Sunday, November 21, 2010

Duetsche Welle Discontinues SW To North America, U.S. Internet Censorship Bill Could Have Unintended Consequences

Hold on a second! Did D.W. even stop to think about the results of their poll? How did they manage to pass over the shortwave listenership and end up surveying mostly the digital crowd? As Keith Perron recently asked...what are they smoking? Who was behind this survey and where did they find these results that most everyone is listening via interconnected digital devices?

The Media Network Blog has a piece on D.W. that makes an entirely different statement than what DW makes at it's own site.

In the U.S., there are probably around seven hundred thousand people or more with ready access to the HF / SW bands in some form or another. This is a fact. D.W. is making the same mistake that other radio stations have been making and that is to focus more on those within their local areas and those with ready access to interconnected devices, which leaves stations in a bad place for several reasons. The internet uses servers located all over the world which can be filtered or even shut down in the event that someone in a position of power doesn't like what's being said or decides they have some pre-conceived prejudice against the broadcaster.

The United States Congress is currently working on a very broad piece of legislation that could very well have unintended consequences on freedom of speech. Those unintended consequences may very well end up somehow affecting international broadcasters who stream their services via the internet. Under this bill, any internet domain that is even suspected of dealing in counterfeit goods or copyright infringement can be censored by court order. What this means is that all a person bringing suit has to prove in court will only rise to the level of "everyone's doing it" or "stats show that an x number of people have engaged in this activity."

How this could possibly impact shortwave broadcasters: The United States Attorney General could use this law to force shortwave broadcasters who stream on-line to prove that their material is not counterfeit or that such material doesn't infringe on established copyright. This may very well create room for abuse of this bill if it becomes law. Say for instance, a shortwave broadcaster streaming on-line material  plays a soundbyte or a song not originally created nor performed by the station staff....the U.S. Attorney General could now have reason to block that site by seeking a court order with only the preponderence of the evidence, a seriously low legal standard that is subjective on it's face.

Shortwave frequencies cannot be sanitized or turned off with any "kill switch" and is the best way to avoid these touchy scenarios. Let's also be honest, radio doesn't rely on any infrastructure and is a ready source for getting information out to the masses. A good statement of evidence on this would be that the United States FCC only has jurisdiction in the U.S. and it's possessions. A broadcaster such as Deutsche Welle is outside of the FCC's jurisdiction and that of the U.S. Attorney General.

Take a look at this newest censorship effort by the U.S. Government and please consider signing the petition even if you are not in the U.S.

Demand Progress Article: Blacklist

Demand Progress Fact Highlights About The proposed Blacklist & Petition To Stop This Bill 

Maybe Deutsche Welle would like to consider starting their North American SW Services again with this new evidence having been brought forth?

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