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Op-Ed: Blacklist Bill allows Feds to remove websites from Internet

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By Nancy Houser     Oct 27, 2011 in Internet
The House version of the Internet Blacklist Bill was released October 26, 2011, with no effort to fix problems that existed in the Senate version. A violation of the First Amendment, it is contrary to official positions of internet freedom and censorship.
“Under the Internet Blacklist Bill -- S.968, formally called the PROTECT IP Act -- the Department of Justice would force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block users' access to websites that have been accused of copyright infringement -- without even giving them a day in court.” (Demand Progress)
The S.968 bill is considered dangerous and short-sighted due to its broad writing that covers a multitude of issues, bringing danger to not only Internet security but is considered a serious threat to free online speech and innovation. The Censorship-galore Department describes it as an attempt to build the Great Firewall of America, requiring service providers to block access to certain websites.
This bill could shut down YouTube, Twitter and many other social websites that bring together the Occupy movements across the nation and world---any user-generated content site where the law can make the sites’ owners legally responsible for the posted content of its users.
Additionally, the bill could shut down music storage lockers and cloud-based products, while its broad-based terminology includes provisions that allow selected websites to be charged with felony charges for streaming unlicensed content---video game play-throughs, coverage of band performances and karaoke videos.
 The bill also threatens to take away Americans’ rights to safe  affordable medications by blockin...
"The bill also threatens to take away Americans’ rights to safe, affordable medications by blocking access to licensed and regulated pharmacies outside of the U.S. that require a prescription."
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As reported to Tech Dirt the CCIA, CEA and NetCoalition prepared a joint letter to members of Congress who had originally sponsored the bill, saying that on behalf of the technology industry they had never been approached about the bill.
This is ironic, as Protect IP is basically driven by the demands of the entertainment industry. Yet the bill will dramatically reduce jobs, job growth and innovation in the country---something promised by the GOP when they were voted into office and something not yet seen.
The House had previously agreed to meet with organizations that represented the tech industry and who would be most affected by Protect IP. However, the House has chosen to rush the bill through this past Wednesday without listening to professional opinions or advice from the tech industry, individuals who feel strongly that the bill is “jobs-destroying,” “innovative-binding,” “and internet-breaking.”
Letter to the GOP House from CCIA, CEA and NetCoalition:
October 24, 2011
Via Facsimile and E-Mail
The Honorable Lamar Smith Chairman Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte Chairman Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Mel Watt Ranking Member Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Smith and Representatives Conyers, Goodlatte, and Watt:
We want to thank you for convening a meeting on Friday in regard to the legislative proposal to address rogue foreign websites that infringe the rights of U.S. IP owners. We also appreciate the time your staff has devoted to this important and complex issue. We regard this initial meeting as a productive step toward building consensus around a solution, and we urge that the Committee await introducing legislation until the affected stakeholders can comment meaningfully on the specifics of the approach.
One point of consensus that appeared to emerge in Friday’s meeting was that in an area as complex as Internet regulation, the specific text by which the framework is implemented matters greatly. Thus, the stakeholders who stand to be directly affected by the regulatory framework under consideration should be consulted on the text.
For this reason, we urge you to reconvene affected stakeholders and experts when a draft has been prepared, and utilize the input that they may provide before introducing legislation. Our industries remain committed to working with all stakeholders to craft a legislative proposal that addresses this issue without undue collateral damage.
Sincerely, Computer & Communications
Industry Association (CCIA)
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
NetCoalition
With the Internet Blacklist Bill literally shoved through the House, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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