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