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***ALERT! S.3804 Will Allow US to BLOCK/CENSOR Websites Worldwide!

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Author Topic: ***ALERT! S.3804 Will Allow US to BLOCK/CENSOR Websites Worldwide!  (Read 1239 times)
Optimus
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« on: September 22, 2010, 04:17:21 pm »

Bill would let feds block pirate websites worldwide

Copyright enforcement as censorship


By Dan Goodin in San Francisco • Get more from this author
Posted in Law, 21st September 2010 21:22 GMT

US lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the federal government to quickly block websites anywhere in the world if they are dedicated to sharing copyrighted music or other protected content.

The “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” would empower the US Department of Justice to shut down, or block access to, websites found to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” Sites that use domain names registered by a US-based company, or a top-level-domain administered by a US-based company, would find their internet addresses frozen.

The bill also contains provisions to block sites with domain names and TLDs that are maintained by overseas companies, which are immune to US laws. Under the legislation, US attorneys would be authorized to obtain court orders directing US-based internet service providers to stop resolving the IP addresses that allow customers to access the sites. That would have the effect of making the sites inaccessible to US-based web users who don't use some sort of proxy service.

The bill, which was introduced on Monday, is sponsored by Senators Orin Hatch and Patrick Leahy and has support from at least 10 other senators. It is scheduled to be added to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for a Thursday hearing.

Read More...

S. 3804 - Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:S3804:
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 04:25:25 pm by Route » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 04:18:12 pm »

Bill Would Give Justice Department Power to Shutter Piracy Sites Worldwide

    * By David Kravets Email Author
    * September 20, 2010  |
    * 3:33 pm

Lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would let the Justice Department seek U.S. court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world, and shut them down through the sites’ domain registration.

The bipartisan legislation, dubbed the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, (.pdf) amounts to the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement. The recording industry and movie studios have been clamoring for such a capability since the George W. Bush administration. If passed, the Justice Department could ask a federal court for an injunction that would order a U.S. domain registrar or registry to stop resolving an infringing site’s domain name, so that visitors to PirateBay.org, for example, would get an error message.

“In today’s global economy the internet has become the glue of international commerce –- connecting consumers with a wide array of products and services worldwide,” said Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement announcing the bill. “But it’s also become a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property.”

The bill would direct injunctions at a piracy site’s domain registrar, if the registration was through a U.S. company. If not, the Justice Department could serve the court order at the registry for the site’s top-level domain. Registry’s for the dot-com, dot-net and dot-org domains are all U.S.-based, and thus within the courts’ jurisdiction. For domains not under U.S. control, the bill would demand that internet service providers in the United States block resolution of the address upon a court order, but overseas users would not be impacted.


Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/justice-department-piracy/#ixzz10IBzF2Fl

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 04:18:54 pm »

Copyright, Censorship, and Domain Name Blacklists at Home in the U.S.
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/wseltzer/copyright-censorship-and-domain-name-blacklists-home-us
By Wendy Seltzer - Posted on September 21st, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Last week, The New York Times reported that Russian police were using copyright allegations to raid political dissidents, confiscating the computers of advocacy groups and opposition newspapers "under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software." Admirably, Microsoft responded the next day with a declaration of license amnesty to all NGOs:

    To prevent non-government organizations from falling victim to nefarious actions taken in the guise of anti-piracy enforcement, Microsoft will create a new unilateral software license for NGOs that will ensure they have free, legal copies of our products.

Microsoft's authorization undercuts any claim that its software is being infringed, but the Russian authorities may well find other popular software to use as pretext to disrupt political opponents.

"Piracy" has become the new tax evasion, an all-purpose charge that can be lobbed against just about anyone. If the charge alone can prompt investigation -- and any electronics could harbor infringing copies -- it gives authorities great discretion to interfere with dissidents.

That tinge of censorship should raise grave concern here in the United States, where Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch, with Senate colleagues, have introduced the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act." (PDF).

This Bill would give the Attorney General the power to blacklist domain names of sites "offering or providing access to" unauthorized copyrighted works "in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, transmission, or otherwise, including the provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining such copies for accessing such performance or displays"; as well as those offering items with counterfeit trademarks. The AG could obtain court orders, through "in rem" proceedings against the domains, enjoining the domain name registrars or registries from resolving the names. Moreover, in the case of domains without a U.S. registrar or registry, other service providers, financial transaction providers, and even advertising servers could be caught in the injunctive net.

While the Bill makes a nod to transparency by requiring publication of all affected domain names, including those the Department of Justice "determines are dedicated to infringing activities but for which the Attorney General has not filed an action under this section," it then turns that information site into a invitation to self-censorship, giving legal immunity to all who choose to block even those names whose uses' alleged illegality has not been tested in court. (Someone who is listed must petition, under procedures to be determined by the AG, to have names removed from the list.)

Finally, the statute's warped view -- that allegations of infringement can only be good -- is evident in the public inputs it anticipates. The public and intellectual property holders shall be invited to provide information about "Internet sites that are dedicated to infringing activities," but there is no provision for the public to complain of erroneous blockage or lawful sites mistakenly or maliciously included in the blacklist.

Hollywood likes the Bill. Unfortunately, there's plenty of reason to believe that allegations of infringement will be misused here in the United States. Even those who oppose infringement of copyright and trademark (myself included) should oppose this censorious attempt to stop it.
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 04:23:46 pm »


Quote
Sec. 2324. Internet sites dedicated to infringing activities

      `(a) Definition- For purposes of this section, an Internet site is `dedicated to infringing activities' if such site--

            `(1) is otherwise subject to civil forfeiture to the United States Government under section 2323; or

            `(2) is--

                  `(A) primarily designed, has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than, or is marketed by its operator, or by a person acting in concert with the operator, to offer--

                        `(i) goods or services in violation of title 17, United States Code, or enable or facilitate a violation of title 17, United States Code, including by offering or providing access to, without the authorization of the copyright owner or otherwise by operation of law, copies of, or public performance or display of, works protected by title 17, in complete or substantially complete form, by any means, including by means of download, transmission, or otherwise, including the provision of a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining such copies for accessing such performance or displays; or

                        `(ii) to sell or distribute goods, services, or materials bearing a counterfeit mark, as that term is defined in section 34(d) of the Act entitled `An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes', approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the `Trademark Act of 1946' or the `Lanham Act'; 15 U.S.C. 1116(d)); and

                  `(B) engaged in the activities described in subparagraph (A), and when taken together, such activities are central to the activity of the Internet site or sites accessed through a specific domain name.

This wording certainly describes websites which rely on other news sources for substantiating opinions, background information and providing further research material to viewers.  How useful would alternative media websites be without the ability to back up their op-eds with MSM articles, documents potentially containing a protected seal or copyright, and other sources?

With no sources, media becomes a "who's got more money for more distribution" game instead of who is more thorough, accurate and researched.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 04:41:12 pm »

EFF: Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in "Online Infringement" Bill - S.3804
Submitted by Michael Nystrom on Tue, 09/21/2010 - 22:08
in

    * Daily Paul Liberty Forum

Legislative Analysis by Richard Esguerra | EFF
September 21, 2010

Senator Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (COICA). This flawed bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time — by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. The bill would also create two Internet blacklists. The first is a list of all the websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second, more worrying, blacklist is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines — without judicial review — are "dedicated to infringing activities." The bill only requires blocking for domains in the first list, but strongly suggests that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators who decide to block domains on the second blacklist as well. (It's easy to predict that there will be tremendous pressure for Internet intermediaries of all stripes to block these "deemed infringing" sites on the second blacklist.)

COICA is a fairly short bill, but it could have a longstanding and dangerous impact on freedom of speech, current Internet architecture, copyright doctrine, foreign policy, and beyond. In 2010, if there's anything we've learned about efforts to re-write copyright law to target "piracy" online, it's that they are likely to have unintended consequences.

This is a censorship bill that runs roughshod over freedom of speech on the Internet...

Continue at EFF.org
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 09:14:07 am »

Bill would let U.S. kill allegedly infringing sites without trial, immunize ISPs
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/howell/bill-would-let-us-kill-allegedly-infringing-sites-without-trial-immunize-isps/494
By Denise Howell | September 21, 2010, 6:54am PDT


Summary

Proposed new legislation would strip domain access from sites ‘dedicated to infringing activities,’ cutting through the red tape of due process, sovereignty, and property rights.



Recently I’ve gotten a lot of mail from concerned people wondering whether the Obama administration has secreted an “Internet kill switch” into a pending cybersecurity bill.  As of yesterday, I can tell them:  right needle, wrong haystack.

While it’s apparently debatable whether the U.S. government already has the ability to shut sites down, proponents of the just-introduced Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (PDF) don’t want there to be any confusion on the point:  if this law is passed, it will.  Not in the name of national security, but instead to protect the economic interests of U.S. intellectual property owners.

To put things in context, it’s no secret aggressive enforcement by U.S. rightsholders in the entertainment, software, and other industries has driven online traffic in infringing material offshore.  In May, the Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus named China, Russia, Mexico, Canada and Spain — home of some of the top file-sharing sites — as its primary Axis of Evil, and of course Sweden, which houses the uber-resilient Pirate Bay, gets an honorable mention on any such list.  The legislation introduced yesterday is evidence of a lightbulb going off over someone’s head on the enforcement side of this struggle:  though the U.S. lacks jurisdiction and control over far-flung Web hosts and ISPs, it has jurisdiction over the registries for the .com (VeriSign), .net (VeriSign), and .org (the Public Interest Registry) domains, and various other TLDs.  “Let’s use it,” the rightsholders have declared.

Under this proposed new law, in light of the dominance of U.S. firms in the domain registry arena, U.S. rightsholders would be able to effectively flip the kill switch on sites offering allegedly infringing material without having to rely on the cooperation of pesky foreign governments and courts.  Here’s how Keith Kupferschmid, Senior Vice President for Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA, put it:

    The legislation not only strengthens the DOJ’s ability to shut down individual domains; it also gives authorities the power to cut piracy off at the source by eliminating critical technical and financial resources. SIIA runs the industry’s most aggressive anti-piracy program, and we believe the legislation introduced today could greatly extend our reach and ability to thwart piracy – especially operations taking place on foreign websites.

Once the Justice Department concurred that a particular site was “dedicated to infringing activities,” here’s how it would work:

    * The U.S. Attorney General institutes an in rem action against the site in question.  In rem actions are actions directly against a property interest.  Here, the property is the target site’s domain name.

    * If the domain’s registry OR registrar is located within the U.S. (remember, that’s all .coms, .nets, and .orgs), the action is to be brought in the local jurisdiction of the registrar or registry (e.g., VeriSign is headquartered in Dulles, VA).

    * If the domain’s registry or registrar is not located within the U.S., the action may be brought in the District of Columbia.

    * Once the action is commenced, the Attorney General can apply for injunctive relief “against the domain name used by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities, to cease and desist from undertaking any infringing activity….”  There’s no need for a trial to get the injunction; it can be issued immediately if the court is satisfied with the A.G.’s showing.  And there’s no call for a jury to be involved in granting the relief; injunctive relief is equitable in nature, and is dispensed by a judge only, no jury.

    * Once the injunction issues, it’s game over for the target site.  If its registry or registrar is within the U.S., the order enjoining use of the domain by the site is simply served on that entity and — POOF!  No more site.  The proposed law also anticipates that target sites will scramble for new identities, and makes it easy to expand the injunction to other domain names as needed.

    * If the registry and registrar are both outside the U.S. — and since that excludes all .coms, .nets, and .orgs, for practical purposes these are much smaller fish — the order may still be used to 1) block access to the site within the U.S. (by directing ISPs to decline to resolve the address), 2) prevent financial transactions providers from completing transactions for U.S. customers, and 3) prevent ad networks from serving ads to the site associated with the blocked domain.  These non-domain management-related providers have no incentive to challenge or object to the A.G.’s directives, as they are expressly immunized from liability associated with compliance.

I guess Cary Sherman wasn’t kidding about the DMCA not being a big enough stick.  COICA, if passed, would be nothing short of General Sherman.

Not being a D.C. insider or much of a policy wonk myself, I honestly don’t know what to think about the chances of this proposed legislation becoming law.  If it does, it may not remain one for long.  Favoring COICA’s passage is the fact it is presented as a bipartisan initiative, and Washington seems pretty receptive these days to rightsholders’ complaints that their enforcement efforts are hamstrung.  On the other hand, this bill is quite a land-grab, or domain-grab is more like it.  It makes some sweeping assumptions about the ability and authority of U.S. courts to interfere with international entities, gives scant due to due process, and tosses the longstanding “substantial noninfringing use” principles of Sony v. Universal out the window by specifying only “commercially significant” uses are relevant in determining whether a site is “dedicated to infringement.”  (On that last point, legislatures can actually toss judicially-decreed wisdom out the window.  But still.)

COICA shows that when it comes to enforcement, U.S. intellectual property interests have plenty of bold, creative, and innovative ideas.  Though perhaps some of that initiative might be better directed at the business model side of things.

Update #1:  Another interesting little tidbit is the bill’s requirement that the Attorney General maintain a public list of domain names “that, upon reasonable information and belief, the Department of Justice determines are dedicated to infringing activities but for which the Attorney General has not filed an action under this section.”  It’s like a most wanted list for copyright suspects.  Again, with no trial.  How’d you like to try to get/keep investors or insurance under those circumstances?

Update #2:  Though this bill makes it easier to pursue alleged international infringers than otherwise would be the case, it applies equally to domestic U.S. ones as well.  Thus, if this had been on the books when it could be more forcefully argued that YouTube had no “commercially significant purpose or use” beyond distributing infringing works, Keyboard Cat might still be tickling the ivories in obscurity.

More on COICA:

Gautham Nagesh, Bipartisan bill would ramp up anti-piracy enforcement online

David Kravets, Bill Would Give Justice Department Power to Shutter Piracy Sites Worldwide

Greg Sandoval, Lawmakers want power to shut down ‘pirate sites’

Digital Music News, This Is War, Baby: Combating Online Infringement Act Hits the Senate

Mike Masnick, US Senators Propose Bill To Censor Any Sites The Justice Depatement Declares ‘Pirate’ Sites, Worldwide

Wendy Seltzer, Copyright, Censorship, and Domain Name Blacklists at Home in the U.S.

Richard Esguerra, Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 03:42:11 pm »

Proposed Law Would Allow Justice Department to Shut Down Websites
http://www.infowars.com/proposed-law-would-allow-justice-department-to-shut-down-websites/
Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
September 23, 2010

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will consider action today on a bill entitled Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, ostensibly designed to allow the Justice Department to combat copyright infringement. “The legislation authorizes the Justice Department to file a court order against the domain name and seek an order from the court stating that the domain name is being used to access a website that is engaging in illegal activities,” reports TechNewsDaily.

In addition, the bill contains provisions to block sites with domain names and TLDs (top-level domains) that are maintained by overseas companies, which are immune to US laws.

The bipartisan legislation “amounts to the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement,” writes David Kravets for Wired. “Websites eligible for Justice Department targeting – if the measure is approved – must be ‘dedicated to infringing activities,’ according to the text’s language. A site can be ‘subject to civil forfeiture’ if it’s ‘primarily designed’ as a pirate site with ‘no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use’ other than to distribute pirated or counterfeited wares,’” according to Kravets.

Congress and the Obama administration, however, have demonstrated antipathy toward the idea of a free and open internet regardless of copyright infringement. Earlier this year, Senator Joe Lieberman pushed the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, legislation designed to give Obama dictatorial power to shut down the internet under the rubric of national security.

“Senators pushing the bill rejected the claim that the bill was a ‘kill switch’ for the Internet, not by denying that Obama would be given the authority to shut down the Internet as part of this legislation, but by arguing that he already had the power to do so,” Paul Joseph Watson reported on June 25, 2010.

As Philip Giraldi notes, the government continues to invent excuses to intervene into the internet. All of these “arguments for intervention are essentially themselves fraudulent and are in reality being exploited by those who favor big government and state control,” writes Giraldi. “The real reason for controlling the internet is to restrict access to information, something every government seeks to do.”

In July, a hosting company pulled the plug on Blogetery, a blog website, after the FBI told the hosting service that a blog on the site had posted bomb-making information. “Sources close to the investigation say that included in those materials were the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda. Messages from Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organization, as well as bomb-making tips, were also allegedly found on the server,” CNet News reported on July 19.

“The extreme response implies a possible presumed terrorist connection, but it is important to note that no one was charged with any actual offense, revealing that the government can close down sites based only on suspicion,” writes Giraldi.

On Wednesday, senior Obama administration officials argued that “al-Qaeda inspiration… has become increasingly accessible through the Internet, and English-language Web sites are tailored to address the unique concerns of U.S.-based extremists,” according to the Washington Post.

Is it possible, in the event the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act is enacted, the government will use the law to shut down disfavored websites, using the excuse of copyright infringement?

In 2009, the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, nephew of banker David Rockefeller, and former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said the internet not only represents a threat to national security, but also said we would all be better off if the technology had never been invented.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act is the latest effort by the government to control and eventually roll back the free and open internet under the guise of protecting copyright. In 2008, Alex Jones detailed government efforts to shut down the internet and kill off the most effective technology ever devised to spread truth and counter government and corporate media propaganda.
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