Congress Considers Bill to Censor Internet

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US Senate
Protect IP Act (PIPA)

US House of Representatives
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

From the bill: “To prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.



The Washington Post says,
If passed, PIPA would give the government and rights holders dramatic new powers to target websites accused of the unlicensed distribution of copyrighted content. Once identified, accused sites would have their domains disabled in DNS servers (the servers that match the domain name with the numerical IP address and make sure you go to the websites you want to), and search engines, advertising companies and any affiliated websites could be required to remove links to the offending site – effectively blacklisting the URL and placing undo burden on those associated with it to prove their innocence.

In many cases, website proprietors won’t even know PIPA has targeted them until their site has already been blacklisted under a temporary restraining order. They wouldn’t even get their day in court until their business has already been shut down.

This would be a problem under any legal regime that cared about the rights of the accused, but it’s quite more egregious given law enforcement’s sloppy use of its existent powers in the Internet realm — accidentally shutting down 84,000 websites earlier this year…


Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said,
The bills would overdo it — giving copyright holders and government the power to cut off Web sites unreasonably. They could be shut down, and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo could be stopped from linking to them.

“The solutions are draconian,” “There’s a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.”


the weekly Standard says,
The bills essentially call for censorship of online speech in such a way, and with so little recourse for those accused of “infringing” on intellectual property rights.

Even in China they are calling it the “Great Firewall of America.” At least the Chinese are enjoying the irony of the U.S. government moving toward a legal regime that would give it carte blanche to seize and take down websites on the basis of “infringement.”


Modern Survival Blog says,
Congress and the executive branch sure seem to be in a hurry to rip up more of our liberties.


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