By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Hat Tips: Jean Stoner/Brian B.
And so it begins in earnest… The stripping of free speech on the Internet. I have known for some time that it was heading at us like a freight train, with virtually no way of stopping the onslaught and it has finally arrived.
First they came for the those they deemed as Internet counterfeiting and piracy sites. “Operation In Our Sites” targets Internet movie pirates. Given, many of these are crooks and are infringing on the entertainment industry and as such should be stopped. However, look closely at the wording on ICE’s site:
In the first action carried out as part of the initiative, authorities executed seizure warrants against nine domain names of Web sites that were offering first-run movies, often within hours of their theatrical release. Seven of those sites were targeted for seizure by the SDNY. Agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also seized assets from 15 bank, Paypal, investment and advertising accounts, and executed four residential search warrants in several states.
“Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, reportedly resulting in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office handled the seizure warrants of seven domain names Wednesday. “That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people. That’s why we took the actions we did. If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”
“Content theft online has become increasingly ubiquitous as technology and software improve and access to the Internet increases,” said Mike Robinson, chief of operations, content protection for the MPAA. “We are committed to working with law enforcement to get the illegal choices out of the marketplace and instead focus on continuing to offer more innovative and flexible legal options to consumers to enjoy the movies and TV shows that we all love. The American motion picture and television industry is one of our nation’s most valuable cultural and economic resources. We are grateful to ICE, the Obama Administration, and the federal agencies that have made the protection of intellectual property a priority for the United States.”
The term “copyright infringement” is subject to wide interpretation and an assigned definition courtesy of the issuing enforcement agency. It is fluid and malleable. Just ask Obama’s Copyright Czar – Victoria Espinel. From Wired:
One of the first recommendations to the president to bolster intellectual property enforcement was “transparency.” Espinel also discussed enforcing “American intellectual property rights in the global economy.”
Toward those ends, we need not look beyond the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
The proposed international accord fits nicely with the goal of American policy laundering. The United States is pushing a DMCA-style notice-and-takedown process on the two dozen negotiating countries.
Under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, internet companies are granted so-called safe-harbor status if they promptly remove allegedly infringing content at the request of the copyright holder.
But what’s been missing in the nearly 2-year-old ACTA negotiations is transparency.
The administration at one point said the agreement’s working text was a national security secret.
But as Glenn Beck put it so succinctly, this has our Regulatory Czar’s (Cass Sunstein’s) fingerprints all over it… This is the opening salvo to censoring the Internet.
Copyright infringement will be defined to include photographs eventually as well. Any amount of content and even quotes before it is over with will also be lumped into the code. Any blogger who steps out of line will have their site, bank accounts and equipment seized and may go to jail under the Patriot Act, which will simply make them disappear into the system.
But wait, there’s more…
If that doesn’t do the trick, and it won’t because bloggers can actually write, they’ll use hate speech legislation to nail them. If that doesn’t stop them, taxation and fines will. Not many bloggers can withstand these fiscal chains, because they aren’t paid for their writing and don’t have backers, unless of course you are Media Matters who is backed by George Soros, an uber-Marxist with extremely deep pockets.
This morning it was also announced that the TSA and other governmental agencies will be blocking “controversial opinion” sites. Well, that is the conservative blogosphere that you are waiving goodbye to at least at work or on a government connected computer. But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll still be able to access all the porn you want. Wouldn’t want to stifle free, oh, whatever… Sigh…
One wonders why they have access during working hours any way – isn’t the TSA supposed to be actually protecting us? Yep, security is their middle name…
As Drudge headlined it today: BIG SIS BLOCKS WEBSITES WITH ‘CONTROVERSIAL OPINIONS.’ First they came for the Internet, then they came for the bloggers… Free speech is being silenced and the Constitution is being destroyed, just as Obama and Cloward & Piven envisioned it.