversary hearing (or, for that matter, any procedure in court) solely on the basis of an accusation, you have de facto created a way to censor anything on the internet.

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