Democrats and “Internet Freedom”

by Stephan Kinsella on September 4, 2012

As noted in ars technica, For Dems, “Internet freedom” means “vigorously” protecting copyrights:

Both major US party platforms endorse “Internet freedom”—but for both parties the phrase comes with important caveats. Last week, the Republicans called for “vigorous enforcement of current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity,” as well as the preservation of the ban on online gambling. The Democrats are silent on pornography and gambling, but they make the case for “vigorous” copyright enforcement efforts.

… “The administration is vigorously protecting US intellectual property,” the new Democratic platform declares, through “better enforcement and innovative approaches such as voluntary efforts by all parties to minimize infringement while supporting the free flow of information.” That’s a reference to things like the “graduated response” system in which ISPs would penalize their users if they were accused of copyright infringement six times. (The White House helped brokered the deal between major ISPs and Hollywood.)

Another policy that fits the theme of “vigorous” enforcement (though it isn’t named specifically) is Operation In Our Sites. Under that program, the federal government has seized hundreds of allegedly infringing domain names before the site owners had a chance to be heard.

President Obama also has his party’s backing on the use of trade negotiations as a lever to pressure other countries to adopt American-style copyright and patent laws. While it doesn’t mention the controversial ACTA treaty, the Democratic platform promotes the Trans-Pacific Partnershipagreement and praises “free trade” agreements with Panama and Colombia for “protecting labor rights, the environment, and intellectual property.”

So… the Republicrats and Demopublicans want to restrict Internet Freedom, to stop gambling, pornography, copyright infringement, … in the name of Internet Freedom. Talk about obscenity! As Cory Doctorow has noted, the Internet is the world’s biggest copying machine … of course, it facilitates copying. If you have a war on copying, this is a war on the Internet.

See also: Down with Gatekeepers: Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration vs. Internet Freedom, discussing the hypocrisy and ludicrousness of the people who are attacking the Internet claiming to be for Internet Freedom.

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Dan Q September 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm

The EFF frequently points out that the Democrats tend to be worse with regards to copyright due to California’s political leanings. While that might be true, after the GOP dumped free market capitalism for lie-bomb-and-print fascism they tend to be nasty as well.

I commented on your previous post (http://c4sif.org/2012/08/rand-paul-bad-on-intellectual-property/) about Rand Paul attacking “Internet collectivism” as a Thoughtcrime.
I’ve seen things from “free-market” think-tanks as well which use this same tactic – I seem to remember something ridiculous coming out years ago from the Heritage Foundation which said something moronic like “Richard Stallman opposes the Founding Fathers’ support for intellectual property rights”
Meanwhile open-source and Creative Commons are voluntary private contracts which the copyright holder chooses to utilize. Free-market supporters are supposed to support private contracts, but they go after the Thoughtcrime instead.

So while the Democrats may rely on extreme copyright laws for winning elections, there is a tendency for establishment Republicans to accuse us of anti-private-property Thoughtcrimes.

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