S. 3804 Government Internet Blacklist; Who’s on the case?


Aaron Swartz cofounder of Demand Progress
Aaron Swartz cofounder of Demand Progress [WikiMedia Foundation]

Bill S. 3804 currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee would require internet service providers to block a domain if the court determines that copyright infringing material is  “central to the activity of the Internet site”.  As of now,  a site like YouTube is in compliance with law if they remove infringing material when it is brought to their attention. Under they new law, they could be banned if a single copyright holder can convince the court that the total of all material of all copyright holders is “central to the activity of the Internet site”.

Havard Center for Ethics Fellow Aaron Swartz together with Democratic Rhode Island State Representative David Segal have founded Demand Progress which has taken on lobbying against S. 3804 as its first campaign. Their site has a petition against the bill. The site also has a petition urging President Obama to look for a substantial upgrade in replacing the Late Larry Summers.1

The current director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics is Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons fame.  Lessig is also part of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society2,3, but to my knowledge, they have yet to weigh in on this bill.

1To those of you new to the guy by the door, this nomenclature comes from asking the question, “Is there life after being the President of Harvard?”

2In the interest of full disclosure, the guy by the door is hosted by The Berkman Center.

3My apology to another member of the Berkman Center, Professor Charles Ogletree whom I heard testify at the commutation hearing for Arnie King.  Arnie is a great story, I need a bit more time to finish the piece.

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