January 19th, 2012
WARNING: This message contains unauthorized thoughts. After the passage of SOPA your benevolent and loving government will protect you from being exposed to unauthorized thoughts. –
If SOPA passes (and it will unless YOU contact your Congressman) Your Facebook pages will look like the above. You will NO LONGER BE ABLE TO SURF THE INTERNET OUTSIDE OF THE US. It will be BLOCKED. YOUTUBE will be sued until it will DISAPPEARS. YOUR FAVORITE SITES WILL BE MONITORED 24 hours per day 7 days per week AND CENSORED!
THIS IS SO BAD THAT WIKIPEDIA AMONG MANY MORE WENT ON STRIKE FOR ONE DAY
Google launched a petition. Wikipedia voted to shut itself off. Senators’ websites went down just from the sheer surge of voters trying to write them. NYC and SF geeks had protests that packed city blocks.
You made history: nothing like this has ever happened before. Tech companies and users teamed up. Tens of millions of people who make the internet what it is joined together to defend their freedoms. The free network defended itself. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is clear: from today forward, it will be much harder to mess up the internet.
The really crazy part? We might even win.
Approaching Monday’s crucial Senate vote there are now 35 Senators publicly opposing PIPA. Last week there were 5. And it just takes just 41 solid “no” votes to permanently stall PIPA (and SOPA) in the Senate. What seemed like miles away a few weeks ago is now within reach.
But don’t trust predictions. The forces behind SOPA & PIPA (mostly movie companies) can make small changes to these bills until they know they have the votes to pass. Members of Congress know SOPA & PIPA are unpopular, but they don’t understand why–so they’re easily duped by superficial changes. The Senate returns next week, and the next few days are critical. Here are two things to think about:
1. Plan on calling your Senator every day next week. Pick up the phone each morning and call your Senators’ offices, until they vote “no” on cloture. If your site participated today, consider running a “Call the Senate” link all next week.
2. Tomorrow, drop in at your Senators’ district offices. We don’t have a cool map widget to show you the offices nearest you (we’re too exhausted! any takers?). So do it the old fashioned way: use Google, or the phonebook to find the address, and just walk in, say you oppose PIPA, and urge the Senator to vote “no” on cloture. These drop-in visits make our spectacular online protests more tangible and credible.
SHARE THIS WITH AS MANY AS YOU CAN. IF YOU DON’T YOU WILL BE A PART OF THE REASON WHY OUR INTERNET IS DESTROYED. OUR LAST TRUE FREEDOM WE HAVE AS AMERICANS. DON’T WHINE LIKE YOU DIDN’T KNOW IF IT PASSES JUST BECAUSE YOU DID not do anything about it.
GO HERE, CLICK ON YOUR STATE AND CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN:
Wikipedia, Reddit, and others went black, in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Google announced a link on their home page:
Imagine life without YouTube or search engines. They might survive this law because they’re big. But they definitely won’t be the same.
And you won’t be as free to express yourself.
DownsizeDC.org is NOT going black to encourage people to contact members of Congress and tell them to KILL this bill. The message?
* Don’t fix it.
* Don’t reform it.
* Don’t amend it.
As you’ll see in the video below, SOPA is unnecessary. This bill should be ripped out by its roots and left to die in the blistering Sun.
@sirpengi and Jacob Miller have provided this excellent, CONCISE, explanation and video about SOPA and its Senate companion. You can use this material to fashion your own personal letter to your Representative and two Senators . . .
VIDEO: PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future.
What is SOPA?
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261) is on the surface a bill that attempts to curb online piracy. Sadly, the proposed way it goes about doing this would devastate the online economy and the overall freedom of the web. It would particularly affect sites with heavy user generated content. Sites like YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, and others may cease to exist in their current form if this bill is passed.
What is PIPA?
The Protect IP Act (PIPA, S. 968) is SOPA’s twin in the Senate. Under current DMCA law, if a user uploads a copyrighted movie to sites like Youtube, the site isn’t held accountable so long as they provide a way to report user infringement. The user who uploaded the movie is held accountable for their actions, not the site. PIPA would change that – it would place the blame on the site itself, and would also provide a way for copyright holders to seize the site’s domain in extreme circumstances.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation laid out four excellent points as to why the bills are not only dangerous, but are also not effective for what they are trying to accomplish:
* The blacklist bills are expensive. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that PIPA alone would cost the taxpayers at least $47 million over 5 years, and could cost the private sector many times more. Those costs would be carried mostly by the tech industry, hampering growth and innovation.
* The blacklist bills silence legitimate speech. Rightsholders, ISPs, or the government could shut down sites with accusations of infringement, and without real due process.
* The blacklist bills are bad for the architecture of the Internet. But don’t take our word for it: see the open letters that dozens of the Internet’s concerned creators have submitted to Congress about the impact the bills would have on the security of the web.
* The blacklist bills won’t stop online piracy. The tools these bills would grant rightsholders are like chainsaws in an operating room: they do a lot of damage, and they aren’t very effective in the first place. The filtering methods might dissuade casual users, but they would be trivial for dedicated and technically savvy users to circumvent.
Remember, you can send your message to Congress using DownsizeDC.org’s ETP System.
Remember then, to use the very mediums the Statists fear — social media — to spread this message far and wide. Encourage others to JOIN YOU in defending the Internet using our ETP System.
And if you can, please support this work.
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SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act) which is pending in the House, and its companion bill PIPA in the Senate, will give the government the ability to censor the information you can receive over the internet. If these laws pass, Uncle Sam will have the technical and legal ability to shut down websites in the name of enforcing copyright infringement on behalf of politically connected corporations. The goal is essentially to disappear an offending site by blocking various means of access to it and inhibiting its ability to conduct business – kind of an Internet death penalty, with no appeal.
The vague language in the bills make it possible for the government to silence legitimate speech all around the Web. In fact, even supporters of the bills have been forced to admit that they would result in “some” censorship. (The articles below will give you detailed explanation of why it is important to stop these bills from passing.)
Someone doesn’t have to be a Tea Party activist to want the government to keeps its’ hands odd the internet. We need to call and email Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and especially our Congressman (Hunter, Issa, or whomever your Congressman is) and tell them to vote against this law.
It’s really very easy to do this. All you have to do is go to their website to send them an email. Below are links for Boxer, Feinstein, Hunter, and Issa’s websites.
A one or two sentence message is all that you need. Here’s an example;
Dear Congressman Hunter,
I strongly urge you to vote against SOPA. The government needs to keep its’ hands off of OUR internet.
La Mesa, CA
(When emailing to the Senators, refer to the Senate bill which is PIPA.)
As I said, you don’t have to be a Tea Party activist to want to stop government censorship of the internet. So forward this email to everyone you can.
Here’s the links;
|Internet “Kill Switch” in the U.S. Would Allow Targeting of Websites|
Two very significant government attempts to gain control of the Internet have run into controversy. Congress has been considering the perversely named Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sister Protect IP Act (PIPA). After a great deal of initial support, both are now thankfully coming under fire from some former corporate boosters.
For example, former corporate supporter and the Internet’s largest domain registrar GoDaddy.com recently caved into boycott pressure against this scheme to control the internet and alerted Congress it was dropping its support of SOPA.
These laws, if enacted, will give Uncle Sam the technical and legal ability to censor and shut down websites in the name of enforcing copyright infringement on behalf of politically connected corporations.
The Chinese Connection, a Former U.S. Senator, and Crony Capitalism…
SOPA and PIPA appear to be modeled after China’s infamous internet censorship procedures! Suspiciously, support for these two laws is spearheaded largely by the Hollywood lobby and trial lawyers, traditional special interest groups for the Democrats.
The Weekly Standard recounted an interview Variety conducted with former Senator Chris Dodd, now the head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Dodd, a major former insider, seemed to be speaking for the U.S. political class when he said, “When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn’t do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites.” Put another way, crony capitalist Dodd appears to want the same power to censor the Internet as the Chinese government has.
What Exactly Are SOPA and PIPA?
Many Republican supporters of SOPA and PIPA seem to be comforted by many big corporations’ (i.e. Disney, Fox, CBS, etc.) claims that those laws will protect them from copyright infringement.
Of course, copyrights are already strongly protected, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is an existing law already in place – leading many to argue SOPA and PIPA are redundant and misguided.
Opponents to SOPA and PIPA such as high-tech firms (i.e. Google, Facebook, etc.), Internet engineers (many who helped “invent” the Internet and keep it functioning), legal experts, and those who depend on the Internet for their livelihood or simply to communicate and exercise free-speech argue these are poorly written pieces of legislation and will fragment the Internet, ruin its effectiveness, benefit a few entertainment industry cronies, and give the U.S. government the Internet kill switch it’s been lusting after for years.
How Does All the Beltway Jockeying over the Internet Affect You?
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson writes in The Hill, “What began as an attempt to restrain foreign piracy on the Internet has morphed into a domestic ‘kill switch’ on First Amendment freedom in the fastest-growing corner of the marketplace of ideas… Proposed federal legislation purporting to protect online intellectual property would also impose sweeping new government mandates on internet service providers – a positively Orwellian power grab that would permit the U.S. Justice Department to shut down any internet site it doesn’t like (and cut off its sources of income) on nothing more than a whim…”
Senior policy council at the Center on Democracy and Technology David Sohn says, “Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs.” This means companies like Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, forums, independent websites, and more.
If you’ve grown accustomed to using the Internet to get news and information from outside the mainstream press, these proposed laws could effectively shut down all these sources of alternative ideas and information on a whim.
Overreach Has Already Happened
and Will Accelerate If These Bills Pass…
Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe says, “The notice-and-termination procedure of Section 103(a) runs afoul of the ‘prior restraint’ doctrine, because it delegates to a private party the power to suppress speech without prior notice and a judicial hearing. This provision of the bill would give complaining parties the power to stop online advertisers and credit card processors from doing business with a website, merely by filing a unilateral notice accusing the site of being ‘dedicated to theft of U.S. property’ – even if no court has actually found any infringement. The immunity provisions in the bill create an overwhelming incentive for advertisers and payment processors to comply with such a request immediately upon receipt.”
It looks like it’s already happening. TechDirt.com followed a story for a year starting back around Thanksgiving weekend 2010. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice completely shut down, seized, and censored nearly a half dozen web based businesses by “mistake!”
This month, Congress may decide the fate of the misguided SOPA and PIPA legislation. No matter what happens, Independent Living is here to help you stay vigilant over your rights and give you the tools and knowledge needed to live a successful, healthy, and self-reliant life.
Yours in Freedom,
Lee Bellinger, Publisher
What SOPA and PIPA Could Mean for the Tech World
Another Misguided Government Attempt to Rein In Technology
By Chris Wood, Senior Analyst
Recent history is rife with examples of legislative attempts to rein in technology that lawmakers feared would aid in the disruption of the political and economic status quo. This is often (if not always) done under the guise of providing “protection” to some worthy group of citizens or society as a whole. Two examples that come to mind from the ’90s include the Digital Telephony Act (also known as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA) and what became known as the Clipper Chip Controversy.
CALEA, passed in October 1994, requires telecommunications carriers to “ensure that its equipment, facilities, or services that provide a customer or subscriber with the ability to originate, terminate, or direct communications are capable of enabling the government, pursuant to a court order, to intercept all wire and electronic communications carried by the carrier.” What was going on at the time was that law enforcement officials said they were worried that new digital networks would render existing phone surveillance techniques useless, so they passed this legislation forcing phone companies to make their networks accessible to law-enforcement wiretaps. In addition to effectively institutionalizing electronic eavesdropping, the bill also required all future technology to accommodate the FBI’s electronic surveillance desires.
CALEA was controversial. The debate over the privacy concerns that it raised raged for years – from the time an earlier version of the legislation was introduced in 1992 until well after the Act became law. But that debate was overshadowed by the much more public controversy over the Clipper Chip.
Authorized by the Clinton White House in April 1993, the Clipper Chip program emerged in early 1994 as the Escrowed Encryption Standard (EES). The stated purpose of the program was to offer telecommunications privacy to individuals, businesses, and government, while allowing law enforcement to listen in on suspected criminals. But it was much more.
Clipper was developed by the NSA for telephone communications. It provided security through a new standard of encryption but only the government would hold the keys to unlock it. The idea was to install one of these Clipper Chips in every phone. While access to the decryption keys was to be permitted only as “legally authorized,” privacy advocates immediately questioned the vague and broad use of that term.
Fortunately, the Clipper Chip proposal had sufficient flaws that by mid-1994 the administration began backing away from the idea. By 1996, Clipper was dead.
Today, two proposed laws – both promoted in the name of protecting certain groups’ rights – stand ready to wreak havoc on the technology sector: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
The stated purpose of H.R. 3261 (SOPA) is “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” Meanwhile, S. 968 (PIPA) is supposed to “prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.”
Both bills sound innocuous on the surface. But the potential fallout effects have galvanized leading technology companies, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, start-up CEOs, and activists like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to oppose them.
For example, the new group Engine Advocacy, created to give tech entrepreneurs a voice in government, has been roused into action by opposition to the two bills. More than 300 entrepreneurs and investors showed up at the first organizational meeting the group held last month. What’s more, companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Foursquare, Zynga, Etsy, Yahoo! and Wikipedia are said to be discussing a coordinated temporary blackout of services, in protest against the potential negative effects of SOPA and PIPA on the Internet.
What is it that has so many people up in arms?
SOPA represents the latest effort from Hollywood and its allies to fight what they see as rampant piracy on the Internet. The bill was introduced by Lamar Smith (R-TX) in late October 2011. However, due to the outrage the first version of the bill generated, Smith offered a 71-page amendment on December 12, which attempted to address some (but not most) of the criticisms directed at it.
In addition to making the act of streaming copyrighted works on the Internet a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, SOPA would allow the US Attorney General to seek court orders to stop online ad networks and payment processors (like PayPal) from doing business with foreign websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. The court orders could also require ISPs to prevent their subscribers in the US from accessing these sites and could prohibit search engines (like Google) from providing a direct link to them. The goal is essentially to disappear an offending site by blocking various means of access to it and inhibiting its ability to conduct business – kind of an Internet death penalty, with no appeal.
PIPA is basically the Senate’s version of SOPA, though it’s slightly less broad based. PIPA targets only domain-name system providers, financial companies, and ad networks, not companies that provide Internet connectivity.
Opponents of the bills are not suggesting that copyright laws do not apply to the Internet. They merely argue that SOPA and PIPA are really bad ways of attacking a legitimate problem.
For starters, free-speech advocates point to the vague language in the bills that they say will create new tools for silencing legitimate speech all around the Web. In fact, even supporters of the bills have been forced to admit that they would result in some censorship. Famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams (who was actually contracted by the MPAA and other trade groups to write a letter saying SOPA does not violate the First Amendment) conceded that, “regardless of the particular standard or definition of foreign infringing sites, court-approved remedies under the Stop Online Piracy Act may result in the blockage or disruption of some protected speech.“
Meanwhile, a large group of attorneys specializing in IP (intellectual property) law has come together to voice its concerns with the bills. Among other things, the group claims that the way copyright infringement on the Internet is redefined not only conflicts with Supreme Court precedent “but would make YouTube, Google, and numerous other web sites liable for copyright infringement.”
At the heart of the matter is the likelihood that no one on the Internet would be untouched by this legislation. And the unintended consequences would reach far and wide. Alex MacGillivray, general counsel for Twitter, recently wrote a telling hypothetical piece explaining how the legislation (SOPA in this case) would affect millions of “ordinary, non-infringing users.”
Many of the architects of the Internet itself have joined the fight. A group of 83 prominent Net inventors and engineers has warned that SOPA and PIPA “will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure.” These technologists have also identified a whole new set of problems associated with the legislation – that it will also inadvertently undermine Internet security. They write:
Regardless of recent amendments to SOPA, both bills will risk fragmenting the Internet’s global domain name system (DNS) and have other capricious technical consequences… Censorship of Internet infrastructure will inevitably cause network errors and security problems. This is true in China, Iran and other countries that censor the network today; it will be just as true of American censorship. It is also true regardless of whether censorship is implemented via the DNS, proxies, firewalls, or any other method. Types of network errors and insecurity that we wrestle with today will become more widespread, and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.
[Ed. Note: If you're interested in a technical explanation of the security and other technical concerns raised by the legislation, we recommend reading the whitepaper Security and Other Technical Concerns Raised by the DNS Filtering Requirements in the Protect IP Bill.]
At the end of the day, SOPA and PIPA would probably do little to actually stop piracy and protect IP. But they would succeed in wreaking havoc on the Internet and harming many legitimate online businesses and non-infringing users while hindering technological innovation. Stay tuned – both of these bills are up for debate in their respective houses in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you posted.
SOPA and PIPA – Learn more
- Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?
- Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia. Instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, encouraging you to share your views with your representatives, and with each other on social media.
- What are SOPA and PIPA?
- SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Actand PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, andPIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.
- Why is the blackout happening?
- Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people’s access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.
- Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
- Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyright laws, or hosting pirated content?
- No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPA characterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that is not accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant in protecting against violations: Wikipedians spend thousands of hours every week reviewing and removing infringing content. We are careful about it because our mission is to share knowledge freely. To that end, all Wikipedians release their contributions under a free license, and all the material we offer is freely licensed. Free licenses are incompatible with copyright infringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.
- Isn’t SOPA dead? Wasn’t the bill shelved, and didn’t the White House declare that it won’t sign anything that resembles the current bill?
- No, neither SOPA nor PIPA is dead. On January 17th, SOPA’s sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. In many jurisdictions around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties.
- How could SOPA and PIPA hurt Wikipedia?
- SOPA and PIPA are a threat to Wikipedia in many ways. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require Wikipedia to actively monitor every site we link to, to ensure it doesn’t host infringing content. Any link to an infringing site could put us in jeopardy of being forced offline.
- I live in the United States. What’s the best way for me to help?
- The most effective action you can take is to call your representatives and tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. Type your zipcode in the locator box to find your representatives’ contact information. Text-based communication is okay, but phone calls have the most impact.
- I don’t live in the United States. How can I help?
- Contact your local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will affect sites outside of the United States, and actions to sites inside the United States (like Wikipedia) will also affect non-American readers — like you. Calling your own government will also let them know you don’t want them to create their own bad anti-Internet legislation.
- Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?
- I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Is that true?
- No. Some people are characterizing it that way, probably in an effort to imply all the participants are motivated by commercial self-interest. But it’s obviously not that simple. The proof of that is Wikipedia’s involvement. Wikipedia has no financial self-interest at play here: we do not benefit from copyright infringement, nor are we trying to monetize traffic or sell ads. We are protesting to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA solely because we think they will hurt the Internet, and your ability to access information online. We are doing this for you, because we’re on your side.
- In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality?
- We hope you continue to trust Wikipedia to be a neutral information source. We are staging this blackout because (as Wikimedia Foundation Trustee Kat Walsh said recently), although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not. For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Wikipedia is a tremendously useful resource, and its existence depends upon a free, open and uncensored Internet. SOPA and PIPA (and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States) will hurt you, because they will make it impossible for sites you enjoy, and benefit from, to continue to exist. That’s why we’re doing this.
- I have a question that isn’t answered here, or, I would like to send feedback to Wikipedia.
- You can reach Wikipedia editors at info-en(at)wikimedia(dot)org. If you need a response, please be patient: we may have trouble keeping up with the mail.
There certainly hasn’t been any lack of attempts by the U.S. government — elected Representatives and Senators, and White House — to try to regulate/control the Internet in this session of Congress. It seems a new cybersecurity bill pops up at least once a week. The latest one catching all the attention is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261. SOPA is a beefed-up version of the failed Protect IP Act.Whereas SOPA is heavily supported by Hollywood producers, the recording industry, and large media companies and their lobbyists as a way to protect their copyrighted material, SOPA’s opponents include major Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as civil liberties groups,Tea Party groups, and investors.Under the proposal any website, including search engines like Google, could be forced to delist whole domains on the basis of a copyright claim by a content provider. Internet Providers would be forced into monitoring websites that contain user-generated content because embedding and posting and sharing videos, etc., could be a violation of SOPA. This would be a severe limiting of the currently used and understood Fair Use doctrine. Unauthorized streaming would become a felony. And SOPA could eliminate the alternative media so prevalent on the Internet for simply unknowingly embedding unauthorized videos or links; perhaps even quoting from copyrighted material would be enough to “delist” the domain name of the website.David Ulevich, an
expert in Internet security calls the legislation“dangerous” for three reasons: 1) “there is no way to censor only illegal content without harming legitimate uses on sites as well,” 2) it will create a firewall to “censor websites similar to those countries we criticize for the same behavior,” and 3) it will “burden companies with an onerous level of liability for all user-generated content.”Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said this about the bill: “It could set a precedent for further control and censorship of the Internet by foreign governments, and risk the fragmentation of the global domain name system.” Reporters Without Borders said the bill is “clearly hostile to freedom of expression.” While a Harvard Business Review blogger stated the bill would “give America its very own version of the Great Firewall of China,” because of the imposition of content filtering and blocking without any independent judicial control. That’s right. According to a
C-Net analysisof the bill, SOPA “would let content owners bypass cops, courts, and any semblance of due process, and ‘disappear’ entire Web domains like some kind of privatized secret police force.”The bill, so broadly written, is a danger to Internet freedom, has devastating penalties that are rather disconnected from alleged violations of the bill, could certainly kill any new e-commerce or normal Internet usage, issues rather vague requirements to Internet Service Providers, and has the potential for International consequences that could result in court challenges by foreign countries, all because the measure is so completely out of sync with the current Internet structure and how it operates.
The Internet has become an incredible force that promotes free speech and alternative views and information. Also, according to a “Dear Colleague” letter written by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on November 8, 2011: “Online innovation and commerce were responsible for 15 percent of U.S. GDP growth from 2004 to 2009, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.” However, after reviewing SOPA, many venture capitalists say there is no way they would invest money in the Internet under the risky conditions SOPA would impose.
Speak out about Internet censorship by
contacting your Representative and Senators immediately,as this bill is sure to see more action before the end of the year. It is a government-interference Internet bill of great magnitude that would in fact destroy the Internet as we now know it, creating a new bureaucracy with the U.S. Government as the Internet police.Your friends at The John Birch Society
Don’t wait…we must hurry and get our message to Congress to PROTECT Internet Freedom!
In December, while you were busy with holiday plans, Congress was marking up a bill that will END INTERNET FREEDOMin America.HR 3261, the “Stopping Online Piracy Act (SOPA),” and its counterpart in the Senate, “Protect IP,” are bills lobbied heavily by Hollywood that will LIMIT Internet freedom and commerce-and they put our First and Fourth Amendments under assault.
SOPA will create a police-state in which the government has total control over the Internet – just like China, Iran and Syria. If the United States of America passes SOPA, we will be practicing the exact same type of censorship as these countries.
Because of the outrage of freedom-minded Americans like you, Congress put the bill on hold before they went on their holiday break. However, THEIR PLANS TO END INTERNET FREEDOM ARE STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE. They have indicated they will take up the issue again “in early January” – probably as soon as they return from their break!
Conservative Action Alerts urges you to send in your personalized fax right now to Members of the House and Senate, telling them to reject SOPA. Save the internet from government control…make your voice heard right now!Obama’s Hollywood friends, like the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, have pressured Obama to go after hackers stealing their work. And they are NOT backing down. Their lobbyists are working furiously to get SOPA passed. They are (rightfully) upset over copyright violations – but instead of going after the bad guys, they are going to regulate all of us good guys who are simply trying to use the internet legitimately!
Senator Wyden said, “This is a cluster bomb where you should be going in with a laser, and the collateral damage to innovation and freedom is huge.”
It’s been called “Orwellian” in many articles … The Hill said it’s like “curing a headache with a guillotine” … and The Internet Commerce Association says the bill “could be a death knell for all domains that provide a platform for user-generated content.”
Unprecedented government control. The end of Internet freedom. No judicial review.
You must be thinking, “Something like this will never happen in the United States of America!”
It CAN HAPPEN and it IS HAPPENING! We must up against the powerful, money-heavy Hollywood lobby and protect our freedoms.
Conservative Action Alerts urges you to send in your personalized fax right now to Members of the House and Senate, telling them to reject SOPA. Save the internet from government control…make your voice heard right now!SOPA is the kind of terrible legislation that Congress likes to push through quietly while American citizens are focusing on other things, like holiday planning. That is why they worked on this quietly during 2011, and then began debating it seriously during the month of December—when they knew the American people would be distracted.
The Stop Online Piracy Act will:
- Kill Innovation-no one will want to navigate the legal minefield created by SOPA, so many people will just not bother with their website start-ups
- Reduce Job Growth-fewer sites being created means fewer jobs for Americans
- Stifle Free Speech-censorship will end our First Amendment rights
- Restrict Truth-citizens simply trying to speak the truth about the government or political figures may be reported as engaging in unlawful activities
- Deny Justice-without due process, anyone can kill a site by claiming is is “rogue”
- Give the Obama administration more power over American citizens-this is one more nail in the coffin of our freedoms under the Obama dictatorship
SOPA will NOT stop piracy…but it will stop freedom in its tracks.
The Hill reports,
What began as an attempt to restrain foreign piracy on the Internet has morphed into a domestic “kill switch” on First Amendment freedom in the fastest-growing corner of the marketplace of ideas.
Proposed federal legislation purporting to protect online intellectual property would also impose sweeping new government mandates on internet service providers – a positively Orwellian power grab that would permit the U.S. Justice Department to shut down any internet site it doesn’t like (and cut off its sources of income) on nothing more than a whim.
Our First and Fourth Amendments are under assault. Government and law enforcement will have control over your everyday online activities. This sounds like something out of George Orwell’s 1984 novel-but it is happening, right now, in the United States of America.
We cannot let that happen. We cannot allow SOPA to pass and then live with the consequences of a police-state on the Internet.
Please stand for FREEDOM and stop internet censorship. Help us flood Congress with your personalized faxes and tell them to oppose this legislation and protect free speech and free enterprise in America. Send your message to Congress right now!
Imagine if you are posting on a site the government deems “offensive” or “pirated.” They don’t have to wait to prove their case in a court of law, they can simply order them to go dark, immediately.
Everything from large, reputable retail sites to the smallest of political blogs can be made to “disappear” if someone accuses them of using copyrighted content. SOPA will give the government the power to do what it wants with the internet!
If ONE video, ONE picture, or ONE product on a legitimate website is deemed “pirated” by the copyright owner, the ENTIRE website can be shut down. That kind of oppression will cripple the economy further by punishing American businesses and start-ups at a time when we need creative expansion the most.
And, coming up in an election year, imagine the control Barack Obama’s administration will want to administer over the internet, so he can help his re-election! Imagine your favorite blog disappearing because content was deemed “inappropriate” or “pirated” … by our government…meaning, Barack Obama!
If SOPA and Protect IP pass, it will be a SERIOUS threat to online innovation and to legitimate online communications tools.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) have released a draft proposal of an alternative to SOPA, called the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act” (OPEN), which gives the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) the duty to handle copyright holder complaints on foreign websites. The USITC is already in place and it already polices complaints between U.S. and foreign websites.
OPEN is a viable alternative to SOPA that isn’t as stifling to freedom and commerce. But, this issue is still very much up in the air and Hollywood is not backing down on its support of SOPA.
Obama’s Hollywood friends have deep pockets and can continue to influence this debate. That is why concerned Americans like you must get involved and let them know you will NOT accept CENSORSHIP in America of any kind!
Send your FAXES to Congress right now and tell them you OPPOSE SOPA!
Sincerely,Conservative Action Alerts
It is imperative that we fight the forces of a police state and keep the Internet free! Congress shelved discussion of SOPA until after the holidays, mainly because of outrage from concerned Americans like you – but they have indicated they will return from the holiday break and begin talks again in the new year. FAX CONGRESS NOW and tell them to oppose SOPA and Protect IP! If we do not act now, we could lose our Internet freedoms forever!You can also CLICK HERE to send a FREE message directly to YOUR U.S. Representative and Senators!
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