Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 18th Nov 2010 23:51 UTC
Legal "The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. This morning, COICA unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee."
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RE: even net neutrality
by davidiwharper on Fri 19th Nov 2010 13:22 UTC in reply to "even net neutrality"
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Government intervention is not by definition a bad thing. The Internet can be a bit of a wild west at times. As any technology matures it makes sense that governments increase their oversight. Nor does every intervention have a negative result. For example, in Australia, the government bans enforcement of DVD region encoding, as this is regarded as anti-competitive. This means that any DVD player bought in Australia can play American and European DVDs. (Try selling a region free solution in America without being prosecuted!) In a similar vein, the US Supreme Court ruled in the 1970s that using a video recorder to copy a television program for later viewing was fair use and not illegal.

What is, I think, bad is the idea that a user's legal rights - or their digital equivalents - can be either legislated away (like DRM enforcement or Australia's net filter policy) or sold to the highest bidder (the thing net neutrality would prevent).

In other words, Internet freedoms have become part of broader civil liberties. The problem with the US in particular is that digital freedoms are being eroded by nonsensical commercial interests and a largely compliant system of government. The movie industry - which, as one article points out, also sought to stop home video - can't see profitability on the Internet and so it is trying its old tactic once again: legal attacks. The difference is that this time Congress and most certainly the Supreme Court have a conservative bent - after years of either outright Republican control or power-sharing (Bush I and Clinton after 1994, and now Obama following the loss of the House in the mid-terms).

Having said that, I reiterate my opinion below: the text of the proposed legislation is actually fairly mild. It is a far cry from stupid stuff like searching everyone's iPods when they go through US customs, and the recent news that some universities intend to report all P2P users to police without any regard for the actual content being shared.

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