Subject: The Combating Online Infringement and
Loyal reader here, a rare liberal Texan, and I wanted to let you know
about something I think deserves attention.
It's called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.
It's a bill being put before the Senate
that would set up an "Internet blacklist" that would be used for cites
found guilty of pirating or other forms
of copyright infringement. These websites would be entirely blocked
from viewing in the US and, if they were
US-based, eventually shut down. And all of this would run through
internet service providers Sounds great right?
But hang on. Don't we
already have a system in place for that? We already have a court of law
for this kind of thing.
Someone accused of internet piracy gets sued and goes through trial
like anyone else accused of a crime.
Well it turns out this
bill would give the Supreme Court unilateral authority to place a site
on the blacklist without
opportunity for trial, and the Attorney General would have the power to
"suggest" sites to the blacklist.
Could you imagine anyone trying to buck that?
Now, not only does this
punishment-without-trial go completely against the Constitution, just
think about how easily
this could be manipulated. Couldn't you just see a company, or hell,
one super-rich or powerful person, "giving a
campaign donation to" (read: bribing) whichever party is in power to
get a website that they don't like put on the blacklist?
This would set a horrible
precedent for our freedom of speech. Our government is officially
kind of internet censorship going on in Iran and China, but this is the
exact same thing going on over there.
Please, post my writing on your cite, or even better, research it and
write about it yourself.
The full text of the bill is here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-3804
I don't care how it
happens, I just want to get the word out about this.
Keep on fighting, Bart
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