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A comprehensive post about internet piracy and copyright infringement lawsuits by Philly Law Blog has gotten me inspired. I am hoping there is a way to encourage a greater number of people in my area to avoid exposing themselves to loss of privacy and legal trouble while building something like support or consensus towards improving
copyright and internet experiences for both creative types and consumers alike.

To quote Judge Baylson during the Bellwether Trial: “I am aware of the fact that the so called blogosphere, where many people once again taking advantage of our First Amendment, and they’re not all true, but they are certainly accessible.”

I believe there is too much bad information out there about bittorrent cases. I am unimpressed with a lot of what I read online about these cases, especially by lawyers who are probably trolling for clients. While I could rant and rave about “the big mean evil trolls”, and give belly rubs to anyone who reads my blog, that’s not exactly helpful for people out there looking for accurate information about bittorrent lawsuits.

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If you want the law to be an instrument of change, start a blog or lobby Congress. Law practice — the profession of providing professional representation to clients who need you — is not your personal religious crusade to change copyright law. Embarking on the defense of someone accused of  copyright infringement in a way done to further one’s personal anti-copyright law agenda would be cause for moral and ethical outrage…

We are probably years away from having a functional Congress, and lobbying Congress as isolated individuals is not likely to be possible or successful unless we are individuals with deep, deep pockets. If we are likely to get anything of value from the current Congress or Obama Administration during this election season it is more transparency about what is being discussed or agreed to in the TPP on intellectual property or relating to internet rights and governance. What we do have control over is our own conduct. We can decide to reduce our exposure personally and within our households to  problems we might have with the existing laws. We can decide to budget our time and resources in order to  be more than frustrated, isolate individuals. We can create more options than what exists now, where the only obvious choices are to be righteous and misguided or deluded, in a semi-anonymous internet mob seeking to justify theft and punish people with different opinions or legal rights, or to accept the status quo - where commercial speech and creative works get substantially more protection than individual artists, writers (commentators, bloggers) and videographers.

I am hoping to make some use of the time that remains in the current caucus to convention cycle within my state's Democratic Party to do something useful of value to myself and others, and to build towards the next few cycles, where electing and informing lawmakers, "lobbying" in essence, can be done at the grassroots without requiring huge amounts of money, but larger numbers of people agreeing to support a commonly held idea as to what the remedy should be.

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Canadian pipeline company Enbridge and its allies are working hard on spinning the Alberta Clipper pipeline that increases US dependence on foreign "oil" and delays necessary development of sustainable domestic energy (and job creation in this field) as "energy independence".

Proponents of the Enbridge application before the the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission distributed buttons to their supporters touting job creation and "North American energy independence". Related radio ads in our area say that the pipelines reduce U.S. dependence on oil from more unstable parts of the world. The reality is that U.S. demand for petrochemicals is deeply destabilizing to Canada and its territorial integrity, to Ottawa's relations with First Nations. The contamination of lands and waters and the disruption of traditional ways of life by the tar sands economy are driving force behind the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's impulse to attain sovereignty and its ongoing rejection of funding from Ottawa.

The exuberance of many Canadian politicians for Enbridge projects has undermined faith in the Harper government, and leaders in other parties ties to Enbridge lobbying make them look somewhat corrupt (e.g. Public “concerned about disclosure” regarding B.C. Premier Christy Clark's relationship with Enbridge). Tar sands issues are as likely to create situations of civil unrest in Canada as they are in the U.S. - where the climate issue has driven a deep wedge between the Obama administration and the passionate youth that helped elect him. OFA's refusal to engage on Keystone XL is likely the end of members seeing the the organization as a legitimate grassroots progressive movement with any independence from Obama and other D.C. power brokers.  Alumni of Obama for America who participated in XL DISSENT, the March 2nd student led civil disobedience action at the White House stood out to me while watching that event by livestream.

While the idea that the pipeline represents "energy independence" from unstable, corrupt regimes in parts of the world the average American might associate petroleum conflicts with is great spin - there is no greater spin than Enbridge or its predecessors failure to contain and cleanup the 1979 pipeline spill near my hometown is a boon for science, or demonstrates that in situ bioremediation (not doing anything with oil spills seeping into an aquifer) is an appropriate reaction to catastrophic failure of a pipeline. Unfortunately we see the same "scientific" approach being used to delay cleanups of failures of tar sands tailings ponds in Alberta now, too... (Oilsands study confirms tailings found in groundwater, river vs. Oil sands industry group says jury out on tailings ponds polluting Athabasca)

Apologists for Enbridge's faillure to recover and remove spilled crude oil from the 1979 pipeline spill have gone so far to call the 1979 pipeline spill "A Gift That Keeps On Giving".

Minnesota's lakes, rivers and aquifers don't need anymore gifts from Enbridge oil pipeline disasters. This study site is simply proof that Enbridge can't and won't finish costly cleanup of pipeline disasters, and that the MPCA and other agencies will bend to the will of corporations that want to control costs of their disasters, that lead to permanent pollution at best, and loss of human life all too often.

Below the fold - I'll try to embed some fun video from yesterday's protest and rally at the MN Public Utilities Commission.

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Recently a local Northern Minnesota paper published an unfocused rant against our culture, attacking free speech, the 'pornography industry' and the media without any evidence or support. The timing was particularly bad for a screed supposedly based on protecting kids entitled "taking the temperature" as child had died in the preceding days due to exposure to the extreme cold in our area. One fact that tragedy brought to light is that parents are often failing to have conversations with their children about very real hazards in the immediate environment like getting locked out in the cold, and strategies to to avoid or survive it.

In her article, Kelly Brevig equates all pornography with violence against women, that pornography normalizes sexual abuse and makes claims that "free speech has been hijacked" by consumers demand for porn. She encourages parents to "speak out" instead of taking any concrete steps to protect children. She encourages parents to feel rage and frustration that there are no filters, and porn is "one click away" instead of encouraging them to take responsibility for how the internet is used in their own homes.

I believe that parents can and should take basic steps like supervising and restricting their child's access to the internet or other media to protect them from becoming involved in harmful activities that can be mediated by the internet and internet-enabled devices like cellphones. Parents should not rely on the internet to to distract and entertain children, instead of hiring reputable babysitters or signing them up for age appropriate organized activities through community education. Many manufacturers and content creators target parents and kids with advertisements for internet entertainments that are not safe for children and harvest personal data from children in ways that are illegal. The Attorney General of California has initiated some litigation against some of these firms, and published a useful guide for parents on "App Safety"

Parents probably do not want to have their internet access shut off because their children are pirating copyrighted music, films or pornography or worse become targets of federal investigations because government agents have seductively lured lonely, mentally ill teenagers into committing illegal acts and getting octopus neck tattoos at the taxpayers expense.

So, obviously the internet is a bad place for children to be left alone. That fact is not excuse to attack the free speech rights of others based on an impulse to suppress the availability of images depicting taboo sex, including consensual rough sex, or to make unsupported claims about the agenda of media corporations and the porn industry.

Obviously most of the material that parents might object to that is only "one click away" is pirated content on tube sites and torrents, and the "pornography industry" is fighting that uncompetitive practice and intellectual property theft. A whole host of laws like 2257 make the established, for profit pornography industry more tightly regulated than most nuclear power plants, but the availability of HD video cameras and applications like Vine made it possible for young people who might legally have sex with themselves and their peers to crate illegal content and face charges that would make them sex offenders for life. Parents need to talk to their teenagers about avoiding the consequences of creating and sharing illegal content and stolen copyrighted content.

Kelly Brevig's piece in the Bemidji Pioneer is an out-of-date regurgitation of Andrea Dworkin's feminist dogma: "an alarmist cocktail of horror and fury, with little interest in finding pragmatic ways to reduce women's abuse". There is no practical advice to concerned parents but to invite her and her group to spout more of the same useless rage.

We have very little leverage over what the mainstream media decides the spring fashion should be, but if it is -40 degrees Fahrenheit we have an obligation to keep our kids indoors and only let them out with appropriate clothing for the day's weather. Kids will see adults do stupid and dangerous things in the cold, like the polar plunge through the ice into the frigid waters of Lake Bemidji, or running between the car and the gym in shorts, but adults have the freedom to make such choices for themselves. Parents have some rights to prevent their children from participating in dangerous or distasteful activities, but it is useless to try to enforce one's own culture, taste and sensibilities on the whole society when doing so is legally impossible because of the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment.

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The Democratic Party in Minnesota is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, or "DFL". Tonight, like other major political parties in the state, it holds precinct caucuses.

While Minnesota Public Radio predicts caucus turnout to be light (perhaps in a non-partisan or multi-partisan way?) as the numerous GOP challengers to Senator Al Franken and Governor Mark Dayton will likely by-pass the caucus event that will be filled with Ron Paul libertarian activists and go straight to the primary, the DFL caucus is powerful enough to be attractive and worth your time. Why? Because of the need to renew our DFL commitments to our platform and action agenda, and the volunteer party structure that allows us to fend off the well financed attacks on our democratic, grassroots traditions by 1%ers and mass media.

I recently suggested that DFLers caucus to make porn production (more obviously) legal in Minnesota and I think there are good and valid reasons to consider modifications to fix 2257 reporting requirements at the federal level, which are at best useless red tape that doesn't fix the Traci Lords scenario it was designed to fix (she had a state issued ID, as did the only other underage performer I am aware of). Instead the 2257 law is more likely designed to have a chilling effect of freedom of expression among adults and is especially dangerous in the age of the "selfie" and adult dating sites/sexting behavior. It needs modification.

I also made some fun of the state and its recurring fantasy that it produces porn performers and centerfold model types, e.g. of Bunny Lebowski a.k.a Fawn Knutsen in the Coen Brothers "The Big Lebowski". The numbers don't bear that out.

In looking over the Ongoing Platform of the DFL I see some weakness in our platforms blurring of First and Fourth Amendment issues:

We Support:
 Separation of church and state and the right to privacy.
I see the following slightly promising, though lacking specific support for sexual expression in artistic forms (stage, film, literature)  while enumerating some bodily reproductive rights:
We Oppose:   
Government interference in all matters related to the control of one’s own body, including protection of the rights of women to bear children, practice birth control and obtain safe and legal abortions
In the Action Agenda, after the crackdown on Occupy before the last cycle, there was some increased support for free speech, free association and protest (though local ordinance may enable some brutal repression of protest?):
   
Support person’s 1st Amendment rights to peacefully assemble and protest, in accordance with local ordinances, and be free of brutality and repression from the government
So how do these platform and action agenda statemments arise? Your resolutions on caucus night. The Action Agenda arises and dies again each cycle, so there is some scramble to renew various interest groups most favorite Action Agenda statements, though some have become Legislative Priorities as of the last State Central Commitee meeting (note that the Resolutions Committee/Commission/what-have-you failed to address any set federal legislative priorities - we need new blood badly on that body).

The Ongoing Agenda remains more fixed between cycles but may be modified in each set of caucus to convention processes. The resolutions process is established in and best described by the Official Call but in practice party chairs, state legislators, and past Resolutions Chairs have acted arbitrarily to quash resolutions they disliked outside of any regular or legal process at least once in recent memory (a Israel-Palestine divestment resolution sponsored by members of through group MN Break the Bonds Campaign)

So we have a ways to go before we become tolerant of the free speech of others not like us in the MN DFL, but there is no time like the present caucus time to start expanding and defending the rights of others to be seen and heard. Even the free speech of camgirls (or cam-boys) as interesting or disappointing as that is to us individually.

Here is the link to the MN Secretary of State's Precinct Caucus finder, hope to see you there, or some sign you went... feel free to post your questions, hopes, and after you go, about your experience tonight in the comments!

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"How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus" -The Dude, The Big Lebowski

Minnesota's precinct caucuses will be held Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. You can find your party's precinct caucus for your area on the MN Secretary of State caucus finder website.

If you are caucusing with the DFL (The Democratic Party in Minnesota is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) and you want to submit resolutions to be considered by friends and neighbors at your local caucus - to possibly pass and then have considered at higher levels of the party - you will want to put your language on one of the forms on this page: 2012 Precinct Caucus and Convention Planning (towards the bottom, marked "Resolution Form (for submitting amendments to the DFL Platform)"

I believe a good case could be made for making it more clearly legal for consenting Minnesotans over the age of 18 to participate in the creation of adult films and adult performances by livestreaming over the internet (commonly known as 'camming').

I think it's time that someone engages the political process to reform 18 U.S.C. § 2257 to better protect the privacy of performers and others in the industry, to enable "secondary producers" to not have to keep the same sets of burdensome records (and enable performers & primary producers to have some privacy from secondary producers who might be affiliates of performers websites, etc).

From an article on recent 2257 regulation at XBiz: "Section 2257 applies even to husbands and wives who have never shown the material to anyone."

After the AVN Awards I sat down with Siri, who is a native Minnesotan and a fellow Scandinavian-American and asked her the question - what if porn was more clearly legal in Minnesota: (direct link to clip on YouTube if embed does not appear: Part 1 of @Seksi's interview of Siri (Pornstar) - If porn were legal in Minnesota?

In the next few days let's hash out some language to preserve and extend free speech, possibly lay the ground work for free and fair trade in adult entertainment made in Minnesota, and reduce the substantial risk that local, state and federal law enforcement might violate the privacy rights of, or harass, performers by use of arbitrary enforcement of local laws and/or 2257 records keeping inspections.

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David Core, a pipeline landowner and CEO of CAEPLA: Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowners Associations, has written:

At least rail is transparent, above ground, and in sight. It appears, after years of privilege, they now function under the same Canadian liability and environmental laws as the rest of us.

Perhaps it is time for the archaic pipeline legislation to come out of the stone age.

Pipelines are less safe than rail, and weakly regulated. Weak pipeline regulations are responsible in part for massive pipeline disasters, says the National Transportation Safety Board, in a July 10, 2012 press release on the Enbridge 6B Kalamazoo River spill
The NTSB also cited the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's weak regulations regarding pipeline assessment and repair criteria as well as a cursory review of Enbridge's oil spill response plan as contributing to the magnitude of the accident.
An argument for accepting Keystone XL has been that tar sands will be used anyway, and will be transported by rail, if the pipeline is not approved. Some diarists and commentators here have argued without any data to back them up.

We need to be opposing all new applications for tar sands petroleum pipelines, as well as all pipeline flow reversals and increases in flow, not just Keystone XL. Enbridge has applied recently to double the throughput on some of its Midwest tar sands import lines, as reported on DailyKos by LakeSuperior.

"This investigation identified a complete breakdown of safety at Enbridge. Their employees performed like Keystone Kops and failed to recognize their pipeline had ruptured and continued to pump crude into the environment," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Despite multiple alarms and a loss of pressure in the pipeline, for more than 17 hours and through three shifts they failed to follow their own shutdown procedures."

Clean up costs are estimated by Enbridge and the EPA at $800 million and counting, making the Marshall rupture the single most expensive on-shore spill in US history.

Over 840,000 gallons of crude oil - enough to fill 120 tanker trucks - spilled into hundreds of acres of Michigan wetlands, fouling a creek and a river. A Michigan Department of Community Health study concluded that over 300 individuals suffered adverse health effects related to benzene exposure, a toxic component of crude oil. (NTSB, July 10, 2012)

If a train wreck with petroleum tanker cars occurs, it will be noticed, and the tankers can only spill the oil they contain. When pipelines trigger alarms and lose pressure, apparently pipeline companies continue to push toxic chemicals through the pipe and into the environment until a outside observer reports the problem:
Following the first alarm, Enbridge controllers restarted Line 6B twice, pumping an additional 683,000 gallons of crude oil, or 81 percent of the total amount spilled, through the ruptured pipeline. The NTSB determined that if Enbridge's own procedures had been followed during the initial phases of the accident, the magnitude of the spill would have been significantly reduced. Further, the NTSB attributed systemic flaws in operational decision-making to a "culture of deviance," which concluded that personnel had a developed an operating culture in which not adhering to approved procedures and protocols was normalized. (NTSB, July 10, 2012)
So let's be clear, pipelines are not safer than rail. A few more links, plus possible updates, below the fold.
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Tonight there is a public hearing on the Enbridge pipelines running through Northern MN and Red Lake Nation's ceded lands near Leonard, MN:

Notice of Public Hearing . Docket Number: PL-9/CN-12-590. Event Type: Public Hearings. In the Matter of: the Application of Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for a Certificate of Need for the Line 67 Station Upgrade Project in Marshall, Clearwater, and Itasca Counties. Industry: Electric. Energy Facilities. Other. Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Clearbrook City Gym
200 Elm Street SE
Clearbrook, MN 55634
And another tomorrow night:
Notice of Public Hearing . Docket Number: PL-9/CN-12-590. Event Type: Public Hearings. In the Matter of: the Application of Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for a Certificate of Need for the Line 67 Station Upgrade Project in Marshall, Clearwater, and Itasca Counties. Industry: Electric. Energy Facilities. Other. Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Deer River American Legion
12 1st Street NE
Deer River, MN 56636
Attend one if you can.

Above the fold, one video from Sunday - Day 18, and more video and words below:

Contact information is clear in this video so more and better journalists can start to cover this story. Send this video link and your own requests your favorite journalists cover this. Also - the discussion of the authenticity of the call, and the comedy/irony of the fence refers to the conversation with Enbridge spokesperson Becky Haas recorded in the Red Lake Direct Action to Stop Illegal Enbridge Pipeline youtube.

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I am convinced that pipeline safety regulators must already know this is unsafe.

I am also convinced that it's all of our collective responsibility to remind pipeline safety regulators we know about this situation. These four pipelines need to be shutdown until the encampment ends and some deal has been reached between Enbridge and the tribe, or until the pipelines are rerouted through lands where they have easements and rights-of-way with the landowners on the new route.

Other videos by the same youtube poster show exposed pipelines on this same pipeline route that extreme sports enthusiasts have been "mudding" over in 4 wheel drive trucks and ATVs. So digging into the frozen earth using fire and giant blowtorches is not the most dangerous thing happening on these unsafe pipelines.

Does anyone know what really going on within the MN Office of Pipeline Safety or the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration? Fill us in by posting a comment below if you have heard anything from them on this crisis.

I am just hoping the Enbridge folks have worked out something with a Red Lake Tribal 1-call number so someone can call before they dig to put in the pool.

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Last night, I stayed out at the protest encampment on Red Lake Nation lands near Leonard, MN through which four unauthorized tar sands pipelines flow:

Also, my local paper, the Bemidji Pioneer published a front page story on the protest encampment vs Enbridge pipelines, with this significant bit of info (investors take note):

Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. said in an email that the protest is not sanctioned by Red Lake Nation.

“This issue is nothing new, and the Red Lake band has known about this trespass for many years,” Jourdain wrote. “We have had talks with Enbridge but nothing meaningful came of those talks so the Red Lake band ordered [Enbridge] to vacate tribal lands, and move their lines.”

Not familiar with this issue and protest? Check out my last DailyKos post for an introduction:  Protest encampment to shut down Enbridge pipelines under Red Lake land

Think about joining us, getting educated and/ or donating? Indigenous Environmental Network

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Enbridge Energy LP has been trespassing on Red Lake Nations Ceded lands in Minnesota by operating multiple pipelines without an easement.

Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan, a group of grassroots Red Lake tribal members and allies, demand that the flow of oil through these pipelines be stopped. Enbridge Energy LP purchased these oil pipelines from Lakehead Pipeline, who originally built these pipelines in 1949 on Red Lake land without obtaining the permission of the Red Lake sovereign nation. According to Marty Cobenais, pipeline organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network and a tribal member of Red Lake, "Enbridge Energy LP still does not have permission to have these pipelines" on an eight acre piece of Red Lake land just southeast of Leonard, Minnesota.

Today Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan have occupied the land directly over these pipelines on Red Lake land. They demand that these pipelines be shut down immediately. "The goal is to stand in solidarity not only with our first Nation brothers and sisters in Canada but also to protect our Mother Earth and all of our children and future generations on this earth," says Tito Ybarra, a member of Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan and an enrolled member of the Red Lake band of Ojibwe.

The encampment over the pipeline is not far from the site of a previous pipeline spill.

On August 20, 1979 approximately 16 kilometers northwest of Bemidji, Minnesota, the land surface and shallow subsurface were contaminated when a crude-oil pipeline burst, spilling about 1,700,000 L (liters) (about 10,700 barrels) of crude oil (source/link: USGS pdf "Ground Water Contamination by Crude Oil near Bemidji, Minnesota").
For more information about the Indigenous/First Nations lead struggle against Tar Sands, pipelines and climate change please consult and donate to Indigenous Environmental Network based here in Bemidji.

The Enbridge pipeline 67 expansion is currently subject to a public comment period, as well.

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One of the Members of Congress introducing the Amendment today who will be at the 10:00 am National Press Club event is Rick Nolan, who represents me and my neighbors in Minnesota's Eight Congressional District. In December at a dinner following a DFL State Central Committee meeting, Congressman Rick Nolan promised that the effort to reverse Citizens United would be his first priority. (YouTube clip)

What follows are details from a media advisory from corporationsarenotpeople.com We the People Amendment to Be Introduced

TODAY,  Monday, February 11, Move to Amend will join members of Congress as they introduce Move to Amend’s “We the People Amendment” an amendment that clearly and unequivocally states that: 1) Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and 2) Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The Move to Amend coalition was formed in 2009 in preparation for the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Today, the coalition of nearly 260,000 people and hundreds of organizations has helped to pass nearly 500 resolutions in municipalities and local governments across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment.

The “We the People Amendment” is being introduced by Representative Rick Nolan (DFL-Minnesota) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

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Recently at XBiz 360 in Los Angeles and the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas I managed to videorecord some of the political & legal panels, including one with California Democrats Vice Chair, and LA County Dems Chair Eric C. Bauman. That happens at about 17 minutes and 15 seconds into the embedded video, but the interviews with talent impacted by the law, who were voters and active citizens in the beginning are valuable too.

My attempt to fund this documentary on kickstarter has failed, but I am hoping that people who would like me to continue this work reach out to me and find a way to finish this.

Tonight these first clips will be cablecast on Channel 18 in Bemidji, MN and I'll host a little viewing party in the studio and we need to pass the hat to keep UPSTREAMTV on the air as well. People who are not in our area can contribute to UPSTREAMTV online via paypal: http://www.upstreamtv.com/...

Thanks!

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