Interesting coincidence of this EFF call to action to oppose the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act and Geist’s apparent regurgitation of the “open letter” in the Toronto Star.
Notice that the EFF did Geist one better–while Geist at least mentioned the title of the bill (although he never once told readers that the purpose of the bill was to save creator jobs in line with the goals of the Obama Administration), the EFF never even mentions the title of the bill in their call to action–merely it’s acronymn. Nor did they mention that Senator Patrick Leahy, a co-author, is probably the leading civil libertarian in the Senate. Actually–that’s Chairman Leahy, sorry.
One good thing: At least this time Geist didn’t try to get non-citizens to sign up to a form letter to be sent to another jurisdiction despite that pesky nation-state business.
Compare the two and see if you can find anything I missed on the Geist checklist from EFF:
1. Never mention theft–CHECK
2. Protecting creator jobs–ALL creator jobs, not just Americans–is political censorship–CHECK
3. Danger, danger, danger, fear, obfuscation, circle the wagons–CHECK
4. Fighting online crime is a US government plot to censor the people of the world–CHECK
5. Scared that domain name list blocking might actually succeed–CHECK
6. Ignores due process oversight of courts–CHECK
7. Never mention the bill is designed to stop criminals for which ICE gets warrants–CHECK
8. Never mention that the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act was about combating online infringement and counterfeits–CHECK
9. Never mention that likely names for the international list may include Google Adsense customers–CHECK
10. It’s all so urgent my brain may explode! CHECK!!
So…we must ask the musical question–who’s zooming who?
From: Peter Eckersley [EFF]
Date: September 27, 2010 5:15:22 PM MDT
Subject: [URGENT] EFF needs your help to stop the Senate’s copyright
Dear interesting people,
As you may or may not be aware, there is an extremely bad Internet censorship bill that is going to be passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday. Senators are claiming that they haven’t heard any opposition to this “COICA” bill, and it is being sponsored by 14 of the 19 committee members. We need to stop it, and we need your help.
What EFF needs right now is sign-ons to an open letter, from the engineers who helped build the Internet in the first place. The text of our letter is below. If you agree with it and would like to sign, please send me an email [DELETED], with your name and a one-line summary of what part of the Internet you helped to design, implement, or debug.
This is URGENT. I need your sign-ons by 4:00pm, US Eastern time (1pm Pacific), tomorrow. Unfortunately, the civil liberties community has been ambushed by this bill.
Open letter from Internet engineers to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
We, the undersigned, have played various parts in building a network called the Internet. We wrote and debugged the software; we defined the standards and protocols that talk over that network. Many of us invented parts of it. We’re just a little proud of the social and
economic benefits that our project, the Internet, has brought with it.
We are writing to oppose the Committee’s proposed new Internet censorship and copyright bill. If enacted, this legislation will risk fragmenting the Internet’s global domain name system (DNS), create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. In exchange for this, the bill will introduce censorship that will simultaneously be
circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties’ ability to communicate.
All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but this bill will be particularly egregious in that regard because it causes entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under this bill. These problems will be enough to ensure that alternative name-lookup infrastructures will come into widespread use, outside the control of US service providers but asily used by American citizens.
Errors and divergences will appear between these new services and the current global DNS, and contradictory addresses will confuse browsers and frustrate the people using them. These problems will be widespread and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.
The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We can’t have a free and open Internet without a global domain name system that sits above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry.
To date, the leading role the US has played in this infrastructure has been fairly uncontroversial because America is seen as a trustworthy arbiter and a neutral bastion of free expression. If the US suddenly begins to use its central position in the DNS for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive.
Senators, we believe the Internet is too important and too valuable to be endangered in this way, and implore you to put this bill aside.
Copyright, thy name is Satan!
[Actually, the letter didn’t have that last bit, I was just checking to see if you got to the end.]
(For those who do not recognize the name, Michael Geist is aka “he who shall not be named,” according to a prominent Canadian artist), or alternatively “the wonderful Michael Geist” according to Lester Lawrence “Ace” Lessig III, author of “The Starving Artist Canard” among other works. Mr. Wonderful is advisor to the U.S.-backed Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and the paid consultant to Industry Canada. SG-CIPPIC‘s external advisory board includes Lessig the American, the American EFF legal director, the American director of the American EPIC, and the American Pamela Samuelson, who is also a board member of the American EPIC and the American EFF—in short, 100% Yanks. So this Canadian affiliate of the Samuelson-Glushko system is to IP in Canada kind of what Alcoa of Canada is to Canadian industry.)