The last time a Democrat was in the White House we got the Communications Decency Act (since thrown out by the Supreme Court) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (still a weight on the neck of American innovators). This time we’re not only seeing “Net Neutrality” being used as cover for sweeping proposed regulation of the Internet like never before seen in this country, but we’re also due to expand copyright further.
The best thing about the DMCA is that its long arm can’t extend offshore, so Americans have been able to bypass it when needed by working with non-Americans who retain their rights to such technically-critical activities as reverse engineering.
But now the Obama administration is looking to promote an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a trojan horse for a Global DMCA. Or worse actually, because the DMCA only requires ISPs to act on specific copyrightholder requests to shut down accused infringers. Says Cory Doctorow, the ACTA would require ISPs to be active nannies policing copyright, and would outright kill Flickr, YouTube, Blogger, and probably Twitter. Further, your complete access to the Internet could be shut down, without warning, just because you are accused of being a copyright infringer.
Elections have consequences. How’s teaching the Republicans a lesson working out, libertarians?