Thursday 26 January 2012

Obama: I Don't Need No Stinkin' SOPA!!!

Remember how the internet community breathed a deep sigh of relief last week when the House and Senate shelved the SOPA bill due to public outcry?  Remember how Barack Obama vowed to veto the bill if it came across his desk?  Remember how we all suspected that wasn't the last we'd heard of a bill allowing widespread internet censorship?

In one of his sneakiest moves yet, the very same Barack Obama who denounced the SOPA bill had already signed a treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which makes SOPA look comparatively tame.  This was signed in OCTOBER of 2011!

Obama did an end run around Congress by signing the treaty without their ratification.  Because the treaty is global, there is absolutely no escaping these laws by running your site from a different country or using proxy servers.  He did this by calling it "an executive agreement" instead of a treaty, thus semantically nullifying the requirement for congressional approval.

The powers of ACTA are far broader than the powers of SOPA, and not just geographically.  ACTA allows copyright holders to insist that ISP providers remove content from the internet without a court order.  The agreement also pushes for the power for copyright holders that feel they have been infringed upon to demand that the violators of the intellectual property have the internet connection removed WITHOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION.

The sticking point for President Sneaky Pants Obama is this:  an executive agreement cannot be signed if the subject matter is under the purview of the Congress.  Intellectual property, thankfully, is protected in the Constitution in Article One, Section 8, as a topic that is the responsibility of Congress.

This is the next step in the battle for internet freedom.  We know that we can't trust the government-and-big-business-owned mass media.  The internet is truly the only place that we can research and learn from alternative independent sources.  The government is controlling all of the information we receive from other sources - it is vital that we keep our internet free of censorship.

Write your congresspersons and let them know your feelings on this.  Let them know that you insist that this be treated as a matter for Congressional ratification.

You can find the email address of your members of Congress HERE.

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