Tag Archives: U.S. Senate

We Stand Against SOPA

On Thursday, Racialicious joined the many websites around the world in shutting down for most of the day to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which threatens to undermine the same creative freedom it was allegedly designed to protect.

SOPA supporters say the bill, introduced in the House of Representatives in October 2011, would protect copyright holders against online piracy. SOPA’s counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), is scheduled for a Jan. 24 vote.

The idea is, the two bills would give authorities more ways to starve  “rogue sites,” as Politico’s Mike Zapler and Kim Hart explain:

Here’s how it would work: If the Justice Department or a copyright holder believed a site was directing users to pirated content, they would go to court. Depending on who’s complaining, different remedies would come into play: In some instances a judge could order an Internet service provider like Verizon to cut off access to a site. In others, a search engine like Google could be directed to delete links to an infringing site. The idea is to starve the offending sites of the web traffic that keeps them in business.

Though much of the debate around SOPA and PIPA centers around copyrighted content involving movies and music, is it really so hard, in the age of Occupy and of increased scrutiny of public officials’ malfeasance, to imagine certain cities’ police forces wouldn’t go to court to sue someone for “illegally displaying their likeness” on YouTube?
This past Saturday, President Barack Obama’s administration released a statement saying the White House will not support “legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” But, as this is an election year, we agree with most experts – this issue isn’t even close to being settled.
ProPublica has a breakdown of where each member of Congress stands on each bill. You can write to your congressional representative or petition the U.S. State Department against the act here. And Google has a petition of its’ own. We urge our readers to speak up against this legislation, and we’ll be back with regular content Thursday at 8 a.m. EST.

Dream Act Moves On To Senate Vote Thursday

By Arturo R. García

After narrowly making it through the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act will now be up for vote in the Senate, where it’s likely to run headlong into a Republican party filibuster. As Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, told CNN:

Mass amnesty is not the only problem with the DREAM Act … The bill allows illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at public universities, placing them ahead of U.S. citizens. The bill also is a magnet for fraud.

Of course, Mr. Smith’s definition of “ahead of” is in question: the act specifies that to even be eligible for said tuition – and not in the form of grants, but in college loans and work-study credits – not only would each student eligible under DREAM have to apply for a six-year conditional residency program, but would have to either complete two years’ worth of college courses or military service, and would not be able to apply for conditional residency until 5.5 years into the program, provided he or she maintains “good moral character.”

As this deals with immigration, much of the reporting and rhetoric concerning DREAM has, as is now customary, focused on immigrants from Latin American countries. But as this video Angry Asian Man posted reminds us, there are other communities involved.

As AAM notes, you can call your Senators at 866-996-5161 to express your feelings about the DREAM act.