Dec. 13, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement in opposition to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith's manager's amendment to HR 3261:
"Even with the changes proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, this bill will essentially criminalize the Internet, making it impossible to upload and share content. Any service that allows for storing files or posting hyperlinks could be targeted, and on the Internet, that's everything. In cyberspace, this is like trying to pass a law against breathing. Copyright can be protected on the Internet, but it will be done by adapting copyright law to the technology, not by outlawing the technology.
"This legislation will still give government the power to censor the Internet in the name of protecting copyright. It will still threaten any website, including social networks and search engines that allow users to upload content, with being shut down. This legislation will still take the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and chuck them in the garbage. Those safe harbor provisions protected websites that provided easy takedown procedures for potential infringing materials, and already had a system in place for their removal.
"The bill will still allow copyright holders to pursue private actions against alleged infringing websites with the force of law behind them, including seeking the termination of advertising and payment services, whether the site is foreign or domestic.
"Finally, even with its so-called 'savings' clauses, this bill will still risk placing unfeasible, court-ordered technology mandates on Internet service providers requiring websites to somehow prevent their services from being used to post infringing material, even if doing so is technically impossible. To avoid litigation, Internet companies will simply stop allowing uploading and file sharing.
"Censorship is never the solution. Internet piracy can be combated without a regime of suppression that threatens activities that are protected by the First Amendment. This will have a chilling effect on what is in effect cyber speech: on uploading, posting and sharing files. That it is the heart of the Internet, and it is being gutted by this legislation."
"Internet piracy bill: A free speech 'kill switch'," ALG President Bill Wilson, The Hill (Dec. 12, 2011) at http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/198687-internet-piracy-bill-a-free-speech-kill-switch.
Interview with ALG President Bill Wilson, WGEM, Hosts Rich Cain and Lindsey Hess, Quincy, IL (Dec. 12, 2011) at http://my.wgem.com/_Bill-Wilson-Americans-for-Limited-Govt/audio/916294/29404.html.
"Legislation by Rep. Lamar Smith equals Internet censorship," ALG Senior Editor Robert Romano (Dec. 12, 2011) at http://netrightdaily.com/2011/12/legislation-by-rep-lamar-smith-equals-internet-censorship/.
Three Libertarians Raise Concerns about the Stop Online Piracy Act, Cato Institute (Nov. 7, 2011) at http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/three-libertarians-raise-concerns-about-the-stop-online-piracy-act/.
"Guilty until proven innocent," By ALG Communications Director Rick Manning, Nov. 16, 2011 at http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-a-budget/193901-guilty-until-proven-innocent.
Interview Availability: Please contact Rebekah Rast at (703) 383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.