Senate backs bill, Internet censorship one step closer

Posted by David Gomez

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday that is cleverly disguised as a bill to prevent online piracy and counterfeiting. However, it is actually a law that will lead to harassment and violations of the First Amendment.

The Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is geared towards stopping online piracy and counterfeiting. There is a particular emphasis on foreign websites that are considered to be the worst offenders.
    
Why can’t they just be honest with the public and in the bill and say they are going after p2p/bit torrent users?
    
According to The National Journal, while the bill was approved with a 19-0 vote, it is unlikely that COICA will pass the Senate in the lame duck session. That means it probably won’t be brought up again until the next session.
    
In the meantime the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that they will continue to oppose the bill and educate law makers as to why it is a terrible idea.
    
“We look forward to educating Congress about the dangers in COICA, and joining others to oppose this or any other infringement ‘solution’ that threatens lawful speech online,” Peter Eckersley said in an EFF blog post.
    
Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif. Said that she was happy to support the bill, but said that the bill needs some work as it is moved forward. She mentioned the concerns that critics of the bill have with a stipulation that might lead to domain names being revoked when they are linked to involvement in piracy or counterfeiting.  
    
She said that the bill’s opponents are “particularly concerned about the domain name remedy," and that the committee should be "open minded to the alternatives on this one point".
    
Oh and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) President Bob Pisano just HAD to release a statement on the matter.
    
"It will take a strong, sustained effort to stop Internet thieves and profiteers," he said in a statement in The National Review. "We believe that Congress and the (Obama) administration can make a significant contribution to that effort by turning the bill into law and giving law enforcement significantly enhanced tools for addressing a threat that deprives American innovators of the fruits of their labors and menaces our nation's economic health."
    
Right… so is it for really to protect “American innovators” as Pisano says, or is it to protect the MPAA’s right to overcharge consumers for the massive amount of garbage they produce. Eliminate places to get things on the Internet and force people to pay whatever rip-off price the MPAA wants to charge. That’s their plan.
    
Honestly COICA won’t stop p2p or bit torrent. Only legitimate businesses need a web address for people to locate them. These criminals they speak of don’t need a legitimate web address to do their thing, they can move around at will to avoid authorities if the bill passes.
    
The bill will not be able to stop anything. Hacker and programmer types are too smart for blocks and blacklisting. I almost want to see the bill pass just to see hackers side step it in a day or so, and make these pols look bad.
    
More than anything this bill opens the door for the little guy to be messed with and have his First Amendment rights messed with. Something like this is going to open the door to censorship. Not to mention a lot of economists agree that protectionism acts like these are bad for the economy because they redistribute wealth unnaturally.
    
I love how these big media companies are using the government to keep innovation from making them obsolete. It really is time for people to consider alternatives to the outdated copyright system.
    
Check out this pamphlet by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Dean Baker and CEPR have come up with the best method for cutting out the unnecessary middle man, AKA big media companies.