Last Tuesday (1/18/11) some 43 companies got together and sent a letter to the US Attorney General Eric holder & John Morton of ICE.  It was also cc’d to Vice President Joe Biden, Janet Naplitano of Homeland Security, the IP czar Victoria Espinel (I don’t know about you but I can’t help thinking how UN-American it is to have ANY government position called “czar”!!), Representatives Lamar Smith and John Conyers, Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley.

This letter was all about saying how they were in support of the seizure of domain names that they don’t like and of course, the new COICA censorship bill.

Never mind the fact that there are some extremely serious Constitutional issues involved here.  Like how these seizures violate the principles of freedom of speech and a little thing called due process.  Instead, these companies are working to present the idea that censoring the internet is some kind of good idea.  Apparently they think the Constitution doesn’t apply to them when they find a website they don’t like.

This is the list of companies that would rather violate your rights of free speech and due process instead of doing the work needed to just do things right and OMG, actually compete in marketing and actually come up with ways to deal with changes in the marketplace.

Here it is, the list of companies that do not deserve one cent of your business

Achushnet – Fairhaven, MA
Activision – Santa Monica, CA
Adidas Group – Portland, OR
Anderson Merchandisers – Amarillo, TX
Beam Global – Deerfield, IL
Big Machine Records – Nashville, TN
Burberry Limited – New York, NY
Callaway – Carlsbad, CA
Chanel USA – New York, NY
Cleveland Golf – Huntington Beach, CA
Columbia Sportswear Company – Portland, OR
Concord Music Group – Beverly Hills, CA
Coty Inc. – New York, NY
Curb Music Publishing – Nashville, TN
D’Addario and Company – Farmingdale, NY
EDGE Entertainment Distribution – Streetsboro, OH
Farouk Systems, Inc. – Houston, TX
Fortune Brands – Deerfield, IL
Hastings Entertainment, Inc. – Amarillo, TX
Lightening Entertainment/Mainline Releasing – Santa Monica, CA
Louis Vuitton – New York, NY
Major League Baseball – New York, NY
Monster Cable Products, Inc. – Brisbane, CA
National Basketball Association – New York, NY
National Football League – New York, NY
NBC Universal – New York, NY
Nike – Beaverton, OR
Nu Image, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
Oakley, Inc. – Foothill Ranch, CA
PING – Phoenix, AZ
Rosetta Stone – Arlington, VA
Sierra Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
The Collegiate Licensing Company/IMG College – Atlanta, GA
The Little Film Company – Studio City, CA
Tiffany and Co. – New York, NY
Timberland – Stratham, NH
Trans World Entertainment Corporation – Albany, NY
True Religion Apparel, Inc. – Vernon, CA
Viacom – New York, NY
Village Roadshow Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
Voltage Pictures LLC – Los Angeles, CA
Worldwide Film Entertainment LLC – Westchester, CA
Xerox – Norwalk, CT

Since these companies don’t seem to appreciate the fact that here in America we have constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and due process and would rather just sidestep those issues, I think that it is only appropriate if we American consumers make it a point to sidestep doing business with any of them.

I have to say that it’s also interesting that not very many who talked about this letter were willing to post a copy of the full letter.  I’m glad to note however that there are at least a couple of people, by Mike Masnick at techdirt.com and Greg Sandoval at News.com who did post it.

I’m joining them in posting the full text of it here:

We run companies large and small that represent diverse aspects of America’s intellectual property community. While our employees live in different regions of the country, and work to produce a variety of goods and services, they have several important things in common – they work hard, they are committed to quality and innovation and they welcome competition. However, allowing others to unfairly compete by stealing the ideas, innovations and intellectual property rights created by our employees cannot be tolerated. This theft diminishes our ability to keep and create jobs, and makes it far more difficult to attract the capital needed to invest in new products and services. In order to protect our free enterprise system, and the standard of living it has contributed to our nation, it is critical that we multiply our efforts to identify and punish the criminals who steal what we create and produce.

Thus, we appreciate the effort and energy behind Operation in Our Sites. The actions announced on November 29, 2010 once again demonstrated that, just as in the physical world, prosecutors and courts can judiciously assess evidence and distinguish between legitimate businesses and criminal enterprises that flout the law and profit from the ingenuity of others. We believe that the online marketplace can only work for consumers and creators if there is respect for property rights and the rule of law – and urge you to continue to act against the kinds of domains that you have targeted. Unfortunately, there are far too many sites stealing from our businesses but we believe that your efforts will drive consumers to the many legitimate online ventures and services that we have worked hard to foster and support.

We encourage you to work with your colleagues in the Administration and the Congress toward enactment of the principles central to S. 3804 – the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The legislation crafted by Senators Leahy and Hatch was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will undoubtedly be reintroduced this congress. The proposal expounds upon the law enforcement techniques at the heart of “Operation In Our Sites” and will ensure that rogue sites cannot evade U.S. jurisdiction by escaping offshore to foreign-based registrars, registries and country codes in order to peddle stolen American intellectual property back into the U.S. market. In addition, the Leahy-Hatch proposal provides an entirely new level of protection for U.S. rights holders by establishing the legal framework necessary to disrupt the business models of the illicit, offshore sites by starving them of the financing, advertising and access to consumers upon which they depend. The carefully balanced measure would allow American law enforcement officials and U.S. courts to deny thieves the ability to use the Internet to enter the U.S. market and undermine our businesses while reaping financial gain for themselves.

We hope that you will continue dedicating resources to Operation in Our Sites and work toward the Obama Administration’s endorsement of the Leahy-Hatch legislation.

Technorati Tags: censorship, boycott, freedom of speech, lazy, constitution, corporate greed, due process, unconstitutional

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