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Reply #2: I am glad that Sen. Kerry is staying on top of this issue. Frankly, I am getting worried. [View All]

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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-03-10 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. I am glad that Sen. Kerry is staying on top of this issue. Frankly, I am getting worried.
Edited on Fri Sep-03-10 10:22 AM by beachmom
I assume you guys all saw the Google/Verizon proposal, which was very troubling. They basically said "free open internet" but non-net neutrality for the wireless net, which is nuts since that is the future. Plus, even their open internet proposal had loopholes. What makes it really bad is that in the past we could count on Google for being on our side, but now that they are branching out into other types of businesses, they clearly are a major player that can no longer be counted on to lend a helping hand.

In other news, I just came upon this and it left me cold. As you guys all know in the past people file sharing music got sued by the RIAA. And they had to pay thousands of dollars to settle or go to court for years. Now, to me copying a full song is a fairly clear copyright infringement. However, all of us here have "sampled" news articles, trying our best to adhere to fair use. Well, now there are new groups coming up who are suing small blogs on behalf of newspapers. Some may be legit (posting an entire article is absolute copyright infringement), but others clearly are not.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to assist defendants in the Righthaven copyright troll lawsuits. Righthaven, founded in March of 2010, files hundreds of copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of newspaper publishers against bloggers who make use of news content without permission. To that end, Righthaven searches the internet for stories and parts of stories from the newspapers that they represent. Once they find content that has been re-published, Righthaven purchases the copyright to the article and sues the owner of the blog.

Just like the US Copyright Group shakedowns, and the RIAA shakedowns of the recent past, Righthaven relies on the threat of enormous statutory damages associated with the Copyright Act to scare defendants, often individual bloggers operating non-commercial websites, into a quick settlement, reportedly ranging from two to five thousand dollars.

Here is one example: /

Righthaven LLC, the company suing bloggers and websites over copyright infringements involving Las Vegas Review-Journal stories, filed at least two more suits on Wednesday as its lawsuit total hit an even 100 since March.

One suit was filed in federal court in Las Vegas against Dominique Houston and the Chris Brown Network, which allegedly are associated with the website . Review-Journal stories allegedly posted on that site this year involved the sentencing of a man for tax fraud and a Las Vegas 51s game on Memorial Day.


As it usually does, Righthaven in the latest suits seeks damages of $75,000 apiece and forfeiture of the defendants website domain names to Righthaven.

One of the blog posts cited posted 4 paragraphs out of a 34 paragraph story AND a link to the newspaper. Even if that person is totally innocent, how many years and legal fees would he have to burn through to win his case? It just makes it less enticing to start a blog, whereas big corporations have the resources to deal with legal issues.

I just feel like even if we get Net Neutrality in place, in a way, the big fish are already becoming in charge of the internet. For example, personal food blogs are having their traffic be diminished by big sites such as Huff Post which has a food blog section. Certainly on the left side, we now have winners and losers, and I just don't hear anymore about new blogs popping up and suddenly everyone is reading them the way it was in say 2004 or 2005. A lot of people are flocking to Twitter and Facebook, and not creating blogs anymore.

I suppose it was inevitable that the internet was going to grow up. Although I highly recommend this Wired article ( ), I don't think the internet is dead yet. But it certainly isn't the freewheeling free speech machine it was a few years ago. Conservatives are using Twitter and Facebook in the way we used blogs, BUT it is less entrepeneurial since you can't sell your own ads on your Twitter feed.

Still, we really need Net Neutrality policy to be in place before Republicans take over everything again (well, it is a nightmare scenario but we should plan for it). Because although the latest trends haven't been that great, it could get a whole lot worse if the big telecoms and ISPs get their way.

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