All posts by demandprogress

Double Standards! The U.S. on Domestic vs. Global Internet Policy

Just this month, the United States signed on to a Human Rights Council statement praising freedom of expression on the Internet, along with forty other countries across the world. The purpose of the statement is to emphasize how integral modern-day communications technologies are for the promotion of basic human rights.  You would naturally expect the United States, leader of the free world, to be a signatory — but can the recent slew of restrictive legislation being pushed through Congress allow the U.S. to support a globally open Internet in good faith??  Let’s take a look at the inconsistencies:

  • The HRC statement says: “We consider Government-initiated closing down of the Internet, or major parts thereof, for purposes of suppressing free speech, to be in violation of freedom of expression. In addition, Governments should not mandate a more restrictive standard for intermediaries than is the case with traditional media regarding freedom of expression or hold intermediaries liable for content that they transmit or disseminate.”
  • Yet, Senate Bill 978 — the "Ten Strikes Bill" — would make unlicensed online streaming (by corporations or individual Internet users) a felony punishable by 5 years in prison.

  • The HRC statement continues: “All users, including persons with disabilities, should have greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services, whether or not they are offered free of charge. In this context, network neutrality and openness are important objectives. Cutting off users from access to the Internet is generally not a proportionate sanction.
  • Yet, Senate Bill 968 — the PROTECT IP Act or "Internet Blacklist Bill" — would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other "information location tools" to block users' access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement.
  • HRC: “For us, one principle is very basic: The same rights that people have offline – freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek information, freedom of assembly and association, amongst others – must also be protected online.”
  • But the Obama administration is facilitating a "three strikes" style deal between Internet Service Providers and intellectual property rights holders to reduce bandwidth and restrict web access to certain sites for users who have been accused of copyright infringement.

If you can’t stand for such hypocrisy on the part of the US government, sign our petitions below:

You can read the full text of the HRC statement here, as well as the UN report on pro-Internet freedom being praised here.

10 Strikes Bill Advances

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s “10 Strikes Bill” is dangerously close to turning most Americans into criminals. The Bill would classify streaming content 10 times or more as a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison. So, a teenager who uploads 10 or more videos of him or herself lip-syncing is committing a felony. So is anyone who uploads a video of  themselves doing karaoke, ten times or more. And parties that include background music. And videos of public performances. We need to stop this madness!

David Segal, Demand Progress’ Campaign Director, explains that the Bill “has the potential for innumerable unintended consequences that would stifle innovation and personal expression on the Internet.” Again, our lawmakers have shown a drastic lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the Internet.

The Bill claims to target only companies that profit from video streaming, and that it will not be used to prosecute individuals and families– but there is no wording protecting them beyond the label “profitable.” The Bill has already passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We must act before it sneaks its way into our laws!

Join thousands of Demand Progress members in fighting to prevent this travesty:

5 Years Jailtime for Embedding Youtube Videos?

This week, a bill could pass that would alter Internet freedom forever. The 10 Strikes Bill, put forth by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MI), classifies streaming copyright infringing music or movies over the Internet a felony, and after 10 strikes, you could face jail time. Sign our petition to stop this madness:

Techdirt asserts that you could face five years in jail for simply embedding a youtube video, and that the laws apply to children who put videos of themselves lip syncing to popular songs on youtube.

Once again, the government shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the Internet and Internet freedom. Instead of writing a set of laws that would be quickly evaded, we should be working towards a new set of standards to protect Intellectual Property while accommodating the freedom of information the Internet provides. The force behind the bill, the Motion Picture Association of America, acts solely in Hollywood’s interest.

Protect your own interests and sign our petition to keep the Internet free!


PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA, threatens all of our first amendment rights. It would enable the government to block access to sites, ending the Internet as we know it. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon cautions, “The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.” We need to fight together against this travesty: send our letter to Congress here!…

Even the experts say PROTECT IP is not the way to protect intellectual property rights; a study composed by internet experts including Paul Vixie of Internet Consortium and Danny McPherson of Verisign states, “[PIPA’s DNS targeting strategy] would likely prove ineffective at reducing online infringement.” Why risk our own internet freedom for a bill that will prove “ineffective” at achieving its aims?

The Motion Picture Association of America claims that the 24,000 who have already sent our letter to Congress are false identities used by Demand Progress to bolster our numbers.

Prove the MPAA wrong and stand up for your rights by sending out this letter:…

Congresswoman: Feds Could Shut Down Facebook

Did you know that last week during a House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Intellectual Property, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), asserted that DHS and ICE are claiming powers that could shut down Facebook?  

Demand Progress, a Political Action Committee and activist group of nearly 400,000 members, concur: The government is claiming powers that could seize Facebook and prosecute its users just for linking to things.

Check out these key clips of the hearing in our new video:…  

Last month DHS and ICE accidentally seized 84,000 innocent sites.  Over the last several months, DHS has seized at least two dozen domain names on copyright infringement grounds. Earlier this month, DHS and ICE arrested Brian McCarthy for, which simply linked to infringing content, but which housed none of its own.  In all these cases, the sites owners weren’t given any prior notice and except for Brian McCarthy, these owners weren’t even given the chance to defend the accusations against them– infringing upon their due process and free speech rights.

Watch the hearing clips and sign our petition to Janet Napolitano, Director of DHS and John Morton, Director of ICE.

Tell them there’s nothing wrong or illegal about posting a link to a website and that it’s obscene to interpret the law in a way that would give them authority to shut down Facebook and sites like it:…