Chinese Crackdown On Porn Websites Sounds Like US Crackdown On Allegedly 'Infringing' Websites

from the it's-all-censorship-in-the-end dept

There have been some recent reports on how China has apparently begun a massive crackdown on porn websites, shutting down tens of thousands of websites. And, while the scale is obviously significantly larger, what struck me about the reports on this crackdown is just how similar the reasoning coming from Chinese officials sounds to the reasoning from US officials concerning domain names seized by Homeland Security having to do (allegedly) with copyright and trademark infringement. Apparently, the explanation from Chinese officials was along the following lines:
"Our campaign has been a great success and this has not been achieved easily... We have made the Internet environment much cleaner than before as there was a lot of pornography available. As long as there are people with bad motives who want to spread violent or pornographic information, we will have to continue our campaign to resolutely crack down on the spread of such information."
Now, compare that to some statements by Homeland Security's director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton soon after ICE seized its first batch of domain names in June:
Simply put, American business is under assault from those who pirate copyrighted material and produce counterfeit trademarked goods.... American innovation is being diluted and the public health and safety of Americans is at risk.... The Administration is responding to this organized criminal activity through a first-of-its-kind aggressive, coordinated, and strategic offensive...
In early December, we pointed to law professor Derek Bambauer's explanation of how these domain seizures really seemed quite similar to the censorship in other countries, and the similarities in explanations by China and the US simply serves to highlight this point. The US censors domains it believes are involved in copyright and trademark infringement, because it believes those sites are "bad" and put the US in danger. Similarly, China censors pornographic websites, because it believes that those sites are "bad" and put its citizens in danger. Perhaps those reasons are defensible, but for US politicians to then claim that the US is against censorship is obviously false. It's perfectly happy to censor when it comes to content it doesn't like.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re:

    You know that wasn't the intent. It's an attempt to make the US look as bad as a country that TD considers the worst, those damn commies and their all controlling nature.

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