America’s Future: Russia and China Use Copyright Laws to Crush Government Criticism

America Mimics Russia, China, Iran and Malaysia

Leading American Internet businessmen warn that the draconian copyright bill on the verge of being passed by Congress would let the US government use censorship techniques “similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran.”

If you want to know what the United States would look like after this bill is passed, just look at what’s been happening in Russia:  The Russian government has been crushing dissent under the pretext of enforcing copyright law.

As the New York Times noted last year:

Across Russia, the security services have carried out dozens of similar raids against outspoken advocacy groups or opposition newspapers in recent years. Security officials say the inquiries reflect their concern about software piracy, which is rampant in Russia. Yet they rarely if ever carry out raids against advocacy groups or news organizations that back the government.

***

[A] review of these cases indicates that the security services often seize computers whether or not they contain illegal software. The police immediately filed reports saying they had discovered such programs, before even examining the computers in detail. The police claims have in numerous instances been successfully discredited by defendants when the cases go before judges.

***

The plainclothes officers who descended upon the Baikal Wave headquarters said they were from the division that investigated commercial crime. But the environmentalists said they noticed at least one officer from the antiextremism department, which tracks opposition activists and had often conducted surveillance on the group.

***

Baikal Wave’s leaders said they had known that the authorities used such raids to pressure advocacy groups, so they had made certain that all their software was legal.

But they quickly realized how difficult it would be to defend themselves.

They said they told the officers that they were mistaken, pulling out receipts and original Microsoft packaging to prove that the software was not pirated. The police did not appear to take that into consideration. A supervising officer issued a report on the spot saying that illegal software had been uncovered.

Before the raid, the environmentalists said their computers were affixed with Microsoft’s “Certificate of Authenticity” stickers that attested to the software’s legality. But as the computers were being hauled away, they noticed something odd: the stickers were gone.

In all, 12 computers were confiscated. The group’s Web site was disabled, its finances left in disarray, its plans disclosed to the authorities.

The police also obtained personnel information from the computers. In the following weeks, officers tracked down some of the group’s supporters and interrogated them.

“The police had one goal, which was to prevent us from working,” said Galina Kulebyakina, a co-chairwoman of Baikal Wave. “They removed our computers because we actively took a position against the paper factory and forcefully voiced it.”

“They can do pretty much what they want, with impunity,” she said.

***

Mr. Kurt-Adzhiyev said he now realized that the authorities were not so much interested in convictions as in harassing opponents. Even if the inquiries are abandoned, they are debilitating when they require months to defend.

Since the American copyright bills (SOPA and PIPA) target online activities, the same thing happening to Russian critics’ computers could happen to the websites of any Americans who criticize the government, the too big to fail banks, or any of the other powers-that-be.

Indeed, the American copyright bill is modeled after the Chinese system.  As I noted Monday:

Given that Joe Lieberman said that America needs an internet kill switch like China, that the U.S. economy has turned socialist (at least for friends of those with control of the money spigot), and that the U.S. government used communist Chinese torture techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions in order to sell the Iraq war, I guess that the bill’s Chinese-style censorship is not entirely surprising.

Of course, it might seem over-the-top to worry about copyright laws being used to stifle government criticism in America … if it weren’t for the fact that:

  • Some folks have alleged that copyright infringers are terrorists. See this, this, this and this
  • In modern America, questioning war, protesting anything, asking questions about pollution or about Wall Street shenanigans, supporting Ron Paul, being a libertarian, holding gold, stocking up on more than 7 days of food, or liking the Founding Fathers may get you labeled as a suspected terrorist
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  • http://www.thehealthymind.com Peter Zafirides, MD

    As a psychiatrist, I have always been fascinated by the psychology of influence – especially as it is applied in a group or societal level. It is very fascinating to understand how we can hold on to beliefs that a system is legitimate even though there is clear evidence of either corruption, ineptitude or injustice endemic in those systems.

    A recent study out of Duke University explored this psychological principle of System Justification. I penned an article regarding the results of this study at my website, The Healthy Mind. The title of the article is “The Corruption Epidemic: Why Good People Defend Bad Systems”. It was piscked up yesterday and featured at The Daily Paul which is an amazing honor for me, for my website is not a commercial site. I created it out of my love of human behavior.

    the direct link is: http://www.thehealthymind.com/archives/2002

    I think it is an important read because in understanding the principles of System Justification – and the specific circumstances by which it can be exploited – we may be able to protect ourselves (both individually and societally) from power that may have destructive or tyrranical intentions.

    I have been a reader of this blog for years. I humbly submit my article for your review.

    In Liberty,
    Peter Zafirides, MD

  • http://emilysinsight.com Emily

    The human mammal is a herd animal. It is all too apparent. You don’t need credentials to see it, but they come in handy when you have the gall to say it.

  • Roy

    It’s interesting to note the following excerpt from Peter Zafirides,MD article:

    All 4 situations are highly relevant in the US today:

    1) We continually see/hear the following rhetoric “we’re under attack”, “we’ve been attacked”, “we’re at war”. It’s being drummed into everyone constantly & repetitively by government authority figures and media mouthpieces.
    2) Vast numbers of citizens are now dependent on govt handouts – unemployment, food stamps, welfare.
    3) the financial boom-times bubble popped years ago, and things STILL have not improved for millions of out-of-work, broke people. There’s nowhere to go where things are any better either.
    4) most people are so trapped on the treadmill & tied to the system they feel they have NO control over what happens to them anymore. “Gangsters” in suits appear to have pillaged the world – with impunity while the “little guy” has lost his job & his house & his American Dream. Many too have come to see that no matter who they vote into power little or nothing changes. Much “Hope” is promised, but then little or nothing changes.

    So is it any wonder then that so many people are willing to sacrifice their freedom and justify it so they can be looked after, be kept “secure” and “safe” with Big Brother watching over them?

    It’s sadly pathetic that Average Joe Public doesn’t even begin to comprehend that the safety & security that those freedoms provide are what they’re really giving up. They’ve yet to realize that Big Brother is a narcissistic, self-serving, sociopath.

    It’s bizarrely ironic to see today:
    – Egyptians, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis fighting and dying to achieve the freedoms that Americans are throwing out with the trash
    – the US govt striving to become more like the totalitarian regimes that are being overthrown elsewhere.

  • Roy

    REPOST: blockquote screwed up – previous post was missing quoted material!

    It’s interesting to note the following excerpt from Peter Zafirides, MD’s article (above):

    “…four particular situations significantly increased the likelihood
    that system justification would occur:
    1. When a threat to the system occurred.
    2. When one is dependent on the system.
    3. When there is no potential escape from the system.
    4. When one has low personal control of their lives.”

    All 4 situations are in effect in the US today:

    1) We continually see/hear the following rhetoric “we’re under attack”, “we’ve been attacked”, “we’re at war”. It’s no accident how this is being drummed into everyone constantly & repetitively by government authority figures and media mouthpieces.
    2) Vast numbers of americans are now dependent on govt handouts – unemployment, food stamps, welfare.
    3) the financial-good-times bubble popped years ago, and things STILL have not improved for millions of out-of-work, broke people. And there’s nowhere to go to where things are any better either.
    4) most people feel they have NO control over what happens to them anymore. “Gangsters” in suits appear to have pillaged the world – with impunity – while the “little guy” has lost his job & his house & his American Dream. Many too have come to see that no matter who they vote into power little or nothing changes. Much “Hope” is promised, but then little or nothing changes.

    So is it any wonder then that so many people are willing to sacrifice their freedom and justify it so they can be looked after, be kept “secure” and “safe” with Big Brother watching over them?

    It’s sadly pathetic that Average Joe Public doesn’t even begin to comprehend that the safety & security that those freedoms provide are what they’re really giving up. They’ve yet to realize that Big Brother is a narcissistic, self-serving sociopath.

    It’s bizarrely ironic that we see today:
    – Egyptians, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis fighting and dying to achieve the freedoms that Americans are throwing out with the trash
    – the US govt striving to become more like the totalitarian regimes that are being overthrown elsewhere.

  • FreedomScribe

    And to think that the House is controlled by Republicans. What a bunch of useful idiots to the Left’s fascist plot. Goodbye America, hello the U.S.S.A. Frightening. Prepare for the worst, pray for the best. +

 

 

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