Thursday, December 09, 2010

Finally finally, a couple of more-or-less related footnotes

1. The federal government - that is, Obama's Department for the Protection of the Fatherland - is now asserting the authority to seize entire domain names based on claims of copyright infringement. Not proof of infringement, mind you, not as punishment for some conviction on a charge of infringement, but merely on a claim of it. And not just to shut down the offender, but to seize it and to do it without any notice to or even complaint filed against the site.
These domain seizures come even without the COICA law being in place, and despite assurances from COICA supporters that no such domain seizures would ever possibly come without a full trial first, many of the operators of the domain names seized in this round state they hadn't received any notification of complaints, let alone demands to be taken down.

And it gets even more ridiculous, as some of the sites taken down appear to be nothing more than search engines, which did not host any content and did not host any trackers, but simply acted as perfectly normal search engines.
COICA is the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, a focus of truly intensive lobbying by the highly self-interested movie and recording industries, lobbying that is having success even though that months ago, the Government Accountability Office determined that industry claims about the economic costs of piracy were bogus. The bill passed a Senate committee earlier this month but is several steps away from being law. The chances of it passing the lame duck session are small. But the questionable legal authority doesn't seem to bother the White House.

2. Last week I noted how often right-wing sites all suddenly address the same issue in the same way, often enough in the same words. I wondered if there was some sort of right-wing Central Command issuing instructions. Here's another example, small enough that it could be coincidence but I still have to wonder.

On the same day, Tuesday, Bryan Fisher of the wacked-out American Family Association and Cliff Kincaid of the bizarre right "media watchdog" outfit Accuracy in Media, had columns published in which they argued that the WikiLeaks affair contained proof in the person of Bradley Manning of the evilness of gays. While phrased differently, both made the identical argument (again, on the same day): Manning, they claimed, leaked the cables because of his resentment over DADT and that therefore it should not be repealed because gays should not be allowed in the military, non sequiturs (such as the fact that by their own argument, if he'd been allowed to serve openly there would have been no resentment and thus no leak) not withstanding.

(Sidebar: Wonkette did a decent job of mocking Fisher.)

3. Finally, others have mentioned this so I suppose you know about it but it's such a wonderful example of unintentional humor I had to include it:
U.S. state department spokesperson P. J. Crowley announced that the U.S. govt. has won the right to host "World Press Freedom Day" [in May]. The event will be held in Washington D.C.

Crowley said that this would prove U.S. commitment to "expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age"....
Like they say, sometimes the stuff just writes itself.

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