In the previous article
, I covered the Internet blackout in protest of two proposed bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, that attempts to address the problem of piracy. The engine behind these two bills is the powerful film and audio recording industry who loses quite a bit annually in sales, the last year sales declined 11% compared to 2009. Yet, according to news sources
, the supporters of the bills (PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House) are the television networks, music publishers, movie industry, book publishers and manufacturers spent $92 million
to lobby Congress for legislation. It seems that there is a vast margin between income lost and expense of lobbying (employing an estimated 586 lobbyists) in order to stop piracy. The major critics of the bill are: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, AOL, and Zynga.
It is interesting that the BBC article concerning this issue has a statementat the end that reads:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.
For the SOPA bill (Stop Online Piracy Act) there are over 60 associated supporters. The bill, not numbered yet, reads in the initial summary:
To prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.
It is the “other purposes” that probably scares most of us.
In Section 3, the Senate bill identifies itself as a means of …
Enhancing enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas…
In another disturbing section, the bill reads Sec. 3, (5) (A) –
IMMUNITY FROM SUIT – No cause of action shall lie in any Federal or State court or administrative agency against any entity receiving a court order issued under this subsection, or against any director, officer, employee, or agent thereof, for any act reasonably designed to comply with this subsection or reasonably arising from such order, other than in an action pursuant to subsection (e).
This immunity of liability means that it is more likely that someone or some business entity on the Internet could lose revenue because of the federal government and courts making an error in judgment that indeed a crime was committed – and that entity, if found not guilty, would not be able to recoup those losses due to the errors caused by the actions of the federal law enforcement and court systems. Which basically means they are not responsible for their actions or the consequences of their actions.It could also end up being a tool to silence inappropriate content that the government doesn’t like.
More often than not, legislation is initiated for a reason that is noble or its intentions are good; however, the wording ends up to be not good or just plain unconstitutional. In these two bills there are several avenues of misuse that could happen because of individuals or agencies within the government, like Lionelin the video stated in the last article concerning the blackout.
In HR 3261, the bill summary states:
To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. Property, and for other purposes.
This bill also has an immunity clause in Sec. 104 and Sec. 105.
The biggest offender of copyright and patent laws is China – you know, the country name we see stamped on just about everything we purchase here in the US and the country who has enticed American companies to move there.
Those against this bill are not protecting or endorsing piracy, they are just protecting liberties and freedom of speech, and preventing the government to become a censorship authority which will evolve into a device against freedom of speech, the First Amendment to the US Constitution of the United States. Americans believe that those who operating our government are upset because they are not controlling the Internet or taxing it. Yet, they are taxing it by charging the Internet providers and who pass this on to us in our monthly bills as FCC fees and taxes, including our mobile phones. Our government doesn’t need new taxation, it needs to budget our government like the rest of us must do in the private sector with our personally earned money – taxed several times.
Piracy has become an increasing problem in the past decade, I am sure everyone can agree on that. However, it makes one stop and think about those industries that spend so much more than they lose in revenue to push legislation to control a free enterprise entity. The major population of the film industry especially constantly endorses those politicians who wish to punish the wealthy for the sake of the less wealthy, called distribution of income/wealth, and endorses the political ideology of socialism. What is ironic is that the film and sound industry are part of that part of wealth in America and they vote for and endorse those who are in class warfare battle against themselves. It is like Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for the presidential primaries only paying 15% of his income in taxes, while his income tax bracket puts him between 30% and 38%, according to the present draconian tax system.
The Internet represents access to information by anyone, even if one cannot afford a computer or the Internet service, because they can access the Internet at their local library. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power, apparently more power than the elite in Washington want us to have. We have all seen how the media is manipulated and how, in turn, the media manipulates politics, even to the point of deciding who gets the limelight and who doesn’t. Do we really want the government to take control of the last bastion of pure freedom and access to a vast array of information from us? Censorship is against freedom of speech.
Remember, tyranny does not always occur overnight. Laws that override liberties start the process gradually, like private property rights, individual rights versus the collective, and the right to freedom of choice.
Congress should be working on replacing the income tax, stop providing themselves with retirement funding for elected officials, and work on a bill that would not allow a bill to reach the floor until it has been researched to be constitutional; work on enforcing immigration laws and address the illegal immigration issue that costs American taxpayers much more than what Hollywood loses, and so on.