Senator Leahy Ignores Serious First Amendment Concerns With COICA

from the let's-define-this-more-clearly dept

As expected, Senator Patrick Leahy, who continues to be Hollywood's favorite Senator, has made it clear that he's going to reintroduce the COICA censorship bill, and he appears to be completely ignoring the very real First Amendment concerns that people have been raising by saying:
"There's no First Amendment right that protects thieves. It protects speech."
Seeing as he's a Senator, it would help if he were familiar with the law. As such, he would know that (1) copyright infringement is not "theft," and (2) yes, the First Amendment protects all kinds of speech, even speech made by criminals and (3) the Free Speech issues that many of us are concerned with are the takedowns of legitimate non-infringing content, which we've seen happen repeatedly by Homeland Security -- which is the type of program Leahy is looking to expand with COICA.

It's immensely frustrating that someone like Senator Leahy would flat-out mislead over these very serious concerns. Though, of course, I have some ideas why. Perhaps the fact that Time Warner and Walt Disney are the two largest contributors to his campaign, and Vivendi (owners of Universal Music), General Electric (until recently owners of Universal Studios) and Viacom are not far behind has something to do with it...

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  1. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), 5 Apr 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Actually Nigel...P.Y.H.O.O.Y.A...

    Let's take the legal definitions (courtesy of Law.com)of both because neither mentions the other so I will just add you to the group of those who really just talk out of their ass because that's where their head rests. Theft involves TAKING something and infringement involves USING something, there is quite a bit of difference which I doubt you can see from in there.

    theft
    n. the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale). In many states, if the value of the property taken is low (for example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft," but it is "grand theft" for larger amounts, designated misdemeanor or felony, respectively. Theft is synonymous with "larceny." Although robbery (taking by force), burglary (taken by entering unlawfully) and embezzlement (stealing from an employer) are all commonly thought of as theft, they are distinguished by the means and methods used and are separately designated as those types of crimes in criminal charges and statutory punishments.
    See also: burglary embezzlement larceny robbery


    infringement
    n. 1) a trespassing or illegal entering. 2) in the law of patents (protected inventions) and copyrights (protected writings or graphics), the improper use of a patent, writing, graphic or trademark without permission, without notice, and especially without contracting for payment of a royalty. Even though the infringement may be accidental (an inventor thinks he is the first to develop the widget although someone else has a patent), the party infringing is responsible to pay the original patent or copyright owner substantial damages, which can be the normal royalty or as much as the infringers' accumulated gross profits.
    See also: copyright patent plagiarism royalty trademark

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