Anti piracy bill could be used to limit free political speech

November 19, 2010 10:08

COICA has alarmed engineers and civil liberties groups, who say that it could balkanize the Internet, jeopardize free speech rights, and endanger even some legitimate Web sites.

by Declan McCullagh at cnet News


In the last week, support for the bill known as COICA, for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, broadened beyond groups traditionally active in online copyright disputes to include the Newspaper Association of America, which said the legislation was needed because online piracy “undermines the investments that newspapers make in journalism.” Labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, argued that American workers “have suffered significant harm due to theft of copyrighted and trademarked goods.”

At the same time, a group of law professors wrote an open letter (PDF) to the Senate saying the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment and “would set a dangerous precedent with potentially serious consequences for free expression and global Internet freedom.”


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