Stop the Website Censorship Machine – Notice and Staydown

Dangerous new censorship proposals are on their way. Lobbyists for the music and publishing industries are pulling out all the stops to impose Censorship Machinery on the American people via extreme new copyright rules. They want to force websites to build expensive robot programs to spy for copyrighted material. This means they will block content before you post it – before you’ve done anything wrong – and violate your free expression on-line.

U.S. copyright lobbyists even wrote to Trump attacking civil society efforts for fairer copyright and calling our desire to protect free expression “dangerous”, so new rules could pass quickly unless we show the U.S. Copyright Office just how many Americans oppose this censorship plan.

Directly following Trump’s victory, recording industry associations wrote to him asking that he demand tech companies create new ways to restrict access online and make sure they get the compensation they feel they deserve. Then the Copyright Alliance wrote to him aggressively pushing protectionist measures that would secure existing monopolies and stop new business emerging.

The system they are proposing is officially called “Notice and Staydown”. But we know what it really is: a censorship machine. It would force our favorite websites to create or buy expensive new technologies to monitor and filter the content we create. It would put a huge technical burden on new websites and businesses to find ways to fulfill these obligations — putting a chill on innovation.

The Censorship Machine means every website that allows users to upload content must have automated programs which detect and flag copyrighted content as it is uploaded. Its algorithm would block the person from uploading the content altogether, rather than taking it down after it has been fairly assessed.

Monitoring billions of posts per day can only be done with automated systems that unfairly censor legal speech and expression. These programs detect and block content, regardless of whether or not it is legitimate or legal. These bots won’t be able to recognize legal exceptions for parody, public interest, and fair use. It will stop you sharing fan fiction, memes, video remixes, gifs, critiques, online reviews, home videos, and all sorts of brilliant, creative things. Even posting a comment on a blog or news story could cause you to run afoul of the censorship machine.

Instead of a Censorship Machine, we need positive rules that respect creators, prioritize free expression, and are shaped democratically. In these turbulent times we simply cannot afford to have powerful mass censorship tools in the hands of lobbyists and government officials.

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3 thoughts on “Stop the Website Censorship Machine – Notice and Staydown

  1. No Web site with a registration form that is not protected by automated human proof test which displays a sequence of characters in an image, and requests the user to enter the sequence into an input field. Security mechanism based on the Turing Test—one of the oldest concepts in Artificial Intelligence—and it is most often called Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA).

    On the other side, a number of these tests have been broken, that is, automated programs designed by researchers, hackers, and spammers have been able to automatically serve the correct answer.

  2. No Press Freedom for a vocal non-English farm worker in DRC exposing GM food profiteers while popular digital media (alias mafia) are busy wiki cleansing of best sources, realigning online capitalists, full bias towards ruling cronies / brands.. We’re light years away from today’s so-called mainstream media obsessed with privacy theft, rumor, indoctrination, hype, bias / ephemera. The fake media & its proxies tag and troll truth-reporting and transparent channels with various trendy things. Read more

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