The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress and at least one academic are sounding the alarm about a copyright infringement bill that could cost some of us our free speech.
Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media and director of the Knight Center of Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, wrote a chilling article about the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” in Salon. Simply put, he calls it “yet another dishonest conflating of infringement and counterfeiting, but that’s standard for lawmakers.”
In essence, the law would allow sites that are deemed to be infringing on copyright to be blocked by Internet Service Providers. The problem is the legislation is currently written very broadly. Demand Progess, a Progressive campaigning site founded by Aaron Swartz, has an excellent fact sheet on the legislation here. That means that sites the courts have already deemed as not violating copyright could be blocked under the new legislation.
Gillmor argues that most of us haven’t heard of the bill because corporate media has a vested interest in its passage.
Quite frankly, the fact that Gillmor is concerned about the impact of this legislation is enough for me. I have great respect for him and his work. If he’s worried, I’m worried.
For more on the debate, see Gillmor’s piece. To look at the legislation, go here.