Another Reason Not To Pass SOPA/PROTECT-IP: Citigroup Lawyers Now Using Digital Copyright Law To Suppress Muckraking Journalism

I really can’t understand why any progressive would support PROTECT-IP/SOPA, the sprawling Internet censorship bill advancing quickly through Congress. Here’s another reason the proposed law, which allows “the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial,” should be opposed.

A leaked series of Citigroup memos about the benefit of the world turning towards economic feudalism (the so-called Plutonomy Memos), once known mostly to lefty blogs, gained some notoriety after Michael Moore featured them in his movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. Here’s the clip

As you can imagine, the memos resurfaced in the last few months with the rise of Occupy Wall Street.

But recently, Citigroup’s lawyers have sent takedown letters to blogs and websites that have featured the memos. Using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Citigroup’s attorneys have successfully pressured Scribd and other document sharing websites to scrub the pdf from the web (here’s an example). Just a few weeks ago, they sent a takedown request to John Schmitt’s blog, demanding that he scrub a copy of the Citigroup Plutonomy memo from his site (view a copy of the letter here, a screenshot below):

Clearly, this is a brazen abuse of copyright law to suppress legitimate journalism. The documents were already widely leaked, and the bloggers writing about them were doing so under conditions which I think most would consider “fair use.” The bareknuckle tactics by Citigroup’s attorneys show the power of the laws already on the books, like the DMCA, which allows copyright holders to demand that user-submitted content websites like Scribd and Blogspot.com remove copyrighted material. For one thing, its not even clear if the Plutonomy Memos constitute protected copyright material. I’m obviously not a lawyer, but its hard to see the expressive value of the memos. It’s a messed up situation, where just the threat of litigation has already chilled speech, but it could get much, much worse.

If SOPA/PROTECT-IP passes, then copyright holders like Citigroup will gain the ability to shut down entire websites without a court order, a power well beyond the DMCA and other digital copyright laws. That means independent blogs, media outlets, etc., will become targets for destruction when they publish allegedly copyrighted whistleblower documents and other leaked memos. Independent media will be delisted from search engines and their domains could be blocked. SOPA/PROTECT-IP is an assault on journalism (see this breakdown by Jessica Roy at Mediabistro), but the latest moves by Citigroup only reinforce the danger.

This week, the House will begin to mark-up the bill.

Back when I worked at ThinkProgress, I repeatedly broke stories using leaked memos and other internal documents from powerful corporations. Needless to say, ThinkProgress routinely posts and links to content that could arguably be considered copyrighted material or associated with “pirate” websites (like Wikileaks or the Piratebay). If SOPA/PROTECT-IP is signed into law, it’s not too extreme to suggest that even ThinkProgress or the blog’s advertisers could fall into the crosshairs of copyright trolls.

Yet on Tuesday, the MPAA is hosting somewhat of a SOPA/PROTECT-IP-friendly event with ThinkProgress. The event is billed as a discussion on “innovation.” The MPAA, however, once fought to ban VCR’s as a terrible technological threat to the movie industry. Similarly, the RIAA under Hilary Rosen once filed a lawsuit attempting to block MP3 players from entering the US consumer market. I could go on; but, it’s worth debunking the many silly arguments of the pro-SOPA/PROTECT-IP lobby, which represents mostly Hollywood and software executives, in another post.

The MPAA chief lobbyist Chris Dodd, who last week favorably compared China’s censorship regime to the legislation he is now promoting, will be speaking at the event.

Dodd sponsored the law in 1995 that makes it virtually impossible to sue banks like Citigroup for investor fraud. I guess now he’ll explain to the world why progressives should support a law that may make it virtually impossible to report on leaked Citigroup documents.

It will be interesting to see how Dodd will justify SOPA/PROTECT-IP, a law that provides overriding IP protection at the expensive of free speech.

56 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

56 responses to “Another Reason Not To Pass SOPA/PROTECT-IP: Citigroup Lawyers Now Using Digital Copyright Law To Suppress Muckraking Journalism

  1. Minnesota Senator AL FRANKEN voted FOR the SOPA Bill!! With liberal senators supporting it – how in the WORLD can we expect to maintain freedom of the US press? The corporations are militarizing our government against us before our eyes. SO, what are we gonna do about it?

  2. Nomad

    Excellent piece. Thanks for highlighting this deceptive bit of legislation and its real intent.

  3. Al Franken is looking to get more royalties for Steward Smallie

  4. Pingback: The Citigroup Plutonomy Memos: Two bombshell documents that Citigroup’s lawyers try to suppress, describing in detail the rule of the first 1% ~ Politicalgates « Truth11

  5. wading through a sea of black bags. The quintessential city bag has been given a splash of subtle color – yes, this green is not intrusive but as neutral as

  6. jhiklypkvr ugnkpxsr eftwskmb khbokvxomcf

  7. I do consider all the concepts you have presented in youur post.
    They are vdry convincing and will certainly work.

    Nonetheless, the posts arre very quicck for starters. Could you please extend
    them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  8. I think this is among the most important info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really excellent : D.
    Good job, cheers

  9. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger,
    and I was curious about your situation; many of us
    have created some nice practices and we are looking to trade techniques
    with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  10. Search engine optimisation is one of the ideal way to get
    guests aimed at your website. It can even help you to earn more income.

  11. Great info. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

  12. We stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to
    going over your web page repeatedly.

  13. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?

    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

  14. This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

  15. Hello my loved one! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and include approximately all vital infos.
    I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

  16. Right now it seems like Movable Type is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re employing
    on your blog?

  17. Seulement, aujourd’hui les sushi baignaient dans le vinaigre (le
    riz à sushi contient déjà du vinaigre à la base, mais là il y en avait beaucoup trop).

  18. My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however
    I know I am getting know-how daily by reading such good posts.

  19. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources
    back to your website? My blog site is in the very same
    niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks!

  20. Il est donc important de faire appel à une web agency dont
    les webmasters sont spécialisés en référencement, de façon à ce que votre site internet soit optimisé
    en termes de positionnement dès sa construction.

  21. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS.
    I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.
    Is there anyone else having identical RSS issues?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

  22. This piece of writing will assist the internet viewers for building up
    new blog or even a weblog from start to end.

  23. Hey! I know this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does operating a well-established blog like yours
    require a massive amount work? I’m completely new to operating a blog however
    I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
    Thankyou!

  24. Superb, what a webpage it is! This weblog presents useful data to us,
    keep it up.

  25. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and
    wished to say that I’ve truly loved surfing around
    your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your
    rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  26. Whats up very cool website!! Man .. Excellent ..
    Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?
    I’m satisfied to search out so many helpful information right here
    in the publish, we want develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.

    . . . . .

  27. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot
    drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.
    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  28. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  29. Course, there are lot many innovations happening in electric repair san diego the technologies.
    Always ask if the equipment can be a non-voltage tester or a multimeter available at
    hardware stores. The probe accessories are also necessary when using a network analyser, plus may also be eligible
    for several other rewards and electric repair san diego benefits.
    The facility from your generator is available across the clock.
    They’re also expected to climb to the top of shoulder the stilt handle has to be
    of comfort to your customers.

  30. Research show that it brings fantastic pleasure and offers tension relief.

  31. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about,
    why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something
    informative to read?

  32. While you obviously aren’t going to be able to call this a full-time
    gig, you can make a worthwhile endeavor if you have several surveys lined up per day.
    When a company pays via Paypal, it is usually a faster
    payment because it is electronically transferred and there
    is very little chance of it getting lost. Whether
    the time is spend at the dinner table or out enjoying a favorite family hobby together, the common factor is that mothers, fathers and children are all interacting with each other and having fun.

  33. I’m more than happy to find this page. I need to to thank
    you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new things in your site.

  34. The server would be so fast that you will love to access it in a matter of few
    seconds. Furthermore, with the launch of Windows 7 Phone is the smart
    phone market nascent App. The full package of Google features is
    included to do this running the Android 2.

  35. Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally
    recommend to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this
    website.

  36. It’s very trouble-free to find out any matter on net as compared to textbooks, as I found this post at this website.

  37. For customers, Microsoft is encouraging feedback about device compatibility with the Windows 7 RC through the Windows Vista Compatibility Center feedback page, on the ‘Report a compatibility issue’ tab.
    Right click on it and click “Run as administrator” to run it.
    With the wireless off, battery life is up to 14 hours and up to approximately 4 hours
    for video or pictures, all of which is similar to earlier rumors and informal
    comments.

  38. Hey jjust wanted to give youu a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be
    running off the screden in Firefox. I’m not sure if thius is a format issue or something to do with
    internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to
    let you know. The layout look great though!
    Hopee you geet the problem solved soon. Cheers

  39. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the
    simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think
    about worries that they just don’t know about.

    You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take
    a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  40. Hey there I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Aol
    for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all
    at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do
    keep up the fantastic b.

  41. Hi everybody, here every one is sharing these kinds of know-how, thus it’s fastidious to read this
    weblog, and I used to visit this webpage all the time.

  42. It’s difficult to find well-informed people on this topic, however,
    you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  43. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It if truth be told was a amusement account it.
    Glance complicated to far added agreeable from you!
    By the way, how can we keep in touch?

  44. You should be a part of a contest for one of the best websites on the web.
    I most certainly will recommend this web site!

    My favorite weblog on technology: wireless outdoor speakers

  45. Thanks designed for sharing such a pleasant opinion, piece of writing is fastidious, thats why i have read it completely

  46. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you wish be delivering
    the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot
    often inside case you shield this increase.

  47. In addition, when contractors are knocking holes in the handle which lights up
    if san diego county electricians there is any eventuality.
    The first area of any training is practical experience and this is not performed san diego county electricians just produced
    by a skilled electrician for any job. Although you may not know it until it’s too late.

    These days, markets have been flooded with a variety of jobs for owners.

  48. These interested will discover all gun safes and weapons cabinets in our current HARTMANN gun safes catalogue.

  49. Dr Patel will not be like the opposite standard doctors, thus,
    he is conscious of very effectively that the frequent people want to learn one
    thing which is easy somewhat than one factor which is troublesome.

  50. Live betting, & online sports betting have never been easier, safer
    or more accessible to you, our avid punters. You can find a list of
    all the near-by restaurants along with the general information about them.
    Your newsletter will certainly be your tribe where you will certainly be sharing all the secrets to assist them make money online.

  51. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to say that I acquire in fact loved account your blog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your feeds or even I success
    you get right of entry to persistently rapidly.

  52. Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it
    and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from
    this site.

  53. whoah this blog is wonderful i love studying
    your articles. Keep up the good work! You know, lots of people are hunting round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  54. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply
    how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  55. Great blog right here! Additionally your website a lot up
    very fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate
    link on your host? I desire my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  56. Good day very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful
    .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also?
    I am satisfied to seek out so many helpful information here within the post, we need develop more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.

    . . . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s