[IRP] Letter about PROTECT IP Act for Sign On

Jochai Ben-Avie jochai
Mon Jan 16 18:47:18 EET 2012

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know that *we're pushing the deadline for sign on to
the letter about PROTECT IP to tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9 AM EST (GMT-5)*.

Lots of big news over the weekend. The White House released a very strong
statement against this legislation over the weekend (
there have been some positive moves from the Chairs of the Senate and House
Judiciary Committees around removing some of the provisions around DNS
filtering over the last few days. However, DNS filtering isn't out of the
bills yet (and on the Senate side, they're only talking about delaying
implementation and doing a study).

So all the more reason for us to send this letter which we hope will serve
as a strong statement that this legislation violates human rights. Again,
if your organization would like to sign this letter, the deadline is 9 AM
EST tomorrow.

I also want to add a big thank you to those who have signed already. Any
help in spreading the word further would be greatly appreciated! Here's the
current list of signatories:

Amnesty International
Asociatia pentru Technologie si Internet (ApTI)
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Bits of Freedom
Bytes for All Pakistan
Centre for Internet and Society
Creative Commons Guatemala
Derechos Digitales
Digitale Gesellschaft e.V.
Eduardo Bertoni on behalf of iLEI/CELE UP (Iniciativa Libertad de Expresi?n
en Internet, Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresi?n, Universidad de
Palermo, Argentina)
European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)
German Working Group against Internet Blocking and Censorship (Arbeitskreis
gegen Internet-Sperren und Zensur, AK Zensur)
Index on Censorship
Instituto Nupef
Guardian Project
La Quadrature du Net
MayFirst/People Link
Net Users Rights Protection Association (NURPA)
Open Rights Group (ORG)
Palante Technology Cooperateive
Reporters Without Borders
wlan slovenia, open wireless network


On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM, Jochai Ben-Avie <jochai at accessnow.org>wrote:

> Hi friends and colleagues,
> Hope that everyone?s new year is off to a good start. Over the holiday
> break, the PROTECT IP Act (or PIPA, the Senate companion legislation of the
> Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House) has been heating up, and is
> coming up for a major vote on January 24th. If they win the vote, this
> terrible legislation will almost certainly become law in some form.
> Problematically, PIPA is seen as the compromise bill. Worse still, many
> people in DC are saying that they haven?t heard any opposition to PIPA (a
> lot of opposition has been directed at SOPA), and making claims that there
> are no human rights implications ?because this bill only deals with piracy.?
> The letter that we wrote about SOPA a few months back (
> https://www.accessnow.org/sopa-letter) was delivered to the members of
> the House Judiciary Committee and at a meeting with the White House IP
> Coordinator, a member of the President's Council on Economic Advisors, and
> the Deputy CTO of the US. We were told by many people that it had a real
> impact and helped to push the discourse in the right direction, so much so
> that we've written another letter on behalf of the human rights community
> about PIPA (which is attached and below).
> **If your organization is interested in signing this letter, please let
> me know no later than Monday at midnight EST (GMT-5).**
> I?ll be down in DC with reps from a few other organizations to deliver the
> letter in person to a number of senators over the next two weeks. If your
> organization has someone in DC and would like to be a part of these
> meetings, let me know.
> This letter has already been reviewed by many organizations, and given the
> very quick turnaround that's needed on this, this is going to have to be
> the final draft. If there are serious issues that would prevent your
> organization from signing, please reach out to me off list.
> Thanks,
> Jochai
> P.S. If you?re interested in learning more about the PIPA cloture vote on
> the 24th, check out this post:
> http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/pipa%E2%80%99s-january-24th-vote-and-how-filibuster-w
> Here's the letter:
> Dear Majority Leader Harry Reid,
> As human rights and press freedom advocates, we write to express our deep
> concern about S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and the threat it poses to
> international human rights. Like H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act
> (SOPA), PIPA requires the use of internet censorship tools, undermines the
> global nature of the internet, and threatens free speech online. PIPA
> introduces a deeply concerning degree of legal uncertainty into the
> internet economy, particularly for users and businesses internationally.
> The United States has long been a global leader in support of freedom of
> speech online, and we urge the Senate not to tarnish that reputation by
> passing PIPA.
> Today, some of the world?s most repressive countries, like China, Iran,
> Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Syria use DNS filtering as a means to silence
> their citizens. As over 80 human rights organizations recently wrote in a
> letter opposing SOPA, ?institutionalizing the use of internet censorship
> tools to enforce domestic law in the United States... creates a paradox
> that undermines its moral authority to criticize repressive regimes.?# In
> fact, PIPA would send an unequivocal message to other nations that the use
> of these tools is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
> DNS filtering is a blunt form of censorship that is ineffective at
> achieving its stated goal, while causing collateral damage to online
> communities on a massive scale. But while DNS filtering is trivial for
> users to circumvent, this technology would fundamentally undermine the
> integrity of the global internet, making users more vulnerable to
> cybersecurity attacks and identity fraud. Additionally, any legislation
> that mandates filtering of websites is prone to unintended consequences,
> such as overblocking. For example, in early 2011, when the Immigration and
> Customs Enforcement agency seized the domain mooo.com, it accidentally
> removed the web addresses of 84,000 (almost exclusively legal) connected
> domain names.# Moreover, once the technical infrastructure enabling
> censorship is in place, it allows future governments (and private actors)
> to block virtually any type of content on the web, making the provisions of
> this bill prone to mission creep.
> The attempts at due process provisions in this bill do not respect the
> global nature of the internet. The network effects of the internet are
> realized when users and innovators are able to connect around the globe.
> However, creating a mechanism that requires a representative of a website
> to make a court appearance in the U.S. in order to defend themselves
> against an allegation of infringement would disproportionately impact
> smaller online communities and start-ups based abroad that do not have the
> capacity to address concerns in the United States. These websites would
> risk losing access to advertising services, payment providers, search
> engine listings, and their domain name. Together, these pieces of the
> bill would drive international innovators away from depending on U.S.
> services as a hedge against legal threats, while missing what should be the
> target of this legislation: preventing large-scale commercial infringement.
> PIPA further creates a double jurisdiction problem, whereby non-U.S.-based
> sites must determine whether a site is legal in both the country it is
> operating in and the United States. This raises serious concerns about the
> scope of the bill, as foreign websites falling under PIPA?s definition of
> infringement may be perfectly legal in other jurisdictions. For example,
> the domain of a Spanish site, rojadirecta.org, was seized in early 2011
> by U.S. authorities without adequate due process, notification to the
> site?s owners, or an option to defend themselves, despite having been
> declared legal by two Spanish courts.#
> The definition of ?information location service? is overly broad and would
> have a chilling effect on online speech. PIPA would make nearly every
> U.S.-based actor on the internet, including not only blogs, chat rooms, and
> social networks but users as well, potentially subject to enforcement
> orders of the bill. Additionally, the requirement that these service
> providers act ?as expeditiously as possible to remove or disable access? to
> an allegedly infringing website imposes an unprecedented burden on any
> service that contains links, incentivizing the screening and removal of
> content in order to avoid being caught up in legal proceedings. Further,
> even if an accused website is later found to be innocent, links to that
> website could have effectively disappeared from the web, having been
> permanently removed when the court notice was served.
> PIPA is also vague with respect to how links would be defined, including
> if all links associated with a domain or subdomain would be required to be
> blocked and if this would apply to future attempts by users to post
> content. This provision could potentially be interpreted in a way that
> would force services that allow users to post links to proactively monitor
> and censor the activities of their users, dramatically altering the role of
> these platforms in promoting free speech and setting a dangerous precedent
> for other countries.
> We understand the pressure that lawmakers face in passing copyright
> enforcement legislation, and agree that protecting the rights of creators
> is an important goal. However, enforcement should not come at the expense
> of free speech or due process. This bill is fundamentally flawed due to its
> wide range of restrictive and potentially repressive measures. Even if
> individual elements of the proposal, such as DNS filtering are modified,
> postponed or amended, the legislation as a whole represents a precedent
> that is a real danger for human rights on the internet. We must remain
> conscious of the fact that the internet is a key enabler of human rights
> and innovation, and decisions over its governance should not be made
> hastily and without full consideration of collateral consequences.
> We strongly urge the Senate to stand for human rights, defend the open
> internet, and reject the PROTECT IP Act.
> Sincerely,
> Access
> ...
> --
> Jochai Ben-Avie
> Policy Director
> Access | AccessNow.org
> P: +1-347-806-9531 | S: jochaiben-avie | PGP: 0x9E6D805F


Jochai Ben-Avie
Policy Director
Access | AccessNow.org
P: +1-347-806-9531 | S: jochaiben-avie | PGP: 0x9E6D805F
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