Posts tagged censor

February 9, 2012:

The recent actions by the ASU administration to block access to the Change.org tuition petition are despicable. Worse, the University’s justification for these actions was a bold-faced lie.

For the University to block an online petition just because it advocates something they may not like is the height of institutional censorship, which is contrary to the most deeply held virtues of the academy.

Does AT&T disconnect your phone call if you’re telling a friend that their service is overpriced? Does your MacBook stop working if you go to download a Linux distribution? Of course not.

Worse, far worse, is ASU’s claim that they blocked access to this website to conserve their network resources. This is a lie, plain and simple. They know it, and they purposefully lied to the University community anyway. This website uses a miniscule amount of bandwidth. Students and faculty transfer tens of gigabytes of data without thinking twice, or stream multi-GB movies from Netflix. Compared to these everyday “acceptable” uses of the network, the amount of bandwidth consumed by Change.org‘s petition is utterly trivial — maybe a few hundred kilobytes. This has nothing to do with the cost of tuition at ASU. It’s about censorship and about using lies to justify it.

Sun Devils, you deserve better. You deserve for your university to foster open discourse, something that has been cherished by academics for a thousand years, and not censor ideas just because they’re afraid of them. You also deserve for your university, to whom you each pay thousands of dollars a year, to not lie to your faces about what they’re doing and why.

Walter Freeman
Ph.D., Computational Physics

Originally published February 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm at statepress.com

7 notes 

Arizona State University infuriated activists when the school decided to block access to Change.org, a popular site that allows people to create and sign petitions in an effort to produce social change.

According to Free Press — a nonpartisan media reform organization — ASU decided to lift the ban after being inundated with “thousands of complaints.”

The school is claiming that the now discarded ban had nothing to do with the content of Change.org, but rather was implemented to protect students and the university’s network from spam and viruses.

"Arizona State University blocked access to the website change.org after it was used to spam thousands of university email accounts in early December 2011," a university statement says. ”ASU strongly supports the First Amendment and an individual’s or group’s right to free speech.”

But the blog Common Dreams noted that Change.org is currently hosting a petition demanding ASU reduce its tuition rates.

"The corruption and greed that masquerades as Arizona State government must come to this realization now. The citizens of the State Of Arizona and the students at Arizona State University demand better," the petition states.

A writer for Common Dreams who used to work for Change.org shot back at the university’s claims, saying, "Change.org is anything but spam. It’s a perfectly lawful website that has helped millions take action on a host of important issues."

The university apparently felt the battle wasn’t worth fighting and announced last week that access to Change.org had been restored.

"The university acknowledges and understands the expression of concern from some members of the community who desire access to Change.org from university computing resources," the school said in a statement obtained by Free Press. “The university has removed the restriction against site access from university computing resources.”

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Courtesy of the Huffington Post

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Eric Haywood, the author of the original petition censored by ASU and also, the publisher of TheDailyShit.com, responded to ASU’s ridiculous claims as follows;



26 minutes ago ( 8:11 PM)
"Spam is a mass mailing to different email address from one entity, undertaken for the purposes of financial gain. Change.org is the inverse. It solicits the masses to mail just one entity, and the petition is undertaken for the purpose of social change or altering a law or policy, not for for financial gain."

No spam was ever sent to any ASU student. ASU is full of crap.

As the publisher of thedailysh­­it.com and the author of the petition hosted by Change.org which can be found at;

http://www­­.change.o­r­g/petiti­on­s/arizo­na-­state-­boar­d-of-­regen­ts-r­educe-­the­-costs-­of­-educati­o­n-for-ari­­zona-state­­-universi­t­y-studen­ts

It has been my experience as a student at ASU that ASU is not interested in fostering an environmen­­t that is respectful of the 1st Amendment.­­..Nor am I of the opinion that ASU is concerned about the quality of education that it is tasked to provide. What I do believe is that ASU is far more interested in the financial exploitati­­on of students above all other things…I believe that ASU is failing it’s students and society as a result.

In other words, ASU cares about the money it can generate from the 72,000 plus students that are currently enrolled. We are nothing more than cows to be milked. Sheep to be sheared. We are livestock.

We, as students, are there for ASU. ASU is not there for us.
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On November 30, 2011, I ( on behalf of a group of ASU students) started the petition titled “Arizona State University: Reduce The Costs Of Education For Arizona State University Students.”

http://www.change.org/petitions/arizona-state-board-of-regents-reduce-the-costs-of-education-for-arizona-state-university-students

This petition requested signatures to support the reduction in the costs of education for ASU students.

And NOW, Arizona State University is BLOCKING ALL ACCESS to Change.org for ALL of it’s over 70,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and employees.

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As such, students living on ASU campus, using ASU computers or accessing the internet through ASU’s school WIFI are not able to access Change.org.

As a result, Not only can’t ASU students sign the above petition but they are unable to sign ANY PETITION on the Change.org website.

Not only is this outrageous, but it is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of both ASU students as well the rights of Change.org and those with petitions hosted by Change.org to freely express themselves.

So….Now I’ve started a new petition requesting Arizona State University to STOP CENSORING Change.org;

http://www.change.org/petitions/president-arizona-state-university-stop-censoring-changeorg

Last time I checked this was America, not China, or Iran, or North Korea…..

Support Arizona State University Students.

Support Freedom Of Expression.

Support The 99%.

Sign The Petition.

5 notes 

Arizona State University might need to change its name to Censorship U after deciding to block students’ access to popular petition site Change.org.

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Change.org happens to be hosting a petition created by ASU student Eric Haywood that protests rising tuition costs at the school.

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This blocking could be violating the First Amendment rights of ASU students to speak freely and petition government.

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When challenged about the website blocking, ASU officials claimed that Change.org is a spam site, writing that the blocking was conducted “to protect the use of our limited and valuable network resources for legitimate academic, research and administrative uses.”

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But Change.org is anything but spam. It’s a perfectly lawful website that has helped millions take action on a host of important issues (disclaimer: I worked there as managing editor from 2008-2009).

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The fact is, disabling access to any lawful site violates the spirit and principles of Net Neutrality, chills academic freedom and possibly rises to the level of a First Amendment violation. It’s astonishing that ASU President Michael M. Crow would allow this to happen — and that’s why Free Press and Change.org are urging him to stop his school’s censorship immediately.

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We’re at a moment when threats to online speech are peeking around every corner. Just last month, we beat back SOPA and PIPA, two bills in Congress that would have opened the door to online censorship from big corporations.

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Now Arizona State University is going after free speech. If it gets away with this, other universities could be emboldened to follow suit. We must defend ASU students’ right to speak online.

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1 note 

On December 1, 2011 a group of ASU students started the petition titled "Arizona State University: Reduce The Costs Of Education For Arizona State University Students." at the Change.org petition site.

This petition requested signatures to support the reduction in the cost of education for ASU students.

On the morning of December 7, 2011, Arizona State University BLOCKED ALL ACCESS to Change.org for ALL of it’s over 70,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and employees. 

As of this date, approximately TWO MONTHS later, Arizona State University continues it’s BLOCKADE of the Change.org petition website, in a blatant attempt to prevent it’s current ernollment of more than 70,000 students from viewing and/or signing the petition to reduce college costs.



Clearly, ASU does not want it’s students, faculty, or employees signing this petition and has resorted to BLATANT and UNLAWFUL Censorship in order to block the freedom of expression of it’s students and faculty.

As such, students living on ASU campus, using ASU computers or accessing the internet through ASU’s school WIFI are unable to access Change.org. 

As a result, Not only can’t ASU students sign the above petition but they are unable to sign ANY PETITION on the Change.org website.

In addition, emails sent from any “change.org” email address to any student or faculty email address ending in “asu.edu” are also being blocked by Arizona State University. That means that ASU refuses to allow Change.org or anyone using Change.org to send Arizona State University students or faculty emails regarding petitions facilitated by Change.org.

Not only is this outrageous, but it is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of both ASU students as well the rights of Change.org and those with petitions hosted by Change.org to freely express itself.




Last time I checked this was America, not China, or Iran, or North Korea…..

What can be done about this?

Well. If you are an ASU Student, Professor, Instructor, or Employee you CAN sign the petition….You just can’t use any ASU computer or WIFI network to do so….

Just go to the  petition at the Change.org site from your computer using ANY WIFI connection that is NOT associated with ASU…..That’s it…..Easy.

.

Support Arizona State University Students.

Support Freedom Of Expression.

Support The 99%.

Sign The Petition.

.

http://www.change.org/petitions/arizona-state-board-of-regents-reduce-the-costs-of-education-for-arizona-state-university-students

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WASHINGTON — Google will join thousands of tech activists, entrepreneurs and corporations on Wednesday in protesting the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial bill that has generated national outrage among Internet experts.

On Wednesday, more than 7,000 websites are expected to voluntarily “go dark,” by blocking access to their content to protest the bill, according to organizers of SOPAStrike.com. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the measure to a vote next week. Some of the biggest names on the Internet plan to participate in the blackout, including Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit and WordPress. On Tuesday, Google stopped short of vowing to take down its popular search engine, but said it would change its home page to show solidarity with protesters.

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," said a Google spokeswoman in a written statement provided to HuffPost. "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page."

While Hollywood movie studios and major record labels have lauded the bill as a robust effort to crack down on online copyright violations, Internet experts maintain that the tools proposed for the legislation would hamper efforts to improve online security and threaten the basic functioning of the Internet.

Tech companies have been raising objections to the bill since the Senate version, Protect IP, was introduced last spring. Free speech experts also argue that the measure’s basic anti-piracy tool would risk seriously violating the First Amendment in allowing the government and private companies to shut down entire websites accused of piracy without a trial or even a traditional court hearing.

In addition to the Web protests, thousands of New York City tech activists and entrepreneurs are preparing for a Wednesday protest outside the Manhattan offices of Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Both Schumer and Gillibrand formally support Protect IP. Increasingly in recent years the Big Apple has become an active hub for tech firms, with many new companies and their venture capital supporters locating there rather than Silicon Valley.

The anti-SOPA event is being organized NY Tech Meetup, a trade group representing all aspects of the New York technology community. The group is expecting more than 1,500 members and speakers from leading tech companies to show up at the Wednesday protest, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m, at the senators’ Manhattan offices, at 780 Third Ave.

"We’re gonna have people get on a soapbox with a bullhorn," NY Tech Meetup Chairman Andrew Rasiej told HuffPost. "We’re not in a theater; we’re in the street protesting."

The White House announced on Saturday its formal opposition to SOPA and Protect IP, setting off a legislative scramble on Capitol Hill as lawmakers on both sides of the issue sought to shore up support ahead of the Senate vote.

Courtesy Of Zach Carter Of HuffPost

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Who’s officially on the record backing what could be the worst thing to ever happen to the internet? All of these companies listed below. Don’t take our word for it—this list comes straight from Congress. Just FYI.

If you want to get in touch, we’ve provided a contact list below. Maybe you want to let them know how you feel about SOPA.

60 Plus Association: info@60plus.org

ABC: http://abc.go.com/site/contact-us

Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP): 703-539-ASOP (2767)

American Federation of Musicians (AFM): presoffice@afm.org

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA): (212) 532-0800

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP): atoczylowski@ascap.com

Americans for Tax Reform: ideas@atr.org

Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States: iatsepac@iatse-intl.org

Association of American Publishers (AAP): asporkin@publishers.org

Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies: bob@mcconnell.net

Association of Talent Agents (ATA): rnoval@agentassociation.com

Baker & Hostetler LLP: dholcombe@bakerlaw.com or rokada@bakerlaw.com

Beachbody, LLC: http://beachbody.custhelp.com/app/ask

BMI: newyork@bmi.com

BMG Chrysalis: info@bmg.com

Capitol Records Nashville: ann.inman@emimusic.com and brent.jones@emimusic.com

CBS: http://www.bctd.org/Contact-Us.aspx

Cengage Learning: (800) 354-9706

Christian Music Trade Association: 615-242-0303

Church Music Publishers’ Association: (615) 791-0273

Coalition Against Online Video Piracy (CAOVP): (212) 485-3452

Comcast/NBCUniversal: info@comcast.com

Concerned Women for America (CWA): (202) 488-7000

Congressional Fire Services Institute: update@cfsi.org

Copyhype: http://www.copyhype.com/contact/

Copyright Alliance: info@copyrightalliance.org

Coty, Inc.: http://www.coty.com/#/contact_us

Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB): (703) 276-0100

Council of State Governments: membership@csg.org

Country Music Association: communications@CMAworld.com

Country Music Television: info@cmt.com

Covington & Burling LLP: http://www.cov.com/contactus/

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP: info@cdas.com

Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.: law@cll.com

Directors Guild of America (DGA): (310) 289-2000 or (800) 421-4173

Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.: (212) 633-4400

Elsevier: T.Reller@elsevier.com

EMI Christian Music Group: (615) 371-4300

EMI Music Publishing: (212) 492-1200

ESPN: http://espn.go.com/espn/contact?lang=EN&country=united%20states

Estée Lauder Companies: (212) 572-4200

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP): pyoes@fop.net

Go Daddy: (480) 505-8800

Gospel Music Association: service@gospelmusic.org

Graphic Artists Guild: president@gag.org

Hachette Book Group: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/customer_contact-us.aspx

HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide: feedback2@harpercollins.com or (212) 207-7000

Hyperion: http://www.hyperionbooks.com/contact-us/

Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA): http://www.ifta-online.org/contact

International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees: See Artists and Allied Crafts

International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC): iacc@iacc.org

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW): (202) 833-7000

International Brotherhood of Teamsters: http://www.teamster.org/content/contact-us

International Trademark Association (INTA): customerservice@inta.org or
communications@inta.org

International Union of Police Associations: iupa@iupa.org

Irell & Manella LLP: info@irell.com

Jenner & Block LLP: (312) 222-9350

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP: http://www.kelleydrye.com/contacts/index

Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP: (310) 556-2700

Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP: info@kwikalaw.com

L’Oreal: (212) 818-1500

Lathrop & Gage LLP: http://www.lathropgage.com/contact.html

Loeb & Loeb LLP: http://www.loeb.com/Firm/Contact/

Lost Highway Records: (615) 524-7500

Macmillan: (646) 307-5151

Major County Sheriffs: jrwolfinger@mcsheriffs.com

Major League Baseball: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/help/contact_us.jsp

Majority City Chiefs: dstephens@carolina.rr.com

Marvel Entertainment: (212) 576-4000

MasterCard Worldwide: (800) 622-7747

MCA Records: communications@umusic.com

McGraw-Hill Education: customer.service@mcgraw-hill.com

Minor League Baseball (MiLB): customerservice@website.milb.com or
webmaster@minorleaguebaseball.com

Minority Media & Telecom Council (MMTC): info@mmtconline.org

Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP: http://www.msk.com/contact/

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA): contactus@mpaa.org

Moving Picture Technicians: See Artists and Allied Crafts

MPA – The Association of Magazine Media: mpa@magazine.org

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM): manufacturing@nam.org

National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators: (518) 432-1100

National Association of State Chief Information Officers: svaughn@AMRms.com

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA): webmaster@ncta.com

National Center for Victims of Crime: http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?
dbID=DB_Contact764

National Crime Justice Association: info@ncja.org

National District Attorneys Association: (703) 549-9222

National Domestic Preparedness Coalition: info@ndpci.us

National Football League: http://www.nfl.com/contact-us

National Governors Association, Economic Development and Commerce Committee:
webmaster@nga.org

National League of Cities: http://www.nlc.org/about-nlc/contact-nlc

National Narcotics Offers’ Associations’ Coalition: rmsloan626@verizon.net orhttp://www.natlnarc.org/default.aspx?page=1011

National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA): http://sheriffs.org/content/contact-us

National Songwriters Association: http://members.nashvillesongwriters.com/
webform.php?ViewForm=1

National Troopers Coalition: info@ntctroopers.com

News Corporation: web.queries@computershare.com

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP: http://www.pbwt.com/contact/

Pearson Education: http://www.pearsoned.com/contacts

Penguin Group (USA), Inc.: ecommerce@us.penguingroup.com

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: newsroom@phrma.org

Phillips Nizer, LLP: http://www.phillipsnizer.com/about/contact.cfm

Pfizer, Inc.: https://www.pfizer.com/contact/mail_general.jsp

Proskauer Rose LLP: info@proskauer.com

Provident Music Group: (615) 261-6500

Random House: ecustomerservice@randomhouse.com

Raulet Property Partners: http://www.raulet.com/HTM%20Stuff/ContactUs.htm

Revlon: http://www.revlon.com/Revlon-Home/Revlon-General/Contact.aspx

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP: http://www.rkmc.com/Contact.aspx

Scholastic, Inc.: http://scholastic.custhelp.com/app/ask

Screen Actors Guild (SAG): saginfo@sag.org

Shearman & Sterling LLP: website.administration@shearman.com

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP: (212) 455-2000

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP: info@skadden.com

Sony/ATV Music Publishing: info@sonyatv.com

Sony Music Entertainment: http://hub.sonymusic.com/about/feedback.php or http://
www.sonyatv.com/index.php/contact

Sony Music Nashville: http://www.sonyatv.com/index.php/contact

State International Development Organization (SIDO): sido@csg.org

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO): nato@natodc.com

The Perseus Books Groups: (800) 343-4499

The United States Conference of Mayors: info@usmayors.org

Tiffany & Co.: http://press.tiffany.com/Customer/Request/ContactUs.aspx

Time Warner: http://www.timewarner.com/contact-us/

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC): info@ufc.com

UMG Publishing Group Nashville: (615) 340-5400

United States Chamber of Commerce: http://www.uschamber.com/about/contact/submit-
question

United States Tennis Association: https://forms.usta.com/usta/form325815541/
secure_index.html
 or memberservices@usta.com

Universal Music: communications@umusic.com

Universal Music Publishing Group: umpg.newmedia@umusic.com

Viacom: http://www.viacom.com/contact/Pages/default.aspx

Visa, Inc.: https://corporate.visa.com/utility/contactus.jsp

W.W. Norton & Company: (212) 354-5500

Warner Music Group: http://www.wmg.com/contact

Warner Music Nashville: http://www.warnermusicnashville.com/contact

White & Case LLP: http://www.whitecase.com/ContactUs.aspx

Wolters Kluewer Health: customerservice@lww.com

Word Entertainment: wordtech@wbr.com

15 notes 

Surprise! GoDaddy has just recanted their support of SOPA, issuing a press release and blasting out a massive mountainof tweets on the matter. This comes just hours after they were seemingly cementing their position, shrugging off the boycotts as something that had yet to cause “any impact to [their] business”.

For those who somehow missed it: after GoDaddy publicly stated their support for SOPA yesterday morning, a colossal chunk of the Internet (read: the chunk that understands how the Internet works) began to rally. There were no torches or pitchforks here; the only weapons here were wallets, all being carried off in another direction.

The mob got loud, quick: Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh publicly announced that he’d be taking his 1,000+ domains (I Can Has Cheezburger, FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme, etc.) elsewhere if GoDaddy continued to support the act. Meanwhile, thousands of Redditors pledged to transfer their domains, with December 29th set as the mass-move day.

While it’s nice that they changed their stance (publicly, at least), you’ve got to ask yourself: do you want to continue throwing money at a company blind enough to support SOPA in the first place?

Top searched domains still with GoDaddy

  1. twitch.tv
  2. wikipedia.org
  3. xkcd.com
  4. imgur.com
  5. stackoverflow.com
  6. ruby-doc.org
  7. digg.com
  8. github.com
  9. wordpress.org
  10. wordpress.com

38 notes 

Last Week, a group of ASU students started the petition titled "Arizona State University: Reduce The Costs Of Education For Arizona State University Students." at the Change.org petition site.

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This petition requested signatures to support the reduction in the cost of education for ASU students.

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This morning. Arizona State University BLOCKED ALL ACCESS to Change.org for ALL of it’s over 50,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and employees. 

Clearly, ASU does not want it’s students, faculty, or employees signing this petition and has resorted to BLATANT and UNLAWFUL Censorship in order to block the freedom of expression of it’s students and faculty.

As such, students living on ASU campus, using ASU computers or accessing the internet through ASU’s school WIFI are unable to access Change.org. 

As a result, Not only can’t ASU students sign the above petition but they are unable to sign ANY PETITION on the Change.org website.

In addition, emails sent from any “change.org” email address to any student or faculty email address ending in “asu.edu” are also being blocked by Arizona State University. That means that ASU refuses to allow Change.org or anyone using Change.org to send Arizona State University students or faculty emails regarding petitions facilitated by Change.org.

Not only is this outrageous, but it is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of both ASU students as well the rights of Change.org and those with petitions hosted by Change.org to freely express itself.

Last time I checked this was America, not China, or Iran, or North Korea…..

What can be done about this?

Well. If you are an ASU Student, Professor, Instructor, or Employee you CAN sign the petition….You just can’t use any ASU computer or WIFI network to do so….

Just go to the  petition at the Change.org site from your computer using ANY WIFI connection that is NOT associated with ASU…..That’s it…..Easy.

.

http://www.change.org/petitions/arizona-state-board-of-regents-reduce-the-costs-of-education-for-arizona-state-university-students

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230 notes 

BIG BROTHER WANTS TO CENSOR YOUR INTERNET.




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Imagine a world in which any intellectual property holder can, without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom, shut down any website’s online advertising programs and block access to credit card payments. The credit card processors and the advertising networks would be required to take quick action against the named website; only the filing of a “counter notification” by the website could get service restored.
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It’s the world envisioned by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) in today’s introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives. This isn’t some off-the-wall piece of legislation with no chance of passing, either; it’s the House equivalent to the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, which would officially bring Internet censorship to the US as a matter of law.
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Calling its plan a “market-based system to protect US customers and prevent US funding of sites dedicated to theft of US property,” the new bill gives broad powers to private actors. Any holder of intellectual property rights could simply send a letter to ad network operators like Google and to payment processors like MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, demanding these companies cut off access to any site the IP holder names as an infringer.
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The scheme is much like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “takedown notices,” in which a copyright holder can demand some piece of content be removed from sites like YouTube with a letter. The content will be removed unless the person who posted the content objects; at that point, the copyright holder can decide if it wants to take the person to court over the issue.
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Here, though, the stakes are higher. Rather than requesting the takedown of certain hosted material, intellectual property owners can go directly for the jugular: marketing and revenue for the entire site. So long as the intellectual property holders include some “specific facts” supporting their infringement claim, ad networks and payment processors will have five days to cut off contact with the website in question.
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The scheme is largely targeted at foreign websites which do not recognize US law, and which therefore will often refuse to comply with takedown requests. But the potential for abuse—even inadvertent abuse—here is astonishing, given the terrifically outsized stick with which content owners can now beat on suspected infringers.
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By Nate Anderson

BIG BROTHER WANTS TO CENSOR YOUR INTERNET.


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Imagine a world in which any intellectual property holder can, without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom, shut down any website’s online advertising programs and block access to credit card payments. The credit card processors and the advertising networks would be required to take quick action against the named website; only the filing of a “counter notification” by the website could get service restored.

.

It’s the world envisioned by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) in today’s introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives. This isn’t some off-the-wall piece of legislation with no chance of passing, either; it’s the House equivalent to the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, which would officially bring Internet censorship to the US as a matter of law.

.

Calling its plan a “market-based system to protect US customers and prevent US funding of sites dedicated to theft of US property,” the new bill gives broad powers to private actors. Any holder of intellectual property rights could simply send a letter to ad network operators like Google and to payment processors like MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, demanding these companies cut off access to any site the IP holder names as an infringer.

.

The scheme is much like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “takedown notices,” in which a copyright holder can demand some piece of content be removed from sites like YouTube with a letter. The content will be removed unless the person who posted the content objects; at that point, the copyright holder can decide if it wants to take the person to court over the issue.

.

Here, though, the stakes are higher. Rather than requesting the takedown of certain hosted material, intellectual property owners can go directly for the jugular: marketing and revenue for the entire site. So long as the intellectual property holders include some “specific facts” supporting their infringement claim, ad networks and payment processors will have five days to cut off contact with the website in question.

.

The scheme is largely targeted at foreign websites which do not recognize US law, and which therefore will often refuse to comply with takedown requests. But the potential for abuse—even inadvertent abuse—here is astonishing, given the terrifically outsized stick with which content owners can now beat on suspected infringers.

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By 

12 notes