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The Great Firewall of Hollywood

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They've sued Napster and Scour into submission; realizing that this is expensive, they've bought numerous Congressional lapdogs to force the DoJ to become their personal 'Copyright 911' so that challenges to their production and distribution monopoly can be hounded down and eliminated at the taxpayer's expense rather than their own; they've lobbied Congress to impose DRM controls on virtually all media and virtually all devices, including your computer; and now, for a final assault on human dignity, the Recording Industry Ass. of America has sued for the right to determine which Web sites you and I will be permitted to visit.

Taking a page from the book of totalitarian regimes, the media industry is suing major ISPs, demanding that the foundations of a Chinese-style Great Firewall be laid to protect their precious copyrights, Reuters reports.

At issue is the Listen4ever site, which the RIAA whinges is beyond their influence. According to the wire service, the industry hasn't been able to figure out who owns the offending site, and is stymied in its efforts to take action against it.

It is therefore necessary for the thieving, rotten little people of the United States to have their Internet access regulated.

Of course the Listen4ever site has already moved. Thus it will be necessary to chase it down and amend the complaint. And if one site is banned, then any number of sites can be. And that, more than anything, is the power the RIAA is salivating over. Call this a test case. If it succeeds, the door will be opened for continuing and capricious Internet censorship by an international communications cartel.

Defendants include such heavyweights as AT&T, Sprint and UUNET. Plaintiffs include Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann and Warner Bros, a possession of AOL Time Warner. AOL hasn't been named in the suit, perhaps because they've already volunteered to comply, being joined at the hip, as they are, to a media behemoth. ®

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