Monday, September 20, 2010

US Senators in Big Copyright's Pocket to Ban WikiLeaks

A new bill was introduced into the Senate today. Called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, it's nothing of the sort. In reality, it's a nice, easy way to censor things from the internet if it is troubling for the government, and who does that sound like? yes, Wikileaks - although no doubt they're also thinking of that widely used platform for disseminating videos and free speech that wouldn't otherwise be made public - The Pirate Bay.

There's always a sense that things are not so great in the government, that lobbying is rampant, and that, in the main, we in the US get a raw deal when it comes to legislation. There was the much vaunted healthcare bill, which solved none of the problems with healthcare in the US, but created some more. There is the reams of 'anti-terror' legislation, which actually (under a strict interpretation of pre-existing US laws on the subject) turns out to be domestic terrorism. Now we have copyright laws being introduced, that will criminalize, sanction and censure people, if the Government decides to prosecute for copyright infringement. It doesn't even need to check with the rights holder beforehand.

There is a clear target in this; Wikileaks. The bill allows for any website that has 'infringed copyright', or is based around infringing copyright, to have it's domain suspended. It doesn't have to be hosted in the US, it just has to be accessible to US Citizens. It also allows for advertising companies, and financial service providers that deal with the website (such as paypal) to be targeted, and ordered to cease its dealings. If you want to take down an internationally known site, that has embarrased your government through publishing your secret documents, killing the domain name, and its method of funding, is the best way, and this bill does exactly that,

It's a paragon of censorship law, couched in terms that ostensibly attempts to protect business. However, since nowhere in the bill is the opinion of the rights holder mentioned, then it can only be inferred that the US Government is the preffered rights holder. So, instead of being a bill about 'protecting business', it's one about censoring those who speak out about US policy - censorship. So much for the 1st amendment you fellows that introduced it.

So, each Senator that supports the bill, don't forget to resign right after you do, as you've just violated your oath of office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

In the meantime, I'm sure the chinese government will offer this message, 打那美好的仗同志,

Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

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