InfoWorld: Legitimate concerns vs. free speech: Who defines the rules for the Net?

[ Thanks to Paul
for this link. ]

“We are used to thinking of censorship as something governments
do. But on the Internet of late, censorship appears to be more of a
private enterprise.”

“Although different situations in many respects, @Home and
Digital Convergence both successfully used the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA) to get their rather dubious intellectual
property claims upheld.”

“… the big companies have gotten what they wanted in these
cases — and without going to court, where they might well lose.
The DMCA puts one very dangerous new weapon in the hands of
corporate lawyers: the ability to get a supposed infringer’s
service provider to close a Web site or Internet account even with
a highly dubious claim of intellectual property violations.”

“This is all happening without UCITA being the law in any of the
relevant states. If you combine UCITA — and its ability to
enforce such things as shrinkwrap terms prohibiting product
criticism and reverse engineering — with the DMCA, what will we
have? I fear it could be a form of censorship that will make the
most despotic governments exceedingly envious.

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