You have no doubt heard of the recent spate of web site take-downs by the government. While many of the sites may not lend themselves to sympathy, it’s still been a scary set of events. The fact that ours, or any other government, can swoop in and take down any web site with no notice and no due-process is chilling.
But today, over on TorrentFreak, it was announced that both the MPAA and the RIAA have lobbied extensively for these take-downs to happen. This probably isn’t any great surprise to anyone reading this. But until now it couldn’t be officially pinned on either group. However, now the evidence is well laid out complete with links to government documents, within the public record, that show details of the process and money spent in the lobbying to make it happen. As I said, it’s scary, but not entirely unexpected.
A look at public filings reveal that the outfits spent more than $1.8 million in the third quarter of 2010 on lobbying efforts directly targeted at the COICA bill and the authorities that carried out the recent domain name seizures. Money, that as it stands now, was well spent.
It’s laid out in cold hard numbers that the RIAA spent $1.29 million (US) and the MPAA spent $520,000 (US) in helping these events to happen by lobbying for both the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to receive the necessary authority to make these seizures.
I am still shaking my head wondering what the DHS and ICE could possibly have to do with the internet or copyright and counterfeit web sites. Can someone please help me out in grasping this correlation?
Regardless, that’s where we stand right now. As I always say when I write about these things, I don’t advocate what these sites are doing. But I do advocate their day in court and their right to a fair trial. When we reach the point where these types of things can happen without due process and without any apparent way of rebuttal then we, as a world-wide internet community, have lost. When we lose this basic right of a day in court then we become no better than China or Iran or the others we like to point to and smirk at.