Keep Our Speech Online: Tell Congress to Reject the Filter Mandate

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To protect free expression, stop the SMART Copyright Act!

Not content with the raft of imperfect and terrible filters voluntarily used by Big Tech platforms, a new proposal would change the copyright regime online, mandating filters and removing speech at all levels of the internet. This would be good only for a terrible cadre of the biggest companies in the country: the monopolistic ISPs like AT&T and Comcast, Big Content like Warner and NBC-Universal, and the Big Tech companies that already have filters like Google and Facebook.

For the rest of us, for internet creators, users, and small to medium businesses, this would be a disaster. Tell your senators to stand against big corporations and with free expression and reject the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies Copyright Act.

How would this bill harm creators and services?

Under current law, online services are granted immunity from copyright infringement liability as long as they do certain things. One of those things is that they must “accommodate” any technical measure for copyright protection that has, through industry consensus, become “standard.” This has never happened for copyright bots because no one actually engaged in the business of putting content online would agree that any of the filters that exist should be a standard. They are expensive. They don’t work. They keep lawful speech from being said and heard.

This bill would create a new way to require copyright bots. It would also require every online service to have such filters, from your service provider to your platform, creating more and more hoops for people to jump through in order to speak.

Copyright is supposed to incentivize creativity, not restrict it to just a few major companies. It is definitely not supposed to prevent people from exercising their right to free speech. Tell your Senators to reject this misguided legislation.