Today, Congress holds hearings on the first American Internet censorship system.
This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. [Learn more here.]
Do you support this bill?
First, let me say that this question is absurdly biased.
Second, yes, I support the bill, and not just because I'm being paid to. :) I generally don't like to take my work home with me, but the scare tactics on the website linked in the question are ridiculous and someone needs to balance things out.
That's not what the bill does, AT ALL. That website is a complete load of bullshit designed to scare people who have no idea what the legislation actually says. Before you post something, take a look at the other side
The bill focuses specifically on foreign
websites that are dedicated to infringing activities
(that is a direct quote from the bill). Sites that have some copyrighted material, but have other uses
besides providing illegal access to copyrighted material, would NOT be affected AT ALL.
Tumblr and Facebook are NOT in ANY danger of being shut down. In fact, since they are dot-coms, they're not even affected by this law. If they were infringing sites, they could ALREADY be shut down by ICE. They haven't been, because they are not dedicated
to infringing activity.
Furthermore, this is NOT simply a push from the entertainment companies. The bill actually encompasses a TON of hard-goods industries that experience counterfeiting, including auto parts, military equipment, pharmaceuticals, smoke detectors, clothing, and more. It's a health and safety issue - sure, no one's going to die if you steal Dexter
, but people can and have died from getting pharmaceuticals online that were laced with cement or lead or other nasty stuff. Imagine if a soldier or police officer is shot in the line of duty - not realizing that their bulletproof vest is fake? Or if you don't realize your smoke alarm is counterfeit, and you're counting on it to wake you up if your house catches on fire in the middle of the night?
The ability to misuse the law is also widely exaggerated. There are strict due process requirements, and the burden of proof to get a court order is extremely high. It's not going to be used to shut down websites willy-nilly. It can't be.
Actually, it doesn't "shut down" websites at all. It simply cuts off access for American consumers. If you're outside the U.S. or are technologically savvy enough to figure out how to get around it, the websites are all still there. The bill is an effort to get American payment processors and ad networks to stop doing business
with these websites, so that it will no longer be profitable for them to pirate content.
I would also point out that regular, middle-class working people (including the ones I represent) rely on residuals from downstream markets (DVDs, Netflix, iTunes, etc.). It's not just celebrities and big production companies making money here. Piracy actually hurts independent artists and filmmakers more than the big studios, because they rely ENTIRELY on downstream revenues, since they don't get the big blockbuster release in theaters. It makes it that much harder for them to recoup their investment, and if they can't make money, they won't make movies.
I've said before, and I'll say it again - I'm not going to lecture anyone about how downloading stuff illegally is wrong. For one thing, I'd be a hypocrite, because I'm not totally innocent on that front, either. But that's a moral decision that has nothing to do with the bill. People are gonna do what they want - which is why the bill focuses on choking off the revenue streams rather than suing college kids like the old days. But this kind of misinformation is pretty irresponsible, and if this is the kind of thing LJ is going to allow to be spread around without checking the facts (or at the very least, presenting the other side of the issue), then I'm glad I'm not giving them my money anymore.