Sunday, April 01, 2012

Will Free Speech in America Meet its Match in Lieberman?

Our American friends are at it again.  A new legislative initiative by Senator Joseph Lieberman, a  former Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, is raising eyebrows sky-high among free speech advocates south of the border.  

Patterico reports:
According to the blog McIntyre v Ohio, an anonymous blog devoted to promoting anonymous speech, Senator Joe Lieberman has proposed stripping blog hosts of the immunity they currently enjoy from liability for things their blog commenters say. 
If legislation like this ever actually passes, I’ll be shutting down comments.
Ted Frank of Point of  Law shares similar concern:
I am concerned about the report from the McIntyre v. Ohio blog about a proposed law to eviscerate Section 230 and potentially hold web site administrators liable for the speech of their commenters. One would hope that Congress sees through the anti-terrorism veneer and rejects this law as the attack on the First Amendment it would be. On the other hand, the bill's sponsor, Senator Joe Lieberman, has previously called for Twitter to censor accounts he did not like.
Canadians should take note.  As the recent spate of  U.S. copyright-related extraditions amply demonstrates, the 49th parallel potentially provides only limited protection from the long arm of the American Internet police. Via Talk Left:
U.K. Home Secretary Teresa May has approved the extradition of 23 year old British student Richard O'Dwyer to the U.S for criminal copyright infringement... The connection to the U.S. is simply that he bought the domain name (.net) from Verisign, which is in the U.S.
This new interpretation of U.S. global outreach-- reach out and jail someone -- should be rejected. The people who can stop it are in Congress. They vote on budgets. They have the authority to pass laws determining the length of prison sentences and amount of prison good time. They can restrict extra-territorial jurisdiction and extraditions (emphasis added).
We will be watching the development of this proposed legislation extremely closely.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto


Happy April 2. You may disregard the post above, because it's not true.  The Lieberman stuff, that is.

The copyright extradition piece, however, is still true.  

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