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.

Filed Under: censorship, domain names, ip czar, ipec, seizures, victoria espinel

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  1. icon
    WaitingRoom (profile), 7 Dec 2010 @ 5:25pm

    You remind me of that kiddie story "Chicken Little." She was running around clucking and squawking "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Turns out it was a freakin' acorn.

    This ain't about censorship. There ARE a bunch of scum site out there that STEAL and make money off it. They should be shut down.

    Censorship is a bad thing BUT this ain't it. This ain't about Wikileaks it's about scum websites. These dudes don't give a crap about anything but making a buck. They are not worth defending even for a second.

    Wikileaks, on the other hand likely is worth defending.
    You are just muddying the waters with your non-stop panic over legit anti-piracy enforcement.

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