“I have a problem with people who take the Constitution loosely and the Bible literally.” ― Bill Maher
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Posts tagged constitution
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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.
When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. FEC in a 5-4 decision, The Court struck down the FECA prohibition on corporations and labor unions making Independent Expenditures to expressly advocate the election or defeat of federal Candidates, or its functional equivalent.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses the president’s recent climb in the polls and the movement to overturn the landmark Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United. “Whether you’re talking to a Republican or a progressive, people are saying that that Supreme Court decision, Keith, is basically insane. Nobody that I know thinks that Exxon Mobil is a person,” Sanders says.
Help undo the damage of Citizens United! Urge your U.S. senators and your U.S. representative to cosponsor legislation to amend the Constitution and stop the unlimited corporate spending that’s undermining our democracy.
To restore the ability of Congress and the states to regulate corporate influence in elections, Democratic Senators Tom Udall (NM) and Michael Bennet (CO), along with Senators Mark Begich (AK), Dick Durbin (IL), Tom Harkin (IA), Chuck Schumer (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have introduced S.J. Res. 29, a constitutional amendment that would reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The ruling, which granted corporations the same Free Speech rights as people to spend money in support of or against candidates for office, has led to an unprecedented flood of corporate money in elections across the United States, often under the cover of anonymity.
Last month, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a similar constitutional amendment in the House — H.J. Res. 78 — that would restore to Congress and the states the authority to regulate corporate spending on political activity, including contributions in support of or in opposition to a candidate for public office.
Please take action now to support this legislation in both chambers of Congress by emailing your representative and senators and urging them to cosponsor these bills!
We must take our democracy back from the corporations and restore Government By the People.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC unleashed a tidal wave of corporate and special interest election spending that is drowning out the voice of the voter. Generations of Americans have used the constitutional amendment process to right egregious wrongs and make our country better. Now it’s our generation’s turn.
To restore the ability of Congress and the states to regulate corporate influence in elections, progressive Senators and Representatives have introduced bills that would amend the Constitution to undo the harm of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
Please send an e-mail your representative right now urging him or her to cosponsor this vital legislation. Corporations are not people and should not have the same free speech rights as people in our democracy!
No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex.
- Susan B. Anthony - 1872.