URGENT: Congress is trying to sneak through copyright censorship filters

Anyone who creates content or streams online knows that copyright laws are broken and regularly abused. We get frivolous DMCA takedown notices, accounts suspended without warning, and videos demonetized—often without transparency or recourse.

Now, politicians are trying to sneak through the so-called “SMART Copyright Act,” a bill that would make all of this way worse by mandating automated censorship filters at nearly every layer of the Internet, from ISPs to streaming platforms. This won’t help artists or creators, it will just wreak havoc on free expression and line the pockets of companies like Disney and Amazon.

We’ve heard Congress is hoping to slip this through quietly as part of a must-pass spending package. But if we make noise and show the bill is controversial, then House and Senate leadership won’t want to include it. The #NoCensorshipFilter petition delivery and day of action is TODAY, Monday, April 25. Join us by signing the petition before it is delivered Monday night!

This bill brings the abuses of copyright enforcement mechanisms like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to a whole new level.

When it comes to removing speech from the internet, copyright is already the go-to strategy for many would-be censors. Outrageous trolls abuse copyright bots for profiteering. Cops use a loophole in how filters work to keep videos of themselves off the internet. Musicians, streamers, and more are regularly deplatformed by bots with little recourse. The last thing the internet needs is for these bots to be required by law. Fight for the Future and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are teaming up to ensure this doesn’t happen.

The so-called SMART Copyright Act is a whole new tool that would effectively:

  • Create universal automated censorship chokepoints across the internet by requiring expensive content filters that we already know don’t work and regularly silence lawful speech.
  • Encourage surveillance backdoors in everything from Canva to Google Drive to internet service provider traffic, since it is written to apply at all layers of the internet.
  • Mandate filtering of all content online at all levels, from Big Tech platforms like Twitch and Instagram to ISPs like Verizon and Comcast—and for any other platform that lets people speak or share online.
  • Force these companies to compromise the safety and security of the internet with mandated use of software even if it has massive flaws, or risk being sued.
  • Literally let Hollywood and big record labels demand whatever they want again and again to censor the internet and extract shareholder profit, supported by the revolving door of lobbyists at the copyright office.

This is the internet Big Content wants, so the lawmakers they’ve bought are going to try and slip this bill in no matter how bad it is. We need to let them know that if they try to pass this law, they will have a SOPA-level fight on their hands.

Help us make some noise by signing the petition now!

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