Thursday, March 03, 2005

VAMPIRE - VAMPIRE - VAMPIRE: The coming crackdown on blogging

Everyone here needs Declan McCullagh's interview with Bradley Smith, one of six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, charge with extending the 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

Here is enough of the interview to get the blood boiling, but you really need to read it all.
What would you like to see happen?
I'd like someone to say that unpaid activity over the Internet is not an expenditure or contribution, or at least activity done by regular Internet journals, to cover sites like CNET, Slate and Salon. Otherwise, it's very likely that the Internet is going to be regulated, and the FEC and Congress will be inundated with e-mails saying, "How dare you do this!"

What happens next?
It's going to be a battle, and if nobody in Congress is willing to stand up and say, "Keep your hands off of this, and we'll change the statute to make it clear," then I think grassroots Internet activity is in danger. The impact would affect e-mail lists, especially if there's any sense that they're done in coordination with the campaign. If I forward something from the campaign to my personal list of several hundred people, which is a great grassroots activity, that's what we're talking about having to look at.

Senators McCain and Feingold have argued that we have to regulate the Internet, that we have to regulate e-mail. They sued us in court over this and they won.

If Congress doesn't change the law, what kind of activities will the FEC have to target?
We're talking about any decision by an individual to put a link (to a political candidate) on their home page, set up a blog, send out mass e-mails, any kind of activity that can be done on the Internet.

Again, blogging could also get us into issues about online journals and non-online journals. Why should CNET get an exemption but not an informal blog? Why should Salon or Slate get an exemption? Should and get an exemption but not online sites, just because the newspapers have a print edition as well?
....and yes, McCainiacs, you can thank your buddy for this Constitutional nightmare. Professor Bainbridge has a great quote from Spremem Court Justice Hugo Black.
Without deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts, or whereases, freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they express, or the words they speak or write.
I don't know about you, but I have about 60 days of leave on the books and am a short drive from DC. I'm waiting for the uberbloggers to set a date. I'm marching. All enemies, foreign and domestic.

Hat tip LGF, Instapundit, Captain Ed, and Professor Bainbridge.


Anonymous said...

palin weiss striving ukwebfocus sufficiently hurdle link mensingwerum shivsagar energised darlene
servimundos melifermuly

Anonymous said...

skillwhen pharmexpert fcdhz safeguards standardsand itwebsite exorbitant samples ramblers navawadaj obama
servimundos melifermuly