Celebrate The Web's 20th Birthday: Fight The Internet Blacklist Bill

Demand Progress urges Americans to defend the principles that underpin the Web’s founding.

It was twenty years ago this week that Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN, put the world's first website online.  It announced his new creation: the World Wide Web.  Last year while urging Internet users to sign Demand Progress's petition against the Internet Blacklist Bill, Berners-Lee wrote this about the principles that underpin his project:

"No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims." 

The Internet Blacklist Bill — S.968, formally called the PROTECT IP Act — would violate those principles by allowing the Department of Justice to force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block users' access to websites that have been accused of facilitating intellectual property infringement — without even giving them a day in court. It would also give IP rights holders a private right of action, allowing them to sue to get sites prevented from operating.  

S.968 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Ron Wyden (D-OR) is temporarily blocking it from getting a floor vote by using a procedural maneuver known as a "hold".  The House is expected to take up a version of the legislation in coming weeks.

"We encourage Americans to mark this 20th birthday of the World Wide Web by defending the principles that underpinned its creation — now under persistent threat by overzealous governments and corporate interests across the globe," said Demand Progress executive director David Segal.  "In particular, the Internet Blacklist Bill would undermine the basic integrity of the Web, and we expect Congress to take it up when they return from their summer break."

More than 400,000 Demand Progress members have urged their lawmakers to oppose the Internet Blacklist Bill.  Americans can email their Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose S.968 by visiting: http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/pipa_letter/

Demand Progress is an online activism group with more than 500,000 members.  It works to promote civil liberties, civil rights, and other progressive causes.

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Ten Strikes Bill - BEAT IT

To follow up on our previous post about the Ten Strikes Bill (S. 978), we are happy to report that over 150,000 Americans have spoken out against this legislation.  

Hundreds of videos in opposition to S.978 have emerged on YouTube in the days since Demand Progress first issued an alert about the bill. Demand Progress has edited many of the videos into a single video which explains S.978 and its likely ramifications. You can watch the video here:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IevBHt6IKX8&feature=player_embedded  

The “Ten Strikes” bill, the legislation would make it a felony to stream unlicensed content 10 times over the course of 180 days. Violators would serve up to five years in prison.

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Just because the Motion Picture Association of America commits fraud...

…doesn't mean rightfully-concerned Demand Progress petition signatories do:

The Motion Picture Association of America is trying to quell the momentum of our 350,000-signature campaign against the Internet Blacklist Bill (a.k.a. the PROTECT IP Act). The MPAA themselves entered two made-up names on our online petition and are therefore claiming that the thousands of other voices who have spoken out against this extreme legislation don’t belong to real, concerned citizens.

Well, it's time to prove them wrong. We have a new system in place that makes it easy for you to email House and Senate offices directly. (This is different from signing the petition against the bill, and we urge you to take this action even if you've signed the petition.)

Will you email Congress to urge them to oppose the PROTECT IP Act? Just click here.

PROTECT IP would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other “information location tools” to block users' access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement — the initiation of a China-style censorship regime here in the United States.

Hold your Congressmen accountable for the protection of your freedoms — click here to urge them to oppose the PROTECT IP Act.

 

Thanks for fighting for Internet freedom.
— The Demand Progress team

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Wyden Puts Hold On Internet Censorship Bill

Senator Wyden continues to be the Senate's truest champion of an open Internet.  

Yesterday, he placed a hold on Senator Leahy's PROTECT IP Act (or PIPA), which would allow the government to restrict ordinary users’ access to websites that have been accused of copyright infringement, by forcing Internet service providers and search engines to block these sites.

Though this bill was unanimously approved yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Wyden has prevented it from going to the full Senate, citing concerns that it would "muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth." Wyden's full statement can be read here.

Express your opposition to PIPA by signing Demand Progress's petition here.  

To call your lawmakers directly, (3,000 Demand Progress members already have!), click here.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt publicly came out against the legislation, and yesterday, Demand Progress and more than a dozen human rights and civil liberties groups sent a letter in opposition to PIPA to Leahy. The full letter is posted here.

Earlier this week, Demand Progress was attacked by the Motion Picture Association of America because torrent site Demonoid linked to us.  This attack reveals PROTECT IP's proponents’ warped sense of how the Internet works, or should work — a world where sites that link, and sites that are linked to, are responsible for each other's actions.

If you are concerned about the government restricting your Internet access, join the 60,000 others who have signed our petition to kill PIPA.

Demand Progress is a political action committee and online activist group with more than 400,000 members.

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