Free Speech


Fight For The Future 2

With all the news about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which would allow the US government as well as the copyright holders to seek court orders against websites they felt were infringing on such rights. The bill also would make legal the ability to refuse payment of online advertising networks and stop companies like PayPal from conducting business with “the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites”.

“The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for 10 pieces of music or movies within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.” – [Source]

Proponents of SOPA say it serves to protect the intellectual interest, property and revenue of the copyright holder and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws while the opponents of the act say that it infringes on First Amendment rights, is Internet censorship and is the next step to threaten whistle-blowing and other forms of free speech. 

All that said, it was especially refreshing to get the following email 1&1 Hosting this morning:

 

Dear Sir/Miss,

You may have heard about Protect-IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA) currently under consideration in Congress. If passed, among other
things, SOPA requires Web hosting companies like 1&1 to police websites in
order to prevent them from communicating copyrighted information on the
internet. We would like to make sure you are aware of 1&1’s official
position on SOPA.

As a global provider of domains and hosting services, we oppose the Stop
Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect-IP (PIPA) Acts currently under
consideration. While we observe the concerns of those who are troubled by
the potential impact on protecting intellectual property online, 1&1 feels
there is an urgent need to strike a balance between dissemination of and
access to information and protection against its illegal use within the
public domain.

The US government is currently reviewing SOPA and PIPA as possible ways to
prevent unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials available on the
internet. These current proposals, if passed, would allow for significant
interventions into the technological and economical basis of the internet.
This could put the vast benefits and economic opportunities of entirely
legal and legitimate e-business models at risk. Generally, companies
offering technological services should not be forced to be the executor of
authority in such matters. If they were to act upon every implication of
content infringement without any judicial research into the actual usage of
its customers, the integrity behind their customer’s freedom of
information and speech would be enormously harmed.

1&1 Internet, Inc. has worked through associations and with related
companies to ensure that these aspects are taken into account. Thus, we
welcome the serious consideration by the US Congress of the potential
harmful effects on Internet freedom should SOPA and / or PIPA be passed as
law, and hope the stability of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS)
remains intact.

We encourage every Internet user concerned about these plans to contribute
to the debate and to raise their voice with their local representatives in
the House or Senate. One way to express your concerns could be to use one
of the websites that emerged to protect user interests in the current
legislative debate, such as http://fightforthefuture.org/.

At 1&1 we support you, our customer, and an open internet. If you find that
you are supporting a company that encourages SOPA and wish to drop them as
a provider, please follow the simple instructions contained on the website
linked below.

Thank you for being one of our extremely valued customers, and for taking
the time to read this.

Best regards,

Frederick Iwans
General Manager 1&1 Internet Inc.


Racism? Satire? Appropriate?

It seems like the two issues full of satire but certainly can be taken as offensive material.

The misconception about Obama being a Muslim has certainly been fueled by the Right and their constant allegations as the cover on the left shows. You can also notice the potrait that is hanging as well as the burning flag in the fireplace. It certainly doesn’t sit well with the Obama campaign but The New Yorker argues that it is only designed to show the numerous misconceptions that still exist about Obama.

Vanity Fair followed up the satire with one of their own on McCain. It shows an old man with a portrait of his supposed idol in George W. Bush as well as his burning the Constitution in the fire place.

Obama Camp can cry foul all they want about the this satire but they have to take it for what it is – a SATIRE. They need to start doing a better job to fight the smears or misconceptions that the public may arrogantly still believe. For McCain, I am certain he is getting tired of the age jokes and this certainly highlights that. Also, he can argue that is not burning the Constitution by any means but if he was going to stand by and allow the “satire” from The New Yorker Magazine, he must also accept the favor from Vanity Fair.

Personally I think it should be allowed to show because whether you like it or not, they (being The New Yorker or Vanity Fair or any Dutch Newspaper for argument’s sake) has the right to publish what they want. I might not agree with what you have to say but I will sure argue the heck of it to make sure you have the right to say it because the moment you start limiting free speech because of it being deemed insensitive material, you start heading down a slippery slope that does not bode well for the rest of the society.

So all this humor? Tasteless material? Does it belong in the age of politics right now that is constantly fueled by misinformation or are we the public becoming too touchy where anything that remotely touches a nerve is quickly shot down.