US Copyright Czar: Expect More Domain Censorship

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

The US "IP Czar," Victoria Espinel, said at a conference this week that Homeland Security's seizure of a bunch of domain names was apparently just the beginning of a larger plan to go after such folks. Espinel has been making the rounds over the past few months, working to get various companies to voluntarily start censoring websites in this manner, even without the COICA bill being in place. This isn't really a surprise. Espinel has stated in the past that her job is to focus on the enforcement side of copyright law, so it's no surprise she's supportive of such seizures.

What's scary, though, is the fact that she doesn't seem willing to recognize how these seizures appear to go way past "enforcing" copyright law, and move into blatant censorship. In her comments, she noted that "We are going after the piraters and counterfeiters," but she seems to ignore that caught in that net are perfectly legitimate search engines and (more seriously) blogs with plenty of non-infringing content. If that's not the definition of prior restraint and blatant government censorship, I don't know what is.

What's sad is that Espinel has appeared in the past as someone who actually recognized these issues -- and while she's under a lot of pressure from the entertainment industry lobbyists who apparently get to write her performance reports -- if these sorts of activities keep up, she's going to go down as the US's chief censor. What a shame.

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  1. icon
    inc (profile), 6 Dec 2010 @ 10:25pm

    What the government fails to realize is that without giving people their due process and just taking domain names; it undermines the confidence in the entire Domain Name System. RFC 2826 http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2826 explains this. No one has to use our current root name servers. There have been more then few alternatives, but all users agree to use the same system to ensure we all get to the same web pages.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_DNS_root

    The bottom line is these seizures do nothing to prevent those that want pirate in doing so. It will just be driving more underground as they will just use "alt roots", VPNs, and become fully encrypted.

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