Protect IP Act Gives Government Power to Seize Websites On a WhimSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Wed, 07/06/2011 - 09:50
New legislation that would give the US government the power to seize website domains on a whim with no oversight merely for linking to sites that host copyrighted material has been labeled a hallmark of “repressive regimes” by a group of law professors who warn that the bill allows the state to “break the Internet addressing system”.
The Protect IP bill, currently stalled in the Senate, represents a death blow to Internet freedom of speech. It would turn the entire web into a clone of the YouTube model, which routinely censors and deletes material when requested to by governments or corporations and shuts down user channels without recourse.
The legislation merely codifies what Homeland Security is already practicing, seizing and shutting down websites without any form of legal proceedings and in many cases not even notifying the owner.
In an open letter penned by Professor Mark Lemley of Stanford University, David S. Levine of Elon University and David G. Post of Temple University, they warn that the bill would require Internet hosting companies and search engines to de-list entire websites on the basis of a mere copyright claim by a copyright holder, with no independent or legal process undertaken.
Even linking to a website that copyright holders claim is in violation of intellectual property laws would be grounds for the feds to seize your domain and impose criminal penalties.