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[ NNSquad ] COICA Kills Free Speech: No More RBJunk Forum?

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Lauren you may find this useful.

COICA Kills Free Speech: Write Senator Leahy
Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:35PM
By Chris Pratt

Blacklisted domains and terminated websites are both possibilities if bill 
S.3804 becomes law. It is called "Combating Online Infringement and  
Counterfeits Act" (COICA) and it was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy  
on September 20, 2010.

Hard to imagine that the same man who could say:

"I commend Secretary of State Clinton for reaffirming our nation's deep  
commitment to openness and freedom of expression on the Internet. The  
Internet has become a vital tool to protect and ensure the rights and  
basic freedoms of Americans and the human rights of people  
everywhere."Released by Leahy's Office in January 2010


"Why did 9/11 happen on George Bush's watch when he had clear warnings  
that it was going to happen??. Had there been an independent congress, one 
that could ask questions, these questions would have been asked years ago. 
We'd be much better off?.."
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy ? interview with Amy Goodman, 9/29/2006

is now proposing legislation that will allow the government to blacklist  
and close down websites engaged in "infringing activities."

Although "infringing activities" are ill defined by this legislation, it  
appears that websites engaged primarily in copyright infringement are  
targets. Websites like mine and thousands of  bloggers and documentarians 
who use the copyrighted material of others to develop their work could well 
be in Leahy's cross hairs.

As a Citizen Journalist and a Citizen Filmmaker,  I was so appalled by  
what I saw first under Republican rule and now under Democratic leadership 
that I produced a film, deceptions, with zero background and for less than 
$1,000. I then made this film available to the public on a website I 
created called www.deceptionUSA.com. Rady Ananda reviewed deceptions as a 
"brilliant clarion to save the Internet."

If Leahy's proposed legislation becomes law, however, my site could be  
closed down by the DOJ (Dept of Justice) for engaging in an "infringing  
activity." You see I am not a professional movie man with oodles of film  
making know-how and financial backing. I am a citizen who would not have  
been able to produce this documentary without the use of material  
developed by others. What is missing from Leahy's bill is any mention of  
"Fair Use," which is part of section 107 of the Copyright Law and protects 
sites like mine where information is freely being rendered. I think it is 
called freedom of speech.

Under this provision the use of copyrighted material is not an  
infringement of copyright law if used for such things as the criticism,  
comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. Think about  
it, almost every invention, every non-fictional piece and many fictional  
works are based on someone else's efforts. Most of the world's  
advancements have occurred by standing on the shoulders of others. Up  
there we have a better view of what has happened or can prognosticate  
better about what might happen.

Without `fair use', citizen journalists, citizen filmmakers, scholars,  
political satirists and several authors, composers and inventors would not 
have been able to produce much their work. This is why the `fair use' 
provision exists and why it has survived years of court challenges. Hmm ?.I 
wonder how You Tube, a website which relies heavily on copyrighted material 
uploaded by everyday citizens, would fair under Leahy's Law?

Now, I have absolutely no problem with closing down sites that sell and  
profit from another's work. That is called plagiarism and, last I knew, it 
is well condemned under intellectual property law. However, sites like mine 
and others, which exist solely for the purpose of engaging the public in 
critical thinking and awareness, should not be terminated by the 

Come on!  I am making NO money from other peoples work. I am a one man  
show, a registered non-profit; a tiny little David trying to fight a  
corporate Goliath and an ultra elite who are now attempting to control  
words as effectively as they have money.

Let's add it up. If the original copyright holders do not have an issue  
with ANYTHING I have said and I am not profiting in any way, why should an 
appointed government official be blacklisting my domain and shutting down 
my website? There is only one reason for such an action and that is to 
prevent controversial viewpoints from being seen or heard.

CNN quotes Al Franken a Senator from Minnesota saying that net neutrality 
"is the foremost free speech issue of our time"

Leahy's Law is a giant step into the Dark Ages of government censorship, a 
view which is shared by most open Internet advocates and a law that stands 
in sharp contrast to Leahy's professed support of free speech.

But perhaps myself and thousands of others are all wrong, so tell me, Mr. 
Leahy, where does my website fall? Look at the film, look at the site, look 
at the credits and render your opinion. You are a lawyer, a former 
prosecutor and this is your legislation. This film and this site rely 
heavily on `fair use' and the works of others. It definitely is engaged in 
infringing activities  ? should it be blacklisted and shut down? Or was 
your intention just to go after the counterfeiters?  Please advise.

To Contact Senator Leahy's office and join me in a clarification simply  
follow this link: http://leahy.senate.gov/contact/

You can also Petition the Senate.

Chris Pratt is a former systems analyst, a certified nutritionist,  
filmmaker and producer of the 2010 film deceptions, at  
www.deceptionsusa.com, and author/producer of the Brain Sense Program at  

This article first appeared in the COTO Report and was published here at  
the request of the author.