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Position Paper

Position Paper

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Published by MountainMan Coffee
This is not my own work and I take no credit for it.
This is not my own work and I take no credit for it.

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Published by: MountainMan Coffee on Apr 21, 2012
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EastwoodJames Eastwood Nicole ServinoENG 090 009Position Paper December 3, 2011TitleOn September 17, 1787, the founding fathers of the United States signed theConstitution of the United States the supreme law of the land. The Constitution organizesthe countries government, such as, the three branches of the government, their roles, anddefines their individual roles. The Constitution also defines the individual rights of thecountries citizens in the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. One amendmentthat is consistently debated and argued is the 1st Amendment. The first amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The intentions of the forefathers when writing the 1st Amendment have been heavilyquestioned and debated. Again, the United States government and it's citizens have startedand will continue for months to come debating whether freedom of speech is an inherentright of the U.S. citizens, or if there are times that the Government should intervene andcensor media that could be potentially harmful to the continuity of the government.Censorship in the United States is not a new topic. In 1798 president John Adams passed a bill that made it illegal to criticize a government official. (Head, Online) Therehave been years of censorship making books and movie themes illegal. Most recently,during the Super Bowl on February 1, 2004, during the halftime show a wardrobe1
 
Eastwood"malfunction" caused a portion of Janet Jackson's breast to be televised. Due to thismalfunction the FCC stepped in and began to censor live television by requiring broadcastdelays to censor potentially questionable or offensive words, speeches, and "malfunctions"from being broadcast again. Censorship is not new in the global environment either. For example, France censors the internet from racist and terrorist linked websites, China andSaudi Arabia also censors the internet and it's news that their citizens have access too.Chinese law censors approximately 100 websites to Western countries news sites, anti-China sites, and more. It also makes Internet Service Providers (ISP) not only responsiblefor blocking the website. Saudi Arabia government blocks sites that the government deemsunsuitable for their citizens. The list of rules include blocking anything that contradictslegislation and/or it's religion Islam, anything against the government, and anythingdamaging to political figures. (Internet, Online) Although censorship has been a topic of debate for years, the United States still debates the betterment of the government or therights of the citizens.On October 6, 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced to Congress. TheStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as, the Blacklist Bill would utilize domainname system filtering to cause infringing sites to disappear from the Internet. (Kain,Online) The domain name system filtering is the same technology used by China to censor information from it's citizens. The Protect IP Act was previously rejected by the U.S.Senate and will be re-submitted to Congress in conjunction with SOPA. Both of thesesubmitted acts constitutionality are being hotly debated. If passed the internet user couldfind sites that are visited daily to be blocked, email providers may be forced to censor certain links that are sent or received, and links and content that are shared on social2
 
Eastwoodnetworks would be carefully monitored and possibly censored. (Kain, Online) The billswould also require ISP's to also monitor online searches of their customers and if aviolation is made the ISP would be required to block access to the website. The bill alsoallows the Attorney General to ban advertisers and third-party payment processingcompanies from doing business with websites that are in violation. (Rudkiewicz, Online)Although the bill was created to prevent loss of profits for the entertainmentindustry due to pirated copies of movies, music, books, etc, the bill is getting a lot of criticism due to the lack of limitations placed on the government should the bill pass. For anyone that has read George Orwell's 1984, the idea of the bill should sound familiar. Asmany of the bills opponents compare SOPA and the Protect IP Act to Big Brother in 1984.They warn that the passing of these bills could be the start of full government censorshipwithin the United States.The freedoms that the 1st amendment provide to the U.S. citizens are paramount.Any potential infringement on the right to free, true information prevents the ability of thecitizens to practice "free think" and form opinions on subjects that directly affect andindirectly affect their lives. Without the ability to "free think" citizens become pawns for the government and Big Brother becomes a reality as opposed to an idea in a fictional book. Recently citizens of the United States have begun practicing their right to stand-upagainst the government in protests like Occupy. Without the free flow of informationcitizens would not know the information needed to build their opinion and practice their right to congregate and protest.Works CitedHead, Tom. "History of Censorship in the United States - An Illustrated History of UnitedStates Censorship."
Civil Liberties at About.com - Your Guide to Civil Liberties News and 
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