Steps to restrict Americans - part 1
Steps to restrict Americans - part 2
Steps to restrict Americans - part 3
Information Censorship with the Power of High Technology
neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in
control of what content they view and what applications they use
on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this
neutrality principle since its earliest days. Indeed, it is this
neutrality that has allowed many companies to launch, grow, and
innovate. Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to
the Internet. The broadband carriers should not be permitted to
use their market power to discriminate against competing
applications or content. Just as telephone companies are not
permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can
say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market
power to control activity online. Today, the neutrality of the
Internet is at stake as the broadband carriers want Congress's
permission to determine what content gets to you first and
fastest. Put simply, this would fundamentally alter the openness
of the Internet.
June 28, 2006
The Senate Commerce Committee passed the Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunity Reform Act, after striking a Net neutrality amendment from the legislation. The debate now shifts to the full Senate.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved an all-encompassing telecommunications reform bill with a bi-partisan vote of 15-7.
The bill, which was initially introduced by Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), has been renamed the Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunity Reform Act. It addresses a wide range of communications-related issues, including municipal broadband services, interoperability funding and video franchise reform.
As it is written, the legislation does not provide an "effective" policy on Internet neutrality, according to several senators, consumer advocate groups, and e-commerce corporations.
"Right now under current law, there's nothing to stop the phone and cable companies from striking a deal to offer high-speed access to a company like Google and refusing to provide any deal at all to a different company like Yahoo," said Jeanine Kenney, senior policy analyst for Consumer's Union. "There's not even a rule on the books that would prevent them from blocking Web sites."
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) proposed an amendment to the bill to "ensure fair treatment of all Internet content." The amendment incorporated the following non-discriminatory principle: "to promote broadband deployment, and presence and promote the open and interconnected nature of the Internet, a broadband service provider shall not discriminate Internet traffic based on source, ownership, or destination of such traffic as part of any publicly available Internet offering." It was defeated in the Committee with a tie vote of 11-to-11.
"My amendment is not a solution in search of a problem almost every other industrialized nation has enshrined a non-discriminatory philosophy and we should as well to dissuade American innovators from moving abroad," Snowe said. "And there should be no mistakeas this is the 2nd time that Congress is comprehensively re-writing our nation's communications policy since it was first instituted in 1934, what we do will be transformational with implications that will reverberate for decades."
Though response to the defeat of Snowe's Net neutrality amendment was mixed, it did incur strong reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced Thursday that he has placed a "hold" on Stevens' legislation until it includes clear rules regarding non-discriminatory Internet access.
"As a United States Senator who has devoted himself to keeping the Internet free from discrimination, from discriminatory taxes, and regulations I cannot stand by and allow the bill to proceed," Wyden said. "Therefore I object to any further action on this telecommunications bill until it includes strong Net neutrality provisions that will truly benefit consumers and small businesses."
HR 5252 -
Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of
2006 that could end net neutrality.
John Steinberg - Raw Story Columnist
Published: Monday April 24, 2006
Raw Story is in danger. Your right to read news stories and writing that disrupt the government/Big Media symbiosis is under attack. And you probably dont even know it.
There has been so much going on lately, what with plans to nuke Iran and the rolling mutiny among the top brass that you may well have missed another growing menace to all that we have built here.
The Internet phenomenon the dizzying evolution from Netscape to Yahoo to Google to the new world of blogs and wikis is the result of an essential structural attribute of the medium: the content-neutrality of the pipes we use to connect to it. It is the natural tendency of the powerful to silence and hinder anything that threatens their dominance, but the phone companies could not stop AOL, AOL could not stop Yahoo, and Yahoo could not stop Google, because the folks who owned the pipes used to carry all those ones and zeroes to and from your computer were not permitted to discriminate against bits they didnt like. (The concept of the common carrier dates back at least to the earliest regulation of railroads more than a hundred years ago.) That level field has also resulted in the current flowering of our participatory democracy. But that flower is about to pruned or even torn out by the roots.
The Orwellian Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006, sponsored by Congressman Joe Barton (R, Texas), will, if it becomes law, allow your Internet provider to charge you extra to read this column. It will allow your provider to block this column entirely. Congressman Ed Markey (D, Mass), who sponsored a defeated amendment that would have explicitly preserved neutrality, explains:
The Joe Barton (R-TX) sponsored telecommunications bill that is moving through the Energy & Commerce Committee in the House would fundamentally change the way the Internet works. In short, the Barton bill opens the door for the Bells and other ISPs to throw out a key principle of net neutrality and enact a new era of telecom taxes and tolls, roadblocks that would shut down the avenues of innovation that have allowed the Internet to become what it is today.
That bill took a big step toward being enacted into law last week.
A House subcommittee handed phone companies a victory Wednesday by voting 27-4 to advance a bill that would make it easier for them to deliver television service over the Internet and clearing the way for all Internet carriers to charge more for speedier delivery.
Earlier in the day, the subcommittee voted 23-8 to reject an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., that would have inserted specific language designed to enforce network neutrality and prevent the feared creation of fast and slow lanes on the Internet.
"Members from both sides of the aisle endorsed a plan which will permit cable and phone companies to construct 'pay as you surf, pay as you post' toll booths for the Internet" said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington.
But Sonia Arrison, director of technology studies for the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, dismissed concerns that the proposed bill would lead to a two-tiered Internet.
"There's plenty of competition," Arrison said. "The market will take care of it."
Ah, yes... the market. The same market that has allocated television and radio airwaves so well. The same market that has resulted in our oligopolistic and largely bootlicking newspaper industry. (That market, by the way, is also the mechanism by which the Pacific Research Institute collects its funding from SBC/AT&T, Verizon and Freedom Communications. Also Big Oil and Big Tobacco, but I digress.)
I don't mean to say that the free market is a bad thing. It is a good thing (or at least the least bad bad thing), but it has fatal flaws. Perhaps the biggest is that in many industries the big just keep getting bigger, and eventually dominate in ways that hurt everyone else. I'll save the economics lesson for another time, but there are industries where, if left alone, the market eventually reduces to no more than a handful of "competitors" who don't actually do much competing.
Telecom is one of those industries, as once and reconstituted giant AT&T demonstrates. A few players have now bought and paid for enough Congresscritters (and, presumably, Senators) to get what they want, which is unfettered power -- to set prices and to grow, even larger, of course, but that ain't all.
Our little revolution has spawned an ugly symbiosis between the telecoms and their regulator/enablers in Congress. An unfettered, content-neutral Internet has zero direct cost to the telecoms, but muzzling the political rabble certainly won't displease them -- the more you own, the more you tend to value order. On the other hand, we have become a growing thorn in the side of the political establishment, and making it easier for their corporate keepers to keep us out is a high (if unstated) priority. So I have no doubt that, behind closed doors, the ability to shut us up was integral to the game plan.
And they are already scheming ways to do just that. Look at this long list of corporate plans to discriminate between good bits and bad bits. Care to venture a guess as to which category Joe Barton would put us in?
The sad fact is that the market will not, left to its own devices, protect your access to information. Look at television: we OWN the bandwidth the government entrusts to the networks, but those networks simply reject liberal messages they find too uncomfortable even when left-leaning voices are willing to buy time like any other advertiser. The Viacom/Smithsonian deal is yet another troubling manifestation of the same danger.
Also keep in mind that the folks who own the pipes are generally either (a) broadcasters, who are extremely jealous and suspicious of anyone else who figures out how to find the narrow end of their megaphone, or (b) telephone companies, which are happy to let millions of us talk -- so long as our conversations are all one to one. In both cases the democratizing element of the Internet is foreign and frightening to them.
How scared are they? Every bit as scared as their counterparts in the newspaper business, who lash out with hatchet jobs like the one that appeared in the Washington Post, The Left, Online and Outraged. As scared as the executive editor of the New York Times, who called us harebrained grassy knoll conspiracy theorists.
That fear is a backhanded compliment. The powerful do not attack the inconsequential.
Their reaction is two pronged and self-contradictory. They try to persuade others (and perhaps themselves) that we are trivial, hysterical, unworthy of attention or rebuttal. And at the same time they are so concerned that they scheme behind closed doors to wall us off in some digital ghetto, or even silence us.
(If you are so naive as to think that it is only the newspapers who feel threatened, consider this: AOL, which has been pushing its own noxious assault on the Internet, recently censored email sent to its customers urging them to oppose AOLs plan.)
Hearings on the Barton bill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee have not yet been scheduled, but could come at any time, since Barton chairs that committee as well.
We do have a few allies in this fight Ed Markey in the House, and Ron Wyden (D, OR) in the Senate, who has introduced a bill that would preserve net neutrality. However, to date Wydens bill has NO co-sponsors, and as we all know Democratic legislation rarely even reaches the floor these days. So the Wyden bill should not give us much comfort.
I want to be clear: this is not the most urgent crisis we face. The prospect of war with Iran, nuclear or otherwise, is the most urgent crisis we face. But this may well be the second most urgent. Are you concerned about global warming? Great, but where will you hear about it? Do you want to protest the endless lies about and senseless destruction in Iraq? Please do, but how are you going to organize? Do you really want to be limited to a new American samizdat?
In most of my writing, the call to action is implicit perhaps too implicit. This time I want it to be explicit and specific: do something. Unless you want the whole Internet to look like Fox News, you need to get out there and do something,
Here are what Matt Stoller calls the Verizon Six the Democrats who voted with all 17 Republicans on the subcommittee to allow tollbooths on the Internet:
Eliot Engel: NY-17 Bart Stupak: MI-01 Ed Towns: NY-10 Al Wynn: MD-04 Charlie Gonzales: TX-20 Bobby Rush: IL-01
If any of you live in one of their districts, let them know how you feel about net neutrality.
And everybody should do the following:
Free Press just opened up the new site for this fight. Go to www.savetheinternet.com and send a message through their website.
Go to www.commoncause.org and send a message through their website.
Go to the Center for Digital Democracy, which has collected a bunch more sites and action items.
Here's the list of members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. If any of them represent you, contact them directly.
And contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Wyden bill.
Dont wait until the last minute. By the time the bill comes up for an official vote, the enemies of participatory democracy will have been twisting arms for months, and the real crown jewel of 21st century politics will have been long since auctioned off.
If we lose this fight, or we may be reduced to typewriters and mimeo machines for the next one.
circumventing America's democracy, freedom, and rights!
To show you how easy it is to censor the Internet in America [like China] read what happened at 5:30 am EDT, October 5th, 2005.
[AOL, Time-Warner, Roadrunner, BrightHouse Network users effected]
decided to turn off public peering. That means you get no
connection to certain websites that go through public peering.
Not to mention Web filtering in public places and libraries.
http://www.opennetinitiative.net/ Documenting Internet Content Filtering Worldwide
Find an open proxy and put it in your Internet browser's proxy settings to fight Internet censorship!
When a proxy server is open it will allow you to connect from your IP address or it will not require you to use a user name and password to connect and use it.
There are dangers when using open proxy servers.
There are some dangers that come along with using open proxy servers. There are hackers using these open servers to commit credit card fraud, attack other online users, hack into computers or any one of hundreds of other illegal activities. If you are using an open proxy, someone can be watching your every move! There are countless honeypots and hackerpots on the net. Your passwords can be sniffed and your firewall tunneled. Your privacy can also be invaded as this person reads your email, snags your ICQ, IRC, AIM, MSN instant messages or any other unencrypted data that is sent through an open proxy server.
Most times when a proxy server is open it is because it has been misconfigured on installation, or the person that configured the server was simply not aware of the dangers in leaving it open. Other times the server was not properly firewalled. In almost every case, you have no way of knowing if the proxy server was open deliberately or if is was a misconfiguration. This accounts for them being on a list one day and gone the next. Often, when the network bandwidth takes the hit of hundreds of computers using it at the same time, the open proxy problem is found and quickly resolved.
Honey pots are open computers that are just waiting for someone to find and exploit. After they are exploited, they are monitored for a time and then legal action is often taken against those using these exploited systems. It is a known fact that many different Government branches setup honey pots to attract hackers, terrorists and other offenders. A honey pot is a server placed on the Internet or wireless access points left wide open for redirect or attack. Everything that is done on or through the system is logged and traced. While the system is being used, complete information about perpetrators is gathered.
Hacker pots are hackers putting up a proxy server up on his, or a victim's computer. Within a day or two it is on a public list and his packet sniffer is working overtime collecting users credit card numbers, passwords and other personal information. While you use his open proxy server, every web page that you visit, every message that you send and every password that you type is logged.
Open proxy servers are good for temporarily testing a connection that fails, to see if there is a network problem or possible censorship by your Internet service provider or IP blocking by the destination server. But it is good practice to stop using the proxy server as soon as the connection without a proxy is no longer a problem.
There are a few trustworthy proxy-servers dedicated to fighting political censorship on the Internet.
Why should we be concerned about Internet-2?
The big telcos missed the first Internet wave when everybody in the western world suddenly "got" the Net, but in the future they will know what to do to achieve a huge profit and introduce content charging. The question is, how will they do it? No one, yet, has made an Internet technology that charges by the hyperlink click, and hopefully no one will. Another question is, how will we give up so blindly the wonderful freedom from control that we are enjoying now? The mass consumption of broadband Internet is just around the corner. But by introducing Broadband Internet we might unwittingly allow the telcos to start introducing high price structures.
positive and negative future consequences of the Secure Internet
with Digital Rights Management, Internet User Certificates, and
Trusted Computing technology!
'Warped' vision threatens the Internet:
The Internet as we know it is at risk, warned FCC commissioner Michael J. Copps during a speech to the New America Foundation.
"Entrenched interests are positioning themselves to control the network's chokepoints and they are lobbying the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to aid and abet them." he said.
"The Internet was designed to prevent government or a corporation or anyone else from controlling it. But this original vision of the Internet may soon be lost. In its place a warped view that open networks should be replaced by closed networks and that accessibility can be superceded by a new power to discriminate is emerging."
big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the
by John Walker
Closing Access to Information
The Center for Digital
Democracy is committed to the preservation and support of an
Internet environment that is open, diverse, and democratic.
Government and Commerce are
changing the net, from an unregulable place to a highly regulable
A Net of Control By Steven Levy
Stealing The Internet
You really should boycott
AOL and use another Internet provider.
They were anti-Internet
when it began because they did not want free public access to
information when the Internet first started to be publicly
They now want to put toll gates on the the Internet information superhighway such as email tolls.
February 1, 2006
The End of the Internet?
by Jeff Chester
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are
crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform
the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a
privately run and branded service that would charge a fee
for virtually everything we do online.
Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications
giants are developing strategies that would track and store
information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast
data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which
could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in
the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest
pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred
treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and
television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer
communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.
Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content providers to individual
users--would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners
are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing
"platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of
downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.
To make this pay-to-play vision a reality, phone and cable lobbyists are now engaged in a
political campaign to further weaken the nation's communications policy laws. They want the
federal government to permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications
services as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. Indeed,
both the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are considering
proposals that will have far-reaching impact on the Internet's future. Ten years after passage
of the ill-advised Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone and cable companies are using
the same political snake oil to convince compromised or clueless lawmakers to subvert the
Internet into a turbo-charged digital retail machine.
The telephone industry has been somewhat more candid than the cable industry about its
strategy for the Internet's future. Senior phone executives have publicly discussed plans to
begin imposing a new scheme for the delivery of Internet content, especially from major
Internet content companies. As Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of AT&T, told Business
Week in November, "Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free
in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment, and for a
Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!"
The phone industry has marshaled its political allies to
help win the freedom to impose this new broadband business model. At a recent conference
held by the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a think tank funded by Comcast, Verizon,
AT&T and other media companies, there was much discussion of a plan for phone
companies to impose fees on a sliding scale, charging content providers different levels of
service. "Price discrimination," noted PFF's resident media expert Adam Thierer, "drives the
market-based capitalist economy."
To ward off the prospect of virtual toll booths on the information highway, some new media
companies and public-interest groups are calling for new federal policies requiring "network
neutrality" on the Internet. Common Cause, Amazon, Google, Free Press, Media Access
Project and Consumers Union, among others, have proposed that broadband providers
would be prohibited from discriminating against all forms of digital content. For example,
phone or cable companies would not be allowed to slow down competing or undesirable
Without proactive intervention, the values and issues that we care about--civil rights,
economic justice, the environment and fair elections--will be further threatened by this push
for corporate control. Imagine how the next presidential election would unfold if major
political advertisers could make strategic payments to Comcast so that ads from Democratic
and Republican candidates were more visible and user-friendly than ads of third-party
candidates with less funds. Consider what would happen if an online advertisement promoting
nuclear power prominently popped up on a cable broadband page, while a competing
message from an environmental group was relegated to the margins. It is possible that all
forms of civic and noncommercial online programming would be pushed to the end of a
commercial digital queue.
But such "neutrality" safeguards are inadequate to address more fundamental changes the
Bells and cable monopolies are seeking in their quest to monetize the Internet. If we permit
the Internet to become a medium designed primarily to serve the interests of marketing and
personal consumption, rather than global civic-related communications, we will face the
political consequences for decades to come. Unless we push back, the "brandwashing" of
America will permeate not only our information infrastructure but global society and culture as
Why are the Bells and cable companies aggressively advancing such plans? With the arrival of
the long-awaited "convergence" of communications, our media system is undergoing a major
transformation. Telephone and cable giants envision a potential lucrative "triple play," as they
impose near-monopoly control over the residential broadband services that send video, voice
and data communications flowing into our televisions, home computers, cell phones and
iPods. All of these many billions of bits will be delivered over the telephone and cable lines.
Video programming is of foremost interest to both the phone and cable companies. The
telephone industry, like its cable rival, is now in the TV and media business, offering
customers television channels, on-demand videos and games. Online advertising is
increasingly integrating multimedia (such as animation and full-motion video) in its pitches.
Since video-driven material requires a great deal of Internet bandwidth as it travels online,
phone and cable companies want to make sure their television "applications" receive
preferential treatment on the networks they operate. And their overall influence over the
stream of information coming into your home (or mobile device) gives them the leverage to
determine how the broadband business evolves.
Mining Your Data
At the core of the new power held by phone and cable companies are tools delivering what is
known as "deep packet inspection." With these tools, AT&T and others can readily know the
packets of information you are receiving online--from e-mail, to websites, to sharing of music,
video and software downloads.
These "deep packet inspection" technologies are partly designed to make sure that the
Internet pipeline doesn't become so congested it chokes off the delivery of timely
communications. Such products have already been sold to universities and large businesses
that want to more economically manage their Internet services. They are also being used to
limit some peer-to-peer downloading, especially for music.
But these tools are also being promoted as ways that companies, such as Comcast and Bell
South, can simply grab greater control over the Internet. For example, in a series of recent
white papers, Internet technology giant Cisco urges these companies to "meter individual
subscriber usage by application," as individuals' online travels are "tracked" and "integrated
with billing systems." Such tracking and billing is made possible because they will know "the
identity and profile of the individual subscriber," "what the subscriber is doing" and "where the
Will Google, Amazon and the other companies successfully fight the plans of the Bells and
cable companies? Ultimately, they are likely to cut a deal because they, too, are interested in
monetizing our online activities. After all, as Cisco notes, content companies and network
providers will need to "cooperate with each other to leverage their value proposition." They
will be drawn by the ability of cable and phone companies to track "content usage...by
subscriber," and where their online services can be "protected from piracy, metered, and
Our Digital Destiny
It was former FCC chairman Michael Powell, with the support of then-commissioner and
current chair Kevin Martin, who permitted phone and cable giants to have greater control
over broadband. Powell and his GOP majority eliminated longstanding regulatory safeguards
requiring phone companies to operate as nondiscriminatory networks (technically known as
"common carriers"). He refused to require that cable companies, when providing Internet
access, also operate in a similar nondiscriminatory manner. As Stanford University law
professor Lawrence Lessig has long noted, it is government regulation of the phone lines that
helped make the Internet today's vibrant, diverse and democratic medium.
But now, the phone companies are lobbying Washington to kill off what's left of "common
carrier" policy. They wish to operate their Internet services as fully "private" networks. Phone
and cable companies claim that the government shouldn't play a role in broadband regulation:
Instead of the free and open network that offers equal access to all, they want to reduce the
Internet to a series of business decisions between consumers and providers.
Besides their business interests, telephone and cable companies also have a larger political
agenda. Both industries oppose giving local communities the right to create their own local
Internet wireless or wi-fi networks. They also want to eliminate the last vestige of local
oversight from electronic media--the ability of city or county government, for example, to
require telecommunications companies to serve the public interest with, for example,
public-access TV channels. The Bells also want to further reduce the ability of the FCC to
oversee communications policy. They hope that both the FCC and Congress--via a new
Communications Act--will back these proposals.
The future of the online media in the United States will ultimately depend on whether the Bells
and cable companies are allowed to determine the country's "digital destiny." So before there
are any policy decisions, a national debate should begin about how the Internet should serve
the public. We must insure that phone and cable companies operate their Internet services in
the public interest--as stewards for a vital medium for free expression.
If Americans are to succeed in designing an equitable digital destiny for themselves, they must
mount an intensive opposition similar to the successful challenges to the FCC's media
ownership rules in 2003. Without such a public outcry to rein in the GOP's corporate-driven
agenda, it is likely that even many of the Democrats who rallied against further consolidation
will be "tamed" by the well-funded lobbying campaigns of the powerful phone and cable
March 2, 2006
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) wants a treaty giving broadcasters power to suppress currently lawful communications. The United States delegation is also advocating similar rights for "webcasters" through which the authors of new works communicate them to the public.
* Is written to look like existing copyright treaties, but it is not based on the constitutional requirements for copyright protection, such as originality, and in fact is antagonistic to copyrights
* Is promoted as a way of standardizing existing signal protection, but in fact extends well beyond signal protection by giving broadcasters and webcasters a monopoly, for 50 years, over the content created by others the moment it is broadcast or transmitted over the Internet
* Gives broadcasters greater rights than producers of original works
* Accords exclusive rights to non-authors in direct violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution
* Attacks the principle of network neutrality which serves as the basis by which the Internet has fostered a profound expansion in human capacities and innovation
* Grants privileges that extend beyond broadcast signals to actually give broadcasters control over works conveyed within a broadcast -- including copyrighted and public domain works
* Blocks fair use and other copyright provisions that enable he public to make use of and benefit from published information
* Chills freedom of expression by extending unwarranted controls over broadcast publication
* Benefits broadcasters at the expense of the web, the public and future innovation
* Creates a de facto tax on copyrights, freedom of speech, communications and technological progress, all for the benefit of broadcasters and webcasters who have added nothing to deserve such a windfall.
Andy Oram has written a
good letter to the US Delegation to WIPO on the subject:
CPTech Links on the Treaty:
IP Justice Links:
Union for the Public
The Latest Draft of the
A survey of relevant links:
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
has introduced federal legislation that would prevent cities
across the country from providing their citizens with Internet
access. Help stop this disastrous bill. Send a letter to Congress
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are resulting in paranoid self-censorship. Censorship is also occurring for non-security reasons. This is only the beginning. We might as well shut down the Internet since terrorist can use it. Online censorship will be futile and it makes no sense. How many mundane pieces of information can be used by terrorist whether they get it from the Internet, library, TV, or other sources? Any piece of information could be used by a terrorist, and a lot of what is being altered is not directly dangerous. Censorship does not make life harder for the terrorist; it just makes life harder for taxpaying citizens.
http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=oif American Library Association Office for
http://www.fepproject.org/ Free Expression Policy Project
EFF Patent Busting Project's
ten most-wanted patents - the ones that pose the biggest threat
to the public domain.
http://www.cptech.org/ecom/ Consumer Project on Technology -
Digital Millennium Copyright Act - DMCA
http://www.eff.org/IP/ "Intellectual Property Online:
Patent, Trademark, Copyright" Archive
Many companies have been quick to take advantage of their new powers by quashing Internet content with threats of legal action under the DMCA.
The DCMA was signed into law by
President William "Bill" Clinton (D-AR)
Became Public Law No: 105-304 - 10/28/1998
To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and for other purposes.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:HR02281: (introduced 7/29/1997)
Sponsor: Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) - 7/29/1997
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) - 7/29/1997
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) - 7/29/1997
Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) - 7/29/1997
Rep. Sonny Bono (R-CA) - 9/26/1997
Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) - 1/27/1998
Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA) - 2/11/1998
Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) - 6/5/1998
Rep. Bill Paxon (R-NY) - 6/5/1998
Rep. Charles (Chip) Pickering (R-MS) - 6/22/1998
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:HR02696: (introduced 10/22/1997)
Sponsor: Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) - 10/22/1997
Cosponsor: Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr (R-FL) - 10/22/1997
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:SN02037: (introduced 5/6/1998)
Sponsor: Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) - 5/6/1998
http://www.nyfairuse.org/ for Protecting Fair Use of Copyrighted Material
http://www.efga.org/ Electronic Frontiers Georgia
Traditional radio broadcasters have been exempt from paying separate royalties to music labels and musicians after successfully arguing they already were promoting the music. But the music industry succeeded in persuading Congress in 1998 to require such fees from webcasters, and the U.S. Copyright Office set the rates after years of hearings. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wants the outrageous fees. Radio stations say if the royalties do not shut their Internet stream down, the administrative costs associated with the reporting requirements will. That means only large corporate broadcasters will be able to afford the physical and legal fees to broadcast, and small webcasters will not.
Fees Threaten College Webcasts
The Digital Media Association
is joined by representatives of the Future of Music Coalition and
the National Association of Broadcasters in its fight to keep
SoundExchange, a collective backed by the Recording Industry of
America (RIAA), from monopolizing Internet-centric sources of
http://www.digmedia.org/ Digital Media Association (DiMA)
http://www.futureofmusic.org/ Future of Music Coalition (FMC)
http://www.nab.org/ National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
Piracy was not to blame for the decline in record sales; the general economy and competition from other media were larger factors.
A House bill by
U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) would let entertainment industry
hack and destroy computer networks! They have used the word
ethical but it is unethical. It is a bad law and will grow into
more evil but legal Internet censorship tactics evolving to the
Internet thought police controlling Internet free speech.
Sponsor: Rep. Howard L Berman (D-CA) - 7/25/2002
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) - 7/25/2002
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) - 7/25/2002
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) - 7/25/2002
Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said (June 17, 2003) he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights." Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws. "No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads pirated material very slowly so other users can not. The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who has been active in copyright debates in Washington, urged Hatch to reconsider.
Congress should not approve a hacking exemption for copyright owners, partly because of risks of collateral damage when innocent users might be wrongly targeted. There is no way of limiting the damage.
Orrin Hatch: Software Pirate?
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently won a federal court decision making it significantly easier to identify and track consumers - even those hiding behind aliases - using popular Internet file-sharing software.
http://creativecommons.org/ helping copyright holders who recognize
a long copyright term's limited benefit to voluntarily release
that right after a shorter period.
http://www.publicknowledge.org/ to promote the core conviction that
some fundamental democratic principles and cultural valuesopenness,
access, and the capacity to create and competemust be given
new embodiment in the digital age.
A Senate bill, the Consumer
Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) by U.S.
Senator Ernest Frizt Hollings (D-SC) would force consumer
electronic manufacturers to use technology to stop recording.
Sponsor: Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) - 3/21/2002
Sen. John B. Breaux (D-LA) - 3/21/2002
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - 3/21/2002
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) - 3/21/2002
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) - 3/21/2002
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) - 3/21/2002
Remember the entertainment
industry tried to stop VCR recording when VCRs became available
to consumers in the 1970s. The entertainment industry had record
sales anyway, although people could record using their VCR.
http://www.hrrc.org/ Home Recording Rights Coalition
Independent films are an
alternative to Hollywood-produced films.
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/ is your freedom to understand, discuss, repair, and modify the technological devices you own.
The Electronic Frontier
Foundation fights for fairness against Intellectual Property:
Digital Rights Management (DRM) Systems & Copy-Protection
Microsoft has developed new
technology to control copying in its Media 9 software.
The federal government will require that personal computers and other consumer electronics devices contain technology to help block piracy of digital entertainment.
A rule by the Federal Communications Commission is one of a series of proposals pushed by the entertainment industry to help thwart copying of movies and television shows that increasingly are being broadcast in digital form with high-quality picture and sound.
Opponents of the rule are especially concerned that the plan might lead to government regulation of how personal computers and other devices are built.
Officials at the FCC settled on details of the "broadcast flag" rule. The broadcast flag takes its name from the bit of computer code that would be embedded in digital television signals and would be read by "compliant" devices such as a television set or a digital video recorder.
The entertainment industry does not want digitally enhanced "high-value" entertainment sent free over the air to be easily copied.
Promoting digital programming, especially high-definition television, on regular broadcast channels has been a goal of the FCC since the Clinton administration.
The proposed system would require every device used by a consumer who wants to watch digital programming to recognize the flag. Thus, a DVD recorded on a compliant recorder, connected to a compliant television set in a family room, could not be viewed in an office, den or bedroom unless devices there also were compliant.
That means buying new equipment to replace the current DVD recorders. Critics say that in addition to forcing consumers to shoulder the cost of protecting one industry's products, the flag system undermines a consumer's right to "fair use" of copyrighted works regardless of appliance or location.
The system "does not allow a consumer to transmit from his own home to his office," said a lawyer. "That is established consumer fair use."
But the major lobbying group for device makers, the Consumer Electronics Association (the anti-consumer that wanted restricted radio scanners) switched to neutrality.
The FCC has been working from a proposed rule drafted by the Motion Picture Association of America, which gives the moviemakers a strong hand in evaluating which technologies to use.
The MPAA agrees that the system only begins to attack the piracy problem. Making analog copies is another huge problem that the industry wants to prevent through legislation or regulation.
Internet providers must abide by music industry requests to track down computer users who may be illegally downloading music, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America. It clearly allows anyone who claims to be a copyright holder to make an allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without protections afforded by the courts. The decision could set an important precedent as the recording industry forces schools, businesses and Internet providers to serve as online copyright cops. Such a move would eliminate customer privacy.
RIAA, MPAA Lose Suit Against Streamcast and Grokster
The recording industry's wave
of subpoenas that target individual computer users has drawn the
critical attention of at least one influential lawmaker on
SBC Communications has joined a battle with the recording industry in a lawsuit that questions the constitutionality of the industry's effort to track online music swappers.
Music Industry's Copyright Strategy 'Flawed'
Artists blast record companies over lawsuits against downloaders By JOEL SELVIN and NEVA CHONIN
Sarah Ward, a 66-year-old
retired schoolteacher from near Boston, was included in the 261
lawsuits filed by the record industry over the file sharing of
She Says She's No Music Pirate. No Snoop Fan, Either By JOHN SCHWARTZ
A research paper highlighting
security weaknesses in a popular Internet file-sharing network
has raised concerns that innocent users could in theory be
wrongly accused of sharing copyrighted music.
Innocent file-sharers could appear guilty
RIAA could well be suing innocent victims
CD Copy Protection Case Goes to
Downloadin' in the USA by Kate
DVD Owners: Fight the Power! By
Protect Consumers Fair
Use Rights in the Digital Age By James Ruksznis
Most subpoenas require judicial oversight and proof of wrongdoing, but the DMCA enables the RIAA to get subpoenas from court clerks without presenting evidence.
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)
has introduced S. 1621, legislation that limits the subpoena
powers of copyright holders like the RIAA. His proposal would
require those seeking subpoenas to file a case and appear in
court. Supporters say the proposal enforces due process
protection and privacy rights for defendants.
A similar bill is in the works
from Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), who has criticized the
RIAA's use of the subpoena process as "wholly inappropriate."
In January, Boucher introduced the Digital Media Consumers'
Rights Act (H.R. 107), aimed at protecting consumers' fair-use
rights in response to music labels' increasing reliance on copy
protection. His bill would ensure consumers' rights and ability
to make a backup or a custom CD of music they had purchased.
"The new copyright protection will make fair use impossible," Boucher says. "The purpose of my bill is to let people exercise their fair-use rights."
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce may consider the bill next year. "This is a major change," Boucher adds. "It's going to take some time."
"It operates outside the judicial scrutiny, so there's no remedy that an aggrieved party can turn to," Boucher says. He says he is seeking cosponsors for a House bill for next year. "The bill will subject the subpoena-granting process under the DCMA to judicial scrutiny," he says.
Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), who chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, told the RIAA in an August letter, "I am concerned that the subpoena process established in the DMCA could be subject to abuse."
Legislative relief does not
A federal appeals court on Dec. 19 (2003) rejected efforts by the recording industry to compel the nation's Internet providers to turn over names of subscribers suspected of illegally swapping music online.
The ruling from a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a dramatic setback for the industry's controversial anti-piracy campaign. It overturned the trial judge's decision to enforce a type of copyright subpoena from a law that predates the music downloading trend.
The appeals court said the 1998 law doesn't cover the popular file-sharing networks currently used by tens of millions of Americans to download songs.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act "betrays no awareness whatsoever that Internet users might be able directly to exchange files containing copyrighted works," the court wrote.
The appeals judges said they sympathized with the recording industry, noting that "stakes are large." But the judges said it was not the role of courts to rewrite the 1998 copyright law, "no matter how damaging that development has been to the music industry or threatens being to the motion picture and software industries."
The appeals ruling throws into question at least 382 civil lawsuits the recording industry filed since it announced its legal campaign nearly six months ago.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates had approved use of the subpoenas, forcing Verizon Communications Inc. to turn over names and addresses for at least four Internet subscribers. Since then, Verizon has identified dozens of its other subscribers to music industry lawyers.
The appeals court said one of the arguments by the Recording Industry Association of America "borders upon the silly," rejecting the trade group's claims that Verizon was responsible for downloaded music because such data files traverse its network.
Verizon had argued at its trial
that Internet providers should only be compelled to respond to
such subpoenas when pirated music is stored on computers that
providers directly control, such as a Web site, rather than on a
subscriber's personal computer.
The Dutch supreme court on Dec. 19 (2003) threw out an attempt by a music copyright agency to put controls on popular Internet file-swapping software system Kazaa, a ruling the music industry attacked as flawed.
"The victory by Kazaa creates an important precedent for the legality of peer-to-peer software, both in the European Union as elsewhere," Kazaa's lawyers Bird & Bird said in a statement.
The decision by the Dutch court, the highest European body yet to rule on file-sharing software, means that the developers of the software cannot be held liable for how individuals use it. It does not address issues over individuals' use of such networks.
Kazaa and other peer-to-peer networks have argued they have no centralized servers and therefore cannot control what is exchanged by their users, a defense the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and other media organizations challenge.
http://www.ocindependent.com/dmn/ Digital Music News
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/ Internet News
Peer-to-peer networks to deliver
government data to the public counters the usual government and
entertainment industry arguments that P2P networks have no value,
apart from stealing copyright works, and therefore should be
outlawed. P2P networks can be used to promote public knowledge
and doing so in a way that makes it easy for people to obtain
government documents swiftly with a single mouseclick.
http://www.dcia.info/ Distributed Computing Industry Association
The Electronic Frontier
Foundation has proposed a new licensing scheme in which artists
and copyright holders are paid, and file-sharing essentially
On April 15, 2004, the FCC bowed to the RIAA's request and initiated a notice of inquiry, typically a step leading to formal rule-making. The public may submit comments to the FCC between June 16 and July 16.
If this sounds familiar, it
should. The entertainment industries, unable to get Congress to
pass related legislation, did an end-run by lobbying mightily to
get the Federal Communications Commission to impose a broadcast
flag requirement to protect digital television signals from
"indiscriminate retransmission" over the Internet. The
FCC, which has been quietly transforming into the Federal
Computer Commission, did just that last fall. The new rules for
digital TV take effect in July 2005.
The recording industry asked federal regulators to help make it harder for people to copy and redistribute songs heard on digital radio.
The government suggested requiring anti-piracy controls that could include encryption of digital radio content or the transmission of a special audio marker that discourages replication of sound files, said a group that represents the largest record labels.
The Federal Communications Commission is writing rules for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) that would consider whether AM and FM broadcasters could offer more than one station on the airwaves and whether anti-piracy protections are needed.
The suggestions for copyright protection came in comments filed by the Recording Industry Association of America with the agency.
The audio marker would be similar to the broadcast flag embedded in digital TV broadcasts. The marker tells digital devices to encrypt shows when recording in an effort to prevent online distribution.
We're concerned that the RIAA proposal could delay the implementation or rollout of digital radio," said Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.
He said the recording group was coming in at the last minute with a plan that could stall digital radio.
Digital radio brings CD-quality sound to FM broadcasts and ends the static often associated with AM. It also offers new data features, allowing broadcasters to transmit textual information such as news updates and weather alerts.
Only about 110 of the nation's 13,000 radio stations are broadcasting a digital signal, according to Jeff Jury, chief operating officer of IBiquity Digital Corp. The Columbia, Md.-based company developed the digital radio technology and is charged with licensing it.
It the latest example of the content community seeking to limit consumers' recording rights "and roll back the landmark 'Betamax' decision, which maintains that manufacturers have the right to sell a product if it is capable of any commercially significant non-infringing uses. Interfering with radio broadcasters' shift to digital broadcasting would choke off advancement and modernization. Not only is that un-American, it's totally without merit.
The consumer's ability to record off the radio as a pretty fundamental right. They have sold a half-million digital radios in Great Britain over the past five years, and has not been a problem. It is even premature to ask the FCC for restrictions on devices for a problem that might not exist.
http://p2pnet.net/story/1740 RIAA attacks digital audio
Opinion: Say No to a Radio
Congress Looks Out for
The Senate Judiciary Committee will
consider a bill July 22 (2004) that would hold technology
companies liable for any product they make that encourages people
to steal copyright materials. Critics say the bill would
effectively outlaw peer-to-peer networks and prohibit the
development of new technologies, including devices like the iPod.
Title: A bill to amend chapter
5 of title 17, United States Code, relating to inducement of
copyright infringement, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT] (introduced 6/22/2004)
Sen Boxer, Barbara [D-CA] - 6/22/2004
Sen Daschle, Thomas A. [D-SD] - 6/22/2004
Sen Frist, Bill [R-TN] - 6/22/2004
Sen Graham, Lindsey O. [R-SC] - 6/22/2004
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [D-VT] - 6/22/2004
Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [D-NY] - 7/7/2004
Sen Sarbanes, Paul S. [D-MD] - 7/12/2004
Sen Alexander, Lamar [R-TN] - 7/15/2004
Sen Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI] - 7/15/2004
Resource Room for the Inducing
Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004
Piracy Deterrence and Education
Act of 2004
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Lamar [R-TX-21] (introduced 3/31/2004)
Rep Berman, Howard L. [D-CA-28] - 3/31/2004
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-14] - 3/31/2004
Rep Otter, C. L. (Butch) [R-ID-1] - 4/28/2004
Rep Coble, Howard [R-NC-6] - 6/2/2004
Rep Hoyer, Steny H. [D-MD-5] - 6/2/2004
Rep Bono, Mary [R-CA-45] - 7/19/2004
Rep Meehan, Martin T. [D-MA-5] - 7/19/2004
The Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act is supported by virtually every trade group, every civic group and every consumer group in America. The U.S. Senate allowed the Act to expire.
http://www.usiia.org/news/news.htm US Internet Industry Association
Four U.S. senators are trying
to derail a permanent ban on Internet access taxes by breathing
new life into a
recently expired moratorium.
Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)
http://news.com.com/2100-1028-5157592.html New fight in battle over Net-access tax By Declan McCullagh
More on government censorship at this link!
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Page revised June 28, 2006