By Mike Masnick
I know everyone is focused on Trump’s attempt to take away Section 230 in the NDAA, but an equally important issue is that members of Congress have been trying to do Hollywood’s bidding and sneak massive copyright reform into a must-pass government appropriations bill. The CASE Act has many problems that we’ve discussed, including the fact that it would unleash a wave of copyright trolling for people accidentally or innocently sharing works they don’t realize are covered by copyright. There are also significant Constitutional problems with it, in that it routes around the Title III courts by handing disputes about private rights to the executive branch. That’s not allowed.
But rather than actually discussing and debating those issues, and fixing the bill to make sure it is constitutional and protects the public, we’ve heard from three different sources that Nancy Pelosi has given the go-ahead in the House to include the CASE Act in the spending bill. As we said earlier this week, if you’re trying to ram through a bill by adding them to an appropriations bill, it’s because you know it has problems and will cause major issues and you just don’t care because the politics of pleasing donors is too important. Hollywood has been screaming for this bill, and Pelosi has agreed to put it in.
If you’re a constituent of Pelosi, I would highly recommend reaching out to her office and making it clear that you absolutely oppose any effort to attach the CASE Act to any appropriations bill. To ignore the many concerns that have been raised about the bill and what it will do to people across the country (especially in the middle of a pandemic) is a travesty. There is no need to pass this bill now, and there is certainly no need to do it in this way. Even if you’re not a Pelosi constituent, it’s worth reaching out to your Congressional Representatives. The good folks over at EFF have a handy dandy form under the accurate headline: “Don’t let a quasi-court bankrupt internet users.”
Many people have raised thoughtful critiques of the CASE Act, and there are many suggestions out there for how the bill can be fixed. To date, Congress has ignored those fixes. This is a bill that is highly controversial and should not be put into law through a sneaky, underhanded move like this. Make sure that Congress understands this.