Net Neutrality Archives

Your Freedom Online

I know that in recent weeks I haven’t had much to say here about the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress and I really should have.  Suffice it to say that there’s been a lot of complications that have kept me busy with things of a more personal nature.

However that doesn’t change the fact that either of these bills will have devastating effects on the freedom of speech that most of us currently take for granted.

They cannot be allowed to pass in any form.  Copyright infringement is a serious issue however that does not mean that it’s ok to allow Congress to, at the behest of “Big Content”, turn the internet into something that will eventually be just another part of their big money machine.  One that will allow little to no rights for the individual.

Both of those bills were crafted by the entertainment industry and essentially give them free reign over control of content.  They would stifle creativity and innovation and would also severely curtail the ability of people to express themselves online.

I strongly recommend that everybody contact their congresscritters and let them know that you want them to oppose any legislation that gives “Big Content” such a free pass to destroy the internet as we know it.  The easiest way I know to do this is to go to Http://eff.org and check their “Action Alert” page.  There you will find links that make it easy to contact your senators and representatives and make your voice heard.

The more people speak out the better.  We need to raise enough voices that they are convinced to not pass either of these bills or any future bills like them.  I’ve done so myself and I encourage everybody else to do so as well.

If we don’t speak out against it we’ll only have ourselves to blame if these bills pass.

Technorati Tags: freedom of speech, pipa, copyright, internet, piracy, freedom of speech online, sopa, copyright infringement, entertainment industry, big content, freedom

43 Companies that Support Censoring The Internet

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

I just read an article on montrealgazette.com that left me shaking my head in utter disbelief at the sheer stupidity of the situation.

It seems that a Vancouver businessman, Wayne Crookes, claims that writer Jon Newton defamed him by linking to reputation-smearing articles in a 2006 post about free speech on his website, www.p2pnet.net.

Essentially he’s trying to get the courts to agree that merely linking to something amounts to the same thing as publishing it and in particular that linking to an (allegedly) libellous article can be legally the same as if you’d written the offending article yourself.

The problem with this is that links are perhaps the most important feature of the web.  Frankly I don’t see it.  Providing a link to something does not mean that you agree with what people will find there.  It is merely more information, not unlike a footnote in a book.

The difference is important.  Telling somebody where something is cannot possibly be the same thing as writing that something yourself.  If I were to write something that said Joe Blow was embezzling money to pay debts instead of using credit repair services then that would be libelous.  If on the other hand I were to link to an article that someone else wrote making such claims, all I would be doing is saying “Here’s an article so and so wrote” and the link merely shows where that article is.  In providing that link I’m not making the statements in the article being linked to, the author who wrote the article is making those statements.  I would merely be reporting the existence of it.

The thing is, while this seems like an incredibly stupid lawsuit it’s also a very important one.  If the court should rule in favor of this guy that will open the way for anyone and everyone to start a torrential flood of lawsuits against anyone and everyone that links to something that they don’t like.

In my opinion this is nonsense and that nonsense needs to be stopped cold.

Imagine an internet where links are hardly ever used because people were afraid of being sued because of something that somebody else wrote?  The internet would become a mere shadow of what it is now and freedom of speech on the Internet would become a thing of the past.

Technorati Tags: p2pnet, canadian supreme court, opinion, hyperlinks, links, freedom of speech, ridiculous, stupidity, internet, jon newton, supreme court, defamation, lawsuit, libel, wayne crooks

EFF Calls On FCC To Close Net Neutrality Loopholes

As the FCC continues to work on it’s Net Neutrality rules, the issue of loopholes was inevitable.  Sooner or later it had to turn up.  The EFF has filed comments with the FCC urging them to address this before it gets out of control because if it does, the RIAA, MPAA and Hollywood’s big content machine will end up having way too much ability to censor and control internet content.

“The central goal of the net neutrality movement is to prevent ISPs from discriminating against lawful content on the Internet,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. “Yet the FCC’s version of net neutrality specifically allows ISPs to make those discriminations — opening the door to widespread Internet surveillance and censorship in the guise of copyright protection and addressing the needs of law enforcement.”

This makes about as much sense as the manufacturers of skin care products suddenly being able to outlaw the use of homemade acne remedies.  Of course, to be honest, I think that the skin care industry has more sense than the RIAA and “big content” in general anyway.  At least THEY understand that they’re not the center of the universe, even if they are very important to some people’s lives.

However “big content” is a monster of unprecedented proportions that MUST be made, as in forced, to realize that this is the 21st century and things just are not the same as they were back in the1930’s when they controlled everything that had anything to do with content.  “big content” needs to understand that there are now millions of “little content” types out there and that we the viewing, listening and reading public don’t NEED “big content” anymore.

Take a second and Tell the FCC: Don’t Let Hollywood Hijack the Internet.  It’s free, takes about 30 seconds, and will help make a difference.

Technorati Tags: mpaa, net neutrality, eff, big content, fcc, hollywood, riaa

Here’s Your Chance To Tell The FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has recently proposed net neutrality rules to ensure that the Internet is free from blocking, censorship and discrimination by telecom companies Cable companies and large ISP’s.

In a nutshell, Net Neutrality means that Internet providers should treat all Internet traffic the same and forward data packets on a first come, first served basis with no regard at all for what those packets contain.

However some of these companies don’t see it that way and would rather have their say or outright control over what you can publish or access on the internet.

I’m sure you remember hearing about the backlash caused when Comcast was caught sending fake reset packets to interfere with people using bittorrent applications to access popular video & music content in spite of the fact that most (if not all) of that traffic involved perfectly legal content.

How about when Verizon Wireless was caught blocking text messages between a pro-choice reproductive rights group and its members?  I personally don’t believe in abortion but I DO believe in the rights of “pro-choice” (or any other) organizations to communicate with their members. It’s called “Freedom of speech”.

Speaking of freedom of speech, how about the time Pearl Jam’s lead singer made some anti-bush comments during a concert?  Comments that AT&T censored.  Again, I may or may not agree with what you’ve got to say, but you HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY IT AND BE HEARD!

Some of these big corporate entities would much rather squash content that they don’t agree with or that simply attempts to compete with them in some way.

Tight Net Neutrality rules would be a step toward preventing them from doing this.

Right now the Big Telecom companies are lobbying like crazy trying to stop the FCC from acting to make net neutrality the rule of the internet.

Don’t let the lobbyists for large (and mostly evil) corporate “entities” win.  NOW is the time to let your voice be heard!

Take a stand for Freedom of speech on the internet and click this link to sign the petition.  Then, take a couple more seconds to tweet it, share it on Facebook or blog about it.

Technorati Tags: freedom of speech, petition, net neutrality, fcc, censorship, enforce net neutrality

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