By Madison Ruppert
The Intel Hub
Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee is going to vote onH.R.3261, the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA for short. As I have previously outlined, this legislation would destroy the internet as we know it and severely impinge on free speech and the spread of information.
If this passes committee, which all indications say it likely will, it could be voted on by the whole of the House of Representatives at any time.
Individuals and corporations both large and small are stepping up to fight back against the draconian SOPA legislation and the Senate’s sister legislation, the PROTECT IP Act.
However, there is a significant lobby that is pushing back against the tide of freedom and liberty in an attempt to severely restrict the internet.
As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed out in a Congressional hearing, SOPA will restrict non-infringing online content right along with the infringing content the bill is supposedly aimed at combating.
“By contemplating an order that effectively bars others from gaining access to both infringing and non-infringing content, the proposed statute goes beyond appropriate First Amendment free speech protections,” the ACLU said.
The wildly restrictive SOPA legislation would essentially make it impossible for some of the largest websites on the internet to operate in any way that is remotely familiar to the climate we have known.
Any social media website that allows users to freely post content could be shut down at any time if any infringing content is posted on the site.
This means that all of YouTube, all of Twitter, all of Facebook, all free blog hosts, etc. could be forced to close down if a single individual posts infringing content.
This is China-style internet censorship on steroids; it is so astoundingly oppressive that there has been a blatant disinformation war waged against those who seek to keep the internet free.
However, little bits of truth sneak out here and there, with Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and former Senator, letting out a shocking admission which gives a glimpse into the minds of those who support the destruction of one of the last vestiges of true freedom in America.
“When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn’t do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites,” Dodd said.
A similar sentiment was echoed by Senator Joe Lieberman last year when he was promoting his so-called “internet kill switch” legislation.
“Right now, China – the government – can disconnect parts of its internet in a case of war. We need to have that here too,” Lieberman said at the time.
Dodd leveraged the emotionally charged example of how internet service providers (ISPs) already block content like child pornography as proof that the notion of blocking websites is not unprecedented.
While this is true, Dodd is either knowingly misrepresenting the legislation or he is simply ignorant as to what it actually allows.
While no sane person advocates the spread of child pornography, extending the example to legislation which could force a site to shut down if a copyright holder reported anything ranging from a picture copied without paying licensing fees to a teenage girl singing along to Katy Perry is patently ridiculous.
In a recent interview at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers conference, Dodd further proved himself to have little to no understanding of the legislation he is promoting or even the most basic of logical faculties.
“How do you justify a search engine providing for someone to go and steal something?” Dodd asked. “A guy that drives the getaway car didn’t rob the bank necessarily, but they got you to the bank and they got you out of it, so they are accessories in my view.”
Upon reading Dodd’s statement – which amounts to what might pass for an analogy in a special needs kindergarten classroom – I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
If we apply the bank robbery analogy to the SOPA legislation, it would not be that you’re going after the driver of the getaway car, but instead you’d be going after the company that manufactured the car, the company that produced the gasoline that powered the car, the manufacturer of the tires on the car, etc.
This would be like going after a gun manufacturer after someone uses one of their guns to commit a robbery.
It would also be like going after the manufacturer of a burlap sack that a bank robber used to load money into before running out of the bank.
What Dodd and others are promoting is not just penalizing the thieves – those actually responsible for the crime – but instead penalizing those who were exploited by the thieves in the course of the robbery.
In any normal law enforcement situation I do not think that any remotely lucid person would go after a General Motors plant for producing a car which was used by a robber to flee the scene of a crime or the gas station that the robber used to fill up the car before driving to the robbery.
It is beyond me how anyone in the world could accept such wholly nonsensical reasoning (if you could even call it that) as justification for pushing through such dangerous legislation.
This insane logic – if you can even bastardize the concept of logic enough to extend the definition to what these buffoons are engaging in – is also mirrored in much of the mainstream media.
Take the case of Scott Cleland, a contributor for Forbes who, unsurprisingly, has a clear conflict of interest due to the fact that he is President of Precursor LLC, which is what he describes as, “a Fortune 500 research consultancy focused on the future of Internet competition, privacy, security, property rights, innovation and algorithmic markets.”
Whoops! Cleland, if you want to seem even remotely credible, you might not want to advertise the fact that you run a company that would directly benefit from the SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA.
While I am no Google cheerleader, their position on SOPA/PIPA is admirable, and one which Cleland seems hell bent on attacking at all costs, as you can see in his article and other “popular posts” of his on Forbes which all deal with Google.
Cleland claims that the House Manger’s Amendment to SOPA “fixed the major legitimate problems with the original bill,” because of course Cleland is the arbiter of what a legitimate problem is and what an illegitimate problem is when it comes to this legislation.
After all, you’re too imbecilic to actually do your own research and come to your own conclusions, you must have Cleland spoon feed the truth to you, right?
Despite Cleland’s unqualified assertions, which apparently we’re supposed to swallow without question due to his alleged expertise, the ACLU says that the changes in the amendment “don’t go far enough.”
“It will still be likely that ISPs and even search engines will end up removing perfectly legal content – content that is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution – from the Internet,” the ACLU wrote.