Categorized | OpEd

Op Ed: That Giant Sucking Sound You Hear Might be E-Parasite

Op Ed by Karen Kwiatkowski

Editor’s Note: As an IT Manager, conforming with the laws and whims of the government is already an overwhelming task. This is a horrible way to protect Copyrights and will only serve to put kids, parents and unwitting grandparents in jail. This is a bad idea.

The Stop Online Piracy Act  (SOPA) and “Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation” Act or “E-Parasite” were introduced this week in the House Judiciary Committee.  E-Parasite begins with this mission statement: “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”

NetCoalition, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Computer and Communications Industry Association identified some of the bigger flaws in this legislation.  It criminalizes average people and creates costly new legal vulnerabilities for websites and service providers.

Representative Bob Goodlatte, a strong Patriot Act supporter, wants a single instance of streaming copyrighted content to be a felony.  This means posting music in the background of videos, dancing to pop songs, or playing in cover bands could land you – or maybe your 10-year-old – in jail.  His legislation will also criminalize “individuals and sites providing the streamed content.”

That’s not all. Goodlatte’s bill also targets cloud service providers, social networks and other new technologies that simply have the potential of being misused by customers.  Sites like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Ebay, Dropbox, Carbonite, and others that could “induce” infringement will be in legal and financial danger based on what their users post or transfer, potentially undermining the long-standing Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

In Goodlatte’s own words,“it is unrealistic to continue to rely on the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision.”  Instead, his new legislation requires intensive “self-policing” by service providers and website owners, or else.  As a result of this detailed and comprehensive requirement to know the copyright status of everything on your site at all times, simply receiving a notice and takedown request will predictably result in immediate takedowns of content, links, and advertising.

In effect a website can be – and many will be — shut down simply on an accusation, without proof or legal oversight, of copyright infringement.   Dealing with false or mistaken or simply wrong notices?   Not Congress’s concern.  That ought to be a real boon for dynamic information sharing, creativity, entrepreneurial growth, and innovation.

What does it all mean?

Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Electronics Association, said the legislation, “greatly expands the power and reach of the federal government to target lawful consumers and entrepreneurs on the Internet at the expense of preserving the freedom and dynamism that has made the Internet a great source of wealth, jobs and innovation for the last two decades.”

DemandProgress.org claims the bills will create an Internet blacklist, putting the United States on par with China and Saudi Arabia.

Techdirt writes that “The more you look at the details, the more you realize how this bill is an astounding wishlist of everything that the legacy entertainment gatekeepers have wanted in the law for decades and were unable to get.”

On the other hand, Goodlatte flatly rejected the notion it imposes a new regulatory structure on the Internet and insists, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Let’s break it down.

Government laws that hamper freedom and kill productivity?  Check.

Congress protecting legacy and rent-seeking industries who are unwilling to innovate in the face of rapidly changing technologies, consumer demands and interactions?    Check.

Legislating a government-corporate wishlist to enhance government’s ability to extract massive amounts of data on citizens and businesses, and satisfy the uncompetitive corporations who donate heavily to their campaigns?  Check.

Congressmen calling their citizen critics  “wrong,” “posturing,” or “unrealistic.”  Check.

There is good news.  The outpouring of criticism and anger from so many who oppose this legislation is having an effect.  There are few congressional co-sponsors for SOPA/E-Parasite, and some are already running scared.

This legislation also gives those in liberty, art and technology communities a reason to talk about Constitutional concepts of innocent until proven guilty, and what it really means to be secure in your person, houses, papers and effects.

Lastly, I live in the 6th District of Virginia, a district with more than our fair share of constitutionalists, entrepreneurs, technology corridors and educational institutions.  In the June 2012 primary, we’re planning a small revolution against Goodlatte’s prosperity-destroying, creativity-killing, entrepreneur-smashing, and innovation-obliterating corporate-state solutions.   Join us!

Karen Kwiatkowski, of Mount Jackson, is running for the Constitution, and against Bob Goodlatte in the 6th District GOP Primary June 2012.  Learn more at www.karenkforcongress.com

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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