|PROTECT IP = Protect Corporations|
|Written by Mahoney|
|Friday, 04 November 2011 15:41|
The PROTECT IP Act being proposed is nothing new to the world of the internet. Formally known as S.968 the bill has provisions which groups like Demand Progress have called an Internet Blacklist. Opponents to the bill claim it could be the end of Twitter and YouTube permanently, while others decry the increased punishment of making copyright infringement a Federal Felony as being too rough.
Proponents of the bill (read: Big Money Media Studios) have pointed out that no where in the language of the bill does it call for a list of any kind, nor does it at any time use the word censor. Such things already have negative associations, and to use that language would mean an immediate rejection. But all laws, no matter how written under go the same scrutiny of interpretation.
If you dare, and I won't think less if you don't, follow me after the break for my personal take on these things.
The heart of this legislation is in protecting the creators of original content from theft of their property by the use of streaming video, torrents, and P2P file sharing. As someone that produces creative content I do have a stake in trying to make sure that my work remains as my own, and that if anyone is to make a profit well it better be me. I don't share some hippie vision of grandeur that art should be shared freely and we'll all be happy. I want my art to put shoes on my kids' feet and food in their mouths. That stuff costs money dang it.
But I refuse to secure money to my pocket at the expense of restricting and limiting the inalienable rights of every human being. Provisions in this proposed bill would allow the government to shut down and block websites that infringe upon copyrighted material. It would require, whether they like or not, the complete cooperation of ISPs to block and control what ever the government tells them to. I don't care how you spin it, this is government censorship.
It seems a little hypocritical of our politicians who, on both party sides, had nothing good to say of the Egyptian government shutting down the internet during the recent revolt have now placed support for allowing the selective shutdown of American's access to the internet. In fact I mentioned as much, along with the points above, in emails to my representatives in Congress.
Here is a copy of the email I received from Senator Pat Toomey, one of my Senators from PA:
Dear Mr. Mahoney,
And here is another from Senator Bob Casey, my other Senator and a co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate:
Dear Mr. Mahoney:
S. 968 was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy on May 12, 2011. The PROTECT IP Act would allow the Attorney General and property rights holders to take legal action against websites dedicated to copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. It would also allow the Attorney General and intellectual property holders to seek a court order to have websites engaging in piracy shut down.
The PROTECT IP Act would make the Internet more secure by empowering intellectual property rights holders to help identify and eliminate rogue websites that operate maliciously and are dedicated to violating intellectual property rights of innovative and original entities.
S. 968 was voted out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on May 26, 2011, and has been placed on the Senate calendar. I have become a co-sponsor for this act because I believe in protecting American consumers from counterfeit goods and services as well as copyright infringement. This bill will also help combat the shortage of American jobs; it would cut off international rogue websites that take American jobs as well as harm American consumers.
Many individuals are concerned about this bill violating their right to freedom of speech; this is not the intent of S. 968. While this bill will give the Attorney General some control, it does not infringe on internet users first amendment rights for freedom of speech. Counterfeiting is illegal, but outside of America the government can do nothing to stop it. This bill will also protect American public safety. Rogue sites often sell counterfeit prescription drugs and cosmetics that harm American citizens who were misled to believe that the goods were reliable. This bill will help reduce the amount of counterfeit and illegal foreign websites that try to sell goods and services to the American public. When this legislation is voted on please be assured that I will have your views in mind.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov. I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
It is at this point I would like to mention the original intention of the Patriot Act was to fight terrorism, but has been used more to justify warrants for drug arrests (with minimal evidence) than to stop terrorists. I can understand Senator Casey's desire to protect jobs and income. I fully get it. Unfortunately, large media studios don't care about jobs. They care about money. This bill protects the interests of their pockets.
As currently proposed this bill says nothing about how to interpret fair use laws along side of it. If studios want to protect themselves from piracy and still make profits there are better measures out there to be taken. I encourage you to write your people in Congress, and see if they will listen at all. Obama appears poised to sign this bill into law, and does not appear ready to be swayed.