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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

AFL-CIO and Big Content Advocate For SOPA 295

Weezul writes "Today's House Judiciary Committee meeting on the Stop Online Piracy Act excluded any witnesses who advocate for civil rights. Google's Katherine Oyama was the only witness to object to the bill in a meaningful way. In particular, the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks.'"
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AFL-CIO and Big Content Advocate For SOPA

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  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:03PM (#38079788)

    It appears the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) is an AFL-CIO union []. Any members should apply some pressure against their support for this madness.

    I'd hope the AFL-CIO would shape up if enough members threatened to quit.

  • Re:I Agree (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:09PM (#38079866) Homepage

    SOPA has nothing to do with theft. This is a completely flawed analogy.

  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <rduke15@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:10PM (#38079872)

    There was also an op-ed by Rebecca MacKinnon in the NY Times: "Stop the Great Firewall of America []". Unfortunately behind their paywall, but may be accessible through a Google search?

  • by Clever7Devil ( 985356 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:10PM (#38079876)

    Here's a site to quickly push a complaint to those who need your votes:

    American []

    Think we can Slashdot it?

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:27PM (#38080086)

    On a more serious note, why can't you leave a union? That sounds very un-free to me.

    You CAN quit a union.

    However (there's always a however), in non-right-to-work States, union dues are deducted from your paycheck and sent to the union whether you're a member or not.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:32PM (#38080152)

    Can you quit the AFL-CIO?

    Some of the biggest unions around -- SEIU, Teamsters, UFW, and UFCW -- did in 2005.

  • Do something! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:34PM (#38080170)

    Remember the proposed legislation mandating DRM TCPA chips on all computers years ago? Someone on slashdot linked the senate's website and contact info. It died. :-)

    So instead of whinning let your senators know how you feel?

    Their website is here [] for the American Slashdot readers. Don't know who your senators are? There is a list here including an email link [].

    Calling your senator is effective as well [].

    When contacting your senator do not mention you want to dowload illegal material or that you are just angry and think it is unfair. Mention you work in the I.T. field and are worried about negative implications and liabilitiy risks for non copyrighted or infringement uses that this bill could be abused. Mention it would harm Google's youtube service costing American jobs as they would move overseas. This bill would be costly and could cost American innovation and jobs. Mention we already have existing copyright laws in force and sites like youtube already remove copyrighted or infrindged material in a timely manner and this is nothing but a power grab.

    If your senator is a democrats mention your worried about the power grab by the media companies will harm competition. If your senator is a republican mention this would increase government intervention and regulation as it would cost well into the billions of dollars of tax payer money to fund this etc. You all can be creative.

    Someone mod this up for the links. I just made it easier for everyone to spend 5 minutes telling your representative how you feel. Remember if you do not pick your voice the RIAA/MPAA will. If all they hear is the RIAA/MPAA then they will vote for the bill as it shows we don't care and like being fucked over. Do your duty.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:26PM (#38080758)
    The AFL-CIO has never represented the workers. It has always represented the union bosses. When one of the AFL-CIO unions negotiate with a company there are two ways it can go. Management slips a "little something" to the union bosses and the workers get screwed. Or Management stands its ground and both the company and the workers get screwed.
  • by Lanteran ( 1883836 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:32PM (#38080814) Homepage Journal

    I got through just fine, I think turning javascript off stops the NYT paywall from working. Text of TFA:

    China operates the world’s most elaborate and opaque system of Internet censorship. But Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.

    The legislation — the Protect IP Act, which has been introduced in the Senate, and a House version known as the Stop Online Piracy Act — have an impressive array of well-financed backers, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. The bills aim not to censor political or religious speech as China does, but to protect American intellectual property. Alarm at the infringement of creative works through the Internet is justifiable. The solutions offered by the legislation, however, threaten to inflict collateral damage on democratic discourse and dissent both at home and around the world.

    The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright — a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.

    Abuses under existing American law serve as troubling predictors for the kinds of abuse by private actors that the House bill would make possible. Take, for example, the cease-and-desist letters that Diebold, a maker of voting machines, sent in 2003, demanding that Internet service providers shut down Web sites that had published internal company e-mails about problems with the company’s voting machines. The letter cited copyright violations, and most of the service providers took down the content without question, despite the strong case to be made that the material was speech protected under the First Amendment.

    The House bill would also emulate China’s system of corporate “self-discipline,” making companies liable for users’ actions. The burden would be on the Web site operator to prove that the site was not being used for copyright infringement. The effect on user-generated sites like YouTube would be chilling.

    YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have played an important role in political movements from Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park. At present, social networking services are protected by a “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which grants Web sites immunity from prosecution as long as they act in good faith to take down infringing content as soon as rights-holders point it out to them. The House bill would destroy that immunity, putting the onus on YouTube to vet videos in advance or risk legal action. It would put Twitter in a similar position to that of its Chinese cousin, Weibo, which reportedly employs around 1,000 people to monitor and censor user content and keep the company in good standing with authorities.

    Compliance with the Stop Online Piracy Act would require huge overhead spending by Internet companies for staff and technologies dedicated to monitoring users and censoring any infringing material from being posted or transmitted. This in turn would create daunting financial burdens and legal risks for start-up companies, making it much harder for brilliant young entrepreneurs with limited resources to

  • Re:28th Ammendment.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:47PM (#38081498)

    The right to download a car.

    That is actually exactly what's at stake. Imagine a future where replicator technology [] is commonplace. We'll be freed from the shackles of cost being linked to the amount of labor and expertise needed to manufacture a physical object. The only limit is going to be materials cost and our imaginations.

    So we could have a world where anyone can own a car for the just cost of the metal and plastic needed to construct it. But it won't happen if it's illegal to download the design of said car without paying a $20,000 license fee to Ford, who still holds its 150 year copyright and whose patent portfolio prevents anyone who is not also a big auto company from legally selling you a design.

    To paraphrase the ST:TNG episode [], the decision we come to in the coming decade or two regarding software patents, copyright extensions and enforcement will extend far beyond music, movies, and software. It will redefine to what degree access to cheap manufactured products can improve the standard of living of the human race. Expanding them for some (IP creators), savagely curtailing them for others (consumers). Are we prepared to condemn the billions who come after us to servitude and slavery by making sure no idea with contemporary value ever makes it into the public domain?

    This is our chance to make law. Let's make it a good one.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:21AM (#38085108) Homepage Journal

    Indeed, try using google to crack open any one of the national labor relations websites, and you'll find that your union DUES money CAN'T be used in any way whatsoever for political action without your knowledge and consent TO BEGIN WITH.

    And in my personal experience, you have approximately the same ability to withhold permission to use your dues for political contributions as you do not to join the union in the first place.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.