GoldieBlox Backs Down, Withdraws Beastie Boys Lawsuit

GoldieBlox withdrew their preemptive Fair Use lawsuit against the Beastie Boys.  That was a smart move, since the odds were not looking good for the Silicon Valley toy company: They had used the band’s name as well as their music without permission, and had in an earlier video, used Queen’s “We are the Champions” and the Toys “R” Us name without permission. The “Girls” ad went megaviral, but GoldieBlox had never asked for permission to use the song, even in parody form, figuring they could just call it a “parody” and get away with it Because GoldieBlox is all cool and new hip and copyright is for old people and The Man who is keeping us down. Neener.

What they didn’t realize, but a simple Google search would have shown, is that they had gone against the dying wishes of Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch who had hand-written a clause in his will that none of his music, likeness, or art be used in ads.  GoldieBlox looked like self-entitled, selfish brats, so they pulled the music and wrote an apology, in which GoldieBlox founder Debbie Sterling said

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

quite a different tune from their preemptive lawsuit which called the song

sexist

They company claims it didn’t realize that Yauch had made a pre-death legal standing regarding his music, and that the surviving Beastie Boys supported and endorsed Yauch’s wishes.  Of course that doesn’t absolve GoldieBlox from their conscious and willful appropriation of the band’s music; and that then when approached by the band’s attorneys with a query letter, they went on the offensive, smacking back with the lawsuit claiming Fair Use.

The video now has a new music, and the Beastie Boys name has been taken off the video. But the bad taste over how this company behaved still lingers.

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys Over “Girls”: Preemptive Move Claiming Fair Use, Parody

I thought from the GoldieBlox online commercial that the Beastie Boys were involved with the company which creates these toys for future inventors, or at least endorsed it somehow, since their name was attached to the video and their song “Girls” was used. I guess a lot of people thought that, and the Beastie Boys’ name and the song helped boost the video into viral status. It’s now a finalist in a contest sponsored by Intuit to air a commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl.

And while the Beastie Boys publicly support the message of the commercial and its product, they never gave permission for the song “Girls” to be parodied, and more importantly, for their name to be used in conjunction with the ad.  This was a very prominent part of the late Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch’s will:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.

Rolling Stone reports that the phrase

any music or any artistic property

was written in Yauch’s own hand. He died of cancer in May, 2012. The Beastie Boys wrote the music together, so “Girls” falls under his will. So basically, GoldieBlox has defied and disrespected a dying man’s wishes for their own purposes.

Lawyers for the band, which does not permit use of their name or music in ads, contacted the company to ask what was going on and explained that GoldieBlox version was

a copyright infringement, is not a fair use, and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a “big problem” that has a “very significant impact.”

So GoldieBlox filed a preemptive  suit. (And I hope they don’t shift strategies, calling the whaaa-mublance and starting to bawl about how they are being picked on by the big mean rock stars and their big mean record companies; that would be conduct unbecoming. But they should fire whoever told them it was a totally cool, no problem thing to just blithely parody a major hit and use the band’s name to promote their product.)

You read that right: GoldieBlox is suing the Beastie Boys. And their record labels and publishing companies. GoldieBlox is hoping for

declaratory judgment and injunctive relief

with the hope that their unauthorized use of the song will be declared Fair Use parody. They want to protect their version of the song, it’s integral to the GoldieBlox promo video that’s received almost 9 million views on YouTube. (Using the Beastie Boys’ name to promote the video isn’t gonna help the case at all, that was a very foolish move). Here are the standards for considering Fair Use:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Well, the song was clearly parodied for commercial purposes.  One could argue that Weird Al Yankovic also parodies for commercial purposes, but he secures permission and royalties are paid. And he is not selling a separate product, simply  the song itself. The tune  and phrasing of the original is used, along the with distinctive chorus. Weird Al changes the words completely, along with the overall meaning. Again, he pays royalties. But is this just about money? The Beasties say no, it’s about their principles: They don’t allow their music to be used in commercials, period. And they don’t allow the band’s name to be used in commercials. And the GoldieBlox video is an ad. It may be on YouTube, but it’s an ad. And it could be shown on the Super Bowl.

The Beastie Boys issued this statement:

Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial ‘GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,’ we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.

We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song Girls had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

In their court papers, GoldieBlox makes the point:

Set to the tune of ‘Girls’ but with a new recording of the music and new lyrics, girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities — exactly the opposite of the message of the original. They are also shown engaging in activities far beyond what the Beastie Boys song would permit. GoldieBlox created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes.

Actually the band’s original song was pretty much a parody of macho attitudes.

I wonder though, maybe GoldieBlox anticipated the Beasties’ reaction and figured that (along with making the world better for girls with their cool toys), they would get additional PR, and also pry open the door for greater Fair Use. This could end up being very expensive battle, and the odds of it being resolved before the Super Bowl are slim.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since Felix Salmon at Reuters points out this isn’t the first time GoldieBlox has used a song without permission for their online videos. The Silicon Valley startup’s first video “GoldieBlox Breaks into Toys R Us” used Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and there was no parody of lyrics at all. I am starting to like this company less and less.

Department of Homeland Stupidity: Fair Use, Parody and Satire vs the Government

The Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency are using their muscle and copyright law to threaten a novelty store dealer with a lawsuit if he doesn’t stop selling items satirizing the snoopy bureaucracies.

Several offending to the gubmit (but I-am-12 funny to everyone else) hats, tee shirts and coffee mugs sport the words

Department of Homeland Stupidity

and the DHS logo, altered to give the eagle a dunce cap holding a bottle and a pot leaf, while the NSA parody tee shirts use the agency’s logo, altering the slogan to read

Peeping while your sleeping

Below the NSA logo is the slogan

The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.

Another design bears the NSA’s official seal with the slogan

Spying on You Since 1952

In 2011 the NSA sent cease-and-desist orders to Zazzle.com claiming that Dan McCall’s parody images in his Zazzle online store violated laws against the use, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, so McCall moved the images over to his CafePress.com store which is a redirect from his own website, LibertyManiacs.com. He updates images based on news stories, and shows a distinct tongue in cheek libertarian attitude, billing his gear as

Freedom Products for Liberty Lovers.

Now McCall is suing the NSA and DHS on constitutional grounds, in Federal Court. In his eight-page lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment, the satirist entrepreneur claims:

use of images of the NSA and DHS seals, whether unaltered but in combination with critical text, or altered in parodic form, did not create any likelihood of confusion about the source or sponsorship of the materials on which they were available to be printed. No reasonable viewer is likely to believe that any of the materials is affiliated with or sponsored by defendants. Nor were the seals affixed to the items to be sold with any fraudulent intent.

McCall further claims that

his images make fair use of the NSA and DHS seals “to identify federal government agencies as the subject of criticism,” and are protected by the First Amendment. And he claims it’s unconstitutional for the government to forbid him from displaying and selling his parodies to “customers who want to display the items to express their own criticisms of NSA and DHS.”

Oddly the TSA has not complained about the image parodying them:

 

 

 

Hat tip: Newsvandal.com

Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty in “Hope” Poster Case

Shepard Fairey (photo: christianrholland/flickr)

Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt for manufacturing evidence, destroying documents, and other misconduct in his case involving his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama. Reprehensible that he did behave so badly. It makes him look like a spoiled little rich kid who was trying to cover his ass when he got caught doing something wrong.

Last year, Fairey settled with the Associated Press over the misappropriation of (former) AP freelancer Manny Garcia’s photograph of Obama, which was snapped in 2006. Fairey originally claimed Fair Use, but a settlement was urged by a judge in the case.

As part of that settlement, which included an undisclosed sum, Fairey agreed to license any AP photos he may wish to use in future art work. Additionally, both the AP and Fairey will share the rights to create merchandise based on the image–and that means the profits from those items. At the time of the AP filing suit against Fairey, Garcia said according to his contract with the AP he owns the copyright to the photograph, and that he is proud of the image and happy what Fairey did with it. However,

I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet. But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.

Fairey faces up to six months in prison, a year’s probation and fines of $5,000 in the criminal case. The hand painted version of the “Hope” poster that Fairey created on canvas as a commission hangs in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gallery.

DMCA Abuse on YouTube, Punk Bands Targeted

 

In recent months there has been a slew of DMCA takedowns on YouTube affecting numerous punk bands.

Apparently SST Records, owned by Greg Ginn, has been utilizing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to claim copyright infringement on a vast number of videos that utilize brief clips of music from Black Flag, including skateboard videos made by fans. Well, gosh, that’s what copyright holders can do, though it does seem sort of mean.

SST has also claimed multiple copyright takedowns on bands that have nothing to do with SST, including X, Fear, Sin 34, Lower Class Brats, Puzzled Panthers, and the Adolescents. Also affected, videos made by fans under Fair Use, utilizing snippets of  songs.

YouTube user Creamy GoodnessX writes that SST:

have since admitted that they never even viewed the allegedly offending videos before issuing the strikes! Rather, they used automated software in their campaign, in many cases resulting in false DMCA takedowns of videos that were legitimately using copyrighted material under the fair use doctrine. Several users permanently lost their channels (i.e., termination), and others permanently lost special privileges like being able to upload videos longer than 15 minutes.

YouTube provides copyright holders with a Content ID program. YouTube account holders who use the software must submit title lists and audio files, as well as proof of copyright. The program can be used to:

  • Identify user-uploaded videos comprised entirely OR partially of their content, and
  • Choose, in advance, what they want to happen when those videos are found. Make money from them. Get stats on them. Or block them from YouTube altogether.>
  • Reduce Infringement. Educate your fans about your copyright preferences and prevent your content from being distributed on YouTube without your permission.
  • Fully Automated. Once you’re set up, Content ID will identify, claim, and apply policies to YouTube videos for you.

The DMCA takedown of “Democracy” by the Adolescents on Frontier Records, which also handles their publishing via Bug Music, indicated that a company called Love Cat Music had also claimed DMCA rights, along with SST. I wrote to Love Cat, which has only one punk band, Reagan Youth, in its catalog. Owner Randy Frisch replied:

i do not know why LoveCat Music is mentioned here.   Could be a mistake.

we have sent takedown notices with respect to other songs in our
catalog that we do in fact control.

But not this one

Is it possible that YouTube’s Content ID program is faulty and can’t tell punk songs apart? If so, major fail.

So I wrote to SST Record’s owner Greg Ginn and asked him about YouTube. At first he said

I don’t know much about YouTube.

Then I asked about fan videos being posted on YouTube. His response:

I then asked if he enforced copyright. He replied:

At times.

Then:

Greg did not write back, and blocked me on Facebook, making it impossible to contact him further. Ginn has been a brutal enforcer of SST’s copyrights, though oddly he showed disdain for U2′s when SST released Negativland’s single U2 (Full disclosure, I worked for a branch of SST Records in the mid-1980s. In 1991 I wrote an analysis of the U2/Negativland controversy for U2′s magazine Propaganda; when that piece was repurposed as a press release, I was paid. I know many former SST Records artists, as well as people affiliated with U2).

When a video is falsely DMCA’ed on YouTube, it is the responsibility of the real copyright owner to prove they are the rightful copyright holder. It can take up to 10 days for the DMCAed video to be restored.  Alerted to the Adolescents’ video takedown, Frontier Records’ owner and founder Lisa Fancher worked with YouTube, sending in the correct forms to restore the video.  Often bands do not know their videos have been taken down, or why, as in the case of Lower Class Brats:

How could they get our videos taken down off of YouTube and why would they do something like this? I am completely baffled…
I look forward to your reply, thanks….

Since it can take over a week to restore a video, DMCA-ing  a video is an effective means of harassment or of silencing speech, as seen during Anonymous’ Project Chanology when videos shot at protests and/or using Fair Use clips of Scientology videos, or the organization’s logos, were DMCA-ed.

If YouTube’s content identifying software is at fault for false DMCAs, then those using it should definitely alert YouTube about the glitches since it looks pretty creepy and bad to take down videos for which you do not own the copyrights. However, if  people are purposefully DMCAing  videos out of spite, and have a long record of false claims, perhaps YouTube should treat them with the same vigorous enforcement they show to copyright abusers.

YouTube’s PR department did not respond to my questions about the accuracy of its Content ID software, however they did say:

Unfortunately, in some cases, individuals abuse our notification process by submitting fraudulent claims.  When we become aware of this, we take action by reinstating the videos and/or accounts affected, and taking appropriate action against the individual responsible.

The PR person followed up to my questions about Content ID being possibly faulty with this:

You can read more about both of these things are our Copyright Center. Thanks!

Which is where I started in the first place.

Ouch! “Yankee Hipster” Shepard Fairey Beaten in Copenhagen

Artist Shepard Fairey–whose Obama “Hope” poster became the iconic emblem of the 2008 Obama campaign, and the centerpiece of Fair Use vs copyright lawsuit which the artist lost–was beaten up in Copenhagen after leaving the opening of his exhibition there. The attackers called him

Obama illuminati

and gave him a black eye and cracked ribs. Earlier, Fairey’s mural commemorating the 2007 demolition of the legendary leftist commune “Ungdomshuset” (youth house) at Jagtvej 69 was defaced with the words

Go home, Yankee hipster

Now that hurts!

The Guardian reports

Fairey’s installation, painted on a building adjacent to the vacant site, depicted a dove in flight above the word “peace” and the figure “69″. But the mural appeared to reopen old wounds, with critics accusing Fairey of peddling government-funded propaganda…

Within a day of completion, the mural was vandalised by protesters, with graffiti sending messages of “no peace” and “go home, Yankee hipster”. Fairey subsequently collaborated with former members of the 69 youth house to redecorate the lower half of the installation. His new version contains images of riot police and explosions, together with a new, more combative slogan: “Nothing forgotten, nothing forgiven”.

Fairey told the Guardian that

The media reported that it was commissioned by the city, which wasn’t true.

He added his Copenhagen gallery organized the mural and that he did not report the attack to the police:

I’m not a huge fan of the cops anyway. The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like ‘street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can’t hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops.’

Fairey has been arrested numerous times for committing street art, most recently in February of 2009, when cops nabbed him on outstanding warrants before he began DJing at the opening of his Institute of Contemporary Art exhibit Supply and Demand. Recently, Mrs. Fairey told TMZ that it was

a long time ago

when Shepard did his own street art postering, much to Fairey’s evident displeasure. Double ouch.

 

photo: screen grab, TMZ ; H/T: LAWeekly

Oh Hai, Sarah Palin! Lots of People are Anonymous: Thoughts from Cyberia

Many websites have a function whereby commenters can post anonymously. Recently on one, someone posted as Anonymous, posting with regards to me

She swallows

like that’s a bad thing.  At any rate, that person is Anonymous. On some sites, anonymity is encouraged; others prefer you have some sort of screen name, even if it’s Sokpppt7137.

Then there are consciously anonymous actions undertaken under the “leaderless resistance” of Anonymous, like the person who snuck into the public restroom of a hotel ballroom, carefully unrolled the toilet paper and stuck small pieces of paper with

xenu.net

and other entheta URLs on every few sheets, then carefully rolled the t.p. back up again before a large anti-xenu event began.

Pics or it didn't happen

Or the people who are protesting the actions of PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa and others against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

But what about when journalists mention which program/s a bunch of people are using to do a DDoS (distributed denial of service) on the above?  Or the program/s a bunch of people are using to pull a DDoS on Wikileaks, Anonops.net etc? Or entertainment industry sites?

[For the record--and this will prolly make some people all butthurt--I support intellectual property/copyright law; I also firmly believe that all  material in the public domain should be freely shared and distributed; I also support Fair Use.  Oh and from now on I am using DDoS and its lonely sibling DoS as verbs ( DoS: Denial of service, which is like a DDoS, but from just a solo basement or couch)].

It make me wonder who isn’t A/a/nonymous, especially when a tech aide to a politician–whose PAC website was allegedly crashed in protest of said politician’s very aggressive statements against Julian Assange–tells the entire world via ABC.com what program to use to continue the peaceful, but to some un-lulzy types, really scary and/or annoying attacks:

A SarahPAC.com technical aide said that the “DOS attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops,  used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood sarahpac.com.  The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with wikileaks.org through an obscure message in our server log file.“

The tech emailed this screenshot to show what he’s talking about.

Um, wow. Thanks for the hi-tek how-to.

There are few things here that need to be looked at, aside from Rick Astley winning MTV Europe’s Best Act Ever with 100 million votes, which should have been a clue that the internets are srs bsns. The Delphic pythoness murmers:

Chester Wisniewski of Sophos wrote on September 19, 2010 when a number of entertainment industry sites were under DDoS over prosecution of PirateBay:

The people who are being lured into participating may not recognize that DDoSing is criminal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The fact that a few thousand people can bring major websites to their knees is a bit scary. There are rumors that some 4chan* members may be using botnets in the attack as well which introduces even more legal concerns.

No matter how you view it this is not a good situation. That a small number of people can hijack parts of the Internet is demonstrative of what could be done if a larger group, or someone with a lot of zombied PCs were to want to wreak havoc on more critical locations. It has been some time since large scale DDoS attacks have been in the news and hopefully it will be awhile before we see this again.

Zombie PCs! Transformers! Terminators! And Batman?!

On September 19, two and half months before Wikileaks spooged a weensy, glistening drop of their load into the Intert00bs, the Recording Industry Association of America was knocked off line for 21 hours. The Motion Picture Association of America, and BPI  (British Phonographic Industry, the organization supporting the British recorded music industry; thank goodness vinyl is making a comeback, or they might feel kinda silly about that quaint vintage monicker. Or not because they’re British.) were all DDoSed (and possibly DoSed). On November 4, the United States Copyright Office was the target of denial service attacks. Remember, remember on the 5th of November.

The September 19th denials seems to  have been prompted when at least one group within the entertainment industry hired their own personal army of one, epic fail guy Aiplex Software, to do a DoS  whose general manager Girish Kumar yakked to the media in a report published on September 8:

What we do is we see all those links on the net. We find the hosting [computer] server and send them a copyright infringement notice because they’re not meant to have those links. If they don’t remove [the link] we send them a second notice and ask them [again] to remove it…Generally speaking 95 per cent of … providers do remove the content. It’s only the torrent sites – 20 to 25 per cent of the torrent sites – that do not have respect for any of the copyright notices. How can we put the site down? The only means that we can put the site down is [by launching a] denial-of-service [attack]. Basically we have to flood [the site] with millions and millions of requests and put the site down.

And sometimes, well–Kumar admits there’s collateral damage:

At times, we have to go an extra mile and attack the site and destroy the data to stop the movie from circulating further.

Destroy the data? Wow, that’s kinda mean. Is Aiplex so targeted that they only destroy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Showgirls is safe?

So, basically, Kumar got all boasty, and the internets got toasty.  Pride goes before a website crash.

By the 5th of November it was  even more widely available knowledge that a program called Lower Orbit Ion Cannon was involved in the website crash.

Sarah Palin’s tech aide reported the crash as a DoS, which is technically, not so-technically and exponetially a different thing (Um like, I–who frequently forgets the skills necessary to change my FB profile picture–can  understand the difference, so it can’t be all that hard to grasp!). Possibly Sarah Palin’s unnamed, unknown and thus anonymous tech aide who mentioned  LOIC was correct and only one bot was doing the deed. Think about it. One lone  hackitivist maybe being a little disinformational?

Or maybe the aide (for ABC.com revealed the tech aide’s gender) was confused. But I can’t imagine anyone working for SarahPAC as a tech aide being unclear on the difference between the two. That’s what computer school is for.

But this brings up a rather interesting aside. There are bout 29,100 results on Google for “low orbit ion cannon” including the sublime

The news is hilarious right now I’ve never heard a news reader say “low orbit ion cannon” in serious news report before

to listings of torrent sites and other Pottersville-like places online where those so inclined ought be using proxy condoms  and/or be careful. Because for the last few weeks LOIC has been on some radars. And some versions might have cyber-cooties.

Wikileaks and Anonops.net were also hit by DoS. The Jester (th3j35t3r) is claiming the scalps, which he took using something he invented called XerXeS which is actually kind of silly name because even though the Spartans went anhero into battle and were slain, XerXeS lost the war. (Video of  The Jester using XerXeS ion Infosec Island currently inaccessible, but Google it. My tin foil is starting to itch)

The Jester has been promoting his DoS services for nine months, first as an anti-jihadist take down artist and now as a crusader against Wikileaks. In February, 2010 he told Infosec Island:

Regarding helping the good guys defend against such an attack[by XerXeS], I can guarantee that no bad guy has this in his arsenal yet, and no bad guy will ever get it from me. I have not been approached directly by any sec/mil/spook types, but if that happens I would be glad to help out. Preferably, they would approach me with a signed immunity from prosecution document. I am not going to just throw myself to the wolves.

During the first phase of Wikileaks getting DoS’ed last week, this interesting story popped up featuring The Jester, an alleged police raid, fake accounts and a whole lot of supah spai cloaking daggers ( ic whut u did ther?). He also talked about Wikileaks’ insurance file.  That made my head hurt.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Anonymous posted a blog setting out its aims as campaiging for free speech

Hello World. We are Anonymous. What you do or do not know about us is irrelevant. We have decided to write to you, the media, and all citizens of the free world at large to inform you of the message, our intentions, potential targets, and our ongoing peaceful campaign for freedom.

The message is simple: freedom of speech. Anonymous is peacefully campaigning for freedom of speech everywhere in all forms. Freedom of speech for: the internet, for journalism and journalists, and citizens of the world at large. Regardless of what you think or have to say; Anonymous is campaigning for you.

And just now on CNN, Bearded Tech Guy told Kyra Philips that DDoS, downloading a programming is

volunteering if you will, to be part of the attack…pranksterism, protest for the modern era

Merry merry! Tis the season!

*[4Chan is a website/forum, founded by Christopher Moot Poole, who just scored a gianormous gig as a venture advisor with Leher Ventures, a rilly big deal in Cyberia. 4Chan as no "members." 4Chan is a very big, like a virtual city, but with words and pictures, some NSFW, and you can find all sorts of things to do or fap to. Do what thou wilt. Or you can move along, nothing here to see. But lots that cannot be unseen.]

Late Night: Senate to Drop Ban Hammer on teh Internets?

The Internets. Both of them. This meme may become a reality…

We will support a free and open Internet.

That’s what Barack Obama told the United Nations. But then why is there a bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee that would allow the Attorney General to block certain Internet domain names from ISPs?

The bill S. 3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would create two blacklists of Internet sites “dedicated to infringing activity,” which is defined very broadly as any site where counterfeit goods or copyrighted material are “central to the activity of the Internet site.”

Heck, that could be eBay–I’ve seen some pretty bogus Marc Jacobs Stam bags on there, as well as faux Max Studio, BCBG  and Betsey Johnston dresses. And certainly YouTube could be considered such a site, though they do pull any video  which is flagged with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) infringement notice. Flickr.com and other photo storage sites allow people to upload their photoshopped images, as of course does the monster shoop site ICanHazcheeseburger.com

Anyway, one of the blacklists can be added to by the courts, the second by the Attorney General.  According to Demand Progress:

Internet service providers (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the government’s gratitude) for blocking domains on the second list.

Copyright is a tricky thing. The Associated Press says:

Associated Press text material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use.

And that means if a tree falls in the forest and only the AP is there to cover it, does that actually mean you can’t mention the tree hitting the earth without violating the AP’s copyright, even if you blogged under Fair Use that

a mighty big piece of living lumber  was felled by unknown means, according to the AP

rather than

a tree fell in the forest

because that is “rewritten”?

So technically if you did blog about it, under COICA your site could be blacklisted by servers and basically disappear because you “violated” copyright by reporting news to which you didn’t have direct access. Unless you paid the AP. So news becomes proprietary information. And that means control of information and possibly no freedom of the press since unlimited access would be truncated.

Nowadays, copyright infringement is handled with lawyer letters, threats of lawsuits and actual court trials, where there is a burden of proof. Should this pass, the lights would go off on sites deemed violators. Demand Progress says:

This bill would bypass that whole system by forcing Internet service providers to block access to sites that are otherwise up. People in other countries could still get to them, but Internet users in the US would be blocked.

Blocked from entire domain names. Sort of like how the governments of Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere block undesirable sites. Granted, because of copyright and licensing laws, when I was in Ireland, I couldn’t watch clips from The View on ABC.com; when in Turkey, I was unable to listen to Coast to Coast on KFI640.com, so I wonder how many blocked sites would actually still be visible. And plus there are ways around that. Demand Progress claims that

if this law passes Internet traffic will be reconfigured to route around it. Companies will move their US servers and domain names overseas, Internet users will route their traffic through other countries (just like Chinese citizens have to do now!), and software will have to be reconfigured to no longer trust answers from American servers.

Demand Progress is concerned that this bill is the start of a slippery slope  and that with a little prodding from Teh Gubbermints  all sorts of sites could end up being banned, not only news, blogs, politics, and entertainment, but  porn and gambling, which is really what fueled the series of interconnected tubes.


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