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Just Remember, SOPA And PIPA Could Never Be Used To Suppress Free Speech. Well, Maybe Not.

We have talked extensively about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its brother the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and seen them as potentially being able to abuse the free speech rights of Americans.

It is important to note that SOPA and PIPA are built on the framework of the existing Digital Millennium Copyright Act which allows the copyright holders of intellectual properties to issue “take down notices” when the owner believes their copyright has been violated.

As one might expect, there are abuses in the system – the same type of abuses that would occur under the SOPA and PIPA bills. Techdirt.com reports:

We’ve talked a lot about how copyright law and the DMCA can be abused to take down legitimate, non-infringing content, interfering with one’s free speech rights. And we’re always brushed off by copyright maximalists, who insist that any complaints about taking down legitimate speech are overblown.

So isn’t it interesting that we’ve just discovered that our own key anti-SOPA blog post and discussion… have been blocked thanks to a bogus DMCA takedown?

Last November, in the heat of the SOPA fight, I wrote a blog post, where I tried to pull together a bunch of the different reasons why SOPA and PIPA were really bad ideas. It was a very popular post for us, and I heard directly from many people that it was quite helpful in getting them to understand the real problems of these two bills.

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Fundamental Change and Fundamental Hypocrisy – Part Two.

Yesterday, we discussed the so called “People’s Rights Amendment” which will actually strip the rights and freedoms of all Americans under the guise of “fairness.”

Clearly the proposed amendment is a fundamental change in the foundational beliefs of the country.

Today we want to focus a shining light on the hypocrisy of the government, the laws, and those who make them.

To do so, we need to lay a little bit of foundation first.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has passed the House of Representatives. While we have talked about SOPA and PIPA before, we haven’t said much about CISPA.

(Is there anything the government can do without first having some ridiculous acronym?)

CISPA is another “cyber protection bill” where the government allegedly looks out for you. While there are many disturbing parts of the bill, what we want to take notice of is CISPA allows companies – specifically internet service providers (ISP) – the right to give your private information, surfing habits, email, etc. to the government. The government would not have to supply a subpoena, just ask nicely of the ISP to turn over the information.

What sparked significant privacy worries is the section of CISPA that says “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information “with any other entity, including the federal government.” It doesn’t, however, require them to do so.

By including the word “notwithstanding,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) intended to make CISPA trump all existing federal and state civil and criminal laws. (It’s so broad that the non-partisan Congressional Research Service once warned (PDF) that using the term in legislation may “have unforeseen consequences for both existing and future laws.”)

“Notwithstanding” would trump wiretap laws, Web companies’ privacy policies, gun laws, educational record laws, census data, medical records, and other statutes that protect information, warns the ACLU’s Richardson: “For cybersecurity purposes, all of those entities can turn over that information to the federal government.”

In that most agreements made between a person and an ISP includes restrictions on with whom the data may be shared, insulating the ISP’s from any “criminal or civil” penalties means that if your ISP gives data it has collected to you to the government, you have no recourse even though the ISP has broken the terms of the contract is has with you.

Enter into the room the other big cyber bill making the rounds: “SNOPA” or the Social Networking Online Protection Act. The bill makes it illegal:
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SOPA / PROTECT-IP Updates!

There is good news on the SOPA / Pritect IP Acts fronts today.

According to CNet.com, a Senate vote on the Protect-IP Act, which was scheduled for Tuesday has been put on hold.

A statement by Harry Reid reads, in part:

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.

In response to the Senate’s actions, CNet.com, is also reporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has officially been put on hold by the House of Representatives.

A statement by Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee reads, in part:
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Site Blackouts and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Yesterday, a good portion of the major players on the internet and thousands of smaller sites went “dark” or “blackout” over the SOPA and Protect IP bills in Congress. We have covered the issue here at Raised on Hoecakes rather extensively and support the effort to stop these bills from being passed.

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting “creativity”. The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.”

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future.

Also yesterday we received a mass email from the US Chamber of Commerce advocating and giving their support to SOPA and Protect IP. The text of the email read, in part:
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