MPAA, RIAA and Anonymous Team Up To Oppose Arizona’s New Internet Censorship Bill
By Vinod Yalburgi | April 4, 2012 7:25 PM EST
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) don't normally align themselves with hacktivist group Anonymous, but all had a common enemy in Arizona House Bill 2549 which aimed to "prohibits using any electronic or digital device, instead of a telephone, with the intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend a person."
The Bill, which was designed to prevent internet trolling, has been stopped according to the Phoenix New Times by one of the Bill's own sponsors. State Representative Vic Williams told the paper that legislators have received quite a bit of "legitimate concerns" about the bill, and Representative Ted Vogt has stopped the bill from moving forward so everyone can figure it out.
The bill has drawn much flak for its overly broad reading, vagueness and possible unconstitutionality. Opposition was voiced by the Media Coalition, which is a first-amendment defence organisation that represents, among other clients, the MPAA and the RIAA.
The Media Coalition said in a memo to Governor Jan Brewer "H.B. 2549 is not limited to a one-to-one conversation between two specific people. The communication does not need to be repetitive or even unwanted. There is no requirement that the recipient or subject of the speech actually feel offended, annoyed or scared. Nor does the legislation make clear that the communication must be intended to offend or annoy the reader, the subject or even any specific person."
Anonymous' reaction to the proposed legislation was a little less subtle, with the @YourAnonNews Twitter account, which has over half a million followers, publishing a fax which was sent to the Governor, entitled the ButtHurt Report.
The form, which can be downloaded from the YourAnonNews tumblr, looks exactly like this:
The Media Coalition memo to Governor Brewer concludes with a warning that a failure to veto the bill could be costly for the state. "Passage of this unconstitutionally overbroad and vague bill could prove costly. If a court declares it unconstitutional, there is a good possibility that the state will be ordered to pay the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees. In a previous case brought by members of Media Coalition the state agreed to pay fees of $245, 000," cites the letter. In a strange twist, the @YourAnonNews has picked up on the Media Coalition memo and retweeted it to all its followers.
Comedy Central writers have also picked up on the proposed new legislation, witing on a blog post: "Though Arizona is doing its best to criminalize birth control and immigration, among other facets of the modern world, it still hasn't banned electricity. In fact, Arizona legislators use 'digital device[s]' to draft legislation that is often plainly intended to annoy or offend anyone with a conscience. When Arizona legislators outlaw trolling, only outlaws will be Arizona legislators."
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