Protesting Internet Censorship - by Stephen Lendman
Global protests against congressional bills to censor Internet content.
On May 12, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) introduced "S. 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP)." Referred to the Judiciary Committee, May 26 hearings were held. Debate's scheduled for next week.
On October 26, 2011, Rep. Lamar Smith (R. TX) introduced "HR 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of US property, and for other purposes" Referred to the House Judiciary Committee, markup continues.
Leahy, Smith, and congressional supporters claim the measures protect corporate investments against online piracy. In fact, they're about censorship and subverting Internet freedom.
If enacted, Internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, and other information location tools will have to block user access to sites accused (rightly or wrongly) of very loosely defined copyright infringement.
In other words, they'll blacklist and shut them down arbitrarily to silence them. Media giants will have unprecedented powers. So will Congress and the administration. Internet freedom will be jeopardized. So will a free and open society.
Provisions empower the Attorney General to cut off access and funding for alleged "parasite" foreign and domestic sites. An Internet czar will decide if US interests are harmed. Courts will enforce police state rulings.
Both bills are so deeply flawed, they can't be fixed. Killing them is the only option.
Sopastrike.com 's web site headlines, "WEB GOES ON STRIKE! saying:
"January 18, 2012 is the largest online protest in history, to stop the Internet censorship bills, SOPA & PIPA. Join in by blacking out your site and urging everyone you can reach to contact Congress now."
With many others, Wikipedia 's "blacking out the English (site) for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time." During the blackout, information on SOPA and PROTECT IP will stay available.
Google 's site headlined, "End Piracy, Not Liberty," saying:
SOPA and PROTECT IP will "censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the US."
"Tell Congress: Don't censor the Web."