RSS
Add to Chrome
Oregon Senator Kills Web Censorship Bill!

Oregon Senator Kills Web Censorship Bill!

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says the Combating Online Infringement & Counterfeits Act is the “wrong medicine” for battling online copyright infringement, and argues that if not done properly the “collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.”

If ever there were a modern day hero it may just be Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, who has vowed to block the controversial Combating Online Infringement & Counterfeits Act as it is currently written.

After having sailed out of the Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary by unanimous vote many, myself included, began to worry that our elected officials would ignore the vast majority of the population that opposes the COICA.

The COICA would give the Department of Justice an “expedited process” for cracking down on websites that illegally make copyrighted material available, including the ability to “prevent the importation into the United States of goods and services offered by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities.”

The Bill’s sponsors believe the COICA would finally give the Dept of Justice the tools it needs to track and shut down “websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods,” but Senator Wyden says it is the “wrong medicine” to cure the problem.

“Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,” he said at Senate Subcommittee meeting on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness. “If you don’t think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.”

An individual Senator can place a hold on pending legislation or even prevent a roll call vote from taking place by engaging in debate and refusing to yield the floor – i.e. filibuster. This means the COICA is effectively dead at least until the next Congress convenes.

It’s worth noting that Senator Wyden was recently reelected for a fourth term and so will be around for at least another six years.

Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, also testified at the hearing and said he thought that the “significance and implications of the legislation…have been well thought through.”

With U.S. companies being, as he says, “leading vendors of information products and services,” it’ll be hard to convince other countries of the need to end “information discrimination” if we have similar policies of our own.

“CCIA members report that approximately 40 governments now engage in broad-scale online censorship,” he said. “At times the motivation for censorship is self-evident, or is disclosed, but generally the processes and reasons for censoring Internet services and content are opaque. With few exceptions, states do not attempt to justify blocking or unblocking Internet content or services, and restrictions are not developed in a transparent manner.”

By blocking entire foreign domain names, not just the infringing pages, and most likely without due process of law, the US will be undermining its own case for expanding market access for US for digital products and services.

So let’s all take a moment and thank Senator Wyden for his opposition to the COICA.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Robert
Robert

This bill may have died but I'll personally guarantee after Jan 1 some Republican will bring it right back up and pass it like bad gas. They're in the back pocket of the entertainment industry, have backloaded the FCC with GOP supporters as well.And sorry, but Ron Paul is a twit. I'd sooner elect that airhead Sarah Palin.

disinter
disinter

Actually the first step in having a government that actually is FOR the people would be electing Ron Paul in 2012 but it'll never happen. Americans are just democrats or republicans and that will never change. They still hang on to the idiotic notion that their party is the one that REALLY cares about us. Fact is history has made it BRUTALLY clear in the past decade alone that neither party gives a flying FUCK about us. Same as always and it will always be the same.

Cloves
Cloves

Democrats = for the people; Republicans = for the RIAA;

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Heh, I wish there was a party in the US that was elected that really did represent the people, but alas, no such thing.IIRC, it was a Democrat that proposed this and Democrats voted in favour of this in the Senate as well. It's just interesting that a Democrat also vowed to fight this thing.Correct me if I'm wrong on that though.

Anonymous
Anonymous

If people in China can get around the Great Firewall of China, we can get around this proposed Great Firewall of USA. Technology will always be ahead of tech-illiterate legislators. Bring it hitch!

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

If people in China can get around the Great Firewall of China, we can get around this proposed Great Firewall of USA.Exactly. Plus now China will be able to retort that we have a Great Firewall of our own.

André
André

This guy goes to heaven!

Dave
Dave

I believe that most of the Senators that voted for this bill did so out of sheer pressure from business groups and the entertainment and felt uncomfortable with it from the start. I also think that most of them were relieved when a Senator who has no ties to the Entertainment industry stepped in and blocked the bill so the pressure is now off of them. Given that there is a huge anti-government sediment pervading this country they found a way to not piss off the public and have more incumbents voted out and at the same time show the big business groups that they at least tried to please them. Don't expect much of a fight because the politicians don't have much to gain by passing this.

ywd67
ywd67

Most net users, have no idea how wide ranging this bill would effect them.

Mike
Mike

Are you joking? Since when can ONE senator kill a bill? You need 40 to do that. A "hold" is an informal objection that Harry Reid has no obligation to listen to.His objections are meaningless unless he has 39 people who agree with him. One person alone cannot filibuster a bill.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Filibuster > In the United States Senate, rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster#Senate

Mike
Mike

Exactly. If you have 60 senators (3/5) in favor of proceeding, no one can filibuster. An individual senator cannot filibuster a bill unless he also has 40 other senators on his side. So far the count for this bill is 19 in favor, 1 opposed.Those in favor so far cover the entire political gamut. Al "Net Neutrality" Franken (D), Evan "Blue Dog" Bayh (D), John "Bush tax cuts" Kyl (R), Tom "Conservative" Coburn (R)...I don't see this as dead by a long shot, but you're welcome to pretend it is. How many times did you call HADOPI "dead" before it passed?

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Technically it has "started" already with warning letters.It WILL be a failure because people will simply switch to VPNs, darknets, Usenet, etc..Why do u think our own NSA was so furious with the French govt? Everyone's going to start encrypting their traffic if they haven't done so already.

Jason
Jason

There was a rise in piracy BEFORE HADOPI went into enforcement. HADOPI enforcement still hasn't started yet. Kind of funny you would call it a failure before it's had a chance to operate. Typical pro-piracy bias.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Not to mention Usenet, darknets. Its ridiculous really.

Scary Devil Monastery
Scary Devil Monastery

HADOPI, as Drew has it, IS dead.Or rather, completely ineffective. It should tell you a little that France displayed an actual RISE in filesharing after the hadopi bill. And that there is now a burgeoning market in VPN services where there used to be none.France has a long history of the people showing the government exactly where to stick it when what the ordinary citizenry thinks of as their common right appears to be under threat. And having your private communication under constant surveillance certainly is a breach against the citizenry. HADOPI is just France's response to the UK's CCTV-system - an expensive and long-winded fiasco that just keeps offering new entertainment for the critics.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

HADOPI is dead in practice IMO. The only thing it did was throw national security into chaos in the online world because it put a lot of financing in to anonymous communication and encryption. It completely failed to live up to its own standards and now the people it will mainly target are those that don't know how to secure their routers.

James
James

"The significance and implications of the legislation I don't think have been well thought through," What you had quoted pretty much represented the opposite of what was actually said by Black, if I'm not mistaken. " 'significance and implications of the legislation…have been well thought through.' " I could be wrong, but that 'is' what Yahoo had quoted.Regardless, I'm glad to see the direction this is finally headed in. I do hope they find a way to properly combat internet copyright infringement; a way that does not conflict with constitutional rights.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

They have hardly been well thought through.

ejonesss
ejonesss

i think it is better to have piracy and combat it the conventional ways by border inspections of containers for flagged and known pirated products.also only go after physical piracy because that hurts the most.

Scary Devil Monastery
Scary Devil Monastery

Physical piracy - by which i mean "counterfeited goods" is an entirely different can of worms. Stealing a trademark can result in anything from creating a reputation of unreliability/shoddy manufacture for a solid and accredited company - to cheap ripoffs of medicines and drugs posing life-threatening hazards. That's clearly another issue.But communication? The fallout inescapably resulting in combating online "infringement" is the phenomenon of global communication vanishing altogether. A rather steep price to pay.

Rebel
Rebel

The internet is the one true worldwide free-flow of information that we have. We MUST guard ALL of its abilities to convey information to us. Im sorry that the other countries have already lost the governmental battle to censorship. Never give up this fight, we cannot lose if we work together.

disinter
disinter

On his site looking to leave a thank you msg there is a scroll down menu for "reason" for contacting him and as I looked through it I saw an option to "request an autographed picture". I might have to get me one of those.

Bill
Bill

Why do you mention that it was a Democrat senator who stopped this bill but fail to mention that it was a Democrat senator who proposed it in the first place (Patrick Leahy [D-VT])

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Jared also mentioned that this bill passed the senate unanimously.I advised someone who was trying to understand the political nature of copyright recently that the debate exists almost as its own political ecosystem separate from the system we know of in the mainstream (ala right wing vs left wing, liberal vs conservative, etc.) You could be left wing leaning and be totally against restrictive copyright or you could be right wing leaning and be totally against restricting copyright. Both political ideologies have reasons for either supporting or decrying tougher copyright laws.Put simply, in the copyright debate, you could either be supportive of tougher copyright laws or more emphasize more liberal copyright laws - but even that is way way way too general because it's more like a spectrum of opinions rather than two nice and neat categories of opinion. It's one way the copyright debate remains one of the more interesting debates around even to this day.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Totally agree, this guy is a hero. I was really clawing at my scalp over this seeing the US trying to use Chinese style policy to suppress dissent online. The only difference between China and the US has been the pretext - China said it was to stop pornography while the US said it was to stop infringement of copyright. Otherwise, the policies were identical - the MPAA even said it would be effective in stopping "damaging" sites like Wikileaks which has been a huge blessing to journalists and advocates of government transparency.Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and recover from the panic attacks I had over this.

Rush Liberal
Rush Liberal

Democrats are generally no friends of business and nearly always vote for civil rights over business rights. The Chamber of Commerce that applauds this bill supported only Republican candidates in the last election. I don't think politics has anything to do with it. On the other hand, law enforcement opposes this bill because the switch to multiple private DNS systems would hamper not only piracy cases, but make cyberlaw much more difficult in general and introduce hundreds of "unauthorized" new top level domains (ex: .web, .porn, .warez) and unregulated use of trademarks.



VyprVPN Personal VPN lets you browse securely