Corporate Monopolies Strike Out Against Web Neutrality

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

It should come as no surprise, at a time when the free world wide web allows people and social movements to access information ignored by the corporate media and to organize mass movements such as the recent overthrow of the Egyptian leadership and the now international Occupy Wall Street, that the corporate media is striking back with a vengeance.  The Senate Bill The Protect IP Act (PIPA, S. 968), and its sister House Bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261) are currently under discussion in both houses of Congress.  These bills were introduced on May 11th, 2011, with the stated goal of protecting copyrighted media.   In the words of H.R. 3261, its intent is “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”  However, the wording of the bills has the potential to take away the right of free speech for individual American citizens or organizations that challenge the Corporate Media status quo.

Under the pending legislation, owners of copyrighted material would be able claim infringement and approach the Justice Department requesting that the whole site be taken down.  It furthermore absolves copyright holders and the government of all liability.  The language in these bills is often vague, conflates corporate and national interests, and is open to multiple interpretations.  SOPA, is nominally intended to “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and in-novation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”  It would permit the dismantling of sites that are perceived to be a threat to “national security” or to “economic creativity.”

 

The corporate media, when they mention it at all, don’t even pretend to be objective.

Edward Wyatt’s “Lines Drawn On Antipiracy Bill” from December 14th, 2011, spends its first three paragraphs problematizing illegal downloading.  The fourth paragraph describes the bill as “broadly supported on both sides of the political aisle.”  In Wyatt’s fifth paragraph, he writes that “the howls of protest have been loud and lavishly financed, not only from Silicon Valley companies but also from public-interest groups, free-speech advocates and even venture capital investors.”  The article quotes Tom Rothman, the co-chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment, and Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who is the primary sponsor of the bill.  The article does quote one voice in opposition to the legislation: Markham Erickson, the executive director of NetCoalition, a coalition of global internet companies including Google, Yahoo!, Amazon.com, eBay, IAC, Bloomberg LP, Expedia and Wikipedia.  In other words, the only oppostional voice referenced in the article,supports Wyatt’s implicit claim that there exists no popular opposition to unchecked corporate domination of the world wide web.

 

This story, which potentially affects all users of the internet, is hardly mentioned at all in the corporate media, and when it is, the coverage is highly slanted.

 

Sources:

H.R. 3261,

http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/112%20HR%203261.pdf

 

Title:”How SOPA would Affect You: FAQ”

Author: Declan McCullagh,

Source: news.cnet.com   12/7/11

http://news.cnet.com/‌8301-31921_3-57329001-281/‌how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/

 

Title: “Lines Drawn on Antipiracy Bills”

Author: Edward Wyatt

New York Times, December 14th, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/technology/lines-are-drawn-on-legislation-against-internet-piracy.html?scp=4&sq=SOPA&st=cse

 

Title: The Stop Online Piracy Act is Class War in Cyberspace, Enriching the 1% at the Expense of the 99%

Author: Dean Baker

Source:  Alternet.org,

http://www.alternet.org/media/153319/the_stop_online_piracy_act_is_class_war_in_cyberspace,_enriching_the_1_at_the_expense_of_the_99

 

Student Researcher: Erika Cowan, Syracuse University

Faculty Evaluator: Jeff Simmons, Syracuse University