The Law According To Reddit: Crowdsourcing Policy Advice

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calififornia) is harnessing the power of the Internet to help her write new Internet-related policy. Lofgren is planning to crowdsource the writing of proposed legislation intended to deal with how domain name seizures are handled in the U.S., particularly in relation to cases of copyright infringement and accusations of libel and obscenity. 

In a statement on her website Lofgren praised Reddit’s dedication to freedom of speech and internet expertise:

During SOPA I saw firsthand the Reddit community's strong dedication to free expression. Because of that dedication, I thought I would attempt an experiment: crowdsourcing a legislative proposal on Reddit…Although I am considering introducing a bill on domain name seizures for infringement, that does not mean I accept the practice as legal or Constitutional. Nonetheless, since these seizure actions are occurring, I thought it worthwhile to explore a legislative means providing appropriate protections for free expression and due process. While I promise to carefully consider all recommendations, I can't, of course, promise that every suggestion can be incorporated into a bill I'd introduce.

The goal is to develop targeted legislation that requires the government to provide notice and an opportunity for website operators to defend themselves prior to seizing or redirecting their domain names. The focus would be on government domain name seizures based on accusations that a website facilitates copyright infringement and not, for example, accusations of obscenity or libel. Feedback and input should also take into account any legitimate concerns that notice or delay might reasonably lead to destruction of evidence, threats to the physical safety of an individual, or other unintended negative consequences. So, Internet policy experts and free speech warriors: How, specifically, would you suggest accomplishing these goals? I look forward to reading your thoughts and input!

So, expect input into potential policy decisions from users of the Website that gave us this, this and who could forget, this

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  • ||

    How is it that I had never seen Grape Lady before?

    I noticed the smokin' hot Gurvir Dhindsa at the end there.

  • ||

    That shit is like a decade old, one of the oldest pieces of Internet excellence. And the comments include a link to one of my other favorite oldies: "Indestructible Katana".

  • ||

    The last 5 seconds of that are gold, Jerry! Gold!

  • ||

    Of course, my favorite never became quite the sensation, but our resident New England assholes will appreciate it.

  • Loki||

    Troops. For the win. Especiall if you're a Star Wars nerd.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Lofgren is planning to crowdsource the writing of proposed legislation intended to deal with how domain name seizures are handled in the U.S...

    Oh, by the end of this she will have crowdsourced the language from such diverse places as the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and a shitload of attorneys, and nowhere else.

  • Bee Tagger||

    This.

  • ||

    Reddit is commited to freedom of speech?
    Could have fooled me. Just try saying something that goes against the conventional wisdom and see how fast you lose all your "karma".

  • Brett L||

    No. They, like so many other "internet freedom" groups are for a very narrow amount of free speech on the web. They have no ability to map the same arguments to a broader principle that would see them join the fight for actual freedom.

  • np||

    So, expect input into potential policy decisions from users of the Website that gave us this, this and who could forget, this.

    can't see much difference there and H&R... just sayin'

  • Almanian.||

    Are they stompin' grapes over at the Reason home offices again??!!

  • np||

    "convential wisdom" really depends on the subreddit, I suppose. Lots of them would be at each others' throats were they not confined to their own group

  • Randian||

    Popular on Reddit's political page:

    Hobby Lobby Must Cover Contraception For Employees, Judge Rules.

    Ron Paul’s support for secession does not come as much of a surprise, considering that he has argued in the past that the Civil War was “unnecessary,” and caused by Abraham Lincoln’s attempt to “enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic” by using an “iron fist.”
  • Bingo||

    Considering /r/politics might as well be a wing of the Democratic Party I'm not expecting much good to come out of this.

  • Randian||

    Yep. They're hyperpartisanship makes the site unreadable at times.

  • Bingo||

    At times? How about unreadable, period. They've been in a frenzy about Papa John's of all things for the last 2 weeks. If you dare criticize any of the policies of God's Avatar On Earth you get the internet hate machine sent onto you.

  • ||

    I rarely ever read the political posts. It is exactly as the 3 posters above me say. Incredibly hyper partisan.

    It's also incredibly ironic when someone asks "how come no conservatives ever comment?".

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Considering /r/politics might as well be a wing of the Democratic Party a bunch of nerds trying to make society pay for their daddy issues, I'm not expecting much good to come out of this.

    Often the same difference, I know but much more accurate in this case.

  • np||

    As far as crowdsourcing legislation, I can't really see how that will make things any better. Work towards abolition, rather then cementing something in law and trying to finesse it later

  • InlineSkate||

    Trying to explain anything that goes against the opinions of thinkprogress and the like results in a firestorm of downvotes.

    The idiocy and complete inability to understand the most basic concepts having to do with anything business or economics related drove me away never to return.

  • ||

    I still enjoy the TIL and IAMA parts of Reddit.

    The political posts are a combination of circle jerks and echo chambers.

  • T||

    After looking at the Reddit thread, nobody so far has suggested the easiest way to rein this in: don't do it. Everybody's all about procedural safeguards.

  • Loki||

    Corwd sourcing legislation to the internet. What could possibly go wrong? If nothing else this ought to set a new record for F-bombs in federal legislation.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Crowdsourcing legislation is a great idea. I'm putting state secession in, along with arrest and asset forfeiture of all cabinet members and city planners. And a few billion in earmarks strictly for myself.

    I think all legislation should be crowdsourced; since we've perfected a way of making sure no legislation ever gets read, it's the perfect way to ensure that no legislation ever gets passed.

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