Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sign the petition to protest the internet censorship bill, COICA

Several prominent conservatives on the web are circulating a petition to stop COICA, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would greatly expand the power of the federal government to shut down websites due to allegedly infringing content, without due process first. We already have laws in place like the Digital Milennium Copyright Act which allows copyright holders to have infringing material removed from the internet without going through the legal system, this additional law is not necessary. It is also vague, and could potentially allow the Attorney General to arbitrarily shut down blogs for just linking to or paraphrasing content from newspapers or other powerful interests who are behind the bill.

Although both the activist left and right oppose the bill, we know many members of Congress have been bought and paid for by lobbyists. Senator Henry Hyde, the bill's co-sponsor, has received $885,216 in contributions from the TV, movie and music industries - the industries behind the bill (source: Center for Responsive Politics). This sounds like a feel-good effort to reward powerful interests one blogger described this way, "Now they want the federal government to act as their private security agents, policing the internet for suspected pirates before making them walk the digital plank."

Fortunately, Senator Ron Wyden has placed a hold on the legislation, so it is probably dead this year. But it may be revived next year.

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