The American Bear

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House takes Senate’s bad Internet censorship bill, tries making it worse | ars technica

Imagine a world in which any intellectual property holder can,  without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom,  shut down any website’s online advertising programs and block access to  credit card payments. The credit card processors and the advertising  networks would be required to take quick action against the named  website; only the filing of a “counter notification” by the website  could get service restored.
It’s the world envisioned by Rep.  Lamar Hunt (R-TX) in today’s introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act  in the US House of Representatives. This isn’t some off-the-wall piece  of legislation with no chance of passing, either; it’s the House  equivalent to the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, which would officially bring Internet censorship to the US as a matter of law.
Calling  its plan a “market-based system to protect US customers and prevent US  funding of sites dedicated to theft of US property,” the new bill gives  broad powers to private actors. Any holder of intellectual property  rights could simply send a letter to ad network operators like Google  and to payment processors like MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, demanding  these companies cut off access to any site the IP holder names as an  infringer.
The scheme is much like the Digital Millennium  Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “takedown notices,” in which a copyright holder  can demand some piece of content be removed from sites like YouTube with  a letter. The content will be removed unless the person who posted the  content objects; at that point, the copyright holder can decide if it  wants to take the person to court over the issue.
Here, though,  the stakes are higher. Rather than requesting the takedown of certain  hosted material, intellectual property owners can go directly for the  jugular: marketing and revenue for the entire site. So long as the  intellectual property holders include some “specific facts” supporting  their infringement claim, ad networks and payment processors will have  five days to cut off contact with the website in question.
The  scheme is largely targeted at foreign websites which do not recognize US  law, and which therefore will often refuse to comply with takedown  requests. But the potential for abuse—even inadvertent abuse—here is  astonishing, given the terrifically outsized stick with which content  owners can now beat on suspected infringers. more

House takes Senate’s bad Internet censorship bill, tries making it worse | ars technica

Imagine a world in which any intellectual property holder can, without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom, shut down any website’s online advertising programs and block access to credit card payments. The credit card processors and the advertising networks would be required to take quick action against the named website; only the filing of a “counter notification” by the website could get service restored.

It’s the world envisioned by Rep. Lamar Hunt (R-TX) in today’s introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives. This isn’t some off-the-wall piece of legislation with no chance of passing, either; it’s the House equivalent to the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, which would officially bring Internet censorship to the US as a matter of law.

Calling its plan a “market-based system to protect US customers and prevent US funding of sites dedicated to theft of US property,” the new bill gives broad powers to private actors. Any holder of intellectual property rights could simply send a letter to ad network operators like Google and to payment processors like MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, demanding these companies cut off access to any site the IP holder names as an infringer.

The scheme is much like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “takedown notices,” in which a copyright holder can demand some piece of content be removed from sites like YouTube with a letter. The content will be removed unless the person who posted the content objects; at that point, the copyright holder can decide if it wants to take the person to court over the issue.

Here, though, the stakes are higher. Rather than requesting the takedown of certain hosted material, intellectual property owners can go directly for the jugular: marketing and revenue for the entire site. So long as the intellectual property holders include some “specific facts” supporting their infringement claim, ad networks and payment processors will have five days to cut off contact with the website in question.

The scheme is largely targeted at foreign websites which do not recognize US law, and which therefore will often refuse to comply with takedown requests. But the potential for abuse—even inadvertent abuse—here is astonishing, given the terrifically outsized stick with which content owners can now beat on suspected infringers. more