The US House of Representatives is considering an attempt to subvert HR 1606 – The Online Freedom of Speech Act, in favor of more regulation as described in HR 4194. This bill masquerades as an appropriate protection for our First Amendment rights. In fact, is no such thing.
The Online Coalition offers this summary:
H.R. 4194 purports to protect “bloggers” from campaign finance regulation. But, in fact, it is so riddled with exceptions and exclusions that it is worse that nothing.
• It offers no guidance as to the treatment of group political activity, potentially treating all group websites that discuss federal candidates as political committees
• It would stifle technological innovation. H.R. 4914 specifically mentions “blogging”, but ignores such as already-widely used technologies like podcasting, wikis and peer-to-peer networks, let alone the technologies of tomorrow.
• Its alleged protection to incorporated bloggers offers no real protection. In comments filed before the FEC, supporters of H.R. 4194 have stated explicitly that those websites which endorse, expressly advocate, and urge readers to donate funds to the election of preferred candidates do not qualify for protection under the law. This would force bloggers that speak forcefully about politics to seek legal counsel – a complete disaster.
Write your Congresscritter to oppose HR 4194.
If you need more ammo than you already have, The Other Club has written about this many times. Some of those links:
Anti-Constitutional – Business as Usual 30-Mar-05
Lessons ignored? 13-May-05
The Blogton Tea Party 19-Jul-05
See also: McCain-Feingold. 25-Sep-05
“Speakeasy” to be redefined 25-Jan-06