There’s another reason why folks are fightin’ mad (at least in a non-violent, occupy wall street sort of way) at big business’ collusion with government: the PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE bill. If you thought the DMCA was bad, you really ought to check out what our Congress have in store for the little person and their ability to use the Internet.
In another leap away from reasonable accommodations for citizens’ rights to fair use and measured legal interventions in the way media businesses can enforce their rights over copyright infringers, the US Senate and House are competing with one another to make the best pro-big media bill ever.
The new bill extends the enforcement of law to overseas entities, which would lead to censorship of sites abroad for American eyes. It nukes DMCA safe harbors and methods of intervention to the law. It will give too much power to an industry to regulate what can and cannot be seen and accessed online. And, it takes the court out of the process of claims alleged by big business against supposedly infringing websites. Therefore, it is a form of censorship by governmental fiat and business enforcement.
Of course, supporters of the bill claim that it will only be used against truly infringing websites. As we have seen since the passage of the DMCA, prosecutions follow the letter and not the spirit of the law. Also since that time, we have seen businesses repeatedly use DMCA takedown notices to intimidate individuals employing the fair use doctrine to give up on their rights.
I’m not sure what can be done to fight this. Obviously, politicians are in the pockets of big business and big media regardless of whether they want to or not, especially since the Citizens United v FEC ruling of the Supreme Court. I have used the forms on FightTheFuture here to send letters to my congressional members from Ohio, but the Ohioans sent me form letters saying they were essentially behind the bill. However, there is something to be said about some big businesses not liking the possible new law: Google’s Eric Schmidt vows to fight it even if it becomes law. That something is that the future might be fought by corporations and we get to deal with the consequences.