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

Is it too much to ask the critics of COICA to please read the bill? It has nothing to do with fair use, incidental inclusion of copyrighted material on sites like YouTube, or people selling their own content over the Internet.

COICA is about sites that exist for the *sole purpose of selling copyrighted material without a license*. To qualify for COICA sanctions, you need to have a site that *sells downloads that you're not legally allowed to sell*, and you have to refuse to respond to take-down notices. Chris Pratt's site is not remotely in the crosshairs of COICA or anywhere close.

If the provisions of the bill are too loose, then by all means tighten them up, but drop the pretense that COICA is some sort of open-ended mandate for law enforcement to censor any site they don't like.

Did any of the readers of this list hear Jon Stewart's comments at his rally yesterday? This is exactly the kind of irresponsible, broad-brush fear mongering that he was criticizing.

Be reasonable.


[ Richard, I suspect Jon Stewart might object to your rather
  ham-handed attempt at co-opting his philosophy, but hey, whatever
  makes you tingle.

  More to the issue at hand, it's obvious that you must be reading
  an entirely different piece of legislation than the COICA that I've
  seen.  EFF's analysis is particularly cogent:

  http://bit.ly/9QUjrb  (EFF)

Anyway, the bill I've read -- at least to my level of understanding -- doesn't restrict its provisions to sites that *sell* infringing materials.

  The legislation does include provisions attempting to cut off
  revenue sources (including ads) to infringing sites, but if you
  provide materials that are deemed infringing by the nebulous
  provisions of the legislation, you're a target, even if you never
  ask for or receive one thin dime.

  In fact, COICA appears to expand its coverage to include sites that
  do not provide "infringing" materials at all, but that rather focus
  on merely providing links to infringing materials -- again, with
  the definition of "focus" loose enough to drive a truck through.

Particularly fascinating is the tacit admission by the legislation
that unless a site is using a U.S. based domain registrar, there's
not one hell of a lot that the U.S. can do about them if there
aren't financial transactions involved.
But beyond all this, I find the very concept of using the long in
the tooth, largely financially undermined -- I would personally
assert that it is nothing less than corrupt in various ways --
domain name system as a "law enforcement" tool decidedly abhorrent.
Nor is such legislation likely to be particularly effective, given
that sites can still proceed to operate without domain names.

  Of course, the next round of legislation can up the ante.  IP
  addresses can be ordered blocked and proxies shut down, search
  engines could be ordered to remove listings to sites declared to be
  unmutual, illicit, unappreciated, or otherwise not in keeping with
  the social contract of the day.

  Something to look forward to for those who would turn the Internet
  into the ultimate intellectual property walled garden.

  -- Lauren Weinstein
     NNSquad Moderator ]

- - -

On 10/31/2010 1:49 PM, Lauren Weinstein wrote:

  - - -

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.

-- Richard Bennett