Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet Censorship Bills In Congress: SOPA and PIPA

In December, 2010, I received the following message from Google about "offending content" on my blog (see below). The email did not in fact tell me what the offending passage was. At the time, I checked with the "Chilling Effects" website to see what the problem was. I could not find anything due to their overload. Google took the blog post down without telling me what the "offending content" was. Their action has not been challenged or reposted as I do not yet know how to challenge or correct an error I am not privy to. This action was due to alleged violation of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The new SOPA/PIPA bills would enshrine in American law even more dubious censorship. Now, under the proposed law, it seems they could just takedown an entire blog without much recourse.

We have received a DMCA complaint for your blog, Baker County Blog. An e-mail with the details of the complaint was sent to you on Dec 14, 2010 , and we reset the post status to "Draft"; you can edit it here. You may republish the post with the offending content and/or link(s) removed. If you believe you have the rights to post this content, you can file a counter-claim with us. For more on our DMCA policy, please click here. Thank you for your prompt attention.

Update, 1/21/11, [Edited 1/22/12]
I checked the Chilling Effects website yesterday to see if they had posted my offense. They did finally put up an undated post of the original dated complaint from Salon Media Group, Inc. concerning copyright infringement for an article of Glenn Greenwald's that I had posted back in December of 2010. I actually got the article in it's entirety from another website, but posted it with the link to the original Salon website. I edited the post yesterday and hopefully it will comply with their demands. The point is, aside from me not having used a proper disclaimer for a non-profit site or cutting Greenwald's article down to a paragraph, is that Google has the right under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down a post upon a complaint without the kind of protections we have been accustomed to, and without even informing the alleged offender of the specific violation. Go figure! Guilty until proven innocent?

The Megaupload takedown two days ago, and the arrests of its founder and other employees, would seem to contradict the arguments put forward by proponents of SOPA and PIPA, i.e., that the bills were needed to take down and prosecute allegedly criminal, overseas-based file hosting sites. Given that the government just did, without the benefit of SOPA and PIPA, what the heavy-handed legal tools in the now sidelined bills were designed to allow it to do, one wonders why the bills were proposed in the first place. The unbridled power, control, and convenience of corporations and their government?

The End of the Blog?

By James Kwak

As you may have noticed by now, Wikipedia’s English-language site is (mostly) down for the day to protest SOPA and PIPA, two draconian anti-copyright infringement laws moving through Congress. . . .
See The End of the Blog? for article.

SOPA Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages

By Lance Ulanoff

January 18, 2012 "Mashable" -- I had an epiphany today. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, was not written by people who fundamentally misunderstand how the web works. They understand all too well, and want to change it forever.

Behind the almost unreadable (yet truly scary) text of SOPA (and its Senate doppelganger, PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act) is a desire, likely fueled by powerful media conglomerate backers, to take us all back to the thin-pipe, content-distribution days of 1994 — right before the World Wide Web launched. From the moment the Internet and websites arrived, a veritable Pandora’s box of opportunities have opened to every average Joe and Josephine in the world. Everyone became a content creator. Everyone had an audience. . . . .

See link above for entire article.

Wikipedia on SOPA and PIPA - Learn more

Sen. Wyden's Statement on the Letter to Senator Reid Calling for More Time to Consider PIPA and Dropping of DNS Provision in SOPA

Senator Wyden's Letter to Harry Reid

Sen. Jeff Merkley Tweets he's Opposing SOPA/PIPA

OpenCongress Opposes SOPA/PIPA

Here is a recent OpenCongress Blog on the subject:

Open Congress : Congress Gossip Blog

PIPA first on Senate agenda on Jan. 24th, 2012
Posted: 03 Jan 2012 10:26 AM PST
Happy 20-12 all, looking ahead to the second session of the 112th U.S. Congress. The House is officially back in session on Jan. 17th, and the Senate convenes on Monday Jan. 23rd. Until then it’s all about district visits & fundraisers, generally speaking.

The most important blog post of the new year – so far – is by our ally Ernesto Falcon of Public Knowledge, giving an overview of the legislative process surrounding the net censorship bill PIPA when the Senate returns under Sen. Reid’s prioritization. I hope Ernesto won’t mind if I excerpt at length, with a second vociferous recommendation to read it all and share it with your online communities ::
. . . .
Why, again, is it so urgent to oppose these terrible legal frameworks for an internet blacklist? Answers via our deeply-researched partners EFF, FightForTheFuture, and of course our own OC Blog. . . . .


See Also:

Democracy Now! Wednesday, January 17, 2012

Please sign the petition:

If you have tried to Google anything today, you know why it is very important and "on topic".

"The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty." -- Justice Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Source: Lovell v. City of Griffin 

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