Tumblr has rounded up the effects of its participation in American Censorship Day, a global day of protest of the prosed Stop Online Piracy Act, the worst proposed Internet law in American legislative history. Tumblr users did themselves very proud indeed:
Yesterday we did a historic thing. We generated 87,834 phone calls to U.S. Representatives in a concerted effort to protect the Internet. Extraordinary. There’s no doubt that we’ve been heard.
Yesterday we did a historic thing. We generated... | Tumblr Staff
(via Beth Pratt)
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An enormous, diverse global coalition of press freedom and human rights groups have signed onto a letter (PDF)
opposing America's Stop Online Piracy Act, the worst proposed Internet law in the USA's legislative history. Included signatories are as varied as India's Center for Internet and Society, the Church of Sweden, Colombia's Karisma, the UK Open Rights Group, and Reporters Without Borders. The letter itself is a great piece of writing: "This is as unacceptable to the international community as it would be if a foreign country were to impose similar measures on the United States." (Thanks, Alan!
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Dorli Rainey, the elder woman in this iconic and shocking photograph shot by Seattlepi.com photographer Joshua Trujillo, says to Keith Olbermann during this interview: "I feel great. I feel so energized. It's so amazing the effect a little pepper spray can have on you."
"Now the FCC are trying to take away the free internet," she says, referencing SOPA. "I remember Goebbels. I grew up over there."
Eighty-four-year-old activist Dorli Rainey tells Keith about her experience getting pepper-sprayed by the police during an Occupy Seattle demonstration and the need to take action and spread the word of the Occupy movement. She cites the advice of the late Catholic nun and activist Jackie Hudson to “take one more step out of your comfort zone” as an inspiration, saying, “It would be so easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around, watch television or eat bonbons,’ but somebody’s got to keep ’em awake and let ’em know what is really going on in this world.”
Occupy movement, you now have a leader.
More here at the Keith Olbermann show page at Current.
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James Losey from New American Foundation sez, "Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief and now a researcher focusing on the intersection of the Internet, human rights, and foreign policy warns that the Stop Online Piracy Act introduces Chinese style censorship to the United States in a New York Times
China operates the world's most elaborate and opaque system of Internet censorship. But Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China's Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.
The legislation -- the Protect IP Act, which has been introduced in the Senate, and a House version known as the Stop Online Piracy Act -- have an impressive array of well-financed backers, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. The bills aim not to censor political or religious speech as China does, but to protect American intellectual property. Alarm at the infringement of creative works through the Internet is justifiable. The solutions offered by the legislation, however, threaten to inflict collateral damage on democratic discourse and dissent both at home and around the world."
Stop the Great Firewall of America
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Congress may not want to hear from opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act at today's hearing, but that hasn't stopped a broad coalition of (often fierce) competitors representing the Internet's giants from placing an ad in today's NYT, signed by Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Zynga, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL.
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We support the bills’ stated goals—providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign “rogue”
websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Unfortunately, the bills as
drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new and uncertain
liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites.
We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of
innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity. We cannot support these bills as
written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to
copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism
that has made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation.
One issue merits special attention. We are very concerned that the bills as written would seriously
(DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing
content from their sites. Since their enactment in 1998, the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for online
service providers have been a cornerstone of the U.S. Internet and technology industry’s growth and
jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike
information lawfully online.
A reader writes, "A video made by TechDirt and Fight for the Future of a speech VP Biden gave on November 1st at the London Conference on Cyberspace. In the video VP Biden explains EXACTLY why the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT-IP Act are both bad ideas and decidedly un-American."
A couple of weeks ago, Joe Biden gave a perfect, if unintended, explanation for why SOPA and PROTECT IP are such terrible ideas. Since his speech included a bunch of other things, we thought it would be good to highlight Biden's specific arguments that explain why SOPA and PROTECT IP are bad, and to give him kudos for making such statements, since they contradict the statements from Hollywood on this bill.
VP Joe Biden Explains Why SOPA & PROTECT IP Are Anti-American & A Bad Idea
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Dean sez, "Here's a really helpful infographic that shows how the Blacklist Bill/SOPA could drastically change the Internet."
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Nicholas from Fight for the Future says,
Hundreds of sites have been joining American Censorship Day, taking place tomorrow, November 16, including the EFF, Boing Boing, Reddit, Creative Commons, Hype Machine, and many, many, many more. The momentum is building really fast!
This day of protest is against a new bill in Congress called 'SOPA' that could pass this month. It would create the first ever United States Goverment website censorship system, using DNS blocking. Sound familiar? It’s the same technology Libya and China use to prevent their citizens from seeing undesirable websites. The bill would chill innovation, create huge liability for startups, and would set a terrible global precedent for government censorship of the Internet.
If you have a website big or small, please, please join us tomorrow to stop censorship-- you can sign up and learn more at http://americancensorship.org.
American Censorship Day November 16 - Join the fight to stop SOPA
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As the House of Representatives opens hearings on SOPA, the worst piece of Internet legislation in American history, it has rejected all submissions and testimony from public interest groups and others who oppose the bill.
Irony Alert: The House is holding hearings on sweeping Internet censorship legislation this week -- and it's censoring the opposition! The bill is backed by Hollywood, Big Pharma, and the Chamber of Commerce, and all of them are going to get to testify at the hearing.
But the bill's opponents -- tech companies, free speech and human rights activists, and hundreds of thousands of Internet users -- won't have a voice.
Don't Censor Censorship Opponents: Let Us Testify!
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation is continuing its series of in-depth analysis of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the most dangerous piece of Internet legislation ever introduced, which is set to be fast-tracked through Congress by Christmas. Today, EFF's Corynne McSherry and Peter Eckersley look at the way that SOPA attacks innovation and the integrity of Internet infrastructure.
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In this new bill, Hollywood has expanded its censorship ambitions. No longer content to just blacklist entries in the Domain Name System, this version targets software developers and distributors as well. It allows the Attorney General (doing Hollywood or trademark holders' bidding) to go after more or less anyone who provides or offers a product or service that could be used to get around DNS blacklisting orders. This language is clearly aimed at Mozilla, which took a principled stand in refusing to assist the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to censor the domain name system, but we are also concerned that it could affect the open source community, internet innovation, and software freedom more broadly:
* Do you write or distribute VPN, proxy, privacy or anonymization software? You might have to build in a censorship mechanism — or find yourself in a legal fight with the United States Attorney General.
* Even some of the most fundamental and widely used Internet security software, such as SSH, includes built-in proxy functionality. This kind of software is installed on hundreds of millions of computers, and is an indispensable tool for systems administration professionals, but it could easily become a target for censorship orders under the new bill.
Tiffiny from Fight for the Future sez,
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Google knows it. Viacom knows it. The Chamber of Commerce knows it. Internet democracy groups know it. BoingBoing knows it. But, the Internet hasn't been told yet -- we're going to get blown away by the end of the year. The worst bill in Internet history is about to become law. Law is very real here in the United States and legal language is often different than stated intentions -- this law would give government and corporations the power to block sites like BoingBoing over infringing links on at least one webpage posted by their users. Believe the EFF, Public Knowledge, Google when they say this bill is about much more than copyright, it's about the Internet and free speech everywhere.
The MPAA, RIAA, Hollywood knows that they have been flying in CEOs of as many companies as possible, recruiting people to get petition signups at malls in California, and here's the big point-- they know they have gotten their message through to Congress -- the worst bill in Internet history, the one where government and their corporations get unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content is about to pass before the end of this year. The only thing that is going to stop Hollywood from owning the Internet and everything we do, is if there is a big surprise Internet backlash starting right now.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more on the deadly Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the most extreme, anti-Internet, anti-privacy, anti-free speech copyright proposal in US legislative history. Today, EFF responds to claims from the Chamber of Commerce that SOPA isn't a blacklist because the law doesn't actually contain the word "blacklist":
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First, the new law would allow the Attorney General to cut off sites from the Internet, essentially “blacklisting” companies from doing business on the web. Under section 102, the Attorney General can seek a court order that would force search engines, DNS providers, servers, payment processors, and advertisers to stop doing business with allegedly infringing websites.
Second, the bill encourages private corporations to create a literal target list—a process that is ripe for abuse. Under Section 103 (cleverly entitled the “market based” approach), IP rightsholders can take action by themselves, by sending notices directly to payment processors—like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal—demanding that they cut off all payments to the website. Once notice is delivered to the payment processor, that processor has only five days to act.1 The payment processor, and not the rightsholder, is then responsible for notifying the targeted website. So by the time Visa or Mastercard—who will no doubt be receiving many of these notices—processes the notice, informs the website, and the website decides whether to file a counter notice, the five days will almost certainly have elapsed. The website will then be left without a revenue source even if it did nothing wrong.
Third, section 104 of SOPA also allows payment processors to cut websites off voluntarily—even if they haven’t received a notice.
SOPA, the House version of the US Senate's PROTECT-IP Bill, might be the worst-ever copyright proposal in US legislative history. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has begun a series of articles examining the bill in depth, explaining just how insane it is. Here's part one:
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If an IP rightsholder (vaguely defined – could be Justin Bieber worried about his publicity rights) thinks you meet the criteria and that it is in some way harmed, it can send a notice claiming as much to the payment processors (Visa, Mastercard, Paypal etc.) and ad services you rely on.
Once they get it, they have 5 days to choke off your financial support. Of course, the payment processors and ad networks won’t be able to fine-tune their response so that only the allegedly infringing portion of your site is affected, which means your whole site will be under assault. And, it makes no difference that no judge has found you guilty of anything or that the DMCA safe harbors would shelter your conduct if the matter ever went to court. Indeed, services that have been specifically found legal, like Rapidshare, could be economically strangled via SOPA. You can file a counter-notice, but you’ve only got 5 days to do it (good luck getting solid legal advice in time) and the payment processors and ad networks have no obligation to respect it in any event. That’s because there are vigilante provisions that grant them immunity for choking off a site if they have a “reasonable belief” that some portion of the site enables infringement.
PROTECT-IP is a US Senate bill that establishes a draconian censorship and surveillance regime in America in the name of protecting copyright. Its House version, SOPA, has just been introduced, and it's even worse than PROTECT-IP. Much, much worse:
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As with its Senate-side evil sister, PROTECT-IP, SOPA would require service providers to “disappear” certain websites, endangering Internet security and sending a troubling message to the world: it’s okay to interfere with the Internet, even effectively blacklisting entire domains, as long as you do it in the name of IP enforcement. Of course blacklisting entire domains can mean turning off thousands of underlying websites that may have done nothing wrong. And in what has to be an ironic touch, the very first clause of SOPA states that it shall not be “construed to impose a prior restraint on free speech.” As if that little recitation could prevent the obvious constitutional problem in what the statute actually does.
But it gets worse. Under this bill, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities. Websites that simply don’t do enough to police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would qualify as “enough”) are now under threat, even though the DMCA expressly does not require affirmative policing. It creates new enforcement tools against folks who dare to help users access sites that may have been “blacklisted,” even without any kind of court hearing. The bill also requires that search engines, payment providers (such as credit card companies and PayPal), and advertising services join in the fun in shutting down entire websites.