MPAA: ACTA's censoring firewalls will help governments avoid Wikileaks embarrassments

The MPAA has updated one of its more ridiculous pro-censorship arguments; five years ago, they were telling lawmakers that blocking P2P would help block child pornography. Now they've presented at an information meeting in Mexico on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret, far-reaching copyright treaty that contains provisions for China-style censoring firewalls for every country. The MPAA wants these national firewalls to block sites like The Pirate Bay, but the case they've made to lawmakers for it is: "Bring in a censoring firewall to block piracy and you can use it to shut off sites that embarrass your government, like Wikileaks."

You can almost imagine the MPAA rep dry-washing his hands and licking his lips like a grand vizier manipulating a gullible sultan as he utters these words. During the Bush years, the MPAA recruited a bunch of Republican stalwart, ultra-conservative foot-soldiers (one of them told me that he believed in the Young Earth and Creationism). I can imagine that if you're one of these square-jawed rock-ribbed types, you could believe that the government had the right to cover up murder and torture by blocking Wikileaks.

In an open information meeting at the Ministry of the Economy in Mexico about ACTA last week. There were two oddities that they called attention to. The first is that there was an MPAA representative at the meeting, who apparently asked whether or not ACTA could be used to block access to "damaging" sites like Wikileaks. As the Open Acta Mexico people asked, what does Wikileaks have to do with movies? It seems like an interesting question, though, and I'm assuming that the MPAA is using Wikileaks as an example of a site they deem "dangerous" to get the idea across, so that later when they designate other sites (say... The Pirate Bay....) as dangerous, they can use this to make the case it should be blocked. Nice to see the MPAA is so blatant about using copyright for censorship...
MPAA Wants To Know If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks?


  1. As a citizen of Mexico, I find this completely revolting. As a citizen of the world, I find it even more offensive. I truly, dearly hope our legislators don’t fall for this manipulative, Machiavellian bullshit tactic…

    1. Oh, the MPAA has made many anti-censorship moves over the years but they lose all ideological commitment to freedom whenever copyright is at issue. As Cindy Cohn from EFF says, “We know you love the first amendment, we just wish you’d share.”

      1. When Cindy said “share,” did she mean besides the joint comments of the EFF and PFF (of which many MPAA members are also a part of) in front of the FCC in support of the 1st amendment here: or again here: ?
        And did she also mean besides the joint PFF/EFF amicus brief in support of the first amendment in the California video game case here ?
        I’m also having difficulty finding any sources that support any of this article besides a single tweet regarding a single question asked by a single representative of the MPAA.

        1. Well, you’re not looking very hard. The MPAA has used the law to censor magazines (2600), software (Gnutella), and innumerable legit/fair use files and mashups.

  2. Do you think ACTA will be used to censor Wikileaks before, or after, they go for 4chan?

    Captcha fun: selling e-storms
    Prophetic, no?

  3. Will the MPAA be running out of money any time soon? They seem to be clutching at more daring and evil schemes to try to cling to life at the expense of everyone’s privacy & basic freedom of communication… can’t they print movie T-shirts or something instead to make a buck?

  4. Amazing how these “square-jawed, rock-ribbed” young Republicans can square away this government power grab with their oft-stated desire for government to be shrunk to the size of a bathtub so it can be safely drowned in the bathwater.

    It’s the National Security State they want.

    1. Um, no we don’t. We know that any law-enforcement or national security apparatus can (and will) be used against us when someone with a (D) after their name is in the White House. Not in a ‘black helicopter’ way but in ‘hey, here’s a way to harass opponents’ way. Sure, there are RINO members of the ruling class that think this sort of thing is a good idea, but we’re working on getting rid of them.

      1. As I recall the “Patriot Act” was brought to us by the folks at (R) not the folks at (D).

        None the less , there is no such thing as RED or BLUE, just greed
        and it’s victims.

        The powers that be roll out the little RED and BLUE ball simply to keep the children busy while the “grownups” make off with our homes,jobs,future and FREEDOM.

  5. I feel sorry for the public officials who think this system would be somehow better for society. The people who are really hacking and cracking will find ways around this before it’s even put in place. They’ll either spoof who they are, and send thousands of innocent people out of the internet for years, or just plain drive into the depths of the internets where no one will ever find them unless you’re both looking for them and have a billion passwords. That’s not even addressing the claim about classified information. So long as our computers are all connected to each other there’s nothing they can do to stop us, only slow us down. If you really wanted to get rid of kiddy porn you could be way more aggressive than that. You’re not going to put up a firewall thousands of miles away to stop perverts, let’s be realistic here. You’re going to need boots on the ground stopping the cameras from even taking the pictures, once it’s hit the internet it’s pretty much too late. This bill will not do what they claim it will, not even a little, it’ll only give them the option to turn off people who are too stupid to hide themselves.

  6. At least among my “square jawed rock ribbed” Republican young earth Creationist friends, we ALL believe net neutrality is important and critical to the success of our nation, and that to put in place internet filtering or censorship of any sort is both morally reprehensible and counter-productive. It is exactly this sort of filtering that is used by the Chinese, Iranian, Vietnamese etc governments, that prevents their people from accessing Christian resources and hearing the Gospel.
    It would be foolish to assume that others would not act similarly.The Internet is just a tool, and unfortunately, because it has been used for bad things people are afraid of it.

  7. I’m sure we can start cutting back on the MPAA’s influence, as well as government censorship, as soon as we get Bush and his rock-ribbed creationists out of the White House.

  8. This treaty appears to violate human rights. It’s not being pursued in the best interest of humanity. It’s being pursued by greedy dinosaurs who can’t think their way out of the wet paper bag that is their dying industry.

    I’d just like to know how/if this shit can actually be stopped.

  9. Looks like the MPAA has infiltrated the Australian government as this policy sounds very similar to their (Aust govt’s) push for a national filter to block “Refused Classification” content.

    The argument that has been used so far is that the filter is to be used to block child pornography and other such material with the blacklist to be kept secret. Anyone who opposes this policy is shouted down and accused of supporting said child pornography.

    Of course, once the filter is in, there is nothing stopping the government of the day from “mission creep” and adding any site that it wishes to censor wihout the public being any wiser.

  10. Was just going to peruse demonoid and came across COICA. Scared me half to death even if i DO live in Canada. Seems to me that if the US manages to pass something this preposterous it’s only a matter of time until some similar law is imposed here.

    It’s censorship, and it’s wrong. If they can basically put whatever they want on a blacklist.. Everyone should have an issue with that. Oppression always has to start somewhere.

  11. WikiLeaks was indeed my absolute first thought upon hearing about COICA.

    The DOJ has already expressed the thought that documents leaked by whistle blowers are the governments Intellectual Property, and so I see no stretch at all in the thought that the DOJ would strike WikiLeaks from the DNS servers.

    Of course with a China style firewall in hand , “In the interests of national security” and “For your protection” rationalizations will abound, giving rise to all sorts of additional DNS filter entries.

    Set China aside for a moment and consider the great firewall of Australia that while originally sold as a filter for kiddie porn
    suddenly found it’s blacklist bloated with all sorts of entries including things like WikiLeaks.

    All these things sold on the back of irrational fears.

    “Fear is easy to sell with the price of purchase but your FREEDOM” –DrClue

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