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Imagine the government picking which websites you can visit. It sounds like a story out of China, or Iran. But if we don't do something fast, this could soon be the US.

Under pressure from Hollywood, the Senate is racing to pass a new bill creating an Internet blacklist -- instead of having to go to court and get illegal sites shut down, the Attorney General could bypass due process and just censor the websites he doesn't like.

The first vote on this bill is expected this week!  Can you sign our urgent petition opposing it? Click here.

The bill is so broad that it even lets the government block sites that haven't done anything illegal. When copyright holders tried to shut down YouTube, they lost in court. But if this bill passes, they could get YouTube blocked just because other people use it to break the law.

Internet experts like Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Web, are aghast at this bill. But Hollywood has bombarded the Capitol with calls and drowned them all out. The bill is expected to pass out of committee this week unless there's public opposition.

We need you to speak out. Click here to add your name.

We'll be updating Senate offices with the number of signers all week, so please rec this diary so others hear about this. The more people who sign on, the better our chances of stopping this thing.

Originally posted to aaronsw on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 07:58 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What's in it for Hollywood? Are they afraid (2+ / 0-)

    of wholesale piracy or is it something else?

    •  Both. They have legit complaints & bogus ones. (4+ / 0-)

      Copying and theft have hurt artists and corporations alike. However, intellectual property provisions have been taken to extremes to increase corporate profits at the expense of artistic creativity.

      Much of the public domain has been privatized over the last 20 years with the help of Republican and DLC Dem sponsored legislation.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:45:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't speak for others, (4+ / 0-)

    but it would help me if you gave a few more details about this bill or provided a link that gave a rundown on what the bill does and does not do.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:02:01 AM PDT

    •  via their website (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishOutofWater

      It's about an intellectual property-protecting bill.  Apparently, the poster wants to have more freedom for websites to profit off other folks' stuff.  It concerns sites which:

      ‘(a) Definition- For purposes of this section, an Internet site is ‘dedicated to infringing activities’ if such site--

      ‘(1) is otherwise subject to civil forfeiture to the United States Government under section 2323; or

      ‘(2) is--

      ‘(A) primarily designed, has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than, or is marketed by its operator, or by a person acting in concert with the operator, to offer--

      ‘(i) goods or services in violation of title 17, United States Code, or enable or facilitate a violation of title 17, United States Code, including by offering or providing access to, without the authorization of the copyright owner or otherwise by operation of law, copies of, or public performance or display of, works protected by title 17, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, transmission, or otherwise, including the provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining such copies for accessing such performance or displays; or

      ‘(ii) to sell or distribute goods, services, or materials bearing a counterfeit mark, as that term is defined in section 34(d) of the Act entitled ‘An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes’, approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the ‘Trademark Act of 1946’ or the ‘Lanham Act’; 15 U.S.C. 1116(d)); and

      ‘(B) engaged in the activities described in subparagraph (A), and when taken together, such activities are central to the activity of the Internet site or sites accessed through a specific domain name.

  •  This is bullshit. (7+ / 0-)

    You say:

    instead of having to go to court and get illegal sites shut down, the Attorney General could bypass due process and just censor the websites he doesn't like.

    The bill says:

    (b) Injunctive Relief- On application of the Attorney General following the commencement of an action pursuant to subsection (c), the court may issue a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, or an injunction against the domain name used by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities to cease and desist from undertaking any infringing activity in violation of this section, in accordance with rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A party described in subsection (e) receiving an order issued pursuant to this section shall take the appropriate actions described in subsection (e).

    •  OK, what are the criteria for blacklisting? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snackdoodle

      Hyperbole is a staple around here but that doesn't mean that this will be a good law.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:35:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it's bullshit (3+ / 0-)

      It may be worded differently, but it would have the same effect.

      What would have happened to youtube if the court had issued that "temporary" restraining order and shut the site down?

      by the time it dragged through the courts for years, even though youtube won the suit, it still would have lost as it would now be worthless.

      This would make it so that any site or domain would be guilty until proven innocent.

      Thank you for flying Church of England... Cake or Death?

      by cjinca on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:40:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love having a lawyer in the house. (3+ / 0-)

      Thanks, Adam. I thought something sounded off about this, because the Wingers would be up in arms over Obama's hostile takeover of the internet.

      Palin's 2012 Slogan: "Second Verse, Same As The First"
      Twitter
      My Blog

      by weatherdude on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:46:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boy I Gotta Think Since This Kind of Takeover (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weatherdude

        would be corporate, word of it being a problem would never be distributed to the wingers.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:01:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i'll get my legal opinions on this from EFF. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett, Euroliberal, josephk

        http://www.eff.org

        Protecting civil liberties in cyberspace since before most people even heard of cyberspace.  

        And send 'em a check while you're at it.  

        http://www.eff.org/...

        ---quote---

        COICA is a fairly short bill, but it could have a longstanding and dangerous impact on freedom of speech, current Internet architecture, copyright doctrine, foreign policy, and beyond. In 2010, if there's anything we've learned about efforts to re-write copyright law to target "piracy" online, it's that they are likely to have unintended consequences.

        This is a censorship bill that runs roughshod over freedom of speech on the Internet. Free speech is vitally important to democracy, which is why the government is restricted from suppressing speech except in very specific, narrowly-tailored situations. But this bill is the polar opposite of narrow — not only in the broad way that it tries to define a site "dedicated to infringing activities," but also in the solution that it tries to impose — a block on a whole domain, and not just the infringing part of the site.

        ---end quote---

        EFF legislative analysis is backed by EFF's ferocious lawyers, who have an impressive track record to their credit.  

        •  EFF, I take seriously (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          What I'd want to know is where DMCA is lacking such that this bill is necessary.

          •  follow the second link. (0+ / 0-)

            It goes right to the page where I pulled that quote.  

            IMHO it's time to overthrow the entire intellectual property regime and start from scratch.  Otherwise it won't be long before every possible combination of musical notes is copyrighted, and every single noun and verb is trademarked.  

            ---

            "Excuse me sir, I need to see a license for that music..."

            ---

            Before listening to this song you must listen to and acknowledge the following copyright notice, provided by the RIAA ....

            "Dude, is there any way to turn off that damn legalistic bullshit?  It's really putting a wet blanket on the party!"

            "Ssssh!  Do you want to get us busted?!  Now stuff another towel under the door* so the neighbors can't hear it, or we'll be dinged for public performance fees!"

            ---

            *Towel under the door:  Back in the days when marijuana was really illegal, there were numerous jokes about stuffing a towel under the crack below the door to keep any neighbors or passers-by from smelling the smoke.  

    •  that's the wrong list (0+ / 0-)

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General shall maintain a public listing of domain names that, upon information and reasonable belief, the Department of Justice determines are dedicated to infringing activities but for which the Attorney General has not filed an action under this section.

      For List 1, the AG applies to a judge to add the site, at which point it's formally censored and you aren't allowed to look at it.

      For List 2, the AG adds domains unilaterally, to a standard of "reasonable belief."  ISPs aren't forced to block List 2, it's just suggested, and DOJ grants them immunity from any lawsuits related to the blocking, even if they block the wrong site by accident, as long as they made a "reasonable" effort to get the right one.

  •  ACTA sucks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, edtastic

    http://boingboing.net/...

    Michael Geist writes in with the latest news on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the secret, closed-door copyright treaty that will bring US-style copyright rules (and worse) to the whole world. Particularly disturbing is the growing support for "three-strikes" copyright rules that would disconnect whole families from the Internet if one member of the household was accused (without proof) of copyright infringement. The other big US agenda item is cramming pro-Digital Rights Management (DRM) rules down the world's throats that go way beyond the current obligations under the UN's WIPO Copyright Treaty. In the US version, breaking DRM is always illegal, even if you're not committing any copyright violation -- so breaking the DRM on your iPad to install software you bought from someone who hasn't gone through the Apple approval process is illegal, even though the transaction involves no illicit copying.

    Ironically, this DRM push comes just as the US courts and regulators have begun to erode the US's own extreme rules on the subject. Or perhaps this isn't so surprising: in the past, the US copyright lobby has torpedoed the courts and Congress by getting USA to commit to international agreements that went far beyond the rules that they could push through on their own at home.

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:28:43 AM PDT

  •  what to do about this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edtastic

    "Dear Hollywood: If you pass this obscene bullshit, I swear to God (or whatever I believe in) that I will never ever ever buy another CD, buy another "tune," go to another Hollywood movie, rent another DVD, or in any other way pay you one stinking red penny of my hard earned money.  Further I will disconnect my cable TV the same day."

    In other words, threaten them with a much bigger loss if they don't back down.  

    There's plenty of indie music, indie films, and self-produced media of all kinds out there now.  You do not need to consume what Hollywood produces.  Most of it is dreck anyway and you won't miss it.  

    •  And go a step further... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, jabney

      ...and promise them that, in addition to not purchasing their products, you will not make any of it available for free in any way, shape, or form, since, as the file-sharing advocates assure us, that practice only results in more sales.

      •  yes, of course. (0+ / 0-)

        No buy, no download, no file-share.  

        Just shut them out and shut them down.  

        BTW, I have never, as in, not even once, done an illegal download, upload, or file-share.  And I have stopped buying since copyright fascism went into overdrive.  

        Yes, Winston Smith, you can turn it off if you know how.

  •  We should not give up Liberties for Hollywood (0+ / 0-)

    The movie industry is not economically significant nor particularly important to our societies welfare. Their profits don't produce significant benefit for the society and their profitable products are amongst the least valuable in their artistic contribution. They make time killing entertainment that is abundant already on television. We are saturated with their "content" as is. We shouldn't give the government the power to black list websites so they can protect their crappy product.

    The video game industry is vastly larger than the movie industry, you don't see them up on capital hill pulling strings.

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